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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.9: Blood Money
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Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 9 Blood Money

As Breaking Bad begins its final run of episodes, we’ll be reveiwing the series as it comes to what will probably be a very bloody, intense, and exciting finale. Join us after the jump for analysis of Walter White’s final journey.

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 9 – “Blood Money”
Directed by Bryan Cranston
Written by Peter Gould
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, Charles Baker, and Matt Jones
Air Date: August 11, 2013

What has pride cost you?

Recently, it’s cost me about $10. I got mad at a former girlfriend over a stupid fight and decided to not put on sunscreen before heading into a college football game. It was all about pride, feeling that this was a way I could get back at her: by not letting her tell me what to do. So I ignored her words of advice and marched into the game, having felt that I’d won.

The $10 and the week I spent rubbing aloe-vera into my face told a different story.

I say all this to preface the fact that hubris can lead to lots of stupid decisions and damaging outcomes. In the case of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) pride, it’s certainly cost him a lot of things. However, this time around, it may cost him the most it’s ever cost.

While Walt’s greatest trick will always be that he lies to himself better than he even lies to other people, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is finally tired of all the depiction. Jesse is the closest thing the show has had to a moral center (outside of Walt Jr., maybe, but he’s busy with breakfast) and we’ve reached another breaking point for the character. While Saul (Bob Odenkirk) warns Jesse that he’s “two miracles shy of sainthood,” that doesn’t stop Pinkman from doing his best to try and rid himself of the cancer that’s been his past life. It’s eating away it him, more so than ever before. While Walt can join Skyler (Anna Gunn) in wearing shades of white at the car wash (as if they’ve been suddenly purified from all their wrongdoings), Jesse’s black clothing show that he’s tainted and stained. No amount of purifying acts will able to save Jesse from himself. His blood money rots him from the core.

And now, major episode SPOILERS, so for those who haven’t seen the episode, tread lightly. You’ve been warned.

We knew that Breaking Bad wasn’t going to pull any punches with these final eight episodes and it seems like Hank isn’t either. While other shows would have drawn out that confrontation, Breaking Bad dives right into providing Hank (Dean Norris) and Walt an opportunity to spar. It’s a scene that’s been years in the making and it didn’t fail to deliver.

Pride, time and time again, has made Walt worse for the wear. It’s pride that stopped Walt from getting paid treatment from his former business partner. Pride is what lead Walt to drunkly mouth-off that Gale could never be Heisenberg. Pride is what lead Walt to keeping a book in his bathroom that Hank could, and did, find. And it’s pride again that torpedoes a chance for Walter to walk away and maybe minimize his battle with Hank.

I’ve always felt that Breaking Bad was a show about cause and effect. Walter’s one choice to cook Meth has sent a ripple effect throughout this entire world, spreading like cancer cells and corrupting all those around him. He’s had chances to repair the damages, yet his hubris always stumbles through the door headfirst, cutting off any chance to right those wrongs.

Walter has always been better with a nemesis for his Heisenberg to fight. However, Walter White may have finally met his match with Hank. The beauty of the flash forward scene is we have an idea of how this will all begin to end. There’s a clearer endpoint now.

And if that endpoint is any indication of what we see between what happens after that garage door comes up and Walter’s purchase of an M60 machine gun, Walt’s cancerous pride will certainly cost him a lot.

But it seems it will cost those around him more than ever before.

Quick Thoughts:

- Brilliant direction from Bryan Cranston for this episode.

- I’ve always thought that Breaking Bad has always been as much about Walter’s fall from grace as it’s been the battle for the soul of Jesse Pinkman. I think the latter will really come into play over the next seven hours.

- I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, but the animated version of Badger’s (Matt Jones) Star Trek script is pretty amazing.

- There’s been a theory going around that Walter always takes something away from those he kills (for Crazy-8, it’s cutting off crusts; Mike was having a drink on the rocks; Gus drove a Volvo and Walt drove one in the flashforward). If this is true here’s something to think about as it relates to the events shown in the flashfowrard: Walter is using Skyler’s maiden name and is wearing a jacket that looks very similar to the jacket Jesse wore during “Fly.” Something to think about.

I’ll be with you all as we enjoy these final hours of Breaking Bad. What did you think about the premiere? Sound off in the Comments section here below.

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