Monday, September 16, 2013

Who Knows?

Quite an episode. It's hard to believe the last two hours of Breaking Bad could be as intense as last week's and now this week's episode, "Ozymandias."

The teaser takes us back to the good old days of Walt's first cook.  Jesse is still joking around, Walt is still the high school teacher. (Jesse will soon give him some respect when he sees Walt's amazing crystals.). Walt calls his wife with the first of many lies.  This is the Skyler we barely knew--still in love with her husband and looking forward to her new baby, before she learns Walt is very ill and later even worse.

And then we come back to the same spot in the desert (and the scene is so intense they hold back the credits till later), but this time a gunfight is taking place. Gomie is dead, as I predicted would happen a few episodes back.  Too bad.  He was probably the nicest guy in the entire show, and he certainly didn't deserve this. It all comes from following Hank as Ahab.  (Sure, you can blame Walt, or the Aryan brotherhood, but if Hank had just kept his mouth shut after he left the crapper everything would be fine.)

Hank is still alive, but bleeding. He crawls for his shotgun but Uncle Jack gets there first.  Walt begs for Hank's life, but Hank just tells the guy off.  As he should, since Hank is correct that a DEA agent is simply not going to get out of this alive.  Walt, not thinking straight, admits this is where he buried his money.  Great, now Hank will die--and he sure does (a big moment--and we've still got about three hours left of this show)--and the neo-Nazis will take all his money.

They dig up the eight barrels.  Todd, who admires Mr. White, convinces his uncle--who's in a pretty good mood anyway--to let Walt keep a barrel. Hey, they may be neo-Nazis, but they're not all bad.  Meanwhile, Pinkman is missing.  But Walt knows where he is--hiding under Walt's car.  They drag him out.  Walt wanted to save his brother-in-law, but after Jesse cooperated with the DEA, the biggeset no-no of all, Heisenberg is still happy enough to see him die. Todd, of all people, speaks up for him.  Jesse talked, so let's "talk" to him to see what he gave up to Hank.  They drag him away, screaming.  But not before Walt tells Jesse about Jane!  Woah, did not see that coming.  But this show isn't Lost.  They close all the loops.

Walt drives his car with his barrel for a few miles but it breaks down due to damage from a stray bullet.  He takes his barrel through the desert--at least he's learned since his days of stealing methylamine that you can roll barrels--to a home in the middle of nowhere.  With a wad of hundreds he buys the truck of the guy who lives there.

Part of the final season of this show is everyone finding out everything, but there's still a lot of people who don't know things, or know the wrong things.  Marie, feeling reasonably good, even cocky, after Hank's call, goes to the carwash and finds Skyler and Flynn.  She pulls big sis aside and has a nice long talk about how Walt is caught. Skyler can't say "shut up! shut up! shut up!" any more.  Marie wants her sister back, but she insists Skyler's got to tell Flynn everything right now.  Poor Junior, the only one completely in the dark.  So we feel for Skyler who's seen everything just crumble, wonder how Flynn will deal with it all, and maybe feel worst for Marie knowing what's in store.

Meanwhile, Jesse's been worked over and given up what he knows--about his confession tape at Hank's place, for instance.  But Todd wants more.  No more torture, he just wants Jesse to cook.  Seems to be the Nazis have enough money now, but I'm guessing Todd wants to learn how to cook better to please Lydia.  Lydia oh Lydia, we haven't met Lydia in a while.  Will she be returning?  For good measure, there's a photo of Andrea and Brock on the wall to help the chained Jesse get motivated to turn out the blue stuff.

Back at the carwash, Junior is not taking the news well.  He thinks mom and auntie are full of shit.  So were you lying then or lying now?  He has the making of a good lawyer.  Maybe he should talk to Saul.

Skyler, Flynn and Holly drive home.  Walt is already there, packing his bags.  His plan is for he and his family to get out of Dodge.  With ten million of so they can start a new life.  (I guess they have to leave, with all the loose ends, though the evidence he was a drug dealer died with Hank and Gomie.)

The family gets home and see the frantic Walt demanding they do what he says.  Soon, Skyler realizes Hank must be gone.  Flynn wants to know about the drug dealing and Skyler refuses to leave.  She pulls a knife and she and Walt scuffle (Walt's fought with just about every character on this show).  Flynn breaks them up and Walt can't understand why he can't keep his family together. Junior calls the cops.  See, this is why you don't tell him.  Just when you thought you couldn't be shocked, Walt grabs Holly, gets in the truck and drives away.

At a restroom on the road Walt changes Holly.  She's about 18 months old, and wants to know where mommy is.  This is almost too much to take (and any writer has to ask am I going too far in exploiting the misery of a child?). Walt seems affected--will this melt even his cold, cold heart.

