Breaking Bad season 5 episode 15 review: Granite State

Review Paul Martinovic 24 Sep 2013 - 07:20

Breaking Bad's penultimate episode, like the rest of the drama, is stalked by death. Here's Paul's review of Granite State...

This review contains spoilers.

5.15 Granite State

Over the entire course of television history you’ll struggle to find many TV shows that haven’t relied on death as one of the most trusty and reliable weapons in their dramatic arsenal. Need a previously unsympathetic character to win round the audience? Have their pet die and display their softer side. Need a page one rewrite of a show whose cast of characters are growing stale? Have a plane crash into the local pub! Supporting actor caught DUI or yelling slurs at a co-star? Send them to Belize. Hell, even Friends has the episode where the weird neighbour dies. Death in TV and other forms of fiction is ultimately little more than narrative punctuation: it’s necessary.

But Breaking Bad doesn’t just feature death as some device to keep the show going– it’s all about death. Yes, it’s also about meth and morality and family and villainy, but ultimately death permeates every frame and informs almost every decision made by the characters, and penultimate episode Granite State was an episode where the stench of mortality became unavoidable.

Whereas last week’s Ozymandias was a horrifying, dizzying descent into the depths of despair for Walt and his extended family, Granite State feels numb and purgatorial, as our already broken and beaten Breaking Bad gang are pummelled even further into the ground: it’s like watching someone collapse face down towards to the floor after their heart has stopped, unable to put their hands out in front of them to break the fall. But in slow-motion.

But before we dive headlong into the blackness, it was a very pleasant surprise to see the wonderful Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) appear as the infamous vacuum cleaner repairman who runs a neat side line in disappearing crooks, in his persona as ‘the Extractor’. Forster’s weary disposition brings an earthy gravitas to the role that feels just right: this is exactly the right kind of person to put in charge of the likes of the panicked, uneasy Saul and the headstrong, hysterical Walter, as they respectively attempt to find their way out of their impossible situations.

We saw a different side to Saul in what was possibly his last scene in the series: usually, his one-liners and comic exasperation have lent Walt and Jesse’s actions an air of capering that they perhaps don’t deserve, serving to make them appear much more exciting and outlaw-like than they are, say, repugnant. Looking back, perhaps this was just as much for Saul’s benefit as it was for ours, because besides a wry line about a Cinnabon, his wisecracks at this point have largely dried up. And so has his weaselly, slippery nature: it was a shock when this most unscrupulous of SOBs advised Walt to simply give himself up to the authorities. Walt attempted to Heisenberg his way out of that reasoning with some gravel-voiced intimidation, but the exertion jarred something loose and the doomed plight of Walt’s situation came rushing to the fore once more in the form a hacking cough, a perfect metaphor for the manifestation of Walt’s biggest nightmare coming to pass: all his hard work and violent misdeeds climaxing in a bout of ineffectual, impotent wheezing, and eventually death.

We then saw that nightmare played out excruciatingly on screen, as Walt lived out a number of months in a remote cabin in New Hampshire, cut off from the outside world, cut off from his money supply (he’s unable to leave his cabin to spend it, and he is unable to wire it to his family lest it alerts the police) and cut off from the ever-growing legend of Heisenberg, with only a collection of newspaper clippings and two copies of Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium to keep him company (its effect may have been enhanced by the gruelling content surrounding it, but this is genuinely a contender for one of the series’ funniest ever throwaway gags).

After a while, the onset of his inevitable death becomes almost too real for us to bear. His body becomes ravaged by cancer, chemo and the cold, with his fingers becoming too skeletal to hold a wedding ring, forcing him to wear it round his neck in what feels like a grotesque parody of a gangsta rapper’s trophy-like ‘bling’. His pointed donning of the Heisenberg hat and crazed whispered promises to himself to go into town and start planning revenge ‘tomorrow’ make him sound like a nutty old man, not a drug kingpin. He becomes too feeble to even insert his own needles for therapy, and he has to pathetically resort to bribing the Extractor to stay and play cards with him – which even then he ends up having to haggle over.

Forster’s character feels almost like an analogue of death, only with the sickle being swapped for a Hoover nozzle. There’s a weary professionalism about the way he casually turns worlds upside down: this is a guy whose nine-to-five is ushering one persona into the afterlife while setting up new ones elsewhere – except in Walt’s case of course, there is no time for a second chance, even with all the money and fake identification in the world.

