We haven’t had a great Skyler episode in a while but boy-oh-fucking-boy did this week’s “Buried” make up for that fact. Where last week’s episode closed with an amazing confrontation between Walt and Hank, here we got to see Skyler rock some big scenes with Hank, Marie and eventually Walt, making this an obvious choice for Anna Gunn’s Emmy submission episode.
After a very cool cold opening showing the aftermath of Jesse’s paperboy (coulda watched that overhead shot of Jesse on the playground for another minute or so) we pick up directly following Hank and Walt’s pissing contest. Walt immediately tries to get ahold of Skyler to see where she stands but Hank’s already gotten to her. He does what all good boys do when they’re in a jam and calls Saul, having him send his boys out to collect the money from the storage locker, leading to a great scene of comedians Lavell Crawford and Bill Burr doing some light Scrooge McDucking on the massive pile. Though they agree Walt is too scary to pull off any major score on his stash these days (his two-minute prison Godfather baptism massacre looms large), the look they give each other when they bring the van to Saul’s lets you know they skimmed just a bit off the top.
Then cancer-stricken Walt somehow digs a massive ditch in the middle of the desert and fills it with barrel after barrel of cash then writes down the GPS coordinates as his lottery numbers before collapsing onto the bathroom floor. Skyler assures him that she hasn’t given him up to Hank (hopefully he believes her) and even says that he’ll take the fall if necessary on the condition that she never gives up the money, that all the shit he’s done doesn’t go for naught. That on top of his refusal to kill Hank like Saul suggests, Walt’s looking a lot more sympathetic in “Buried” than he’s been a good goddamn while.
Skyler meanwhile has sat down with Hank who is over-eager to have her spill everything to him, leading her to believe that he doesn’t really have enough to put Walt away yet, just his suspicions. In fact, when Hank brings Marie over to the house to talk to her, turns out Marie has figured out more than Hank has. Hank thinks Skyler has only known since the fifty-first birthday pool event but Marie knows that she’s known since around when Hank was shot, leading to her giving Skyler a good smack and, in a very intense scene, trying to take the baby away from Skyler.
So Skyler’s probably right, that for now they should just sit tight, hope that Hank doesn’t come up with anything that could truly bring down Walt. But then, of course, they don’t know that Jesse has been dragged in for questioning about his dumb charity-spree. After some great back-and-forth by a couple of agents in front of a silent Jesse, Hank asks them if he can take a private run on Jesse, their private history maybe able to shake things up for them. Will Hank be able to get Jesse to turn over on Walt to alleviate some of his guilt? I don’t think so. Unless Hank had access to the knowledge that Hank was the one who poisoned Brock and that he let Jesse’s girlfriend OD, I don’t feel like Jesse would go out like that. But then again, kid could surprise me.
In the middle of all these great two-hander scenes we also got an expertly handled, off-screen shootout. Lydia, who we learned last week wasn’t happy with the way the Arizona boys were running things, rolls up to their junkyard underground lab and discovers something very unlike Walt’s old set up. She asks them to take on Todd, Walt’s old child-murdering assistant, and they suggest she take a walk. Then there’s some commotion up top and, what do you know, Todd and his Aryan family members have obliterated the Arizona guys. To me, that reads like Lydia’s troubles are over and Walt is no longer needed, but I must be wrong. Something tells me that the machine gun from the flash-forward is for the neo-Nazis and the ricin’s for Lydia but, shit, I’ve got no motive for that reasoning just yet, just a feeling. You guys have any similar feelings? Lemme know and I’ll see you Broke Badasses next week!