Monday, August 19, 2013

Breaking Bad 510: Buried

Also known as The Sky-senberg Triptych Episode?! I've never quite understood the intense fan hatred of Skylar, and I'm wondering how said fans feel about her becoming the central figure in this episode. People may see her as a flat/irrelevant/annoying/unlikable character, but the fact is, she provides the family connection between criminal Walt and D.E.A. agent Hank, she becomes a smart accomplice to Walt's activities, and maybe she nags so much because (like many housewives) she's the one running the household and therefore has to be on top of everything, from paying the bills to the kids' schedules to writing a believable gambling addiction script. This isn't to say I love her all the time - she has quirks that will occasionally irritate me. But, in much the way Walt has transformed over the course of the show, the writers have taken Skylar through her own transformation in a believable way.

I digress. The triptych comes in the form of Skylar's three confrontations/interactions in this episode. In the first one, with Hank, she eventually finagles her way out of having to make a decision there and then to tell him everything (Hank, though I can understand why, came off uncomfortably pushy with her, and while I'm not trying to equate his behavior with Walt's, it did kind of echo Walt's past manipulations of Jesse and Skylar). Her second meeting is with Marie, and aside from being a great sort of one-way dialogue reveal (Skylar was silent through most of it), I didn't expect it to end with Marie reverting to her kleptomaniac ways and attempting to steal Skylar's baby (the resulting scene would have been more heart-wrenching and harder to watch, had the fake baby cries not been so overtly distracting). Marie's need to protect the kids is understandable, but it doesn't necessarily entitle her to kidnap them. Skylar's meetings with Hank and Marie lead us to believe her relationships with them are irreparably damaged, and yet I can't help but wonder if knowing all the gory details of Walt's crimes (Crazy 8, Jane, the 737 crash, etcetcetc.) would compel her to flip on Walt before the show ends. It would certainly give him a reason to kill her, as so many theorize he will do.

I liked Skylar's third interaction, with Walt, again, probably more than most people did. I'm not as skeptical about the state of their marriage, I guess...despite everything they put each other through and said to each other, I never saw the love being a hundred percent gone between them, and two decades and two kids together doesn't always just dissolve into nothing. I also knew that when she said she was waiting for the cancer to come back, she didn't mean it, and we see her true reaction playing out in this scene (she likely thought, even if only for a second, that Walt was dead when he hit the bathroom floor), as well as Walt's big confession that he's to blame for Hank's discovery of him and his insistence that Skylar keep the money at all costs, so all his work won't have been in vain. Lovely confessional stuff here.

Speaking of money, the coordinates/lottery numbers are a nice echo to the lotto numbers on Lost, but I'm glad the similarities between those plot points ends there. I was also thinking how ridiculously ironically hilarious it'd be if they ended up being winning numbers.

"Buried" is an interesting title, because oddly enough, a lot is being exposed in the episode (namely, information, by Hank and Marie), in addition to what's being buried (the money, Skylar's feelings/thoughts/actions/reactions). A somewhat new development now is that these four characters' actions could be completely turned on their heads by a character who didn't have a single line of dialogue in the whole episode, Jesse. Like probably everyone else, I was yelling at the TV when the episode ended where it did, but I'm halfway expecting whatever takes place in that room next week to begin with an apology from Hank for beating the crap out of Jesse. Or maybe a rematch. We'll see.

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