Breaking Bad
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Walt returns home, dejected, but he gets a phone call in the driveway. It's Jesse. "50/50?" he confirms. "Okay. Partners." There's defeat in Jesse's voice, and he hangs up the phone. Across the room, he stares at the Universal Pain Assessment chart. The one with the happy, medium, and sad faces. By the look on his face, I'm saying "Moderate Pain." At least. The camera -- which focuses on the "Worst Pain Possible" face -- says otherwise.

At Hank's hearing, both the I.A. guy and Hank's lawyer ask him if the written statement he gave them is really what he wants to cop to. "That's the way it happened," Hank says. "And I accept the consequences." Markert stands and, though he's clearly taking no pleasure in this, says that Hank is hereby suspended without pay. He needs to collect Hank's badge and gun. Man, Hank's morning run to Dunkin' Donuts just won't be the same anymore. (Sorry! One fat-cop joke, you gotta give me one!)

Afterwards, Hank is waiting for the elevator (fresh dread churning in my stomach) when Merkert catches up with him. "You didn't hear it from me," and it's not official, but the word is that Jesse's not going to press charges." Hank asks why, but Merkert has no clue. "Maybe you have a guardian angel," he says, with a half-smile. Hank is speechless but clearly relieved to have one weight lifted from his shoulders.

Cut to the parking lot of a supermarket, where Hank has gone to pick up flowers for Marie. As he walks back to the car, he updates Marie on the good news. "I think we might be okay," he says, with genuine hope in his voice. At this point, not only do I expect the Cousins to jump out from behind the next car and machete his head off, I further expect a falling hunk of satellite to fall from the sky and crush him, a mountain lion to turn up in the parking lot and maul him, and for his gas pedal to get stuck Prius-style and drive him to his speedy grave. That's how much this scene is setting up as "Hank is way, way too happy for a guy with his photograph taped to a Santa Muerte statue." Even the way he puts the keys in the ignition and then is interrupted by a phone call before he can turn them is just a classic "that car's gonna blow up" setup.

Ah, but that phone call is important. As are most phone calls when the person on the other end has encrypted their voice. So whoever this is -- Gus Fring? The Zodiac? -- says, "Two men are coming to kill you. They're approaching your car. You have one minute." Hank thinks it's someone playing a joke, and not a very funny one. "They're coming," Zodiac repeats, then hangs up. Seriously, that was Gus, right? The fact that the voice was encrypted made me think Walt, because why else would you hide your voice. But we've seen no indication that Walt knows who the Cousins are, much less that they're coming to kill Hank. And Hank did meet Gus one time at the police station; the extra layer of precaution seems a very Gus thing to do. Anyway, Hank glances at his clock -- 3:07 in the afternoon (broad daylight! What could go wrong?) -- then places a call to Gomez. He leaves a message all "Ha ha! Funny joke, a-hole." But the panic rising in Hank's voice lets you know he doesn't believe it was Gomez at all.

Cue the nervous glances! Hank -- sweaty and unsure -- tries his best to case the parking lot without actually getting out of the car. Doing so would only admit that he's afraid something's actually coming. And he keeps one eye on that clock. As long as it stays 3:07, he's safe. So now it's like that Simpsons episode where Marge becomes a cop and has to avoid shooting at Ned Flanders and ladies with baby carriages. Hanks jerks his head this way and that, but he can't get a good look at anyone. Everybody and nobody is a potential threat. He reaches for his gun, but of course it's not there. He turned it in. His hands start to shake. The clock now reads 3:08. Go time!

In the distance, blocked by parked cars, the Cousins advance, then split up, flanking Hank's car. At which point every bald-headed person in New Mexico shows up in the parking lot to be a red herring. And then, through the rearview mirror, he sees Leonel raise his gun and start firing. Without a weapon, Hank guns the SUV in reverse and plows right into Leonel, pinning him against the car behind him, forcing the gun out of his hand and into Hank's back seat. Hank keeps driving backwards, pushing the second car along, Leonel sandwiched in the middle, like the world's most uncomfortable piece of corned beef.

Of course, there's still Marco, who fires a shot through Hank's driver's side window. And keeps firing. Hank's hit in his side (if we're being uncharitable, he's hit in his left love handle, but the guy's going through enough right now without the fat jokes, come on) as he struggles to crawl out the side door. By now the alarm on the car Leonel got slammed into is blaring. Leonel himself looks quite uncomfortable. Marco releases Hank's car, and thus his brother, who falls to the ground. For the first time that we've seen (and maybe not since they were getting almost-drowned by Tio), Marco looks afraid. Leonel looks like he's dying. "Finish him," he gurgles. Marco's got his orders.

Marco follows a trickle of blood across the parking lot. On his right, he hears a mortified, "Jesus!" He turns and fires three shots into the chest of a random shopper. One who apparently didn't hear the multiple gun shots, car crashes, and alarms. From behind Marco, another deaf shopper screams, theatrically throws her hands up in the air, and runs away. Marco goes to shoot her too, but he's out of bullets. Time to re-load, and when he does, that hollow-point bullet the McPoyle gave him falls to the ground. Considering we see it tumble down in slow-mo from a ground POV shot, obviously this is Important.

Hank gets the jump on Marco from behind and fires five shots into the man's waiting Kevlar, before running out of bullets. Marco, in return, rips one shot into Hank's gut and another into his right lung. He slowly moves to stand over Hank's prone body and prepared for the head shot. "No," he mutters, possibly thinking of the brother who's dying a mere 50 feet away. "Too easy." And so he heads back to his car to get the Axe of Gleaming Evil. While he does, Hank spots the magic bullet, inches away from his bloodied hand. He's barely able to grip it, as he hears the silver axe blade scrape along the pavement. He's coming. Can he load it? Marco turns him over with his boot and raises the axe. At which point Hank fires one into Marco's head, the six razor claws expanding upon impact to blow a hole clean through. Between this and Happy Town, it's been a big week for blowing holes clean through heads. The axe blade sticks in the pavement, and Marco's dead body falls too.

A quick pan back reveals three bodies on the ground. One definitely dead. Two who could use some help. This is maybe going to be a big deal.

Joe R did not see that coming. He can be reached for lavish praise and nothing but at Previous 1 2 3 4 5Next

Breaking Bad

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