Breaking Bad Season 5 Review “Buried”

Breaking Bad Season 5B (5)

Last week’s mid-season premiere of Breaking Bad was everything I wanted. It did everything that it needed to do. It gave me a quick resolution to the cliffhanger ending from episode eight, a good trajectory for the rest of the series, and even threw in a great “Heisenberg moment” with Walt’s “Tread lightly” quote that’s been circulating the Internet ever since. I didn’t think that tonight’s episode “Buried” could possibly hold up, but who was I kidding?! This is Breaking Bad, after all!

Directed by Michelle MacLaren, who also directed other great Breaking Bad episodes like “One Minute”, “Salud”, and “Gliding Over All”, I was very happy to see her return for “Buried”. She has a knack for directing quiet dialogue and subtle character moments so they seem much more exciting. When great writing, great direction and great acting all add up, you have great scenes like the one between Hank and Skyler. Obviously Hank had no idea just how involved Skyler has been in Walt’s activities, but I’m a little surprised he wasn’t a little more gentle with his information. If I was just telling someone for the first time that their husband was a drug kingpin that has killed dozens of people and made millions of dollars, then I probably wouldn’t immediately start calling him a “monster” and pressuring his wife into selling him down the river. Perhaps a lighter touch would have been in order there.

A lighter touch was not in order when it was Marie’s turn with Skyler, though! Man, was that tough to watch! Marie really hasn’t been given a lot of important stuff to do on this show, so it’s always great when she gets to really flex her acting muscles a little bit. I thought her reaction to finding out about Skyler’s involvement was justified, but are we supposed to believe that she shared all of that with Hank? She never said to him “Hey, she was aware of it for the past year or so and she knew about it while you got shot”. Is she withholding that her sister was involved so that Hank doesn’t incriminate her too? Or are we supposed to believe that she filled Hank in?

Skyler then gets her big scene with Walt. The scenes between these two have always been electric, with the famous “I am the one who knocks!” scene being my favorite, but this one harkened back to episode four of season five, “Fifty-One”. That was the episode that ended with Skyler’s chilling revelation that she’s just “waiting for {Walt’s} cancer to come back”. So when she confirmed with Walt that his cancer was indeed returning, hearing him mumble “Does that make you happy?” gave me serious chills. I’m not sure what to think about Walt’s dying request; that he wants Skyler to keep the money and give it all to their kids. He either genuinely loves his kids and cares about their well-being and futures, or he’s so proud of his accomplishments that he wants the fruits of his labors to live on in some way. That giant stack of money that’s now resting underground in the middle of the Albuquerque desert is his legacy. His empire. He got into this game originally in order to build up a nest egg for his family, but that seems like a distant memory at this point. He cares more about his legacy than his family.

We then get another update on Lydia and her struggles making up for Walt’s absence in the meth game. I can only assume that we’re being kept up-to-date with Todd and his evil uncle because this is going to intersect with Walt’s story eventually, but right now I’m having a hard time caring what happens here. We only have six episodes left, so I’m not a big fan of using precious screen time on Lydia and Todd, two characters that were just introduced earlier in this season.

While this episode may not have been as exciting as last week’s installment, and we didn’t get any big revelations or “holy crap!” moments, it was still very satisfying. Skyler-centric episodes in the past have usually been among the least favorite of Breaking Bad fans, but tonight Skyler had a big scene with Walt, Hank and Marie, and they were all great! If Breaking Bad can even make a Skyler episode satisfying in the final season, then I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves in the last few episodes!

Random Thoughts:

– While I’m against the idea of the Breaking Bad spin-off show that AMC and Vince Gilligan have been talking about, I wouldn’t be so against the idea of a Kuby and Huell show where they get sent to “fix” problems in the criminal underworld and hilarious hijinks ensue. That Scrooge McDuck scene with the stack of money was absolutely hilarious, and those guys make for a great odd couple pairing.

– Did anybody else have to rewind their TV a couple times to pick up all of Walt and Skyler’s conversation? Bryan Cranston is an amazing actor, but he does sound quite mumbly sometimes.

– What was the deal with that dude’s crazy white mustache in Hank’s office?