Where do I even begin? There’s really no way to start an article like this, but here goes nothing. Thus far, Season 5 has, sans the fourth episode, proved itself to be the best of the entire series. It’s taken chances, it’s given Jesse the time to shine he’s always deserved, and it’s put Mike at the center of everything, something almost everyone wanted in Season 4. The introduction of new characters has been astoundingly well done, and the development of old characters (excluding Skyler because she’s just awful), has been just as perfect.
This leads to Episode 5 of Season 5, one of the most heart-pounding, nail-bitingly intense episodes of TV ever put to air. After another strange opening scene involving a small child on a quad putting a very large spider in a jar, the episode starts at 6th gear and doesn’t stop. By now, Mike, Walt, and Jesse have made a deal with Madrigal that ensures both their safety and as much methylamine as they’ll ever need. Their plan? To rob a train that passes through Albuquerque every so often. Of the many liquids contained on the train, one of them is their precious methylamine. How much? About 1000 gallons.
Enlisting the help of Pest Shop Boys employee Todd (Jesse Plemons, who is turning out to be a much more capable actor than I originally thought), whom we first saw in 503 “Hazard Pay”, the guys plan and pull off what is literally the perfect robbery. In one of the most daring and intense train robberies ever committed to film, “Breaking Bad” has solidified its status in the motion picture hall of fame with this one.
Meanwhile, Walt Jr. (who is once more calling himself Flynn), and little Holly are both staying with Hank and Marie. Jr. spends most of his time in his room, not talking to anyone. When he does talk to someone, though, it’s usually a short answer or a question about why he can’t stay in his own home. But a heartbreaking scene reveals an obviously stressed Walt pulling a little bit of Heisenberg on his kid in a way we’ve never seen before. Whereas Walt is usually very fair and explanatory with Junior, this time he pulls a “because I said so” and basically scares Junior out of the house.
Skyler theatrically announces that she’ll continue to launder Walt’s money and “be whatever partner you want me to be” as long as Junior and Holly don’t stay at the house. She feels that if anyone were to come and kill him or kill her, they shouldn’t be in the house to see that or become a part of the danger. While she actually makes a decent point, her approach is always so cocky and melodramatic that I can’t seem to take her seriously. Ever. She just…needs to go.
This is all fine and dandy, and ending the episode like that would have been perfectly satisfying. But it takes an extremely dark turn, even for a show like this. After successfully pulling off the robbery, the little kid from the first scene reveals himself to the group and waves at them. Stunned, Todd is the only one who waves back but suddenly he pulls out a gun, shoots, and kills the child. Now, if you’ve been following this season, you’ll know that Todd was developed excellently as a loyal addition to the group, and I thought the show would actually take a more Ocean’s 11 direction than anything, but nothing is ever as it seems with “Breaking Bad”.
Usually, I’m not a fan of when well-developed characters suddenly flash their dark side, but this one just seemed, in a strange way…natural. Jesse’s always been a fan of kids (he’s almost gotten himself killed over kids he didn’t even know), and Walt, a father himself, was surely appalled by what happened. But then there’s Todd. He’s a young guy with nothing to lose and we really don’t know his predicament when he enters the scene. Of course, that all changes when he reveals himself to be a ruthless killer. I’m interested if cooking meth will even be a major point of the show anymore, or will the manhunt to end all manhunts ensue, ending with Walt’s demise and Hank’s obvious reveal of the identity of Heisenberg.
I though the show was going in one direction, instead, it took a turn that I never saw coming, and I kind of love that.