...and despair.
September 15, 2013 7:27 PM   Subscribe

In an unusually enlightening ninety-minute panel, the cast of Breaking Bad – including show creator Vince Gilligan – discuss the process of making the show, of bringing it to an end, and of coping with its aftermath. Towards the end, Gilligan spoke fondly of show director Rian Johnson, known for his work on films like Brick and Looper. Johnson had previously directed Breaking Bad's most controversial episode, Fly, which critic Alan Sepinwall called the best bottle episode in TV history. Gilligan took his praise a step further: "[Rian directed] what may be the best episode we've ever done." [approx 1:27:30] He was referring, not to Fly, but to Ozymandias, the show's third-to-last episode, and the inspiration for this previous post. Ozymandias, which aired tonight, was accompanied by [SPOILER LINKS FROM THIS POINT FURTHER] livetweets from Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman, and provoked immediate visceral reactions from critics and fans alike.
posted by Rory Marinich (888 comments total) 114 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah this episode. So many goddamn gut punches. After Walt drives away in the truck and it faded to black, I really wanted the episode to end there, because I couldn't take anymore of it.
posted by hellojed at 7:30 PM on September 15, 2013


I HAVE NO WORDS FOR TONIGHT'S EPISODE. JUST TEARS.

but it was fantastic
posted by littlesq at 7:31 PM on September 15, 2013


.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:33 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


At the 9:50 moment I was [not entirely] seriously debating turning the show off before I could see what else would lie in ruins in the show's last 10 minutes. This episode gives those episodes from The Wire a run for their "darkness" money.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:34 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The unbearable sadness of breaking (bad).
posted by mysticreferee at 7:35 PM on September 15, 2013


It's all Heisenberg from here on out.
posted by Jaymzifer at 7:36 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


This last episode was one of the most incredibly moving pieces of art I've ever seen displayed in the medium that is television.

They're gonna be talking about this one after we're all dead.
posted by Sphinx at 7:38 PM on September 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


I don't think I've ever seen a creator send a message to his fans the way Vince Gilligan sent a message to Team Walt tonight. Walt's last speech -- whether or not you think he was performing for the cops -- could have been lifted straight from Reddit.
posted by gerryblog at 7:38 PM on September 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


At least Holly's out of it? <--- my attempt at finding some semblance of light amidst the darkness.

Also, I was really hoping Todd was going to show one glimpse of conscience and set Jesse free. I don't know why I bothered hoping—I just kept thinking maybe his stunted sociopathic self could at least shift a little bit from "bottom line, all the time" where a fellow young man was concerned. But not only did that not happen, the way in which it didn't happen was shockingly grim. The scenes with Jesse were pretty much as bloody and gory as the show's ever gotten.

And Hank... talk about going out with a whimper. A defiant whimper, but a whimper nonetheless.

And Jane. And Junior. And the knife. And fucking everything really, screw this show, give me more "cow houses" plz.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sphinx: agreed. This is a seminal moment in tragedy, both in television and in narrative art in general.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:40 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


whether or not you think he was performing for the cops

well, he totally was.
posted by gaspode at 7:41 PM on September 15, 2013 [27 favorites]


Once Hank got shot Walt knew he really lost it all. I think he was in denial that he was losing control, but after that moment he knew that was the beginning of the end. Walter White doesn't exist anymore.
posted by littlesq at 7:42 PM on September 15, 2013


Wall Street Journal recap

Interview with Rian Johnson (pre-airing)
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:45 PM on September 15, 2013


gaspode: "well, he totally was."

What I wonder is if Skyler realized that. It doesn't change much (I doubt we'll get a happy reunion after all) but it's intriguing.
posted by Memo at 7:46 PM on September 15, 2013


Alan Sepinwall's review, just posted.

(Sepinwall is the best TV critic there is, IMHO)
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:47 PM on September 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


What I wonder is if Skyler realized that. It doesn't change much (I doubt we'll get a happy reunion after all) but it's intriguing.

I was looking out for some sort of change of expression on her face as she realised, and I didn't see it. That said, just the quiet tone in which she responded makes me wonder.
posted by gaspode at 7:47 PM on September 15, 2013


Skyler figured it out, but the episode was an incredible let down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


A let down? Why?

I absolutely loved the episode in all its depressing goodness. About the only thing I didn't entirely like was that the confession about Jane felt forced, almost like the writers just wanted it to get it out there before the series ended.
posted by Memo at 7:54 PM on September 15, 2013


A let down? There's no way you're not trolling right now.
posted by Diskeater at 7:56 PM on September 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


I love the way Walt is so thoroughly manipulative, they even give an example of him practicing phone call in the beginning of the episode, that even when you think he may be doing something good, he probably isn't. On the surface it seems like he was trying to get Skylar off the hook, but who really knows what his plan is.

A bunch more shit has to happen till we get to the flash forward from the season premier. I doubt he would come out of hiding, buy all those guns and get his ricin, just to save Jesse from the Nazis
posted by Ad hominem at 7:56 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Nazis are going to go after Marie sooner or later, that may be the catalyst for Walt to come out (especially if they threaten Skyler).
posted by Memo at 8:00 PM on September 15, 2013


Sure, we can praise Vince Gilligan for creating the [arguably] best show on television. And we can applaud Rian Johnson for directing what is possibly the most gut-wrenching episode of an already stunning season 5b. But how about some MeFi love for Rory Marinich, who managed to get a Breaking Bad post up on the blue so we all have a place to gather over the next two weeks?
posted by wensink at 8:00 PM on September 15, 2013 [50 favorites]


A let down? Why?

Almost everything after Hank's death seemed contrived, from keeping Jesse alive to Marie bullying Skyler and the struggle over the knife. I get it, things are out of control with Hank's murder, but didn't really buy it, seemed overly dramatic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:02 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Nazis are going to go after Marie sooner or later, that may be the catalyst for Walt to come out (especially if they threaten Skyler).

Thats the only thing I can imagine happening.

Also. BB confirmed as best American TV series ever. Only TV series I personally think are better are possibly Red Riding and Edge of Darkness.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:02 PM on September 15, 2013


Aww, Rian Johnson says in that interview that he likes Enlightened!

(If you haven't seen it, Enlightened is pretty much the polar inverse of Breaking Bad in every way, from its title character to its approach to directing/photography. It is seriously a fantastic show. My apartment is now planning to rewatch it once Breaking Bad ends as a kind of antidote.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:04 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


As was said to me on fb, it's been pointed out that Walt literally dug Hank's grave.
posted by gaspode at 8:05 PM on September 15, 2013 [25 favorites]


What a bloody fantastic episode. All around great acting, but especially RJ Mitte, who finally got a chance to show his stuff. Anna Gunn running down the street was just terrifying.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:08 PM on September 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, I was really hoping Todd was going to show one glimpse of conscience and set Jesse free.

I assumed that the reason they had that flashback to Jesse almost smoking in the Winnebago was because the episode was going to end with him intentionally blowing up the lab with himself in it. I think that would be the happiest possible ending for him at this point, especially if he can take Todd with him.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:12 PM on September 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


When Walt took Holly I thought we might be witnessing the origin story of Hitgirl.
posted by littlesq at 8:12 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


They set up Todd saving Jesse and making him cook in the last episode. Sure, now that he has the money Nazi Jack no longer cares about making the blue meth, and told Walt to scram without bothering to make him hold up his end of the deal. But TODD cares, because he doesn't want to let Lydia down. Lydia wants blue meth, and she's going to get it. From Jesse. Through Todd.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:13 PM on September 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Skyler absolutely clued in to what Walt was doing. I am not entirely sure if I am pleased with this last minute turn away from monster -- we hate the Nazis (unlike the cousins, who had grandeur, and Gus, who was awesome), and so Walt vs. the Nazis could turn things black and white in a weird way. (Also, the Nazis as the final villains for the show?) But I have faith in the creators.

But how about some MeFi love for Rory Marinich, who managed to get a Breaking Bad post up on the blue so we all have a place to gather over the next two weeks?
We did, in fact, have two other posts up on the blue already.

posted by jeather at 8:13 PM on September 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


"I assumed that the reason they had that flashback to Jesse almost smoking in the Winnebago was because the episode was going to end with him intentionally blowing up the lab with himself in it. "

Considering that Jesse is a very good cook, I suspect he'll do something very explosive to the lab and Todd.

Then he's going for Walt, for Jane.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:16 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


So d'you think Walt's going back in the flash-forwards to save Skyler and his son from Jesse, Brandon?
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:18 PM on September 15, 2013


So d'you think Walt's going back in the flash-forwards to save Skyler and his son from Jesse

Oooh, this hadn't occurred to me! We in the Pterodactyl household figured that the Nazis were going after his family and that's why he was coming back.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:23 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you want to see me flail go read my comments in the last thread where we were discussing this, but I'll paste my more rational moment:

As I calm down: I agree that the telling Walt jr scene was hurried. I blame that on this being 8 and not 13 episodes. It was very good but also very rushed.

I also agree the knife fight was "crazy" but it made emotional sense. Yes I mostly need characters to behave in normal ways or at least like themselves, but the context made it work for me. They're all so far past sanity at that point that her drive to protect the kids from Walt.... Logical sense no, but who is ever fucking rational 100% of the time? It made, like I said, emotional sense.

And wow. I was talking about tonight with one of the security guys at my favorite night club, and I had more than I expected right but so much wrong in the details....... And once I'm out of shell shock, I get to go pointedly not talk about it with him or several other people ell oh ell.
posted by sparkletone at 8:25 PM on September 15, 2013


Rory Marinich: "So d'you think Walt's going back in the flash-forwards to save Skyler and his son from Jesse, Brandon?"

I doubt this is going to happen, mainly because the M60 is way too much gun for one person.
posted by Memo at 8:25 PM on September 15, 2013


I cannot see Jesse taking his hatred of Walt out on Junior. That's just way out of character for him.
posted by jeather at 8:27 PM on September 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'd attributed the feminist overtones of tonight's episode to Vince Gilligan, but Alyssa Rosenberg's recap just reminded me Moira Walley-Beckett wrote it.
posted by gerryblog at 8:27 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, totally possible. Meth Damon isn't all that smart. I don't see why the other Nazis would even stick around, but Todd would because he likes Lydia. I could see Jesse blowing him up then going after Walt's family to get him to come back from New Hampshire. The next Ep. is called Granite State I think.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:29 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I cannot see Jesse taking his hatred of Walt out on Junior. That's just way out of character for him.

I would have thought so too, but that Jane thing might well have pushed him into the danger zone.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:29 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


So d'you think Walt's going back in the flash-forwards to save Skyler and his son from Jesse...

Don't know about saving, but the firebombed house now seems like it was done by Jesse to draw Walt out.

Not sure how the rednecks fit in to the end. I think Jesse will whip up something in the lab to kill Todd. Does that give him some power with the Nazis, since he would be the only cook left?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:32 PM on September 15, 2013


It WOULD be a lot more satisfying for the final showdown to be Walt vs Jesse rather than Walt vs Random Nazis Who Appeared in Season Five
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:32 PM on September 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


Ooh. Like a perverse version of what happened with Gale.

(I don't think that will happen, but it would be cool if it did.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:33 PM on September 15, 2013


But you don't need a machine gun to kill one person (especially when you can use science!). I think the gun is for the Nazis (who have probably tied up loose ends by killing Marie and maybe the Whites) and the cigarette is for Walt himself when he's done.
posted by gerryblog at 8:33 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would have thought so too, but that Jane thing might well have pushed him into the danger zone.

The zone where he will finally kill Walt (or himself)? Yes. The zone where he will kill a kid? No. The zone where he will threaten a kid? I can see that.

Didn't Walt leave Holly with an address on her? I thought I saw the White address on her chest, but Alyssa Rosenberg suggests otherwise.
posted by jeather at 8:34 PM on September 15, 2013


Oh! I believe RJ Mitte recently said he has a scene with Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston coming up.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:34 PM on September 15, 2013


Walt heads back to save Jesse after he finds blue meth in New Hampshire, because he knows nobody else can make it that way. I bet.
posted by hellojed at 8:34 PM on September 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


Didn't Walt leave Holly with an address on her? I thought I saw the White address on her chest, but Alyssa Rosenberg suggests otherwise.

Yes he did. I definitely saw "arroyo" which is part of the Whites' street address.

On another note OMFG poor Marie
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:35 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd attributed the feminist overtones of tonight's episode to Vince Gilligan, but Alyssa Rosenberg's recap just reminded me Moira Walley-Beckett wrote it.

Reminder that the stories are broken in some detail by the writers as a group. One will then get sent off to write the actual script. Gilligan also probably can make changes after that if he wants, as show runner.

All this to say: Particular details and flourish are the credited writer's but it's a team effort mostly.
posted by sparkletone at 8:36 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the ricin is meant for Jesse. Say there's a sit down with Saul, who sneaks it onto Jesse's pocket...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:36 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The zone where he will finally kill Walt (or himself)? Yes. The zone where he will kill a kid? No.

Or the zone where he was last time when he was gonna burn down the house? Think he checked all the rooms first?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:37 PM on September 15, 2013


I cannot see Jesse taking his hatred of Walt out on Junior. That's just way out of character for him.

Given Jesse's demonstrated compassion for innocent children, this is exactly why it could happen. His hatred of Walt, and recognition of all has been taken from him by this man and proxy father, could very well send him to the dark place.
posted by wensink at 8:37 PM on September 15, 2013


Aside from the very particular circumstances involving Gus, the ricin cigarette is a ludicrously roundabout way to murder someone. I think it makes much more sense as Walt's chosen method for suicide than anything else.
posted by gerryblog at 8:38 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Someone just pointed this out on Tumblr: when Walt is rolling his money barrel, you can see his lost pair of khaki pants from season 1 in the foreground.
posted by littlesq at 8:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [36 favorites]


Huge episode. Huge. Still recovering.

Funny, I just figured Walt made that comment about Jane to Jesse to keep him angry, and to keep him alive. Maybe a change of heart from Walt, regarding killing Jesse.

Jesse might burn the Nazis money, which causes them to come after Skyler and the kids. M60 is definitely not for Jesse.

the cigarette is for Walt himself when he's done

Ricin is not a good way to kill yourself - slow and painful. It's advantage is that it's not easy to detect. Who would that be for?
posted by jimmythefish at 8:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it makes much more sense as Walt's chosen method for suicide than anything else.

Ricin is a terrible way to commit suicide. It's slow, agonizing, and involves a lot of diarrhea.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:39 PM on September 15, 2013


It WOULD be a lot more satisfying for the final showdown to be Walt vs Jesse rather than Walt vs Random Nazis Who Appeared in Season Five

Yeah, and I'm assuming that the creators knew that, because if I think for a second that the final showdown will involve the Nazis in any significant way instead of Jesse I will have to start retroactively hating the show. But I do have faith in them.
posted by jeather at 8:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


But there would be a certain poetic justice Walt might appreciate. He's a shit, but he knows what he did.
posted by gerryblog at 8:40 PM on September 15, 2013


I just hope Huell, Badger and Skinny Pete are all ok in the end.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:41 PM on September 15, 2013 [26 favorites]


Oh, man. Just rewatching the flashback opener where Walt suggests to Skyler that they have some family time that weekend, maybe go for a drive, while they're also talking about naming Holly.
posted by planetesimal at 8:41 PM on September 15, 2013


Considering that Jesse is a very good cook, I suspect he'll do something very explosive to the lab and Todd.

Then he's going for Walt, for Jane.


Gods, I hope so. I so very much want Jesse to at least have revenge. I was hoping for redemption, but it seems quite unlikely.

I have spent a lot of time screaming at my TV this season. I think I will be a bit relieved when it's all over, truthfully.
posted by MissySedai at 8:42 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I just hope Huell, Badger and Skinny Pete are all ok in the end.

Skinny Pete will play us out, like Keyboard Cat.
posted by planetesimal at 8:42 PM on September 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


hellojed: "Walt heads back to save Jesse after he finds blue meth in New Hampshire, because he knows nobody else can make it that way. I bet."

Why save him? In Walt's mind, Jesse is responsible for ruining everything by going to the DEA and getting Hank killed. He could be assaulting their compound just so he can kill Jesse because the Nazi's won't kill their golden meth goose.
posted by bluecore at 8:44 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really, really hope that the M60 isn't for anything other than revenge. Walt doesn't deserve even the slightest bit of redemption at this point.

He was always going to die, but him having anything even approaching noble motivations from here on out just seems like such a bizarre 180 to me.
posted by graphnerd at 8:46 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn that show... What a spiral into hell.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:51 PM on September 15, 2013


Someone just pointed this out on Tumblr: when Walt is rolling his money barrel, you can see his lost pair of khaki pants from season 1 in the foreground.

So many bittersweet callbacks in this episode: Skyler asking Walt to pick up a pizza (pizza flinging on the garage roof), Walt rolling the barrel (Walt and Jesse carrying the barrel of stolen Methylaminie, as Hank and Gomey laugh at the knuckleheaded criminals on the surveillance tape).
posted by wensink at 8:51 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


He was always going to die, but him having anything even approaching noble motivations from here on out just seems like such a bizarre 180 to me.

Nah, he cares about his family, in an abstract way. Like they are this thing he's supposed to care of and making meth enabled him to do that, along with appealing to his arrogance and ego. He realizes that the best thing for then is for him to stay away, so he'll do that, until someone attacks them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:52 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Last Ep is Badger and Skinny Pete talking about Babylon 5 for 45 minutes.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:52 PM on September 15, 2013 [51 favorites]


him having anything even approaching noble motivations

Part of what makes Walt such a fascinating character is his ability to twist everything he does, not matter how abusive or outright evil, as a necessary sacrifice for the benefit of others. Whatever he does at the end of it will work the same way -- it'll be an utterly selfish act masquerading as redemption.
posted by gerryblog at 8:52 PM on September 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


For me, the key moment is where Walt admits to Jesse that he watched Jane die. At first, I thought he delivered this news as sort of a final fuck-you to Jesse. But then I noticed the look in Walt's eyes. It wasn't the look of a man exacting revenge; it was a pleading look. A look that said, "Please understand -- that was the point of no return for me. That is where I lost my humanity." It was one last glimpse of Walt, the human being. And then just like that -- poof! It's gone. Walt becomes Heisenberg again, dispassionately giving Uncle Jack the go-ahead to torture and kill Jesse. And the look in Jesse's eyes : he finally understands. Mr. White, the human being, did exist at one point in time, but that person has been gone for quite a while.
posted by evil otto at 8:52 PM on September 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think that Skylar and the knife thing was also a call-back to some previous episodes where she was focusing on the knife ominously. Can't think of the episode in particular. I think the thing that made this episode great for me was the references to the past that showed how much Walt has changed (is now bad, and is also broken).
posted by The Ted at 8:54 PM on September 15, 2013


Alan Sepinwall's review, just posted.

(Sepinwall is the best TV critic there is, IMHO)


This fantastic episode of BB deserves much better than this warmed-over summary.
posted by anothermug at 8:57 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jesse Pinkman, in happier times.
posted by gerryblog at 8:59 PM on September 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


We did, in fact, have two other posts up on the blue already.

SHUSH. THOSE WERE GOING TO EXPIRE EITHER BEFORE THE FINALE AIRED OR NOT LONG ENOUGH AFTER. We needed this.
posted by sparkletone at 9:01 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


NOT LONG ENOUGH AFTER

If Breaking Bad has taught us anything, it's that a week is a very, very long time.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:07 PM on September 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


He could be assaulting their compound just so he can kill Jesse because the Nazi's won't kill their golden meth goose.

Bingo. The final showdown has to be between Jesse and Walt; anything else would be disastrously anticlimactic. Breaking Bad has always been about Walt and Jesse. Always. Everyone else was just an accessory.
posted by evil otto at 9:07 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe other more literate people might know this already, but Wikipedia also led me to this poem:

Ozymandius, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
posted by The Ted at 9:10 PM on September 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


This fantastic episode of BB deserves much better than this warmed-over summary.

Critics aren't being given screeners for these last three and the demand just for comment space to discuss the shows, much less coherent smart analysis, is immense.

Please be forgiving of Sepinwall, AV Club's Bowman, Van Derwerff and others these last few weeks. They have it pretty (breaking) bad.
posted by sparkletone at 9:10 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


If Breaking Bad has taught us anything, it's that a week is a very, very long time.

And a 45 min episode of Breaking Bad goes by really, really quickly.
posted by littlesq at 9:12 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm watching the episode again and just passed the part where Todd brings Jesse up to the lab and the shot of Jesse, with his face like hamburger, seeing the photo of Brock and his mother, is just so fucking sad. One of the few characters with a genuinely kind heart and everything he's been through, just so heartbreaking.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:21 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ozymandias - As Read by Bryan Cranston
posted by Ad hominem at 9:22 PM on September 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Ricin is not a good way to kill yourself - slow and painful.
Ricin is a terrible way to commit suicide. It's slow, agonizing, and involves a lot of diarrhea.
Walter gets increasingly dramatic and unhinged as the series progresses, with a greater and greater penchant for paranoia, self-destructive Machiavellianism and raging soliloquies. He becomes a more cunning, but less rational, actor over the course of the plot. It occurs to me now that he's a lot like Sandman's Dream of the Endless in that, beyond a certain point, his actions stop being about survival and recovery and become elaborate arrangements for oblique suicide.

I'm still pretty far from being caught up to tonight's episode (I ❤ you, big spoilery thread!), but choosing a needlessly agonizing, protracted messy death over a clean exit stage left is consistent with Walter's character.
posted by byanyothername at 9:27 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


This fantastic episode of BB deserves much better than this warmed-over summary.
Funny story, folks. Late last night, I found myself in my local emergency room, dealing with a lot of stomach pen pain that was revealed to be a bad case of appendicitis. I'm okay, and am even lucky enough to be in a hospital that has AMC in high-def (what are the odds?), but I'm writing this review while both high on painkillers and feeling, even after the surgery, incredibly sick to my stomach.

I am, in other words, in the perfect physical condition to have just watched "Ozymandias."
posted by maudlin at 9:31 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


hey, for a change I was at least in the ballpark on my predictions for this episode:

-Gomez has been hit, and dies.

-Walt is able to break through to call for a cease-fire. He brokers a deal to let Hank live in exchange for cooking with Todd, but they can't let Hank go so they take him as a prisoner.

-Jesse is forgotten during all of this and sneaks off into the hills.

posted by mannequito at 9:32 PM on September 15, 2013


Jesse is forgotten during all of this and sneaks off into the hills.

I loved how he was just under the car the whole time.
posted by MillMan at 9:40 PM on September 15, 2013


My son finally, finally started calling me mama today. (Up until now, it's been "boob" or just grunting and pawing at me.)

So maybe that's part of why Holly made me absolutely lose my shit, but man. It's going to take me a while to recover from that one.
posted by ThatSomething at 9:41 PM on September 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


(Also, the Nazis as the final villains for the show?)

Gus was the final villain. Everything since then has been all Heisenberg.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:42 PM on September 15, 2013 [26 favorites]


ThatSomething: "So maybe that's part of why Holly made me absolutely lose my shit, but man. It's going to take me a while to recover from that one."

Emmy for Best Baby. And all future awards in that category.
posted by Gin and Comics at 9:43 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, 18-month-old Holly definitely outclasses 4-year-old Harrison on Dexter. Last week, the kid took a spill on a treadmill and busts his chin open, and all the director can get out of him is a flat "OWWWW. OWWWW. OWWWW."

Watching both BB and Dexter back to back this season has been a hilarious/depressing study in contrasts, all the way down to the quality of the baby/child acting.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:51 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


How did they get that sweet baby to do such a mournful cry and hide her face in the baby seat like that? That scene would break any person's heart.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:53 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


the shot of Jesse, with his face like hamburger, seeing the photo of Brock and his mother

The moment I realized what Todd had done to Jesse is one of the most horrifying things I've seen on television. Just so, so awful it made me physically ache.

Also, I don't think there's any doubt Walter was very deliberately both saying goodbye and saving Skyler in that phone call, and that Skyler realized it fairly quickly and played along. Walt's best lie, and Skyler's best cover-up, together at the end.
posted by mediareport at 9:54 PM on September 15, 2013 [29 favorites]


The moment I realized what Todd had done to Jesse is one of the most horrifying things I've seen on television. Just so, so awful it made me physically ache.

It's almost as if Jesse is living in a forced labor camp. Hmmmmm....
posted by evil otto at 10:08 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


My brief response to tonight's episode.
posted by tzikeh at 10:15 PM on September 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


"And we still have two hours, a machine gun and a ricin capsule to get through." Sepinwall's review is pretty great.
posted by pwally at 10:20 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's really sad that 3 episodes before the end I actually start to finally like Junior.

(I actually feel bad that a few weeks ago I was hoping the end was Walt having to choose between Jesse and Junior and hoped he'd choose Jesse). Then the scene by the pool where Walt tells Junior the cancer's back and he doesn't have much more time and seeing Junior get sad made me feel bad for the kid. But tonight's anger really sold me on him, finally.

GAH! I can't wait to see the end, but damnit, I don't ever want it to end!

I don't see why everyone is insisting Walt is pure evil. I think he is still a complex character. And to say he doesn't give a shit, there is no reason that I can think of that he wanted Hank saved, I really think his whole schtick is "family first". I'm so glad he returned Holly, that just pissed me off, of everything that happened, him kidnapping her was just like what. the. fuck.
posted by symbioid at 10:20 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was rough. But magnificent.


My girlfriend has been binging on BB in order to catch up with the last episode (she's at s05e04) and has pretty much been saying there's no way they're going to be able to top that every season since she started.

I can't wait to see the look on her face.
posted by flippant at 10:20 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


"In the classic novel Moby Dick, Captain Ahab is long-obsessed with catching the notorious white whale. At one point in his hunt, he loses a leg to the beast. In the end, Ahab finally catches Moby Dick, striking him with a harpoon. But catching the whale results in Ahab's death. The whale swims away.
In the classic TV series Breaking Bad, Agent Hank Schrader is long-obsessed with catching the notorious drug lord Heisenberg. At one point in his investigation, Hank is badly injured, resulting in a permanent limp. In the end, Hank finally catches Heisenberg, shackling him with handcuffs. But catching him results in Hank's death. Heisenberg runs away."
http://at.reddit.com/r/breakingbad/comments/1maw85/hank_is_captain_ahab_spoiler/
posted by bookman117 at 10:20 PM on September 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


This episode was very stressful.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:22 PM on September 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Okay I was going to write a comment about how wonderterrible this show is and how strongly it makes me feel, but it ended up being more about the nature of horror, comedy, and tragedy than it is about Breaking Bad specifically, so I posted it here instead: Startling Changes and Horrible Non-Changes.

Excerpt from the a more Breaking Bad-relevant section:
It would be misleading to say that the show's never gotten bloodier or sicker than it got tonight, with Hank shot and Holly kidnapped and Jesse strapped to a chain, blackmailed into cooking meth again by the world's most adorable murderer. The knifefight on the floor of the White house, traumatic as it was, pales in comparison to some of the worse crimes we've seen committed on this show. Again, we've seen bodies dissolved to bloody heaps, children murdered, faces ripped to pieces. We've seen a man with no legs drag himself across a floor, leaving streams of blood in his wake.

Ozymandias, by contrast, is almost merciful in its depiction of violence. Steve Gomez lies flat, bloodless, unmoving. Hank is shot, but we're spared seeing the moment of his death. Jesse is tortured, for how long we don't know, yet we don't see the torture—only its aftermath. Yet this is the most brutal this show's ever been, not because of what it's depicting but because of who it's depicting its happening to. The horrors we could hold at arm's length have now revealed themselves within the people we've most come to love.

There's always been something uncannily sinister about the evil we see on Breaking Bad. It's at once cartoonish, exotic, over-the-top – heads on top of tortoises, airplanes exploding midflight, the aforementioned cousins and their shiny gleaming axe – and disturbingly close-to-home. Walt forces his son to drink until he vomits. A burnt teddy bear floats in the family pool. A car jerks, noisily, in the middle of a Mexican desert, its windows destroyed by causes unknown. The exaggeratedness of the style works because it's always connected to these mundane things: it's not simply style for its own sake, it's style that aims to unsettle us, to make us least comfortable about the things we'd most want to take for granted. Breaking Bad is a difficult show to predict because of how effectively it avoids the obvious. It is at once more ridiculous and more banal than we expect it to be. Because of that, it strikes us harder than it otherwise would, and hits us in places we're not prepared to protect.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:30 PM on September 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


People thought Fly was good? Fly is the reason I'm only now watching Season 4. That episode drove home that I didn't like any of the characters anymore and made me think the writers were out of ideas. I consider it the low point of the series, even now that I'm hooked back in.
posted by Hoopo at 10:38 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hoopo: People thought Fly was good? Fly is the reason I'm only now watching Season 4. That episode drove home that I didn't like any of the characters anymore and made me think the writers were out of ideas.

I WILL FIGHT YOU
posted by tzikeh at 10:41 PM on September 15, 2013 [24 favorites]


Well, that was easily the most upsetting episode of a TV show I've seen since that episode of Buffy.

I almost turned off about a third of the way through - why wouldn't you turn away from a slow, grinding car crash?, but predictably, an hour later, I can't wait for the next one. Even if it will feel a little like deliberately stepping into the machine at the end of A Clockwork Orange.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:49 PM on September 15, 2013


I found Fly rather excruciating to watch, but it's such a vital bit of pause and introspection in an otherwise explosive and constantly moving story.
posted by planetesimal at 10:56 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am not a big fan of Fly, though it's extraordinarily well-done. It simply works against the grain of what makes Breaking Bad so damn good in the first place. I don't feel like the character moments it gave us were particularly more powerful than the ones we get in other episodes anyway, and the overt symbolism is tiresome.

But that's seriously just my personal reaction, and I don't intend it to be any kind of objective judgment on the episode.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:59 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sure, we can praise Vince Gilligan for creating the [arguably] best show on television.

I say we can praise Vince Gilligan for creating one of the best shows on television and we can praise the creators of Boardwalk Empire for creating one of the best shows on television and we can praise our fortune in general that great shows are finally consistently being produced in the States in much the same way they have been in the U.K. for years now. Television that consistently respects the audience for a change.

BB, BE, WD, MM, GoT, Archer, HoC, etc., etc. Who would have thought 15 years ago?
posted by juiceCake at 11:04 PM on September 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think I've ever seen a creator send a message to his fans the way Vince Gilligan sent a message to Team Walt tonight. Walt's last speech -- whether or not you think he was performing for the cops -- could have been lifted straight from Reddit.

The only reason I'm no longer on Team Walt is because after tonight's episode I think Walt is for all intents and purposes, dead. Not sure I understand what Reddit has to do with it.

I almost turned off about a third of the way through

Yes, there were several times when I had to look away. It was just one horror after another. Vince Gilligan is going to kill us all before this is over with.

The thing that's still puzzling me is why Marie felt Junior had to be told about Walt RIGHT NOW. Was she getting some kind of personal satisfaction out of seeing Junior's esteem of both his mother and father destroyed in one fell swoop? If so, I hope Walt uses the ricin capsule on her. (Nah, I don't really mean that but ugh the widow Schrader is disgusting.)
posted by fuse theorem at 11:10 PM on September 15, 2013


People thought Fly was good? Fly is the reason I'm only now watching Season 4.

