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Recap / Breaking Bad S5 E9: "Blood Money"

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Season 5, Episode 09:

Blood Money
Geez, this place is a wreck.
Written by Peter Gould
Directed by Bryan Cranston
Air date: August 11, 2013

"It was you. All along, it was you! You son of a bitch. You drove me into traffic to keep me from that laundry. That call I got telling me Marie was in the hospital? That wasn't Pinkman. You had my cell number. You killed ten witnesses to save your sorry ass. You bombed a nursing home. Heisenberg. Heisenberg! You lying, two-faced sack of shit!"
Hank Schrader

The first episode of the second half of the final season, aka Season 5B (During its original broadcast, there was an 11-month gap between 5A and 5B.)

An older, disheveled Walter White returns to his old home, 308 Negra Arroyo Lane. In the time since he was last here, the house has fallen into disrepair. The empty swimming pool is used by skateboarders as a miniature skate park, sneaking their way past the fences that had been built up around the house. Inside, the house is completely bare, all except for graffiti adorning the walls, including the name "Heisenberg" in large yellow letters. Walt has a reason to be here after all this time, however: to retrieve his vial of ricin.

As he leaves, he catches the frightened gaze of his former neighbor, Carol. He greets her as she, shocked at Walt's return, drops her groceries...

In the present, Hank slowly emerges from the Whites' bathroom, having just made the discovery of a lifetime thanks to a certain Gale Boetticher. He pockets the book, returns to the rest of the family out back, and quickly makes an excuse to leave. On the way home with Marie, he suffers a panic attack and crashes his car into a neighbor's fence. The next day, he compares Gale's handwriting in Walt's book to that in Gale's notebook, confirming that they are identical. For the rest of the episode, Hank digs through boxes and boxes of files from the Gus Fring case, looking for evidence.

Meanwhile, Walt is working at the car wash with Skyler. Lydia stops by and tells Walt that ever since he left the business, their meth purity has dropped drastically, and she asks for his help. He refuses. As she's leaving, Skyler warns Lydia never to return.

Jesse, trying to hang out with his friends, is depressed and dazed. He brings Saul the $5 million that Walt had given him in the previous episode, and asks him to give half to Drew Sharp's parents, and the other to Mike's granddaughter Kaylee. Saul tries to explain how unwise this would be: the DEA would quickly snatch up any money sent to Kaylee, and Drew's parents would rather know what became of their son than receive money. Jesse isn't having it, so Saul tells Walt, who is in a chemotherapy session, about the situation. He brings Jesse's money back to him and insists that he should keep it. Jesse remains distant and unreceptive to Walt's attempts to connect with him, and he as much as reveals that he knows Walt killed Mike. When Walt insists that he didn't, telling Jesse that he NEEDS to believe him, a distraught Jesse pretends to agree.

Walt discovers that his "Leaves of Grass" book is missing. Skyler mentions that Hank has been home sick all week long, ever since their party. Walt then discovers a GPS tracker on his car. Putting two and two together, he realizes that Hank is finally onto him.

Jesse is sleeping in his car when a man asks him for spare change. In a moment of realization, he gives the man a stack of cash from his $5 million and then drives through neighborhoods around Albuquerque, tossing stacks of bills from his car onto people's yards.

Walt visits Hank at home the next day to ask how he's doing. However, as he's leaving, he decides to question Hank about the GPS tracker. Hank then becomes enraged, punching him in the face, and recounting a handful of the horrible things that he now knows Walt was behind. Walt admits nothing, but declares that even if Hank is right, Walt will be dead long before he ever had a chance to be convicted; his cancer has returned, and this time is inoperable. He claims that Hank's "wild accusations" will destroy their family. An unsympathetic Hank hopes Walt burns and demands that he bring back Junior and Holly to the former's house, which Walt will not have. With that rejection, Hank can only utter in disgust and heartbreak that he no longer knows who he's looking at anymore. The episode ends with Walt growling at Hank that if he really wants to go after him, and if he doesn't know who he's talking to, he should "tread lightly."

