Just when we thought Walt couldn’t get any more evil he goes and has an episode of Breaking Bad like this; but our villain couldn’t be any more conflicted with the decisions he has to make here.
Let’s get caught up with last week’s episode first, as we come upon the unfortunate demise of Gomez and, ultimately, Hank. We could hope and dream all we wanted, but we knew those two were most likely not making it out of the desert alive. Sadly, they didn’t make it out of the desert or their lives. Buried in a grave Walt unknowingly dug when he hid his money out in the desert, two bodies went in, seven barrels came out. Hank gets a couple of great final lines in there, but, like us, he knows this is the end. Watching Walt beg for his brother-in-law’s life while Hank stares death right in the face and tells him to “go fuck himself” pretty much says everything we need to know about these two guys. Walt isn't cut out for this game and while he can be powerful when he is in the driver's seat he is a mess when he is under the wheel. I can’t imagine Hank going out more appropriately and while I didn’t really have an emotional reaction to the inevitable moment I don’t think I would want to change it. You will be missed ASAC Schrader. Quick sidebar on Jack, he is classically underestimating Walt, taking 6/7 of his money and killing his brother-in-law is going to come back and bite him in the ass even if he had the upper hand tonight. And even after all the shit Walt pulled tonight nothing will make me happier than a brutal, painful death for Jack, Todd & the Nazi Boys before the series ends.
Jesse getting dragged out from under the car got my heart racing and Walt giving the OK to take him out so casually caught me by complete surprise. He is a vengeful bastard in the heat of the moment and he showed that over and over again tonight. Poor Jesse, I really hope Walt is coming back for him. “I watched Jane die,” would lead us to think this isn’t the case, but one has to hope still, right? The nicest seeming psycho on the planet, Todd, has had his way with Jesse and he looks to be a slave to cooking meth for some time going forward. We see by the end of the night Walt can still think straight once he calms down, but I have to imagine saving Jesse will either be an unintended effect of Walt's assault on the Nazi’s or a total accident at this point. Jesse or Walt at the end of one another’s gun seems like a certainty in the finale. I do hope these last two episodes right the wrong of having Jesse basically be a background player for this final half season.
The fallout on the White Homefront is beautifully played against the mayhem of the desert, as that fateful call to Marie from Hank last week proves to destroy the White family once and for all. Watching Marie walk around in victory while we know Hank is buried in the desert is beautifully tragic, but it’s also a fantastic way to blow up Walt’s home life. Walt was never going to be able to talk his way out of Hank arresting him one minute and being home the next, and that scene in the White household was probably the most intense scene of the season. Watching Skyler and Walt Jr. slowly realize Hank’s fate is brutal, but once Skyler grabs that knife I don’t know if I breathed until the next break. Walt desperately trying to talk his way out of the mess is some of the saddest levels he has ever reached, but seeing him attack Skyler has to be the lowest point for him on the show. Again, this is another vengeful, heat of the moment situation for Walt, but risking his wife’s life right in front of their two children was unprecedented. And holy shit, Walt Jr.’s hero moment was one of my favorite things ever on the show. Anyone that has given Jr. shit throughout the years had to have wanted to cheer in that moment; if they could have breathed. Then Walt had to steal the baby.
I couldn’t see a scenario where Walt didn’t leave the baby behind in Albuquerque, but the vengeful hate rearing its ugly head again shows just how weak Walter White can be. Taking a daughter away from her mother is even lower than attacking Skyler, as Walt continues to find ways to make things worse for himself and us to hate him. That moment on the phone to Skyler seems to lower our opinion of Walt even further at first, but once we see it’s just Walt acting as Heisenberg, saying these truly awful things, that I saw one last glimmer of hope in Walt. He’s trying to do one last thing to protect his family by making sure they never want to see him again. Cranston is incredible as he is weeping through these awful words to his wife and the brilliance of the opening flashback comes entirely clear here. Not too long ago these two were a regular, functioning couple and now they will never be together again.
Everyone gets a moment to shine tonight in the cast and none of them could have done any better. The episode is resetting the pieces for the grand finale, but it does so with incredible tension and suspense that is unrivaled on television. I fear for so many innocents left on the playing field at the end of the episode and I am dreading to find out what brings Walt back home.
Only two episodes left and Gilligan and his team seemed primed to finish this thing at the highest level.
-Come on Hank and Gomy!
-Great hair and makeup matching these scenes up unless this was a deleted scene.
-Oh, Heisenberg rehearsed in the early days.
-"Let this go?" Yeah right.
-80 Million for Hank? Steep.
-"His name is Hank."
-"My name is ASAC Schrader and you can go fuck yourself." - Best line ever on the show? AMC should have paid the fine and let the “fuck” fly.
-"He made up his mind ten minutes ago."
-Jack talks straight and Walt is no longer the villain again. "Pinkman," or maybe not.
-"I watched Jane die." !!!!!!!!!!!!!! "I could have saved her, but I didn't." This was an oh shit moment for sure, but feels arbitrary, like hitting a checklist almost, in the greater context of things tonight.
-Is Marie next?
-What a music cue.
-Oh boy...Marie causing some trouble. Everyone will think Walt had a hand in the murder now.
-Marie still thinks Walt manipulated her.
-Marie's a hell of a sister, but don't mess with her.
-Well, Brock and his Mom are screwed too.
-Walt has nothing to come home to now.
-Get in the car and leave with Holly.
-"Where is Hank?"
-Knife or Phone? Choose your weapon.
-WALT JR.! Hero moment!
-You are taking Holly!!!!!!!!!!!
-Walt is so vengeful in the heat of the moment.
-Shot of Skyler in the street, stunning work from director Rian Johnson.
-Koala Kare can't be happy with this product placement.
-At least he is decent enough to leave his daughter with stranger firefighters?
-So that is why they waited to use that awesome landmark for the “fresh start” pickup, call back.
-Walt is just a stray dog, all on his own. A bit on the nose with that final shot.