Fly aired the same night as the series finale of Lost. I loved Fly but the final episode of Lost would make Cop Rock appear a masterpiece.
posted by dobbs at 11:12 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also I don't care about spoilers but the episode I watched tonight is the one where Skyler flips out at Marie and is like SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP and I'm all FINALLY and I am kinda dreading feeling bad for Marie all over again because that was excellent
posted by Hoopo at 11:13 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought the Fly was all about grinding Walt's obsessiveness into us ruthlessly. It was testing our patience like Jesse's patience had to have been tested in his interaction with Walt at that time in the series. Walt never listened to him, spoke over him, and became increasingly enraged with extreme prejudice that he hurt his own cause. If Walt were on Metafilter he'd be piled on, justifiably, in many a Metatalk thread he would have started where he is always right, everyone else is wrong, and he never addresses a single point/argument that anyone else brought up in good faith. In short, the fly in the lab was derail that took over an entire episode because Walt's ego can derail, and does derail, just about everything.
posted by juiceCake at 11:14 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think Walt is for all intents and purposes, dead

I wish I thought that, it would make it easier. I think part of the horror is that he's more or less what he was all along.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:18 PM on September 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh my god if this was real life Walt would probably be a MetaFilter user. Long screeds about science, business, education, and life regrets... not to mention lots of questions about how to dispose of bodies.

My ambition to one day turn a fictionalized version of this site into a television drama just heightened considerably.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:19 PM on September 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Everybody likes to talk about artistic intention with The Fly so much and I don't get it. It's a brilliantly realized bit of character study, but also in reality it's a bottle episode they made because other stuff that season had them way over budget.

I get wanting everything to be a certain kind of perfect but what the hell were they going to do?
posted by sparkletone at 11:20 PM on September 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't hate Fly, but I watched it in the middle of a block of watching something like 20+ episodes in a row stoping only to order food, iced coffee and cigarettes from the deli. For me it was a brief respite, if I had waited the week for it I might have been disappointed.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:26 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing that's still puzzling me is why Marie felt Junior had to be told about Walt RIGHT NOW.

She cares deeply for him, and she knew that everything was about to be revealed, and she didn't want him to find out about it by him seeing his father on TV in handcuffs or reading about it in a news article or something of that nature. She wanted to be sure he heard about his father from his mother and not by accident.

And Fly was a masterpiece.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:27 PM on September 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


The thing that's still puzzling me is why Marie felt Junior had to be told about Walt RIGHT NOW.

Marie is self-centered and self-righteous; while she has long since claimed to be concerned about the kids most of her interaction with Skyler this season has been to express her self-righteousness with emotional violence first and with concern for Skyler's children a distant second. I think while it appears externally that telling Junior the truth before he sees it on the news is the correct move Marie was primarily motivated by pride like Hank who felt the need to make the call to Marie before getting out of the desert with Walt in cuffs. I'm guessing Marie's price is going to end up being her suicide. It would fit with her character - a final self-centered act of violence toward Skyler in retribution for the death of her husband.
posted by MillMan at 11:32 PM on September 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


too bad about Dumbledore, though
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fly was easily the worst episode of the entire series. It shows Walt acting in a way that's completely at odds with his character. Walt is cold, calculating, and rational. In Fly, he acts like a total crazy person. No rationality behind his actions at all.

The episode doesn't develop his character at all, because in the next episode, he goes right back to being the Walt we all know and love. It doesn't develop the story at all, because ultimately Walt opts not to tell Jesse about Jane in that episode. So basically, nothing happens.

Fly wasn't even necessary as a bottle episode. They'd already done a superb one a couple seasons back, when the RV got stuck out in the desert with a dry battery. THAT episode was brilliant, and really got to the meat of the Walt/Jesse relationship.

When I re-watched BB with my girlfriend, Fly was the only episode we skipped.
posted by evil otto at 11:39 PM on September 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Holy crap! The Better Call Saul spin-off is a done deal!

Wheee!

Ta-ta, everyone. I'm off to pirouette through the streets!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:40 PM on September 15, 2013


The next episode is "Granite State", which is New Hampshire, where as we know Walt has a new identity (from the teaser in the season opener).

Tellingly, New Hampshire's state motto is, of course, "Live Free or Die". Which has me very,very worried about the plight of poor Jesse, who is certainly not living free. I fear the predictions of blowing up the meth lab may well come to pass.

Walt--I despise Walt for what he did to Jesse. I was caught off guard by his reaction to Hank's demise, because after the brutal 'confession" he recorded and the order for the hit on Jesse ("he's like family"), I didn't think he had any tears or remorse left in him to give.

His call to Skyler was yet another masterful Heisenberg strategy, freeing her and the kids from the scrutiny of the law so they could go on without him.

But Jesse! All Walt had to do was let him be under that car. At least until the Peckerwoods left! The two of them could have met toe-to-toe in the sand, hashed it out right then and there. He could have spit in Jesse's face, even shot him and I would have hated him for it, but at least it would not have hurt my soul the way the, "Just so you know, I watched Jane die," speech did.

And dear gods, Jesse's tortured face (SO many times Jesse has been beaten now!) and the leash in the meth lab! The picture hanging like the sword of Damocles over his head!

There's nothing for it; Todd meth Damon has to die now too. He is not the Jesse 2.0 I once thought he was. Nope, that kid's another Heisenberg in the making. Todd"s what Jesse could have been only if Jesse were lacking the compassion that compelled him to speak up against drug runners using kids as shields, or was filled to the brim with Walt's particular brand of hubris.
posted by misha at 11:50 PM on September 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I download the episodes and watch them via Plex, which helpfully fetches descriptions for each episode. The description for this week's episode was:

"Everyone copes with radically changed circumstances."
posted by heathkit at 11:51 PM on September 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


If we're listing callbacks in this episode, Skyler packing the crying clown is callback to the World's Saddest Handjob scene in the pilot.

It doesn't develop the story at all, because ultimately Walt opts not to tell Jesse about Jane in that episode. So basically, nothing happens.

I really don't feel like being fighty about it, but you couldn't be more wrong. The fact that he almost tells Jesse does in fact tell us a great deal about his character and his thought process. The fact that he's goofed out on medication and lack of sleep is precisely what is necessary to let us peer a bit deeper into his feelings. Professing to living too long is a huge character moment. Obsession with contamination is just how he's acting out about the pressure and uncertainty of being forced to work for Gus, and how the character works through those feelings. If you came away from Fly thinking nothing happened, then I just don't think you understood the subtext.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:52 PM on September 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Skyler: "I sold it for nine more dollars than I paid for it."
Walt: "Shows you what I know about art."
posted by wensink at 11:55 PM on September 15, 2013


Well, that was easily the most upsetting episode of a TV show I've seen since that episode of Buffy.

The last episode of season 2?
posted by heathkit at 12:03 AM on September 16, 2013


Vince Gilligan right now.
posted by hellojed at 12:07 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you came away from Fly thinking nothing happened, then I just don't think you understood the subtext.

No, what you refer to as subtext was pretty obvious. However, Walt's obsession with the fly is so totally out-of-character, it undermines whatever impact the subtext was supposed to have.

As for moving the plot forward ... we'll have to agree to disagree about that. To my mind, you could excise Fly completely and it wouldn't really change the show at all.
posted by evil otto at 12:10 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The last episode of season 2?

Season 5, episode 16. Just a perfect, horrible study of a family tragedy. Just like Breaking Bad, also a wonderful/horrible use of silence.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:13 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fly, Fly, Fly, Fly, Fly, Fly...

Haters, here's my interepretation: This is the episode when Walt, himself, tests his product. I've always been weary of methamphetamine, personally, but I have attempted to understand why certain users like the high so much. For some of them there is a certain focus that they enjoy delving into. This can be experienced, to a greater or lesser degree, with simple amphetamine use (Adderall, psuedoephedrine, etc.) but try to imagine it amplified, and effective for a much longer duration.

Walt, in this episode, is, as they say, "tweaking" and that's why we are privy to this madness. His fixation on the fly is similar to an auto mechanic I knew who, while under the influence, decided that there was simply one bolt that he was missing that was the entire cause of an engine that was malfunctioning, and searched for that bolt for hours, with much gusto.

I knew a vegan chef who would taste the animal product based dishes he made for his clients so that he could discern if he was making something of a quality. Walt is in a similar position in as far as he cares about his craft. In Fring's lab he is at the height of his skill and has every means at his disposal. Wouldn't you, too, attempt to ladel your own broth, just so you could be sure?


Any way, anyone have any ideas about the justification of the Nazi (they're actually White Power, but whatevs) leader guys decision to let Walter live, not to mention the money. Why didn't he just kill Walter and take it all? I guess I'm asking for some pragmatic speculation as opposed to ethical here. I mean, were there some good reasons to just let him live? Even after they're taking all this money from him was it something like, " Oh, maybe he'll cook for us again some day.", Or what?
posted by coolxcool=rad at 12:28 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't see it as out of character -- he's always been portrayed as a perfectionist when it comes to chemistry. He needs to have the proper glassware, he always measures and times everything precisely, keeps detailed notes, and worries about contamination. That's why he's the only guy around that can create 99-point-whatever percent pure meth. While a fly is probably not going to actually contaminate anything, it's certainly something that would annoy Walt even when completely sober because it shouldn't be there. But in his altered state, it becomes particularly vexing to the point of obsession -- it stands for all the things that he can't control. Gus has them under his thumb at that point, and Walt does not deal well with not being in complete control.

And there's more to advancing plot than things happening. Plot can be advanced when we learn more about a character -- what they're thinking, how they react, what they're made of.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, from the interview, funny thing about Fly, the director of it, Ryan Johnson, directed this one (third to last).
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:09 AM on September 16, 2013


Holy crap! The Better Call Saul spin-off is a done deal!

I still wish they were calling it 'Skewing Douchey.'
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:18 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


So here's how I think the ending will go (it's 3am and I just had a brainwave)

Walt finds blue meth in New Hampshire, while he's in exile. He knows that only Jesse and himself can cook that good, so he knows that 1) Jesse is still alive and 2) Jesse's being forced to cook. He has a change of heart and goes on THE WAR PATH and buys an M60.

What's the Ricin for? You may remember way back in Season 4, when Gus pulled a fast one on the cartel by having them all drink from the same poisoned drink? That's the same honeypot Walt is going to pull. He rolls up to the white supremacists, tells them the quality is low and he can do much better, and then offers a toast to the new business relationship. Then, The M60 is going to be his way of getting immediate revenge, because Ricin is 2Slow4Me. Here he should say "I HATE NAZIS, ESPECIALLY FROM NEW MEXICO"

So then at this point Walt wastes them all instead of dying, after freeing Jesse. Jesse maybe finds it in his heart to forgive Walt, but he's already drank the Ricin Margarita, and there's a tearful goodbye scene.

Cut to long shot of a black porkpie hat tumbling into the sunset.

Produced by Vince Gilligan
posted by hellojed at 1:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Walt is a total obsessive and known to handle loss of control poorly at times - I don't see how Fly is such a reach. But my impression of his character is informed by that episode itself for sure.

I don't know how I feel about his characterization this season - clearly he's caught in a really bad place and that explains some of the blunders. It's hard for me to imagine Walt and Jesse being enemies like this for good even with everything that's come out, especially since Walt's never coming back to his real family. Even if Jesse has to kill Walt in the end they're going to work together one more time first.
posted by atoxyl at 1:44 AM on September 16, 2013


All Walt had to do was let him be under that car.
I believe that Todd's uncle told Walter to drive away, thus leaving Jesse exposed. One of those things that pop up in this show that the characters deal with in the moment. OR! Or, a mix of of crazy planning mixed with "jump off the cliff Sundance!" that great writing can do.
posted by qinn at 1:45 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This kind of bean picking is what makes me love Metafilter.
posted by qinn at 1:56 AM on September 16, 2013


As he looked up into the desert's blue skies, birds sailing effortlessly, I almost wished for Jesse to be set free, at that moment.

I never knew writers could torture one character that much, offer the audience some hope for freedom (even if it is a mercy killing), and not only snatch it away, but have the worst human being alive turn the knife one more time, when he tells Jesse about Jane.

My God.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:13 AM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm not going to do any more guessing, because when the episode finally rolls around, I feel like I need to see how many points I got.

One thing that strikes me about the show is the way in which it's about human beings striving to do the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves, completely oblivious to the fact that they can change the circumstances.

Although the headline theme of the series - Mr Chips becomes Scarface - holds true, I think, it's much more about how decent people get by in Hell. The response I've had most often to the brutality of the show is sadness. All that collateral damage is heartbreaking. I think it might be the best work of fiction I've encountered - certainly the most comprehensive - on the straightjacket of masculinity. In this context, judging people as good or bad depending on what they do is, if not a mistake, then somewhat misleading. For example, the last ten minutes of this episode were, I thought, a touching insight into the better side of Walter White as a human being, despite the fact that he kidnaps his daughter from his screaming wife, and then telephones her to abuse and threaten her. It's clear that he does this in order to have a final connection to his daughter - to say goodbye* - and then to provide some measure of exoneration for Skyler. Although, obviously, all the things he says to her are true - the odd thing is that he's finally accepting her criticisms without excuse or apology or those terrible, self-serving lies of his. Except for one lie - he implies that he has full responsibility for Hank's death.** In a way it's an echo of Jesse's line "I accept myself for what I am - a bad man". It reminds me of Borges' Gospel According to Judas Iscariot.

Throughout the series we've seen Jesse's fundamental decency shine through, usually when he's actually doing quite indecent things. Similarly, Todd is a very nice, caring person, if a bit dim. The problem is that he has been raised to see people as livestock - a true Nazi in that way. He tortures and murders people, because it's what seems to be necessary in the circumstances, but we've never seen him take pleasure in doing it or cause unnecessary suffering. Apart from the fact that it's all entirely unnecessary, of course. Within his world - a fundamentally brutal and corrupt world - he is a good man. Which is what makes him so incredibly dangerous, of course. It's an echo of the way Don Hector Salamanca raised The Twins.

The sheer horror of the situation is that none of this for a moment excuses any of the things they do. They are evil people because they do evil things, but occasionally we get to see nuggets of people just like ourselves embedded in the evil. I think that's very valuable, at a time when it seems to be increasingly easy to see evil as something that's committed by those people over there, not the sort of thing that people like us do, despite the superficial behavioural similarities. Because they're evil, and we're not.

* I have the episode running as I'm writing, and it's just got to that scene. The second time, seeing Walt changing Holly, knowing what he is, at least, in the process of deciding, is immensely moving.

** That is to say he implies actual responsibility (which he doesn't in fact bear) in addition to moral responsibility (which it might be argued he does absolutely). Also, if he can get the police off the scent of the Nazis, perhaps they'll leave his family alone. No, of course they won't, how else did the house get like... but I wasn't going to do any more guessing.
posted by Grangousier at 2:39 AM on September 16, 2013 [31 favorites]


Walt is cold, calculating, and rational.

I think this is the most fundamental misunderstanding of how Walt acts versus who he is. He play-acts a persona (to himself as much as others) that is his rather naive idea of cold, calculating and rational without actually understanding or possessing any of those characteristics. Gus was the contrast, a dispassionate robot and a truly scooped-out husk of a man who demonstrated the sacrifice of self required to be what Walt only mimics.

Walt is a scared little fantasist. He's quick and innovative in a pinch but above all lucky, at least in the short term. The results of his mad panicky inventiveness and luck, in letting him live a little longer in each crisis, allow him to retroactively convince himself and everyone around him that these were successes, the considered masterstrokes of the cold genius he wishes he were, and sink back into that pretended self, at least until the next crisis leaves him sobbing on the floor. He's addicted to a playing a character where he's free of the shame he learned to feel in the need to ask for help sometimes, to be open, to not always be the winner.
posted by emmtee at 3:37 AM on September 16, 2013 [52 favorites]


Walt telling Jesse about Jane I thought was narratively supported. Walt has a mini-breakdown after the shooting of Hank. Does he blame himself? Nope, not Walt. So he has to blame Jesse. In his breakdown moment, everything is Pinkman's fault.

Poor Marie. Poor Jesse. Poor Junior.
posted by angrycat at 4:00 AM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


That's exactly it, Walt has this incredible capacity for selective awareness (in general, but particularly...) in drawing these chains of cause and effect that let him say 'if YOU hadn't done THING then NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED' as if every element of the situation that led to THING just sort of existed rather than having been specifically set in motion by Walt himself.
posted by emmtee at 4:05 AM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also: Hank last moment. Does he tell Walt how awful Walt is? No. He rather humbly points out that Walt is the smartest man he's ever met; why then, does he not know that Hank is about to die?

That is like some nth level dignity in dying shit.
posted by angrycat at 4:14 AM on September 16, 2013 [48 favorites]


I'm still reeling, and really enjoying reading all the perspectives here. Thanks, Rory!

Anna Gunn was brilliant in this episode. The cold opening phone call between Walt and Skyler teeing up the later terrifying phone call was genius. But both calls possessed the intimacy and deep bond between them, come hell and high water and the AB.

When she picks up Walt's call after Junior calls the cops (excruciating, waiting for the tap as Walt hollers to pick it up) and he asks her about cops and she says, There are no police here, of course she knows he knows the cops are there! He saw Junior call them. They are in it together.

As the scene progresses and Walt is amping up his Heisenberg persona for the benefit of the tap, and screaming at Skyler on the phone (totally terrifying, totally contemporary, the essence of the show, American manhood in jeopardy, on the wane, flailing) she "gets it" mid-way through, when she says, "I'm sorry," to him in the soft voice. They are completely on the same page. She pushes further by asking him specifically about how Hank died, saying, in her wifely way: don't forget to take the rap for what has happened to Hank, you can't leave that thread dangling, Marie has to hear it.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:37 AM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


also, how many of y'all were convinced one of the kids was gonna die in a car? Flynn not putting his seatbelt on, Holly not having a proper car seat -- and the ding ding ding of Flynn's seatbelt not being on is almost part of the soundtrack at some point. I mean the *ding ding ding* continues after Flnn and Skylar are out of the car.
posted by angrycat at 4:47 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The seatbelt bit was a great throwback to the relentless (IMHO) fake foreshadowing that Flynn/Jr. is going to die in a car accident. Since S1 (I think it's S1) when Walt is trying to teach him to drive with the correct foot on the correct pedal, they've been throwing daggers at poor Walt Jr. and his love of cars.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:49 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


The episode opened with the first lie he told Skyler, and it ended with (presumably) the last one he'll ever tell her. Very elegant.

(I did wonder if, off-screen, Last Lie Walt had to rehearse what he was going to say like he did the first time.)
posted by jbickers at 5:04 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think a TV show has ever had me literally sitting there yelling CRUTCH HIM CRUTCH HIM IN THE FACE before today.
posted by emmtee at 5:13 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ha! I was hollering, "Crutch the knife away! Crutch the knife away!" My dog left the room.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:22 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


It would have been the corniest goddamn thing in the world and I'm glad it didn't happen, but I was terrified that Flynn would trip and fall onto the knife that his parents were pointing into the air.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:25 AM on September 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


Holly asking for "mama" was her first word. Walt's face in that moment--what that moment should have been, compared to what it is--well, that's one of those "yeah, they keep giving the Emmy to Cranston because he keeps fucking earning it" moments.
posted by tzikeh at 5:33 AM on September 16, 2013 [27 favorites]


Also - a still of the Director of Photography credit.

If I might quote from Bartok the Bat: "You're on your own now, sir! This can only end in tears!"
posted by tzikeh at 6:05 AM on September 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


It would have been the corniest goddamn thing in the world and I'm glad it didn't happen, but I was terrified that Flynn would trip and fall onto the knife that his parents were pointing into the air.

Yep, that was one of several low points for the episode. It's much smarter than that, so to even float that possibility in such a ham fisted shot felt like they were just throwing shit at the wall to ratchet up drama.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would have been the corniest goddamn thing in the world and I'm glad it didn't happen, but I was terrified that Flynn would trip and fall onto the knife that his parents were pointing into the air.

Y'know, I thought that was the climax of the episode, that crazed back-and-forth scuffle where we don't know if Skyler or Walt Jr is going to get a sharp and bloody end. Then, just after you thought they'd come out of it and the tension had ebbed, BOOM he goes for Holly, and it ramps right back up again.

I've seen a couple people express displeasure over Rian Johnson and/or "Fly" but I'll be damned if both that episode and this one didn't just have this almost unbearable level of tension buildup that seems to be Johnson's hallmark on TV. In "Fly" it's the scenes with the ladder and chair, teetering, creaking, all the while Walt's mind is doing the same. You expect one or both will come crashing down and taking the Jesse that we know away, but in the end it doesn't. I just watched "Fly" last week in my re-watch of the entire series, and it seems that "Ozymandias" is very much a spiritual sequel to it, what with the uncertainties about Jesse, the revelation about Jane, and the idea of being trapped in the bottle.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's a minor thing, but how cool was it that all we had to see was a shot of Walt beside that memorable spillway and a red minivan pulling up, and we know exactly what's happening? Absolutely no time was wasted having to explain what was going on, since we've already established how the vacuum cleaner parts guy operates. I tend to think a lesser show would have wasted time with a scene of Walt fumbling around looking for that business card and then calling the number and asking to be disappeared so that viewers can follow what's going on. This show knows you don't need any of that.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:15 AM on September 16, 2013 [42 favorites]


Brandon: absolutely disagree. That scene was up there with the end of Crawl Space in terms of pure visceral emotional horror.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:15 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


I disagree about the knife scene as well. Skyler protecting her son so viscerally, and then Flynn diving in to save his mother was one of the great moments for me last night.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:33 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think we can assume that junior is going to take down www.savewalterwhite.com now.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:38 AM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


Brandon, I kinda love you for willing to buck the crowd in terms of movies and T.V. Seriously.
posted by angrycat at 6:49 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was thinking about the incredible amount of damage done by Walt's refusal to use Saul when he finally decides to have Jesse killed. Like, Saul has been pitching this idea on and off for quite a while now, it's clear he has 'a guy' pretty much ready to go, and honestly Walt should have a pretty high opinion of Saul's ability to pick guys by now given the relative professionalism and lack of fuck-uppery demonstrated by Mike, by Huell & Patrick etc. Saul's cautious and specifically experienced at managing this stuff from a safe distance, but I can't help feeling that Walt has been simmering in resentment every time he relied on Saul's network because that isn't him in the big chair making the big calls based on his connections and reputation. He can't stand feeling subordinate to anyone, ever.

So the moment he acquires a 'network' of his own, even though it is these ridiculous neo-nazis he has no control over and no real understanding of, who will take anything of value they get the slightest whiff of, who Saul would (I think it's safe to assume) not have touched with a fifty-foot lawyering pole, Walt just can't resist feeling like the big kingpin and calling in 'his guys', who proceed to pretty much destroy absolutely everything forever. Tossing aside the expedient thing in favour of the ego boost, even at the very bottom of the pit that exact behaviour has dug for him. That's Walt.
posted by emmtee at 6:52 AM on September 16, 2013 [33 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "It would have been the corniest goddamn thing in the world and I'm glad it didn't happen, but I was terrified that Flynn would trip and fall onto the knife that his parents were pointing into the air."

I was also terrified about that, but afterwards I realized that the show would never let Walter off the hook by killing his son in something that could be interpreted as an accident. Every bad thing that's happened to Walt has been as the direct, foreseeable result of a bad choice he made and every person he's killed is someone he's deliberately chosen to murder. Like emmtee says, Walt's tremendously lucky and the fact that his decisions don't have a lot of unintentional collateral damage makes the massive amount of pain and suffering he's brought on his family and friend even more remarkable.
posted by Copronymus at 6:54 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


@Rhomboid: At the start of last night's episode, I was engaged in the second screen experience, with my laptop opened to Aaron Paul's Twitter feed. Watching his followers climb by the thousands every minute, I was reminded of Jr./Flynn: "And another one. From Canada!"
posted by wensink at 6:56 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


wensink: " Watching his followers climb by the thousands every minute, I was reminded of Jr./Flynn: "And another one. From Canada!""

There's still time to Save Walter White!!!!
posted by symbioid at 7:30 AM on September 16, 2013


Oh .... I ... I didn't see that you were replying to that LOL woops!
posted by symbioid at 7:30 AM on September 16, 2013


So she sold the crazy clown For A Few Dollars More?
posted by iamkimiam at 7:30 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems like Walt buying the M60 for a standoff with the nazis is the only thing that makes real sense, but I can't really square that with the fact that he actually bought the gun from them. Although he bought it from Lawson and not Jack (who seems to be the leader), which makes me think that something has happened to the rest of the group. So I'm back to not being sure who the gun is for.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:33 AM on September 16, 2013


I'd attributed the feminist overtones of tonight's episode to Vince Gilligan, but Alyssa Rosenberg's recap just reminded me Moira Walley-Beckett wrote it.

Rosenberg has been putting up some really good thoughts on her Twitter feed and having dialogues with followers about the issue of misogyny in the fandom, and she's already thinking of expanding her thoughts into a full article (presumably after the show ends). Here's her main points:
So, a couple of meta-thoughts on #BreakingBad after last night's episode.

1) The misogyny of some #BreakingBad fans is such that I'm surprised we haven't seen more blaming Holly for wanting to be with her bitch mom.

2) That misogyny of a segment of #BreakingBad's fandom will always be an asterisk on the show for me, no matter how much I admire.

3) Maybe there was no way for #BreakingBad to write Skyler and Marie in ways that wouldn't have inspired this reaction to them. And it's true that people bring their own baggage with them to TV. But you teach people to watch your show and read your characters, too. I think Vince Gilligan and Co. have done mighty work to try to turn people around on Skyler, but have been unable to undo some early work.

4) Walt's phone call to Skyler is absolutely a reflection of the worst of #BreakingBad fans. But it may be too late to force recognition.

5) #BreakingBad came out at a time when audiences were *used* to identifying with transgressive men. The greater artistic achievement would have been getting them to identify with and root for Skyler, at this point, honestly. That hasn't succeeded across the board, obviously.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 AM on September 16, 2013 [18 favorites]


I could not disagree with Rosenberg more. I mean, I'm a woman. I've been a woman for 33 years, and I have no idea what she's talking about.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, several of those points not only don't make any sense, they are flat-out wrong. His call to Skyler was a shout-out to Skyler-hating fans? Are we watching the same show as this person?
posted by jbickers at 7:37 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


The wife and I have been bingeing on Breaking Bad for the past month and as enjoyable as that's been, I do wonder if seeing everything in such quick succession highlights some of the awkward, drawn out nature of the series. Walt has been very lucky, pretty much unbelievably so. He's a darker version of Nancy Botwin from Weeds, eternally falling upwards through their own intelligence and the varying intelligence of their enemies, which rises and falls with the plot.

This episode, doing the flashback was an unnecessary downbeat and needless tension building, last week left us at the shootout, so stepping back for a second felt all sorts of wrong. It came across forcing the narrative too much, to dangle the results from the shoot out just a little bit longer, even if mattered to the later phone conversation between Walk and Skyler. This is Hank, a key character and foil for Walt. Just get to the point, you know? No need to masturbate over technique, especially when you don't even show the final moments of the shootout, just the aftermath, which doesn't seem to make much sense from the logistics point, i.e. Hank being shot in his other leg, of all places.

The jumping through hoops to keep Jesse was painful, but Walt finally telling him about Jane was brilliantly played. There's literally nothing to do but wait for Jesse to kill Walt. Everything else is just cleaning up loose ends.

Maybe there was no way for #BreakingBad to write Skyler and Marie in ways that wouldn't have inspired this reaction to them.

Yeah, I don't get the Skyler hate. She's been a great character. Now Marie...

His call to Skyler was a shout-out to Skyler-hating fans?

Sort of. Walt said all the things that those fans have been saying, but not for the reasons they wanted. So it's a mixed bag.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still wondering how Charlie Rose fits into all this. Is he the vacuum guy in the minivan?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:44 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, several of those points not only don't make any sense, they are flat-out wrong. His call to Skyler was a shout-out to Skyler-hating fans? Are we watching the same show as this person?

I read it as her saying Gilligan et al are putting a mirror up to those fans' faces, but instead of being horrified by what they see they're cheered by it. The writing team and the actors have been doing a fantastic job showing how utterly villainous Walt is, but there's a substantial part of the fandom who either love that about him or blame Skyler, Marie, Lydia, and the other women for being the reasons behind his downfall.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:48 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


The other thing that was really jarring to me was that the opening credits (the ones that normally roll after the teaser) came up with the second act, as it were, at 9:27. There was just something about that that was so crazy. I realize why they didn't want the names over the shootout segment, but still.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:48 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, several of those points not only don't make any sense, they are flat-out wrong. His call to Skyler was a shout-out to Skyler-hating fans? Are we watching the same show as this person?

That is absolutely how I heard that call. Walt AS HEISENBERG was spewing all the sputttering, irrational, rape-y, mansplain-y, venom of the flailing, dying regressive male (although we know it was faked for the listening cops). "I know better, you haven't been listening to me, you haven't obeyed me, you're not respecting me, you haven't done what I said, you've brought this on yourself, you've had your own stupid opinions, you are a bitch."

Heisenberg, whom the haters love as a badass who keeps getting slapped down by his bitch wife.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:48 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


That is absolutely how I heard that call. Walt AS HEISENBERG was spewing all the sputttering, irrational, rape-y, mansplain-y, venom of the flailing, dying regressive male (although we know it was faked for the listening cops). "I know better, you haven't been listening to me, you haven't obeyed me, you're not respecting me, you haven't done what I said, you've brought this on yourself, you've had your own stupid opinions, you are a bitch."

I agree with this, but I also think some part of Walt/Heisenberg -- the ugly part, which is most of him -- believed what he was saying. He did do it all himself, his failures were all other people's mistakes, he wasn't exceptionally lucky he was exceptionally brilliant, Skyler held him back, etc etc.
posted by jeather at 7:54 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Are we watching the same show as this person?

I certainly am.

The phrasing and particular vitriol expressed in Walt's phone call was instantly recognised by everyone I watched the show with as almost indistinguishable from the stuff that's been being said about Skyler in many fan circles for years now. Whether that's an intentional nod to the utter seething hate a mass of fans holds for Skyler, essentially 'Walt is hamming it up to an almost cartoonish extent to appear the worst monster he could possibly be, and he's saying the exact things you've been saying, look at yourselves' or whether a character trying to make himself appear a wife-hating villain will inevitably end up resembling actual woman-hating villains is perhaps open to interpretation, but the parallel is so clearly there.

It's perhaps worth adding that Vince Gilligan has commented on Skyler/Marie hate as a phenomenon, so it's hardly as if the writers are collectively unaware.
posted by emmtee at 8:05 AM on September 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


The misogyny has always seemed like more of an MRA/Reddit issue amplified by social media than a Breaking Bad/Vince Gilligan problem to me. Wouldn't Scully have been the target of a lot of the same vitriol if The X-Files were on air today?
posted by oinopaponton at 8:06 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


#BreakingBad came out at a time when audiences were *used* to identifying with transgressive men. The greater artistic achievement would have been getting them to identify with and root for Skyler, at this point, honestly. That hasn't succeeded across the board, obviously.

I feel like this is part of what the show was trying to do. You start with Walt as a typical transgressive male protagonist of the type she mentions and you slowly unwind the problems with that trope, the ruined/ended lives, the destroyed family, the harm that Walt sows where ever he goes. For some reason, though, some people can't disabuse themselves of the first impression to see what's actually going on. They're still on Team Walt despite the fact that the show is pretty clear about where your allegiances really should lie.

I've got two coworkers with whom I mostly stopped talking about Breaking Bad because they just wanted to rant about how weak and stupid Skylar was for standing in the way of Walt's dreams, which is a pretty insane perspective on the show, to me. I'm more inclined to see the failure as their's rather than the shows, though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:09 AM on September 16, 2013 [22 favorites]


I don't see why everyone is insisting Walt is pure evil. I think he is still a complex character.

