Breaking Bad "Buried" Review: Home Is Where the Hurt Is

By Tim Surette

Aug 19, 2013

Breaking Bad S05E10: "Buried"

As the Belize Tourism Board sounded the alarm to undo all the damage Saul Goodman did in "Buried," the stellar follow-up to the Season 5b's premiere "Blood Money," so too were the sirens blaring for Walter, Hank, and Skyler. Breaking Bad is showing complete disregard for the health of America's hearts as it moves along in its final season intent on giving the pacemaker industry more business than it can handle. 

If last week was the slap in the face for Heisenberg's unmasking unhatting, this week was when the sting was felt. And "Buried" showed that sting would be felt where it could hurt Walter most: by everyone within spitting distance of him. Sure, the meat of Breaking Bad's final season is watching eagerly to see if Walter the drug kingpin meets a grisly fate or if he ends the series out on top, but there's also the matter of how big the crater is where Walter's home and family life used to be when all is said and done.

Following last week's showdown in the garage, Walt simply walked out of Hank's home office (Hank was nice enough to open the garage for him) and the mad dash to make the next move was on. Boy did I overanalyze their conversation last week as I thought Walt was playing a subtle game by toying with Hank's head, but when you peel out in your car as your exit after being correctly accused of being a drug kingpin by a DEA agent, those skid marks may as well read "I'm guilty!" And thus these final episodes of Breaking Bad become a different game; it's less of a chess match and more of game to see who can shove more chess pieces down the other's throat. How can Hank prove what he knows, and what can Walt do to make she he can't prove a thing when a gifting Hank with a trip to Belize with Mike is not an option?

For Hank, the answer was simple: get to Skyler, the poor innocent victim in all of this (ha!). At least that's what Hank thought. Hank was quicker on the draw with his cell phone than Walt was, and convinced her to meet him at a restaurant for a bite of consoling with a side of testimony in the first of a pair of fantastic scenes involving Skyler seeing the end in her sights. Hank's approach here was interesting. I didn't think he thought Skyler was in cahoots with Walt, so he thought he was doing her a favor by putting this "monster" away and freeing this damsel-in-law in distress from her prison. Skyler reverted back to her panic mode of squealing a phrase over and over and over again; last season it was "Shut up!" to Marie, this episode it was "Am I under arrest?" to Hank. And when Skyler gets into one of these broken record routines, it's best to let this crazy lady go and cool off. 

But Hank knew that to break this case, Skyler's testimony would be the step ladder that would make it a slam dunk. So he got Marie in on the action to coax Skyler out of her shell, except it didn't go exactly as planned. Marie ripped Skyler to pieces for knowing that Walt was the creep Hank had been chasing this whole time, and the sound of unbridled joy came from the many members of the I Hate Skyler Club as Marie tried to spin Skyler's head around with a nuclear-grade slap of mass destruction. WOW! Maybe Marie was trying to make Skyler's face a nice shade of her favorite color, because she unleashed one on her. But even more painful for Skyler was the sight of Marie trying to take baby Holly away, and Marie would have tucked that kid under her shirt and ran off like she was stealing a diamond tiara if Hank hadn't stepped in and stopped her. And if there was any doubt as to where Marie stood with Walt, she menacingly barked to Hank, "You have to get him."

But with Skyler a dead end (for now), Hank needed another way to get to Walt and the police gods were kind that day because they dropped Jesse Pinkman right in his lap. Busted for making it rain torrential downpour all over the neighborhood, Jesse was taken into custody and questioned by some cops. And as the episode faded to black, Hank was about to step in and wring all the info he could out of him. Who needs Skyler when you have Jesse Pinkman, Heisenberg's right-hand man?

These scenes with Marie, Skyler, and Jesse all seem to be pointing towards one thing: Breaking Bad is kicking off Season 5b by turning everyone against Walt. Jesse is at another one of his points where he's ready for all of this to end, and Hank is about to give him a convincing spiel. Jesse suspects Walter killed Mike, so it can't be far from his mind that he could be next as his role has gone from partner to loose end. Skyler obviously can't handle the heat like Walter, and breaking her looks like it's only a matter of time. The moment Marie tried to take Holly away was a lot more than just an immediate scare for Skyler; if she's going to stand by Walter, the possibility of losing her kids is a reality. And Marie, well, she's there to turn the screws on Hank to make sure he does this thing full throttle in case he has any doubts. The later scene with Hank and Marie clearly laid out Hank's state of mind. He can't go to the DEA because that would mean he would be done with his job (we just have to take his word for it on that), but if he can at least come in with hard evidence against Walter he can go out with some dignity. Obviously Marie doesn't have anything on Walter, but if either Skyler or Jesse opt to flip on him, Walter's screwed. 

