Breaking Bad: ‘Buried’ – The early bird gets the fat stacks and a chance to meet the disillusioned Santa on the roundabout.

It’s great that Vince Gilligan is showing us the key scenes in their entirety now that we are in the end game. I’m glad we got to see the two gunslingers face off at Hank’s garage with their cell phone guns. Hank’s clearly got the faster trigger finger. That Walt didn’t immediately know that Hank was on the other line with Skyler shows that he continues to underestimate his adversaries. Hank and Skyler’s meeting was interesting. He didn’t understand how very carefully he needs to play her. He thinks Skyler is vulnerable and scared, but Skyler is very wily even when her world is falling apart. I believe she realized that Hank was looking for the upper hand with Walt by having the kids in his control.

I’m having some trouble sussing out when Skyler became a willing co-conspirator. She was drinking the punch bowl-sized glasses of wine and chain smoking her way to a title of widow. Now she’s keeping mum with Hank and even Marie, only allowing herself the luxury of a heartfelt “I’m sorry” but nothing else during Marie’s emotional come-to-Jesus talk. And she nursed Walt who was sick and exhausted after he dug his money grave while assuring him that she didn’t say anything to Hank. I just feel like I missed a key episode that explained that transition from fear and disgust to acceptance and even sympathy. (NOTE: When Saul’s intestinal-issues dude, Huell, turned his backside to Walt’s bed of green, I must admit that my initial thought was that he was going to do something of an unfortunate nature. Thank goodness that didn’t happen, but I’m very frightened about what that says about me.) It’s not that I don’t think this is a believable progression for her character. It’s more that I feel that they just needed to hit the notes a little cleaner. Small little criticism. And it’s even probable that the fault lies with me. I could have missed this playing out. It just seems that it wasn’t too long ago that I hoped Jesse and Skyler would band together, since, together, they have all the pieces of the puzzle. That’s clearly not going to happen.

When Lydia is out in the desert with all the boys, I knew something bad was getting ready to go down. As did everyone else. Lydia seems like such an underdog with her twitchy, nervous facade and yet she reveals herself to be ruthless underneath it all. The ambush she orchestrated was brutal, and she showed no qualms about being at the site when it went down. As long as she wouldn’t have to directly view the carnage. And Todd? He’s the scariest dude in all of Breaking Bad land for me. That Hee Haw exterior? Yikes! Every time he’s onscreen I hope his involvement in the scene is mercifully brief. He honestly terrifies me. So, yay. He’s obviously back. Thanks, Lydia.

Jesse and Hank in the interrogation room. Again. I’m really excited to see how that plays out this time.