He is a complex character. But he is also a monster. Evil doesn't need to be -- shouldn't be -- a cardboard cutout twirling his moustache. I don't think Gus, Mike, Tio Salamanca, the cousins, etc, thought they were heroes, not like Walt does, and they were all interesting complex characters too.
posted by jeather at 8:09 AM on September 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


He did do it all himself, his failures were all other people's mistakes, he wasn't exceptionally lucky he was exceptionally brilliant, Skyler held him back, etc etc.

Yes, this is why he wanted Jesse not dead, but suffering in his final moments with the Jane revelation. Walt picked Jesse, trained him, manipulated, pushed and pulled him and in the end, he just wasn't made for that life. Walt chose wrong, from the very beginning, but he can't admit that to himself. Thus Hank's death was Jesse's fault, not Walt's.

Thought naturally Walt will attempt to kill the Nazi's. They stole his money, even after he had offered all of it to them for Hank's life. Walt's going to be nursing that grudge for a while.

I've been enjoying the " battle" between Walt and Hank, as each seeks to be the alpha male, even as they cross all sorts of lines to be in that position, lines that will result in their own loss of face. Hank is aware that bringing Walt in will cost him his career, but he doesn't care. Walt fooled him for years, in his own kingdom, Hank feels he has no choice but to destroy Walt, even as he falls with him and his family is wrecked.

This probably reflects Hank's shame over not being to handle it in the big city, of essentially not being as bad ass as he thought. He survived the cartel hit not because of his brilliance or guts, but because he was scared shitless and had to go back to the truck for a breather. He was small fish in a big pond and knew it, so he returned to his small pond. Then he found out he wasn't even king in his own world, he was just a fool. Viewed in that light, it's surprising he didn't just outright kill Walter.

..I mostly stopped talking about Breaking Bad because they just wanted to rant about how weak and stupid Skylar was for standing in the way of Walt's dreams..

Do they feel a similar way about Jesse?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:10 AM on September 16, 2013


zombieflanders: "4) Walt's phone call to Skyler is absolutely a reflection of the worst of #BreakingBad fans. But it may be too late to force recognition."

I read this scene as shout at (rather than a shout out) to those fans.

Walt yells and wails, blames all his problems on his wife, but breaks down at the end. He is exonerating his wife within the narrative (hoping she will avoid prison), but also outside of it. The tears are a rejection of those attitudes in real world and in fandom.

So my guess at what Rosenberg was saying (it's a tweet I'm going off here, so I could be totally wrong) is that this particular scene was meant as a mirror for those fans. "Look at yourselves! You're terrible, and the things you say are contemptible and demonstrably false!"
posted by Gin and Comics at 8:12 AM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


I completely disagree about the flashback. The show has an established pattern of using the cold open to tell a 3-5 minute standalone tableau. It's one of the show's signatures, and it would have been out of character to jump right into the action from last week. And frankly, I don't want to be dumped right into heavy action. This show is already hell on your nerves, and it doesn't need to be any harsher. A proper meal begins with an appetizer, not the main course.

And the flashback wasn't just an artistic flourish, it establishes themes that are important in the rest of the episode. It reminded us that Walt did not pick any ordinary spot in the desert to bury his money, but one that was reminiscent of his camaraderie with Jesse in those early days, and the beginnings of his Heisenberg persona. It underlines that those actions of Walt in his underwear lead not just to the death of his brother in law, but to his burial in that very same spot. Walt and Jesse's uneasy friendship in those early days contrasts with the slight cold nod to the man holding a pistol to Jesse's head, and the punishment he thinks Jesse deserves for betrayal. We are reminded of how far Walt has come in his performances, from making excuses for being late coming home to taking credit (with police recording the call) for murders of federal agents and kidnappings and god knows what else. We see the old Skyler whose only cares were making nine dollars on ebay and thinking of baby names and we compare it to the Skyler who gets in a violent knife fight with the man she thought she loved in front of her son, prior to having her daughter stolen from her by her assailant. We see a child-like Jesse who still plays lightsaber with a stick contrasted with the Jesse of the present who has been through so much physical and emotional torture that he hopes for death but isn't even granted the courtesy.

Those first 4 minutes and 50 seconds of flashback set up the episode so well that I can't understand why anyone would want them excised out of expediency.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:13 AM on September 16, 2013 [51 favorites]


Walt's phone call to Skyler is absolutely a reflection of the worst of #BreakingBad fans.

That makes complete sense to me, and I love that Walt was lying like a dog when the writers specifically referenced the Skyler hate and put those things in his mouth.

The greater artistic achievement would have been getting them to identify with and root for Skyler, at this point, honestly.

I can respect the challenge of trying to get men's rights activists to respect characters like Skyler, but I'm also glad I don't have to watch much TV aimed at men's rights activists. Anyway, Rosenberg's mission was accomplished for most folks I know, and I hope that asterisk she puts on her experience with the show isn't too big.
posted by mediareport at 8:13 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been enjoying the " battle" between Walt and Hank, as each seeks to be the alpha male, even as they cross all sorts of lines to be in that position, lines that will result in their own loss of face. Hank is aware that bringing Walt in will cost him his career, but he doesn't care. Walt fooled him for years, in his own kingdom, Hank feels he has no choice but to destroy Walt, even as he falls with him and his family is wrecked.

I disagree so much with this.

The line Hank crossed was not when he went after Walt, which was always something he would do, it was when he did that secretly, without telling the rest of the DEA. He doesn't want to wreck his family, and he tried (badly) to avoid that. He believes that his career is less important than the law.

Thought naturally Walt will attempt to kill the Nazi's. They stole his money, even after he had offered all of it to them for Hank's life. Walt's going to be nursing that grudge for a while.


Only two more weeks of nursing the grudge.
posted by jeather at 8:15 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The M60 is for fighting Marie.
posted by thelonius at 8:19 AM on September 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


In case anybody's interested, Rian Johnson's posting behind-the-scenes pics up on his Twitter feed right now.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:24 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is probably miles off the mark, but during the phone call, when Walt was all "I built this, nobody else built this!" my mind immediately went to Grey Matter. That whole plotline feels unresolved to me - if I put myself in Walt's mind, I can trace 100% of my problems back to that company and how he was so close to never having to worry about money again. Any chance the M60 is for the GM executive board?

(I know, almost certainly not. But still.)
posted by jbickers at 8:27 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Any way, anyone have any ideas about the justification of the Nazi (they're actually White Power, but whatevs) leader guys decision to let Walter live, not to mention the money. Why didn't he just kill Walter and take it all? I guess I'm asking for some pragmatic speculation as opposed to ethical here. I mean, were there some good reasons to just let him live? Even after they're taking all this money from him was it something like, " Oh, maybe he'll cook for us again some day.", Or what?

It makes little practical sense by the end, but the decision to let him live was there from the get-go. It was only after Todd convinced them to spare Jesse that that decision goes a bit wonky, plus they had all that money on their minds... There were a lot of things going on, emotions were running high; I don't think Jack was thinking particularly clearly. It's probably just that simple.

Plus -- warning: cynicism -- I have a feeling if Gilligan et al. hadn't written themselves into the corner that is that first flash-forward, things might've ended up a bit different. Walt had to stay alive, had to have money, because Denny's bathroom. (Incidentally, that scene features a koala baby changing station pretty prominently. Callback!)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:34 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently they got a waiver from the DGA to delay the credits on this episode.
posted by jeather at 8:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jack made it clear, I thought, that he was sparing Walt because of Todd's respect for Walt. Without that, they surely would have killed him too.
posted by ambrosia at 8:40 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling if Gilligan et al. hadn't written themselves into the corner that is that first flash-forward, things might've ended up a bit different.

I have a feeling that Gilligan et al. have been planning whatever their finale is for a very long time, and that they absolutely knew what was happening in the flash-forward when they wrote it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:40 AM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


About the only thing I didn't entirely like was that the confession about Jane felt forced, almost like the writers just wanted it to get it out there before the series ended.

I've been saying that Jesse will have to learn about Jane, either by a dying or a spiteful confession by Walt. Not for us, but because Jesse needed to know. I would have considered it a huge oversight not to address this.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:41 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


jeather: "Apparently they got a waiver from the DGA to delay the credits on this episode."

I read "DEA" and wondered if it was because they considered it to be respectful, since a couple of fictional agents just lost their lives.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:42 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, Vince Gilligan promised to tie up all the loose ends, and Jesse learning about Walt watching Jane die was a massive loose end that needed to be tied up.
posted by ambrosia at 8:42 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The people who spew hate at Skyler and Marie are never going to come around. It doesn't matter what the writers do. Even last night there were tweets about how Heisenberg is such a gangster and how happy people are that he finally told that bitch off for good. They just don't seem to get it. Sometimes I think about why I watch a show that includes people like that as a vocal part of the audience.

I have never had a reaction to film or TV like I had last night. I'm still not sure how they managed to do it. Nothing happened that I wasn't expecting. Other shows have pulled some things that have left me gutted and needing quiet time after viewing but I've never been so anxious as this episode made me. My fingers and toes were actually numb by the end. I wouldn't have thought that was a thing if it hadn't happened to me. I've watched characters I love and care about more die before so why is this show hitting me so hard?
posted by MaritaCov at 8:45 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


>I have a feeling if Gilligan et al. hadn't written themselves into the corner that is that first flash-forward, things might've ended up a bit different.

>>I have a feeling that Gilligan et al. have been planning whatever their finale is for a very long time, and that they absolutely knew what was happening in the flash-forward when they wrote it.


If that's the case, then Gilligan and the other writers have been pretty much lying in interviews, the Insider Podcast, etc. They've been pretty vocal about DELIBERATELY writing themselves into corners so that they have to then write their way out again. The whole flash-forward thing from Season Two is an example of this, the plane crash was not planned from the beginning. They just wrote the cold open and then tried to figure out how it could have happened after the fact.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:51 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Killing Walt was never on the table for the peckerwoods, at least not until they have solved their production issues. The only question in their mind is whether they take both Jesse and Walt by force and hope that under threat of torture that they are able to extract the required information from one of them, or whether they take Jesse now and if that doesn't work out, kill him and force Walt to make good on his deal to cook for them one more time. In that case they need him alive and in good spirits, and leaving him one barrel of money helps in that regard.

I have a feeling that Gilligan et al. have been planning whatever their finale is for a very long time, and that they absolutely knew what was happening in the flash-forward when they wrote it.

I can't recall where -- it might have been in a written interview or on Talking Bad -- but Gilligan stated that they wrote that s5 opening flash-forward with the machine gun without any knowledge of how they were going to eventually get there or how it was going to relate to the second half. They like to write themselves into corners like that.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:53 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't Scully have been the target of a lot of the same vitriol if The X-Files were on air today?

That's an interesting question, I really don't know. I think there's no way Mulder as a character would play so specifically into the independent, emotionless, going-his-own-way fantasy many of these fans share with Walt. The X-Files leads are outright an inversion of the way the rational/intuitive split is normally applied to gender, and so while Scully certainly questions Mulder, stands in his way sometimes, shoots down his theories etc, I'm not sure they'd jump to project their fantasy selves onto him and their imaginary female impedances onto her.

Any chance the M60 is for the GM executive board?

Hah, now there's a thought.
posted by emmtee at 8:56 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a feeling that Gilligan et al. have been planning whatever their finale is for a very long time and that they absolutely knew what was happening in the flash-forward when they wrote it.

Yeah, here's an example of the kind of interview showbiz_liz is taking about, the April interview with Gilligan emmtee linked above:

Q: In interviews last summer you still weren’t sure how Breaking Bad was going to end. Was this just a matter of specifics? Or had you still not decided whether Walt was going to live, die, or go to prison?

Gilligan: It was everything. We knew very little as of last summer. We knew we had an M60 machine gun in Walt’s trunk that we needed to pay off, and that was about it...

That interview is great in general. The stuff about why Spongebob Squarepants is harder to write than Walter White is hilarious.

Someone just pointed this out on Tumblr: when Walt is rolling his money barrel, you can see his lost pair of khaki pants from season 1 in the foreground.

Did You Spot Walt’s Old Pants on Breaking Bad?

That also ties in nicely with the episode's title, "Ozymandias." The poem describes "two vast and trunkless legs" that "stand in the desert," and "near them, on the sand, / Half sunk, a shattered visage lies." Sounds about right!
posted by mediareport at 8:58 AM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


You watch the show because it is damn good, and the audience composes not just the jackasses but plenty of other people who appreciate it for its own sake.

I honestly didn't like Skyler. I still don't like Marie. I mean, does anybody actually LIKE anybody? I kinda like Jesse (used to hate him a lot more), and Badger annoyed me, but he grew on me. The only one who I think I truly like all the way through with no dislike is probably Skinny Pete. Maybe because he reminds me of some doofy stoners I knew growing up. A bit naive in some ways, but... still worldly wise as well. Serious, wanting to learn, maybe stunted by his own upbringing and place in history. Wanting a life of fun, but also having some sort of heart.

Skyler grew on me once she started getting tough and putting Walt in his place. When she stopped whining and crying and saying "Look, if we're doing this, we're gonna do it!"

Then she started to get... weak again? I like strong Skyler. But then I'm a feminist, not an MRA. But yes - I am really not a fan of whiny crying Skyler. BUT... I also understand that each character on this show is so multidimensional and complex, and I feel that a lot of discussion misses out on the nuances. Even the complexity is shown as some binary thing. But I think it's the shades of grey in between the extremes that is what really makes the show what it is.

Yes, sometimes I have a male power fantasy trip w/Walt at times. Other times he goes too far. Other times I cry for the weak man he is, trapped in a world of his own making.

I suppose it's true that we really only get 3 main female characters, which is a shame. Lydia, like Skyler, I prefer when she's in charge. Sometimes she's in over her head. That's not her fault. But you would think she would be less sheltered sometimes.

Honestly, though, mostly I can't stand Marie. I mean. I get her motivations. She is strong in her own way, so that I respect. Maybe it's cuz she's with Johnny Law, and I don't like Johnny Law in general. I feel bad for her at times, most assuredly, and I do respect that she's trying to look out for the kids. But her personality just annoys me so much, even when she is doing the "right thing".

Man - I love that idea of the M60 being or Marie. LOL.

PURPLE VS GUN.... FIGHT!
posted by symbioid at 8:59 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I completely disagree about the flashback. The show has an established pattern of using the cold open to tell a 3-5 minute standalone tableau. It's one of the show's signatures, and it would have been out of character to jump right into the action from last week. And frankly, I don't want to be dumped right into heavy action. This show is already hell on your nerves, and it doesn't need to be any harsher. A proper meal begins with an appetizer, not the main course.

Sure, it's one of the show's trademarks, but in this particular instance and for me, it would have been more powerful and gripping to go right into the shoot out, because the fallout from it is so important. Watching Hank fall was necessary to complete the wonderful cliffhanger from last week.

The line Hank crossed was not when he went after Walt, which was always something he would do, it was when he did that secretly, without telling the rest of the DEA. He doesn't want to wreck his family, and he tried (badly) to avoid that. He believes that his career is less important than the law.

We agree on when the line was crossed, but not the reason's why. Hank might have gone to the DEA, but any hope of that happening went out the window when Walt confronted him in the garage. Hank made the mistake of making it personal, where it had to be him who brought Walt. Crossing that line leads up to being willing to sacrifice Jesse to get Walt.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:02 AM on September 16, 2013


symbioid: "I still don't like Marie. I mean, does anybody actually LIKE anybody?"

I LOVE MARIE
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:06 AM on September 16, 2013 [32 favorites]


I actually think going right back into the shootout would have been a huge mistake, because the entire episode led to Walt's decision to return Holly to her mother and brother. We really needed to see that first lie, and the discussion about the family drive, and Walt's pondering his daughter's name for the first time.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:06 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I too love Marie. She was TCB about forcing Skyler to tell Junior. Had to be done, at that point they were expecting him to be perp-walked. Had to come from the family.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


I actually really like Marie now. I thought the whole kleptomania plot was silly, but to my mind, Marie has developed into a quietly determined firebrand and I'm really interested to see what happens to her now that her husband is dead. I think I really came around to her when Hank was paralyzed- her reaction to him pushing her away was so perfect and sad.

Remember, at the beginning of this show we were also really supposed to dislike Hank. His character got to evolve into a hero, but no one seems willing to give the women that same chance...
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:12 AM on September 16, 2013 [19 favorites]


And Marie is my favorite character.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:12 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


M..mmm... mom? Why is dad being dragged in handcuffs?

(sorry)
posted by symbioid at 9:13 AM on September 16, 2013


You watch the show because it is damn good, and the audience composes not just the jackasses but plenty of other people who appreciate it for its own sake.

This is absolutely true. But it makes me sad and angry that there are so few places I can have intelligent discussions about the show without hearing how Skyler should die because she cheated on Walt or joking about a method to shut up Marie that I refuse to repeat.
posted by MaritaCov at 9:15 AM on September 16, 2013


The whole flash-forward thing from Season Two is an example of this, the plane crash was not planned from the beginning. They just wrote the cold open and then tried to figure out how it could have happened after the fact.

interesting, because that's a speed bump I never fully cleared.

The end of Season 2 struck me as a massive ... !?!?!? -- seriously? That's the best you've got? A mid-air collision that just happens to have happened over Walt's neighborhood and Walt's responsible because he let the other guy's daughter die and Walt had actually met the other guy once at a bar and, in spite of how clearly messed up the other guy was, they let him back on the job, one of the most stressful and demanding jobs known to humanity ... Seriously!?!?!?!

Which got me doubting the whole dramatic foundation of the show in a way I hadn't before, and entertaining all manner of other creeping doubts and annoyances. And finally, about half-way through season three after one too many occasions of Walt just being too immense a prick, and nobody else really picking up the slack, I stopped watching ... and my life improved. Like kicking a seriously masochistic habit.

And then last night, I was over at a friends ... and it came on, so I watched. And wow! intense ... but I still don't regret my choice during season 2. It now means I can view all this as a sort of news event, a journalistic attempt to understand something that I used to be intimately involved with ... but now it's all happening in a different county, over those hills. Those poor, poor people. Don't they know they could just do what I did? Stop watching. Read books instead.
posted by philip-random at 9:18 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


So is this like a cigarettes-for-alcohol thing where now you just come to BB threads to talk about how you stopped watching it, instead?
posted by invitapriore at 9:26 AM on September 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm reading the goddamn "Critique Of Pure Reason". I'm allowed to watch an hour of TV every week.
posted by thelonius at 9:27 AM on September 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


"Let me tell you about why I hate this TV show in precisely the way you love it and therefore you should stop watching" is the new "I don't own a TV and even if I did it would be on PBS."
posted by zombieflanders at 9:31 AM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


I don't have much direct interest in this show (other than occasional gifs of roof pizza) but these reaction threads are fantastic and enjoyable. YAY.
posted by elizardbits at 9:32 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


From way up top:

Jesse is forgotten during all of this and sneaks off into the hills.

I loved how he was just under the car the whole time.


I absolutely loved this episode and was on the edge of my seat the whole time, but this seemed super cheesy to me. No one noticed? Come on.
posted by Big_B at 9:32 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember, at the beginning of this show we were also really supposed to dislike Hank. His character got to evolve into a hero....

Were we supposed to stop disliking Hank? I don't see him as a hero; his motivations have been entirely selfish throughout the series. Initially he was motivated by careerism; then he was motivated to get revenge for his shooting; and now he is motivated by his feeling that he has been played for a fool by Walt (which is especially humiliating to him since it undermines his image of himself as the tough-guy big shot in contrast to Walt's chronic haplessness). None of this makes him evil but neither is it very heroic. And his disregard for the fallout from his actions, so long as it happens to someone he can think of as a bad guy (e.g., not caring if his attempt to trap Walt gets Jesse killed) is very Walt-like.
posted by enn at 9:33 AM on September 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Stop watching. Read books instead.

Nah. I read half of one once and parts of it were a bit implausible, therefore all books are terrible and all readers are idiots.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 AM on September 16, 2013 [49 favorites]


The thing with the plane is a massive misdirect, because you keep expecting things to escalate to some kind of huge bloodbath shootout, but really what's important is Skyler's figured everything out, not just a little bit but so thoroughly that she's kicking Walt out of the house and divorcing him outright. That confrontation is one of my favorite scenes in Breaking Bad, because the whole episode is set up to make you think "oh Skyler's suspicious again, we'll see that unfold over the next season," and then BAM she tells Walt that she's got him figured out, and he can kiss his family goodbye.

The plane's exploding is an exclamation point, not a plot moment in any significant way. The significant thing that season was Walter choosing to let Jane die, and the foreshadow-y shots of the bear just let us know, "Something has gone horribly wrong. Something terrible has happened." But what happened didn't happen to Walt, it came from him. Which has been the show's method all along.

Anyway, it's definitely the weakest of the season endings, because every other ending has been tied directly to plot. This is why Walt gets to live—he has Jesse kill Gale. This is how Walt tricked Jesse into helping him kill Gus. This is how Hank found out. But it's still a damn good ending, and the flash-forwards that led up to it are so terrific that they'd justify it even if that last episode hadn't been great in a bunch of other ways.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Quick - Big_B - count the number of times the ball is passed between the white players! NO MISTAKES, OR YOU'RE DEAD WITH A BULLET!

It's like that.
posted by symbioid at 9:37 AM on September 16, 2013


I have a terrifically low cheese-threshold and I was riveted and totally believed it -- the car's low slung profile was notable previously (to me, anyway, knowing not much about cars except by looks) and the fact that Jesse ended up under it seemed totally integrated with Gilligan's crazy, embedded, seemingly endless allusions and echoes.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:37 AM on September 16, 2013


By the way, I read books, but my favorite books are all action-adventure-mystery stories featuring young women who either shoot bad guys or stab them with swords. Why is there never any outrage about people who read fun escapist literature, instead of tackling the major works of Heidegger and Proust?

The nexus of entertainment and thought-provoking art is where many people have some of their profounder moments. That's nothing new—art has always entertained its audience, and it's only fairly recently that we've developed this notion that things which're good for you also have to be tedious struggles that build character too. Shakespeare wrote tragedies. And a whole bunch of his plots have ridiculous plot holes too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:39 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think we were supposed to think that Jesse was under the car the entire time, just that he had evaded Jack's guys on the hunt and made it back under the car.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:39 AM on September 16, 2013


Why is there never any outrage about people who read fun escapist literature, instead of tackling the major works of Heidegger and Proust?

There is, but it's usually directed towards women of all ages and not men.

posted by elizardbits at 9:45 AM on September 16, 2013 [21 favorites]


"Let me tell you about why I hate this TV show in precisely the way you love it and therefore you should stop watching" is the new "I don't own a TV and even if I did it would be on PBS."

My new favorite (which seems to be very common in OKC profiles) is, "I don't own/watch TV/cable. I can watch what I want on Hulu/Netflix." Guess what guys? You're soaking in it.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:46 AM on September 16, 2013


My new favorite video in the world: The ‘Breaking Bad’ Spinoff ‘Better Call Saul’ With an 80s Style Intro.
posted by gerryblog at 9:47 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


M..mmm... mom? Why is dad being dragged in handcuffs?

I get that Junior needed to be told but I don't see why it had to be done while Marie sat there and gloated.

There are a couple of references upthread to the neo-Nazi guys as "peckerwoods". Does that word have some new popularity? I don't recall it being used in the show and my prior exposure to it was from elderly Black southerners a few decades ago. At the time it wasn't used as a synonym for members of White supremacist gangs but instead was more like another way of saying "honkies".
posted by fuse theorem at 9:54 AM on September 16, 2013


Via Wikipedia, fuse theorem:

"In the 1940s, the abbreviated version "wood" entered California prison slang, originally meaning an Okie mainly from the San Joaquin Valley. This has caused the symbol of the woodpecker to be used by white power skinheads and other pro-white groups.[1][2] Some white supremacist groups call male members "peckerwoods" and female members "featherwoods".[3] It is usually drawn with a long beak, sometimes drawn to resemble Woody Woodpecker or Mr. Horsepower. Sometimes the letters "PW" or "APW" (Peckerwood and American Peckerwood) are used.[1]"
posted by symbioid at 9:57 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Let me tell you about why I hate this TV show in precisely the way you love it and therefore you should stop watching" is the new "I don't own a TV and even if I did it would be on PBS."

To be clear, I would never say I hated Breaking Bad. That would be like saying I hated Metallica. But I did come to not like what it was doing to me -- that feeling of getting dragged down into something ugly and ultimately hopeless (which is also how I came to feel about Metallica). Which isn't to say I reject all intense, remorselessly despairing works of art, culture etc. Just the ones that want me to keep tuning in, I guess, week after week for, year after year.

As for my coming to comment in this thread -- well, I did watch last night's show. And I'm certainly not the only one who's stooped to discussing past plot developments.
posted by philip-random at 9:58 AM on September 16, 2013


Huell Waits

(There was a discussion about the peckerwood term in the previous thread.)
posted by Rhomboid at 9:58 AM on September 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is weird, but I've had this huge hole in my heart ever since that opening scene in 28 Weeks Later where the father runs away from his family as they're being attacked by zombies in the house. It was just such a great moment, and it felt like the rest of the movie so thoroughly failed to deliver on the promise of that scene. But, last night! The scene where Walt decides to save his own ass and GTFO in the old pickup! I feel whole again, somehow. God, that was a heart-wrenching display of cowardice.
posted by invitapriore at 10:00 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


And finally, about half-way through season three after one too many occasions of Walt just being too immense a prick, and nobody else really picking up the slack, I stopped watching

I can understand both your reaction to the end of season 2 (I also thought it was a bit of a letdown) and the lack of interest halfway through season 3, philip-random. It's easy to forget as the show's closing so brilliantly but I recall plenty of dull/improbable moments in the 2nd and 3rd seasons that made me think BB was just another average series TV show; I almost stopped a couple of times, but the final season 3 episodes were so tense I kept going, and seasons 4 and 5 really upped the game.

Here's another old interview with Gilligan (from Alan Sepinwall in 2010) about the writing; apparently Gilligan felt boxed in by the airplane crash bookend throughout season 2 and wanted to try something more open-ended in season 3, which led the writers to create characters like the Cousins without knowing how they were going to end up, or even what to do with them in general during the season.
posted by mediareport at 10:00 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


But I did come to not like what it was doing to me -- that feeling of getting dragged down into something ugly and ultimately hopeless

I've watched it religiously - in fact, I rewatched the entire series between the first and last half of this one - and I kind of feel the same way. I'm still going to watch it all, but it has given me a feeling of existential dread that I've never gotten from a TV show. I'm watching it more for catharsis than entertainment at this point. My expectation from the end of the second season has basically been "no one gets out alive."
posted by me & my monkey at 10:03 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh hey, the Talking Bad 514 bonus video has been posted.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:04 AM on September 16, 2013


But, last night! The scene where Walt decides to save his own ass and GTFO in the old pickup! I feel whole again, somehow. God, that was a heart-wrenching display of cowardice.

I didn't feel that way (but maybe if I'd been watching for the past couple of years, I would've). Rather, I just saw a guy in an unbearably tense situation making the smartest decision he could. Because in choosing to ditch (while everybody else was paralyzed by personal drama), he opened a slim door on the only possible scenario that could at least see his wife getting out of things clean. No?
posted by philip-random at 10:05 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


SPOILER: Jesse is an angel who leads cancer-ridden Walt back to Earth Albuquerque. This will all break bad again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've been enjoying the " battle" between Walt and Hank, as each seeks to be the alpha male, even as they cross all sorts of lines to be in that position

I dunno, Hank is an "alpha male" naturally and Walt is an envious pretender for the most part.

2) That misogyny of a segment of #BreakingBad's fandom will always be an asterisk on the show for me, no matter how much I admire.

it's a damned shame some people can't separate the show itself from random idiots with twitter accounts.
posted by Hoopo at 10:07 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, if we're speaking of asterisks, there's gonna be a lot more written about race in Breaking Bad once the show's over, I'm sure.
posted by mediareport at 10:08 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm watching it more for catharsis than entertainment at this point.

I doubt I could sum it up more succinctly than that.
posted by gaspode at 10:11 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


philip-random: "I didn't feel that way (but maybe if I'd been watching for the past couple of years, I would've). Rather, I just saw a guy in an unbearably tense situation making the smartest decision he could. Because in choosing to ditch (while everybody else was paralyzed by personal drama), he opened a slim door on the only possible scenario that could at least see his wife getting out of things clean. No?"

Yeah, I mean, his wife even asked him to do exactly that, but on the other hand he took the baby and, even though it's a rational decision that he makes, it's also just another instance of Walt running from the consequences of what he's done.
posted by invitapriore at 10:16 AM on September 16, 2013


Remember, at the beginning of this show we were also really supposed to dislike Hank. His character got to evolve into a hero, but no one seems willing to give the women that same chance...

But he didn't become a hero. He became another obsessed male hunter, a self-aggrandizing Captain Ahab on a doomed mission for self-glorification and ego gratification (like a fun-house distorted mirror image of W.W.). W.W.'s obsession with building an empire and conquering death leads him to ruin, just as Hank's obsession with being the guy who finally collars the cunning Heisenberg ultimately destroys him.

I think Skyler is one of the most sympathetic characters left on the show, despite her flaws. Marie is ego-driven and resentful. Her insistence Skyler tell Walt Jr. everything at that precise moment, with her supervising, was a form of gloating and had more to do with sibling rivalry and ego than with with real concern for Walt Jr.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:18 AM on September 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


SPOILER: Jesse is an angel who leads cancer-ridden Walt back to Earth Albuquerque. This will all break bad again.

Ha, I've been thinking of Battle Star Galatica and Breaking Bad both have a "we'll make thus up as we go along" work method, but Breaking Bad is succeeding where BSG failed. BB is working because I get the impression that it's not promising a huge developmental, where BSG was literally selling the idea that there was a grand plan, when there wasn't one (The producers just stuck the "and they have a plan" line to get eyeballs).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:20 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


it's a damned shame some people can't separate the show itself from random idiots with twitter accounts.

You don't get it, do you? Somebody is wrong! On the Internet! The In. Ter. Net.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:20 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "where BSG was literally selling the idea that there was a grand plan, when there wasn't one (The producers just stuck the "and they have a plan" line to get eyeballs)."

I guess part of that is that BB has literally shown us events happening in the future of the show and then been forced to build towards them. BSG showed us a bunch of vague prophesies, so all that was required was to throw in a few scenes in the last episode that looked a little bit like them, and bam!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:28 AM on September 16, 2013


but on the other hand he took the baby and, even though it's a rational decision that he makes, it's also just another instance of Walt running from the consequences of what he's done.

or was taking the baby a case of making sure that Skyler would have to take his call and actually listen to him ... with the police etc listening in?

Is Walt that smart?
posted by philip-random at 10:29 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Let me tell you about why I hate this TV show in precisely the way you love it and therefore you should stop watching" is the new "I don't own a TV and even if I did it would be on PBS."

...and the old one was already obnoxious enough. Typically means that those of us who don't have a lot of time for TV get lumped in with people who think they're too awesome for TV. Quit it. If you don't like TV, don't watch, but don't act like it's morally superior. Ugh.

I am very limited in my free time, and TV watching is almost always accompanied by something else (knitting, lately). Breaking Bad has been so damned riveting that it gets my undivided attention. It didn't even ask if it could have it, it just sort of took my knitting away and grabbed me by the face. It isn't often that something gets me like that. And yes, it's stressful and emotional and heartbreaking and scary and some absolutely masterful storytelling. Yes, I have spent a significant portion of the more recent episodes screaming at my television.

