Well, that’s it — no more new Breaking Bad for almost another year. We knew this day would come, and yet it is still so painful. What will we do on Sunday nights now? Talk to our families? Watch stupid football or whatever? READ A BOOK? What a nightmare. Fittingly, the final episode in the first half of Breaking Bad‘s last season offered many little nods to where we once were. Like how Jesse didn’t look as cute, and how Walt seemed like a human for a moment. Let’s dive into them and the rest of what went on, huh? FOR THE LAST TIME! (UNTIL NEXT SUMMER!) (WHEN IT WILL BE THE LAST TIME FOR REAL!) (UNLESS THERE IS A MOVIE!)
The episode opens with Walt staring at a fly. Like that bottle episode from the third season, “Fly”! Ahh, you remember! It looks gross, as flies do.
Disgusting. We soon notice that Walt is in his office, waiting for Todd to come back from dealing with Mike’s car. When he returns he explains that its been dealt with and asks Walt if they should “deal with the other thing now.” We know what they mean, of course, and it’s tense and slightly sad — as it should be — with Walt saying that he didn’t want to talk about this and Todd, forever the teacher’s pet, not pressing any further. (Though, of course, Walt did pair this with saying that “it had to be done,” which is just soooo “Walt.”) Their dissolving is interrupted when Jesse opens the garage door.
AHHHHHH! “Oh, uh, um, we were just,” stammers Walt. “Yeah, haha, what he said, it’s not like we were — I mean, we were just, you know, getting ready to make a, uh, haha. It’s nothing, don’t even — WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” said Todd. Then each of them fainted, falling into each others arms, face-on-face. JK. They closed the trunk containing the body and Jesse asked if Mike got away safe and Walt said “he’s gone” in a way that so clearly meant “he’s dead” I’m not sure why Walt even said it and why Jesse didn’t respond, “So, wait. Do you mean he’s dead?” BUT ANYWAY. Now that Mike’s gone, Jesse wonders what they’ll do about his guys in prison — if they’re not getting paid off, there’s no reason for them not to talk. “I’m the only vote left and I’ll handle it,” says Walt. At which point Jesse should have said, “Sounds great,” and then sold his house and moved far away and deleted his Facebook. But that’s not what he did!
In the next scene we have to watch Walt’s stupid dumb head take a shower, just so we can see he has the Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass book that Gale gave him in his bathroom.
As they say, “If a Walt Whitman is shown in one of the first scenes, in one of the last scenes a Walt Whitman is going to go off.” Afterwards, we see — as Jesse suspected — one of Mike’s guys and a laywer trying to negotiate tattling terms with Hank. “My client wants a wing of the prison named after him, ALL of the sparkly Pokemon cards, Freaks and Geeks to be brought back for another two seasons with the original cast, a Click remote, the ability to record his dreams, and to be free forever and to never be able to be sent to prison again no matter how many crimes he commits.”
“Oooooook?” Hank says “nah-uh” because he has a million other guys he can talk to and he does NOT want to give up his rare Pokemon cards. This was a mistake, though! We will see later that this was a mistake!
Next we see Walt walking into a cafe, looking like the biggest fucking dummy in the whole world.
“I was a Blues Brother for Halloween last year.” – Heisenberg. He’s meeting Lydia to get the names of Mike’s guys, which she doesn’t want to give to him because she’s (rightfully!) afraid once he has them he’ll kill her. For each of them to get what they want (the names, more $$$, life) Lydia proposes helping Walt expand his business into the Czech Republic — a proposal which he accepts, probably because she also throws in that she and Fring were working on it before he was killed. (“Plus, honestly, most of it will be done in a montage anyway.”) After they shake on the deal and she gives him the names of Mike’s guys, she puts on her big dumb sunglasses and leaves, and Walt picks up his stupid hat and shows that UHHHH WHHHHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT????
