Holy. Shit. That ending was one of the most infuriating things I've ever seen, so much so that I literally ran around in circles in my front yard when it was done to blow off some steam. I'm hoping that there are no crueler cliffhangers in the next two episodes leading into the series finale, but I know that's probably very stupid and naive of me. To call this episode a game changer is a massive understatement.
Anyway, let's wade through the rest of the episode before diving into that ending. Todd is really gearing up to be the next Heisenberg, except for his inferior, non-blue meth. He's even got a little crush on Lydia, so maybe he's hoping he found his Skyler. I still absolutely love the fact that this half of the season has been framed as one continuous story, with the teaser this week showing what happened during Walt's phone call to Todd at the end of "Rabid Dog." And with the way this one ended, I'm sure that idea will continue come next week. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
|I really loved the billboard in the background of this shot.|
If there was one theme this episode, it was one of rather brilliant plans from most of the cast. Starting with Hank using the brain matter to trick Huell into thinking that Walt killed Jesse, that was an excellent way to get Huell to talk. Knowing that To'hajiilee is the Indian reservation where the desert scenes are shot, combined with seeing Walt bury the money again in the recap leading into this episode, it was obvious the money would come back. Which leads into Hank and Jesse's rather ingenious plan to have Walt lead them right to his money. I was surprised at how well it worked, and from the moment Hank, Jesse, and Gomez showed up, the tension was just too much. The most interesting thing about that moment to me is that Walter White, even when facing his downfall, still refuses to hurt Hank, trying to call off the hit on Jesse when he realized Hank was there too. And it almost did him in.
Meanwhile, Todd and Uncle Jack devised a great way to get Walt back into the business; they'd kill Jesse as long as Walt showed Todd the ropes so that he could properly cook Heisenberg's blue sky meth. I felt very uneasy about that plan, and of course it could be irrelevant come next week, but assuming everyone makes it out of this, there will be fallout. Jack and his crew already proved they won't listen to Walt, showing up in the desert even after he told them not to, so nothing good can come from this situation for anyone.
The other great plan, though less effective than the others in this episode, was Walt using Brock and Andrea to try to smoke Jesse out. We all know it would have worked if Jesse had gotten the call and wasn't working with Hank, but unfortunately for Walt, Hank saw right through him. I admit I was so nervous during that entire scene and wondered just what Walt was getting at until Andrea mentioned trying to get in touch with Jesse right there. Interesting that Walt's plans are much less effective now that everyone else is either on to him or against him. That does not bode well for him in the next three episodes, that's for sure. The man is slowly becoming powerless.
Now...that ending. When Walt saw that Jesse was with Hank, I truly believed that he would make that sacrifice and have Hank killed anyway. With Hank dead he could just leak his "confession" video, after all, and be absolved of all his sins. Yet even at this point in the series, Walt is still a family man at heart, so he's not a total monster. At that point I really didn't know what Walt was going to do; he was trapped, and I didn't think even the great Heisenberg could work his way out of this one. So it was totally shocking and nerve-wracking for Walt to not only surrender, but to actually get arrested. Regardless of whether or not you hoped for Walt to get caught in the end, it's hard to deny that it was a chilling moment, and everyone in that scene played it beautifully, from Dean Norris showing Hank's barely contained glee to the look of pure pain and betrayal from Bryan Cranston when Walt realized that Jesse sold him out. There was even a quick, simple shot of Jesse's excitement that this man was finally in custody that I loved. This was also about the time that I started getting unbelievably nervous; dread was slowly washing over me and pushing down on my chest. Something had to happen here. Hank can't pull it off this easily. Then the dread intensified when Hank called Marie. That shot of her looking down at the brain matter in her trashcan could've been a horrible bit of foreshadowing, something that Breaking Bad excels at. Then the two of them became so filled with joy, Hank mentioned that he probably wouldn't be home for awhile, and they said "I love you," possibly for the first time onscreen in the entire series. I really thought Hank was about to die, and my dread grew.
Then Jack's crew showed up, and my dread exploded into a full-blown panic. My palms were sweating, my heart was racing, and I thought the tension might really make me pass out. Could this episode really end in a standoff, waiting for shots to be fired? Nope. Instead the episode will end MID-SHOOTOUT. It was infuriating. It was unfair. It was amazing TV.
Now, as far as predictions go, you'd think I would've learned by now not to make any because they almost always turn out to be wrong. But with this shootout, now that I've had time to think about it, I really don't see Jesse dying at this point and we know Walt can't die because of the flash forward scenes, but Hank is still in very real danger in my mind and things could go either way with him. Of the three though, Gomez is the most likely to die. Maybe Hank gets shot but manages to make it to Walt's car, where he and Jesse can make their escape. I don't know, but whatever happens, I'm sure it will be just what the story needs to push it forward even more.
- "Don't drink and drive, but if you do, call me!" It's still great to me that Breaking Bad has its humorous moments despite how dark it's become, and Skyler teaching Junior the family car wash business when Saul arrived was such a fun scene. Junior's starstruck reaction to Saul was great, and it's actually surprising that those two have never shared a scene before.
- Huge moment in my mind: Jesse talking to Walt and actually calling him "Walt" instead of "Mr. White." That's only the second or third time in the entire series that that happened, and it's always a powerful moment when it does.
- Next week's episode is called "Ozymandias," and it has me so curious. According to IMDB, a bunch of dead characters will be back next week, including Krazy-8, Mike, Gale, Tuco, and Jane. Interestingly enough no Gus though. I have no idea what this means. Flashbacks would seem like the most logical answer here, but Breaking Bad is not a show to waste time on flashbacks unless they serve the story well. Like when the end of "Gliding Over All" flashed back to season 4 to really drive home Hank putting everything together. But based on the title of the episode and the amazing trailer released back in July, Walt's empire seems to definitely be crumbling now and I can't wait to see it.