By: Jamie Samuelsen
So, has anyone caught their breath yet? Has anyone slept? Has anyone ever watched a more intense, heartbreaking, jaw-dropping hour of television in their lives?
My answer to those questions are no, barely and absolutely not.
I spent the bulk of last week’s blog glossing Vince Gilligan and raving over the episode that ended with the shootout in the desert. Then a friend told me that this week’s episode was Gilligan’s favorite of the entire series. I think we can all see why.
The hour started with a flashback instead of a flash forward. There were Walt and Jesse back where it all started – cooking meth in the RV back in the exact same spot in the desert. The symbolism was obvious. This was where Walt made the decision to make and sell drugs. This was where it all started. Every single thing that has happened to him and his family is because of that first cook in the desert. And the phone conversation with Skyler was just a simple reminder of how much Walt cares about his family and that every bad thing that he’s ever done was for them. It was almost touching.
And that would be the last touching moment for quite a while.
I won’t recap the entire episode. We all know what we saw. The look on Walt’s face as he crumpled to the ground after Jack shot Hank is one I won’t soon forget. And the look of anger on his face as he okayed the shooting of Jesse was chilling. This entire show has been Vince Gilligan’s attempt to turn Mr. Chips into Scarface. Along the way, we thought we’d seen Walt bottom out on more than one occasion. We were wrong.
In one 20 minute period, he told Jack where Jesse was hiding. He told Jack to kill Jesse. He basically got into a knife fight with Skyler while his two children watched. And then he kidnapped Holly and took off in the beaten down truck with the money. If a man can go lower than Walt did last night, I’m not sure I want to see it.
So what now? What can possibly happen in the final two hours? And what brings Walt back to Albuquerque with a full beard and a full head of hair. Could it possibly be the redemption of Walter White? Will Walt “Break Good?”
The first hint that we were heading in this direction was the phone conversation with Skyler. After Walt asked her if the police were there and she paused and said “no”, he knew that the entire conversation was being monitored. He then lit into Skyler and took credit for every single aspect of the crystal meth business. He told her that she had tried to stop him and that she had told him that it was “immoral” to do what he had done. In other words, for the benefit of the police listening on the other end of that phone line, Walt was exonerating Skyler from any wrongdoing. This was for the benefit of the cops, the feds, Walter Jr. and Marie. Skyler will have to try to pick up the pieces going forward, and Walt just made it a lot easier.
So if rock bottom was Hank’s murder and the scene in the desert, maybe just maybe Walt will try to do some good before his inevitable (I assume) demise. And the next most logical place to do it is with Jesse.
Instead of getting executed alongside Hank and Gomie, Jesse was spared. Todd’s reasoning was that they needed to find out what details Jesse had shared with the DEA. But the real reason is that Todd wanted Jesse to cook to get that purity back up towards 95% to satisfy Lydia. Todd even had a leash and a picture of Andrea and Brock to sweeten the deal. Not quite the luxury accommodations that Gus provided, but I suppose it will have to do.
So will Walt’s final act be to spare Jesse and take out Todd, Jack and their bizarre neo-nazi family? Is the ricin for him? Will Marie be seeking vengeance on Walt? Who runs the car wash while all this is going on???
Our good friend Wojo who is also a ‘Breaking Bad’ fiend noticed a dog walk across the road after Walt drove away in the red van headed for his new life. And then during the episode, Aaron Paul (the actor who plays Jesse in case you didn’t know) tweeted, “Dog on a leash.” Well, Jesse technically IS a dog on a leash right now. But Walt isn’t. Was that dog on the street supposed to represent a “freed” dog? Is that who Walt will end up being? Or is Walt now on a leash because he got into that van while Jesse stayed out. Sometimes Wojo’s thoughts make my head hurt. This is one of those times. But it’s clearly not mere happenstance that a dog walked across the road at the end. It meant something. It always does with Gilligan.
Now – Let’s hear from the readers!
I feel like Todd is going to make it till the end. There was sort of a chemistry between him and Lydia, a loose end that somehow will have to be brought back up. With just three episodes remaining there still is a lot of questions yet to answer. – Brent
I did predict last week that Todd was going to die in the shootout. Incorrect again! Come to think of it – how is it that none of Todd’s ‘family’ died in that? Nice training for our DEA boys. But Todd did survive, Brent called it. Clearly, Lydia needs to return (and die, hopefully). And Todd is becoming the personification of evil. I don’t know if Walt or Jesse will kill him, but he will die. Soon.
One telling sign of a good show to me is when I can’t figure out if I love or hate a character – not sure if I want to root for or against him or her. Downtown Abbey and Mad Men both do this superbly, but no show has done it better than BB. That last episode’s shootout had me so confused as to what I wanted to happen… It was great. – Charlie
A bold e-mail by Charlie. First, he admits that he roots for a known murderer and drug dealer. Second, he admits that he watches Downton Abbey. Not bad Charlie.
Actually, I watch it too. Damn good show although I doubt I’ll be blogging about it. But it is one of those “the wife watches it, so I have to watch it” shows that is actually enjoyable.
Oh, my feelings for Walter White? Seeing him cornered behind that rock with his ineffectual little snub nose hand-gun, the look in his eyes showing us he knew he had no way out was pure pathos. I have always rooted for the buried kernel of humanity within Heisenberg . . . even as I was repulsed, particularly, by what he did to his relationship with Skyler. That one moment in the car wash, when Walt was holding Holly, and Skyler and Junior were at the cash register was so poignant because of what might have been . . . of course that moment only lasted a nano-second, because Walt got the photo from Jesse and came totally unglued. – Carol
This re-raises the question. Are we rooting for Heisenberg or not? When he nodded his head for Jack to shoot Jesse in the desert and THEN told Jesse that he watched Jane die, I was devastated. It seemed like any last vestiges of goodness were gone from this man. (Although personally, I was glad when Jane died. Hated her.) But then Walt seems to turn it around when he has the phone conversation with Skyler. It’s one of the great character developments I’ve ever seen. Talk about layers!
Two hours to go. Bad people to kill. And retribution to come. Perhaps.
Tell me what you think! Email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
And as always – have an A-1 day!