This episode provides examples of:

  • Beard of Sorrow: The stubble from Hank's days of obsessing over minerals returns with a vengeance after discovering Walt's secret.
  • Call-Back:
  • Celebrity Paradox: Badger reads the script for his Star Trek fanfiction out loud. Q, one of the franchise's most iconic characters, looks eerily similar to Don Margolis.
  • Cold Open: Like the previous season premiere, this episode opens with a flash-forward to Walt on his 52nd birthday. This time, he returns to his home (which is apparently abandoned) to retrieve the vial of ricin he hid there in an earlier episode.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Hank looking at the files and evidence to clue in on the fact that Walter is Heisenberg results in Hank scavenging around photos and materials that reference the events of the previous seasons.
  • Death Glare: As soon as Walt shows up in the garage to confront him about the GPS tracker, Hank begins shooting one at Walt.
    Walt: You okay? I gotta say I don't really like the way you're looking at me right now.
  • Disappointed in You: Hank towards Walt, to put it mildly. His tone when telling Walt he doesn't know who he's talking to reeks of lingering desperation to not lose the (admittedly insensitive) harmless image he's had of his brother-in-law up to now is just as equally proportioned to chastising Walt for his criminal acts.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Saul is visibly disturbed by the implication that his clients had something to do with the disappearance of a young boy and tells Jesse "I don't know and I don't wanna know."
  • Foreshadowing: Badger's Star Trek script may foreshadow some of the events of the final season. Badger claims that the crew of the Enterprise are having a pie-eating contest, and that it is down to just three: Kirk (Hank), Spock (Walter), and Chekhov (Jack). Kirk is the first to leave, foreshadowing Hank's death in "Ozymandias". Chekhov has Scotty (Todd) helping him, but when Uhura (Lydia) walks in, Scotty accidentally gets Chekhov killed, leaving Spock as the winner. If Todd hadn't become attracted to Lydia, Walter likely wouldn't have killed Jack and his gang, as they had to keep Jesse alive in order to keep making the meth, prompting Walt to go after them.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Hank is looking through all the case files related to Heisenberg, when he is looking at the photos of Combo's dead body if you look to the left you see a picture of him as a little kid. About 7-9 years old, chubby, and has a mullet.
  • Get Out!: Skyler tells Lydia to never come back, and she's deadly serious.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Walt's deriding of Jesse when the latter refused to stay cooking with him causes the younger man's guilt over his bad deeds reach an all-time high with him desiring to give away all his blood money to the Sharps and Kaylee. When Saul and Walt tell him why that won't work and that he needs to forget about them it just exacerbates Jesse's heartache to the point that he starts tossing his five million all over town just to alleviate his sorrow.
  • Heroic BSoD: Finally finding out that Walt is Heisenberg absolutely floors Hank. His panic attacks come back with a vengeance and he is emotionally wrecked by the time Walt confronts him about the GPS tracker.
  • Honor Before Reason: Walt's Heisenberg persona first reveals itself to Hank when he refuses to let Hank take his children away again...after Hank briefly seems to consider going slightly more lenient on his brother-in-law.
  • Implied Death Threat: Walt gives a rather sinister one to Hank at the end of the episode.
    Walt: If that's true, if you don't know who I am... then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly...
    • Mitigated slightly by the next couple of episodes when at worst, all Walt does is discredit Hank's testimony and is disgusted at the mere thought of killing a family member.
    • Jesse seems to interpret Walt's insistence that Jesse needs to believe Walt didn't kill Mike as this.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Hank furiously growling that Walt doesn't give a shit about family, while not exactly the case, is not without merit. The entire Trauma Conga Line Hank experienced in Season 3 alone, with Marco and Leonel Salamanca at the top of the list, on the count of Walt's choices no doubt rendered any potential sympathies null.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jesse accuses Walt of knowing that Mike is dead, to which Walt responds that he didn't kill Mike. This more or less confirms it for Jesse.
