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BREAKING BAD Recap – Ozymandias

Boom. Frankly, we’re kind of glad the show is almost over, because we’re not sure how much more of this we can sit through. Tonight’s episode of Breaking Bad was not for the faint of heart (ours is pumping so fast we’re having trouble typing this recap), but it was without a doubt the most intense episode of the series so far.

Everything happened tonight. Everything! Revelations? How about Marie forcing Skyler to confess everything about Walt’s meth empire to Walt Jr.? Not good enough for you? How about Walt confessing to watching Jane die moments before Jesse is hauled off to a grim future of torture and certain death?

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The night began, fittingly enough, at the beginning of Walt’s slow descent, his first cook with Jesse.  A boiling beaker is the first image we see in the cold open – an indication of the events of present-day Walt’s life about to boil over – as Walt states, “the reaction has begun,” to a bored Jesse Pinkman. They step outside the RV, giving us our final glimpse of Walt in his underpants as he places a call to a still pregnant Skyler, rehearsing his lies before the call. They discuss potential names for the baby and settle on Holly. Walt and Jesse return to the RV, which silently fades away leaving the desert vacant.

After the opening titles, we’re back on the same shot of the desert as Jack’s crews fade into view, the echoes of the gunfight dissipating into the distance.  Gomez is dead. Hank crawls for his partner’s gun, a bullet in his leg. Jack steps on the weapon before Hank can reach it, ready to kill but stopped by Walt. As Walt pleads for hank’s life, Jack orders two of his guys to search the area for Jesse. He reveals that they’re family, which only increases Jack’s desire for blood. Then Walt offers Jack money. All of the money. He tells him about the 80 million dollars buried under their feet, but Jack’s already put two and two together, realizing the coordinates Walt gave him were far too exact to be simple directions.

“Any last words, Hank?” asks Jack, staring down the barrel of his gun to the wounded mineral enthusiast.

“My name is ASAC Schrader and you can go fuck yourself,” Hank replies. He then turns his attention to Walt, still pleading for Hank’s life: “Walt, you’re the smartest person I’ve ever known and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago?”

Jack kills Hank, as a devastated Walt watches, moaning as he falls to the ground next to his dead brother-in-law.  Jack has destroyed Walt’s world in a matter of minutes. The money is gone; Gomez and Hank are buried in the empty hole. Jack, in a good mood, leaves a barrel of money for Walt (about 11 million dollars worth), and says it’s a peace offering.

“Get in your car, drive out of here. No hard feelings. We’re square,” Jack says. They shake on it.

“Pinkman. You still owe me Pinkman,” says Walt as Jack walks away.

Jack indicates the empty desert, “If you can find him, we’ll kill him.”

Walt stares at the spot underneath the other car: “Found him.”

Todd — Meth Damon — is all too happy to pulls a screaming Jesse out of hiding, and even happier to remind Jack that Jesse was talking to the DEA, offering himself up as Jesse’s potential interrogator to learn what they can before they kill him. Walt, still furious at Jesse and reeling over Hank’s death, gives the nod. As they haul Jesse to their car, Walt pours salt on the wound with a particularly nasty confession: “I watched Jane die. I was there and I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could’ve saved her, but I didn’t.” Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!

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As Walt heads back from the desert (his car runs out of gas, forcing him to buy the white truck we saw in the flash-forward at the beginning of this final run of episodes), Marie turns up at the car wash to gloat about the call she took from Hank moments before his death. She goes out of her way to address Walt Jr. as Flynn before suggesting she and Skyler step into the office to have a private conversation. In the super awkward family confrontation that follows, Marie lays out her plans for Skyler now that Walt is under arrest. She wants to help Skyler — they’re sisters after all — but she needs Skyler to promise two things: 1) She’ll destroy every copy of the blackmail tape Walt recorded framing Hank for the crimes, and 2) She needs to tell Walt Jr. the truth. Now.

Walt Jr. handles this overload of information by rejecting most of it as lies. He demands to speak to his father, to his uncle, to anyone that can clarify the story his mother and aunt just laid on him.

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It all comes to a head back at the house. Walt is already there when Skyler and the kids show up, and he orders them to pack their things. Skyler and Walt Jr. both have a ton of questions, for which none of Walt’s thin-excuses provide any answers. Then Skyler accuses Walt of murdering Hank. Walt denies it, but immediately almost breaks down admitting he tried everything to save Hank. Skyler grabs a kitchen knife and demands Walt leave, slashing at him and cutting his hand. Walt launches himself at his wife and they struggle for the knife as Walt Jr. screams at them to stop and Holly wails. After a few tense moments, Walt Jr. tackles his father, putting himself between Walt and Skyler as he pulls out his cell phone and calls the police. Walt screams, “What the hell is wrong with you? We’re a family!,” further demonstrating that he’s completely lost his mind, before storming out of the house. taking the baby with him as he goes. HE TAKES THE BABY! Skyler screams and runs after the truck as Walt speeds off with Holly.

We’re left momentarily assuming Walt’s completely gone to the darkside, as we watch him coo at the baby while changing her diaper in a public restroom. Then he surprises everyone by calling Skyler at home. The smartest guy Hank Schrader’s ever known flexes his brilliance by subtly revealing his motivation behind taking the baby in a particularly abusive conversation with Skyler in which he blames her for never listening to him, then takes credit for all his crimes, saying he worked alone. Skyler catches on, realizing her husband is giving her one final gift: her freedom. He makes it clear that she was a helpless pawn in his plans, and Skyler sells the bit to the police who are listening in on the call.

