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The wait is finally over.  Breaking Bad is finally back and they wasted no time this week progressing the story along.

Season 5, Episode 9: “Blood Money”

In case you forgot, the first half of the season wrapped up last year with the bathroom break heard ‘round the world, as Super Cop Hank Schrader finally put the Heisenberg puzzle together with a little help from a dead man.  The first episode picks up right where the last one left off with a little trip to the future to start.

The episode opens, similar to the season five premiere did, with a flash forward to Walter White roughly a year from the main thread of the storyline.  We see Walt pull up to his family home in the car that he picked up from that Denny’s, complete with the assault rifle in the trunk.  The home is now gated off from the public and has since been abandoned, save for the skateboarders using the pool as a half pipe.  Walt’s there to get one thing, the ricin still hidden inside the wall outlet, and my Chekhov’s Gun alarm is going off like crazy.

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Bringing it back to the present, and we see Walt trying his best to put his past behind him by working the register at the car wash.  With his sweater and great ideas on how to move product, he’s a long way away from his time in the lab, but that doesn’t stop his past from rearing its head, when former business associate Lydia tracks him down to try and bring him out of retirement.  The replacement cook is hardly a replacement, and the meth being passed off as a Heisenberg original is only two-thirds as pure.  Lydia’s a walking, talking loose end and it’s hard to believe that she won’t be back before long.

As for Jesse, he’s not exactly a fan of having $5 million in blood money on him, so he takes it to the one person he thinks could help make it disappear: Saul Goodman.  Jesse has designs for the money, wanting to have it split evenly between Mike’s granddaughter and the parents of the boy on the dirt bike from earlier in season five.  The plan gets back to Walt, who promptly brings it all back to Jesse.  It won’t be that easy for Jesse to rid himself of the life and what it brought him.

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For Jesse and Walt, it seems that they are both at odds with a past that they can’t seem to shake; it’s not just the business, either.  Walt secretly starts chemo again and as for Jesse, he’s back to hanging out with Badger and his other junkie buddies who’ve been with him since before his meth-slinging days.  As previously mentioned, he also can seem to get rid of duffle bags full of cash, though tossing stacks of cash out the window like newspapers seems to be a temporary solution.

The episode cut right to the chase with the conflict between Walt and Hank.  If you asked me last week how the whole storyline would play out, I would’ve said it would’ve been a slow burn.  We’d watch Hank build a case and discover evidence on top of evidence before he did anything, but when Walt finds the tracker Hank planted on his car, Walt plays Hank’s card for him.  The scene is a brilliantly tense scene and it’s having me question whom I am rooting for in this game.  For four-plus seasons we’ve been watching Walt rise to power and have been complicit in his misdoings.  But now, as we reach the end, I’d be lying if I didn’t want to see Hank bring Walt to justice.

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All in all it was a great episode and as much as it has progressed the story, it still leaves you wanting more.

Grade: A

 

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