Sep 16 2013
The final season of Breaking Bad has been an emotionally exhausting ride, no episode perhaps more than last night’s. And honestly, that’s really all I can say without giving anything away, so I’ll just dive right into spoiler territory. If you’re not caught up, trust me, go no further.
Last week we had hope. A small amount, but some. Yes, Hank, Gomez and Jesse were pinned down in a firefight, outnumbered and outgunned, but the episode cut away before anyone died. Character deaths happen at the end of episodes, not the beginning, right? So maybe there’s a way out. Maybe the DEA swoops in with helicopters and snipers and everything is A-OK.
But this isn’t Hollywood, this is Breaking Bad.
After a lengthy retrospective of a specific season one that almost convinced me I was watching the wrong episode, we immediately learned that Gomez was killed in the firefight, despite the fact we didn’t see him get hit. It makes sense, given the amount of firepower being hurled toward the two of them with minimal cover. Hank had a bullet in his leg, but was alive.
My mind raced as I tried to imagine any possible way that Hank could live through the next five minutes, the same thought that was probably going through Walt’s head. But to paraphrase Jack, “there ain’t no scenario where he’s leavin’ here alive.”
And there wasn’t.
“My name is ASAC Schrader.” A badass to the end.
It was the only way things could have gone. All the money on earth won’t make a neo-nazi criminal let a DEA agent walk free after a bloodbath like that. There was just no way. Hank knew it, Jack knew it, Walt didn’t understand it until it was too late.
Hank is a huge loss for the show, as it’s practically like Breaking Bad killed its protagonist. This past season, Walt became the bad guy while most of us were rooting for Hank to catch him, but now? I suppose we have to be in Walt’s corner once more.
In the end, Walt did everything he could to save Hank. While he finally turned on Jesse, he would never have had Hank killed, not even to save himself, not even to save his money. He tried to call off the hit when he realized Hank was there, and even tried to give away all his money to save him, something I never thought I’d see.
Jack was smart to try and make peace with Walt, though it would have been smarter to just kill him and jet with the $80M. He knows how dangerous Walt is, and Todd’s hurt feelings aside, the smart move would have been to leave his body in the barrel grave with Hank and Gomez. Now, it’s going to have to come back and bite him.
“Let’s just leave him with enough resources where he could easily hire someone else to kill us”
The scenes were Walter Jr. finds out the truth about his father were heartbreaking, especially when he sees the monster Walt’s become when he learns of Hank’s death. It’s insane to think about how clueless he’s been this entire time, and how much his world had to have been shattered over the course of an afternoon. The show doesn’t often demand much of RJ MItte, but he did a great job last night.
And even though Walt comes off like a complete psychopath wrestling a knife away from his wife and kidnapping his daughter, it’s still ultimately for his family’s greater good. The kidnapping gets the police’s undivided attention, and he’s able to stage a recorded call where he absolves Skyler of all blame for the meth business, claiming she was just a pawn with no real knowledge of what he was doing, and that she even tried to stop him. Smart, and again, heartbreaking.
So now where are we? What does Walt have left? Only revenge, it seems. I didn’t think the neo-nazis were going to become the new villains of the show, but that’s where we seem to be. They stole most of Walt’s money and killed Hank, despite his pleas. Even if any criminal with half a brain would have done the same thing, Walt is going to get his revenge, and now that he’s disappeared with Saul’s disappearing guy, I have a hunch next week we’re going to pick up where the flashforwards have left off, with future Walt having a vial of ricin in his pocket and a military grade machine gun in his trunk.
In the end, the show has kept Walt’s soul, however shattered it may be. Many speculated that the machine gun would be for going to war with Hank, or the ricin was for poisoning Skyler, but in the end, he never turned on family, and would do anything for them right up until the end.
And yes, he was willing to let Jesse die, but I have a hunch he’ll play into Walt’s redemption in these final two episodes as he works as a dog on a leash for the neo-nazis making the famed blue meth. I’m really unclear as to why the nazis are still in the meth game at all when they have 70 million dollars in cash on them, as that just feels like tempting fate. Seems like sort of a shoehorned plot point, but perhaps there’s another angle to it I’m not seeing.
In any case, this final season has lived up to every expectation so far, and I can’t even begin to imagine what they have in store for a finale.
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