“If that’s true. If you don’t know who I am. Then, maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.”
And Here. We. Go.
If there’s one thing Walter White does better than anything, including making meth, it’s lying. At it’s best, his blue crystal is 99.1 percent pure after all. He’s lied for years to save himself and his family with mostly stellar results. The two big lies in “Blood Money”, that he didn’t kill Mike and that he’s just a dying car wash owner, were necessary for the moment, but it’s the one truth he tells — “tread lightly” — that carries the most weight.
After Hank found the copy of Leaves of Grass at the end of the mid-season finale I wasn’t sure how long Vince Gilligan and Co. would let that information fester with him. Turns out, not long at all. This is another example of Breaking Bad doing something better than anyone else on television.
The pacing is perfect. There's so much story to cram into these final eight episodes that it wouldn't make sense to let this information linger. Hank and Walt are two men who have been pushed to their extremes over these five seasons, bending but not breaking at every turn. A lesser show would let them play cat and mouse the entire season until the climax. Not Breaking Bad.
Walt is smart enough to realize Hank has found him out when Leaves of Grass goes missing, but confronting him about the tracking device on his car was extremely brazen, even for a cancer riddled sociopath. Though he doesn’t outright confess to Hank in the episode’s last line, he may as well have. Hank may not know who his brother-in-law is anymore, but he sure as hell knows Heisenberg and is aware of the chaos he’s caused. There’s no direct evidence linking Walt to Heisenberg or Gus Fring. However, contrary to Walt believing he’ll be claimed by cancer in six months and thus unable to serve jail time, we know that not to be true.
Just like episode one of this season, the episode starts off with a flash forward. Walt, aka Mr. Lambert, has driven to his old house, which is now condemned. In broad daylight he breaks in and takes the ricin capsule he hid behind the light fixture in the bedroom. HEISENBERG is spray painted in yellow along the hallway wall. Teenagers are using the now empty pool as a skating bowl. He’s spotted by a neighbor as he’s walking to his car. As he turns to face her he says “Hi Carol” as she drops her bag of groceries onto the pavement. Is she scared? Is she astonished? If he’s on the run from the police then breaking into his old house in the middle of the day seems like a poor choice. Perhaps he’s thought to be dead, making poor Carol believe she’d seen a ghost. If he’s presumed dead, why does he need a giant machine gun? How great of a disguise is it if a neighbor can easily recognize you? Who is the ricin for? There are many mysteries about the flash forwards, and that’s exactly what Gilligan and Co. want.
It’s only a matter of time before Hank’s research leads him back to Jesse, who looks to be in worse shape than after he killed Gale. He wants nothing to do with the eponymous blood money, nor Badger’s Star Trek spec script, and tries to give half to Mike’s granddaughter and half to the family of Drew Sharp, the 14-year-old who was killed by Todd. The intent is sweet, but it would draw unwanted attention, as Walt points out when he visits Jesse at home. He correctly assumes Walt killed Mike, thanks to Walt’s care free attitude after having 10 of his guys murdered. Walt says that isn’t true, adding “I need you to believe me.” The look on Jesse’s face indicates otherwise, but he complies with Walt. If Jesse knew for sure Walt killed Mike, or was involved in Brock’s poisoning and Jane’s death, he’d go to the police in a second or kill him himself. Since he can’t give the money to the people he wants, Jesse instead literally spreads the wealth, throwing bundles of cash into neighborhood lawns.
Great shows rarely stick the landing in their final seasons. Breaking Bad has a different vibe. If the end is anywhere near as good as "Blood Money" then we the audience have no reason to tread lightly. We know exactly who this show is.