No, I haven't found a book that does that.
posted by MissySedai at 10:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Andy Greenwald's review. I like it.
posted by gaspode at 10:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I've seen a LOT of live theatre and read a ton of books. Last night's BB was better than the vast majority of those.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:36 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


or was taking the baby a case of making sure that Skyler would have to take his call and actually listen to him ... with the police etc listening in?

Is Walt that smart?


No, it was Walt grabbing his other kid after the previous two, Jesse and Jr, had rejected him, along with his wife. He was probably thinking "this is my family now" in that egocentric way he does. But one little "mama" displayed that screwed up thought process.

Man, I wonder how long it took to get that shot of the baby Holly saying "mama". That was brilliant in the way it so eloquently summed up how far off the reservation Walt was.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Walt's anger at Skyler seemed to me to be as much for the benefit of the police as for himself. He speaks out of pent-up anger and resentment, but he also lets her off the hook by taking all the blame/credit. If that's true, security is the one and only parting gift he could give to his family, to let his wife be seen as completely innocent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:48 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Exactly my read, too, Brandon Blatcher: part of Walt was still desperately trying to cling to his family, despite the overwhelming evidence he had lost even that, and taking Holly was an irrational but emotionally true act. Walt had after all just lost the vast majority of his horded fortune, watched another member of his family murdered, and lost any power/leverage he might have still possessed in terms of his criminal enterprise. His begging Todd's uncle to spare Hank's life effectively destroyed any protection his reputation as a coldblooded killer might have afforded him with the White Power crew, too. I actually predicted that Walt would end up being the one forced to cook meth for them before this episode aired, but it makes even more sense it would be Jesse, because other people always end up bearing the brunt of the consequences for Walt's actions.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:50 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


If that's true, security is the one and only parting gift he could give to his family, to let his wife be seen as completely innocent.

I also saw it as a gift to Junior - rather than mourn the man he loved as his father, Junior now (one would guess) hates the man who has said these unspeakable things about his mother. Junior will now be happy to have his dad out of his life, rather than missing him and wishing things had turned out differently.

(My god, I love how deeply nuanced this show is.)
posted by jbickers at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


At least they still have the car wash. If managed properly (and Skyler has shown nothing short of perfect aptitude for this) you would think it would be sufficient to provide a modest, reasonable income for all the family's needs. Of course, if the publicity of the case causes the IRS to look into the income that made its purchase possible, there's a chance that even that would be ripped out of their hands as a final parting gift from Walt's actions.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:58 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the chances of the rest of Walt's family still being alive at the end of "Felina" is small enough; I can't imagine them getting to keep the car wash.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:59 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


At least they still have the car wash.

Even with Walt's phone call they're probably going to have all their assets seized for being part of a drug operation whether the evidence is particularly good or not.
posted by MillMan at 11:08 AM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the chances of the rest of Walt's family still being alive at the end of "Felina" is small enough..

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it seems like the firebombed house indicates some or all of the White family doesn't survive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:10 AM on September 16, 2013


The car wash - there is a loose end. They bought it by getting some shady character of Saul's to pose as a city inspector, claiming that there are huge environmental cleanup costs. When Unibrow Guy sees it thriving, whereas he had been expecting to see Walt ruined by these costs, is he going to do nothing? Or is he going to call the city?
posted by thelonius at 11:15 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hopefully, Bogdon will end up calling Saul.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:16 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it seems like the firebombed house indicates some or all of the White family doesn't survive.

Really? Because to my mind, there's no way Skyler and the kids don't move in with Marie. Obviously neither of them wants to be alone, Marie now thinks Sky was a battered wife forced into doing all those awful things, the entire house is a reminder of Walt's evil... why would they stay there? I'd guess that they abandon it completely and then it gets vandalized because this will be the biggest news story in New Mexico for a long while.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:20 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the chances of the rest of Walt's family still being alive at the end of "Felina" is small enough..

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it seems like the firebombed house indicates some or all of the White family doesn't survive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher 8 minutes ago [+]


*gasp*

I am not ready to accommodate that possibility. That can't happen!! No!
posted by thinkpiece at 11:20 AM on September 16, 2013


Oh, wait a sec, showbiz_liz, I don't know if I agree with you on the Marie believing Skyler to be a battered wife. I think Marie knows exactly Skyler's involvement and role -- She tells her she's going to support her through everything, but doesn't know if she can ever forgive her. I don't think she sees Skyler as victimized. Even I'm conflicted about that.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:22 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's my theory (and apologies in advance if anyone else has already floated this):

Todd takes a Vamenos truck and the Nazis hit the Schraders' house sometime before Marie can get back. Not only do they get the tape that Jesse made, but also all of the case files that Hank brought with him to the house, which means that the DEA can't reconstruct Hank's case, and therefore doesn't currently have a clue, literally, as to who did the hit on Hank and Gomie. The only person who could tell them would be Walt, who has disappeared.

Walt goes to New Hampshire and settles into his new identity. He pays for everything in cash or money orders, keeps a low profile, spends a lot of time staring at the TV; he's planning to send the rest of the cash to somewhere where Skyler and/or Walt Jr. could pick it up, but has no idea if they would be able to get it or get away with it or even if they'd want it. He's just sort of waiting out the clock.

So, he's in whatever neighborhood of, say, Manchester that he can stay in without attracting attention, and one of the locals notices that the old guy who recently moved there is looking down, and he asks Walt if he could use a little pick-me-up. It's the really good stuff, comes all the way from New Mexico, which is why they call it "turquoise", aside from, you know, the color.

And Walt buys some simple chemistry stuff, and does tests, and realizes that there's only one other person who really knew how to make the stuff. And that he's still alive. And that he's probably being forced to make it.

And that last little shred of pre-Heisenberg Walter H. White won't leave him alone.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:22 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Was the house firebombed in the flash forwards? I recall it just being abandoned and in disrepair, but I haven't gone back and rewatched the flash forward since I saw it when it first aired.

I am surprised by the number of people (on the internet generally, not here) that didn't understand what Walt was doing in that final phone call to Skyler. Regardless of whether parts of what he said had some element of emotional truth in Walt's mind (and I don't think they did, although that may be debatable), it seemed entirely calculated to spare his family any criminal prosecution, nourishing a hope that they may at least stay together in his absence and not be rent apart by his actions. Walt could barely hold back the sobs at the end of the call, which does not jibe with someone who is ostensibly venting righteous furt.

My favorite turn in the episode was Walt's pleas to Uncle Jack to save Hank, which returned Walt to at least being nominally a sympathic figure. In that moment, I felt bad for Walt and I didn't like that the writers were making me feel bad for a man I have come to loathe. Then, when he fingers Jesse under the car, assents to his murder and twists the final knife by gratuitously taunting Jesse with his role in Jane's death, I went right back to loathing him.
posted by Falconetti at 11:32 AM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it seems like the firebombed house indicates some or all of the White family doesn't survive.

And in the final episode Walt becomes Keyser Soze
posted by Hoopo at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I loved this episode but also felt a bit of post-climactic depression. I mean the show has been building masterfully for five seasons with Walt trying to stay on top of things and just barely making it work. And it was falling apart but maybe he'd still hold on. Until last night, it all truly broke down. I'm glad they saw that story through and didn't take the cop-out, but where can we possibly go from here that's as interesting? OTOH the dénouement is a key part of dramatic structure too and I'm glad we get two episodes for it.

I love the character Todd. He's a great counterpoint to Jesse. Competent, emotionally restrained, predictable. And completely amoral in a loyal, decent way. The actor Jesse Plemons doesn't have a lot of script to work with but he's really done a brilliant job with him.

(Poor Walt Jr, worst written character on the show.)
posted by Nelson at 11:35 AM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't think the house was firebombed, and I don't remember seeing any obvious signs of bullets. Whether or not the other Whites go into witness protection or something similar, I think that they just left and sort of abandoned the house, or it got seized by the DEA and they found out that they couldn't unload it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:40 AM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The thing about the house was that it was ALL gone, right? The furniture, the carpet, everything. It wasn't just abandoned.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:41 AM on September 16, 2013


I keep expecting someone to accidentally drop a cigarette or lighter or something and it to turn out those guys Walt hired didn't do as good a job de-gasolining the carpet as he might have hoped.
posted by emmtee at 11:43 AM on September 16, 2013


Poor Walt Jr, worst written character on the show.

Although RJ Mitte has also been doing an amazing job this season.

Was wondering: how long has elapsed, in show time, since the Hank/Walt garage showdown? A few days? Walt's empire has fallen apart so fast.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:43 AM on September 16, 2013


Really? Because to my mind, there's no way Skyler and the kids don't move in with Marie. Obviously neither of them wants to be alone, Marie now thinks Sky was a battered wife forced into doing all those awful things, the entire house is a reminder of Walt's evil... why would they stay there? I'd guess that they abandon it completely and then it gets vandalized because this will be the biggest news story in New Mexico for a long while.

Huh, interesting, I've have to take a look at that flash forward again. I thought it was firebombed, but you're right, it could have just been abandoned, probably after being seized by the Feds. If it was just abandoned, that makes me think Halloween Jack's speculation is on the money. Walt is going to come back to either save his family or his own ego. Possibly both.

I love the character Todd. He's a great counterpoint to Jesse. Competent, emotionally restrained, predictable. And completely amoral in a loyal, decent way.

Interesting, 'cause I also see him a counter point to Mike, who I really enjoyed as character. Where Mike is obviously ruthlessly practical, he doesn't have the amoral vibe of Todd, who I'm surprised doesn't have a collection of heads in a basement or some other messed up thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:44 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not only do they get the tape that Jesse made, but also all of the case files that Hank brought with him to the house, which means that the DEA can't reconstruct Hank's case, and therefore doesn't currently have a clue, literally, as to who did the hit on Hank and Gomie.

Weren't those files all copies?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:46 AM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was wondering: how long has elapsed, in show time, since the Hank/Walt garage showdown?

I would say a week to a week and a half.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:48 AM on September 16, 2013


I would like to see the poetic justice of Jesse convincing the White Supremacists to come to the lab to check out the product and then gassing them like he and Walt gassed Krazy Eight and his cousin in the first episode. Because, circular! And also: Nazis getting gassed!

As for the house, it wasn't firebombed, whatever that means. It was abandoned. The story of the high school chemistry teacher turned drug lord who killed a couple of DEA agents (one of whom was his brother in law) is about to lead the national news broadcasts. It's going national. Everyone will know who "Heisenberg" is. Thus Carol's shock at seeing Walt at the house.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:52 AM on September 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Andy Greenwald's review. I like it.

Yeah, that is really good - some neat insights that clearly demonstrate the value of a critic waiting longer than fucking 18 minutes or something to post a review. Thank you, Grantland. Compare it to that hilariously bad "quick react" from Entertainment Weekly at 10:05pm last night, the "critics" link in the original post (no offense meant, Rory, well-done post but that link cracked me up with its revealing awfulness - pure eyeball-trolling beancounter-driven nonsense).

Everyone go reward Grantland with clicks and maybe we'll see more critics push back against the "you don't even get to watch the show twice before we demand you post your review" shit they're almost certainly feeling from their bosses.
posted by mediareport at 11:53 AM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


18 Surprisingly Funny Tweets From "Breaking Bad"’s Dean Norris

Yes, it's Buzzfeed. But Norris is a charming and hilarious dude, and I think we need some levity after last night.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:14 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I fumbled it up thread, but Greenwald nails my feelings about Gilligan speaking directly to Skyler-haters through Walt's vitriol.

Walt's final phone call was a masterful, ugly piece of work. There was an aspect to it that felt as if Gilligan and Walley-Beckett were performing the opposite of fan service. To hear Walt assail Skyler for all her shortcomings — her lack of appreciation, her meddling, her disdain, her disobedience — was fan shaming of the highest order. Walt was giving voice to those who've bombarded Skyler — and the remarkably poised actress who played the hell out of her, especially last night — for being the buzzkill in Walt's wacky misadventures. And it was terrible to hear. But this chillingly precise bit of writing functioned on multiple levels, and making Redditors feel bad was only the lesser of the three.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:24 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dean Norris is hysterical in those tweets. He's also the best thing about the so-bad-you-have-to-watch TV show Under the Dome, where he plays the leading man, the town father with Dark Secrets.

Greenwald's review is good, but it does contain this sentence destined for the hall-of-fame of overblown prose. "There's a town in New Mexico called Truth or Consequences, and this episode drove us straight there, flinching and quaking, in a bullet-riddled Dodge with a hungover meth head at the wheel."
posted by Nelson at 12:26 PM on September 16, 2013


Stop watching. Read books instead.

I recommend Twilight. There are vampires and they sparkle.

Any, back to worthwhile discussion: Who could the M60 be for if not the Nazi crew? It's massive overkill for Jesse. Walt would never attack Marie or Skyler. He's not going to go out Butch and Sundance style with the cops. So what's left? Nothing, ergo it must be for the Nazis.
posted by Justinian at 12:30 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or Madrigal, the shadowy corporation that we saw at the beginning of Season 5, parent company of Pollos Hermanos, and Lydia's current employer.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am surprised by the number of people (on the internet generally, not here) that didn't understand what Walt was doing in that final phone call to Skyler. Regardless of whether parts of what he said had some element of emotional truth in Walt's mind (and I don't think they did, although that may be debatable), it seemed entirely calculated to spare his family any criminal prosecution, nourishing a hope that they may at least stay together in his absence and not be rent apart by his actions. Walt could barely hold back the sobs at the end of the call, which does not jibe with someone who is ostensibly venting righteous furt.

I think everyone agrees that some part of his phone call to Skyler was to get her off the hook with the cops/DEA/whoever, that if you asked Walt he would say that was the reason. And it was a reason. But I think there was a deeper truth to it, and that his tears were partially for the loss of his family but a lot for the loss of his empire.

Don't forget to leave Yelp reviews for Los Pollos Hermanos (Chicken is the bomb, yo) and A1A Car Wash.
posted by jeather at 12:36 PM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Holly asking for "mama" was her first word. Walt's face in that moment--what that moment should have been, compared to what it is--well, that's one of those "yeah, they keep giving the Emmy to Cranston because he keeps fucking earning it" moments.

Totally, 100% agree. That was my favorite scene from an episode packed with powerful scenes. It choked me up, and not because I felt any great outpouring of sympathy for Walt in that moment. It was the revelation of Walt's hamartia to himself.

He can't ever again hope to lie his way back on the road to normalcy (setting aside how ridiculous that notion has been for many seasons now- it's at least been one of Walt's ostensive goals). Hank's dead. His family knows what he really is. The police know what he really is. There is no way to twist events back into a narrative that Walt wants. Even when Hank discovered his identity, there was Walt trying to concoct a mutually-assured destruction solution with the video tape. You could imagine Skyler, Marie, Hank, and Walt living out a Cold War existence indefinitely, with Walt perfectly fine with the circumstances so long as no one else found out his secrets.

No hope of that happening now. He's lost his powers. No lie, manipulation, flash of desperate inspiration, or stroke of luck will fix this. Even after Hank died, when Walt rushed home and demanded that his family pack, he was still trying to control the narrative, promising to "explain everything" even while he was still trying to construct what lie he'd tell his family as they headed out of town.

Holly's an infant. Out of every character in Walt's life, her exposure to (and understanding of) Walt's actions has been minimal. Perhaps somewhere in Walt's mind during the chaotic knife scene, there was the thought that if he took Holly away that he would be able to control the narrative with her as she grow up, so that at least one member of his family wouldn't think of him as a monster.

That's just another of Walt's self-delusions, of course. But when Holly calls out for her mother, he knows. It's in his eyes. Even as a baby, Holly's expectations for normalcy are hopelessly at odds with the reality that Walt's helped shaped. He's lost it all.

All of the deceit, all of the damage, the close-calls, the deaths, the scares, everything we've experienced since the show started, has all been for naught. Walt's purported goal from the start of the series (to provide for and maintain his family), the reason he started cooking in the first place, is a miserable failure. And look at all of the horrible circumstances that led up to this moment.
posted by kryptondog at 12:36 PM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


I think we need some levity after last night.

Oh, yes.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2013


@deanjnorris 13 Sep Hey you "rooting for Walt" folks. Got some John Wayne Gacy art for sale! Retweet if you'll pay top dollar you sick fucks!

Dean Norris gets it
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:43 PM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


So what's left? Nothing, ergo it must be for the Nazis.

You could plant it on someone to frame them. You could pay someone to harmlessly fire it off into the air in a crowded area to create a distraction to draw away all available cops. I'm sure you can come up with more possibilities. But yeah, all signs point to the brotherhood fellows being the target, but then Gilligan loves to subvert expectations.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:45 PM on September 16, 2013


Yeah, that is really good - some neat insights that clearly demonstrate the value of a critic waiting longer than fucking 18 minutes or something to post a review. Thank you, Grantland. Compare it to that hilariously bad "quick react" from Entertainment Weekly at 10:05pm last night, the "critics" link in the original post (no offense meant, Rory, well-done post but that link cracked me up with its revealing awfulness - pure eyeball-trolling beancounter-driven nonsense).

Hahaha yes. That was an EW blogger's creating a super-quick response space so commenters could say things. I, meanwhile, was looking for something to add to the post so I could create a super-quick response space so commenters could say things, and that was the only thing showing up on Google News.

(This was probably the moment I Broke Bad as a poster of FPPs, though I later tried to atone by posting the WSJ and Sepinwall reviews.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:53 PM on September 16, 2013


Favorite if u believe Walt only meant to make kid Brock "sick" not dead. RT if u think Walt NEVER lies

Favorite if u think Jane "deserved" to die. RT if u heart fuckin psychopaths


Dean Norris really is awesome.
posted by jeather at 12:56 PM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


@deanjnorris 13 Sep Hey you "rooting for Walt" folks. Got some John Wayne Gacy art for sale! Retweet if you'll pay top dollar you sick fucks!

I thought it was Skyler who was selling off her clown art.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:56 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's exactly it, Walt has this incredible capacity for selective awareness (in general, but particularly...) in drawing these chains of cause and effect that let him say 'if YOU hadn't done THING then NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED' as if every element of the situation that led to THING just sort of existed rather than having been specifically set in motion by Walt himself.
posted by emmtee at 5:05 AM on September 16


Oh, you mean like a chemical reaction?
posted by stoneweaver at 1:13 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The thing about the house was that it was ALL gone, right? The furniture, the carpet, everything. It wasn't just abandoned.

Looted, I'm guessing.
posted by MissySedai at 1:14 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


MissySedai: "The thing about the house was that it was ALL gone, right? The furniture, the carpet, everything. It wasn't just abandoned.

Looted, I'm guessing.
"

Real bummer for whoever got the gas carpet.
posted by invitapriore at 1:16 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paul F. Tompkins interviews Jonathan Banks. (And Bob Odenkirk awhile back.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who could the M60 be for if not the Nazi crew? It's massive overkill for Jesse.

Part of me wonders if it is for Jesse. I mean, what head space is Jesse in after not only the horrible previous year but especially after the gunfight and then torture and then forced cooking with the only people in the world still alive whom he cares about essentially held hostage to keep him cooking?

I'm thinking it's a pretty dark place and that he may decide that the only way to keep Brock and his mom and anyone else he ever may love safe is to not only kill Jack's gang cell but to become the kingpin himself, to take up Heisenberg's mantle. So maybe by the time we get to the flash forward, Jesse figured out how to gas his captors and take over their operation. And now he has serious firepower protecting him. He's even waiting for Walter to come back. Maybe he's even threatened Walt's family to goad him to come after him. Because he only has one, white-hot motivation left in his life: to kill Walter White.

That would be a Gilligan-esque mind fuck, at least. We've been watching not only Walt but Jesse break bad all along.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:41 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


So maybe by the time we get to the flash forward, Jesse figured out how to gas his captors and take over their operation. And now he has serious firepower protecting him. He's even waiting for Walter to come back. Maybe he's even threatened Walt's family to goad him to come after him. Because he only has one, white-hot motivation left in his life: to kill Walter White.

That would be awwwwwwwesome but would also require seemingly way too much to happen in just two episodes. If there were five episodes left I'd be all bout that.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:45 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only thing I'm looking forward to with the end of BB is never again having to sit through another "Skylar Is Evil vs. Skylar Haters Are Mysogynist" debate.
posted by evil otto at 1:46 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


That would be awwwwwwwesome but would also require seemingly way too much to happen in just two episodes.

In earlier seasons, maybe, but they pack a lot of plot into this season, so I can see it happening in the next 2.5 episodes (I recall hearing the last two have an extra act each).
posted by jeather at 1:48 PM on September 16, 2013


@deanjnorris 13 Sep Hey you "rooting for Walt" folks. Got some John Wayne Gacy art for sale! Retweet if you'll pay top dollar you sick fucks!

Dean Norris gets it


Or not. The main reason I was Team Walt is because I thought he still had a slim chance of redemption. Now that Walt is gone and Heisenberg is in full effect, I'm thinking he needs killin' and with a quickness.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:50 PM on September 16, 2013


Wait, you just NOW in this episode decided to stop rooting for Walt? I, uh. Well, I'll reiterate:

Dean Norris gets it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:51 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now that Walt is gone and Heisenberg is in full effect,

But that's not the case. If it were, Holly would still be in the car.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:55 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm confused about all this discussion of Walter White and Heisenberg being different people, totally different personalities. I always thought the horror of Breaking Bad was how Walter White was Heisenberg. No separating them, not just in the real world but in your head too.
posted by Nelson at 1:57 PM on September 16, 2013 [18 favorites]


If Walt machine-guns down Badger and Skinny Pete, we'll know that Heisenberg has won.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:57 PM on September 16, 2013


I'm confused about all this discussion of Walter White and Heisenberg being different people, totally different personalities. I always thought the horror of Breaking Bad was how Walter White was Heisenberg. No separating them, not just in the real world but in your head too.

They really are two separate personalities. They have different postures, different voices, different visions of the world. It's a testament to Cranston's exemplary acting abilities that he can go back and forth between the two characters, sometimes within the space of a conversation. One of the best illustrations of this is the scene in Hank's garage from the end of "Blood Money." You can actually see and hear Walt turn into Heisenberg and back again. It's kind of indescribable, just watch the video, paying particular attention to what happens at ~30sec. Absolutely spine-tingling, and IMO one of the best moments of the show.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Seriously. The way he modulates his facial expressions and vocal range so deftly is amazing, like an instrumentalist changing rhythmic feels on a dime.
posted by invitapriore at 2:24 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, you just NOW in this episode decided to stop rooting for Walt?

Yep, I think until Walt made certain final decisions in this and the previous episode--decisions he still had room to reverse--he could have done the ultimate right thing, turned himself in, and been on the path to atoning for his horrific deeds. However, none of those things happened and now we've got Heisenberg the ticking time bomb who's lost everyone he loves and has nothing to live for except $11 million and permanent hiding. I was never looking for Walt to re-do the ending of Scarface so perhaps I wasn't fully a Team Walt member.

But that's not the case. If it were, Holly would still be in the car.

Heisenberg has no use for a baby while he's on the run. Giving Holly back took some of the heat off and left him with more room to maneuver. It was decent of him though to leave her in a safe place instead of on a bus stop bench or something.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:26 PM on September 16, 2013


It was decent of him though to leave her in a safe place instead of on a bus stop bench or something.

But doing anything else would have put paid to the lie that Walt did everything for his family, and he cannot cope with the realisation that his rationalisation for the entire story has been complete bullshit.
posted by jeather at 2:29 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe he's even threatened Walt's family to goad him to come after him. Because he only has one, white-hot motivation left in his life: to kill Walter White.

I like this. Jesse was there when Gus got his 20-year-in-the-making revenge on Don Eladio and the dons. Jack's crew has already been shown not to care much about safety procedures while cooking meth--only Todd wears his ventilator mask. I seriously want Jesse to gas Jack's crew and strangle Todd with his leash just like Princess Leia all up in here and shit.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:35 PM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


...and he calls him Ricky Hitler again while doing it...
posted by Rhomboid at 2:51 PM on September 16, 2013


Is Hank ever found? Marie and Skyler know he's dead, and they think Walt killed him, but it seems like a big loose end to have Hank go *poof* like that with no closure for Marie. Walt is on the run, Jesse is locked up in the meth lab, and the Aryan Brotherhood types seem unlikely to spill the beans.

This is making me think that Marie dies too. I have complicated feelings about that.
posted by ambrosia at 3:06 PM on September 16, 2013


They really are two separate personalities. They have different postures, different voices, different visions of the world.

But it's just Walt putting on airs trying to intimidate. You first see it when he approached Tuco in his office, he was able to pull it off because at that point he has accepted death and still thought this was necessary to provide for his family and had somewhat noble intentions. But he didn't really know what he was doing. He wasn't actually the dangerous, confident guy he was trying to project and he never is even when he does dangerous things. He becomes more comfortable with it as the show goes on because his crazy dangerous actions seemingly keep paying off. It becomes hubris; he thinks by putting on this front he can scare people because he's the biggest, baddest, craziest guy and they will recognize it. But when people don't buy it, he becomes the same scared, whimpering high school teacher that has always been there beneath the facade.
posted by Hoopo at 3:14 PM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wait, you just NOW in this episode decided to stop rooting for Walt?

I don't 'root' for characters any more than I notionally join Team Anything, but I will say that I understand the things the character of Walt has done, even the terrible ones. It is a testament to the writers that I do; hell, I sympathize with the stupid bastard. Even Vince Gilligan has publicly said that he doesn't, any more, so I'm probably a bit of an outlier here.

I don't think he's evil; just weak and prideful and clever-but-not-smart. Evil isn't interesting, anyway, and is a-dime-a-goddamned dozen these days. He's a fool and a bad man, but not an uncomplicated one.

I think were I in his shoes -- a possibility that I can entertain, again, more because of the quality of the writing in Breaking Bad and less, I hope, that I am a sociopath -- there is much that I might have done similarly, particularly in moments of flailing desperation. It doesn't reflect well on me to say that, perhaps, but that doesn't make it less true.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:16 PM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken, great comment. He's a Man with a capital M, and a particular breed -- an American man, with all the pride, complexity, desperation, transgression and mandatory reinvention that implies. He is emblematic of the myth of the Good Provider, disintegrating fast.

I think your take -- both disgust and respect -- is exactly what we are meant to feel about Walt.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:24 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think were I in his shoes -- a possibility that I can entertain, again, more because of the quality of the writing in Breaking Bad and less, I hope, that I am a sociopath -- there is much that I might have done similarly, particularly in moments of flailing desperation.

What about the moments of rest, instead of the moments of desperation? A boy is shot and killed, for no other reason than being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. After his death, Walt acts rationally, with a clear head. It was a tragedy, it was unfortunate, but there's nothing to be done now. Fair enough. But when the report comes on the news, when the fate of young Spider Boy is shoved in his face while emotions are still raw -- particularly the emotions of Jesse, Walt puts on his gas mask and gets back to making the world's most potent meth, whistling like the luckiest man on Earth. Is this something that you would have done similarly, if you were in his shoes?

So much of Walt's . . . disagreeableness comes not from what he does but how he responds to those around him. He seems literally blind to the emotions of others. He completely disregards or, perhaps more charitably, misunderstands seemingly every person in his life.

I think the difference between "Team Walt"! and "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT TEAM WALT" is not the difference between those who think that what Walt does in moments of crises is "justifiable" or "reasonable" but rather between those who are appalled by what Walt does and how he acts in the spaces between those moments.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:32 PM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not on TEAM WALT but I do think there is a significant difference between rooting for someone on a fictional television show and how we view the same sorts of actions in real life. For example I'm actually pretty strongly against the defenestration of young children from high altitudes but I am very much on TEAM JAIME.
posted by Justinian at 3:43 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I too have been watching both Dexter and Breaking Bad, and it's interesting to see their opposite courses: Dexter, a self-aware psychopath, starts the series believing that family means nothing to him and has now discovered to his surprise that family is hugely important to him; Walt, completely lacking self-awareness, starts the series thinking of family above all else but has slowly killed, traumatized, or alienated his whole family.

Despite this, his tears when talking to Skyler... I don't think you have to be Team Walt to be like "wow, that guy feels like a real person and deserves empathy even as he does fucked-up things." His hubris and self-delusion doom him, but there are still parts of him that are worthy of human compassion. That's why black and white still doesn't work with Breaking Bad, despite all the craziness that has gone down.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 3:57 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


So much of Walt's . . . disagreeableness comes not from what he does but how he responds to those around him. He seems literally blind to the emotions of others. He completely disregards or, perhaps more charitably, misunderstands seemingly every person in his life.

Well..
In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following symptoms:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

3. Requires excessive admiration

4. Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

5. Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

6. Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

7. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

8. Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
So is Walt 7 or 8 out of 8?
posted by LooseFilter at 4:02 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


From an interview with writer Moira Walley-Beckett and director Rian Johnson:

Did the script really say: "HOLLY: [cries] Mama! Mama!?" Because that baby delivered.

Walley-Beckett: Oh, Rian. We got very, very lucky, didn’t we Rian? We got lucky because that was a shaky moment for the baby. It’s a stressful situation for little kids. It was not scripted. She was looking at her mom off-stage and started saying that at the exact moment where it is scripted that Walt has a pang that this is morally reprehensible to do this to his daughter, to deprive her of a normal life. And this little baby just started looking at mom and we just rolled.

Johnson: The baby’s mom was like three-feet away, right next to the camera. The baby was not actually screaming for its mother, but yeah, as scripted it was just going to be this beautiful powerful moment where Walt looks at her.


There's other interesting stuff in that interview too, particularly about the phone call, but I thought it was great that one of the most wrenching moments of the episode was pure chance.
posted by yasaman at 4:03 PM on September 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


"It WOULD be a lot more satisfying for the final showdown to be Walt vs Jesse rather than Walt vs Random Nazis Who Appeared in Season Five"

The level of the villain scales with Heisenberg himself. He was at his pinnacle when he toppled Fring; now he's barely Redneck Outlaw gang.

Also this:
"(Also, the Nazis as the final villains for the show?)

Gus was the final villain. Everything since then has been all Heisenberg."


(OR: Heisenberg is the final villain; take your pick.)

Love the Limeliters soundtrack as Walt rolled his "one true love" through the desert. At the end of this episode, he's still got the one barrel. Who's got the acid, and who'll seal the lid over him when it's all done? (metaphorically, beanplaters)
posted by Eideteker at 4:10 PM on September 16, 2013


There's got to be a term for this, but I'm blanking -- have they ever done research on (for lack of a better phrase) "protagonist blindness"? Like, the first character you're introduced to in a work of fiction, or the person that you are exposed to the most in a work of fiction, is the person who you grant the most benefit of the doubt and/or are the most emotionally invested in seeing succeed. That's obviously a thing, but has it been studied?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:13 PM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


There's other interesting stuff in that interview too, particularly about the phone call, but I thought it was great that one of the most wrenching moments of the episode was pure chance.

It seems to clearly put some assumptions to rest about the Skyler-hate controversy, at least from the writing side:

I’ve seen different reactions to Walt’s phone call to Skyler. Some say it was all a ploy to save her from prosecution; others says that it was real and he was railing at her. Does the debate surprise you?