Walt, truly broken, plays the Heisenberg character over the phone even as we watch him fight back tears as he says what might be the last words he’ll ever say to his wife, threatening to kill her just like he did to Hank if she gets out of line again. She makes one final plea for Walt to come home, but he tells her he’s got other plans.

The first of those plans involves dropping Holly off at a fire station, making it clear that his intent in taking her was to sell the idea that he’s out of control and Skyler is just another one of his victims. The second part of the plan finds Walt by the side of the road with his barrel of money and a suitcase as the Vacuum Cleaner Man picks him up in a van, presumably to disappear him forever.

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Random Thoughts:

  • RIP Gomez and Hank.
  • Poor Marie. :(
  • Holly lived!!
  • Jesse’s also alive… kind of. As we’re briefly shown a badly hurt Pinkman who is chained up inside a meth lab and forced to cook with Meth Damon, a picture of Brock and his mother is taped to a nearby wall as a simple reminder of what Jesse still has to lose if he doesn’t comply. This will further fuel the speculation that Walt’s returning to New Mexico with that giant gun to rescue Jesse; however it seems pretty clear that Walt’s got no love left for his former student…
  • Which begs the questions: what brings Walt back? What happens in the white house? It’s looking REAL BAD for Skyler and the kids next week. Any alternative scenarios that don’t end in a bloodbath in Walt’s old home? Speculate like crazy below!

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16 comments

  • Taking of the baby was definitely not part of any pre-plan to save Skylar. It was only after the baby asked for her momma that Walt came back to his senses, and THEN devised a plan.

  • Walter White is not going to die, and here is why, First episode of the last season (this season!)

    The first scene you see is Walter arriving at his house and its in shambles, spray painted with skaters skating in his empty swimming pool, his neighbor came out and she was terrified. I think that is going to be the final scene, ending with present time.

  • author

    Super excited by all your comments! I think the ricin being for Walt might be a good call, but disagree he has any intent in saving Jesse. If anything I wonder if Jesse will be a wild card and end up getting the drop on Mr White just as he think he is in the clear.

  • @breakbigbadboy The ricin is for Walt himself. He’s got the big gun to take out the neo-nazis and free Jesse from his slavery. If he somehow survives that, suicide by ricin is a quicker and easier way out than the long, slow, cancerous death that otherwise awaits him.

  • I would have been like, “Bitch, you told me to kill Jesse Pinkman. He was working w/ Hank. So Hank got caught in the crossfire. This is what you get when you play “gangster wife”. This is all your fault. Bitch, put the cops on the phone.”

  • The assault rifle is obviously for the nazi gang, but why does Walt retrieve the ricin from the outlet? Who is he planning on poisoning? Skylar, Marie, Jesse, Lydia, Todd?

  • I am no expert, but it seems to me that some forensic accounting and just basic investigating and questioning would implicate Skyler as an accomplice in the whole matter. If that is true, why then would Walt make that call knowing the police would be listening?

    Maybe, instead of trying to exculpate Skyler to the authorities, it was a ploy to keep her on his side so she wouldn’t spill everything she knew just yet…so he could wrap up his business.

    Who knows?

  • Thank you for the explanation of the phone call. That part left me confused. It definitely didn’t seem characteristic of Walt to talk to Skylar like that after everything that just happened. But it makes sense now in retrospect.

    And there’s definitely no happy ending in the future. A friend and I have been theorizing that Walt may “win” in the end, but it’s going to come at a great cost, as in he’s going to lose his family.

    And this may be stupid on my part, but I’m holding out some hope for Jesse that he might actually survive or escape. It seems odd for the writers to want to stretch out his death by also torturing him physically and emotionally. And I feel like Meth Damon hasn’t told his uncle and the gang that he’s keeping Jesse alive to cook. I wonder if that might bite him in the ass later.

  • I don’t think Walt took Holly as part of any plan, he just was upset and wanted to keep some part of his family. Only later in the restroom did he realize the error of his ways.

  • A few episodes ago, I speculated that Skylar ended up in prison or dead, now I’m firmly in the ‘dead’ camp. I also think Marie’s not long for this world. Jesse was very clear to Meth Damon that everything was on the tape in Hank’s house. I can’t imagine the Albuquerque Nazis will let that slide (“I hate Albuquerque Nazis”). I just haven’t decided if Vince Gilligan will go all the way and kill the kids, or not.

    I am increasingly suspecting that Vince has decided that death would be too good for Walt. Walt will be doomed to live (at least as long as the cancer lets him) knowing that his actions have destroyed everything he originally set out to protect, with everyone he loves (including Jesse) dead.

  • When Frank took the cash, I was thinking the season’s flash forward was Walt making a final ‘nothing left to lose’ play to not let Frank get one over on him. I didn’t think of the fall out of the pending trashing of the White home being a possible motivation for Walt’s final move. The next 2 Sunday nights are going to be intense!
    Hoping for an hour long Talking Bad after the last episode too… 30 minutes is too short to wrap whatever happens up!