'Breaking Bad': Inside Walt and Hank's Epic Showdown [Video]
[Warning: If you have yet to watch Sunday night's midseason premiere episode of "Breaking Bad," titled "Blood Money," there are big, huge, gigantic spoilers ahead.]
Lesser TV shows would have saved such a scene for the series finale. But "Breaking Bad" has been, and continues to be, so perfectly plotted and compellingly told that series creator Vince Gilligan and his writers confidently unfolded that scene at the end of the first of their final eight episodes.
We refer, of course, to the Hank/Walt confrontation, in which Walter White let his DEA agent brother-in-law Hank Schrader know that he knows Hank knows Walt is Heisenberg.
It was a scene built across four-and-a-half seasons of the AMC drama, and even with a show that has inspired the kind of obsessive devotion and dissection that "Breaking Bad" has, many fans probably expected it would take longer to actually see Walt and Hank square off.
The first half of the season ended with the show's greatest cliffhanger — Hank, while sitting on the throne in drug kingpin Walt's house, picking up a book that revealed Walt to be the man behind a lot of death and destruction — and the first episode of the season's second half ended with the show's greatest confrontation, with Walt stealthily scoping out what Hank knew.
It was more than Hank, whose own life and ability to walk again was nearly ended as a result of Walter's involvement with the ruthless Gustavo Fring, could take. In a more than five-minute battle in Hank's garage, Walt took Hank's punch, his bewildered rundown of Walt's biggest misdeeds (or rather, the ones Hank knows about), and Hank's rage about just how well Walt fooled everyone.
And with the hubris that, our best guess, will be the specific undoing of Walt, he tried sympathy, defiant arrogance, and finally a threat to deal with his brother-in-law's accusations.
Watch the key scene from last night's "Breaking Bad" premiere right here:
The best quotes from the showdown:
Hank: "You drove into traffic to keep me from that laundry. That call I got, telling me Marie was in the hospital? That wasn’t Pinkman. You had my cell number. You killed ten witnesses to save your sorry a--. You bombed a nursing home. Heisenberg… Heisenberg!"
Walt: "Hank, my cancer is back…
Hank: "Good. Rot, you son of a b----."
Walt: "I'm sorry you feel that way... But the truth is, in six months you won’t have someone to prosecute. But even if, somehow, you were able to convince someone I was capable of doing these things, you and I both know I would never see the inside of a jail cell."
Hank: "I don't know who you are. I don't even know who I'm talking to."
Walt (in a line that, alongside "I am the danger," has already become an instant classic): "If that's true, if you don't know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly."
It was "Breaking Bad," quite simply, at its finest, and Norris, in particular, should not be overlooked when next year's Emmy nominations are announced. His performance, beginning with Hank's discovery in "Gliding All Over" through the final moments of "Blood Money," is among the series' best, which is saying a lot.