While last week’s episode (“Blood Money”) ended with an unforgettable closing line, this week’s installment of Breaking Bad isn’t about one line of stunning dialogue, it’s about the spaces in between those words. These aren’t the big moments or the set pieces that thrust the plot forward in obvious ways, but these the moments that embed the characters in our collective consciousness. Last night, most of these involved an increasingly desperate attempt by the main players to hold on to whatever power they have. Here are the five best moments from last night’s episode.
5. Rolling in the Deep
Watching Saul’s dopey lieutenants loll around on a mattress-sized stack of illegal money was exactly the comic relief this episode needed. And the interlude ended on an appropriately dark note with Kuby reminding Huell (and the audience) that Walt was the architect of 10 prison murders that occured in a two-minute span.
4. How About A Vacation?
Once again, attorney Saul Goodman gets the oiliest lines and Bob Odenkirk brilliantly shades them with an equal mix of avarice, self-interest, and low-rent wit. When he suggests that perhaps Hank would enjoy “a trip to Belize” (you know, where Mike went) and Walt defiantly refuses, Saul reminds him: “It is an option that has worked very well for you in the recent past.”
3. High Noon
“Buried” takes its title from the scene where Walt, alone but ferociously determind, drives out to the desert to dig a pit in which he can stash his money. The scene is set to Argentinean singer Jose Larralde’s beautiful tune “Quimey Neuquen.” What makes the scene even better is the coda: a shot of a lottery ticket with the GPS coordinates of the buried loot. It is, literally and metaphorically, the big prize, the golden ticket, the symbol of all that Walt has worked for–and his undoing.
2. Love Those Shoes
The single best image in the episode is Lydia Rodarte-Quayle’s red-soled, patent leather Louboutin pumps gingerly emerging from the underground meth bus. She may look frail and delicate–she has to be led with her eyes closed through the killing field of men murdered on her orders–but when it comes down to it, she has a Titanium-strength spine. Who’s the kingpin now? In an episode where Hank tries to be a badass, Marie tries to be a hero, and Skyler stands up to them all, the real superhero may be Lydia. But is she invincible?
1. Walter Familias
It’s the most heart-wrenching scene in “Buried,” an exhausted Walt pleading with his wife:
“Skyler, I’ll make this easy. I’ll give myself up if you promise me one thing: You keep the money. Never speak of it. Never give it up. You pass it on to our children. Give them everything. Would you do that? Please. Please don’t let me have done all this for nothing.”
It’s impossible to stop rooting for Walt, no matter what kind of violence he commits. Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, has often said the basic premise of Breaking Bad was to take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface. Here, he’s an equal blend of both archetypes: the devoted family man and the violent gangster.