Walley-Beckett: I personally feel like it wasn’t open to interpretation. I would hope that people got that it was an absolute ploy on Walt’s part. It is the family-man part of Walt playing the part of Heisenberg to exonerate Skyler. I was hoping that the process of the lie and the subterfuge would be clear and that viewers would be with Skyler in their understanding. When we first hear Walt, we think he’s gone full Heisenberg. It’s outrageous and horrible and abusive what he’s saying! But then we start to put the pieces together as Skyler does, and I was hoping people would sort of be traveling that journey with her.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:14 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I understand that Hank is not in a true sense a "hero" but I always thought that he was a very distinct contrast to Walt, far from being just a fun-house twisted version of him with different obsessions.

To me they are opposites in many ways.

The show introduces Hank as this alpha-male that we are supposed to find repugnant and boorish. Meanwhile, our first thoughts of Walter were that he was to be pitied and deserved better.

The truth, and what makes Hank so much more sympathetic, is that Hank's alpha-male, misogynistic persona is HIS act as much as the bumbling, chemistry nerd is Walter's.

Hank becomes more sympathetic the more he becomes less like the true Walter and more like his true self, the Hank that knows that he and Marie have a partnership, not the "One of these days, Alice!" act that he tries to put on.

Compare the episode a couple of weeks ago where Jesse is a guest at the Schrader house. Hank from season one would have insisted that Marie pack her bags and leave. Hank this season realizes that Marie will do what she damn well pleases, and that he will benefit from it.

Here's the thing, this is a very male-centric show because it is, among other things, an attempt to tear down the pedestal placed myth of the alpha-male and the nice guy. With that being said, I think that it is very noteworthy that, between Walter and Hank, the closest that we have to a hero is the guy who realizes that his wife is a hero as well (even with her own flaws and instances of selfishness) and not the guy who manipulates his wife into the morass of villainy with him.

I admit that "hero" and "villain" are too reductive for this show but Marie and Hank have been approaching the heroic since season 1 and Walter and Skylar have been descending from it. Those crossing arcs are part of the thematic buttress of the show as far as im concerned.
posted by sendai sleep master at 4:39 PM on September 16, 2013 [21 favorites]


Is this something that you would have done similarly, if you were in his shoes?

I think my comment was perfectly clear. I see nothing to be gained by going point by point through the 80 or so hours of the story, examining each terrible thing the writers had this character do -- when it is patently a story about someone who does terrible things -- to see if I would have behaved similarly or not. Obviously -- obviously -- I wouldn't be able to give definite answers in most cases, nor would my attempts to do so illuminate anything beyond idle curiosity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think all the talk of Team _______ is misguided and weird. When watching BB, I always wind up rooting for whoever's perspective we're following in the current scene. To my mind, that's the brilliant part of BB, and why I have so much respect for the people who make it. Gilligan & Co could make me sympathize with the very devil if they had a mind to.

Even Todd, that scary-ass monster. That one scene where he's trying to suck up to Lydia, and when she walks away, he's touching the lipstick stain on her cup : who didn't think, for at least a moment, "awwwwww.... puppy love!"
posted by evil otto at 4:56 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Uh, I never found myself rooting for those scary-ass cousins.
posted by ambrosia at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've never rooted for Todd. Ugh.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:59 PM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Even Todd, that scary-ass monster. That one scene where he's trying to suck up to Lydia, and when she walks away, he's touching the lipstick stain on her cup : who didn't think, for at least a moment, "awwwwww.... puppy love!"

Sure, where the puppy gnaws raw flesh and then buries the bones for later. Todd is one of the creepiest characters I've ever seen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:03 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


jeather: Favorite if u believe Walt only meant to make kid Brock "sick" not dead. RT if u think Walt NEVER lies

Favorite if u think Jane "deserved" to die. RT if u heart fuckin psychopaths

Dean Norris really is awesome.


Dean Norris can yell at me all he wants, I'm quite sure Walt only meant to sicken Brock.

fuse theorem: But that's not the case. If it were, Holly would still be in the car.

Heisenberg has no use for a baby while he's on the run. Giving Holly back took some of the heat off and left him with more room to maneuver. It was decent of him though to leave her in a safe place instead of on a bus stop bench or something.


Walt loves his children, and to think leaving her on a "bench or something" was an option for him is the sort of cartoonish super-villainy that Breaking Bad is better than.
posted by spaltavian at 5:08 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I doubt Walt wanted to kill Brock. What good would that have done? Getting him sick accomplished the intended goal.

However, if Brock had died, I doubt Walt would have blinked an eye.
posted by evil otto at 5:32 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe the M-60 is for Gray Matter.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:34 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


evil otto However, if Brock had died, I doubt Walt would have blinked an eye.

He absolutely would have batted an eye. Watch his reaction when he lets Jane dies. The point is that Walter White makes these decisions despite being fully aware- intellectually and emotionally- of what they mean.
posted by spaltavian at 5:37 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is sort of randomly tangential, but if the American health care "system" had anything to do with either health or care, we would never have had this brilliant work of art.

So, thanks for sucking a whole lot, I guess, you fucking murderers. USA! USA!
posted by tzikeh at 5:58 PM on September 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Just watched the opening of the second half of season 5 and yes, the house is't firebombed, just boarded and cleaned out, along with various graffiti. The boarded up windows gave the appearance of bullet holes, but they're not. So the speculation that the house was seized by the Feds and then fell into disrepair is probably right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Grantland review is the best I've read so far. Mr. Greenwald is the first I've seen refer to sin-eating, albeit in reference to Walt. I've been seeing Jesse as the sin-eater of the story--he is the sufferingest sufferer of them all, this Pinkman whose very name may signal his salvation.
posted by maggieb at 6:01 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


who didn't think, for at least a moment, "awwwwww.... puppy love!"

Eeesh, Todd gives me the heebie-jeebies. That scene made me think he's going to end up wearing her as a suit or something.

All his scenes have a creepy serial killer vibe. Keeping the kid's tarantula, Jesse in the Silence of the Lambs torture hole, the rubbing Lydia's lipstick stain and then drinking her tea from the same spot on the cup, and then of course his whole Jesse-on-a-leash setup. When the camera was slowly zooming in on the photo, it felt like a horror movie. I was expecting a jump scare.

Instead my heart just broke into a thousand pieces. Poor Jesse.
posted by lovecrafty at 6:18 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


This may be overstretching it, but I thought the sad clown ebay reference in the beginning (and a trope of fine clown art) was echoed in Walter's frozen expression of utter loss immediately after Hank is killed. (Particularly the mouth which had a sad harlequin quality.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:22 PM on September 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think Walt's expression after seeing Hank die was intended to mirror Gus's expression when Maximino died. (Well, at least one of potentially many images it was intended to evoke.)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I loved Andy Greenwald's description in the Grantland piece:

...Lying on the ground, Walt's mouth was a black hole. The darkness hadn't overtaken him; in that instant it was pouring out from within.

posted by triggerfinger at 6:41 PM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Not having seen even one episode, I'm thinking of waiting until the last episode and watching exactly backwards. Never done that, seems like an interesting thing to try.
posted by sammyo at 6:46 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


good catch on the Gus on his side by the pool echo

I thought it was effective to show only the aftermath of whatever they did to Jesse. The fear in his voice as he pleaded was horrible.
posted by thelonius at 7:20 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not having seen even one episode, I'm thinking of waiting until the last episode and watching exactly backwards. Never done that, seems like an interesting thing to try.

I wish I could take credit for this gem from the Grantland comments:
If you want, watch Breaking Bad in reverse. It's a great story of how a meth cooker/mad chemist cleans up his act, pulls his family together, beats cancer and becomes a school teacher.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 7:30 PM on September 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Walt loves his children, and to think leaving her on a "bench or something" was an option for him is the sort of cartoonish super-villainy that Breaking Bad is better than.

That's true, and yet, there was this one cut shot that showed Walt (and I believe that at this point, it is Walt not Heisenberg--he's lost all his power, and so the illusion that was Heisenberg has largely been shattered) with Holly and a bridge in the shot. The intensity of the moment was so high, even though I knew Walt/Heisenberg would never intentionally hurt one of his own children (though he's demonstrated himself more than willing to hurt and even kill other people's children), for just a fleeting moment I was afraid it was going to go somewhere even darker than usual, and I was so relieved by the scene at the firehouse.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:48 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


What if Janes father botched his suicide and is now in a wheelchair like Hector Salamanca and instead of a bell he uses a computer-aided voice like Stephen Hawking. And he uses his air traffic control skills to crash a plane into Walt. That's why Walt needed such a big gun: he needs to take down a plane.
posted by littlesq at 8:54 PM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh man, she knows as soon as he says, "You stupid bitch, how dare you." That pause, wow. And she looks over, and is worried that the cops will notice she knows. Like, maybe she suspected before? But was so upset about Holly, but right then, she knows.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:59 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The only winning team is Team Meth.
posted by Mick at 9:18 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just love how in this episode the only actual *shown* violence is the knife cut on Walt's hand. Despite the fact that murder and torture happened.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:53 PM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Everything in this show seems to have at least two possible reads. That phone conversation which was abusive on one level, and an attempt to save Skylar on another, Todd saving Jesse, ostensibly for interrogation but really for his cooking skills. Two thoughts:

1.What was the other reason for the Jane speech?

2.I bet the ending will make it clear what happened, but there will be at least two conflicting ways to read why.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:56 AM on September 17, 2013


Jane's death has been weighing on Walt's conscience, but he's been withholding the information from Jesse, largely so that he doesn't spoil things. Given that he thinks Jesse is about to die, there's no reason to carry on hiding that and he can salve his conscience before he has Jesse's brains blown out. It's not so much to hurt Jesse as make himself feel better. I realise that's not entirely rational.
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now that Jesse knows about Jane, he has all of the information, and is truly free to act. Whether he destroys Walt or saves him, it won't be out of false belief.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:23 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw Walt telling Jesse about Jane as another form of torture. I know that if I were Jesse, I'd go to my grave wondering if he really was there or if he was just saying that to fuck with my head. Either way twists the knife, but differently.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:40 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


ambrosia: Yes, Vince Gilligan promised to tie up all the loose ends...

Taking that promise at face value, I'm going to be quite upset if we don't have a quick cut to the Madrigal offices where we see the incoming head of the fast food division giving the greenlight to Franch™.
posted by Chichibio at 5:48 AM on September 17, 2013 [20 favorites]


RIP Steven Gomez.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:52 AM on September 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Man, that is one hell of a weathered looking five year old.
posted by maudlin at 6:41 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


...Lying on the ground, Walt's mouth was a black hole.

I noticed this, but thought it was just me. Unsurprisingly, it immediately made me think of the Black Oil from the X-Files.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:31 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the chances of the rest of Walt's family still being alive at the end of "Felina" is small enough...

Oh, wow. I didn't know the last episode is titled Felina. I don't know what references the rest of you have for the name, but I grew up with a grandfather who was a huge Marty Robbins fan, and I've know all the works of El Paso since I could talk. Felina is the love interest of the song's narrator. Not everything fits, but man:

Just for a moment I stood there in silence,
Shocked by the foul evil deed I had done.
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there;
I had but one chance and that was to run....


Back in El Paso my life would be worthless.
Everything's gone in life; nothing is left.


(implied time passing)

It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden
My love is stronger than my fear of death.


I saddled up and away I did go,
Riding alone in the dark.
Maybe tomorrow
A bullet may find me.
Tonight nothing's worse than this
Pain in my heart.

And at last here I

Am on the hill overlooking El Paso;
I can see Rosa's cantina below.
My love is strong and it pushes me onward.
Down off the hill to Felina I go.

Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys;
Off to my left ride a dozen or more.
Shouting and shooting I can't let them catch me.
I have to make it to Rosa's back door.

Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
A deep burning pain in my side.
Though I am trying
To stay in the saddle,
I'm getting weary,
Unable to ride.

But my love for

Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen,
Though I am weary I can't stop to rest.
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle.
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.

From out of nowhere Felina has found me,
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for,
One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.



If the title is referencing this song, that's one heck of a clue.

Moreover, I'm a huge enough Robbins fan to know the seldom heard sequel, a song titled "Felina," which tells the same story from her perspective and tells her fate:

Felina knelt near him, to hold and to hear him
When she felt the warm blood that flowed from the wound in his side
He raised to kiss her and she heard him whisper
"Never forget me - Felina it's over, goodbye."

Quickly she grabbed for, the six-gun that he wore
And screamin' in anger and placin' the gun to her breast
Bury us both deep and maybe we'll find peace
And pullin' the trigger, she fell 'cross the dead cowboy's chest.


So...yeah...that could be a clue.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:36 AM on September 17, 2013 [52 favorites]


'Felina' is also an anagram of 'Finale'.
posted by mysticreferee at 8:40 AM on September 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


'Felina' is also an anagram of 'Finale'.

Oh, shit. If you're on the right track (and who knows with Gilligan), then that means "Felina" might be the last (or "final"!!) episode of the show.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:46 AM on September 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Jokes aside, this is one I like: Fe-Li-Na = Iron-Lithium-Sodium = Blood-Meth-Tears.
posted by mysticreferee at 8:49 AM on September 17, 2013 [19 favorites]


so ... final episode, the love that kills all involved, blood-meth-tears, an obscure Marty Robbins song -- a damned fine title if nothing else.
posted by philip-random at 8:51 AM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, wow. I didn't know the last episode is titled Felina. I don't know what references the rest of you have for the name, but I grew up with a grandfather who was a huge Marty Robbins fan, and I've know all the works of El Paso since I could talk...

DAMN I should have caught this, I already knew the last ep was called Felina and my dad had that album, too...
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:57 AM on September 17, 2013


In terms of Walt telling Jesse that he watched Jane die, I think sure part of it is to finally get it off his chest, but there's two other things. 1. I think Walt's kind of throwing in his face that Jesse didn't appreciate all he has done for him, including carry around this guilt. It's kind of a "How dare you turn on me after all I've done for you? Well, here you go then." 2. Walt re-asserting himself as the dominant one on the relationship. Jesse tried to put himself in the driver's seat by screwing over Walt, thinking he couldn't best Walt. This is the cherry on top for Walt to say "Not only am I in control, but I've BEEN in control in ways you couldn't even conceive of for a long time. Did you really think you could take me on?" It was, for me, the first time I saw Walt be Heisenberg with Jesse.

To some degree, I don't know what Jesse was thinking. He's really the only character who knows exactly what Walt is capable of. Perhaps even after betraying Walt even he couldn't believe that Walt would be so cruel to him.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:21 AM on September 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I wonder when or if Walt will realise that he doesn't just lie to everyone around him, he also lies quite constantly to himself.

So...yeah...that could be a clue.

The clues are usually less explicit than that.

An interesting take on Walt as Dr. Jekyll and Heisenberg as Mr. Hyde.
posted by jeather at 9:23 AM on September 17, 2013


September 29th:

Season premiere of Homeland.
Season premiere of The Good Wife.
Season premiere of Eastbound and Down's final season.
New episode of Boardwalk Empire.

And the series finale of Breaking Bad.


...

WELP
posted by tzikeh at 9:23 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


All I can say right now is that these final episodes have simply delivered. Ozymandias is an episode where you don't say, "Aw, man, it's over." It's an episode that has so much that you don't know that you can handle much more. Had this been a series finale it could have stood on its own. My mind feels like it's been fed to the point of being full, and now it's digesting everything that we've just seen.

Very possibly the greatest episode in television history.
posted by azpenguin at 9:30 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The idea that Walt's phone performance might have been not only a way to protect Skylar (by minimizing her involvement/making it clear to whoever else is listening that it was all him), but also a way to "protect" Walt Jr. (by allowing him to hate his father and be angry and think of him as a monster, rather than mourn and be sad and blame himself and always wonder what he might have done to cause his dad to be that way/prevent him from being that way) made me wonder: Could Walt's deliberately hurtful, cruel admission to Jesse about Jane be a way to "protect" him too? Make Jesse so angry, so hurt, so fierce with reaction that he HAS to survive what happens next? Jesse has been so beaten down emotionally, so dead and seemingly hopeless and full of despair, maybe this was Walt's cruel way of waking him up, of provoking hatred so that Jesse can, once again, have the strength to fight, and fight hard. So that perhaps his hatred of Walt, and desire for revenge, might be the thing that sustains him through the horror of what's to come.
posted by mothershock at 9:31 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could Walt's deliberately hurtful, cruel admission to Jesse about Jane be a way to "protect" him too? Make Jesse so angry, so hurt, so fierce with reaction that he HAS to survive what happens next?

That might end up being the effect, but I really don't think it was the intent. Walt admits the Jane thing literally seconds after giving the go ahead to Jack to shoot Jesse in the head. He wasn't trying to help Jesse out.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:35 AM on September 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Could Walt's deliberately hurtful, cruel admission to Jesse about Jane be a way to "protect" him too? Make Jesse so angry, so hurt, so fierce with reaction that he HAS to survive what happens next?

I doubt it. He was the one who reminded Jack that he still wanted Jesse dead, and he was the one who pointed out that Jesse was hiding under the car.

If anything, it seems to be an example of Walt acting out of emotion and anger. He wasn't acting out of reason when he gave them Jesse - he was furious over what had happened.

Later on, the same thing happens - he acts out of a completely emotional place when he kidnaps his own daughter. Before long, he realizes what he's done and he goes about making things as close to right as can be expected under the circumstances. I wouldn't say that this is definitely what's going to happen with Jesse, too, but I wouldn't be incredibly surprised, either.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:49 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


He blames Jesse for the death of Hank, for collusion with the DEA and tricking him into rushing out to To'hajiilee. If Hank hadn't been killed, Walt figures he could have pulled out of this nosedive somehow. With him gone, he knows that the situation is irreparable.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:59 AM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Right, that's what I was pondering: whether that was Walt acting initially out of anger, then realizing what he's done and giving some kind of cruel, perverse gift; or whether it was truly a genuine moment of deliberate and hurtful honesty.
posted by mothershock at 9:59 AM on September 17, 2013


I can't really see taking Holly with him as some kind of awful thing. He is her father, after all. He wanted his entire family to leave with him, and when it was clear that wasn't happening, he took the one family member he could and set off to start his new life with his 10 million bucks and his new identity. I'm sure for a moment it all made sense...him and Holly, away from it all. He could be the doting father, and she would have everything she ever needed. But then, reality sets in. The cancer is back. He won't be around to raise her. He'll always have to live in secret. Skyler won't ever stop looking for Holly, and the baby needs her mother. So he gives her up. Leaving Holly in the fire truck is the end of Walt's identity as a family man, the thing he has been holding on to all this time. There is no family left for him. He's on his own.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:03 AM on September 17, 2013 [19 favorites]


AMC just announced that Mad Men will repeat the Breaking Bad pattern: a final "season" split into 7 episodes next spring followed by 7 episodes in the spring of 2015. Grrr.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:45 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I bet Roger dies first.
posted by Big_B at 12:52 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't see how Walt's phone call could exonerate Skyler. I mean, are the DEA and the cops going to just shrug their shoulders and say "welp, you heard the man, skyler didn't have anything to do with it."
posted by ian1977 at 12:59 PM on September 17, 2013


What do the cops even know at this point, besides the fact that Walt stole Holly?
posted by inigo2 at 1:01 PM on September 17, 2013


What do the cops even know at this point, besides the fact that Walt stole Holly?

Unless I'm forgetting something, the only person alive who knows Skyler was involved is Marie. Which sets up the potential for some interesting will she/won't she turn in her sister drama.
posted by jbickers at 1:06 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


And Saul of course. Not that he's turning anyone in.
posted by gaspode at 1:09 PM on September 17, 2013


Plus the DEA evidence....that's still at Marie's house. And that Jesse (almost definitely) told the nazis about.
posted by inigo2 at 1:09 PM on September 17, 2013


Nobody in law enforcement knows anything, assuming that the peckerwoods are able to retrieve Walt's taped phone confession from the Schrader residence. Whatever potential case that might exist would have to be built on evidence that currently does not exist. Maybe that evidence is still out there and can be produced through detailed police work, maybe not. But in any case, whatever they hear on the phone conversation is going to influence the direction of that initial investigation, and Walt at least laid the groundwork for Skyler being able to claim that she was under duress the whole time, and that he forced her to launder the money at the car wash. That doesn't necessarily prove anything, but it might influence the direction -- a DA might for example not want to try to prosecute a mother of two with that phone conversation as evidence, whereas if Walt had said something like, "We agreed that I'd have access to the kids after getting out of the game", that might have lent more credence to the idea that they were working together rather than the narrative that he forced her to comply.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:12 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hadn't even thought about Saul. Which means Huell knows? And come to think of it, isn't he still sitting in a hotel room somewhere?
posted by jbickers at 1:12 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What do the cops even know at this point, besides the fact that Walt stole Holly?"


Well, they know Hank is dead and I can't imagine that Marie won't tell the cops what Hank's involvement was.
posted by ian1977 at 1:19 PM on September 17, 2013


Which means Huell knows?

All Huell knows is that some bald guy with glasses that scared the hell out of Saul has a lot of money.
posted by spaltavian at 1:23 PM on September 17, 2013


Right, that's what I was pondering: whether that was Walt acting initially out of anger, then realizing what he's done and giving some kind of cruel, perverse gift; or whether it was truly a genuine moment of deliberate and hurtful honesty.

My theory is that it was an explanation, nearly bordering on an apology. Basically saying, "This is where I reached the point of no return. Sorry Jesse, but there's no turning back."
posted by evil otto at 1:28 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder how far Walt was able to get in his Chrysler 300 before it ran out of gas. It will eventually be found and easily traced to Walt, and knowing that Hank and Gomez are missing and presumed dead by his hand, the surrounding area will be searched. I also wonder how thorough the peckerwoods were in cleaning the scene. That shootout had to have left a ton of spent casings all over the place (not to mention blood), which would be a giant arrow saying "look for bodies buried around here." Just a single fingerprint on one of those shells would probably be enough to implicate the brotherhood in the death of Hank and Gomez, which could potentially unravel quite a few plot lines. However, as far as I can see, none of it leads back to Skyler (other than the car wash money trail), so if she is able to play the pity card and claim duress -- despite whatever Marie has to say -- she might be able to walk away from this, albeit in really poor shape emotionally and financially.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:35 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man -- imagine the DEA find the tape that Walt made, but not the one Jesse made?
posted by inigo2 at 1:46 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh right! The fake confession DVD. That could really gum up the works as well.
posted by ian1977 at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


grok this - it occurs to me that what's happening to Jesse is not unlike the scenario that Walt spelled out in his confession video - Walt said that Hank enslaved him as a meth cook, beat him for not complying, etc. Which is exactly what the Peckerwoods are doing to Jesse.

Sick, twisted shit.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 1:59 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


What do the cops even know at this point, besides the fact that Walt stole Holly?

At the risk of belaboring the point, absent a court order, when a Dad takes his daughter on a trip no one has been "stolen." Related: when I am home with my kids, I am parenting, not "baby-sitting."

/sore point
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:09 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Breaking Bad/ Walking Dead crossover?
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:10 PM on September 17, 2013


At the risk of belaboring the point, absent a court order, when a Dad takes his daughter on a trip no one has been "stolen."

If that's true, what justification did they have for ordering an Amber Alert? Honestly curious. Did the show get it wrong? Can PE issue an AA without a court order?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:13 PM on September 17, 2013


Flynn told 911 that Walt attacked them with a knife, so that'd trigger the Amber Alert.
posted by merelyglib at 2:17 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Uh, he'd just gotten into a violent physical altercation with his wife and son. He took Holly and drove off while Skyler ran after him screaming. There's no way that's not parental abduction. It certainly wasn't just "a trip".
posted by lovecrafty at 2:19 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure exactly what Walt could really have expected to accomplish with his phone call to Skyler at the end -- there's no way that the DEA won't realize that she was up to her eyebrows in it once they investigate the car wash.
posted by diocletian at 2:21 PM on September 17, 2013


Oh man -- imagine the DEA find the tape that Walt made, but not the one Jesse made?

What if they do? Hank's dead. Everything in the video is motive for Walt to kill him. That's pretty much the conclusion everyone's jumping to anyway.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:23 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wondered about the Amber Alert thing too. And yeah, it does look like they got it wrong. As an intrafamilial incident, Holly's abduction doesn't appear to meet the New Mexico Amber Alert criteria. A read of the DOJ's recommended Amber Alert guidelines seems to indicate that other states might handle it differently.

If you want to give the show the benefit of the doubt, assume that Skyler managed to get on somebody's docket that afternoon, possibly with the help of Marie and her/Hank's DEA contacts, and has already gotten an emergency temporary order. That's not beyond the realm of possibility.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:24 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maureen Ryan, responding to the responses to Ozymandias. (Original review.)
But aspects of the reaction to "Ozymandias" have been nearly as unsettling. It's very clear now that, despite having watched five seasons of something that's billed as an anti-hero drama, many people have a great deal invested in thinking Walter White, in the final analysis, is a hero. Or at least a guy with heroic qualities.

[...]

I don't doubt that strategy entered into Walt's thinking (and I said as much in my review). But what struck me most forcefully about that scene was the ugly yet truthful nature of Walt's words. As for his intentions, well, Walt's most consistent excuse is that he never intended any of this to happen. So what? All these things did happen, he is largely responsible for them, and I don't see nobility in trying to walk back one of his many enormous mistakes.

Walter White is not noble. He's not selfless. He's not a hero. He may be a complicated guy, but what dominates the mixture right now is his obsessive need not just to manipulate everyone around him but to control their lives and their impressions of him.

To all the people who see him as a more or less decent guy who's trying to do the right thing, let me ask you this: If a man rescues people from a burning building, do we give him a medal -- even if he's the one who set the fire?

[...]

Of course, in that call, Walt felt regret, but feeling regret about your bad actions doesn't make you a saint, it makes you a human being. And as human beings go, Walt's pretty terrible.

He's fascinating person, of course. Worth watching for five seasons, without a doubt. And he's not purely evil. But at this stage, he's dominated by bad qualities, just as the roster of his lifetime accomplishments will be dominated by his horrible choices and damaging actions.
posted by jeather at 2:35 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought it was clear from at least the "stay out of my territory" scene in what, Season 3, that the for-my-family reason wasn't what motivated Walt; I later came to think it never was what motivated him, although I think he believed himself that this was his reason for some time. But people who still admire him probably didn't admire him for that, but for being a "badass" or something. Breaking Bro.
posted by thelonius at 2:50 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The scary thing is, when you read Breaking Bad as in part a long-running indictment of white American male culture, all of those people start to look like incipient Walter Whites themselves.
posted by invitapriore at 3:02 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: amber alert. Isn't it implied that the heavy police presence is because of the missing DEA agents?
posted by No Robots at 3:17 PM on September 17, 2013


Breaking Bro.

That is perfect. Case in point - this image is the top post on the Breaking Bad subreddit right now ("...we made up our minds five seasons ago"). There's a ton of pushback in the comments, but it's still the top post.

I love the show to death and even these morons can't ruin it for me, but just ugh.
posted by dialetheia at 3:29 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I totally just came in here to point out that Team Walt was at the top of the subreddit. A lot of people identify with Walt for whatever reason.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:35 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, how 'bout some pity for Team Walt? Starting next month, its just GTA and keeping mom out of the basement.
posted by No Robots at 3:41 PM on September 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Team Walt? Team skyler? Team Hank? I don't think anyone is going to win Breaking Bad
posted by ian1977 at 3:47 PM on September 17, 2013


Team Everybody Dies or Lives In Complete Misery Forever
posted by me & my monkey at 3:49 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the words of a wise man, "You know, I can foresee a lot of possible outcomes to this thing — and not a single one of them involves Miller Time."
posted by dialetheia at 3:51 PM on September 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


September 29th:

Season premiere of Homeland.
Season premiere of The Good Wife.
Season premiere of Eastbound and Down's final season.
New episode of Boardwalk Empire.

And the series finale of Breaking Bad.


My body is ready.

AMC just announced that Mad Men will repeat the Breaking Bad pattern: a final "season" split into 7 episodes next spring followed by 7 episodes in the spring of 2015. Grrr.

Doubling down on efforts to get Jon Hamm that Emmy? Somehow I don't think this year is going to be his.[cough]KevinSpacey[cough]
posted by fuse theorem at 3:54 PM on September 17, 2013


It's not a matter of identifying with him. Some people just like Breaking Bad for the adrenaline-packed moments of "Holy shit awesome", and the deep emotional/character drama is just icing on the cake/actively getting in the way of the thing they want to watch. If you're watching this for the action alone, then yeah, you want Walt to keep doing badass things, and you want to look at him as a hero (because otherwise you'll start feeling uncomfortable about your own desires for kickass shit).

If the show's trying to make you dislike him, then a lot of people are going to say, "This is some artistic bullshit. They promised me awesome action sequences, and trying to justify them by making Walt out to be a villain isn't changing the fact that they were just as reliant on violence and death as he was." And as much as I think that's a somewhat reductive argument, there's an entire school of art philosophy that says: if you put things which are violent or negative in your art, then you're giving those things to audience members which desire that, and you're complicit in their liking your show. It's your responsibility to create something which doesn't speak to the violent escapism in people, at least if you'd rather not have some violent escapist fans.

Similarly, there are a lot of people for whom the best two characters in The Wire are Bodie and Snoop—the two characters who stayed loyal to their crew, did what they were told, and kept true to their origins even when it meant bad shit for them. For me, Snoop was one of the scariest characters in all of television, way scarier than any of the villains in Breaking Bad, and I hated Bodie for a good three seasons. Yet some people loved them. Does that make The Wire any worse? I don't think so; the notion that if people respond to your art in any way other than how you intended then you've somehow failed is, in my opinion, not only bullshit but the opposite of true. The more complex a work of art is, the more complex the responses you should expect. The dialogue between Walt-lovers and Walt-non-lovers is a part of what makes Breaking Bad a good show, in my opinion.

In any event, I am somewhat bothered by the response that presumes "liking Walt" is the wrong way to watch this show, or that there's something problematic with liking Walt. My approach to watching TV is a very detached one—I try not to love or hate characters, even the ones who are particularly fan-service-y or annoying, because I care more about their purpose within a show than I care about them as people. But I make an attempt not to shit on people who really do "squee!" over people they love, much as it kind of bores me to tears, because I know that my approach to TV would bore the pants off of most TV-watchers in general. Treating Breaking Bad like an action-packed pile of hilarious awesome is a valid approach to it, just as ignoring all the action and focusing purely on character angst and alienation is a valid approach, or hating the whole show because you hate shows where people act imperfectly or foolishly (one of my asshole friends hates both Breaking Bad and The Wire because of that). If you can get something out a show, then it makes sense that some people watch it only for that one thing.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:10 PM on September 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


The problem isn't liking Walt, the problem is identifying yourself as being on Team Walt. I do think there's a difference.
posted by dialetheia at 4:13 PM on September 17, 2013


That's just fans being fans. People were Team Draco and Team Tom Riddle and so on with Harry Potter; the more somebody tells you that it's wrong to like a thing because Reasons, the more you entrench yourself and insist that you like this thing no matter what, dammit!

After Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out, people on the Good Ship Harmony (Harry + Hermione) went to elaborate lengths to deny that Harry and Ginny had just totally made out. One theory that particularly irked me at the time was the one that insisted the entire book was a Mulholland Drive-esque dream where every chapter in the book reflected Harry's fantasies about how he wished his life could be. Lots of attention was paid in particular to Dumbledore lecturing the Dursleys on how awful they were as guardians, and little details everywhere turned into an elaborate "proof" that at the start of Book Seven Harry would wake up and it would turn out he'd been under the Imperius Curse all year or something.

