Breaking Bad – “To’hajiilee” (season 5, episode 13)
There has been no other show on television that creates tension quite like Breaking Bad does. Filling an entire hour of tension will surely be Breaking Bad‘s specific footprint in modern day television history; and good god is “To’hajiilee” an episode to prove that point.
Last week I wrote about how the show takes a very Wire-esque, chess-like structure in its plotting ever since season four (which most likely became the go-to once that season was highly regarded as the best), and I somehow missed the fact that that sort of plotting makes things feel absolutely huge once they happen. Even if said huge plot reveals are, in fact, huge. “To’hajiilee” took all the pieces the show’s built over these last episodes and started putting them together, letting them fall gracefully next to each other and therefore making us wonder just which piece will click together first. “When will the other shoe drop?” like I said last review.
Well, it dropped. It dropped all throughout the episode, making it one of the most rewarding, conniving, and pulling-out-all-the-stops episodes of Breaking Bad ever. Hank’s playing of Huell and Walt’s money, Saul wearing a bullet proof vest, Walt trying to flush out Jesse by using Brock/Andrea, and of course the last fifteen minutes all put together. The episode was packed from top to bottom. When we’re all old and our kids are watching Breaking Bad via their implanted TV series app, they’ll ask us how we ever waited a week to see the conclusion.
And, in a weird way, “To’hajiilee” sort of works as a standalone episode. Overall, Breaking Bad has been fairly serialized episode-to-episode with little motivations or other established storylines going on within whatever episode was currently going on. “To’hajiilee” presents everything it plans on playing with right there on the table for us to gaze and question upon. This isn’t a bad thing whatsoever. If anything, it’s a marvel and a perfect example of what Breaking Bad can perfectly execute*. It also perfectly let us know that the end is actually coming. It’s becoming a reality.
Many great storytellers, when asked about the end of their tales, usually talk about how the end usually reflects the beginning in some capacity. So when Jesse brings up to Hank, Gomez, and Walt that the area they were all standing in was actually the first place him and Walt cooked at, everything felt like it was coming to a close. That closing feeling came again once Gomez patted his partner on the back and congratulated him on catching Heisenberg. And again when Hank called Marie, told her that he caught the man he’s been chasing all this time, and that he loved her. That he wouldn’t “be home for awhile.” It’s all coming to a close on Breaking Bad and “To’hajiilee” reminds us and Walt of the inevitable.
It’s all ending.
- *Which, if you’ve been reading along, I’ve said a lot these past few weeks. Breaking Bad‘s current season has been perfect execution after perfect execution. The show is certainly leaving its mark with us in this final season.
- “To’hajiilee,” if you didn’t Google it already, is the Navajo reservation where they all stood at in the end.
- Hank’s scene with Huell was so great at demonstrating how excellent Hank is at his job. As was fooling Walt with the fake money barrel.
- Little to no Skyler in this episode though her concern will definitely come up next episode after seeing Walt run from the car wash.
- God, what could even happen in these next three episodes? I have a few ideas on where things can go but still. Jeeze.
- The case against Walt at this point is so thin due to all of the illegal, back-door ways of catching him. I’m not entirely sure the case would stand in court although given the circumstances of that shootout, I doubt it really matters.