Walter White is in beige again.
In the pilot for “
His cancer is also back. We find this out when Saul Goodman calls Walter to tell him that Jesse has dropped off $5 million, to be split equally between Mike’s granddaughter and the parents of the boy shot and killed by Todd after the train robbery. Naturally, this much money just turning up will be suspicious, so Saul calls Walter, who is revealed to be sitting alone, receiving drugs to help him in his
Take, for instance, when Walter goes over to Hank's house to see what's up with his brother-in-law, who's faking sick that he might build up a case to bring down Walter. Walter has discovered that Hank is onto him through one of those unlikely "Breaking Bad" coincidences that the show earns by pushing things several levels past where you assume it will go. Namely, Walter figured out that the copy of "Leaves of Grass" that links him to Gale Boetticher has gone missing from his bathroom, and he quickly realizes that Hank must have it. The sequence beggars belief just a bit – quick, tell me all of the reading material you have in your bathroom – but it works because Walter is soon discovering that Hank has attached a GPS tracker to the bottom of Walt's car.
Now, there are a lot of ways Walter could play this. Indeed, even if he had never noticed what was up, there was a good chance he could have evaded Hank’s snares, simply because he really does seem to be “out” of the game for good (though we’ll see what Lydia – who wants him to come back and teach his replacements how to cook
But this is Walter White. He doesn't walk away.
What’s so brilliant about
An impressive aura of finality hangs over "Blood Money," which brings back every major character but Todd, just to show us how they're bruised and bleeding in the wake of this last terrible year. (Heck, the episode even makes time for nearly every important dead character to hang over the proceedings as a specter weighing in.) Jesse, in particular, is like a boat taking on water, its crew about to give up trying to bail. No matter what he does, he can't seem to get rid of the titular cash. He doesn't want it in his house, but it's too much money to mysteriously show up on some couple's doorstep. Someone would ask questions. So he heads out into the night, first giving a cluster of bills to a homeless man, then tossing bands of cash out the window so they land on people's doorsteps, an unraveling paperboy fighting through his tears.
Yet Jesse increasingly seems to be the one person who can see through Walter’s façade. When Walter goes to tell him that Mike is alive and well and will surely be able to provide for his granddaughter,
"Blood Money" is an awful lot of setup, but it's necessary setup, and it goes further than I expected this first of eight episodes to go. In particular, having Walter figure out that Hank's onto him was something I thought Gilligan and his writers would sit on for a while, waiting to hatch. Yet there it is, in the concluding scene, and the episode is all the better for it. If the writers are willing to push things this far in this midseason premiere, how far might they go in the episodes to come? And even when it seems like this episode might tip over into all setup, there are those pleasing little "Breaking Bad" structural hallmarks, like the yin-yang of Hank pretending to be sick to investigate Walt while Walter is actually sick and is pretending to be well to try to blend back in with his surroundings, which will be all the better to evade capture, even if he doesn't know it yet.
The problem is that Walter might be back in beige, but he can no longer fade into the woodwork like he once did. Camouflage is only effective if no one is looking for that which is camouflaged, and Walter long ago set aside his old identity in favor of the power he felt as Heisenberg. Now, Hank and Jesse know just where to look, and if the two of them ever traded notes (as I assume they will), the case will begin to snowball.
And even if that doesn't happen, we know where this ends up. Walter returns to Albuquerque a little under a year later, haggard and worn and obviously worse for wear. He goes back to the gutted ruins of his old house to dig a ricin capsule out of the wall, for whom it's meant we don't know. His friendly neighbor lady, now knowing his true face, drops her groceries when he says a simple hello. He can put back on the guise of his old self, but it will only be that – a costume. The true reckoning will soon arrive, as it must.
— Todd VanDerWerff