Back at the White residence the cops are there to investigate the kidnaping. Marie's there too and she can't be happy at the turn of events. Walt calls. Skyler says there are no police, but Walt's gotta know that's not true.  He starts talking tough and saying she should have listened and she's a horrible bitch. Maybe he's getting some stuff off his chest, but he's also convincing the cops that he's the bad guy, not her.  Skyler seems to understand (?).  (Though does he have to bring up drugs? Isn't kidnaping enough.  Guess he figures he's a dead man anyway.) Walt also makes it clear no one will ever see Hank again. Sorry, Marie.

Walt, near tears, says he has things left to do and hangs up. Apparently one of those things is to drop Holly off at a nearby fire station. I guess even Walt (or Vince Gilligan) has his limits.  The other thing he has to do, as we might have guessed, is call Saul's guy who disappears people. And at the end of the show we see Walt and his sacks of money driving off.

Two hours left to go.  What do we know will happen?  We know the White residence will be wrecked for one reason or another.  For a while we it looked like it might be Marie, but now the best bet would be Uncle Jack's crew, but who knows?  A few weeks ago it looked like Jesse.  We also know Walt will return--presumably from New Hampshire--purchase some firepower and retrieve his ricin.  He'll be fighting someone (the Nazis?) to help someone else (his family?).

But one thing we know for sure.  In "Ozymandias" we saw the end of his empire. It was once mighty, but now Walt is in despair. And in the ground where he hid his money, nothing, save a couple of corpses.  The land is now bare, the long and level sands stretch far away.

PS  What's happened to Huell? With Hank gone, there's no one to tell him to leave the safe house.  Let's hope he's in next week's episode, squaring things with Saul.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Your interpretation of Walt's motives for the phone call with Skyler is interesting. I hadn't thought of that, and it seems plausible.

What do you think of the theory that Donna Bowman (on your AVClub link) suggested: Walt telling Jesse about Jane was done to hurt Jesse (obviously), but it was also done to lie to Jesse, by implying that Walt never really cared about him. In other words, he has so rejected Jesse as family that he wants to make Jesse think he never was family.

By the way, I find it odd that when Jesse hates Walt and tries to kill him, Walt sees that as another fight that can be patched up, but when Jesse talks to the cops, Walt sees that as an unforgivable betrayal. Maybe the mafia thinks that way, but Walt?

9:25 PM, September 16, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I think Walt does have that mafia code embedded in his brain. More than once Skyler had suggested he go to the police and he was disgusted by the suggestion. And even when he was at war with Gus he always made sure to note that he would never go to the authorities. Hank trying to capture him? Hey, that's what he does. I may not like it but what can you expect? Jesse turning against him when he finds out about Brock? It's too bad I have to kill him, and I hope I can convince him to change his mind, but at least I'll try to make his death painless. But when he sees Jesse has joined forces with Hank, the one thing he didn't expect, he's disgusted. Jesse is now his greatest enemy, even though the closest relationship in the series (with plenty of ups and downs) has been between the two. So I can understand Walt's point of view, even though in the past he's often put himself in danger to protect Jesse. It's why he turns Jesse over to the Aryans and it's why he has no trouble with him being shot, even after he just was willing to give up everything to save Hank. And as Jesse is being led away--to be tortured and killed, presumably--Walt sees the Jane story as one last chance to twist the knife.

Is it to lie to Jesse? I don't think so. Jesse knows they've cared for each other in the past--he's seen Mr. White save him more than once. The only thing that was irrevocable was finding out he took the cowards way out.

It sort of fits with Walt, who's a lot of things, but above all, proud. He wouldn't take charity when it was the easy way out, and neither would have ever give in the easy way by turning Gus or anyone else into the police.

It makes for an interesting contrast from the previous time he almost told the story about Jane. Then he was tired and drugged, and feeling quite guilty, and almost seemed ready to admit it. But here it was a chance to strike back. It's not unlike how Gus regularly taunted Hector, but only decided to kill him when he decided to talk to the DEA.

Actually, as I've noted in previous posts, I find Jesse's turnabout harder to buy. I can buy it, because he feels a lot more than Walt, has always had a softer side, and his loyalties have been whipsawed recently, so maybe he figures the only way he can make things good--after he discovers just how bad Walt is--is to go the Hank. But I just barely buy it.

As for the phone call, I'm pretty sure that's what Walt was doing. I don't necessarily think it was his plan when he kidnaped Holly, but after he heard his child say "mama" he knew he had to return her and perhaps he knew the only way to "save" his family now had to be in a way that left him out of the picture. Nevertheless, even if this was his main motive, the anger behind his words on that call had a basis in his real feelings.

12:43 AM, September 17, 2013  
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7:34 PM, December 22, 2015  

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