There’s another character on Breaking Bad who feels like death incarnate, only for very different reasons: Granite State does an incredible job of setting up Todd as the creepiest and most evil character on a show that has not exactly been lacking in memorable villains. As I’ve mentioned before, the casting of Friday Night Lights’ Jesse Plemons was a masterstroke, using the impeccable Southern manners and farmboy features that he utilised to such likeable effect in his previous role to disarm and unsettle the audience far more thoroughly than the more traditionally loathsome Uncle Jack and his crew. Todd is a combination of Norman Bates (the unfailing politeness and bashfulness around women that conceals his dangerous, possibly perverse obsessions) and the Great White from Jaws. His smirk on recollecting the shooting of Spider Dirt Bike was chilling, and it’s hard to watch the scene where he politely (natch) threatens Skyler while stood over the crib of her baby daughter without hearing Quint’s words: “He’s got lifeless eyes, like a doll’s eyes…when he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be living… until he bites ya.” As against-type stunt casting goes, this is now up there in the pantheon alongside Michael Palin in Brazil and Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West.

Of course, Todd’s most reprehensible act in Granite State was the brutal murder of Andrea, a plot development that felt shockingly nihilistic even considering what has preceded it. The matter-of-fact nature of her killing, with Todd’s unctuous charm segueing into sheepish apology before climaxing in the lame, quiet pop of the handgun, was difficult enough to take in and of itself, but the following shot of Jesse, eyes and skin red raw, letting out a guttural, muffled howl into the night, was just plain horrible. Has there ever been a character in any piece of fiction that has had to suffer more at this point than Jesse in Breaking Bad? It has reached the point where I am almost willing him to get killed just to get put out of his misery – but whereas the spectre of inevitable death looms over Walt and drives his actions, death in Jesse’s world is something that follows him around but never takes him directly, instead leaving him behind to grieve and survey the carnage. Perhaps it’s Jesse who is death: it certainly always seems to end up pretty badly for everything he touches. Like many Breaking Bad watchers, I still really want to see a happy ending for Jesse – but the death of Andrea makes only a Pyrrhic victory possible, as there’s just too much blood on his hands. If that Pyrrhic victory involves his murdering Todd in a spectacular way, however… then I’ll take that at this point.

I definitely don’t foresee a happy ending for Walt, either: in fact, I know there isn’t a happy ending for Walter White, as I’m convinced I saw it take place three minutes before the end of this episode. After pathetically attempting to send a fraction of his earnings to Flynn (as he is now understandably insisting on being called) stuffed in a soda can box, Walt manages to get him on the phone. Barely able to stand through the pain and fighting back tears, he is almost incoherent as he tries to explain himself to his son for the first time, before a furious Flynn tells him he wishes he was dead (not unusual for a teen to tell a parent this, but he really means it) and hangs up. This signals the end for Walter White, whose M.O. has always been about trying to provide for and to protect his family. With Hank dead, Skyler estranged (after she attacked him with a knife) and now his own son wishing death on him, he has nothing left to fight for: hence his phone call of surrender that summons the police to the bar. When he drops the phone off the hook, this feels like the last action of Walter White.

But the truth is that Walter White is only one half of the man who sits savouring a whiskey he thinks will be his last, and when a serendipitous appearance from his old Gray Matter colleagues Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz disrupts the moment, the Heisenberg half of his persona begins to take control once more. And Heisenberg isn’t driven (or should that be hindered?) by family. He’s driven by one-upmanship, by hubris; by an unquenchable need to dominate and destroy the opposition. He is the warped physical manifestation of the fear that you have wasted your life, the personified rage against the dying of the light and he will damn well make sure that you know his name before he gets out of your way.

Again, the interpretation of the final scene can vary (although next week should clarify any doubt immediately): you could take it as confirmation that Walt/Heisenberg is off to kill his Gray Matter colleagues, who are (albeit understandably) publicly underestimating his contribution to the founding of the company. I think, however, that the conversation alerts him to the fact that he in fact has a whole swathe of enemies left and therefore people to rail against, the mention of the blue meth tipping him off to the fact that Jesse, Todd and Uncle Jack’s gang must be working together to profit off of his name and work, in exactly the same way that Elliot and Gretchen did all those years ago.

If Walt truly was only acting in the interests of his family, then this whole meth adventure has truly been for nought. But his reaction at the end, and refusal to finally surrender to the police, confirms that it was never really his only interest.

There’s a beautifully poignant moment earlier in the episode where the Extractor points out to Walt the bucolic nature of his surroundings, describing them as “a good spot for a man to rest up, think on things. If you look around it’s kind of beautiful.” It’s reminiscent of the kind of language you hear terminal illness sufferers use when describing the period after being diagnosed as one where life seems so much more precious, vibrant and - yes - alive (it’s also reminiscent of lines from the final scenes of Fargo, a film Breaking Bad has made numerous references to: “There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that? And here you are, and it's a beautiful day. Well… I just don't understand it.”).

