Breaking Bad Watch: Season 5, Episode 15 - Granite State

Breaking Bad’s transition from Mr. White on the run to Mr. Lambert rolling back in to Albuquerque was what we got in the show’s penultimate episode and it made us feel really sorry for just about everyone not named Todd.

Saul made it out alive! But he looks like a sad sack being sent off to Omaha, Nebraska. I could watch a spin-off of Walt and Saul in the Vacuum Man’s secret room for seasons on end, but it was great to see Saul knock down Walt another peg before heading out of town; with cancer kicking Heisenberg in the ass for good measure. Saul says, “This the end,” but Walt won’t hear it as he vows revenge for his family, his pride and his money. Bob Odenkirk gets a great, presumed, send off here, as they worked in every shade of Saul for him to play. He gets to be smart as he clues Walt in on Skyler’s probable reality, he hilariously works in a couple of final one liners and he gets to cower in fear under the intimidation of Heisenberg. I for one am excited for more Saul in the proposed spin-off, but I am more excited Saul got a healthy and fitting send off from Breaking Bad this week.

Skyler is under attack at every turn after Walt leaves and she doesn’t have her sister or her son by her side to help. Being grilled by the DEA and home invaded by Todd and his Nazi family, Skyler’s life and livelihood are under serious threat. We barely see the destruction, but my sympathy ran high for her this week. Thrown out of her home, working as a taxi dispatch, having a shitty lawyer and having no family left but her daughter, it was a long way to have fallen since that flashback that opened last week’s episode. Anna Gunn has been great this season and she quietly shows a broken women this week.

It only gets sadder when we check in with Jesse, who is still locked in a pit in the ground and is given a glimmer of hope when he accidentally brings a paper clip into his cell. That hope came courtesy of a photo of Brock and Andrea that the Nazi’s are using to threaten Jesse into cooking meth for them and just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. Jesse’s foiled escape attempt is sad enough (Paul is brutal to watch pleading for his death), but forcing him (and us) to watch Todd execute Andrea for punishment was devastating. I felt more for Andrea than I did for Hank last week and that is because she was an innocent in all of this whereas Hank at least knew the risks. The only thing I am hoping for in the finale is a happy reunion between Brock and Jesse and that Jesse doesn’t seek revenge on Walt when he rolls up on the Nazi’s. And come on, more Aaron Paul, please.

Up in the mountains of New Hampshire, near the Canadian border, Mr. Lambert resides alone, cold and stripped of control of anything for the first time in his run as Heisenberg. News from home, human contact, chemo and restocks of goods only come once a month and before we know it we are a good three or four months ahead in the future. Cranston is incredible shacked up alone in that cabin and I felt nothing but sympathy for him as he dives deep into depression, trying to figure out how he can help Skyler and his family. It’s a sneaky call to Flynn that finally crushes Walt though, finally realizing he has nothing to fight for left in his life. He is ready to turn himself in again when his pride is wounded one last time by his old Gray Matter co-founders. That one Charlie Rose clip in the bar succinctly showed how epic Walter White’s antics had become known, but also gave him one last kick in the ass to his pride that he has something to prove again as his former partners marginalize his role in their company. It’s been a while since we discussed Gray Matter on this show, but we should all remember the vitriol Walt has for his ex-partners and their success. I don’t think we ever got the full story, outside a scorned lovers quarrel, among the three partners and this is an interesting turn for Gilligan and his team to take the show in the final hour. Does Walt want to prove he’s still capable of being good? Does Heisenberg want revenge for the insulting slight against his contribution to the company? And how do the Nazi’s fit into all of that? We only have an episode to wait and see.

Special mention must be made to Jesse Plemons who took Todd to another level this week. Whether he is being creepy with Lydia, killing Andrea, charming his prisoner Jesse or threatening baby Holly, Plemons got a ton to work with and nailed it. Todd went from an odd anomaly to a possible all-timer villain on the show in a single episode; no one needs to die more than him in the finale; nice work Mr. Plemons.

Only one episode left. It’s going to be bittersweet next week, but the table is perfectly set to be blown to hell in the finale. We’ve caught up to the flash forwards, Jesse is at rock bottom (Granite State), Skyler is at rock bottom and Walt himself has nothing to live for except his own pride. I don’t know where we are going to end up, but Breaking Bad is this close to finishing this out about as great as anyone could have possibly imagined.

Random Ramblings:

-Robert Forster was great in this episode and it was a great piece of casting for this very important role for the shows transition.

-Oh, it's Saul! And still rather vain.

-"You'll have a bunk mate"

-"He's still here."

Whew, Marie is safe, for now.

-Nazi's don't support killing kids?, nope just don’t like getting snitched on.

-"KUDOS to you."

-Brilliant putting Walt and Saul in the same room for this reality check discussion.

-"Define good."

-"Another douche bag with a job and three pairs of Dockers."

-Skyler's lawyer looks like he is terrible at his job.

-Todd gets creepier and creepier.

-And even creepier with his obsession over Lydia.

-David Porter’s score has been superb these last few episodes; subtly menacing.

-Looking sharp and drinking tea now Todd?

-"It went really good, the message was received loud and clear."

-Skyler is in trouble, Lydia is a loose cannon.

-Todd is so proud.

-"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium; two copies."

-Couldn't leave the hat.

-What's going to draw him out?

-Colbert's going to love that reference to Americone Dream.

-Again, Todd is the nicest psychopath there ever was.

-Some amazing shots from Mr. Gould tonight.

-He's out!

-Give me the F-bombs AMC!

-Oh no, not Brock and Andrea.

-Todd, fuck you! What an amazing villain.

-Aaron Paul was incredible in that truck.

-One month jump? Or two months. Talking Bad said four months.

-What are we going to learn via newspaper headline?

-Me and the vacuum man agree on the lawyer.

-Chemo on the go.

-"I'll give you ten thousand dollars." And we keep feeling sorry for Walt.

-Gilligan and his team are doing everything to make us feel sorry for Walt here in the end, and it's working.

-Gray Matter even covering their ass.

-"Walter White" is second hand knowledge on the Charlie Rose, he's quite the big deal.

-Is Gray Matter getting some Ricin?