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In “Hazard Pay” (episode 503), Assistant Special Agent in Charge Merkert (Michael Shamus Wiles) talks to Hank and Gomey about how he never suspected that Gus Fring was a meth kingpin. Merkert is about to take a forced early retirement, and laments that he can’t believe that Fring was someone else completely, right in front of him.
That line seems to resonate particularly profoundly with Hank, who we know isn’t entirely convinced that Heisenberg is dead. We’re all expecting a Hank-Walt showdown at some point in season 5. Count me in that camp, but I can’t help but wonder: What if Hank has already connected the dots? What if he has already figured out that Walt is Heisenberg? Perhaps Hank is just collecting more evidence, looking to make his case air-tight against Mike, Jesse, and others involved in Fring’s operations.
Remember that Breaking Bad has taken place over the course of a single year and change. During that time, Walt has continued to walk between the raindrops, to some extent aided by Skyler. Well, he can’t count on her silence anymore. It’s looking less and less likely that she will keep spinning things and keeping up appearances. In fact, as we see in the preview from next week’s episode, Skyler may be on the verge of flat-out giving Walt up. And we know that Marie has a big mouth.
Regardless of Skyler’s actions (or inactions), Hank continues to zero in on Heisenberg. (It remains to be seen how or if Hank’s new job as ASAC takes him away from the day-to-day responsibilities of his cases). In “Dead Freight” (episode 505), Walt ostensibly breaks down over Skyler and the state of his marriage. As Walt cries, Hank predictably gets uncomfortable, shutting the blinds on two of the windows in his office and leaving to get Hank a cup of coffee. It appears as if Walt’s doing the manipulating, as he hurriedly plants bugs in his brother-in-law’s office. But remember that the third blind remained unopened. What if Hank was actually watching Walt? What if he knew that Walt was listening to his calls?
Hank has more than once stumbled across would-be clues that would ostensibly implicate Walt. Case in point: Walt’s sloppy inventory of high school chemistry equipment. And let’s not forget Gale’s notebook with the “WW” inscription. In “Dead Freight”, Hank notices Walt’s extravagant new watch and even comments on it.
To be sure, we’ve underestimated Hank before. Even while confined to his bed, he’s able to make progress on the Heisenberg case. In “One Minute” (episode 307), even while shot by the Brothers Salamanca, Hank is able to pick up a shell, load his gun, and fire a single bullet into the head of his ax-bearing attacker.
What if Hank is playing Walt–not vice-versa?
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