'Breaking Bad,' Season 5, Episode 13, 'To'hajiilee': review


Spoilers are assumed here right? Given the summary itself is a massive spoiler.

The most perplexing thing about that episode is how 2 guys with a pistol and shotgun, facing 5+ armed baddies with assault rifles and automatic shotguns aiming directly at them from maybe 20 feet away, were not instantly dead once the gunfire began. That’s … comically bad, like an A-Team episode.

BB is pretty good about not showing us bullshit. It might show us things out of order, or in contexts we can’t properly frame, but it never shows us bullshit.

The only rational explanation is:

  • Meth Damon’s crew was intentionally aiming not to hit them.

  • Once Gomey and Hank are out of ammo – and how much ammo can they possibly carry on them – they have to surrender. Compare with the crew who took out a rival meth lab a few episodes ago. They came loaded for war. Also, capturing a DEA agent is probably less bad in the big scheme of things than killing one. Even for evil drug involved white supremacists.

  • The crew knows these guys are important to Walt based on the phone call he had with them that brought them out there. What’s the best way to have extreme leverage over Walt to get him to cook for you? Save his ass, and capture the people that are important to Walt.

  • It works for Walt to have Hank and Jesse disappear so he has time to move the money. Meth Damon’s crew doesn’t know about the money, they just had coordinates.

That “don’t expect me back for a while” line to Marie sounded really ominous to me when I heard it, and now I know why – Hank and Jesse are going to disappear as prisoners/hostages. (Gomey may be killed, since he’s kind of the redshirt in this episode, unfortunately.) Hank’s investigation was already so damn far off the books I don’t think they’ll be seriously missed for a long time.

The one thing BB does well is never doing what we’d expect, and the natural expectation is for Hank, Gomey, and Jesse to be killed here. It does assume a lot of smarts on the white supremacists’ part, and it’s not like these guys are known for their tender mercies – but just wanting leverage over Walt and the giant meth cook payday should be enough to explain the paradox of a massive gunfight where nobody gets killed.

(I’ve never been willing to predict BB since it’s so damn great at being unpredictable, but this one for some reason I feel weirdly confident about. It’s the only unexpected amp-up-the-craziness outcome that makes sense.)

edit: I also reserve the right to be 100% completely wrong about all of this. Just a hunch, but one that feels truthy in my gut!


I thought the previous episode, Rabid Dog, had some great emotional sequences: Jessie’s post-traumatic paranoia, Skyler’s booze-fueled morality collapse, Hank’s single minded callousness…but I expect at least one overtly violent, gross or shocking moment. every. single. episode.

And last week…nuthin’.

But no complaints tonight: that was a tense showdown and no mistake. My toes curled. Yes, it’s a pity that once the assault rifle started firing we are supposed to believe two not-particularly-in-shape men having the drop gotten upon them, out numbered/gunned/in the open can escape unscratched from a fusillade. But…that’s cinema: some jackass always has to upset the fruit cart.

Walt’s cash blind sniveling+ self-righteous rage= perfect. I also think this may be the happiest we are ever going to see Marie.

Jessie’s hand was twitching toward the door handle; hope he makes a break for it…

Only 3 more?!? Noooooooo!!

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TV is not real life… but even in real combat a lot of bullets are fired un-aimed.


These 4-5 guys were specifically shown aiming down the sights of assault rifles at two lightly armed close targets, from propped (supported) firing positions on the vehicle. They’re also basically mercenaries.

No way they would have missed, unless it was intentional, which makes a lot of sense given the other variables in play. Also, standard bulletproof vests versus assault rifles? LOL.

It’s kind of clever to play the audience this way, to show a “traditional” cartoon TV shootout cliffhanger with tons of rounds fired and potential miracle outcomes – and then find out later it was cold blooded and 100% completely intentional.

Also not to get all heavy on everyone, but the physics of assault rifle vs handguns does matter, that’s why for example the Columbine massacre had so many wounded survivors and Newtown… didn’t.


I’m with @codinghorror on this one.

  • That shoot-out was really on the brink of being absurd (bullshit)
  • Remember how Meth Demon shot that kid on the bike? That was one shot from an equal (if not greater) distance.


  • If they really shoot around the cops that would mean they had to be smart enough to come up with this plan beforehand. And I have a hard time buying that. These are the guys talking about the train heist in the middle of a diner.

I also wonder if they are going to find out about the money under their feet…They ought to be wondering why the hell Walter had them come to these exact coordinates.

I’m up way too late (I should probably be getting up about now), but I just saw this and had to tell someone.

I knew that Todd and Crew were going to show up. Walt should have just hunkered down and let them take all three of them out. Not quite sure why he decided to go soft suddenly - maybe he felt like he got out maneuvered and that it was time to stop it all.