He was going to kill her right then! With the ricin! Since he didn’t, though, he puts the ricin back in its little outlet cubby and tells Todd that he wants to meet his uncle, and then sets up an elaborate prison murder montage plot with that uncle and a few other white power friends. This is another scene containing a nod to the past, with Walt musing about a painting on the wall that he’s seen before, specifically — as Alan Sepinwall noticed — hanging in his hospital room in season one. WHAT? DOES? IT? MEAN?
Then we see the horrifying, stabby murder montage set to an uptempo pop hit, Frank Sinatra’s “Pick Yourself Up.” Oh also Walt looks at his watch:
WHAT? DOES? THAT? MEAN? EVER? After its done we all uncover our eyes and Walt goes to Hank and Marie’s to play with baby, while the news of the murders plays in the background. Marie asks him to turn off the news because Hank is coming home, which he does, which is nice, and when Hank comes home they both drink some tense whiskey while Hank talks about how he would rather be marking trees to be chopped down. “Tagging trees is a lot better than chasing monsters,” Hank says. “I used to love to go camping,” says Walt. “What the fuck does that shady bullshit have to do with anything?” says Kelly. Then Walt dips his head way too far down to put a glass on a table, and when he lifts it back up we enter into another montage!
This one is set to Tommy Jame’s “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” (What a wonderful job to be the music supervisor on Breaking Bad.) The montage shows the boys and Lydia embarking on their Czech Republic venture and making lots and lots of money, and then trying on all sorts of different styles of clothing. From there we go back to Marie’s, where Skyler is watching Walt Jr. (Flynn) play with baby. “You’re really good with her,” says Skyler, maybe sealing her fate as someone who will die soon. NEVER SAY THINGS LIKE THAT, CHARACTERS ON THIS SHOW! Marie breaks it to Skyler that she and Hank think that it’s time for the kids to go home, as Skyler seems to be doing much better now that she’s in therapy. She explains that they’re beginning to worry that they’re enabling her. Eeep! Knowing that she’ll have to have the kids around Walt again, she goes home to find him by the pool and asks him to go for a drive with her. He complies and she takes him to the storage unit where she’s been keeping his meth $$$.
She explains that she has no idea how much is there, and that she’s tried different ways to figure it out but hasn’t been able to, to which Walt replies, “How much is this?” UHHHHHHHH, HELLO? DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO ONE SINGLE WORD SHE’S SAID SO FAR YOU DUMMY? She doesn’t know! She tells him that she wants her kids and her life back, and that this is more money than they’d be able to spend in 10 lifetimes and that she can’t even launder it anymore. “Please tell me. How much is enough. How big does this pile have to be.” And then, and I’m rushing here a little bit to get to the thing of it, but then we see Walt getting an MRI, and then we see him in the hospital bathroom where we check back in with the dented paper towel dispenser that he punched back when he first learned that his cancer was in remission.
So. Does he have cancer again? Or is this just to say that he is once again upset that he doesn’t have cancer, because he doesn’t have a clean way for his family to get out? ???? ?????????????????? HELLO?????
From the hospital he goes to Jesse’s house, in what is one of the most tense scenes this season because I thought he was going to kill Jesse even though that wouldn’t really make any sense but IT WAS VERY TENSE ANYWAY! AAhhhhhhh! Jesse seemed to think so too, as he left to get his gun when he saw Walt was at the door. Also he had drug paraphernalia around and didn’t look as cute or stylish as he used to:
Take off that shirt and put on a better one, Jesse. Get it together. Instead of murdering him, though, it seems that Walt only wanted to talk about the good old RV days — another nod to Breaking Bad‘s past. It would have been fairly sweet if I didn’t think Walt was going to murder Jesse the entire awful time. After they finish their chat, Walt leaves, telling Jesse that he left something for him outside. Jesse walks out to see some duffle bags and I think, “Oh jesus. IS IT MIKE’S CHOPPED UP BODY?” Hahaha. Again, there is no way it would have ever been Mike’s chopped up body, but the music and Jesse’s face were both really tense! Instead of that, it was money.
