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'Breaking Bad' recap: The newest episode looks at characters who relapse into past behaviors

'Breaking Bad' stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. 'Breaking Bad' airs on AMC.

By Kevin YeomanScreen Rant / August 26, 2013

'Breaking Bad' stars Bryan Cranston (r.) and Dean Norris (l.).

Frank Ockenfels/AMC/AP

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If there’s one thing Breaking Bad and the White family has mastered, it’s the subtle art of the painfully awkward, excruciatingly tense family dinner. Whether it is Walt and Skyler sitting angrily across the table from one another while Jesse tries in vein to cut the tension by commenting on just how delicious the store-bought green beans are, or a nerve-racking birthday morning where Junior insists his mother mark the occasion by forming a 51 on his father’s plate with bacon – which results in Walt commenting on the merits of “sacrifice” and “Family teamwork.” 

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Unsurprisingly, things aren’t much different when Walt and Skyler ask Hank and Marie to meet them at a local Mexican restaurant to, you know, discuss the whole Heisenberg thing and maybe clarify any recent suggestions that certain DEA agents should tread lightly over a bowl of freshly prepared guacamole and a pitcher of ice-cold margaritas. Naturally, given the Whites’ penchant for making a little time around the table wind up being as solemn as a funeral, things don’t go too well, as Marie continually insists that Junior come live at Schraderhaus and Hank tells his brother-in-law that being a man means coming clean about his wrongdoings, cancer or no cancer.

And like the cancer that has recently resurfaced in Walter’s lungs, ‘Confessions’ takes a look at the tendency these characters have to relapse into previous conditions and behaviors, and how that recidivism defines them in moments of turmoil or confrontation. Hank comes at Walter straight, giving him no option but to confess to his crimes and to face the music like a man. That’s precisely how Hank sees the world, how he approaches his job and the criminals he pursues and, with a little bit of due diligence, sees them thrown in prison.

Walt, meanwhile, comes at everything and everyone completely cockeyed; his whole plan to provide for his family after being given a terminal diagnosis was to cook meth with a former student and then he wound up the kingpin of an empire he’d never dreamed of building. So, naturally, his move is to offer up a confession wherein he implicates his primary accuser of being the mastermind behind the whole thing because, at the end of the day, the evidence that Hank has on Walt is no more damning than any Walt has on him. And if Walt’s confession were to ever surface and be scrutinized by the DEA – and it would be – the one hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars in medical bills that were paid out to a critically injured Hank Schrader by one Walter White is far more convincing than a copy of Leaves of Grass signed by the man formerly believed to have been Heisenberg.

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