Breaking Bad is one of the greatest shows of all-time, so just like last year, UPROXX is going all-out on our coverage of the show this season, its last. Cajun Boy will be writing the recap, while I’ll be handling the Breaking Badass Power Rankings, which will, well, rank the most badass characters from every episode. Why “Badass?” Obviously, the so-not-clever-that-it’s-clever name, but also because Breaking Bad is the kind of a show that makes you want to drink an entire bottle before watching it, to soothe your soon-to-be-tense nerves. That’s pretty badass.
Episode: “Blood Money”
Not Ranked: Rich Hobo, Holly, Marie, Walt Jr., Huell, and the Skater Punks.
For coming up with #likewhiteonricin.
If there’s one thing we know about Carol (and there is only one thing we know about Carol), it’s that she takes great pride in her lawn. Watering it all day, talking to it all night, probably, Carol’s lawn is Carol’s entire identity. So she can’t be too pleased when the White house is turned into an off-limits crime scene, where all the young punks in town go to do their kick-flips and flippy-doos and other skateboarding terms Carol doesn’t recognize. In her mind, she’s probably created this whole scenario where if she ever sees the known as Heisenberg again, she’d tell him off, maybe even slap him in the face with her trusty hose. Instead, she drops her grocery bags and runs away, leaving her oranges left to roll into the street, where they’ll almost assuredly rot. Could Carol’s reaction be symbolic of the show itself: when Walt comes ’round, things that were once beautiful unceremoniously die? Could be, or maybe she just likes oranges. Gardening and oranges, that’s all Carol needs, and Walt’s ruined ’em both.
F*ckin’ Todd, man. He’s not even in the episode, but he’s still messing things up for everyone. When Lydia Anne with the Shaky Hand unwisely comes to visit Walt at the car wash, she informs her former business partner that his product is now only 68% pure, a far cry from the We Are the 99.1% glory days. Walt explains that he left specific directions for how best to copy his formula and is uninterested in suiting up and putting on the pork-pie hat again, which disappoints and frightens the ever-skittish Lydia. If she can’t deliver what’s demanded of her, she’s in big trouble. Her business will lose millions and she’ll be so broke, she won’t be able to rent cars all willy nilly anymore.
Also, she might die, but mostly, the rental car thing.
Jesse’s always been the toughest character to rank. He could be at the top of every week, because at least he’s trying to do The. Right. Thing., which is pretty badass, but with his bloodshot, hallow eyes, he so often (understandably) looks and acts numb and wallows in his accomplice-to-shooting-a-kid-and-other-unspeakable-horrors misery. He’s tragic and tired, and might at any moment either off himself or coldly murder Walt. I could see either scenario, which makes him a bit of a wild card. And as Charlie taught us on It’s Always Sunny, being the wild card is kind of badass, so in conclusion: I have no idea. He’s in the lower half this week because of his ill-advised plan of what to do with his dirty, dirty money (more on that in Saul’s section), but he could be higher because of his inspiration to become the Oprah of meth makers. YOU GET $1,000. YOU GET $1,000. EVERYONE GETS $1,000.
I’m as torn as he is. It’s not fun.
To be successfully shady, you need to be smart. In that respect, Saul Goodman is a genius. When Jesse walks into his office, carrying two big duffel bags of blood money, Saul looks every bit the part of a guy who set up shop in a New Mexico strip mall, his lime green shirt giving off the same visual shock as Marie’s all purple everything. But he knows better than to go along with the Ghost of Mike, er, Jesse’s plan of donating the loot to Drew Sharp’s parents and Kaylee Ehrmantraut. Too many questions would be asked, questions that would be answered with Saul going to jail. So, Saul calls The Boss. His barn door may be open, but he’s not close-minded.
Badger and Skinny Pete need a podcast ASAP. With special guest Ben Wyatt.
(For what it’s worth, I believe Tulaberries appear in Deep Space Nine, too. I’ll see myself out, thank you.)
Skyler Defenders: YOU GO, SKYLER. Tell Lydia off. Demand she never come back. You’re wearing a power suit and look about three times as tall as her; you can take her. As for your future car wash empire: go for it. All that money is just sitting there, waiting to be eaten by silverfish or spent on something other than breakfast food (that Walt Jr., he’ll soon be terrorizing some poor college’s breakfast buffet). It was acquired through ill begotten means, but there’s nothing you can do about that. Use it legally, use it logically.
Skyler Haters: SCREW BOTH THEM BITCHES, AMIRITE?!?
Skyler was awesome this episode. The end.
Before the garage showdown, my favorite scene from last night’s episode was Hank’s montage, where he roamed through Heisenberg’s greatest hits (literally) while Jim White’s “Wordmule” rumbled over the page-flipping. The song goes, “We think we know everything, but man, we don’t know,” an on-the-nose lyric that fits the show almost too perfectly, but still works. Back in season one, Hank was a cocky bowling ball of machismo: he was right, everyone else was wrong, and nothing was going to stop him. Then the turtle THING happened, and he’s been catching up to his former self ever since. Except now he knows better. Heisenberg has taught him to stay patient, to stay smart, and his putting the W.W. pieces together was a long time coming. Walt would be and should be terrified of his brother-in-law, but he’s where Hank was — his pride is blinding him from what’s coming, and not even Lydia’s sunglasses can help dull Hank’s glare. Hank’s not quite to Walt’s badass level yet, but he’s getting there.
When Walt says, “I’ll handle it,” you run. Nothing good can come out of it, just as nothing good can come out of Walt anymore. The cancer is his body’s way of saying, “Hey, asshole, you deserve this. No one out there can kill you, so I will.” He’s past the point of being able to live an ordinary, decent life — even when he’s not Heisenberg, he’s still Heisenberg. Sure, rearranging the air fresheners so that bubblegum isn’t next to ocean breeze isn’t nearly as exciting as murdering members of the cartel, but it’s still his ego interfering in other people’s lives.
But now Hank knows his secret, not that it matters. He’ll be dead in six months, he says, so even if the DEA comes after him, he’ll never see the inside of a jail cell. His cancer is his “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but rather than use it to redeem himself, if that’s even possible, he’s instead found himself another enemy: his brother-in-law. Walt feels he has to constantly prove he’s the best, that no one can outsmart him, even (especially?) to his own family — he may say he’s just a “dying man who runs a car wash,” but he knows that’s not true.
To paraphrase Marie, he’s the Devil, and he’s ready for a fight.