By Jamie Samuelsen @JamieSamuelsen
DETROIT (97.1 THE TICKET) -There was a fair amount of grumbling after last week’s episode of ‘Breaking Bad’.
I was one of those doing the grumbling.
That is a regret that I’ll have to take to my grave.
Because on Sunday night, Vince Gilligan and the rest of the “Breaking Bad” team gave us perhaps the finest hours of television that’s ever been made. And if you think I’m overselling it, then just stop reading right now because you lack a pulse.
So to Mr. Gilligan, a thousand apologies for any criticism that headed your way from me, or from anyone else. You can produce a full season of dull episodes in exchange for what you gave us on Sunday night. And I think we’d still come out ahead.
Let’s start with the ending and move backwards, because the ending is all anyone will be talking about for the next week. Hank and Gomie were facing off, guns a blazing, in the desert against Todd’s rather violent, bizarre family. The question that everyone is asking is – who dies? Is this a familiar question or what?
Let’s start with the obvious. Walt lives. We know this for a fact and we know this because without Walt – there’s no show.
I think it’s equally obvious that Hank is dead. The weepy, emotional phone conversation with Marie prior to the shootout pretty much clinched that. It’s kind of like on ‘Chopped’ when the chef who’s about to get chopped acts all cocky about the appetizer he made out of clams, peanut butter and grape soda. You just know what’s coming next. The scene was clearly a chance for Hank and Marie to say good-bye. So Hank’s cooked. I think Gomie goes too. He’s a terrific character, but he’s not vital to the storyline.
Plus, if that’s not enough, there’s this. We know (thanks to the flash forwards) that Walt is alive and that he’s on the run. If either Hank or Gomie survived, one of them would take Walt in. But since they’re working separate from the DEA (hence, no badges), it’s pretty clear that there won’t be any back-up.
As for Jesse, I’m with the masses out there that think that he survives. First of all, there has to be another Jesse/Walt showdown that consists of more than Walt shouting ‘coward’ and Jesse spitting in his face. Secondly, there are three episodes left and the Walt/Jesse dynamic seems to be the main storyline as yet unfinished.
When it comes to the bad guys (wait a minute, who’s bad in this scenario?), my guess is that Todd goes. Todd seems like the only one in that crew with a soul (other than the fact that he killed poor Drew Sharp). And Todd is the one go-between for Walt and the uncle. With Todd out-of-the-way, that relationship will get a lot darker a lot more quickly.
But here’s the best part about the episode Sunday. Even without the tension-filled shootout and the brilliant scene that drove Walt from the car wash (Have an A-1 Day!), it was an amazing hour.
The cat-and-mouse game between Walt, Hank and Jesse was incredible.
Some highlights –
1) Loved Hank’s line “Nice try a–hole” when he realized that Walt was trying to draw Jesse over to Andrea and Brock’s house.
2) They clearly tried to make it look like Brock recognized Walt over a bowl of Froot Loops (Walt – “Froot Loops, good stuff!”) and didn’t have particularly fond feelings for him. That must have been quite a first meeting with the “Lily of the Valley”.
3) Huell has been a massively underused character over the run of the show. His performance in the hotel room with Hank and Gomie was priceless.
But one overwhelming thing I have to mention is this. As Walt was crouched behind the rock and his entire existence was closing in on him, I was stunned at how I felt. I was sad. I was rooting for Walt. I knew he was going to get out of it with three episodes (and a LOT of hair growth) remaining. But I actually felt bad for him. In past blogs I wrote that Walt had turned the corner and he was now a character we rooted against. What about you? Were you still rooting for him too?
Final random thoughts –
1) The song “Sherry” by Journey was playing when Todd and Lydia were talking about the quality of the meth. Any chance this was a ‘tip ‘o the hat’ to The Sopranos who turned Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’” into another phenomenon in the series finale?
2) Speaking of music, do you think Todd has “Blinded by Science” as a special ringtone for when Walt calls?
3) Gomie had a great line when he called Jesse “Timmy Dips—t” but it paled in comparison to the line of the night from Saul. “Don’t drink and drive. But if you do…call me.”
Can’t wait for next week. Let me know your thoughts – email me.