This is a path Walt could have taken, using his last few months to appreciate and enjoy the things that he had managed to achieve with his life – nice home, great family life, the education of hundreds of kids – but instead he let his bitterness at regrets and failures overwhelm him and eventually poison his soul. Family wasn’t enough: Walt needed to go out feeling like he made an impact on the world. Isn’t that what we all want to feel that we’ve done before we die? The alternative – your name being written out of history and forgotten forever – is too depressing to even contemplate. You need to make you mark when you can. And it has to be said, an M60 will do nothing if not leave a mark.

One more episode to go…

Read Paul's review of the previous episode, Ozymandias, here.

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Robert Forster. The use of the theme tune towards the end of the episode. Aaron Paul's broken Jesse. Lydia. "Tomorrow". Gray Matter. Every single supreme moment that Bryan Cranston is on screen. I could go on but knowing that Walter White will be dead, one way or another, in just 6 days is killing me.

Oh God, I'm going to miss this show so much.

Loved how in that last scene the shadow fell on half his face..giving off a Two-Face feel..and we see its the Heisenberg half we are looking at..brilliant acting and direction..

Excellent review!

Really superb review, Paul. Well done.

Great review again.

Firstly great article !
I would have to disagree with he has nothing left, he has holly. The one thing in his life that doesn't hate him. The one thing in his life he still has a chance to influence in some kind of way.
My ending is probably different from everybody's, such as everyone else will have a different idea.
I want it to pan out everyone is dead except Walt M60 in one hand and Holly in the other then cut to black.
He has lost everything and has the one last thing that could redeem him. Death in one hand (M60) life in the other (holly) and the grey in the middle (Walt)

Nice idea Grockcity! and if i remember correctly, there is a big reference to scarface in the first part of this season...that calls for a bloodbath, obviously and i would love to see holly/m60 in hands!!

It is worrying that i emphasise with Walter a lot? That he was a decent man who was overlooked and crapped upon until he 'turned'?

Loved it when they brought in the theme tune, pitch-perfect timing!

Great review of a superb episode of what is a peerless television series.

During the Talking Bad show that followed this episode, guest Adam Scott (Ben from Parks & Rec) commented that Heisenberg has always been within Walt. The flashbacks to his time with Gray Matter, depicting the confident 'rockstar' at the blackboard, the leather jacket, cocky attitude - Heisenberg was already there, except for the Pork Pie hat. I fully agree with this.

Deep down Walt feels cheated out of a life that he feels a man of his intellect and talents should have lead. Whatever the true circumstances surrounding his exit from Gray Matter (an affair with Gretchen is strongly hinted), it left a splinter in his soul that has festered, turned cancerous. His diagnosis made him desperate; in desperation he surrendered to his darker impulses.

The moment he watched the Gray Matter interview on TV Walter White was gone forever. No more doubt, no more dithering. Just (self-)righteous fury. Heisenberg is back to reclaim his crown. And I can't wait to see how it all ends.

Lovely review as ever. These last few episodes have been bordering on physically painful to watch they're so tense.

Can't wait to see how it all ends. I just want Jesse to be happy :(

Annoyingly I have to post this comment again - a clue as to why it was deleted would be nice, don't think there was anything objectionable in it!

Anybody else having trouble with the murder of Andrea? I really felt that it was a step too far, and it's possibly the first time I've ever felt that about the show, in terms of darkness and brutality. It just didn't seem to serve any purpose that hadn't already been served by the five million other horrific things we've seen happen to Jesse. We didn't need to see him broken further. We didn't need to be told that anyone could die at any time - we knew that. We didn't need to hate Meth Damon, Uncle Jack and the White Power Funtime Hour Gang any more than we did. Maybe the pointlessness was the point, but I felt that this episode was not the place for such bleak nihilism. Why choose the penultimate episode to hammer home the idea of life being meaningless, and that awful things happen to Jesse, and that his girlfriends always die (also, really? Another of Jesse's women is killed? Even if the nastiness didn't bother you, it was kind of lazy), when this has been explored in depth for the last five seasons. Why did we need one more appalling tragedy? It just seemed unnecessary to me. And I'd happily stand by pretty much every other gut-wrenching decision the writers have made throughout the show's run.

It's a shame (for me at least) because it coloured my enjoyment of an otherwise superb episode. Walt's physical and mental degradation made for grueling viewing. Great to see Robert Forster, what a pitch-perfect performance. Great ending, with awesome use of the theme music, and I loved how they brought back Gray Matter and set up the Absolute Carnage that will surely follow.

Another great review too.

