In an earlier entry I wrote that those water cooler moments in Breaking Bad were, inevitably, the action set pieces and the sudden bursts of violence, but it’s the quiet moments that resonate the most.
Okay, I lied, because this episode ends in a sequence* that had me yelling Holy freaking Mexican cousins! all alone at home.
The narrative’s turn towards Hank — and his subsequent impatience at a slow (and realistic!) recovery — is a welcome one; after all, Hank has been set up from the start as Walt’s future unknowing nemesis.
Dean Norris really shines in this nerve jangler of an episode. Up to now we’ve been used to seeing him as the boorish, macho clod, but his frailties and insecurities have been building up slowly throughout the season, culminating in his attack on Jesse. He finally unburdens himself to Marie, and it’s an incredible moment in their bedroom between husband and wife, but it’s a confession to the audience as well. We’re made to feel for him by the end of the scene, which makes the stunner of an ending — and it feels like anything could have happened — even more powerful.
Meanwhile: Holy freaking Mexican cousins!
*The opening sequence, a flashback to the holy freaking Mexican cousins as boys, is brilliant as well — all of two minutes long, maybe, but it says loads about the assassins’ relationship to each other than their cartoonish portrayal would otherwise.