So Readers… last night was rough…. really rough…
In fact I didn’t even want to blog about it this morning, so as what’s probably an act of further stalling, here’s something that AMC released before this episode (titled Ozymandias):
Now I remember reading that poem in high school, and while I could comprehend it (and in fact was required to complete an analytical essay on it) I felt little about it. That poem held no personal attachment for me. Even after reading and then watching Watchmen, while the name truly stuck at that point, the poem still did not. The point I’m making in all of this, is that like Luther, Dexter and other dramas, Breaking Bad isn’t just good because it’s a quality drama with wicked writing, stellar acting, and the oft disregarded breathtaking direction & cinematography. Breaking Bad is what other shows for years to come will be measured against, because it is so intelligent, and the high expectations viewers have for it are always met or exceeded, because it has high expectations of its viewers.
So to all other shows out there (even those I also highly regard and love), its like last night Breaking Bad declared (without fear of eventual decay or obscurity) “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair”.
Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 14: “Ozymandias”
Last night’s episode began where everything began, the first cook, and what Aaron Paul on twitter (he did a live tweeting, isn’t he awesome!) referred to as the lie that started all lies, with Walt calling Skyler and having a sweet everyday conversation with her, to then tell her that he’d have to work late. As Jesse way in the background is throwing stuff and grunting… man I miss those days.
But it all slowly faded, Walt, then Jesse and then the RV. What then faded into the shot is where we left off last week, the vehicles, riddled with bullets and the dust settling after the shootout ( I still haven’t completely forgiven Vince Gilligan for that cliffhanger).
The camera cuts to a shot of Gomez, who is quite definitely and most unfortunately dead. But we have zero time to grieve this, because Hank, who sees the gun beside his fallen comrade has to begin crawling (due to a shot in the thigh) to try and get to it, as the neo-nazis, who have quit firing begin to make their way to Hank.
Of course they get to it before he can, and this is where “Ozymandias” makes “To’hajiilee” look like a peaceful and relaxing hour of television.
As Jack points the gun at Hank, Walt tries REPEATEDLY to get Jack to let Hank go, telling him that Hank is “family” and that he won’t be a problem. Walt even then, does what I found to be one of the most surprising moments of the episode, offers up all of his money to Jack, all eighty million! Telling Jack “You can have any future you want!” (Which is definitely a non-existent future for Walt at this point).
Hank however is being less than cooperative, and when Walt tries to tell Hank to shut up, and let him help. Hank tells Walt he won’t beg Jack for his life, and then says “You’re the smartest guy I ever knew, but you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago”. He then tells Jack to “do what you gotta do.” And with a single shot, that was the end of Hank Shrader.
In shock, Walt falls to the ground. Unable to initially process what just occurred, as he lays there, Jack rightfully assumes that the coordinates Walt gave him indicate where his fortune is buried. Jack has his crew dig it up, and to be honest, it kind of turned my stomach, to watch them easily dig up and take what Walt had earned. I’m honestly fine if Walt ends up broke and alone, like we saw him at the beginning of these final episodes, and I could agree that the money was earned with so much bloodshed and pain, that Walt no longer deserved it. But for Jack and his guys to get it with no effort, and take his legacy, as if all Walt had ever done was in vain, was downright painful. The pain persisted though as they dragged Hank and Gomie’s bodies and put them in the hole that Walt had dug with all that toil. All of which poetically pointed to the fact that even though Jack may have fired the bullet, and they may have all been there because of Jesse and Hank’s trap for Walt, it was literally Walt who dug Hank’s grave.
While this is going on, from his place on the ground we get a shot of his POV, which is in line with the ground beneath his car where Jesse (who Jack’s guys hadn’t found) was hiding this whole time.
After digging up all the cash, Jack tells Walt he’ll give him a barrel (which would have approximately 11 million in it), and that they had a deal, so he expects Walt to cook with Todd. At this point Walt says “Pinkman… you still owe me Jesse Pinkman”, Jack replies “If you can find him we’ll kill him”
Walt then does what I really thought was unthinkable (I thought he’d use Jesse as an excuse not to cook, and then get out of there with Jesse… oh how foolishly optimistic). In two words, Walt becomes nothing but a monster to me: “Found him”.
The guys drag Jesse out from under the car, and we get yet another reminder of why Aaron Paul is the amazing actor he is. During this scene all I could do was slowly shake my head and mutter the word “No”, as if my TV could hear me.