While Hank pressed those closest to Walter, Walter made his obvious first move of getting rid of the huge block of green evidence against him and buried his cash in a money grave in the middle of the desert. That whole sequence–from Huell and Kuby playing Scrooge McDuck to Walter using the GPS coordinates of the money grave as his lucky lotto numbers–was fantastic viewing for ultimately being just about a guy hiding a lot of cash. But it was also vintage brainy Walter solving a problem. However, this episode wasn't really about Walter.

And it certainly wasn't about Heisenberg. Ever since Walt "got out" in the Season 5a finale, we're seeing some regression back to the Walt we liked, as opposed to the huge jerk he became in Season 4 and 5a. It's a big change from what the show was doing in those two seasons when a straight line to Scarface-ication was the main objective. Now he's smiling and talking about air fresheners more than he's stinking of the scary hubris that had some viewers turning on him. Is Breaking Bad softening up Walt for this final swan song? He's just not the same guy I wanted to see get his comeuppance. He's more like the genius reactionary of Season 3 that we rooted for, and that's making it awfully hard to hate the guy right now.

If that wasn't enough to fill out an episode, Declan and his sloppy meth gang got theirs and it was awwwwwesome. What a play by Lydia! Teaming up with Todd and his white supremacist buddies to take out Declan and his Chef Boyardee meth-makers was some inspired ladder-climbing. Now she can sell Todd's 74-percent pure meth to the Czechs and take over Declan's territory! And as Lydia suddenly takes over the meth business in the Southwest and in the Czech Republic, she (and Todd's crew) becomes a nice little prize that any DEA agent would love to cuff. And a nice bargaining chip, if, say, any other drug dealer were to be caught (ahem Heisenberg) and willing to give them up in exchange for some leniency. Just an idea, folks!

"Buried" spread the tension created by "Blood Money" out to the rest of the characters, effectively bringing everyone into this big mess between Hank and Walter. We're not just waiting for one man to go down. Breaking Bad has always made a point to show how Walter's decisions affect everything around him, but now it seems that everything around Walter may affect him. This is a fantastic start to Breaking Bad's final season.



NOTES

– How great was that shot of Walt as he exited Hank's garage, standing before Hank like he was a gunfighter while Hank held the garage door opener in his hand? Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is a huge fan of Westerns, and the genre's frequent desert landscapes were visited all episode long. "Buried" was absolutely gorgeous and one of the most beautiful episodes of the series.

– If you wanted a preview of Walter's possible death scene, we got it when he and Skyler had a talk in the bathroom after Walter collapsed. But everything Walter said to Skyler came from a moment of weakness, if you ask me. I don't believe he's going to give himself up like he said, and Skyler doesn't want him to give himself up. "The way Hank talks, he's got his suspicions but not much else," she assured him. "You can't give yourself up without giving up the money. It's the way this works, Walt. So maybe our best move here is to stay quiet."

– Marie even has a purple tea kettle!

– Belize! Belize! Belize! "Send him to Belize? I'll send YOU to Belize," Walter said, making my day.

– I can't help but laugh at all the fun gratuitous "let's stick a camera here" shots Breaking Bad does. We got a nice crane shot of Jesse twirling on the playground merry-go-round, rolling barrel cam, and a camera inside a GPS unit. Which one was your favorite?



– There are three popular theories going around about how Walt got to the flashforwards that we saw at the beginning of Seasons 5a and 5b. He faked his own death; he's in the witness protection program; or he had Saul's associate make him "disappear." Which do you think it is? 

– There's something sneaky about Walter's cancer, but I can't put my finger on it. I just can't trust anything Walter says right now, and we've never heard a doctor talk about the cancer to confirm that it has returned. Walter told Hank that he'd be gone in six months, yet he's clearly alive beyond that AND he's got a full head of hair. Did he abandon chemotherapy and is he living beyond his prognosis, did he beat the cancer again, or is he staging a brutal and elaborate hoax?




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  • Bernhohl Aug 22, 2013

    Too many people getting hung up on Jesse and skyler and Marie becoming unlikable. Damn, folks, these people are caught up in some heavy shit! And they're just trying to come to grips with a seriously house rockin revelation that WALT WHITE IS THE NOTORIOUS HEISENBERG, THE KILLER OF GUS FRING AND THE ONE WHO KNOCKS. cut them just a spot of slack, won't you?

    and ask yourself......who is the REAL target of that cannon in Walt's trunk?

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 21, 2013

    Jesse's stupidity is probably what will eventually get him killed by Walt. Yes, we all love him because he appears to have a soul and often yearns to care for others, but he still acts like an uneducated moron, just like in season 3 when he seemed to think Gus was going to fire the guy who killed Combo. He's a liability and a ticking time bomb that Heisenberg will eventually eliminate.

  • badpony11 Aug 21, 2013

    So when Marie mentioned the money and the gambling story to Skyler, did it not occur to her that all of Hank's physiotherapy was also paid with said "blood money"? I wonder if Hank has even realized this yet.