In terms of suffering in recent TV shows, I'm now undecided as to whether it's worse to be Jesse or Theon Greyjoy from Game Of Thrones... now that's a real Sophie's Choice!

Great article as always; always an enjoyable and intelligent read, and I shall miss these reviews almost as much as the show itself!

theon got it worse, you cant grow them back but i suppose you could get new friends and survive a few beatings. but some say say physical scars are just as bad as mental ones. good dilemma thou.

They had to send a message to Jesse that if he tried to run or tried to stop cooking for them then he had to face consequences, it was the right thing to do for the story line and horribly brutal.

That was a heart breaking episode, my Uncle died of cancer and one of the first signs he was losing his battle was when his wedding ring dropped off, that was painful viewing for me but brilliant tv.

I know it’s wrong but I still want Walt/Heisenberg to win, I know he probably won’t.

My dream ending is him joining with Jesse to kill Todd’s gang, Jesse gets to kill Todd then kills Walt. It ends with Jesse starting a new life, smoking a cigarette which he doesn’t realise contains the ricin and Walt gets his last win from the grave.

I'm glad it's not a choice we have to make! Although there's still time for it to happen to Jesse in the last episode I guess, haha...

this episode was good and delt with my one concern rather well. how would they speed up time to catch up with the flash forwards. in my opinion walt called the police not just to surrender but to bring down the nazis. he ( walt ) will lead the police to the nazis via chasing him. i suspect the gun m40 ( is that right? ) will be so that he can kick of a fight using the police as back up. also to maybe draw attention to the fact the great heisenberg is still out there. as for the ricin well i think that could be for lydia getting that in her tea as walt uses her to track down the nazis. and as a way of clearing up his mess. as for jesses i would have to say he either gets caught in the cross fire or kills walt and blames him for jane and andrea. (( on a side note id like to see todd die ))

i think they have done enough . oh would throw in beecher form OZ as third choice. he had a fairly bad time. he was branded with swastika after being raped by the Aryan leader. becomes humiliated in prison. loses his child. gets beaten up. gets mentally abused and partial insanity

Hmm. Yeah I can see why it was done in that respect, I guess I just don't feel like it was justified. I think they could have come up with something cleverer, rather than another re-tread of Jesse's life sucks and everyone he loves dies. He could have failed to get out of his cage in the first place, for example. He'd still have been broken by the finale. It just seemed unnecessarily cruel.

Just a matter of personal taste in the end.

oh could someone tell me how much time pasted between bald walt and hairy walt in the cabin as im confused. the guy said he would be back in a month. surely it was longer than that due to the papers and walts hair....

Something to note, the box he packed the cash in wasnt a soda box. It was a box of ensure "the extractor" gave to walt. Its used for bulking up cancer sufferers when the y loose so much weight.

The creators of the show confirmed on Talking Bad it was around 3 to 4 months leaving this episode 2 days shy of Walt's 52nd Birthday which is where the cold open to this season kicked off

This a conscious effort to hollow Jesse out. Mark my words Jesse will survive this but he will be dead inside, the final scene will be Jesse becoming Heisenberg, they'll even probably have him don Walt's Pork Pie hat, as he heads off into a future where he is more of a monster than Walt, Tucco, Hector, Fring and the Nazis put together. Walt's greatest achievement has been Jesse, and he has treated him like a son on occasion and most of his manipulation of Jesse has been in the manner that parents try to mould their children, sometimes dishonest and in Walt's case downright Machiavellian, but the actions of a parent none the less. Remember Jesse and Walt only get on when they have the same problem or a common enemy just like a family. So with Flynn's rejection of his father and a daughter that may never even know his name, the only legacy Walt will leave is Jesse.

Heisenberg is dead, long live Heisenberg.

I think Beecher beats anyone for having a bad time, that's an understatement. He made one mistake, he was never a 'criminal'. I find Oz deeply disturbing to watch and what happens to Beecher is one of the most profound changes a character goes though in anything. He goes from being a lawyer to being made into a criminal by the very system which is meant to punish him. Not only does he lose a child, and become a prison bitch, his wife leaves him, his brother is murdered in prison and he then arranges the demise of someone else's offspring. Oz says more about America than perhaps anything, even including The Wire (which I adore). Unlike The Wire I could never watch Oz again, it was too bloody painful to watch the dehumanising of people and the uncompromising brutality. I can never watch Law & Order without Chris Meloni sending a shiver down my spine for his uncanny portrayal of Chris Keller, he was amazing in Oz... so terrifying... someone you couldn't help feeling you'd have wanted to be on the right side of like Beecher was.

I'm with you all the way. I think a lot of people over a certain age are.

As someone who has liked but never worshiped Breaking Bad I think this episode was dull and a total waste of time for the penultimate episode. They could have done so much more so much faster.