    Jesse: You doing what you did, offing Mike's guys. If he was out there, you'd have to look after your shoulder the rest of your life and that's not how you do things, so I think he's dead and I think you know that.
    Walt: I don't know that. I don't! Listen to me. I did not kill Mike. The last time that I saw him, he had his bag — the one that I brought him. And he got in his car and drove away. For all I know he is alive and well. And if...if he does come back and he doesn't understand why I had to do what I did, well then that's on me. Jesse. I need you to believe me. It's not true, it's just not.
    Jesse: So he's out there. He's okay.
    Walt: Yes. Mike is fine, wherever he is. We both know that he can take care of himself. And he's certainly capable to provide for his own family. Jesse. I need you to believe me.
    Jesse: Yeah. Like you said. He's alive.
  • Oh, Crap!: Walt has this moment when he finds the bug on his car and realizes that Hank knows his secrets.
    • Hank himself after Walt refuses to have Skyler bring Junior and Holly back to the Schraders' residence, having unknowingly hit Walt's Inferiority Superiority Complex that's been present long before Walt's descent into villainy. He looks genuinely afraid even though he'd moments before given Walt a hard right hook and outmuscled him while listing the latter's various crimes.
  • Once More, with Clarity: In-Universe for a certain DEA ASAC. The montage of Hank going through all of the evidence that indicates Walter as a drug lord is a successfully agonizing process for him, especially when he sees the resemblance from the Heisenberg doodle to his in-law and moments before when he actually analyzes the security footage of Walt and Jesse stealing the methylamine barrel.
  • The Reveal: After there had been a couple of hints towards it, Walt finally reveals while confronting Hank that his cancer has returned.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Jesse doesn't want his cut of the money and so he decides to give it away to Drew Sharp's parents and Kaylee Erhmantraut. As Saul points out, however, this plan is doomed from the start: Drew's parents only want closure, not money, so dropping 2.5 million dollars on their doorstep isn't going to help anyone, and Kaylee is being monitored now that Mike's gone, so any money that tries to get to her isn't getting there (Saul also reveals that Mike's two previous attempts to get her money have failed). Jesse is forced to throw the money out of his car windows since he can't actually get it to the people he wants.
  • This Cannot Be!: Poor Hank shifts between denial and bargaining while comparing Gale's handwriting from his notebook to the foreword in Leaves of Grass and continues to do so during his putting the Heisenberg clues together. Even during his confrontation in the garage, he is looking just as hurt and pleading with why Walt would have sunk so low as he is incensed and betrayed.
  • Wham Episode: A BIG ONE. After four and a half seasons, Hank finally confronts Walt, having discovered that he was Heisenberg all along. The episode ends with Hank declaring he'll do whatever it takes to put Walt behind bars. In response, Walt reveals that his cancer is back - but makes it very clear that he's not going to go down without a fight.
  • Wham Line: "If you don't know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly".
  • What the Hell Are You?:
    Hank (to Walt during their confrontation): "I don't know who you are. I don't even know who I'm talking to."
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Lydia approaches Walter at the car wash and pressures him into returning to the meth business since she's clearly not happy with the drop in quality after he left. Not only does Walter stand firm and flat-out refuse (unlike all the other times wherein he'd gone back to the drug trade despite having the chance to leave) when Skyler later questions him about the conversation, he's completely honest with her.
      • It sadly applies to his lingering pride too. During the ending scene, Walt coldly tells Hank he will not be surrendering his children back to the Schrader house when the latter orders him to after hearing him out about his cancer returning. And this is before he warns Hank to "tread lightly".
    • Despite being a DEA agent, Hank never throws the manufacturing and distribution of meth in Walter's face. The DEA obviously wouldn't let murderers go if they caught them in the act, since they are police, but they're supposed to primarily care about stopping drug dealers and getting drugs off the streets. Hank rightly prioritizes the more heinous murders Walter is guilty of, and treats his job as an anti-drug agent as a complete afterthought.

"If you don't know who I am, then... maybe your best course would be to tread lightly."