Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Breaking Bad » Season 5 » Blood Money
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is a drama about Walter White, a chemistry professor who is diagnosed with lung cancer. He enlists the help of his former student Jesse Pinkman to manufacture and sell methamphetamine. AMC 2008-???


Episode 9 - Blood Money

14 August 2013

Credit AMC

Synopsis: In flashforward we see Walt return to his boarded up house to get the ricin. In the present Hank races home and begins investigating how Walt is Heisenberg. Jesse tries to give his money to Mike’s daughter and the parents of the kid that died during the train robbery. Walt tells him that Mike is alive but Jesse begins distributing the money anyway. Lydia comes to the car wash asking Walt to help arrest the decline in purity of the meth. When Walt realises that his Walt Whitman book is gone he checks his car for bugs, finds one and confronts Hank.

The Good: Dean Norris was superb here. He played every moment as a man whose whole world had been turned upside down. The personal nature of the revelation meant there was no excitement for Hank, no vindication. Instead he was now greeted by the horror that all the trauma he had suffered through was a result of his brother-in-law’s madness. The panic attack was an appropriate first reaction followed by the silent obsession and the very affecting choice to avoid eye contact with Walt as much as possible.

The final confrontation was dynamite. Hank’s evasive behaviour told Walt all he needed to know and you just wondered whether he would turn around and force the truth out now. There was real tension as Hank looked at the bug and as soon as he chose to close the garage door it was on. The camera angle was perfect on Hank, his eyes betraying the anger, the hurt and the confusion. “You don’t give a shit about family” was the key line of course. Walt’s whole rationale for every dark moment has been family and even now he is convinced that he can talk Hank into his way of thinking. His final pitch for clemency (the cancer is back and no one will believe him) is clever and well thought through. But surely Hank won’t let it lie. Surely he, like Jesse, will not be able to live with such a stain on his soul and will figure out a way to punish Walt without destroying everyone else (including himself). It was an excellent end to the episode and joined several other threads to set up a lot of intrigue.

It took me a second to realise why Jesse has suddenly collapsed into a funk again. Walt thought he was doing the right thing by giving Jesse his share of the money. But instead he dropped two huge bags of guilt on his partner and Jesse has nothing but regrets for company. I like that Jesse figured out what happened to Mike, it showed his intelligence as well as the impact which the prison hit had on him. Once again Jesse is talked out of an honourable path that would lead to his arrest and takes an easier but perhaps equally foolish route of tossing the money out of his car. Doubtless this will bring attention as will the slipping quality of the blue meth.

I really appreciated that development. Walt’s hasty exit in the previous episode left a lot of questions to answer about how the business can continue without him. Almost immediately it would seem Todd, or whoever else is cooking, has lost control of some part of the formula and the purity has dipped by thirty per cent. While rewatching Season 5 I was struck by the position Lydia was in. She was such an important cog in Gus’ operation that she is now forced to either continue her function or be killed off. Remember that Mike tried to eliminate her and then Walt did the same before she brought up the Czech Republic.  Now she returns desperate to keep the business functioning because she knows that if it ever fails she will be facing a gun once more. Could that be the fate which awaits Walt?

That brings us to the flashforward and the boarded up White home. If Lydia is begging Walt to come back how long before Todd or Declan or someone more threatening comes demanding his help? Could that be what leads to his home being burnt or defaced the way we see it? The reaction of Walt’s neighbour suggests she either knows all about his criminal exploits or she thinks he is dead. I suppose the alternative is that Walt abandoned his home to save himself or his family. In typically clever Breaking Bad style the skate boarding kids kept me guessing for a minute.

The Bad: Nothing as such.

The Unknown: I thought Walt put two and two together pretty quickly over his missing book and Hank’s “illness.” I think the decision to get us to that confrontation quickly made a lot of sense though. The way Walt grabbed a towel to kneel on while vomiting was an allusion to Gus’ calm movements before performing the same action in “Salud” (410). It’s a nice reference point for Walt’s evolution and I suppose just about fits with his crust cutting and other gestures which he has absorbed over the last year or so.

Best Moment: The final scene.

The Bottom Line: An excellent start to the last eight episodes. This was tense and interesting and Dean Norris carried it to an emotional high while Bryan Cranston never lets us down.



Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment


  • I’ve made a few comments over the series as I’ve seen the first 4 seasons and the first half of season 5 almost back to back at the end of last year. I have had very mixed feelings following the viewing of this episode. I agree with Romit with regard to what I call rather silly storylines like for instance the “heist”, the “prison killings”, the death of Mike etc. and of course the way both Walt and Jesse have avoided any suspicion. Jesse was at the point of being caught by Hank but he gave him a beating and never bothered to tail him after that. I noticed that Hank had the drawing of “Heisenberg” which looked just like Walt with shades and a hat so he didn’t really need much more evidence. I’m not saying that I think the series is not good which it is and it’s also original and makes a great change from police procedural stuff but in places it needed a re-examination of the script to keep it, to a degree, credible. Sadly I have no enthusiasm for watching the remaining 7 episodes and I think the flash forwards are an attempt to keep the viewers from quitting although I think that these shots show that it is getting even more bizarre.

    Posted by Robertinspain, 07/03/2014 3:21pm (6 years ago)

  • Once I absorbed the episode I noticed:
    Walt and Skylar at the carwash were wearing dingy, off-white clothes, symbolising that they are still tainted with blood money no matter how clean they say they are. It is ironic that Walt`s last name is White, a colour which denotes purity.

    Neither Jesse nor Hank (at least before punching Walt) would look Walt in the eye and when they talked it was only when they were talked to, they mumbled and spoke in monotone, quiet voices. They may well team up out of disgust for Walt.

    People mentioned Walt resembling Gus but Jesse also resembled Mike a lot. He seemed as weary, he just didn`t care and had no life in him. The way Jesse spoke and his facial expressions were very similar to Mike, worn down and indifferent (no `bitch` or `yo`). He also looked like him with his beard and almost as if he had aged from all the grief. I guess when Mike first got into the business he would have reacted similarly to Jesse to killing, he wouldn`t have always been this casual, but over time he would have become desensitized and became a very effective cleaner. It probably won`t happen but it occurred to me seeing Jesse look so old that he may end up in this line of work and lose all his enthusiasm and become very mellow and worn down like Mike.

    Posted by Kay, 18/08/2013 11:14pm (6 years ago)

  • The opening flash forward was really intriguing. Can't wait to see what crazy Walt plan the recine and machine gun are used for. I also loved the bit of comedy with "Hi Carol" that would then get echoed later in the episode.

    I loved both the subtle and direct scenes showing Walts complete transition to the dark side. From just the polite way he tries to talk Skyler into expanding his car wash "empire." To the final moments with Hank. I also noted on how he's got Skyler completely on his side again shown when she stands up for him and scares of Lidia.

    Hank was outstanding in this episode. He played both the panic and dizing realization of the truth of Walt and the total consuming obsession with getting evidence perfectly. And I loved the choice to not look at Walt until the final confrontation.

    Similarly with Jessie I loved him piecing together what happen to Mike, what might happen to him, and who Walt truly IS now. It such a tragic tale for Jessie and to see the weight of everything baring down on him is really sad to watch.

    Walt putting together that Hank knows was quick, but I didn't mind because it set up the face off scene I'd been waiting for. One of the most memorable scenes for me in the whole series and one that will stick with me similarly to the scene in Heat with Robert Deniro and Al Pachino. The line "tread lightly" gave me goosebumps and I can't wait to see how this story will wrap up.

    Viewer score: 80 / 100

    Posted by William, 14/08/2013 4:34pm (6 years ago)

  • I had thought that the first half of season 5 was uneven in quality but "Blood Money" worked.

    Dean Morris was fantastic, although I was so engrossed with Hank that I was occasionally anxious to get back to him during a couple of the other subplots.

    I can't wait to see what's next.

    Viewer score: 74 / 100

    Posted by Ben F., 14/08/2013 2:50am (6 years ago)

  • Just loved this episode. It was Breaking Bad at its best. I hope the rest of the series keeps the same pace and goes out with a bang. Dean Norris was fantastic, this was really his episode to shine. I am amazed at how much ground they covered in this episode, which I would have expected to be dragged out at least three or four episodes, particularly Hank`s investigation but also I really didn`t expect Jesse to find out about Mike. But it is logical that he worked it out himself. This reminds me of the end of season two when Skylar worked out about Walt on her own, way earlier than you would expect this development to happen.

