Review: Breaking Bad – “To’hajille” (Season 5, Episode 13)

Film is a montage of images; a series of shots slipped into a certain sequence to build a scene. Those scenes are then built upon each other and become a story. Editors build those stories by placing those images. Breaking Bad exists because the editors can create tension in a dialog scene, suspense in an action sequence, and musical montages. The music throughout the series is different — it ranges from standards to death metal to mariachi — but the editing is what ties it all together with the scene. Remember that minute and a half Jesse went on a meth sell-a-thon? Or do you remember Windy? What about the brutal prison executions ? The juxtaposition of delightful tunes and darker images certainly is part of the editor’s job, but it’s not everything: in dramatic scenes timing, as usual, is everything. Everything we see, in what order we see it, and for how long we’re seeing it are all decision the editor makes — and the audience takes this for granted. Ironically, edits are truly at their best if they are seamless; every cut should be invisible to the viewers. An audience shouldn’t have to crane their necks trying to look outside of what the camera is showing; the telltale sign of amateur editing. The editors on Breaking Bad, however, are nothing short of artists rivaling the work of Vince Gilligan himself: A writer might pen a blueprint, but the editor crafts the final outcome.

To recap, Jessie is working with Hank and Gomez to catch Walt, and Lydia is working with Todd and his uncle to recreate the blue meth. Now, Walt has hired Todd’s uncle to perform a job similar to those prison shankings we were watching a few moments ago, but with a new target: Jesse. Even while Walt is negotiating the terms of Jesse’s death, he’s protecting Jesse: Walt claims Jesse is no rat, Walt would like Jesse to be put down painlessly, and Jesse is just a confused boy. Could it be that Walt isn’t saying these things for Jesse’s sake, but for his own image? Is it possible Walt is lying to himself because he doesn’t enjoy feeling like the villain that he is? I would be surprised if he truly cared about anything other than himself or his money, since he agreed to break his only promise — giving up his cooking career — to make sure this unforgivable sin is carried out. Fortunately for Walt, putting a hit out on Jesse is his rock-bottom: he can not further damage his reputation. Then Walt decides to draw Jesse out of hiding by using Andrea — that instantly increases our disgust for him.

Hank has been working just as hard as Walt, though, tracking down Huell. Hank tricks Huell into believing Walt is after Huell’s life. Hank continues by telling Huell the only way to save himself is to help Hank find Walt’s money. Huell provides very little, but is it enough for Hank to find the money? No, but that’s fine, Jesse has an idea: we’ll show Walt we have his money, then follow him when he runs to protect it. Jesse, for the first time in five seasons, outsmarted Walt — and, when the two meet, Jesse celebrates his victory. Jesse looks a little deranged by an appetite for revenge, but maybe that’s his happy face, now.

Before Hank, Gomez, and Jesse reach him, Walt is able to call for backup: Todd and his boys. They managed to get their fast, too. The episode ends in the middle of an explosive firefight, a choice that caused an outcry on the internet. Currently, there have been no casualties, but I expect one or two at the beginning of the next episode. It’s important to remember that we still have at least two hours left of suspense before the series reveals Walt’s fate (although, I would bet on the full three episodes of action are needed to tie up this story), so nothing final will happen during this gunfight. Something of great consequence will most likely happen, but Walt and Jesse are probably safe. That being said, all of you Gomez fans better grab a box of tissues, I’ve got a bad feeling about his livelihood.

Come back next week to see if my predictions are correct or dead wrong.

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