I kept thinking that Walt would change his mind, and then I got what was probably surprise number two. It wasn’t Walt who saved Jesse, it wasn’t even Jesse who saved Jesse. It was Todd!
Yep that’s right, Todd the idiot stepped in and told Uncle Jack, that maybe they should keep Jesse alive just long enough to see what he knows, Jack checks to make sure it’s fine with Walt and then they drag him off, without any emotion from Walt, who before they leave finally tells Jesse “I watched Jane die” explaining how he was there, and how he could have saved her, but chose not to.
Walt then tries to leave with his money, only to have his car (which had been shot and leaking fuel) run out of gas.
So his only option at that point is to roll the barrel, until he can get somewhere with a phone. As we watch this sequence the song “Take my true love by the hand” by The Limeliters is playing and its lyrics, “Say goodby to everyone, goodbye to everyone” couldn’t be more perfectly fit for this episode. Also case you were wondering if those were Walt’s own pants he rolled past, well they were, here’s a set of screenshots AMC put up:
Walt makes it to a Navajo’s (I’m assuming Navajo, because that’s the tribe that owns the land, see map in previous BrBa recap) house, and buys his truck that wasn’t “for sale”, until Walt gives him ten grand. Back at the car wash, Skyler is trying to call Walt, as Jr. runs the register, and Marie walks in, telling Skyler they have to talk.
She tells Skyler that “three hours ago” (giving us a time frame) Hank had arrested Walt, and that it’s over. Marie thinks that Skyler can still come back from all this, telling her “Hank will help you as much as he can and I will support you as much as I can”, on the condition that Skyler give up every copy of that terrible DVD she and Walt made.
Marie also insists that Skyler tell Walt Jr. about everything, she initially refuses, but gives in.
We now get to find out exactly why Todd kept Jesse alive, to help him produce a better cook. As if the beating and being chained in the lab weren’t incentive enough, we see Jesse’s reaction to a picture of Andrea and Brock outside their home.
Back at the car wash, Jr. is definitely no longer having an “A1 Day”. He won’t accept what his mother and aunt are telling him, calling it “bullshit”. Marie convinces Skyler to take the kids home, telling her she’ll meet her there later.
Walt has gotten back to the house first though, and has begun packing. When Skyler and the kids get there she asks Walt “Why are you here?” and repeatedly over Walt’s attempt at an explanation keeps asking “Where’s Hank?!?!?” Walt finally breaks saying “I tried to save him!”.
As Walt goes down the hall to keep packing, Skyler steps into the kitchen toward two very strategically placed items, I found myself realizing I had no clue whether she was headed for a knife or the phone (Well played Mr. Gilligan… Well played).
She grabs a knife.
Stepping between Walt and Jr. she tells him that they’re not going with him, as a surprised Walt steps towards her, she panics and slashes at him with the knife slicing his hand. Walt then tried to grab her and the knife, resulting in a scuffle that I thought would be the end of Skyler.
As Walt gets the knife from her, Walt Jr. grabs him, and gets tossed on the floor, he remains there protecting his mother. Walt can’t understand what’s going on saying “What the hell is wrong with you… we’re a family”. Jr. takes out his phone and starts calling the police.
As he does so Walt starts to leave, but not before he grabs baby Holly, Skyler realizes what’s happening and runs out trying to stop him, but Walt gets into the truck and speeds off, leaving a shocked and distressed Skyler behind.
Back at the house Marie is there, and so are several police officers. Walt calls, Skyler picks up, and she lies when Walt asks if there are cops there. What transpires next is something that I later realized was a great con on Walt’s part. Skyler asks where Holly is, and he tells Skyler threateningly “This is your fault this is what comes of your disrespect… I told you that if you cross me, there will be consequences… You mark my words Skyler, tow the line or you will end up just like Hank”. Skyler then asks where Hank is, because they “need to know” and Walt tells her they’ll never find Hank and “Family or no, you let that sink in”. Skyler then tries to get Walt to just come home, but he replies “I’ve still got things left to do.”. He then hangs up, and gets rid of his phone. It was only after this scene, when Walt drops Holly off at a fire station that I realized what Walt did. He threatened Skyler like that, knowing the cops were there to get her as much off the hook as he could for her compliance. So despite what he did to Jesse, he’s not completely heartless.
Finally the episode ends with Walt waiting in the same place Jesse did, and then getting into the red van as it pulls up, and leaving.