Vince Gilligan has once again proven that “Breaking Bad” substantially increases with quality in every season. Picking up just a few minutes before “Rabid Dog” ended, “To’hajiilee” commences with a serious sense of foreboding before careening into what is surely the most exciting episode (and subsequent cliffhanger) of the season.
The pacing of “To’hajiilee” was simply brilliant, even during its opening focus on Todd and Lydia. In fact, the initial meth cook in Todd’s camp provided another dose of dark comedy to the serious, as Todd, Jack and their entourage offer up a few creative twists to pass an obviously white product off as blue to Lydia. Despite Todd’s mild creepiness and initial shallowness, he’s grown into a pretty interesting character, though it’s hard to tell which niche he fills. While Walter is plagued by the greed and pride of Heisenberg and Jesse is haunted by the guilt of his wrongdoing, Todd seems to suffer neither—instead, he’s simply supporting himself, an industry and his (admittedly white supremacist) family.
Ultimately, the cold–open with Todd provided one of the best moments of “To’hajiilee,” exploring his down–home attitude and disclosing what appears to be a serious crush on Lydia. As the two got physically close during their conversation on the subject of meth purity, Todd put his arm around Lydia and the hearts of all die–hard "BrBa" fans… lit up? It’s hard to say, but the burgeoning relationship between the two walks the line between surreal and adorable, especially since Todd looks down at the lipstick lining Lydia’s mug during his phone call with Walt. Todd’s sip from the exact same location as Lydia’s lips post–conversation could be a tell–tale sign of a “merger” between the blue collar and white collar sides of Eastern Europe’s hippest offshore meth business.
Enough about the first five minutes, as a lot more happened throughout “To’hajiilee.” Walter Jr. worked a day in the life of an A1 employee and skipped breakfast, whereas Brock ate Fruit Loops, which are ostensibly a breakfast food—could he be replacing Jr. as the primary character of "Breaking Fast?" One of the finest moments focused on Huell, one of the least important characters in the series, in a beautifully referential moment. In order to acquire information about Walt’s secret stash, Hank and Jesse staged a fake murder and presented it to Huell as “evidence” that Walt was after him, too. Immediately, the silent giant, despite being aware of his unimportance to Walt's master plan, spouted the juiciest details he could to Hank and Gomie.
Still unaware of the Hank/Jesse/Gomie super team, Walt began work on his own plan, attempting to lure Jesse to Andrea’s house so Jack’s gang could carry out its hit. Here, Brock and Walt share a tense look. It’s hard to tell whether Brock recognizes Walter as his would–be assassin, or simply whether his child’s instinct sees Walter as inherently evil. Either way, this proved to be one of Walt’s more despicable moments, a further loss to Heisenberg following his agreement to cook for Todd.
Unfortunately for Walt, he continued to doubt Jesse’s own cunning, leading to the one of the single most exciting sequences in the show’s history. Hank and Jesse trick Walt into believing they’ve found his stash, and Jesse threatens to burn Walt’s money at ten thousand dollars a minute. Heisenberg’s avarice gets the better of the newly new–leafed Walt, who races out to salvage his stash, ironically buried at the place of their very first cook. His guttural screams at Jesse over the phone touch on heartbreaking moments throughout the series, all which Walt claims were done to protect Jesse; for once it seems Walt’s heart is really into it, spittle flying from his mouth as he confesses his motives and fondness for his recently emancipated partner. Still no mention of Jane’s pseudo–murder though.
Finally, Walt arrives in the middle of the desert only to realize he’s been tricked. As he scrambles to find a solution out of the trap, his expression and movements eerily mirror his panic attack in the pilot episode of the series. Of course, this time Hank and Jesse are actually on their way, and Walt calls Jack upon noticing this. To Jack’s credit he mobilizes the team very quickly, indicating a surprising amount of trust between the partners. Yet, Walt cancels the attack once he realizes Jesse’s entire team has arrived. As Hank finally apprehends Walt, thousands of hearts around the nation raced as Jesse spat in Walt’s face and seemingly severed their bond. Of course, just as Hank phoned Marie to tell her the good news, Jack and cavalry arrived, prompting the greatest standoff and cliffhanger in television history began.
Surely at least one major or at least one supporting character will not walk away from the hale of bullets unleashed by Jack and his posse. My money is on the loss of Steve Gomez—he’s never really been that important, after all. Still, with Vince Gilligan’s twisting, turning narrative this season, we may walk away from the next episode with our hearts in pieces; here’s to hoping Hank, Jesse and wonderboy Todd escape the fray unharmed.