That said - I don’t know where it will go from here. Will they kill everyone? Will Hank and Gomez surrender and then they have hostages? They are completely out gunned. I have a bad feeling that if you like Gomez, now would be the time to watch all of his old scenes and say good bye. I can’t see Jesse getting away unless they let him go. It’s possible but unlikely that Hank or Gomez called for back up on the way out there.

For the record I think Hank and Gomez die. They take Jessie and Walt back to force them to cook, and Walt finding away to finally end the meth operation will be the finale. Maybe that is why he came back for the poison at his house.

The gun battle was a little silly, especially for a show that, for the most part, has a lot of realism. Gomez was out in the open completely when the first shots were fired, he should be dead. That AA-12 can throw an enormous amount of lead in a short span of time, especially if he has buckshot. I don’t see a bandolier or anything on Gomez, so he probably only has 9 shells at the most. Depending on the caliber of Hanks Glock, he probably has only around 19 rounds per magazine, and probably no more than 2 spare mags on him. The only “safe” cover is behind the engine block. Even then a rifle round could find a away through. In other words unless their is a Deus Ex Machina or they let them surrender, they are dead.

Ok, I buy that MAYBE Uncle Jack and the Klan are missing on purpose with the intent of taking hostages, but Hank and Gomez are not shooting to miss. Would the White Supremes, none of whom took any substantial cover, willingly be targets of two experienced, weapons certified, DEA agents?

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Yeah, I think they’re pushing our credulity way too far now. Heisenwalt suddenly turns into a total imbecile, which is way out of the character that’s been established the past few years.

  1. If Jesse is working alone, how would he get the GPS data from the van rental place? He can’t subpoena it himself.
  2. It’s been established that Walt and Saul are very careful about trackers. They just happened to forget, the one time he’s moving around millions of dollars to a secret location in a rental van?
  3. Even with the GPS coordinates, how would Jesse find the buried money so quickly?
  4. If Jesse’s not working alone, why would the cops let him burn evidence?
  5. Explicitly confessing to multiple felonies on a phone call to someone who obviously bears you no love. Duh.
  6. “We tapped Goodman’s phone.” Nothing that arises or derives from a violation of attorney-client privilege like that would be admissible evidence. If true, they’d have fucked their whole case. Okay, maybe we can’t expect Huell to know that, but he’s been hanging around Saul long enough to definitely know never talk to cops.
  7. Where’s Hank’s warrant for listening to Jesse’s voicemail?
  8. Hank’s not the smartest guy, but he is an experienced LEO. What makes him think a prosecution can use anything surreptitiously and unauthorizedly gathered by a cop on a relative? They don’t let surgeons operate on family, and they don’t let cops investigate family. If he’s so dead-set on building a case, he needs to be, y’know, building a case. He’s going to feel like a real asshole when all his evidence is thrown out and Walt walks. Even accepting that he’s blinded by his personal vendetta, how come Gomez hasn’t brought any of this up?
  9. Jesse’s not exactly a thoughtful individual either, but all the righteous indignation is a little hard to swallow, given that Brock is perfectly healthy, Gale is dead, and manufacturing meth on that scale is poisoning a hell of a lot more than one kid. Gomez seems to be the only person who might be willing to call him out on his moral high ground bullshit, but he’s using him as an asset, so…
  10. Everyone has Stormtrooper Aim in the final scene. It’s been suggested that the white power guys were intentionally missing, but they were coming pretty damn close, and I can’t think of a reason they’d do that.

EDIT: I’m kind of liking Todd, despite myself. He’s the only main character besides Walt Jr. who’s not deceitful at this point, and his scene with Lydia was awkwardly touching. Damn this show for making me root for white supremacists!

This is exactly what was going through my mind during most of this episode, and especially when Walt starts racing out to the desert, basically confessing everything over an open phone. It was all completely out of character and out-of-control for Walt. I’m also surprised that it never once occurred to Walt that Jessie just might have been in Hank’s custody. To me, that would definitely been a real possibility.

I’m going to be very disappointed if these last few episodes devolve into Walt-Turns-Braindead.

Was the pic on Hank’s phone of Jessie with his brains blown out foreshadowing? Will Todd’s meth gang go ahead and take out Jesse and save Walt while sparing Hank and his sidekick? Their surviving the fusilade has to be intentional.

I don’t know if the race down the streets strained any credulity with me. We know Walt gets mad. We know Walt gets stupidly mad. We saw him beat the crap out of the kids tormenting his son… we saw him threaten Hank, we saw him order the hits of 10 people in prison. We saw him stupidly order the hit of Gale. We see Walt get angry a lot, and sometimes, many times, the cold calculating Walt comes back in time.

