When we last left Albuquerque, Walter had finally decided he was “out”. Then, of course, during yet another awkward family dinner, Hank excused himself to the bathroom; while doing his business, Hank picked up a book Walt had carelessly left laying about. Inside that book was written a message to “W.W.”–calling back to a previous instance when Walt jokingly admitted to Hank that he was “caught”–which we were left to assume finally tipped Hank off to Walt’s secret life as Heisenberg.
“Blood Money” begins by showing us a group of kids skateboarding in an empty pool; the camera pulls back to reveal it is the pool behind the White residence. The house has been boarded up and abandoned. Walter White pulls up out front. When he exits his car, we see that he’s all beardy (which is a universal sign for the passage of time). Walt pries his way through the fence that now surrounds his former family home. Once inside, we see the house is eerily sitting empty and has “Heisenberg” graffitied on the wall. He sees the kids out back and leaves them be, while making his way through the home and into his old bedroom. There, he kneels down and removes the outlet cover, as he has done multiple times before but never this sadly. He removes the ricin he has hidden there, and he leaves. While walking back to his car, he sees Carol, a neighbor, unloading groceries from her trunk; he says “Hello, Carol” and she drops her bag. That’s the cold open. Welcome to the final episodes of Breaking Bad.
After the opening credits, and the first commercial break, we come back to a house that has not yet been abandoned. It’s still full of furniture, life, and a hope that being “out” can actually last; it’s still a home, and the colors are noticeably brighter. Hank emerges from the bathroom carrying the inscribed book and is visibly accusing Walt with his eyes. He knows the truth, and he can’t hide it. He fakes an illness, so that he and Marie can exit the dinner. Hank is in a rush, and Walt–carrying Holly–looks as innocuous as he ever has on this show. After Hank and Marie pull off, Walt says “Hi, Carol!” to the neighbor, and she answers this time.
Driving away from Walt’s, Hank gets angrier and angrier–and this isn’t helped by the fact that Marie cannot shut up, Eventually, she notices Hank isn’t responding; he’s fuming. His anger causes him to run off the road and into someone’s front yard. This leads to yet another hospital visit for Hank; he’s fine, and he doesn’t want Marie to tell anyone about what happened. At home, Hank looks over the previous “W.W.” message and compares it to the newly found copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, with the inscription in it.
Meanwhile, Walt is trying to adjust to his life of non-crime. He’s micromanaging the car wash, and he tells Skyler they need to buy another car wash, to keep their story believable. He appears to still be in the empire business; he’s just changed what the empire is.
That’s when Lydia shows up at the car wash; she meets Skyler–for the first time–and pretends to be a customer. When she gets inside, she confronts Walt about the fact that the quality of the meth has dropped since he left. Walt doesn’t give a fuck because he’s like, “I’ve done been out!” He sends Lydia away, and Skyler then asks Walt about Lydia. See, Skyler noticed Lydia’s car is a rental, and everyone knows you don’t pay to have a rental cleaned. Seems Skyler has learned some things. Anyway, Walt tells Skyler about Lydia wanting him to come back and that he won’t. This causes Skyler to get in Lydia’s face all like “Leave, whore!”
Back at Hank and Marie’s house, Hank is in full-on tunnel vision mode. He’s staying home, and he’s had all the boxes and boxes of Heisenberg files brought to his garage. Cue a music montage of Hank thumbing through piles of information; spreading it out all over the place. He looks at pictures, rewatches videos, and rereads notes, until he stops on the Heisenberg sketch and looks to finally be seeing the sketch’s resemblance to Walt.