At the time I was incensed by this abhorrent denial of reality/how adorable Harry's crush on Ginny had been, and I spent a lot of time in high school flaming Harmony message boards in defense of J. K. Rowling. (Harmony fans, in my defense, said some nasty, nasty shit about Rowling, and kind of reverse-hated on the entire series after HBP came out.) Now I just take it as a sign that people really, really love a particular world, which ultimately is a show of love and affection that I can't hate on—even if said love is completely goddamn delusional, as it was in the case of Harmony and as it is in the case of Team White here.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:19 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "The dialogue between Walt-lovers and Walt-non-lovers is a part of what makes Breaking Bad a good show, in my opinion."

Indeed, the dialogs I've had with the sort of person who thinks that Skyler is a stupid bitch have been some of the more rewarding I've ever had.

Seriously, though, there are aspects of Walt's character that are unambiguous and that the crowd of people who cheer for him refuse to acknowledge. There is a such thing as an incorrect interpretation even in the face of the semiotic ambiguity that underlies basically everything we show and tell each other, and I have no problem thinking that the interpretation that has Walt as a stone-cold badass is basically mistaken, and that the desire to see him that way is driven by a pretty toxic worldview.
posted by invitapriore at 4:19 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some people just like Breaking Bad for the adrenaline-packed moments of "Holy shit awesome", and the deep emotional/character drama is just icing on the cake/actively getting in the way of the thing they want to watch. If you're watching this for the action alone, then yeah, you want Walt to keep doing badass things, and you want to look at him as a hero (because otherwise you'll start feeling uncomfortable about your own desires for kickass shit).

I agree with your first statement, but not the second.

Look, I don't watch TV for a moral education. I watch it to be entertained. The family scenes -- the ones that focus on Skylar, Marie, and Walter Jr. -- are really not entertaining. They're boring, tedious, depressing, and awkward. I don't even think those scenes are necessary to tell us that Walt is evil. We know Walt is evil. There's really no doubt about that. We didn't need 1000 awkward breakfast scenes to tell us this.

I really think the show would have been better had they excised all the family stuff that didn't directly involve Hank. BB is a great gangster show, but kind of a shitty family drama. If you were in it for family drama, there are many shows that do this better, and involve characters that are far more nuanced.

I will say that the family stuff was a lot more relevant in the first season, before Skylar knew about Walt's business. "Will Skylar catch him" created some exciting tension, because he had to do a whole bunch of entertaining, panicky stuff to hide his second life from her. But once it was revealed, it just became a matter of watching Walt have a shitty family life. Yaaay. Fun. I know I wanna watch that.

Also, can we please take Reddit out of this discussion? Or maybe start a MeTa about possible sexism/misogyny in the BB fan community? I know lots of people wanna talk about this stuff, but it's annoying to see it eat up every BB thread like it's some kind of angry amoeba.
posted by evil otto at 4:20 PM on September 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


As a 20 year old I would have been "team Walt" and it wouldn't have even connected to being a bitter young man at the time. Rory covered the "why" well enough. As a guy in his mid 30s now I just appreciate the show as a well crafted drama.

Also, can we please take Reddit out of this discussion? Or maybe start a MeTa about possible sexism/misogyny in the BB fan community? I know lots of people wanna talk about this stuff, but it's annoying to see it eat up every BB thread like it's some kind of angry amoeba.

Completely agree. We don't need "lol reddit misogyny amirite" kind of stuff here; this site already gets more than enough of that in threads on gender.
posted by MillMan at 4:27 PM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


evil otto: Yeeeah, here's where I have to say that I completely disagree with you, and think that the Walt/Skyler/Hank/Marie stuff has been pretty much my favorite stuff in the show. Hank and Marie in particular were pretty much my favorite duo in the show, and Anna Gunn's work is probably my favorite next to Cranston's. Her work this season may even push her past him, because she's been given some terrifically complex stuff to work with and every time she's goddamn knocked it out of the park.

But again, this comes down to the fact that Breaking Bad is a tremendously subtle and dense show, and that said subtlety/density pretty much ensures that it's no one person's ideal show if they're watching it for one particular dynamic. I have lots of Breaking Bad vs. Mad Men arguments with people, many of whom are MeFites, and I feel that while Mad Men is the more obviously nuanced and refined show, Breaking Bad is way more dynamic in terms of just what a range of scenes it can give us, and how well it can pull them all off. But as a TV watcher I look for that kind of dynamic range; conversely, as I mentioned upthread I like books purely for entertainment and maybe philosophy, and novels with lots of moving parts and involved dramas usually get stale for me pretty quickly. I can't do much of "great literature" because I simply don't require my books to be that absorbing.

So I completely understand why you'd be bothered by aspects of Breaking Bad, even as those aspects are why I love the show as much as I do.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:27 PM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fair enough. I just wanted to make the point that one can be bored by the family drama in BB and still not be part of "Team Walt".
posted by evil otto at 6:05 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, can we please take Reddit out of this discussion? Or maybe start a MeTa about possible sexism/misogyny in the BB fan community? I know lots of people wanna talk about this stuff, but it's annoying to see it eat up every BB thread like it's some kind of angry amoeba.

I think always invoking Reddit as the spectre of internet sexism is something worth avoiding, if only because it lets the rest of the internet off the hook. Reddit's often very, very bad, but it's only an expression of a wider meta-culture that springs up everywhere it's allowed to.

If the fan culture on MetaFilter specifically was becoming a problem, that'd be time for a MetaTalk thread. Discussing fan culture in general, especially where outright referenced in the show, is something that happens in pretty much every thread about pretty much every media Thing. We've had conversations about Supernatural fans and Trekkies and Doctor Who fans and so on. I don't see much difference between that and discussing Skyler haters. It isn't as if discussion of other elements of the show hasn't happened here. It pretty evidently has, and still is.
posted by emmtee at 10:51 PM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I dunno, I mean, if people wanna talk about that, whatever, have at it. It's just that it comes up every time, it's the same every time, and it has nothing to do with the OP (unless the OP is about sexism in the BB fan community). Seems like both a derail and metacommentary to me. But whatever, free country.
posted by evil otto at 11:36 PM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm. The big question in Felina, I guess, is who the cowboy and who is the lady? It's hard for me to see Skylar and Walt in that loving, bloody embrace.
posted by angrycat at 4:26 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Todd and Lydia.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:57 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Felina is Jesse.
posted by tzikeh at 5:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Possible clues here.
posted by gubo at 5:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The facebook version.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jesse will kill Jack with poison gas during a cook. They telegraphed it pretty plainly during the scene where Jack chided Todd for asking him to wear a gas mask.
posted by planetesimal at 7:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


That would also be an interesting callback to the opening cook in the desert where Walt used gas to kill one guy and nearly kill Krazy-8.
posted by maudlin at 8:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The facebook version."

"It's just a really dark purple."

"In the 1940s, the abbreviated version "wood" entered California prison slang, originally meaning an Okie mainly from the San Joaquin Valley. This has caused the symbol of the woodpecker to be used by white power skinheads and other pro-white groups.[1][2] Some white supremacist groups call male members "peckerwoods" and female members "featherwoods".[3] It is usually drawn with a long beak, sometimes drawn to resemble Woody Woodpecker or Mr. Horsepower. Sometimes the letters "PW" or "APW" (Peckerwood and American Peckerwood) are used.[1]"

So wait, does that mean H.I. McDunnough and Leonard Smalls from Raising Arizona were both white supremacists (finally explaining to me why they had the same tattoo)?
posted by Eideteker at 9:29 AM on September 18, 2013


Jesse will kill Jack with poison gas during a cook. They telegraphed it pretty plainly during the scene where Jack chided Todd for asking him to wear a gas mask.

That was the conclusion I jumped to as soon as that happened, but I sincerely hope they don't do that, 'cause dear lord is that obvious. It would lower my opinion of the show significantly.

(Did anyone else notice the mug Lydia drinks from in that scene says, "These Colors Don't Run," and it was all about how the blue done run right out of the meth? And also the red of her lipstick done run right into Todd's heart? Quel fromage.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2013


I wonder if anyone actually did need a dust filter for their Hoover MaxExtract PressurePro model 60?

"I don't understand what happened - all I wanted was a replacement part for my vacuum cleaner, and now I'm living in the middle of Wyoming and my name's become Tarquin. And I'm sure I could have got one at Walmart for less than $150,000."
posted by Grangousier at 10:10 AM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Amazon.com: Walter's review of Hoover MaxExtract 60 PressurePro Deep Cleaner, FH50220 (Kitchen)
posted by inigo2 at 11:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


diocletian: I'm not sure exactly what Walt could really have expected to accomplish with his phone call to Skyler at the end -- there's no way that the DEA won't realize that she was up to her eyebrows in it once they investigate the car wash.

In the call he all but said he forced her to with threats to her and the kids. He even fake-threatened to kill her on the call.
posted by spaltavian at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems like Walt buying the M60 for a standoff with the nazis is the only thing that makes real sense

Not having seen the episode and reading this thread, I think it actually would fit the gangster-genre convention for Walt to go out in a blaze of glory with the big-ass gun while his entire empire has collapsed around him. Pretty sure there's a law or something.
posted by Hoopo at 4:37 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why is it only Wednesday?
posted by planetesimal at 4:56 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was the conclusion I jumped to as soon as that happened, but I sincerely hope they don't do that, 'cause dear lord is that obvious. It would lower my opinion of the show significantly.

One of the marks of Breaking Bad is fairly obvious foreshadowing but with unexpected methods to get there. I do expect Jesse to take personal initiative for the first time on the show and either escape or do serious damage to the nazis, but I don't expect it to be a chemistry bomb, or if it is it'll have another wrinkle involved. Maybe he manages to off Lydia while Todd is showing off his catch to her as it were and it goes from there. Who knows.

And related - I did expect this episode to open with Gomie dead, Hank shot, and Hank ultimately killed, as was the case. Walt giving up the money wasn't even that unexpected, but given that we're at the end game for all the characters and we've been building for five seasons, the drama is off the charts, predictable plot elements or not. I was shaking after watching this episode and I don't remember ever having that reaction to a TV show and probably only a couple of times from movies.
posted by MillMan at 4:58 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe he manages to off Lydia while Todd is showing off his catch to her as it were and it goes from there.

Wasn't Jesse the only one who voted to spare Lydia's life when he, Mike, and Walt had her in the warehouse? Would she have it in her to return the favor for Jesse? She has no real beef with him.

In any event, Lydia is still a bit of a loose end. I guess they don't need to close that one up, if the Nazis are gone that would be enough to say "and Lydia lived happily ever after." but I don't think they're done with her yet.

And I really hope we see Badger and Skinny Pete at least one last time.
posted by bondcliff at 6:31 PM on September 18, 2013


I don't expect it to be a chemistry bomb, or if it is it'll have another wrinkle involved.

I was wondering if Todd still has that spider and keeps it in the lab somewhere.

I also think it'd be interesting if Walt has the giant gun because he thinks he's coming back to fight the Peckerwoods to save his family, but in actuality it's Jesse & Marie using that as a front to draw him back to ABQ so Marie can poison him.
posted by mannequito at 6:45 PM on September 18, 2013


Final two episodes will be 75 minutes, without commercials.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:57 PM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


That's so fucking wonderful!
posted by planetesimal at 7:01 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I was wondering if Todd still has that spider and keeps it in the lab somewhere.

He keeps it in Lydia's lipstick mug, probably next to some creepy memento he swiped from Heisenberg.
posted by planetesimal at 7:02 PM on September 18, 2013


Final two episodes will be 75 minutes, without commercials.

To be clear, the tweet in that article clearly says 75 minutes WITH commercials. "Last 2 #BreakingBad eps are 75 minutes each w/commercials."

This is still wonderful.
posted by inigo2 at 7:10 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I was so excited I didn't read it closely enough. Fifteen minutes extra though! After last week's episode, I'm a little concerned if I can handle it all, emotionally speaking.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:30 PM on September 18, 2013


I was wondering if Todd still has that spider and keeps it in the lab somewhere.

He keeps it in Lydia's lipstick mug, probably next to some creepy memento he swiped from Heisenberg.


Jesse is the memento that Todd swiped from Heisenberg.
posted by Francolin at 7:43 PM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


This loose end is still bugging me -- maybe it's just not important, maybe I missed something, or maybe it's yet to be explained: way back when Don Eladio has Fring's pal Maximino shot next to the pool in Mexico, Eladio says that the only reason he isn't killing Fring is because Eladio knows who Fring is. Fring's mysterious background in Chile has never been explained -- who the hell was he that Eladio was afraid or unwilling to kill him?
posted by Corvid at 8:34 PM on September 18, 2013


We may never learn any more about Gus. Gilligan said that he styled Gus' past in the same vein as the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Though, that was two years ago. He's referred to a few times in some variation of "general", so perhaps he was a player in the Pinochet regime.
posted by planetesimal at 8:39 PM on September 18, 2013


To be clear, the tweet in that article clearly says 75 minutes WITH commercials.

I've been waiting until mid next day to watch the final episodes on U.K. Netflix without commercials of course. Had Unblock Us for months and just recently discovered the Netflix region selector.

As for Team Walt I've only recently heard of this "thing" and really don't want to look into it. To each their own and all that but I personally have admired Walt's craftiness from time to time (which is really admiring the writing) but have long felt Walt to be an unbearable asshole of the highest order. He treats Jesse in particular very badly. I've known plenty of men and women in real life who absolutely love assholes (also in real life). They gravitate to those that treat others horribly and for reasons I can't say I understand, adore them. I suspect the same sort of thing may be going on for this fictional character. If I remember correctly, the Mexican band that sang about Heisenburg was an actual "drug" band that sing the praises of drug lords loved by some of the citizenry.

With the outright nastiness, meanness, and hatred we see constantly being espoused on Fox News and the like, I wouldn't be surprised if Walt is some sort of self-made man figure to many.

Fiction being the keyword though. I quite enjoyed Beavis and Butthead for example but when I ran into real people like that, I didn't enjoy it all. So we can definitely separate reality from fiction so as mentioned above, there are probably many who are on Team Walt for harmless reasons. As usual, a group of people is diverse.
posted by juiceCake at 9:07 PM on September 18, 2013


I always figured that Gus's connection to the Pinochet regime was a little more remote than actually having any sort of political position, more along the lines of the aristocrats in Argentina who were allowed to adopt the children of the desaparecidos because of their connections to people inside the dictatorship. The vagueness of Gus's past in that regard always made sense to me -- my mom lives in Argentina, and among the people her age you need only show them a picture of a Ford Falcon to send a shiver down their spine. No details necessary.
posted by invitapriore at 9:16 PM on September 18, 2013


TEAM BMINERAL
posted by Eideteker at 12:43 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I was so excited I didn't read it closely enough.

Oh, wasn't criticizing you at all; you copied the headline/text from that site; they're the ones that didn't read...

posted by inigo2 at 4:50 AM on September 19, 2013


Sorry this is probably years late...by I'm thinking about colors...

Marie obviously purple
Walter obviously White
Jesse pink?
The meth is blue

Are there other color connections there?
posted by ian1977 at 5:45 AM on September 19, 2013


Never mind, google to the rescue...
posted by ian1977 at 5:47 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This loose end is still bugging me -- maybe it's just not important, maybe I missed something, or maybe it's yet to be explained: way back when Don Eladio has Fring's pal Maximino shot next to the pool in Mexico, Eladio says that the only reason he isn't killing Fring is because Eladio knows who Fring is. Fring's mysterious background in Chile has never been explained -- who the hell was he that Eladio was afraid or unwilling to kill him?

I would also like to know about this, though I know that it may have never been in the cards, as planetesimal mentions. I'm still holding out a small hope that we may learn more about it in Better Call Saul.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:28 AM on September 19, 2013


If I went to a car wash and was told "Have an A1 day!" I would never go back again. Stupidest thing ever.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:52 AM on September 19, 2013


yeah but I found it hilarious. To extent that I can obtain humor at this point, it's the idea of Walt in NH or wherever, saying, 'Have an A-1 day' to himself in his solitude, thinking that he's exhibiting gallows humor, and then bursting into tears as to how things are so very not A-1 and it's all his fault.

Wait, has this show made me into a sociopath?
posted by angrycat at 8:48 AM on September 19, 2013


If I went to a car wash and was told "Have an A1 day!" I would never go back again. Stupidest thing ever.

Your comment offtopic. Please take it to MeTa to discus with your web care professional. Thank you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:55 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]



Are there other color connections there?
posted by ian1977 at 8:45 AM on September 19 [+] [!]


Color, interior design and wardrobe are key to the show's cohesiveness, and in many cases, drive the narrative forward, or tee up what's coming.

This is just one reference, you have lots of great theorizing to look forward to on the subject! Google away.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:57 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ick, ian1977, sorry. I didn't see your second post.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:58 AM on September 19, 2013


Please take it to MeTa to discus with your web care professional

But not javelin. You could have someone's eye out with one of those.
posted by Grangousier at 9:08 AM on September 19, 2013


Final two episodes will be 75 minutes, without commercials.

To be clear, the tweet in that article clearly says 75 minutes WITH commercials.


And how. Looks like those extra 15 minutes per episode will likely be 6 minutes of extra Breaking Bad, plus 9 minutes of extra commercials.

(I can't say I blame AMC for capitalizing on something big while they have the chance, but, like, yuck.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:44 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, this Sunday, the penultimate Breaking Bad airs against the Emmy telecast.

I gotta wonder how many people in the audience are going to be watching BB on their phones while waiting to see if Cranston wins again....
posted by tzikeh at 4:43 PM on September 19, 2013


Anyone compare "Ozymandias" to the Beauty and the Beast episode of the same name yet?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:41 PM on September 19, 2013


Jesse is the memento that Todd swiped from Heisenberg.

Will the spider escape the jar?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 PM on September 19, 2013


Only 48 hours! Not like I'm anxious or anything.
posted by ambrosia at 6:03 PM on September 20, 2013


Breaking Bad presents 'Ozymandias,' The Great And Terrible
posted by triggerfinger at 7:07 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


The comments/discussion on that article are pretty interesting.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:13 PM on September 20, 2013


I just realized that the Breaking Bad spinoff that I want to see is the Growing-Up-Gotti-style reality show that Walt Jr. stars in once this whole mess goes public.
posted by invitapriore at 7:14 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to believe there’s more to Gus’s story — either that, or my native-speaking friends’ annoyance at Giancarlo Esposito’s halting Spanish is justified. What kind of name is Fring?
posted by mubba at 7:35 PM on September 20, 2013


So, yes, it appears that after bringing drug dealing to their door, making it clear she wouldn't be safe if she left, refusing to let her get away safely with the kids, threatening Skyler repeatedly, kidnapping Holly in a moment that she will probably remember forever, putting their son in the position of pulling him off her, and getting her sister's husband killed, Walt perhaps decided to get her off the hook with the cops to avoid orphaning their son and baby daughter.

What a guy. Redefining, perhaps, the idea of "the least he could do."


I get the writer's argument, but BB would be pretty boring if characters were black-and-white representations in a Jesus-style morality play. It is more devastating, perhaps, to see the havoc that people do in the name of good intentions, especially when those altruistic intentions wrestle with and lose to pride and spite and all the other negative, unhealthily selfish emotions that make us human.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:56 PM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


The comments/discussion on that article are pretty interesting.
posted by triggerfinger 9 hours ago [+]


Spot on, thank you for posting it, I have been avoiding any and everything BrBa-related, but this really brings my thinking together.

The writer goes into excellent detail about how Gilligan and company are relentlessly moving us through, and now away from the standard-issue TV tropes: Team this and that, is Walt good or bad, why are we rooting for this guy, it's a Western, etc, etc.

They are dragging us away from the relevance of plot points to the overriding terrible theme, which he states beautifully:

"You pay for your actions, not the operation of your heart."
posted by thinkpiece at 4:25 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to believe there’s more to Gus’s story — either that, or my native-speaking friends’ annoyance at Giancarlo Esposito’s halting Spanish is justified. What kind of name is Fring?

That is a very good question, and all kinds of things, both story-wise and casting-wise, start to fall into place when you realise that the surname Fring is, in fact, German.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 AM on September 21, 2013 [8 favorites]


Just a quick shout-out to editor Kelley Dixon's Insider podcast and Vince Gilligan's active involvement with it.

That is a very good question, and all kinds of things, both story-wise and casting-wise, start to fall into place when you realise that the surname Fring is, in fact, German.

Hmm, Madrigal has Franch, and Jack-In-The-Box used to have a french fry/onion ring combo called Frings. "I love these Frings with Franch, but why are they blue?" Also possibly relavant: The charachter of Gus Fring was only supposed to be in a couple of episodes.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:07 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I get the writer's argument, but BB would be pretty boring if characters were black-and-white representations in a Jesus-style morality play

This is what they're arguing about in the comments. On the one hand we have all the people who are Team Walt and on the other hand the ones who say Walt is evil. And as one of the commenters says:

But it's not either/or, and if this show, of all shows, doesn't inspire an acceptance of a bit of critical gray area, I don't know what show possibly could.

Which I get, because while Walt is very obviously a bad, bad man and his actions unacceptable, his love for his family is real. And all throughout the show he's been deluding himself and very slowly slipping further down the hole by finding ways to justify it all to himself. But I think it all came home to him and really hit him hard when Hank was killed. Finally there was a real, palpable and permanent consequence to someone close to him, a consequence that he could not explain away to himself as a misunderstanding or whatever. Someone he loved was killed as a result of his actions. And I think that was the moment he went into full Heisenberg mode. Before we saw Walt, with flashes of Heisenberg and from now on I think we'll see Heisenberg with flashes of Walt. And what did he do? Instead of really understanding the full consequences of what he's been doing he turns around and blames it on Jesse. Jesse is the reason Hank was there and Jesse is the reason he died and now Jesse must die for killing Hank. And I honestly don't think it could have been any other way - for Walt to realize now, after everything he's done, that it's all on him? No, he just continues what he's been doing the whole time - he blames someone else. It's been Walt's defense mechanism all along - his way of dealing with the cognitive dissonance of what Walt thinks is right and his actual reality.

And I kind of get that. I've never done anything even close to as bad as what Walt has done, but I understand trying to reconcile what seems like two conflicting things in my head. We've talked a lot on Metafilter about how people with beliefs that are just wrong - such as climate change deniers - when they're confronted with all the facts and evidence to the contrary that show they can't be right - that they just double down on their belief. Because if they admit they're wrong now, what does that say about their entire worldview? People can overcome that but it takes a strong person and Walt is not that person. So Walt isn't actually a strong or all-powerful guy, he's weak. And the combination of him getting diagnosed with cancer that would be fatal, the frustration of not having lived a life that was up to his potential, the pride and ego involved with that and the deep love for his family ended up being a perfect storm for him to do something that was kind of unthinkable, but for him, justifiable. So I do have some sympathy for Walt - not because I think he's a badass guy and I want him to win and not because I think Skyler and everyone else has been so unfair to him all along (I don't); but because he's really weak and I think he only ever wanted was best for his family, even if his ego got in the way at some point and he carried on cooking or doing other things because he had fooled himself into thinking it was no big deal. I don't understand being a drug kingpin and murderer, but I do understand how loving and wanting to protect someone can blind you to reality and I understand how we tell ourselves stories to make things okay. So while I think Walt is awful, I also still feel kind of sorry for him and I don't want him to die. And that makes me feel conflicted.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:16 AM on September 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


Only two episodes left to find out if that Russian is ever coming back from the Pine Barrens.
posted by ootsocsid at 10:47 AM on September 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Only two episodes left to find out if that Russian is ever coming back from the Pine Barrens.

I marked this as a favorite, not just because it's funny (which it is), but also because it encapsulates my feelings about "but I want to know more about Gus Fring's backstory!" and so much else in pop culture in general (recent example: "If they don't tell us what CAUSED the zombie sickness in The Walking Dead, then fuck that show.") NO--part of what's magnificent about the character of Gustavo Fring is that we have no fucking idea who he was or how he became what he became, and never will. I thought Hannibal Lecter was one of pop culture's great villains--right up there with fuckin' IAGO--and then we had to hear all about his childhood trauma and his baby sister and BORED NOW. STOP TELLING ME EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE. We get great depth and complexity in the story of Walter White; Gus Fring can (and should!) remain unknowable.

MORE Gus Frings, everywhere, please.

(Done well, of course. There's the rub.)
posted by tzikeh at 12:24 PM on September 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


Or in the words of David Chase himself, "Who gives a shit about this Russian?"
posted by Rhomboid at 1:04 PM on September 21, 2013


It's the best Heisenberg cosplay yet.
posted by jeather at 1:40 PM on September 21, 2013


At least in Argentina, which is next door to Chile, it's common for people to have Italian, French, German, even English or Irish surnames (usually with Spanish forenames) - think of Cristina Kirchner for example. I don't know whether it's as common in Chile (though I'm reminded of the Chilean national hero Bernardo O'Higgins), but I don't find it surprising.
posted by Grangousier at 2:39 PM on September 21, 2013


Oh, yeah, there's lots of German-Chileans too.

But even if he is German-Chilean as opposed to, say, a German pretending to be Chilean to cover a noticeably un-Mexican accent, Gus's connection to the folks in Germany could be familial. Heck, even the connection between Gus and Mike could be that they're cousins.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:58 PM on September 21, 2013


Can I just say that it would be really weird if the last two episodes were all about Gus Fring's ethnic background and his business connections to the various people we've seen who work at Madrigal.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:00 PM on September 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


AMC announces Breaking Bad finale will be a very special episode of Who Do You Think You Are?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:12 PM on September 21, 2013


Every Bad episode.
AMC is airing the “Breaking Bad Marathon: Countdown to Finale,” beginning on Wednesday, September 25th at 8PM ET/PT with seasons 1-4 and running through late night Friday, September 27th. The marathon resumes with season five on Saturday, September 28th at 11PM ET/PT and runs continuously up to the series finale on Sunday, September 29th at 9PM ET/PT.
posted by maggieb at 4:20 PM on September 21, 2013


I can't determine whether it would be worse or better for one's sanity and blood pressure to watch the series all at one go. I mean, I think I was a little oxygen deprived after last week.
posted by angrycat at 4:29 PM on September 21, 2013


Why you should give Better Call Saul a chance

(Worth the read if only for the Better Call Saul commercial linked)
posted by triggerfinger at 6:03 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


triggerfinger: "Why you should give Better Call Saul a chance"

I have no idea why anyone thinks Better Call Saul won't be a great show. Saul is a delight and seeing him work with weird clients and getting involved in relatively light-hearted hijinks is going to be fun.
posted by Copronymus at 6:43 PM on September 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can only take so much Saul in one sitting, though.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 PM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


So I'm the only one hoping for a Badger spinoff?
posted by maudlin at 10:22 PM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can see Saul working as a half hour along the lines of Curb Your Enthusiasm. But it won't go anywhere interesting without a Breaking Bad level writers room.
posted by philip-random at 11:02 PM on September 21, 2013


Ummm 45 min of just Bob Odenkirk? YES PLEASE.
posted by littlesq at 11:37 PM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


The original Total Recall was on Turner last night and when Quaid got to Venusville (where the woman with three boobs is) and that one balding mutant kept giving Quaid the eye, I was all, hey! that balding mutant looks like a young, mutant Hank!

And you know what? It was!

Dean Norris makes a good Cassandra.
posted by notyou at 11:43 PM on September 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


The one thing, among several others, I guess, like talent and motivation, that the Breaking Bad writers have going for them that no other show has going for it, is an audience that's paying attention. The trust goes both ways.
posted by notyou at 11:46 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I'm wondering about the chess game played at the fire station at the end. The white king is hiding behind two pawns and a knight. The king would be obvious (Walt is cornered, to some extent, but still has some moves) but I'm curious about the symbolism of the other three pieces. He's pretty much alone for his trip up to New Hampshire — maybe this plays out in the last two episodes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:08 AM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a longshot, but I'm still wondering if Grey Matter won't come back into the story in the homestretch. Maybe Walt wants to get some of his $11 million back to his family, and Gretchen and Elliot are the two "pawns" who help him do it?

Also for what it's worth, I think Walt will use the M60 on the Peckerwoods, to free Jesse, who will then kill him. Yes, I know the last episode ended with Walt seeming to want Jesse dead, but similar things have done an about-face on this show in the blink of an eye.

And finally, I have to admit I've always been a non-Walt-hater (not "Team Walt," which is just ridiculous). I admire his sheer and constant instinct for survival, his risk-taking, his intelligence. The man DOES NOT GIVE UP, and his forward momentum is not just the result of dumb luck, as some have suggested here. He is a very smart man who took his anger about his initial situation (cancer, shit job, no money) and did something with it. It is possible, though not morally popular, to look at most of his actions as things he needed to do to remain free. It's hard for me to root against that kind of determination. And, because I'm sitting on my couch watching Breaking Bad and not in a jury box watching a criminal trial, I don't have to.

What, but oh what, will we do when this show is over?
posted by Paris Elk at 2:48 AM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


relatively light-hearted hijinks

Well, relative to these last few episodes, "light-hearted" does cover a lot of ground. But I'm not seeing anything necessarily "hijink"-y in the idea of a Saul Goodman spinoff. Lotta potential for darkness there, don't ya think?
posted by mediareport at 10:21 AM on September 22, 2013


I think Better Call Saul has room for both some darkness and some comic relief. And possibly an opportunity for some background on (and maybe occasional appearances by?) Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, etc.
posted by ambrosia at 12:04 PM on September 22, 2013


4.5 hours...

A helpful reminder from Aaron Paul on the Twitter:
Final two episode are 75 minutes long each. Set DVR's accordingly.
posted by wensink at 1:29 PM on September 22, 2013


I think that Walt telling Jesse not to light up his cigarette in the RV will come into play. That and the Nazi uncle not wearing a mask.
posted by futz at 1:59 PM on September 22, 2013


room for both some darkness and some comic relief

Right. Exactly like Breaking Bad. I'm just responding to the assumption - if not insistence - from some folks that Better Call Saul will be an inherently goofier and "lighter" show. Given the way Breaking Bad has successfully balanced its horrific and comic elements, seems a bit silly to make that assumption.
posted by mediareport at 3:05 PM on September 22, 2013


Florida is not the Granite State, but it is cool.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:47 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hmm. The big question in Felina, I guess, is who the cowboy and who is the lady? It's hard for me to see Skylar and Walt in that loving, bloody embrace."

I rewatched the first two episodes. Did you remember that when Walt has his first episode and passes out, he's pushing a 55-gal. barrel? Just like the one he's rolling through the desert to the Limelighters' song. So: the barrel.
posted by Eideteker at 4:30 PM on September 22, 2013


Starting to wonder if any of our characters will die by suicide. Will Jesse blow up the meth lab knowing he'll die in the process but decide it's ultimately worth it to rid the world of the neo-Nazis?
posted by triggerfinger at 4:42 PM on September 22, 2013


Starting to wonder if any of our characters will die by suicide.

Difficult to imagine Marie not dying by her own hand.
posted by wensink at 4:49 PM on September 22, 2013


Difficult to imagine Marie not dying by her own hand.

I only think that would happen if something terrible happens to Holly. I think that at the end of this, Skyler almost certainly won't be in a position to raise Holly, and Marie will step in.
posted by ambrosia at 4:51 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't think Marie is the type who would commit suicide. I know people have mentioned it as a possibility but I don't see it.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't see Marie killing herself either.

Watching Ozymandias now. Funny, it hurts a lot less when you know your soul is already dead.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:17 PM on September 22, 2013


I agree that, plot-wise, Marie committing suicide doesn't make much sense. But given that her two main connections to this world are gone in the space of six days, it's difficult to imagine anyone surviving such total loss and grief.