I'm still routing for Walt to survive and get his money back and kill everyone, including Jesse who deserves everything he gets. Nothing short of that will satisfy me. I really do not want an old fashioned moral Hollywood ending, that will ruin the whole thing. Walt's problem is when he became a gangster he did't embrace it enough and get himself some proper henchmen and 'clean up' the mess around him for good, including his brother and sister in law... who wouldn't want to get shot of their brother and sister in law :D

Really enjoyed reading that

My perfect ending:

• Walt now goes to find the neo-nazi's
• Walt helps Jesse escape
• They both come together one last time to kill the neo-nazi's
• Jesse kills Todd with his bare hands
• Jesse and Walt settle their difference before...
• ... Jesse deservedly kills Walt for completely ruining his life.
• Walt Jnr gets to have one last breakfast

The end.

oz is a show that is easily in my top ten but like you ive been only able to watch it once due to its nature and seeing what happens to beecher and the Irish guy's brother was too much for me. the show is grossly underrated compared to the wire or even breaking bad. but there's nothing like it either.and it delt with some good subjects such as long term effects of imprisonment. male breast cancer and the debate over executing someone with a mental handicap .

thanks there was some confusion on my end as to how much time had passed. i knew it was before walts birthday but it seemed more than the month the guy said.

Another superb review from Paul here. He's mentioned doing a companion book and I hope he does. I can barely draw breath after these recent episodes, much less think of a cogent argument about them!

I was struck by that television segment Walt watched in the bar. It seemed to me that he had decided to give himself up and while you could draw the conclusion that he's enraged by Grey Matter sufficiently to go on the rampage again, I think it was Gretchen saying that Walter White wasn't out there (or words to that effect) which galvanised him. I think, with one episode to go, he's realised what we've known for a long time. There is no Walter White any more. There is only Heisenberg. You can of course read it that he's angry enough to lash out and that may be true, but I felt his chilling expression was that of a man who finally understand who he is.

Agreed.

That was the first time that he has realised who he is now. Heisenberg.

He has never fully embraced Heisenberg because he has always had sense of guilt (begging for Hanks life) or at least thought he had morals (I'm doing this for my family etc). He always had a reason that he thought cancelled out what he has done.

But a switch went off in his head in that last scene. And when that music kicked in, it was an epic ending and start to the finale.

Walt is no more, there is only Heisenberg.

I hope to God that the "Breaking Bad" spin-off ("Better Call Saul") simply re-tells the BB story from Saul's POV.

Allow me to nitpick somewhat, because some of this episode was badly done.

The Andrea scene - "Hi, you don't know me but I've appeared at your house in the middle of the night in a rough neighbourhood to name drop someone you know. Please open your door and leave your house unguarded."

Yeah sure!

All those cops show up at the end, based on what? Someone made a phone call?
So they haven't had a hundred calls from pranksters claiming to be Walter White already?

If you kill Gus (as a writer) and replace him with no-backstory, bland, charicature 'nazis' who seem to have wondered in from a Jason Statham movie then you've made a mistake. I am completely indifferent to these characters, they could be anyone!

Walts biggest error was not letting Gus kill Jessie, if he had then he would have got away with it all and been able to give the money to his family. Once he saved Jesse by running the two guys over he was in over his head with no way out.

Oz also decided a lot of the time to just go full on mental. The disappearing corpse being bricked up, the random musical interludes (FREEE WIIIILLLLLL!!!!!) and the dead character narration was a little over the top, but for it's time there was nothing like it.
It went further than any show before, and most since. Oz is something of an underrated masterpiece and would be a great subject for a DoG article.

In regard to your first point, Andrea didn't live in a rough neighborhood, Jesse got her out of one. And Todd name-dropped Jesse whom she loved and thought was dead of an OD thanks to Walt. I don't blame her for it, and Todd was very charming.
Second Walt left the phone off the hook so the call could be traced easily. How many posers would want to risk being arrested like that? A handful maybe. Of course they're going to send local law enforcement to check it out.

yeah and the whole resurrection thing . that was one of the more stranger moments of the show and it is one of the few shows that had a good ending. esp given you had invested in alot of the people such as the two old guys. beacher, the nun

I think the problem with Oz and why it isn't as great as The Wire etc is it is too uncompromising and too unpleasant. I studied this notion during my first degree (which is in English)... if something is too brutal and too close to reality people are put off by it and are not entertained. I found Oz seriously hard going, it was not entertainment in any normal understanding... but I had to see it through and it is pure genius... what it did was establish HBO as the leading TV drama maker.

