BREAKING BAD “Confessions” Review

Breaking Bad has always set itself very, very high standards, and so far, the first two episodes of the final season have delivered on the mighty expectations of fans and critics alike. So, can this week’s episode, Confessions, keep the high standard up?

Confessions began with Matt Damon lookalike Todd boasting about the train heist in the episode Dead Freight to a couple of his more-than-slightly sinister Nazi friends (conveniently leaving out the bit where Todd shot an innocent child in the face) in a cafe, before hauling some meth supplies into New Mexico. It’s the last we see of Todd this episode, but the opening does leave a distinct feeling that the Nazis will be involved in the events that lead into New Hampshire, the M60 and the ricin. We don’t know much about them, but we do know they’re dangerous, and know all about Walt…

But after that, we’re back in the interrogation room that Hank stepped into at the end of last week’s episode. Jesse’s still a little irritated about the whole Hank-beating-him-up incident from Season 3, and unsurprisingly doesn’t talk, but they’re interrupted by Saul before the interrogation gets a bit more heated. And back at home, our favourite breakfast eating teenager, Walter Jr., is off to Marie’s house to fix her computer… but to keep his son away from the kleptomaniac (which now extends to people) Marie, Walt casually reveals his cancer is back. But er… he’ll be fine. (Something tells me that Walt won’t be fine, but maybe that’s just a wild guess).

The episode’s not titled Confessions for nothing though – and we get our first confession when Walt sits down to make a video confession… But before we see any of that, they’re off to a Mexican restaurant to meet up with the increasingly angry Hank (who has lost the ability to talk properly around Walt and has resorted to hissing instead) and Marie (who for some reason, is not wearing purple). It’s interesting to see this once happy family essentially reduced to mortal enemies, with husband and wives at war… illustrated perfectly where Marie straight up tells Walt to kill himself. With round one to Team Schrader, Walt and Skyler leave, but intriguingly leaving a DVD on the table. Is this Walt giving up?

Breaking Bad has always been rather good at confounding expectations, but with all signs pointing to Walt giving himself up, the actual confession is a sucker punch to Hank, Marie and most of all, the audience. Walt confesses to taking part in a meth empire, but names Hank as the one who forced him into it, and the one who worked with Gus Fring and committed all the terrible acts Walt’s committed over the series. It’s a neat recap of how tied up Hank is – there’s plausible explanations for the shooting, becoming head of the DEA and killing Fring, and suddenly the tables are turned on Hank. It’s a fantastic monologue from Bryan Cranston, with Walt slowly becoming more and more melodramatic until the waterworks are turned on.

But it doesn’t stop there, as Marie confesses that Hank’s rehab was paid for by drug money (which was passed off as gambling winnings at the time), tying Hank to Heisenberg’s empire and effectively trapping him. It’s difficult to see how Hank can get out of this now – with Walt having boxed him into a corner, he’s pretty much forced to stay quiet about Heisenberg and keep his discovery to himself forever. There’s just one spanner in the works now for Walt… and his name is Jesse Pinkman.

Jesse, Saul and Walt meet up in the desert, and Jesse informs Walt that Hank has kept his discovery from the DEA. But for good measure, Walt, in full-on snake-tongued Heisenberg mode, tells him that Saul knows a man who can kit Jesse out with a new identity and a new home (mentioned in Season 4’s Crawl Space) – but for once, Jesse sees through him and works out Walt needs him out of town for Walt’s good. But instead of confessing, Walt walks towards Jesse and embraces him, seemingly giving Jesse the push to get out of town. Aaron Paul didn’t have a single line last week, but he’s more than made up for it here with a performance that should surely secure him yet another Emmy nomination.

It looks like Jesse’s off to Alaska and Walt’s home free… but this is Breaking Bad, and things don’t tend to go as well as planned. Earlier on, Jesse was chided by Saul for smoking weed in the office… and patting his pockets, Jesse sees that his weed is gone, and he only has a pack of cigarettes (Jesse Pinkman, health guru). And in a moment that mirrors Hank’s discovery in Gliding Over All, Jesse realizes that the circumstances were identical back when his ricin cigarette was pickpocketed in Season 4, and puts two and two to realize one of Walt’s worst atrocities – Walt poisoning Brock.

With the disappearing guy forgotten, Jesse issues a heavy beatdown on Saul, who confesses that Huell, the lovable Scrooge McDuck-channelling bodyguard, did lift the ricin from Jesse, and Walt did in fact poison Brock. Meanwhile, Walt mumbles that he needs to fix the soda machine at the car wash, and retrieves his frozen thirty-eight snub pistol, as Jesse crashes into Walt’s house with a bottle of gasoline and a hell of a lot of screaming. It’s an incredibly tense ending to the episode – does Jesse cause the desolate mess of a house we saw in Blood Money?

Overall, Confessions is vintage Breaking Bad – a steady feed of character moments, a brilliant Heisenberg twist and a heart-pounding cliffhanger to finish it off. It’s impossible to tell how Breaking Bad will finish, but it looks like it’ll finish with quite the bang.

Tune in next Monday, where I’ll be reviewing episode twelve, Rabid Dog. Dogs may or may not be involved.


Louis Rabinowitz (@SadCybermanis a fan of quite a lot of things, but mainly Doctor Who, Breaking Bad, Marvel, James Bond and Grand Theft Auto. He also really likes puns and cliches, which is why he’s talking about himself in the third person.