I think my mind is still reeling after last night's episode, mostly because it was so starkly different from Blood Money that I still don't know how to process it. What was a game of miles last episode suddenly turned into a game of inches within this episode. And man, were those some hard fought/won/lost inches. Hanks game for yardage with Skyler ended up netting pretty much a loss and when Hank makes a Hail Mary pass in the form of Marie talking Skyler off the ledge, ball gets fumbled and so does the baby, almost. God those scenes!
And I know a lot of stuff happened this episode, a lot of rooks got moved around by big fat body guards who Scrooge McDuck it in a storage facility and then hidden the desert by a chemo-riddled meth kingpin running on adrenaline and pure survival mode, and a bunch of pawns got slaughtered above an underground meth lab in the Arizona desert, and Pinkman moves his knight/car into either a strategic position or sacrifices it in an act of stupidity, I'm not sure which at this point.(Which, okay, I'm going to take an aside here. Please for the love of Christ, somebody tell me Pinkman's car is okay and will be seen in later episodes. I don't think I can't take much more collateral damage in the form of houses/cars/inanimate objects at this point. Just let her be in an impound lot somewhere and safe and in running condition. Please.)
And there's some pieces on the board that haven't played at all. Which, here I go on another aside. But where the hell is Walt Jr? And somebody better not tell me camp, because no. Why hasn't he played his game piece and how the hell is he going to find this crap out? This is driving me nuts and what bugged me about an otherwise strong episode. Hank knows, Marie was told. When's Jr. going to find out? For the love of little blue bags of meth, when? And it better not be some throw away scene either. There better be fireworks and he better get a move on the board other than getting shipped around to family members and being resentful. There better be some sort of payoff in his relationships to people on this show is all I'm saying.
But Walt Jr's nonexistent game piece this episode aside, this was an incredibly great episode for Marie, Hank, and Skyler, and how they played off each other. That diner scene was a piece of art. Literally have I never been so tense about watching nothing get accomplished in my entire life. All that did was clear the air of lies which was huge and did nothing at the same time. And to watch all the conflicting emotions wash over Skyler, and then over Hank was just so beautiful. Give them all the awards. Anna Gunn just taught ya'll a master class in making a scene that saves your bacon. I hope you all were paying attention.
Another master class Anna Gunn teaches: how to give it all away with out saying a fucking word. That scene where Marie probes Skyler and Skyler answers with tear upon chin quivering tear and doesn't say a word right until Marie slaps the bajesus out of her was brilliant. But not as brilliant as the showdown in the living room with Skyler's daughter. Talk about another scene in which I've I tensed watching nothing really get accomplished. Just incredible. And the whole episode establishes that very thing. In the end, Skyler tell's Walt that the best move is not move and not give anybody anything. After all, Not playing her hand gained her the information that Hank has very little on Walt but conjecture and a bunch of connections and that Walt was sick again. What else can not moving garner her? This might be the smartest move the writers have ever made in regards to Skyler, I can not even tell you. I know a lot of people hate Skyler, which frankly I've never understood, but this proves that she's more of a mastermind than we think she is, that her whole end game might upstage everyone and I for one can't wait to see what happens next.
So, to wrap up, this was a great episode that sets up a lot of moving pieces but I'm only going to give it a B+, because a) two episodes in and still no Walt Jr.? Travesty. and b) while I love me the ginger and the fat body guard and the pile of money, they are no Badger and Skinny Pete. Not that that scene didn't find hit some pleasure centers with me, but laying on a big pile of money is no Star Trek fan fiction. Sorry guys.