Only this time, there wasn’t enough time for the cold, calculating walt to come back. He was too busy being angry at Jesse, driving out to the desert. It was only when he got there did cold, calculating walt call in the backup.

It’s been clear from day 1 that Walt’s weakness is his temper. He’s pissed off at everything. He’s pissed that he has cancer, he’s pissed that he is in a loveless marriage, he’s pissed that his son has a debilitating disease, he’s pissed that he missed out on the big science company , he’s pissed that he’s teaching high school, and he’s pissed that his best friend ended up with his love interest. And it’s clear that his biggest mistakes flow from that anger.

I see nothing wrong in what he did in the last episode.


Remember, Walt’s in a near-constant state of panic at this point and has maybe… a year to live? He can’t rebuild that nest-egg for his family at this point, that buried money was his last chance — and Jesse has been his weak point more than a few times (remember when he charged down those two dealers in the middle of the street?).

This is Walt (not Heisenberg) at his most desperate.

The shootout definitely requires some suspension of belief, but they did show Hank slowly trying to make his way behind the SUV… so it could be a matter of just not establishing the correct perspective to show they were kind of in cover.

There’s no way Gomey isn’t dead here — I was in “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh” mode for a solid 10 minutes because they were doing the whole “mission accomplished” thing wide open in a desert; I was totally expecting his head to get blown off in one of those tight shots when he was being buddy-buddy with Hank.

It also seems like what they were building up to with those flash-forwards was some sort of “Heisenberg’s last stand” which I was expecting to be with the police, but now it’s starting to lead to a skinhead shootout. Though, who knows at this point - maybe it’ll be the Czech… or with the predictability of the writing so far, maybe Walt’s just using the gun to build a colony on the moon.


Having read the other comments, thought about how truly bad that episode appeared to be after 50+ hours of perfection, I am having to assume that the rednecks are up to something…

wait… Walt screaming no in the car so he sounds like he is blameless and trying to save everyone, no-one getting hit when even I with my rudimentary .22 rifle skills would have hit someone… I smell a plot twist, no way someone didn’t get shot in that gunfight if it was for real. So Walt phones the rednecks back out of shot, tells them where he is, what he is up to, what is about to happen, offers to cook for them?, otherwise no way he gives himself up.

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Yeah, I was thinking a handgun and a shotgun at that distance against that lot, no way - done for in a trice.

LOL, I think I’ve seen that before but I only just got it :smile:

Yeah Walter giving them instructions sounds more plausible than Jack and the gang coming up with that idea by themselves.

Wow, that’s a really well framed product placement in that shot.

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It’s a lot harder to hit a target when you’re being shot at yourself, but these guys are proven badasses, not plinking at beer cans with a .22 LR on weekends.

Walt’s already agreed to do a cook for them. His sudden concern for Hank & Gomez’ welfare is another thing that makes no sense, barring some deus ex machina plot twist (he was working for the DEA all along!) Why call off the neo-Nazis anyway? I’d be like “yeah, get here and make sure to bring a whole crew of heavily armed skinheads to off these fucking feds along with my liability of an ex-partner.”

This may be why I am bad at business schmoozing.

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A couple comments about this episode:

  1. In the review, saying that Walt is “making up excuses” about how he “killed all those people to protect Jesse” - he did, actually, kill those two drug dealers to protect Jesse. Because if he had let Jesse kill them, Gus would have had NO problem killing Jesse. But because Walt did it, he had to keep Walt alive. If Walt didn’t actually care about Jesse, there would have been MULTIPLE times across the course of the show where Walt’s life would have been so much less complicated if he’d just let him die in one way or another.

  2. I have a pretty good feeling about my prediction about what’s going to happen with Walt and his BFG in the flashforwards. I’m still pretty confident that he’s coming back to save Jesse from the skinhead gang. But now I’m thinking it might be Jesse and Hank that he’s coming back to save. But I do feel like Gomey is going to end up the redshirt in this episode.

And I’ve seen people saying “Why didn’t he just let them take out Hank” - Walt has shown the same reluctance around Hank that he did with Jesse throughout the whole show. He could have had them take out Hank as soon as he found out about Hank’s epiphany, but he didn’t. Walt might be a complete sociopath, but he still has all these noble ideas in his head about protecting family, etc, and he really did think of Jesse (and Hank) as family. He was hoping that he was smart enough to not be able to be caught by Hank, and didn’t want to kill him.

But really, I think there are still more twists coming. The only death I really see happening here is Gomez.


Well yeah, there was the whole he’s family thing around Saul’s suggested “Hanks’s trip to Belize” solution — so Walt definitely doesn’t want to kill Hank. Not to mention that’d probably be a huge issue with Skyler and Marie that would completely dissolve any solution of sweeping things under the rug.

Your prediction is making sense as the plot furthers, that’s for sure.