Have we ever been given any hints as to why Marie and Hank never had children? Or cats?
posted by wensink at 5:28 PM on September 22, 2013


Interview with Jesse Plemons, AKA Todd.
When Walt collapses after Hank's been killed, Todd looks ... not exactly sad but maybe a little bummed?

In Todd's little heart, I think he was sad to see a guy whom he respected so much reduced to a puddle of tears. It was the lowest point he's ever seen Walt.

His "Sorry for your loss" was hilariously inadequate. He's like a robot.

But he's trying! I think he's trying.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:40 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Have we ever been given any hints as to why Marie and Hank never had children?

Both were too self absorbed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:57 PM on September 22, 2013


Saul and Wat as roomies, worst Odd Couple ever.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:04 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is that the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket?
posted by maggieb at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2013


The heart wants what the heart wants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is that the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket?

That's the excellent Robert Forster, of Jackie Brown and Karen Sisco fame.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:14 PM on September 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I see we have now entered the weekly heart-attack-inducing segment of our program.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:25 PM on September 22, 2013


Creepiest episode ever.
posted by planetesimal at 6:28 PM on September 22, 2013


God damn it, Lydia, if you kill Skyler I'm gonna smack you.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:30 PM on September 22, 2013


Oh Todd, you hopeless romantic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 PM on September 22, 2013


Heisenberg Uncertainty Gate?
posted by planetesimal at 6:39 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh Todd, you fucker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's just fucked.
posted by planetesimal at 6:47 PM on September 22, 2013


Jesus
posted by triggerfinger at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Todd, you piece of shit.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2013


Poor fucking Jesse
posted by triggerfinger at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm starting to regret being glad there were going to be extended episodes. I can't take much more of that.
posted by planetesimal at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least it wasn't personal.
posted by wensink at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


BREAKING BEARD
posted by oulipian at 6:52 PM on September 22, 2013


Walt pays for friendship!
posted by planetesimal at 6:56 PM on September 22, 2013


I can't imagine how this show ends in just another episode. Which almost certainly means I'm going to regret the answer.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:01 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is just so depressing.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:01 PM on September 22, 2013


The commercial for Grand Theft Auto V is an interesting choice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2013


Meanwhile, Anna Gunn won an Emmy! And Bryan Cranston lost to Jeff Daniels in the Newsroom.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:04 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


As was the one for Best Buy with the woman named "Lydia."
posted by raysmj at 7:04 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walt's gonna kill Charlie Rose!
posted by planetesimal at 7:13 PM on September 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


That was a satisfying ramp up to the finale. The Western theme has never been more pronounced than that last ten minutes.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:15 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow.
posted by pearlybob at 7:19 PM on September 22, 2013


So the M60 is for Grey Matter after all.

Anyone else get a wave of relief after watching Saul get out of Breaking Bad alive?
posted by hellojed at 7:20 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was fairly unsatisfying, through technically well done (acting, direction etc). Hopefully the finale will be able to provide some sort of lasting catharsis.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hope the vacuum cleaner guy gives Walt an update on Saul. Did he really end up managing a Cinnabon? I need to know.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:21 PM on September 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


The ricin is for Elliott and Gretchen.
posted by peeedro at 7:31 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Paris Elk: It's a longshot, but I'm still wondering if Grey Matter won't come back into the story in the homestretch.

Bingo!

(Though, for what it's worth, I think Walt might be coming for me...)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:33 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Professor Plum, with the Ricin, in the Dining room
posted by hellojed at 7:33 PM on September 22, 2013


P.S. I totes beat you to that prediction, na na
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Professor Plum, with the Ricin, in the Dining room

Surely you mean Mrs. White?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:38 PM on September 22, 2013


I wasn't disappointed, though I was expecting more shocking stuff. Honestly, I could have done with another half hour of Walt alone in New Hampshire.

Andrea dying wasn't meant to be a heartbreaker moment, I don't think, so much as it was a "Jesse's not getting out of this alone" moment. He's a smart kid, but he's not gonna outdo the Nazis on his own.

Machine gun for Nazis, ricin for Gretchen and Elliot? Honestly, now that the show has come full circle to be a Western, down to the dark stranger riding into town, I don't much care who it's for. Walt's last shot at redemption is gone, now there's just the boom, and a fun boom it will be.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:39 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I totally didn't see Grey Matter coming back into the story but now that they have it kind of makes sense as a finale.

So, the Nazis die in a hail of machine gun fire, Jesse kills Todd (it has to happen) and somehow gets redeemed or killed, the Grey Matter people get the ricin, Skyler goes to jail, Marie, Holly, and Walt Jr. live unhappily ever after, and Walt dies of cancer in a holding cell somewhere.

My prediction: I am wrong about most things.
posted by bondcliff at 7:42 PM on September 22, 2013


the show has come full circle to be a Western, down to the dark stranger riding into town

And sheriffs!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2013


Nazis had better fuckin die in the next episode, I tell you hwhat.
posted by hellojed at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


West Coastians, beware.

I really, really like that the Grey Matter people came back and -- just as Walt was ready to give up -- attacked Walt's ego so he headed back. That's really narratively satisfying in a way that the Nazis (as much as I am enjoying Todd as a character) are not.

I think that this somewhat smaller and more place setting episode was needed because if they ramped up the tension anymore they'd have zero people watching next week because we'd all be dead of heart attacks. But I want to think about this episode more. Also it's time for me to rewatch just this half season.
posted by jeather at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Insight from Reddit about that Charlie Rose interview:

I think he was more pissed that the blue meth is showing up. Obviously, that leads him to know that Jesse is still alive and cooking with the Nazis.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:51 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


That makes sense, too, Rory. Though I think his ego was still hurt by what Gretchen and the guy (forget his name) said.
posted by jeather at 7:53 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


AMC and The Food Network announce new Aaron Paul spinoff show, Cooking with the Nazis
posted by oulipian at 7:57 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can't wait for "Saul: Cinnibon Manager" on AMC
posted by hellojed at 8:00 PM on September 22, 2013


the ultimate product placement - Dimple Pinch!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:01 PM on September 22, 2013


What has two thumbs and totally called this? THIS GUY, BITCH!
posted by jbickers at 8:01 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dimple Pinch
posted by lalochezia at 8:03 PM on September 22, 2013


I'm with the school of thought that WW's motivation is more about Jesse cooking his propietary recipe than it is about Grey Matter. Can't support it - it's just my gut feeling.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:05 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The best product placement was for AmeriCone Dream, the Stephen Colbert ice cream from Ben & Jerry's, which Todd brought Jesse.
posted by raysmj at 8:07 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Breaking Bad just won the Emmy!!
posted by maggieb at 8:09 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Breaking Bad just won the Emmy!!

What time did they win it? AMC was running spots during the show congratulating Breaking Bad on their 2013 Emmy win, is all.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:12 PM on September 22, 2013


The notion that the Nazis have been unsatisfying is weird to me, but I guess that's because the first half of this season made it clear that Walter White stands alone now. There are no more people to rise up to: only lesser crimelords clamoring for the throne. (The Franch guy at Madrigal made it clear that no more villains lurk above Gus's head, unless you want to count Lydia. Which I don't.)

I've really liked the handling of them, for what it's worth. I like how non-mustache-twirly they've been, with the exception of their watching the video tonight. Jack seems like a relatively smart dude who, as Plemons says in that interview I linked, is probably a better guy than Todd's own unseen parents. He's a criminal with no empathy, but he's weirdly soothing, maybe because he's far less of a dick than Mike ever was, and far less condescending as well—even as he runs off with Walt's buried treasure, he's awfully genteel about his doing so. And meanwhile Todd continues to delight the creepier he gets. He's still no Snoop, but he's appreciably terrifying.

I agree that Gretchen and Elliot provided this with the right sort of unexpected personal twist. Nazis are satisfying to gun down, but Nazis alone aren't satisfying enough to conclude a show of this magnitude. I liked that Walt can't be effed to go after them without the motive of supporting his family or personal arrogance: he respects them just enough, which is to say not all that much.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:13 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


They won just now...but I saw that promo too. I think earlier they meant congrats to Anna Gunn on her win.
posted by littlesq at 8:14 PM on September 22, 2013


I don't know, SysRq. I thought I was watching it live. Maybe not.
posted by maggieb at 8:15 PM on September 22, 2013


Question: are these Emmys for season 4? Well BB be back for next year's show?
posted by triggerfinger at 8:17 PM on September 22, 2013


Adam Scott geeking out about Grey Matter now. And my iPad has decided that geeking isn't a word, and tried to replace it with the equally not-a-word Geelong.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:19 PM on September 22, 2013


Friday Night Lights spoiler alert: Landry Clarke kills Epyck
posted by The Gooch at 8:20 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I like to believe that Ben Wyatt is geeking out about Breaking Bad as well. He totally would.
posted by littlesq at 8:22 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "I've really liked the handling of them, for what it's worth. I like how non-mustache-twirly they've been, with the exception of their watching the video tonight. Jack seems like a relatively smart dude who, as Plemons says in that interview I linked, is probably a better guy than Todd's own unseen parents. He's a criminal with no empathy, but he's weirdly soothing, maybe because he's far less of a dick than Mike ever was, and far less condescending as well—even as he runs off with Walt's buried treasure, he's awfully genteel about his doing so. And meanwhile Todd continues to delight the creepier he gets. He's still no Snoop, but he's appreciably terrifying. "

Jack and Mike are probably two of the most non-bullshitting characters from the show's entire run, which is why as much as I want to hate/fear them, I also respect them. Tuco as well.

Also, I never thought of the similarities between Todd and Snoop but yeah, they're totally two of the same seen through a funhouse mirror.
posted by mannequito at 8:31 PM on September 22, 2013


The timing on that really... didn't do it for me. I mean Walt called the cops and then left the phone off the hook so that they could trace his call and find him, right? So he sits down and gives up and is waiting for the cops to come get him and then, in the last possible few-minute window he has to change his mind and escape, the barkeep JUST SO HAPPENS to flip past an interview that JUST SO HAPPENS to contain two of the people Walt loathes most in the world and can, in a way, blame for everything that's happened to him, and they're directly shit-talking him in the most provocative and angrymaking way possible? Was that really necessary?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Question: are these Emmys for season 4? Well BB be back for next year's show?

Season 5A:
Anna Gunn as Skyler White on Breaking Bad (Episode: "Fifty-One")
Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad (Episode: "Say My Name")
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad (Episode: "Say My Name")
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad (Episode: "Buyout")
Breaking Bad (Episode: "Gliding Over All"), Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Breaking Bad (Episode: "Dead Freight"), Written by George Mastras
Breaking Bad (Episode: "Say My Name"), Written by Thomas Schnauz


That second question... *shrug.* The DVDs for 5A and 5B are marketed as "Season 5" and "The Final Season" respectively, so maybe?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:33 PM on September 22, 2013


I don't mind the Nazis as characters -- and, as I've mentioned, I really like Todd as a character and Jack has been growing on me as we've seen more of him. But they are essentially new villains added in for the last season, and as much as I understand what they're doing, I don't like their prominence.
posted by jeather at 8:34 PM on September 22, 2013


Vince Gilligan: "I've got one word for you about this finale: woodworking. Or is that two words?"

Oh Vince, you tease.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:43 PM on September 22, 2013


Junior has second thoughts about the money and confronts that friend of his in shop class. When the friend says he doesn't know what Junior's talking about, Junior planes his face off.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:54 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


When the bartender was flipping channels, did anyone else hear the audio from the old black and white movie Mike was watching when Hank raided his house? I could be wrong.
posted by bluecore at 8:58 PM on September 22, 2013



Jesse Pinkman: I took this vo-tech class in high school, woodworking. I took a lot of vo-tech classes, because it was just big jerk-off, but this one time I had this teacher by the name of... Mr... Mr. Pike. I guess he was like a Marine or something before he got old. He was hard hearing. My project for his class was to make this wooden box. You know, like a small, just like a... like a box, you know, to put stuff in. So I wanted to get the thing done as fast as possible. I figured I could cut classes for the rest of the semester and he couldn't flunk me as long as I, you know, made the thing. So I finished it in a couple days. And it looked pretty lame, but it worked. You know, for putting in or whatnot. So when I showed it to Mr. Pike for my grade, he looked at it and said: "Is that the best you can do?" At first I thought to myself "Hell yeah, bitch. Now give me a D and shut up so I can go blaze one with my boys." I don't know. Maybe it was the way he said it, but... it was like he wasn't exactly saying it sucked. He was just asking me honestly, "Is that all you got?" And for some reason, I thought to myself: "Yeah, man, I can do better." So I started from scratch. I made another, then another. And by the end of the semester, by like box number five, I had built this thing. You should have seen it. It was insane. I mean, I built it out of Peruvian walnut with inlaid zebrawood. It was fitted with pegas, no screws. I sanded it for days, until it was smooth as glass. Then I rubbed all the wood with tung oil so it was rich and dark. It even smelled good. You know, you put nose in it and breathed in, it was... it was perfect.
Group Leader: What happened to the box?
Jesse Pinkman: I... I gave it to my mom.
Group Leader: Nice. You know what I'm gonna say, don't you? It's never too late. They have art co-ops that offer classes, adult extension program at the University.

Jesse Pinkman: You know, I didn't give the box to my mom. I traded it for an ounce of weed.
posted by mannequito at 9:05 PM on September 22, 2013 [28 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall's ever-excellent review:
Early on, we see Jack and the other Nazis watching Jesse's confession video on a big-screen TV, laughing at Jesse as he tears up at the memory of Gale's death. "Does this pussy cry through the whole thing?" Uncle Jack sneers. This is something that we saw Jesse agonize over for a long time, and an action that the show had taken even longer building up to, and here, it's just fodder for jokes while the Nazis wait for something cooler to happen. They are essentially watching "Breaking Bad," and they've become what Emily Nussbaum from The New Yorker refers to as "the Bad Fan." We care deeply about Jesse Pinkman and his emotional highs and lows; they couldn't possibly care less.

And bit by bit, Todd, Jack and the Nazis take over every corner of the show. No one is safe from them. They can be in Holly's bedroom, ready to warn Skyler away from telling the cops about Lydia (which I suspect Skyler never would have even thought to do without Todd's prompting). They can be at Walt and Lydia's old meeting spot, with Todd all preppy and buttoned down and picking threads off of Lydia's blazer as he convinces her to keep the blue meth pipeline flowing. And they can be at Andrea's doorstep, putting a bullet in the back of her head while an enraged, powerless Jesse watches, bound and gagged in the truck.

As I've said, the Nazis aren't the show's most glamorous villains, but this is the point. They are here to reveal the fantasies of "Breaking Bad" for exactly that. The meth game isn't a quippy buddy comedy full of macabre slapstick and surprise escapes and thrilling improvised plans. It is cold, it is brutal, and it is inhuman. For a moment, it seems Jesse will be having one more adventure, as he picks the locks to his handcuffs and circus acrobats his way out of his dungeon, but it's just setting him up for one more devastating slap of reality.

You might think "Breaking Bad" wouldn't kill Andrea — that the show still, at this late date, has some boundaries it will not cross — but you would be wrong. The show we thought we were watching all along would not have done this; the show we were really watching all this time had to do this, no matter how hard it was for us and Jesse to witness.

Escape in "Granite State" is a fantasy. We discover that Walt's phone call at the end of "Ozymandias" wasn't a cure-all for Skyler's problems; so long as he stubbornly remains free, guarding money that it turns out will never make it to his family, Skyler will be a government target. After all the money Saul has made as Walt's consiglieri, the best he can hope for is a boring, anonymous life in Nebraska. Walt goes to his snow mountain cabin with no phones, no TV, and no connection of any kind to the outside world.(*) He is completely alone with his barrel, and his thoughts, and his plans that he's too weak from cancer to act upon, so desperate for human contact that he pays his caretaker ten grand to spend a single hour with him.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:14 PM on September 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


bluecore: "When the bartender was flipping channels, did anyone else hear the audio from the old black and white movie Mike was watching when Hank raided his house? I could be wrong."

Nevermind, I was mistaken. The Big Heat was playing when Hank raided the house.
posted by bluecore at 9:19 PM on September 22, 2013


The Ricin has to be for the Nazis, since he has a rapport with them and he could easily get them all to have a drink of Ricin'd Bud Lite (Which he also takes). Then the M60 is must be for Grey Matter, since there's no way he can show himself to them in such a way that wouldn't have them calling the cops.

Eventually the Nazis drop dead, Jesse breaks out, destroys the meth lab, and goes on a Walter White Warpath.
posted by hellojed at 9:39 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man, two massive ego hits at once on Charlie Rose.

I want the ricin to be for Lydia SO MUCH. I don't think it even occurred to Skyler to mention Lydia until creepy Todd warned her off it. I'm wondering if Walt might try to implicate Gretchen and Elliott in order to tank their stock.
posted by lovecrafty at 9:58 PM on September 22, 2013


no matter how hard it was for us and Jesse to witness.

Yeah, I turned to the person next to me when Andrea got shot and said, "This is a lot of things, but entertainment is not one of them."
posted by mediareport at 10:01 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I want the ricin to be for Lydia SO MUCH.

I think you may be in luck. She is, after all, the one who we are repeatedly reminded enjoys sprinkling white powder in her chamomile tea.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:03 PM on September 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


bluecore: "When the bartender was flipping channels, did anyone else hear the audio from the old black and white movie Mike was watching when Hank raided his house? I could be wrong."

Just to finish this off-- it was the 1947 noir The Lady From Shanghai playing on the TV that bartender flipped by.

A quote from the movie:

"Human nature is eternal. Therefore, one who follows his nature keeps his original nature, in the end."
posted by bluecore at 10:06 PM on September 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Kind of a disappointing denouement, though; the writing wasn't as good, the coincidences too obvious and the emotional punches not as surprising. Hard to beat last week, for sure, so I'll leave it at that.

[Except for the "eeew" moment of the Andrew Ross Sorkin namedrop on Charlie Rose. Of all the media puppets to give a boost to (in one of those never-convincing-but-writers-seem-to-think-its-"realistic" moments that use real-life anchors and such), giving it to Sorkin, a mostly corporatist, often dishonest columnist who famously defended the AIG bonuses and recently apologized for saying Glenn Greenwald should be arrested for doing journalism, was a real clunker of a decision that yanked me out of the show. I hate when they do that stuff generally, but using one of the worst of the "look at me I'm so contrarian" business writers was particularly awful. Please, TV writers, please stop using real-life media people; it's always the kind of thing that sticks out like a sore thumb in your fictional world.]
posted by mediareport at 10:11 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


No goals were scored in that hockey game on the TV as Walt was on the phone with the DEA, but the color announcer did inform us that "there were too many turnovers in the offensive zone." More tellingly, the "offensive" was the American "aww-fensive" and not the Canadian "ohh-fensive".
posted by notyou at 10:14 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ooh, Lady from Shanghai. There's false confessions and frame ups galore in that movie. Plus the famous hall of mirrors shootout scene in the end.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:15 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


As evil as Todd's killing of Andrea was, I can't get too het up on it. She delivered the single worst monologue on all of Breaking Bad, and because of that, I could never love her as a character.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:17 PM on September 22, 2013


Yeah, I turned to the person next to me when Andrea got shot and said, "This is a lot of things, but entertainment is not one of them."

Yes, this. Killing her made sense, plot and character, but was nothing more than another way to torture a character, and us.

On the one hand, last episode and this one has been about the main characters having to deal with the consequences of their actions and the thus the mayhem is understood. On the other hand, the prominence of the Nazi's is distracting and forced, with little pay off so far.

Sure, No one's hands are clean at this point, but it feels like the show is trying to hit us over the head with the message that Walt and meth are bad. Got that, the transform to Heisberg has been complete for some time, so let's move on?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


notyou: "No goals were scored in that hockey game on the TV as Walt was on the phone with the DEA, but the color announcer did inform us that "there were too many turnovers in the offensive zone." More tellingly, the "offensive" was the American "aww-fensive" and not the Canadian "ohh-fensive"."

In case you were curious, the game itself seemed to be college hockey, Wisconsin vs. Denver on February 13, 1998. Wisconsin won 7-4.
posted by Copronymus at 10:34 PM on September 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


(in one of those never-convincing-but-writers-seem-to-think-its-"realistic" moments that use real-life anchors and such)

I was a little puzzled at the character Charlie Rose was playing there, to be honest. It wasn't "Charlie Rose." Isn't he just a talk show guy who has friendly chats with celebrities? He doesn't actually press newsworthy people for serious answers about their possible involvement in criminal enterprise, does he?

It's like they wanted a cable news kind of person, but preferred a PBS payscale. Plus his set is kinda easy to replicate. I wonder if that's why Charlie Rose does so many of these.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:39 PM on September 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the main thing to take away is that the stage is set for a big ol' vengeful showdown.
posted by planetesimal at 10:41 PM on September 22, 2013


That stage was set last episode.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:44 PM on September 22, 2013


New Yorker cover, Sept. 30, 2013. Breaking Bashar.
posted by maggieb at 10:55 PM on September 22, 2013


As I've said, the Nazis aren't the show's most glamorous villains, but this is the point. They are here to reveal the fantasies of "Breaking Bad" for exactly that.

Yes, this. The Nazis are the manifestation of the ugly consequence that goes along with this business. Todd, especially, is the unpredictable, evil, dangerous aspect of this. There had to be some external force come in and randomly destroy their lives in a way that they couldn't do themselves.

Nothing is safe.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:31 PM on September 22, 2013


Via the LA Review of Books...
posted by kettleoffish at 12:08 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everybody dies in this thing.
posted by Grangousier at 2:20 AM on September 23, 2013


I feel like Jessie has to survive the final episode, but he's already in a place that is worse than death. After Walt's ego rejects his final out where he could have allowed himself to get caught at the bar I think at least Skyler is going to end up dead, if not Marie and Junior too.
posted by MillMan at 2:33 AM on September 23, 2013


Random spoilerfull thoughts:

I did not think that anything would be able to top the gut-horror of Hank's death.

I was wrong with the death of Andrea, and I wondered why, and decided the brilliance of that move was created by:

1) We go in knowing that Todd is a dead-eyed Opie fucker, or whatever Jesse called him. But then we witness Todd: a) Bring Jesse ice cream and leave the tarp off so Jesse could see the stars b) Todd being love-sick over Lydia *shudder* and c) Scare the shit out of but be creepily tender towards Skylar. Todd seems vulnerable, like maybe there is something besides evil in there.
2) Another instance of: Please kill Jesse, just put him out of his misery, when he is at the fence. That getting-away scene was horrific.
3) The scene with Todd and Andrea. I don't know how the show got me to forget she was a target, but apparently Jesse did too, otherwise he wouldn't have put forth his I shall cook no more ultimatum.
4) When the camera turns to Jesse in the truck, and then turns back to the wide shot that Gilligan used in the offing of Hank, it amps up the tension but until Todd's words, I didn't see the death coming. I guess I saw that wide shot in terms of Jesse POV. And then more horror: from Jesse's POV, we think, oh, fuck, he is going to assume full responsibility, because he's Jesse. And he sags like he did when Walter tells him about Jane.

Also: After Andrea's death, I didn't think the show could make hope for anything but Walter White's agonizing death. But after seeing Walter suffer in a whole list of ways, the call with Flynn being the final one, I am okay with him turning into an dark, avenging angel.

And Todd better be first on his list, because I want that fucker to suffer 75 mins worth of bad times.
posted by angrycat at 3:16 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


And Todd better be first on his list, because I want that fucker to suffer 75 mins worth of bad times.

Hey, it wasn't anything personal. And he bought Jesse ice cream, he's trying, ok? Even hung out and looked open to shooting the shit with his tortured slave prisoner.

I wonder if Jesse's going to come to terms with the fact that he was everyone's pawn, and that he played into that role every time. It. It seems inevitable that he and Walt will meet one more final time, not as friends, but not exactly as mortal enemies either. Will their dynamic be the same, will Walt actually ask Jesse for a favor or what?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 AM on September 23, 2013


Can someone nail down for me where in the calendar year we are? Walt's birthday is September 6th. Are there really places in New Hampshire with that much snow all summer?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:20 AM on September 23, 2013


Walt and I share a birthday? Awesome.
posted by gaspode at 5:50 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also they show Walt Jr. taking a test on what would probably be Sept. 4, seems kind of early in the school year for that.
posted by gubo at 5:57 AM on September 23, 2013


We go in knowing that Todd is a dead-eyed Opie fucker, or whatever Jesse called him. But then we witness Todd: a) Bring Jesse ice cream and leave the tarp off so Jesse could see the stars b) Todd being love-sick over Lydia *shudder* and c) Scare the shit out of but be creepily tender towards Skylar. Todd seems vulnerable, like maybe there is something besides evil in there.

Telling Andrea, "It's nothing personal," immediately before shooting her in the head was the Toddest thing. In some ways, he's the most Walt-like character, because he always makes a way for the horrible things he's doing to be OK in his own head so that he's still a decent person who's been pushed into doing some bad things (but always with the best intentions).

Todd's expression in the shootout with Hank was also great. It said, "Aw, man, this sucks. I don't even want to be here today, but I guess I have to. Maybe if I put in as little effort as possible the other guys won't notice and then I can just leave. Aw, man."
posted by Copronymus at 6:07 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's only one acceptable ending to this show for me now: Jesse gets to adopt Brock and go someplace safe and raise him as his own. And they have a normal life and Jesse gets a legit job and he and his son have a healthy, loving relationship.

Not gonna happen, I don't think, but in my mind, that's what happens for Jesse. Because jesus christ, the stuff this guy has gone through.
posted by jbickers at 6:10 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can someone nail down for me where in the calendar year we are? Walt's birthday is September 6th. Are there really places in New Hampshire with that much snow all summer?

Yeah, I was wondering about that. You'll have some snow in the higher mountains from late October on, but nowhere you can drive to or live in a cabin. I think it was just a stock way of showing that he was now at a remote cabin in New Hampshire, a state people often associate with snowy hills. Also, if the goal was to get Walt somewhere remote they could have done a much better job in the Southwest than in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has some remote places by New England standards, but very few places where you can have a cabin eight miles from anything.

And couldn't they have put a mattress in that propane tank before they drove him thousands of miles?

Given that they showed Walt carefully putting his ring on a wire and tying it around his neck, I'm wondering if he'll end up getting strangled with it. That would be a bit too obvious.
posted by bondcliff at 6:14 AM on September 23, 2013


In some ways, he's the most Walt-like character, because he always makes a way for the horrible things he's doing to be OK in his own head so that he's still a decent person who's been pushed into doing some bad things (but always with the best intentions).

He's also Walt-like in his complete inability to be happy with relative success. That "no matter how much you've got, how can you turn your back on more" line was 100% Walt. Uncle Jack is happy with the money he's got; he can pay for as many swastika tattoos as he could ever dream of with that money, but Todd isn't. Jack tries to play Todd's position off as being all about Lydia, but I don't think it is. I think it's about the same need to be constantly getting bigger, richer, and more successful every single second that Walt had.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:14 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And they have a normal life and Jesse gets a legit job and he and his son have a healthy, loving relationship.

Given what he's gone through, and the fact that he's probably now permanently scarred, I think Jesse is way too far gone to have any kind of normal life. At this point I want him to die so he can be put out of his misery.

But it has to come down to him vs. Walt in the end. I suspect after Walt kills the Nazis he'll offer to let Jesse go and maybe they just part ways.
posted by bondcliff at 6:16 AM on September 23, 2013


Uncle Jack is happy with the money he's got; he can pay for as many swastika tattoos as he could ever dream of with that money, but Todd isn't

But Todd's doing it for Lydia, so that makes it ok.

I suspect after Walt kills the Nazis he'll offer to let Jesse go and maybe they just part ways.

I'm hoping that Jesse comes to the realization that he willingly got caught up in Walt's drama, repeatedly and Walt realizes that Jesse has suffered enough. Walt finally asks Jesse for a favor, to get some money to his family, Jesse agrees, gets to know Flynn, they bond over what an asshole their fathers, both literal and figurate were, and they open up a cook restaurant called "Let's Cook!" using Gus's recipes. Todd becomes their meat supplier and settles down to life in the suburbs with Lydia's head.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Todd becomes their meat supplier and settles down to life in the suburbs with Lydia's head.

What, like her skull? Or like preserved in a box?
posted by angrycat at 6:26 AM on September 23, 2013


Oops, sorry, according to the Breaking Bad Wiki, Walt's birthday is 9/7, not 9/6. Still, I'd like to know where in New Hampshire it snows all summer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:29 AM on September 23, 2013


What, like her skull? Or like preserved in a box?

He didn't know which one you'd like, so he got you both.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sure, Lydia has been directly or tangentially responsible for the suffering or deaths of untold numbers of meth users, at least one person in her organization, ten prisoners, Mike and Andrea, the underground meth dealers, potentially Brock and Walt's family, Jesse, and God knows who else, but isn't it kind of mean to talk about putting her head in a box?

OTOH, we are discussing a woman who puts soy milk in chamomile tea. Some things just cannot be forgiven.
posted by maudlin at 6:38 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want Jesse to end the shoe alive, in prison. That's the only way he'll ever feel punished enough to be at peace. He plea-bargains out, gets his BS in Chemistry by extension course, trains service dogs for the blind, reconciles at last with his family, becomes the star of the prison woodworking program, and serves 20+ years before his parole for good behavior. Happy ever after.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:01 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


1) We go in knowing that Todd is a dead-eyed Opie fucker, or whatever Jesse called him. But then we witness Todd: a) Bring Jesse ice cream and leave the tarp off so Jesse could see the stars b) Todd being love-sick over Lydia *shudder* and c) Scare the shit out of but be creepily tender towards Skylar. Todd seems vulnerable, like maybe there is something besides evil in there.

You know what's kind of interesting? Todd has saved Jesse's life -- albeit for purely selfish reasons -- like half a dozen times in the past two episodes. I'm even pretty sure he knew full well Jesse was under the car that time.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:08 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want Jesse to end the shoe alive, in prison. That's the only way he'll ever feel punished enough to be at peace. He plea-bargains out, gets his BS in Chemistry by extension course, trains service dogs for the blind, reconciles at last with his family, becomes the star of the prison woodworking program, and serves 20+ years before his parole for good behavior. Happy ever after.

That ending is so happy that it makes me almost cry. Of course, that means there is precisely zero chance it ever happens.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:10 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


...but isn't it kind of mean to talk about putting her head in a box?

The heart wants what the heart wants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


How Breaking Bad redeemed its worst mistakes.

Some rich stuff there from Daniel Walters, including a dissection of exactly why the 737 crash that ended season 2 was so unsatisfying, and how it led to one of the most revealing scenes with Walt - that excruciating speech he gave to the high school auditorium. The section about how the writers cheated both us and Bryan Cranston by not telling Cranston his character actually *had* poisoned Brock, before filming the scene where he denies it to Jesse, is also really good:

There’s no deception in Cranston’s performance for a very good reason. Cranston wasn’t told about it. He hadn’t read the next script. The actor didn’t know he was lying. This may seem a comparatively minor nitpick, but the show is very much about the relationships between Walt and Jesse, and Walt and the truth. It was a cheat to the audience, furiously trying to guess if Walt was the culprit at home. And it was a cheat to Cranston, who was handicapped in his portrayal of the character’s mental state.
posted by mediareport at 7:43 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think at the point the best conclusion thematically is for Meth Damon to take out Walter and his family and continue on to become the drug king of New Mexico, a younger, more brutal version of Walter with a lab he controls and killers he can trust. Jesse stays chained and weeping indefinitely, longing for the sweet release of death.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:09 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Onion's AV Club did a less than flattering review of the series back in August, which touches on many of the plot problems mentioned in mediareport's link, but from a different angle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 AM on September 23, 2013


bondcliff: I suspect after Walt kills the Nazis he'll offer to let Jesse go and maybe they just part ways.