    I am also so happy the writers picked up exactly where we left off at the dinner so we could see exactly what Hank was going through and see him have to pretend in front of the family that he was just sick and then have a very violent panic attack while driving. The tension just amped up the further the episode progressed. The writers really did hit the ground running.

    Viewer score: 85 / 100

    Posted by Kay, 13/08/2013 11:39pm (6 years ago)

  • The Hank and Walt confrontation was exciting. But Walt has backed Hank into a corner, and Hank can only be thinking two thoughts at the end of the episode: How do I get Walt out of my garage? How fast can I get myself and my wife to safety? Hank knows that Walt could change his mind at any time and harm Hank or Marie. Forget about the investigation. Forget about Walt's request to keep quiet.

    What was Walt's plan? Try to convince Hank he wasn't Heisenberg. Try to convince Hank the cancer was back. Appeal to Hank's sense of family. And then threaten him? Walt's plan was terrible. The only way it works is if Hank makes an equally terrible decision, a decision that would seem to be out-of-character.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by xman, 13/08/2013 8:35pm (6 years ago)

  • After watching the premiere of the final 8 episodes of breaking bad, I have not been able to put it out of my mind. Overall i thought it was a very strong episode. By picking up right where we left off with a long shot of the bathroom door i was immediately thrusted back into the story line and I could hardly wait to see what hank was going to do. The way he reacted, along with where all of the other characters are, felt right to me. hank's new knowledge is so earth shattering that he can barely keep it together long enough to get out of the house before he has a breakdown. walt is attempting to play the role of a car wash owner to perfection, while skylar plays along and tries to stay composed for the sake of her family. Since walt seems to feel no guilt for what has happened, jesse shoulders all of it himself, and the weight of that guilt is crushing him. hes trying to do something right to make that load a little bit lighter but walt stops denies him this at every turn. i was glad to see the scene with lydia demonstrate that walts retirement has had and will have serious consequences. the ending was great, but after watching it my girlfriend and i were both a little concerned that the confrontation had come too soon. for me it is a minor concern, though, because i have a lot of faith in the writers of the show. i wanted to talk about the opening. i know that you are usually wary of flash forwards because often times they end up diminishing tension in the scenes that take place before them. While this is a concern of mine too, my jaw dropped lower and lower as the images of the not so distant future came up on screen: the skateboarders in the dried out pool, the police gates surrounding the remains of the white's deserted and seemingly destroyed home, the holes cut into the floor, and my favorite, the wide shot revealing Walt staring at the name HEISENBERG spray painted across his wall. By the time his neighbor Carol looked at him like she was seeing the boogie man I had said "Holy Shit" out loud at least 3 times, and any nervousness I had had about whether this season would be as great as previous ones was replaced by the overwhelming sense of dread and excitement that this show has always placed deep in my gut. It was a gripping opening, and I feel certain that I will be saying "HOLY SHIT!" many more times before the show comes to a close.

    Viewer score: 76 / 100

    Posted by Dan B, 13/08/2013 7:31pm (6 years ago)

  • Even considering that absence makes the heart grow fonder (and this show has been absent so very long) I was still blown away by the first of the final episodes. 'Blood Money' is not even an episode I'd rank in my personal Top 10 but it's a reminder that most Breaking Bad episodes are exceptional when compared with other TV dramas. The writers made that huge unexpected leap forward in the Hank Vs Walt plot and yet nothing felt rushed or forced. The pacing of each scene was slow and subtle yet I was enthralled by every moment, from seeing the derelict White house in the flash forward, to Jesse accusing Walt of murdering Mike, to the final Hank and Walt confrontation. Even hearing about Badger's Star Trek script had me riveted. Everything was so perfectly crafted.

    Dean Norris's performance was outstanding and I really hope he'll get some awards recognition after the final eight. He's always been the most under-rated actor in the cast. As much as we might have wanted to Hank be the cool cunning detective and not let Walt know that he's onto him, it was so much more realistic for Hank to be unable to mask his turmoil, especially given his history with PTSD and panic attacks. Aside from the car crash and the final confrontation, I just really loved the montage of Hank going through all the Heisenberg evidence that he has collected over the seasons. Hank rewatching the security footage of Walt and Jesse stealing the methlamine in S1 gave me chills. As with 'Gliding Over All' I noticed a lot of little callbacks to earlier seasons in this episode. I particularly love the way that so many dead characters are still playing a role in the story, whether it is Gale's handwriting confirming Hank's suspicions or Jesse being haunted by the murders of Mike and Drew Sharp. I also love that the spirit of Gus Fring now seems to be possessing Walt!

