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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.

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It’s a strategic blow that hits Hank well below the belt, but lets him know that the ball is in his court, because, after all, he is family and we know how important family is to Walt. And the episode brilliantly illustrates that importance by having Walt offer up his son as the reason Hank should just back off. Walt’s all but promising that he’ll soon be dead and the world may just be a better place without him, but no one should tarnish the memory Junior has of his father, as that might just ruin the young man. It’s a merciless play that capitalizes on Walt’s knowledge of just how much his children mean to Hank and Marie, and how bringing down Heisenberg would also bring about the end of this ultra-dysfunctional family unit. In the end, it’s left to Marie to inadvertently plant the seed of ending it all (or making it look that way, perhaps?) as a way to save those that he loves. And that, of course, ties into the near-future timeline and the larger theme of how everything seems to move in a circular fashion and all misdeeds seem to be revisited upon those who commit them.

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But the most interesting aspect of this low-key, yet somehow frantic episode is in how Gennifer Huchtison (who’s credited with writing ‘Confessions’) overtly plays with the concept of Walt as a misguided parent by making sure his two surrogate sons – Jesse and Todd – have a brief moment with their shadowy father figure. Todd is all smiles recounting his misadventures in hijacking a methylamine shipment (and glossing over the killing an innocent child), and even calls Walt to let him know how he’s moving up in the world. But it’s Jesse, who has been so quite over the past two episodes, who erupts, ready with violent-retribution-by-way-of-gas-can, after nearly being talked into a new life somewhere by Walt and Saul.

It’s only at the last moment that Jesse pieces together the missing ricin cigarette and how, for all his fatherly concern, for all the warmth that was in that dad-like embrace in the desert, at this moment, family is just another tool for Walter to use, to ensure that when the end comes, it’s the ending that Walter White envisioned and no one else.

Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.

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