You’re probably wondering what Jesse is up to now, right? Me, too. Good thing the show knows what you want, because now we see Jesse has been relegated back to hanging out with Badger and Skinny Pete. He’s clearly bored out of his mind. While Badger and Skinny Pete engage in a spirited discussion of Star Trek fan fiction, Jesse grabs his bag of money and walks out. Where’s he going? To see Saul. After being stuck in Saul’s waiting room for a while, Saul finally lets him in the office to talk. Jesse wants Saul to give $2.5 million to Kaylee Ehrmantraut, Mike’s granddaughter, and another $2.5 million to Drew Sharp’s parents. Who’s Drew Sharp? He’s the kid who was in the wrong desert beside the wrong train; Todd shot him in the episode “Dead Freight” (one of the best episodes of the series). Apparently, the guilt of Drew’s death has worn on Jesse, and he doesn’t want the money anymore. Saul reluctantly agrees to do with the money as Jesse wishes. After Jesse leaves, however, Saul has to call Walt (my how the tables have turned); Walt tells him to hold onto the money for now. After hanging up with Saul, the camera pulls back from Walt and reveals that he is back on chemotherapy.
There’s a knock on Jesse’s door; it’s Walt, and he has brought the money back. “Deja vu”, as Walt says. In the previous episode, “Gliding Over All”, Walt and Jesse shared a bit of a warm conversation that seemed to be a “farewell”. Before that conversation, Jesse felt the need to protect himself from Walt; after that conversation, Walt left Jesse the money and things seemed fine. This revisit to that conversation isn’t quite as warm. Jesse says he doesn’t want the “blood money”, and Walt does his best to convince Jesse otherwise. Jesse reveals that he suspects Walt killed Mike. We know he’s right, but we also know Walt can be very manipulative. Walt flatly lies to Jesse’s face, for the millionth time, and you think Jesse is going to believe him, yet again; that doesn’t happen. Jesse does his own bit of lying by pretending to believe Walt when he says he didn’t kill Mike.
Back at the White residence, Walt, Skyler, and Junior are having dinner. During this dinner, we learn Hank is still “sick”. This time, it’s Walt who excuses himself to the bathroom. He’s legitimately sick; he’s back to puking his guts out as the result of chemo. In-between burying his face deep into the toilet, Walt notices his copy of Leaves of Grass is gone from the back of the toilet. Later that night, as he and Skyler get into bed, Walt asks her if she has seen the book; she hasn’t. He then asks her what’s wrong with Hank; she tells him Hank hasn’t been to work all week. Red flags! Oh, shit, Walt!
In the middle of the night, Walt awakes and walks outside for some air. While outside, a thought strikes him. He makes a bee-line for his car and begins checking the wheel wells for a tracking device… and he finds one. He may have suspected Hank was onto him before, but now he knows it.
Elsewhere, Jesse is still falling apart. He’s passed out behind the wheel in a parking lot; a homeless guy wakes him up, asking for change. This gives Jesse an idea; he gives the homeless guy a stack of bills and heads off through the neighborhood, angrily tossing money from his car. He’s like a mixture between the game Paperboy, Santa Claus, and Ben Affleck at the end of the movie Reindeer Games.
Now we jump back to Hank in his garage, receiving even more files and missing yet another day of work. That’s when Walt drives up to “check on” Hank’s well-being. There’s a bit of “Did you have the potato salad?” conversation; you know, the kind of shit that Walt has to say to hide the fact the real reason he’s there. It’s all uncomfortable; Walt begins to leave, but then he makes the decision to confront Hank about the tracking device he found on his car. Hank grabs his garage door remote and closes the door. As the door slowly closes, Walt repeatedly asks Hank if he’s okay, but Hank doesn’t say anything. The tension breaks when Hank hauls off and punches Walt in the face. There’s a bit of a scuffle, and Walt repeatedly tries to calm Hank down, but Pandora’s box has been opened. Hanks knows the truth, and Walt realizes there’s no reason to fight it. Walt simultaneously accepts that Hank knows the truth and reveals to him that his cancer has returned. Walt tries to convince Hank to let it go because “I’m a dying man” and “I will never see the inside of a prison.” Hank cannot find a single fuck to give, and he says to Walt, “I don’t know who you are.” Then Walt breaks bad and puts on his Heisenberg face; his response is wholly badass: “If that’s true; if you don’t know who I am… then perhaps you should tread lightly.” I didn’t realize how satisfying it would be for us to finally see this confrontation between Walt and Hank; it’s some of the best television in the history of ever.