Oooooo. Money money money money! Money! NOW PLEASE MOVE, JESSE!
After dropping off Jesse’s money, Walt comes home and tells Skyler that he’s out. “Hey. I’m out. I’m out.” I did not believe this when it was said. For one, I’m not sure why Skyler’s question about how much more money he wanted would be effective since just the other week Jesse asked him the exact same thing and he answer was that he didn’t care about the money and, instead, wanted to build an empire. I suppose it could be the money issue, combined with the unable to launder it issue, combined with Skyler’s genuine pleading for her family but…All of those things have existed before? They’ve existed the whole season. Why now? Is it because the cancer is back and he wants to spend his final moments in peace, with his family? Is it because the cancer isn’t back and he’s realized that he does want his family out, to hell with the empire? If so: WHY NOW? Anyway, I did not think that he was being sincere at first. UNTIL.
Until the pool party.
Talking, talking, talking, la la la. Lemon in hair, shiny hair, baby sunscreen, beer, la la. Then Hank has to go #2 and we all know what happens and this is what happens:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! So, at this point, I suppose I do believe that Walt was being sincere in saying that he was out, because now he’ll have to be back in all the shit anyway and why waste our time with him saying he’s “out” and not meaning it if he’s just going to be forced to be back in in two seconds. Right? Do you agree? Or what do you think?
I have to say that I think it’s a bit of a stretch that Walt would have kept this absolutely explosive piece of evidence in the bathroom of his home, where Hank — who, as we saw in the flashback, has already spoken with Walt about Gale and Heisenberg and the “WW” — regularly visits. I know people will probably argue with me about this. And I do realize that there was foreshadowing first when Walt moved the book from his apartment back home, and also when Hank said (of Mike) that even criminal masterminds make mistakes and that they’ll catch this one when he makes a mistake (or whatever) (you know what I mean), and I am willing to concede that perhaps Walt didn’t want to get rid of this memento because he hangs on to guilt (or fun memories?) about killing Gale. And also his hubris has led him down bad paths in the past. BUT STILL! In his bathroom, out in the open? Why didn’t he get rid of it as soon as he realized it would be a piece of evidence tying him to Heisenberg, a million years ago? I don’t fully buy it — not without nitpicky question.
Something else that bothered me about this episode is how quickly Heisenberg made his turnaround, if we’re to believe that Walt did finally decide that he wanted to get out. We spent the entire season up until this point being convinced of his extreme sociopathic, empire-driven, unreachable personality spiral, only for it to be turned over in minutes (and after months of Heisenberg time taking place only in montage, after the entire series spanned only one year — another race to a result). The idea that Walt will come back to reality only to be found out and dragged under again is a way to drive the plot that I’d definitely enjoy without complaint, but to rush through it minutes before the series finale of the first half seemed a bit careless, and confusing. If we’re to believe that he’s made his turnaround because his cancer has come back…why are we to believe that? It seems like crazy Heisenberg, learning of his imminent death, would only want to push his empire as far as he could before it happened. Or it at least seems like, if that isn’t the way he reacted, because he is still human after all, there should have been a bit more time in this half of the series spent on that mental journey, since it isn’t very intuitive. Or are we supposed to believe that he realized he only became a monster because of…inertia?
With all of that said, though, I thought this was a good way to end this half of the season. I thought the minutes of idle chatting leading to the silent and crazy final scene was very well done. Hank knowing about it going into the final half of the season is perfect. And I’m sure we will be taken through more of Walt’s mental processes next year, when we learn about the cancer stuff, and when we learn about whatever other stuff. BUT. Whatever. I’VE SAID MY STUFF! Now you say your stuff. What did you think? How much will you miss it? How mad are you that I said anything was wrong with it, even though you know for a fact that I love this show very much and am pointing out things that could be problems because if I just said “it was good” the recap wouldn’t be long enough, and also humans make this show so there could definitely be some things with it that aren’t so perfect? Hmmmm?
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR, G’BYE!