  • brianreilly Aug 23, 2013

    does hank know that walt got him shot in the first place ?

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 21, 2013

    Exactly. I always assumed the payment of Hank's medical bills would stop Hank from wanting to immediately do something about Walt, once he found out. Hank's just going to look absolutely terrible if he turns in his brother in law that has been paying for his bills with drug money.

  • CamilaCarneir1 Aug 21, 2013

    I thought about that same thing!

  • MarlboroMagpi Aug 20, 2013

    If Hank had any proof, Skyler would have gone in for sure. I was thinking Hank could have do some kind of "bluff" on Skyler but guess he always thought she is innocent. Now that she had seen all the cash, I think she wanted just as much.

    I was wondering where is Todd but what a nice introduction. I know I am kind of sick but I like Todd. He is a bad ass that does not look like a bad ass. He is in a way sort of like the earlier Walt. He shot the kids yes but he does what is needed to be done. Real cool way to intro Todd. Real cool way to take over the territory and he is a gentleman but shielding Lydia from the violence.

    I never liked Saul in the earlier seasons but this season, he seems kind of different. Perhaps now he is acting more and more like the consultant he is suppose to be. There was talk of a breaking bad spinoff starring Saul. I thought it was a BAD idea initally but now I am not so sure perhaps it would be good as we see him handle different kinds of clients. Is it confirm there will be a spinoff?

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 21, 2013

    My favorite thing about this show is that no one who is a bad ass looks like one. It's interesting in a way similar to the dual identities that superheroes often adapt. Walt is an old cardigan/bow tie wearing school teacher, Gus runs a fried chicken chain and sponsors the DEA, Lydia is a nervous/anxiety filled and snooty single parent. It makes all of these characters so intriguing.

  • CamilaCarneir1 Aug 20, 2013

    Why isnt anyone talking about how dumb it was for Skylar to not pretend that Hank's "suspicion" was absurd??? It was the obvious option for me, since she is clearly on Walt's side... She should have just lied, and appear surprised by what Hank was saying. She should have tried to fake it with Marie also, maybe she could get Marie on their side and they would have no confirmation. Skylar's reaction screamed "guilty"...
    Also, I know it makes no sense and all of you can hate me for it, but I want Walt to get away with it, somehow! I know it's not a good message, and he did some awful, AWFUL stuff, but I keep seeying the dying man who wanted to leave his family some money....

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 21, 2013

    Yeah, the way that Skyler started out made me think she had suddenly decided to surrender to Hank.

  • mcepin3 Aug 20, 2013

    So Jesse let himself get arested,right? He was on that merry-go-round just waiting for cops to get him,,right? He knows he can't trust Walt or Saul...he knows he's alone in this.

    I also feel bad for the baby kid,who was crying after Skyler and Marie's fight. That kid is gonna have problems:D...damage is already done on her:D Unfit parents...

  • Giles1989 Aug 20, 2013

    I am intrigued to see what part the yellow remote control car has to play. Vince Gilligan loves subtle little things like this (Pink rabbit etc)

  • dh4645 Aug 20, 2013

    i liked crane shot of Jesse twirling on the playground merry-go-round. the shadows of the poles looked cool.

    i did like the gps shot too.

  • dh4645 Aug 20, 2013

    but obviously the best scene was the money bed. ha

  • dh4645 Aug 20, 2013

    so where is their son? off at college or something?

  • Iodselle Aug 20, 2013

    Smoking Crystal in a back-alley..

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 20, 2013


    I'd like to know why Skyler refused to call back Walt before meeting with Hank. This made no sense to me, seeing as it would be best for the two to discuss how they want to approach the situation beforehand. Skyler may have held her own very well but she went in very unprepared and didn't seem to have thought it through at first.

  • mcepin3 Aug 20, 2013

    If she delayed talk with Hank,Hank would start suspecting she is feeding Walt info,helping him,etc. She played it very smart,but risky at the same time. She has Hanks trust atm,which is very important and he only suspects Walt. In Hank's eyes Skyler is Walt's victim.

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 20, 2013

    She didn't have to delay the talk with Hank, she could have simply made a quick phone call on the way to meeting with Hank.

  • halscrawford Aug 20, 2013

    My thinking is that Skyler didn't know what Hank knew and that there was a good chance their phone calls would be bugged. Best not to take a chance.

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 21, 2013

    Yeah, I wondered that as well. But I would figure that wouldn't be the case. It would probably require a warrant or something, I don't know.

  • mcepin3 Aug 20, 2013

    Do you think,if that phone call was made,it would be quick?

    Skyler: "Hey Walt,on my way to talk with Hank...bye"
    Walt: " Sure thing honey,just so you know,if you don't already...Hank knows I am Heisenberg....kisses,don't tell him anything,bye."

  • mrjimmyjames Aug 21, 2013

    It really depends on the distance between the car wash and the diner she went to. It could have been longer than that. I think there was enough time.

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