When season five started there were three things that had to happen in the final 16 episodes: Hank had to find out about Walt and confront him, the ricin capsule had to be used, and Jesse had to find out about Jane and/or Brock. The former happened in the mid-season premiere, with creative team punching viewers in the mouth like a right cross from Hank Schrader in “Blood Money”, not wasting time setting up a Walt vs. Hank showdown. The latter, and most heartbreaking of the three, happened this week when Jesse finally realized that it was Walt who poisoned Brock after all.
The single most ingenious thing Walter Hartwell White has ever done is make the fake tape confession he gives to Hank. It’s absolutely perfect in intent and execution. He has just a much evidence of Hank running a drug empire as Hank has against him. Walt’s story is more believable to a layperson. Are you going to believe a nebbish, cancer stricken high school teacher is capable of being a drug kingpin, or the head of the local DEA office? Hank’s reaction while watching the video said everything while saying nothing. You could tell by his face he felt doomed. Heisenberg had once again outsmarted him. Worse yet he was made aware that Walt paid for his rehab, torpedoing any chance he had at making a legitimate case against him. If you can win an Emmy for reaction shots alone, Dean Norris should take home the prize next year.
Obviously, Hank isn’t going to stop his pursuit of Walt. He’s not a quitter and the show has been building to these moments for five seasons, with Hank now acting as the protagonist. Walt has made his life hell for a little over a year and he’s going to keep digging even if it’s the last case he ever works. We know Walt eventually needs a fake ID, a new look and a machine gun. The question is why? He may have temporarily halted Hank’s progress with the video, but with only five episodes to go he can’t keep Hank at bay for long.