    I'm so excited for what is to come. Lydia would not have come pleading to Walt unless she felt under threat and Lydia has already shown that she'll give anybody up to save herself from prison or assassination. Then there's Jesse. When the people of ABQ wake up to find stacks of $100 bills littering their lawns it is bound to become a local news story. Walt has a serious problem here, not only because Jesse is a loose canon but because (even now) Walt doesn't want to resort to killing Jesse. That's why Walt needs Jesse believe his blatant lies about Mike too. I wonder what measures Walt will take to get Jesse under control? My biggest fear is that Walt will sell Jesse to Lydia and Declan as their new meth cook and threaten the lives of Andrea and Brock to force Jesse into submission. I'm also interested in whether Jesse can achieve some form of redemption before the end. Trying to give the blood money to Drew's parents is no form of compensation for their child being murdered. The best thing Jesse could do is confess to the police so that those poor parents would at least know what happened to their son. Until he does that I don't think Jesse should be called the moral compass of the show, though he is certainly the emotional center of the story. Jesse's illogical acts of desperation in this episode were perfectly in character.

    Viewer score: 91 / 100

    Posted by Kelly, 13/08/2013 4:08pm (6 years ago)

  • Couldn’t agree more, this episode delivered all the drama, thrills and comedy that we expect of Breaking Bad. I was fooled too by the beginning with the skateboarding kids and the revelation of the empty pool hooked me instantly. The flash forward this time was even more effective than in 501 and the „confrontation“ with Carol even ended on a funny note.

    The Jesse storyline was the least compelling here because we have seen all this before and I really hope to see a completely new side of this character before the end. Dean Norris aka Hank on the other hand had to convey all kinds of conflicting emotions and it was very convincing all the way through.

    Overall a really good start to the final episodes!

    Viewer score: 77 / 100

    Posted by Robert, 13/08/2013 2:18pm (6 years ago)

  • This is an excellent opener to the second part of Season 5. We immediately pick things off from last summer without a moment of pause or any missteps that drag the plot out after Hank's realisation in the toilet. I think that many would think that Hank picking the evidence together and connecting the dots on Walt's identity would slowly come and drag all the way through the episodes. However, the writers knew that by not following this direction, it allows the story to move in a consistent, organic and believable manner. It also doesn't "tread lightly" to the audience on their intelligence to know that Hank as a DEA agent, is smart enough to do so. It shows the professional and intelligent side of him.

    Of course, this whole episode itself was full of interesting moments. The flash forward at the beginning is a great example to the viewers of Walter's transformation into Heisenberg towards his collapse and inevitable impeding death. This is especially telling that as Walt comes home, we see the giant yellow-paint sprayed letters of 'HEISENBERG' is shown to symbolise that his identity has been exposed to the world.

    Lastly, of course the highlight was the final scene between the confrontation of Walt and Hank. It was all so good and riveting towards the logic being played out in leading up to this scene from the moment where Walt realises the book was missing and his suspicions with the GPS tracker. I like to think again where the writers take great care in capturing the tensions and emotions between these two are having through the clever use of camera and angle. The focus of Hank's eye show his shock, betrayal, despair and anger all into one as he tries to balance his thoughts of wanting to catch a murderer while clinging to the fact that Heisenberg is still his brother in-law.

    The response that Walt showed was almost a pathetic, but sympathetic display in denying his alter-ego. However it layed to waste that Hank is no fool and upon hearing that his cancer was back, his reply, "Rot you son of a bitch" was another revelling moment as he snidely mention his past crimes. But the Heisenberg we come to expect of course showed up in the end when he said," If you don’t know who I am, maybe your best course of action is to tread lightly " signified a threatening statement on the upcoming task Hank as to face on exposing the truth. It's going to be one hell of a ride with the upcoming "Hank vs Walt" arc soon to come as we now see that in the end, Hank will be the real hero within the series.

    Viewer score: 76 / 100

    Posted by Krean, 13/08/2013 9:18am (6 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments