So we watched another brilliant episode of Breaking Bad. That video "confession" was an astounding demonstration of Walt's evil ingeniousness.
And Walt's manipulation of Jesse in the desert almost made me wonder if he might actually care just a little about Jesse. Between the confession, the scene with Jesse in the desert, and the ruthless manipulation of his own son, we're left to wonder if there are any lines whatsoever that Walt is unwilling to cross.
So why would Walt flatly reject killing Hank? I know he said that he couldn't kill Hank because Hank is family, but Walt seems like the kind of psychopath who would kill a family member if necessary to protect his own interests. I suppose that doesn't matter now that Walt neutralized Hank and Marie with his video confession.
Speaking of Hank, am I mistaken or are we seeing the moral fall of the last incorruptible character? Hank began by withholding his knowledge about Walt to protect his career and reputation. It was a temporary corruption with a morally good end in mind, but a moral corruption nonetheless. That corruption has cost him. Now he's poised to further yield the moral high ground because Walt's confession video has him over a barrel. Once again, we see the corrupting power of the situation. Even with the most ethical, steel-spined white-hat character, we see that there are situations that can break moral resolve.
A nod to Marie's corruption in lying to Hank about accepting the $170,000 for his treatment. It was a corruption with a morally good end, but that corruption is what has ultimately boxed Hank into a corner.
Those who might object to this portrayal of the corrupting situation might consider the case of John McCain. The man showed extraordinary moral courage in refusing release from his hellish captivity in North Vietnam, but he admitted that he broke, that everyone breaks under relentless torture. Everyone has a limit. If saints exist, they are needles in a massive haystack.
What about Walt and Skyler's relationship? Is Skyler showing signs of caring about Walt, or is she only going along with him to protect herself and the kids? I'm surprised that she isn't openly furious with Walt, or at least emotionally frosty with him. We haven't seen the bedroom, but they almost seem like a married couple again... a married couple living a nightmare of Walt's making, but a couple with an alliance that seems to be greater than simple pragmatism.
An aside: Anna Gunn's (Skyler) recent NY Times piece about the public hatred she's been subject to is shocking. The Times link isn't working, so here is some commentary on the subject. It's one thing to dislike the character, even if the reasons are morally warped. It's quite another to despise the actor playing the character. Sheesh.
Back to the most recent episode. One important aspect of the story that we couldn't quite follow was the trail and significance of the missing cigarette pack containing the hidden ricin capsule.
Poking around online, I saw that we're not the only ones who were left confused. If you're up to date and unclear on the ricin, this is the best explanation I could find. Still, after reading several discussions, I can't quite wrap my mind around the entirety of it.
Finally, here's a fascinating, recent Charlie Rose interview with Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and Vince Gilligan. It's well worth watching if you're a fan. And here's Rose's recent solo interview of Gilligan. Charlie is clearly a binge-fan. If you've got time for only one, I'd recommend the group interview.