Breaking Bad “To’hajiilee” Recap and Review: Dangerous Desert

Walt Ep 13 breaking bad

The focus of the latest episode of Breaking Bad centers around the navajo nature reserve of To’hajiilee, which is the location of Jesse and Walt’s first cook, Walt’s buried barrels of cash, and by the end of the episode a possible resting place for more than a few Breaking Bad cast members.


“To’hajiilee” opens up with a scene between Todd, the Neo-Nazis, and Lydia as they discuss the latest cook that the seemingly slow-witted Todd produced on his own. Todd has been able to raise the quality of the meth since his uncle brutally murdered the other criminals producing it, but he still hasn’t mastered Walt’s formula, especially the infamous blue hue. This leads Lydia to question if Todd and his racist uncle can even produce the high-quality meth that she sells overseas, which in turn leads to an interesting deal between Jack and Walt later on in the episode that will get Walt back in the meth kitchen to teach Todd how to properly make blue meth.

It’s definitely intriguing to see how Todd and his Uncle’s squad are beginning to play into the main arc of Breaking Bad, which just goes to show you how brilliant the writers truly are. Once again they’ve managed to slowly sow character seeds that may not make sense at first, but before you know it they’ve gone and reaped the seeds they sowed in a manner that leaves fans wondering what just happened. Based on the last 5 minutes of this particular episode, it’s safe to say that Todd and his Uncle will have more of an impact on the show’s cast than what many fans may have first predicted.

During this opening scene fans are also treated to Todd’s end of the call between he and Walt to lay a hit on Jesse. Now that Jesse has blindly accepted Hank’s offer to score revenge on Walt, he has no choice but to snuff him out, so he enlists the dubious talents of Jack and his crew to do so. It’s sad to see Walt having to setup a hit on someone he considers to be a son, and its evident that Walt never wanted to take this route, but his unyielding passion for his drug money and family have left him no choice. The final straw between these two former partners has been broken, and there’s no going back.

Out of rage Jesse has blindly accepted the help of Gomez and Hank to take down Walt
Out of rage Jesse has blindly accepted the help of Gomez and Hank to take down Walt

While Walt is planning Jesse’s death, Jesse, Hank, and Gomez are hatching a scheme to nail Walt’s ass for his litany of crimes. Hank’s detective skills come to the forefront as he hatches a brilliant plan to trick Walt into exposing the location of his buried cash reserves, which is the only evidence Hank needs to bring Walt to justice. Through some clever photography and Jesse’s tip to bring in Huel (one of Goodman’s body guards), Hank now has Walt where he wants him, and it seems as if he won the day. Heisenberg has been out Heisenberged.

Using trickery of his own Walt heads to Brock’s house (the little kid he poisoned to convince Jesse to do his bidding) in an attempt to draw Jesse out of hiding so Jack and his band of neo-nazis can extinguish him from Walt’s life forever. Unbeknownst to Walt is the fact that Jesse has been in league with Hank, so every call Walt has placed to Jesse has also been heard by Hank, which gives the DEA boss the advantage he needs to outwit Walt for the first and last time. With this knowledge in hand Hank lays the ultimate trap for Walt using Jesse and more creative photography as bait to get Walt to unintentionally show him where his stash is buried. The stage is now set for one of the most tension filled scenes in Breaking Bad history.

Walt can still channel Heisenberg when needed
Walt can still channel Heisenberg when needed

The final quarter of “To’hajiilee” features Walt in a frantic state en route to his buried cash, where he believes Jesse is waiting for him, ready to burn his cash with gas and fire. Walt pleads and pleads for Jesse to hear him out, saying that everything he ever did was to help Jesse, and not to hurt him. Quite frankly I felt bad for Walt as he raced headlong into a trap that he had no idea was in the works even though he also sold his former partner out. Deep down Walt still believes everything he did is justified by the fact that he only wanted to help out his family after his death, which has blinded his judgment and inevitably turned him into Heisenberg.

After arriving in the desert to meet up with Jesse, Walt slowly realizes that he’s been duped into exposing his secret stash. He links up with Todd and his Uncle to let them know that Jesse is en route to his location and that they should ready themselves for the hit. Walt still doesn’t know Jesse is in league with Hank, so he begins to green light the kill until he sees Hank’s SUV roll up with Jesse and Gomez inside. For the first time since becoming Heisenberg Walt has been outsmarted, and it shows on his face as a singular tear forms in his left eye. Accepting defeat Walt tries to call off the hit now that he knows Jesse is working with Hank, but he never gets to confirm with Jack that he no longer wants the hit.

Walt realizes he's been had
Walt realizes he’s been had

Herein lies the dark beauty of this Breaking Bad episode. The final scene features all of the major players in one location and it seems as if Walt has finally ran out of luck and options. Every party has their own agenda, yet they all cleverly ended up in the same place. Walt gives himself up to Hank defeated while Jesse spats in his face for all of the betrayals. It seems like Hank has won, he even calls Marie to celebrate. Then two cars appear on the horizon, with only Walt and the audience knowing their true purpose.

Watching Walt frantically trying to warn Hank and Gomez of the impending doom showed that he still is a caring human that got mixed up in an extraordinary situation while trying to help his family survive his death. At that point he has resigned to the idea of being caught and faced it like a man. He no longer wanted Jesse dead since he knew his time had come, but he was hopeless to prevent what he ultimately set in motion.

“To’hajiilee” ends in a shootout between Hank, Gomez, and Jack’s Nazis, while Walt and Jesse watch on in horror. Before the melee of bullets ends the episode fades to black, offering one of the better mid-season cliffhangers that any TV show has ever pulled off. Fans are left to wonder who if anyone will survive the shootout, and what will come of it. Once again proving that Breaking Bad features some of the best writing on TV, and that a dark void will take its place once the final three episodes run their course.

[schema type=”review” name=”Breaking Bad: To’hajiilee | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Brilliantly written, Tension filled, Killer cliffhanger | The Not so Awesome: Watching what Walt and Jesse’s relationship has turned into” rev_name=”Breaking Bad: To’hajiilee” rev_body=”To’hajiilee Just may be the best episode in Breaking Bad’s lineup of remaining shows. The tension between Walt, Jesse, Hank, and Todd’s group is so thick it can be cut with a lab knife. Seeing Hank flex his detective skills is impressive even if it means outsmarting Walt. The sad state of Walt and Jesse’s relationship also comes to a head, which setup one of the best cliffhangers for a normal TV episode that many boob tube watchers have ever seen. For the first time this season you’ll be dying to know what happens next.” author=”Matt Heywood” pubdate=”2013-09-09″ user_review=”9.5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]



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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.