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Oh, you guys. Tonight's Breaking Bad. I … wow. I'm not even sure where to get started, so I'm just going to try and fast-forward past the preamble and get right into it. Here's your spoiler warning that I'm about to spoil the bejeezus out of tonight's episode, so please stop reading now if you haven't watched "Ozymandias."
For the rest of you, let's discuss what happened on Breaking Bad tonight, starting with the HOLY SHIT and ending with the OH MY GOD.
First things first: the super top secret casting info that was posted about this episode? Totally bogus. Well played, IMDB.com pranksters, well played.
We start with a heartbreaking flashback to Walt and Jesse's very first cook from season one. I say heartbreaking not because anything tragic is happening onscreen, but because it's beyond sad to see everyone as they were -- Walt and Jesse's Odd Couple banter, Walt and Skyler's affection for each other as he calls her from the desert. This scene seems to linger on some kitchen knives near Skyler, though. Hmmm. Oh well, I'm sure that's just random camerawork since it's not like Breaking Bad is known for including visual omens or anything.
Walt, Jesse, and the RV fade spookily from view, and we get back to the present scenario, seconds after last week's epic shootout. Gomez is predictably dead, Hank is wounded, and Jesse seems to have fled the scene. Walt does his level best to keep Jack from killing Hank, even going so far as to offer up all his millions, but Hank knows better. “You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see," Hank says to Walt. "He made up his mind 10 minutes ago."
Jack pulls the trigger and Hank dies in the dirt. Walt crumples to the ground and lies there shellshocked as Jack commands his flunkies to search out the coordinates Walt gave him. Unlike any geocaching outing I've ever been on, one of the Nazi dudes triangulates the location perfectly in one shot (how comes HIS phone isn't saying that the target is "within 25 feet"?) and they gleefully dig up Walt's cash. Jack magnanimously leaves Walt one barrel, but Walt points out that Jack hasn't killed Jesse yet. "If you can find him, we'll kill him," Jack shrugs, and Walt's eyes narrow.
"Found him," Walt says, staring under his car, where Jesse has been hiding all this time.
There's a truly jaw-gritting moment where it looks like Jesse's going to meet the same end as Hank, but Todd suggests they should take Jesse back home and torture him for information about what he told the DEA. As Jesse is dragged screaming to their car, Walt stops them in order to speak one more time to his former partner.
“I watched Jane die. I watched her overdose and choke to death," Walt says, as I writhe on the couch and whisper oh noooo to the television. "I could have saved her, but I didn’t."
God, Jesse's face.
Walt drives off but doesn't make it very far on account of the bullet hole draining gas from his car, so he ends up rolling his barrel of cash through the desert for what seems like miles before finding a Navajo tribe member's home and buying the man's truck. As he painfully makes his way, we hear a lilting cowboy tune:
Times are getting hard, boys
Money's getting scarce
If things don't get no better, boys
Gonna leave this place
Take my true love by the hand
Lead her thru the town
Saying good-bye to everyone
Good-bye to everyone
We check back in with Jesse, who's now been beaten to a pulp. He's caged in a cell somewhere, and he flips out when Todd rejoins him, sobbing that he already confessed the information about the DEA tape. Todd helps Jesse to his feet and brings him to … oh no. A meth lab. Jesse gets clipped to a wire attached to a rail above his head. It's obviously intended to allow him only a certain amount of movement, and Jesse lurches forward a little to see a photo of Brock and Andrea taped to the wall. Jesse's fate has become hideously clear.
"Let's cook," Todd says, amiably enough.
At the car wash, Marie arrives and tells Skyler that Hank has Walt in custody. Marie isn't quite ready to forgive, but she's not going to turn her back on her sister, either. "Everything changes now, and you have got to prepare yourself," Marie says as Skyler weeps fearfully. Marie then forces Skyler to tell Flynn everything, and as awful as this moment is, it's also sort of like JESUS, FINALLY.
Walt Jr. is naturally completely shattered and more than a little disbelieving, at least until they arrive home and see his dad rushing around trying to pack their clothes and spouting maniacally about starting a new life. Skyler's face is utterly sickened as she realizes that if Walt's not in custody, that means something very bad happened to Hank. Walt's still barking orders as Flynn tries to ask questions and in the midst of the chaos, oh hey there's that butcher block again. Skyler grabs a knife.
The next few moments happen in a flash: Skyler swipes at Walt, drawing blood. Walt and Skyler roll on the floor and the knife is going absolutely everywhere and I am CONVINCED they're going to somehow stab the baby. Walt screams, "What the hell is wrong with you? We’re a family!” Flynn manages to stop his dad, protect his mom, and dial 911. As Flynn tells the dispatcher that his father is attacking his mother, Walt backs away in horror, then flees the scene -- but not before grabbing baby Holly.
He gets in the truck as Skyler shrieks for him to stop, and he rams the living shit out of her car until he can back up and drive away at top speed. I am probably fixated on the wrong thing at this point but OH GOD THE BABY DOESN'T HAVE A CARSEAT.
Some time later, Walt's changing Holly's diaper in a gas station restroom somewhere and the baby makes this entire nightmarish scenario even worse by tearfully saying "Mama, Mama" over and over. Jesus, give this baby an Emmy, I'm dying over here. At the White house, cops are everywhere, issuing an Amber alert and tracking the landline when Walt calls Skyler.
"Are you alone?" Walt demands, "No cops?" Then he proceeds to tear Skyler a new asshole, becoming so fierce and terrifying I'm convinced he's lost his mind completely. He sounds like a sick, abusive monster, referencing Skyler's "disrespect" and pointing out how she never understood anything about his business since he did it all on his own. "I built this!" he screams. "Me! Nobody else!" He growls that she's a stupid bitch, and if she doesn't toe the line, she's going to end up just like Hank. Jesus, has he --
Oh. Oh. Ohhh, I get it. He knows the cops are listening. Walt is giving yet another stunning performance, one that paints him as a cruel villain who forced Skyler to do things against her will while he alone carried out his meth activities … and ultimately murdered his own brother-in-law.
We cut to a fire station, where the guys inside are startled by the fact that the lights on one of the trucks in the garage have turned on. The room fills with flashes of red, and when one of the firefighters investigates, he finds Holly on the passenger seat, tearful but safe and sound. It is a horribly lonely, brilliant move by Walt.
The final scene is at that same stretch of highway where Jesse was supposed to be picked up by Saul's "start a new life" guy. The concrete markers behind Walt look like tombstones, and as a van pulls up and Walt climbs inside, a lone feral dog or coyote trots across the street. Walt is now finally, completely, on his own … but the one truthful thing he said to Skyler on that call was this:
“I’ve still got things left to do.”
What is there to say? What an absolutely astounding episode. What did you think? Do you have a guess on whether Walt will be alive or dead by the last moment in the finale?
Image via AMC