Yeah that was kind of what I was getting at. You only have to remember things like Tony Soprano having Chris killed to know what has to be done if you want to survive as a gangster. Jesse is the weakest link.

well said. and due to that HBO has generally knocked out some good shows. from thrones to the wire. to everybody loves raymond to oz

I hope Jesse survives. Probably won't though. Damn.

Hey man, as this all comes to an end, I wanted to say thanks for your reviews. Been reading them all the way in australia. Very insightful and well written reviews. It's been great reading them, thanks so kuch

Their (HBO) only real shame was in canning Deadwood (a success) due to financial worries in terms of unwanted commitment to a second series of Rome (not really a success) only to then return an unprecedented billion dollar profit the same year :(

I'm completely the other way round, I wasn't bothered by the death of the character. BUT I don't think it worked as part of the story. Although time will tell... I'd have thought they would have got a lot more out of Jesse by threatening or injuring her... killing her would make him more resistant and desperate, even if the kid's life was still on the block. When that scene started I assumed they were going to just pistol whip her and drive off again saying 'next time she dies'.

"I want it to pan out everyone is dead except Walt M60 in one hand and Holly in the other then cut to black."

I imagine he will be shirtless at this point?

I think it's too simple to see him as becoming only Heisenberg. I feel much more that what this has portrayed (if anything) is that we all walk a tightrope and there is a bad/evil side to all of us which can come out. The other side is still there though, which is why he hated to see Hank die etc.

ahh that was aweful..tiny.cc/BreakingBad-S05E15

Watching Walt rotting in his New Hampshire purgatory reminded me of a scene in The Sopranos, wherein Meadow is helping AJ with his English homework. They discuss Robert Frost's poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. Meadow tells AJ that the poem is all about death - the cold, endless white - and he says: 'I thought death was black.' 'White, too,' she says. Here is the final stanza:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I think it resonates here, too, especially since death is so prominent in Breaking Bad as to almost become a character. Excellent, peerless reviews/studies by Paul. Will miss them almost as much as the show itself.

The 'Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium' line was fantastic... Is it just me who would love Walt to just go through people's DVD collections, growling out the names and fixing you with a withering stare... "Lemony Snicket's a series of unfortunate events? Pathetic..." - "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs? *Grrr*" - "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo?! *Violent coughing fit*"

Nice bro! I like that

No wearing a shirt and his tight whiteys of course ;)

Yet again your review is best on the net Paul. Nice work!

The ricen's not even in the cigarette anymore. Hasn't been since Heull took it from Jesse in season 4?

U really watching this show cuz?

Yeah I know that but he could put it in the cigarette at some point again when he intends to use it, he's going to do that or put it in someones food

Jesse is going to create an explosion in the lab to kill Todd and himself in the process. Watch this space!!!
**Alonzo said it 1st**

Don't feel worried bro! Team Walt all the way!!!

I think Walt will try to take down Gray Matter and make it nothing. Bring down his partners to his level.
Maybe Jesse will survive and take care of Brock?
Ricin for Walt. Would be poetic.
Anyone else hear Robert Shaw's voice as they read the jaws line? I did.

The one ray of light is that once this is over, they start filming the 'Better Call Saul' prequel spin off.

No, it will never reach the highs of Breaking Bad but it's something at least!

Agree, I'm not surprised she opened the door. Todd's young, clean-cut and non-threatening, that's makes him so terrifying. Like Gus Fring before him.

It doesn't, it's a prequel set before the BB story.

I have to say for such a well written show Flynn is the most one dimensional flat character that for me has never rang entirely true against all the depth and nuance of those around him.

Did anybody notice the commentary on hockey match : "Turnovers, turnovers ... if you get turnovers in the offensive zone chances happen" , and after that a turnover happens ... Heisenberg is back :)

Yeah I got shivers. It was a great moment for sure. Man I can't wait for next week.

And the hat.

Also he called the school who would have notified the police, and if they could have figured out it was from Maine then they would connect the dots.

Great review. Nice Father Ted reference too.

Has there ever been a character in any piece of fiction that has had to suffer more at this point than Jesse in Breaking Bad?

Yes, Otto is "Sons of Anarchy". Has anyone ever had a worse time in a TV prison that poor Otto.

'Cinnabon Saul' has a ring to it.

Perhaps for season one and two - but eventually, the story of Walter White could encroach.

As in 'full of awe'?

No half measures

I think he's good... he doesnt over play, even when he's listening to Walt talking. I felt for him in the class when the call is announced... it must be hard for him with story of his Dad being a drug kingpin... looks like he is still trying

Kind of silly mate...

If you say "nothing short of that will satisfy me", you are setting yourself up to be unsatisfied, as I would trust Vince Gilligan to do the ending over you any day.

