Penultimate Breaking Bad: The Calm Before The Storm
It’s difficult to know exactly how to start this recap/review. As we reach the end of a show rightly categorized next The Wire and The Sopranos in terms of quality, a strange aura of serenity settles like the snow in New Hampshire.
Granite State encapsulated this with perfection.
Bryan Cranston saw Breaking Bad pick up another major Emmy
Nothing’s really changed, but this gave us time to collect our thoughts, which have been rightfully rattled until now with six kinetic episodes. It was also one of the saddest episodes in memory.
We began with one of Vince Gilligan’s most agile talents: his ability to merge comedy and high drama with incredible neatness. Saul and Walt sharing a room beneath ‘the guy’s’ vacuum store cover-up-operation was perfect poetry. Who would have thought Saul’s ‘guy’ would be such an important plot device.
“My money goes to my children. Not just this barrel. All of it. I’m going to kill Jack and his crew. I’m going to take back what’s mine... Then and only then, I’m through. Got it?”
As Walt concocts his master revenge manifesto, his trusty lawyer offers him one last piece of advice: stay, go in peace, with dignity. This one was free, but Walter White ended up paying anyway as he ignored his one-time employee, coughed in his face – a pathetic attempt to reinforce his previous dominance – and travelled to New Hampshire in an empty gas truck.
It’s here that a crestfallen Mr Lambert grew his hair, wore long-johns to bed and slowly waited to die in piece, watching Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (twice) and staying warm thanks to the cool $10m burning a hole in the corner of his cabin. You’ll have to wait until the end of this recap to see if that’s true or not, just like the episode.
Meanwhile, Jesse – discontented with being tortured, locked up and made to cook methamphetamine, despite being handed a big bowl of ice cream – hatches a doomed plan to escape.
Anna Gunn picked up the gong for best actress
The only thing that matched Walter White’s purchase of ‘the guy’s’ time (he costs $10k-per-hour) for 'heartbreak value' was Jesse’s capture while clambering over the fence. “Kill me now,” he screamed, before they made him witness the death of one of the only person who still cares about him.
“Go ahead! Do it! Just kill me now.”
Like Jesse’s failed escape from the Nazis, as they’ve affectionately become known to Breaking Bad fans, Walt’s initial escape from his self-made prison was thwarted. Unlike Jesse’s, his own fear of being caught, left alone, was what stopped him, until he thought of a way to send his beloved family money.
And it’s here that I would like to flag up one of Breaking Bad’s failures: Walter White Jr., or Flynn as he likes to be called when he’s not enamoured with his surroundings. His reaction to his father’s secret life is off-kilter. He’s mad – sure, but he doesn’t actually know the half of it. It seems as though he would react in two ways: to enter denial, like he so often does, or to fly off the handle completely. What’s written is something in-between, serving as a perfect plot engine, but lacking justification in a show where the absurd is often successfully justified.
Aaron Paul's big old beard
Either way, Flynn’s actions cause Walter to consider Saul’s ‘turn yourself in’ plan, as he calls the DEA alerting them to his whereabouts. It’s not until the ugly behemoth that is his ego – reared in the form of Gretchen and Elliot distancing themselves from Walt and Walt from Grey Matter Industries – that we start to link up real time episodes with previous flash forwards.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear as though Jesse will truly be able to find a suitable end. When Jane died, something of him died. Knowing that Walter killed Mike – that took plenty of him with it, and watching Andrea get shot, well, that’s a lot to fix in one hour.
So Walt is currently reading the instruction manual for his massive gun, the one in the trunk of his car. He’s getting ready to return to Negra Arroyo Lane, retrieve his silent weapon and, we can only assume, wreak havoc on those who have crossed him. Not Skyler – it’s difficult to think of a plausible situation in which they could actually meet – but those dastardly Nazis. They're going to get it, as they say.