"Phrryic"? TWICE? Probably the best review of this episode I've read today... and I've read them all.

I totally agree... RJ Mitte acts the hell out of what he's given but I thought Ozymandias also needed an extra ten minutes to explore his character's reaction to the news.

Would pay good money for that book. Will miss these reviews terribly.

Walt is gunning for Grey Matter... he just won't let Uncle Jack & co exploit his work the way Gretchen and Not Gretchen did in the past.

i think the m60 is just a tease. how many seasons did they tease us with the ricin (and most likely the ricin is for Todd, no one else would consume anything from walt except for todd)

Also i think both Heisenberg AND Walter White are dead. Heisenberg was died with Hank. thats why the opening scene from "Ozymandias" was of the first lie Walt told to Skyler, that was the "Birth" of Heisenberg.

This has all been outlined since the "Chemistry is about change" line in the pilot.

I think the character that has emerged is not a combination of Walt and Heisenberg. But "Mr Lambert" is his own new character with his own goals.

His not dying. V Gilligan has warned he is going old testament when punishing WW and other sinners. Other time, other context, other country, and WW and Jesse would go off riding onto the sunset. But America is ridden with corruption, much white collar crime. Gilligan is bent on using BB as a morality lesson.
The guy is gonna turn himself, save skyler, the last deed he can do for his family and take down grey matter from the inside (and probably fail)

i wouldnt say "one dimensional" aside from many of the children is one of the only innocents in the entire series. his intentions are good and maybe even more straight forward then Hank's.

Lots of males running off to the wood this week on US TV. Maybe a Dexter/Heisenberg face off is coming up.

Lolz yes the hat too!

What are the odds that the DEA "requested" that Gray Matter go on Charlie Rose and trash Walter, got draw him out?

I hope that at the beginning of each season, we see Future Saul working the graveyard shift at a Cinnabon.

...Except that you stole that idea from my post - under which you replied "WTF. U on crack?"

Busted klepto; you're just like Marie. Pour me a drink of water, because I'm dying of FIRST. :•D

Best review that I've read on this episode so far, without a doubt. Kudos to the author for knowing the TV show and its characters very well, contrary to many other critics.

I would argue Walt's biggest mistake was telling Gus about Jesse's plan to off the dealers in the first place. He should have let Jesse do it. The kid wouldn't have been killed, and Gus would be none the wiser.

Woah simmer down der Sparky. I didn't even read your entire bizarre essay so touche!

Great review as always. Insightful and very eloquent. I'm going to miss them just as much as the show.

In the last scene at the bar when Walt is watching the TV, Gretchen is asked "Is Walter White still out there", and she replies "No", "the sweet, kind, brilliant man that we once knew, long ago, he's gone". That I think is the moment when Walter White finally breaks bad (I hope I'm saying that right), brilliantly punctuated by the use of the main theme music. That is the moment when Walt himself realizes it. Until now, Heisenberg has always been a means to an end, called upon when he
served Walt's interests, like his family's well-being, or his desire for
greatness. But now that Walter White is gone, nothing
remains except Heisenberg. And what Heisenberg wants above anything else is to win.

There's still time to screw thing up, but I'm very hopeful that come the end of the last episode I'll be able to say (after holding my breath for 30 minutes) that I've just watched the greatest TV show ever. Bring on the Waltpocalypse!

On a side-note, is it just me, or does Black Glasses Walt look like Gordon Freeman?

Exceptional. Despite its misleadingly meditative pace this episode felt even more devastating to me than last's week's hell-ride (not least because the the shock of seeing Todd and his crew in the nursery Funny Games-style caused me to spill some seriously hot green - and therefore milkless- tea in my lap). The murder of Andrea felt unbearably and possibly redundantly cruel though. As StefMo points out I'm not sure that we needed to be reminded of how dangerously, blankly evil Todd is (that smirk was more than enough) or how utterly bleak Jesse's existence has become. It seriously bummed me out and Jesse's response...ugh. On a lighter note, did anyone notice the long shot of Todd attentively picking hair/fluff off of the back of Lydia's jacket at the very end of the cafe scene? The detail in this show!
Great review as ever.

OK, just a suggestion - the perfect follow up role for Bryan Cranston? LAMOUNT Cranston! Bryan should star in a remake of "The Shadow!"

Breaking Bad [[recap]] free!! >> http://tiny . cc/lr1x3w

There i was, readying myself for bursts of cheers and clapping when my hero Jesse undid the latch and escaped. And then, almost instantly, his hopes were shattered and he was tortured - emotionally - once more. Shakespearean stuff.

It was perhaps the only way to keep Jessie there, with the Nazis, so he can be there when Heisenberg arrives. And rest assured Heisenberg will arrive there and he will get revenge for Hank's murder and he will recover the stolen money he intends for his family. But he will also uncover Jessie, and the two that started it all will be the only two standing at the end.

And justly, as revenge, Jessie will kill Walt. But not before he promises, with sincerity, to provide for Walt's family.

Jessie will recover Brock and evade capture. Perhaps heading for Alaska?

The guy from the Orange ads was mad distracting though...

This is a great review, but I have to disagree with this:

"His body becomes ravaged by cancer, chemo and the cold, with his fingers becoming too skeletal to hold a wedding ring, forcing him to wear it round his neck in what feels like a grotesque parody of a gangsta rapper’s trophy-like ‘bling’."

It is traditional and practical to wear your wedding ring around you neck once you're older and the ring doesn't fit anymore. I've known old women who wore their wedding rings on necklaces. This may also be a thing to do once you're widowed.

I don't know how you got that it was a grotesque "bling" moment. There's so much more rich symbolic value to it. It's poignant because Walt's marriage and family is all gone but he still holds them close to his heart. He is wasting away, his finger can't even hold the ring anymore, but what the ring symbolizes is still the most important thing to him and he wastes no time securing it around his neck again.

I dont know Jesse character really needs to be placed in the context of how Hank perceived him, like why would you feel so sorry for him, he brought this upon himself, he was a junkie and he is a junkie murderer, and Jesses whining in the video watched by the gand WAS really extreme, like seriously, oh poor Jesse he didnt do anything...As Jesses downfall was contributed largely by Walt the same goes the other way, there is a perfect symmetry! Hank x Andrea. Jesse was so reckless, that his throwing away the money from the car was as idiotic as it can go, as it endangered everyone around him! What do the other "business" partners do if you get yourself caught by police?? So long in the business and he just didnt know that he is putting everyone in danger?

Not a comment on the actor but the writing of his character. Against so many well thought out characters including minor ones it just seems a bit too simplistic throughout his arc with little development.

I think that lint-picking moment was a more effective reminder of how weird and scary Todd is than any amount of shooting innocent women in the back of the head :)

Maine?!

thx

erm ok you can take my idea and add that bit for your self if you like :D lol

should have added that tbh :)

I like, but Walt ruined Jesse's life? he was well on that road on his own before Walt came into his life. but as I said in my own post we will all have our own "perfect" endings :)

Well, I have to disagree.

Yes Jesse was dealing meth and that is not something anyone should be doing. But, he was doing it for himself, just enough to make a decent living and people new his special 'chilli p' signature.

When Walt see's him on the drug bust, Jesse is jumping out of a window, naked, after I assume some fun times with that lady friend of his.

His life seemed to be pretty ok to me. As soon as he and Walt meet, is when Jesse begins his downward spiral, seeing everything and everyone he loves go. He was about to get away from Walt until he let his GF choke to death, and then convinced Jesse to work with him again.

If Jesse had never met Walt, I am sure he would have been a lot happier!

I LOVE this idea...HA!

Nope. Nobody of the DEA is left for such a brilliant move. If Hank's partner would be alive, okay, but the writers wouldn't pull a joker with no character left in the DEA to pull it. Interesting idea though.

Andrea's death had no impact on me either but seems to be needed for the showdown in some way, I guess. Perhaps Jesse gets his hands on Todd's love interest somehow. Perhaps builts a bomb and takes her with him with one last great use of: "Yo Todd? Life's a bitch, BITCH"!

Haha! The last line!

We'll find out in four days - but the DEA members who leaned on Skyler sounded pretty desperate to me. When two federal agents are gunned down, their colleges can get very creative.

yeah deadwood was a bad loss. up there with canning firefly and rome.

I agree with you entirely. And out of interest I work with my hands and can't wear rings and keep mine round my neck. I have always worn it like that.

I thought it was meant to be New Hampshire?

You would have to be so damn fit to be able to have got out of that cage. I would have been screwed.

My chemistry is appalling so hopefully I'd never have been put in there in the first place.

or he would be dead as he is a junkie :)

Oh no i just realized ... is it possible that Jessies family could get killed, his little brother ? That would be too much i guess.

Was he a junkie when we first met Jesse?

No. He was a dealer.

He progressed into one the more he cooked 'pure meth' with Walter as he was using his own stuff, which he would not have done had he never met Walter :-)

Jesse would die or go to jail... cause Crazy 8 was a snitch !

ha! True - that was creeptastic! I'm with you Stefmo - that killing instantly made my wife say -"I don't want to watch this show anymore". It seemed a little over the top, even for this show.

I think the term nihilistic sums it up...

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