Or maybe Jesse shoots him in the fucking head, and then kills himself, because there is absolutely nothing left for Jesse in this life.

"Everyone dies in this movie."
posted by tzikeh at 8:12 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


The criticisms of Breaking Bad are good, and really necessary. However, a television show is a big, sprawling, often spontaneous kind of a thing, created by a huge group of people. Like in a novel, perfection is unattainable. I love Breaking Bad because it provides such amazing moments -- I know it has flaws and there are things I roll my eyes at. But at the end of the day, it is an unbelievably well-crafted piece of work.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:17 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


If I'm lucky, in a month from now, best-case scenario, I'm managing a Cinnabon in Omaha

Instantly classic. I look forward to Better Call Saul.
posted by juiceCake at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cinnabon is ready for you.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:22 AM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


You know shit's getting real when they break out Robert Forster. You don't see him often because like vermouth, you have to use him sparingly. What an actor. (If you've never seen Jackie Brown, it's really great. Who knew Tarantino could make a grownup film?)

The thing I liked best about this episode was what an utter miserable piece of shit Walter White is. Completely contemptible and disgusting, to the point where he's groveling trying to send a lousy $100,000 bucks through the mail in a discarded Ensure box. I only regret that he gets a touch of the cancer cough every once in awhile to excuse his craven failure to make anything happen. There really should be no external excuse at all for his failings.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nelson, I'm surprised that you feel that way. I felt very strongly that the purpose of "Granite State" was to savage as much of Team Walt as possible.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:25 AM on September 23, 2013


I think that's what I'm saying? I can't imagine how anyone could have been on Team Walt for a long time in this show. But after this last episode where he's such a failure in every way, the lie is fully exposed.

(Although I fear the final episode may be a blaze of glory kind of thing where White is redeemed at least a little. I sure hope not. Also I'm just going to pretend that last little bit on Charlie Rose about how the decent, kind Walter White was gone now didn't happen. Because I reject the cop-out that Walt and Heisenberg are different people. They are the same depraved, awful man, the apotheosis of a milquetoast taking his mid-life crisis revenge fantasy and disastrously trying to make it actually happen.)
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


How Breaking Bad redeemed its worst mistakes.

Favorite line from that article:

[Marie] deals the final blow, poisoning Walt with a vial of ricin she managed to lift from him with her sticky fingers.

Now I so want this to happen.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:35 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Walter White, in the pilot episode:
"Chemistry is, well technically, chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change."
posted by Room 641-A at 8:53 AM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Isn't he just a talk show guy who has friendly chats with celebrities? He doesn't actually press newsworthy people for serious answers about their possible involvement in criminal enterprise, does he?

No, he's actually a serious journalist. (He interviewed al-Assad last week.) He may occasionally interview celebrities because REASONS but he's not really fluff.

You know shit's getting real when they break out Robert Forster.

He's also in one of the newer episodes (#305) of NTFS:SD:SUV:: and is very funny!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone link to this yet?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think that's what I'm saying? I can't imagine how anyone could have been on Team Walt for a long time in this show. But after this last episode where he's such a failure in every way, the lie is fully exposed.

I'm still a tiny bit on Team Walt, if for no other reason than he isn't all bad (i.e. Todd makes everyone look good) and having 80 million dollars stolen from you when you would have given it away to save someone has to hit hard.

Aw, who are we kidding? If the Nazi's had let them go in exchange for the money, it would have taken Walt just a few hours before he started plotting to get his money back. Still, I don't think Walt is totally evil, he does care his family on some constantly shifting level. He's turned into quite a bastard, but he's not a complete bastard. It's possible he could still redeem himself in the final episode, in some small way.

I'm not sure if there's any road to redemption for Jesse, who's arguably done much less damage to the world. The key difference would that that Jesse can't forgive himself, where Walt can put just about anything behind him, especially since he has a family to justify his reasons, at least to himself. Jesse's family, in the form of the B in Apt. 23 and Andrea have been literally destroyed by his actions. The only thing he has left to live for is Brock and that's a relationship he can't partake in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:30 AM on September 23, 2013


Cinnabon is ready for you.

Somebody give that Twintern a -- well, maybe a nice, green leafy salad. Not a cookie or anything sweet. They're suffering enough.
posted by maudlin at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Andy Greenwald's review is up.
posted by gaspode at 10:09 AM on September 23, 2013


Got a chuckle when Forster's character says he's not a movie guy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 AM on September 23, 2013


I'm hoping that the nasty torturing Jesse storyline is actually going to lead to catharsis for Jesse. You can't help but compare the soulessness of Todd with Jesse's capacity for compassion. The Peckerwoods make Jesse look like a choirboy in comparison. After what they did to Brock's Mom, Jesse can feel righteous about going after them with no mercy if the opportunity presents itself.

His internal narrative shifts from a victim trying to escape and elude his captors to the Wronged Man Committed to Setting Things Right. Escaping put others' lives at risk before, so that's not an option any linger. He HAS to demolish the opposition. Now he can take stock, take control, take charge and take the MFs down. Burn 'me to the ground, Jesse.

Plus, though Jesse might want to take himself out in the process, too, he knows Brock has basically been abandoned, and the responsibility for that it is on him. Walt blames everyone else for his troubles, but Jesse generally blames himself not just for his own actions, but for the actions of others that he has conspired with, like when Todd shot that poor kid. That is why Jesse is worthy of redemption. He understands that consequences matter as much as intent.

We've seen a foreshadowing of a similar situation before, even. In Season 2, Jesse went to a crackhouse to get money back from the couple who had stolen it from Skinny Pete. He finds a neglected kid there, feeds him and plays peekaboo with him. When the kid's father (Spooge!) dies--not at his hands but as a result of greed and addiction, trying to break open an ATM and killed by his 'skank' partner --Jesse could still have left, just walked away. It would have been the safest, easiest option. Instead he shielded the kid from what had happened, reassured him that things were going to get better, and took actions to make sure the kid would get help.

Brock's mom is gone. Jesse knows he is at least indirectly responsible, and now he has to make amends. That means not just taking out the Peckerwoods, but setting things right. I am not sure if Lydia will figure into Jesse's plans, though she might, because Lydia's connection to Todd is somewhat analogous to Andrea and Jesse. But I feel strongly that it is not just what the audience wants but also in keeping with Jesse's character that he NOT die in a blaze of glory.

Jesse needs to live so that he can get help for Brock.
posted by misha at 10:20 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Meta! Charlie Rose interviews Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn & Aaron Paul in August 2013.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:30 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meta! Charlie Rose interviews Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn & Aaron Paul in August 2013.

Which was interrupted by Stephen Colbert, so that he could let Bryan Cranston follow his real dream (jump to 3:13).
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, no blaze of glory is going to redeem Walt in anyone's eyes but Walt's.

I don't know why Quinn is so quick to accept Skyler as a victim, as he knows his Mom also lied to him, and could have taken him and Holly out of the situation much earlier instead of joining in (I am not on Team Walt OR Team Skyler for that reason; she's a hypocrite who hated what Walt did while also conspiring to profit from it).

However, he is 100% on the mark about Walt. Walt, for all of his arguments about family, was all about Walt. He didn't want to compromise, ever. He could have gone back to Grey Matter, gotten money from Gretchen and her husband, and his family would have been just fine. He could have worked for and with others even once he started cooking and not ended up where he is. But Walt wants to call the shots. He created Heisenberg so he could feel in control again after the cancer took control of his life away from him, after Skyler took control away from him. Heisenberg is his real baby.

Hank, in my eyes, was not a bad guy 99% of the time. Obviously, he is not perfect. He was a good uncle to Walt Jr., AND a selfish, taciturn and moody invalid after he was injured (which is why Marie got herself arrested for stealing, so that Walt would feel needed and manly again. And it worked).

But Hank only became unlikeable to me once his ego took a bruising and he allowed ego to motivate his actions. He was selfish until he was reminded that it wasn't all about him. Hank has been at his best when he has taken care of others, like welcoming Holly and Walt Jr (Quinn) into his home. He could have stayed a likable character after his recovery.

But he was willing to let Jesse die if it just meant he could get Walt. His entire focus was bringing Walt down, no matter what it took. The storyline became all about Hank and his bruised ego again. Walt had made him look like a fool, and that was all that mattered. Only after Marie got in his face and reminded him that she was affected, too, only after he saw Marie trying to take Holly, did he start to get some of his focus back.

I found Hank's death particularly poignant because he recognized how futile that egocentric thinking was. In the big scheme of things, Hank was easily disposable. Not only does he understand that in the end, but in pointing it out to Walt, he clearly sees the irony that he has realized that crucial point too late to save himself.
posted by misha at 10:57 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


One little wrinkle caught my attention; Todd quotes 92% purity to Lydia, but 96% to Jesse. Given how carefully the show is scripted I'd like to think that's not just an accident. I take it as character development for Todd. He starts off the show so simple, so guileless, but now this is the second time he's lied. Like keeping Jesse, maybe it's in pursuit of his own goals? Maybe he's maneuvering himself to further impress Lydia or just to keep Jesse's spirits up for another cook? Then again maybe it was just a continuity error.

Also appreciated the shout-out to the Brian Cranston in his underwear fan club. Yes, even in chilly New Hampshire we get a full shot of him in humiliating underwear. All that was missing was the two button flap on the butt.
posted by Nelson at 11:00 AM on September 23, 2013


I think the 92% and the 96% may have been different batches. There is a time shift between those two quotes of several months, right?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:01 AM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think the 92% and the 96% may have been different batches. There is a time shift between those two quotes of several months, right?

I think so, which is why Jesse's face is significantly less hamburgery for the second one.

Walt Jr (Quinn)

Flynn.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:08 AM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Serious props to Jesse for maintaining—and improving!—chemical quality control under extremely arduous lab conditions.

With that said, I'm going to be very disappointed if we go an entire series about meth without a single meth-lab blowout. (Foreshadowing?)
posted by nicebookrack at 11:16 AM on September 23, 2013


I don't know why Quinn is so quick to accept Skyler as a victim, as he knows his Mom also lied to him, and could have taken him and Holly out of the situation much earlier instead of joining in

He first doesn't accept that Skyler is a victim (she is, though she isn't only a victim). But then when he finds out that Walt is involved in Hank's death, and his father wants them all to run away and then attacks his mother and then kidnaps his sister, well, he needs part of his family to be okay, so he forgives his mother, or even convinces himself she was a victim. He's still, what, 17?

(I am not on Team Walt OR Team Skyler for that reason; she's a hypocrite who hated what Walt did while also conspiring to profit from it)


I think at first she conspired to keep her kids safe -- eventually, when Walt left, she shut the door on it. She wasn't perfect, but she was sympathetic at that point. It's only this season, in her shutting Hank down, in helping Walt make the video, in suggesting Walt kill Jesse, that I think she switched over to more bad than good. (This is a massive oversimplification, but I definitely think that it was this season that turned her. I am curious if Ted will reappear again, though I assume not.)
posted by jeather at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2013


I think it's pretty obvious that the machine guy is for Ted.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:44 AM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe the ricin is for Walt. He goes to kill the Nazi's, gets his money back, takes Ricin, turns himself in, then dies on his own terms while still saying fuck you to the system, which saves the family, somewhat.

Everyone has been saying he should just go kill himself or that they're waiting for him to die after all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


With that said, I'm going to be very disappointed if we go an entire series about meth without a single meth-lab blowout.

Even though it wasn't accidental, it would be hard to top the laundromat explosion.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:55 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not laundromat, laundry...service?
posted by Room 641-A at 11:56 AM on September 23, 2013


The new Breaking Bad Insider podcast is up. (And it's almost two hours long!)
posted by Room 641-A at 12:22 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesse will make one last cook that will be 99% pure.
posted by planetesimal at 12:36 PM on September 23, 2013


And then Jesse will achieve enlightenment through purity and suffering, and with it achieve nifty meth ninja superpowers.

(Yes, I was totally rooting for him to suddenly discover trauma-induced telekinetic powers a la Carrie during Andrea's murder. Poor Jesse, in another comic-book universe your angsty origin story grants you the superheroic second chance you deserve.)
posted by nicebookrack at 12:44 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am so hung up on worrying about what will happen to Jesse that I'd trade his death for, like, anyone else's. Kill Holly! Kill Brock! Kill whoever, just leave poor, poor Jesse alone!
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:51 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


On another note: Hey Pater Aletheias. El Paso has been stuck in my head for five days. THANKS A LOT
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:52 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


George Bailey and Walter White
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:52 PM on September 23, 2013


After that latest episode, I can't help but think back to this comment about the term "amok" posted to the blue a few times.
posted by chill at 1:03 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course that phone number from last night's Breaking Bad is real
posted by Sys Rq at 1:23 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walt does fit that spree-killer "the world owes me acknowledgement of my rage!!!1!!" profile of wounded white guy manpain.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2013


Walt does fit that spree-killer "the world owes me acknowledgement of my rage!!!1!!" profile of wounded white guy manpain.

Breaking Bad, Falling Down
posted by Sys Rq at 1:27 PM on September 23, 2013


Peter Gould's cameo last night.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:47 PM on September 23, 2013


Jesse is Meth Jesus, suffering for Walt's sins.

What form will Jesse's crucifixion take, do you think?
posted by notyou at 3:17 PM on September 23, 2013


What form will Jesse's crucifixion take, do you think?

The shot of Him on his tippy toes, standing on that teetering pail in his cave was...suggestive.
posted by wensink at 3:26 PM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


So for those of us who don't want to see Jesse die.... On the Insider podcast Vince Gilligan talks about Jesse's agony when Andrea dies, and how being dead would almost be better for him -- an escape from all the pain, as it were. He even asks the Nazis to kill him and put him out of his misery.

*sob*
posted by Room 641-A at 3:33 PM on September 23, 2013


I'll say it again: the cruelest thing Gilligan and the writers could do to Jesse would be to leave him alive at the end of the show. I try to avoid predictions, which I know lots of folks think are fun but always seem kind of dull to me, but if you put a gun to my head right now and said "What happens to Jesse?" I'd say "Jesse begs/challenges/orders Walt to kill him and Walt does."

I'm cringing just thinking of the scene. Can't decide if I want to see it or not.
posted by mediareport at 3:38 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This month my retail workplace has set up a big display of BrBa merchandise, from the cool to the silly. But tiny sad plushie Jesse breaks my heart a little every time I walk by.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh this is fun, am I the only one who missed it? Fallacies
posted by Room 641-A at 4:21 PM on September 23, 2013


I don't think Jesse gets off that easy, mediareport.

The meth business will go on beyond the end of the series and somehow it will still have Jesse in its grasp.

----------------
Here's an idea: Jesse had an opportunity to hang himself in that cage rather than run. Either it didn't occur to him, or he isn't capable of getting what he wants, for whatever reason, without someone else to help him get it or remind him that he wants it. (And if hanging himself had occurred to him, he would have screwed it up and been found with one leg of his jeans tied to the steel bars above, the other leg tied around his neck, red-faced and flailing, neck unbroken.)
posted by notyou at 4:35 PM on September 23, 2013


I don't think Jesse gets off that easy

Yeah, my 2nd most likely scenario is "Jesse begs/challenges/orders Walt to kill him and Walt doesn't."
posted by mediareport at 4:52 PM on September 23, 2013


Jesse lives on, assuming the Heisenberg hat.
posted by planetesimal at 4:57 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find the use of the blue meth as a narrative object throughout the series fascinating, it's like the One Ring, this irresistible symbol of power that characters can't stop irrationally chasing because it reflects their innermost desires and ultimately leads to their ruination.

Not just Walter, but Gale, Gus, Hank, and now Lydia and Todd have all fallen victim to its power. In the blue meth Walter saw his empire, Gale saw perfect chemistry, Gus saw perfect organization (virtually zero waste and near-100% purity, what more could a process-optimizing manager want?), Hank saw his chance to be the Hero Lawman bringing down the Wicked Scoundrel who made the stuff, Lydia sees the widest profit margins of her career, and Todd sees a chance with Lydia.

The original sin of the series, in this reading (like in many others), was Walter's decision to cook the in the first episode, everything else flowed from that one decision. Also in this reading, Jesse is kind of the Samwise Gamgee of the series: despite his continual contact with this object of power he seems to be the only character who truly does not want anything it could give him.
posted by Ndwright at 5:06 PM on September 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


Jesse doesn't want anything from Walt, not even release. He blows up the Nazi's lab killing both himself and Walt in an echo of Hector's suicide bombing of Gus.
posted by adamt at 5:08 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, it just occurred to me: what if Gretchen and Elliot are telling the truth? What if the name really is the only meaningful thing Walter contributed to the company and this massive chip on his shoulder is just a delusion he's built up in his head over the decades to cope with how bitter he was that they succeeded without him? That would be one hell of a twist.
posted by Ndwright at 5:10 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, it just occurred to me: what if Gretchen and Elliot are telling the truth?

I honestly don't think that's a possibility. We know that Walt's scientific research won all sorts of prizes. We know that in private conversations with Elliot, Walt's genius has been proclaimed over and over. We know that Elliot and Gretchen felt so guilty about what happened that they offered to pay for Walt's treatment.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:13 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Or it could be that Walt really did contribute to GM's success, and his stores of resentment are for Skyler and Walt Jr. After all, he had to take the early money ... early ... for the security of teaching high school in order to support his wife and kid.

How many ways can one guy sacrifice himself for his family?
posted by notyou at 5:17 PM on September 23, 2013


Peter Gould, an EP on Breaking Bad who is also the writer of last night's episode "Granite State," talks to Entertainment Weekly:
The way I see it is that Heisenberg is gone. He keeps trying to kind of evoke the ghost of Heisenberg, the thrill of feeling powerful, and it’s not there. It’s gone. It died when Hank died…It died when he saw baby Holly. And then in the end…what’s happening is he’s becoming something new. It’s not Walter White; it’s not Heisenberg. It’s something new.
posted by tzikeh at 5:31 PM on September 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


The White family's lives would be immeasurably better if Walt had responded to his brush with mortality / resentful midlife crisis by taking all his family's money and running off to New England with a mistress, abandoning his pregnant wife and son.

That's what he wound up doing anyway, only with bonus misery for all.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:32 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think this means anything, but it's funny that the mountains obscuring Walt's chances at internet are probably part of the White Mountains.
posted by invitapriore at 5:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Heh, in-story anyway. They shot the cabin scene an hour outside of Albuquerque.
posted by planetesimal at 5:46 PM on September 23, 2013


I kept thinking today about the vacuum guy's line to Saul about how they'd fix his ID photo via photoshopping. I wonder if his enterprise has the entire Adobe Creative Suite?
posted by raysmj at 5:52 PM on September 23, 2013


I wonder if his enterprise has the entire Adobe Creative Suite?

Sure, but the licenses are all counterfeit.
posted by notyou at 6:12 PM on September 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Two unrelated thoughts:
- The blue meth reminds me of the Blue Rose in German Romanticism and Russian Symbolism. It usually represents great purity, mystery, and seduction. It is unattainable and thus desirable to the point of potential destruction. Not that this is big news, but I find it an interesting parallel, especially in relation to Lydia.
- Earlier this year, Matt Jones (Badger) rode in my car. We did not talk about Breaking Bad, but now every time I see him, in or out of character (like in this week's Talking Bad), the thought makes me giggle.
posted by Superplin at 6:32 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


planetesimal: "Heh, in-story anyway. They shot the cabin scene an hour outside of Albuquerque."

Ah, that makes sense. Having grown up in the northeast, I didn't feel like the cabin and environs looked too much like the wilderness I remember.
posted by invitapriore at 6:39 PM on September 23, 2013


Any thoughts on what woodworking means, if anything? (I saw mannequito's quote above)
posted by triggerfinger at 7:15 PM on September 23, 2013


[pecker]woodworking?
posted by wensink at 7:17 PM on September 23, 2013


Norm Abram is from Woonsocket.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wish I had more time to unpack this, but the thing I kept thinking over and over is that this last half-season, by flipping around and showing you how totally fucking awful the baggage of all of the Outlaw Criminal Fun you've been watching for the past few year really is, is really delivering on what the controversial old Crime Does Not Pay comics claimed to do.
posted by COBRA! at 7:21 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Any thoughts on what woodworking means, if anything? (I saw mannequito's quote above"

Re: mannequito's quote, the show has been pretty committed to following through on things they (reverse?)Chekhov, and if you're going to give a one-word clue about the series finale then "woodworking" is really, really specific. It also made me think about Jesse's last cook being 96%. Is that really the best he can do? I'm not sure if it's scientifically possible, but now I want to Jesse to make a batch that's 100%.

[pecker]woodworking?

Uncle Jack also says that Lydia is so uptight she's probably got a wood-chipper as a coochie!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:38 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just to address a point raised earlier: the cutoff airdate for Emmy consideration was May 31, and so only season 5A was under consideration this time around. The voting deadline was Aug 30, so even if this year's voters wanted to grade it on a curve based on the buzz it's currently generating, they would have only been able to have seen at most three episodes of 5B. The entirety of Season 5B will most certainly be eligible for next year's Emmys, and I think we can agree it has an excellent chance at wiping the floor with all challengers. Some would even say that AMC's choice to split Mad Men's final season across two years was a ploy to give it a chance at 2015 Emmy success without having to compete against Breaking Bad's final eight.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:39 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some would even say that AMC's choice to split Mad Men's final season across two years was a ploy to give it a chance at 2015 Emmy success without having to compete against Breaking Bad's final eight.

I wonder if part of the splitting seasons isn't (amongst other things) just a ploy in general to get more Emmys. Especially given that the show is nominated twice in several categories. Jonathan Banks was up against Aaron Paul last night and though neither of them won (and Jonathan Banks won't get another chance), theoretically he could have won last night and Aaron Paul could win next year, giving the show two best supporting actor Emmys for one season.

Maybe that doesn't really matter though, I don't really know anything about the politics of Emmys.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:46 PM on September 23, 2013


I was really happy to see Anna Gunn take an Emmy home. Next to Cranston, I think she has the most technical chops of anyone on the show.
posted by invitapriore at 7:46 PM on September 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


So the NYT and Andrew Ross Sorkin (or someone using his byline) posted a fictional article about Gray Matter on his blog. I don't know if it's the article, written in collaboration with the staff of the show, but if it is...wow (emphasis mine):
It remains unclear whether the Securities and Exchange Commission will investigate, but given the prominent nature of Mr. White and Gray Matter, which until now was considered a high-flier on Wall Street, it would be surprising if an inquiry were not opened. Mr. Schwartz, who won a Nobel prize for his scientific research, has parlayed that success into the celebrity spotlight, hobnobbing with A-listers. He was recently given as a gift a Stratocaster guitar autographed by Eric Clapton.
Being cheated out of a Nobel Prize is a big fucking deal for a normal person. It sounds like something that could utterly consume someone like Walt.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 PM on September 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's probably a combination of wanting to game the Emmy exposure, but also a sinking realization that all of their first generation prestige shows are soon going to be depleted and they haven't exactly had a lot of success recreating the formula. (That also explains their willingness to green light spinoffs of two of their most popular shows.)
posted by Rhomboid at 8:01 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anna Gunn's next TV series(?), Rita, looks intriguing. Quite rightly, she's the title/main character.

Aaron Paul should also go on to shiny things, I hope. Until real casting solidifies, I'm making him my mental role-holder for Ant-Man, because 1)he is short and 2)I would shamelessly enjoy the resulting "SCIENCE, BITCH" Tumblr memes.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:10 PM on September 23, 2013


The new Breaking Bad Insider podcast is up. (And it's almost two hours long!)

Fortunately it's also available outside of iTunes here.
posted by juiceCake at 8:35 PM on September 23, 2013


Conan tonight was an all-BB episode, with pretty much every major actor and Vince on the panel. Great show. And he signed off with, "My apologies to the cast of Low Winter Sun, we ran out of time ... goodnight!"
posted by jbickers at 9:04 PM on September 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


jbickers: "Conan tonight was an all-BB episode, with pretty much every major actor and Vince on the panel. Great show. And he signed off with, "My apologies to the cast of Low Winter Sun, we ran out of time ... goodnight!""

This thread just reached election-thread-levels of awesome.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:24 PM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was really happy to see Anna Gunn take an Emmy home. Next to Cranston, I think she has the most technical chops of anyone on the show.

Me too. I was so very happy for her. I would have also been happy to see Emilia Clarke get some recognition that she can act when she is actually given some text to work with, but that was probably a long shot.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:29 PM on September 23, 2013


[OT] In the DealBook comments: (I've been a huge fan of the NYT style since a music review of The Stooges referred several times to "Mr. Pop".) ha
posted by maggieb at 9:59 PM on September 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


When Walt puts his ring on a piece of string around his neck, having experienced physical changes in his isolation, did anyone else get a hint of Gollum?

They cursed us. Murderer they called us. They cursed us, and drove us away. And we wept, Precious, we wept to be so alone. And we only wish to catch fish so juicy sweet. And we forgot the taste of bread... the sound of trees... the softness of the wind. We even forgot our own name. My Precious.


Basically everything except for the fish has been in the last couple of episodes. I hope the skinny hobbit lives happily ever after. Poor Jesse.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 10:11 PM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm just totally spent and want (most of) the characters' misery (as well as mine as a viewer) to end. I always used to watch every episode two or three times but I haven't been able to stomach any repeat viewings as of late. Just too painful and depressing. I would, however, love to watch Todd and his Nazi ilk die a slow, painful death before the credits roll next Sunday. And I'm hoping for a quick, merciful death for Jesse to end all his pain. He never recovered from losing Jane, and he really died himself when he killed Gale and has been suffering nonstop ever since he carried it out (actually he's been suffering from episode one). I wish he'd just gotten in that van with Robert Forester, taken on his new identity and built a new life with all his cash...but it was already too late for him by then. He was doing it more as a favor to Walt (before he discovered his role in Brock's poisoning) than out of self-preservation anyway.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:04 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who knew that picking lint off someone's jacket could be so creepy.
posted by the_artificer at 12:53 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


"You know what's kind of interesting? Todd has saved Jesse's life -- albeit for purely selfish reasons -- like half a dozen times in the past two episodes. I'm even pretty sure he knew full well Jesse was under the car that time."

Probably because the actor playing Todd's name is actually Jesse.
posted by Eideteker at 3:18 AM on September 24, 2013


Lydia is going to start a Fleetwood Mac cover band and go on tour as Stevia Nicks.
posted by Eideteker at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hank's tombstonemineral will read (once his body's found):

Here Lies

Henry R. "Hank" Schrader

Beloved Husband and ASAC


"JESUS CHRIST, MARIE"

posted by Eideteker at 7:47 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The heart wants what the heart wants.

This line is from Woody Allen. It's how he explained his relationship with his adopted daughter: "The heart wants what it wants. There's no logic to those things. You meet someone and you fall in love, and that's that."
posted by mattbucher at 8:15 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The heart wants what the heart wants.

Except Woody Allen was quoting Emily Dickinson.
posted by nushustu at 8:29 AM on September 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


So now we have to wonder: is Uncle Jack more likely to be referencing a 19th century poet or a contemporary semi-incestual director? Or does he just have such a way with words that he spontaneously reproduced the Dickinson line?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:35 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Form the same letter as the heart wanting what it wants:

"Not to see what we love, is very terrible - and talking - does'nt ease it - and nothing does - but just itself. "

How cruel it was of Lydia to sit with back turned to Todd rather than let him see her face!
posted by notyou at 8:45 AM on September 24, 2013


"So now we have to wonder: is Uncle Jack more likely to be referencing a 19th century poet or a contemporary semi-incestual director? Or does he just have such a way with words that he spontaneously reproduced the Dickinson line?"

Is this a joke? It's pretty well-known that Emily Dickinson was a huge neo-Nazi.
posted by Eideteker at 8:46 AM on September 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Is it Sunday yet? No, I take it back; I don't want it to end. Wait, yes, I really do. Wait, no....
posted by tzikeh at 8:47 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing mentioned on the podcast that I thought was interesting was that it was the idea of a Make A Wish Kid that Vince and Bryan got to know that we get some more back story on Walt's dealings with Elliot and Gretchen. Good call, young man.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2013


So now we have to wonder: is Uncle Jack more likely to be referencing a 19th century poet or a contemporary semi-incestual director? Or does he just have such a way with words that he spontaneously reproduced the Dickinson line?

I've never thought of "the heart wants what it wants" as, like, a ~quotation~... isn't it just a common expression these days? Like saying "those are the breaks" or something?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:09 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Finale spoilers
posted by Eideteker at 9:15 AM on September 24, 2013


I've never thought of "the heart wants what it wants" as, like, a ~quotation~... isn't it just a common expression these days? Like saying "those are the breaks" or something?

Maybe in your culture. My people choose mates based on cost-benefit analyses and actuarial tables. We don't have those kinds of sayings.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:16 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


One thing mentioned on the podcast that I thought was interesting was that it was the idea of a Make A Wish Kid that Vince and Bryan got to know that we get some more back story on Walt's dealings with Elliot and Gretchen. Good call, young man.

The episode Full Measure opens with a flashback that reveals Walt was working at Sandia National Labs after Gray Matter but before he was a high school chemistry teacher. Ever since seeing that episode, I've wondered what Walt did to torpedo his career there. I don't expect the last episode to make that clear, but still, it would be nice to learn a little more backstory before everything ends.

I was a little disappointed by the coincidental Elliott-and-Gretchen-on-TV plot point. I think it could have worked better if the New Hampshire cabin had a satellite TV hookup, and Walt spent his time obsessively watching cable news stories about himself. It would have seemed less cliché.
posted by compartment at 9:41 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was a little disappointed by the coincidental Elliott-and-Gretchen-on-TV plot point. I think it could have worked better if the New Hampshire cabin had a satellite TV hookup, and Walt spent his time obsessively watching cable news stories about himself. It would have seemed less cliché.

I completely agree. I said this on another site and people jumped all over me for it ("oh, like everything else on this show is totally realistic?"), but it was fucking ridiculous and completely contrived. Almost anything would have been better.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:58 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think Vince has said before that they never use coincidences that are good for the characters, only bad ones. I think the fact that this is sort of a deviation of that is what's unsettling people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:09 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Prediction for the final episode: It turns out that Hank has a twin brother who was posing as him during the elaborate sting operation in which he was shot. Fortunately, because of a head injury that he sustained when a mineral fell on his head at a rock-and-gem convention, twin Hank (who shares the same mineralogical interests as original Hank) has a plate in his head made out of a bullet-resistant experimental composite material. The composite material was something that Elliott discovered at Gray Matter many years ago, with no help from Walt, which made Walt jealous and angry, so it is ironic and powerful that Elliott's invention saved twin Hank. After playing dead and being buried in a shallow grave, twin Hank performs CPR on Gomez until they are both rescued by original Hank. Gomez is immediately transported to the emergency room and everyone is fine.

Meanwhile, Vince Gilligan uses flashbacks to show that Walter White spent his month in New Hampshire reading more than two hundred self-help books. Walt realizes that he has been a jerk. Because Charlie Rose says that blue meth is still being produced, he knows that Jesse is still alive and in dire need of loving guidance. It is time to make amends. As a token of his friendship, he buys an M60 machine gun for Jesse and asks his forgiveness. Jesse is sad at first, but then Walt shows that Andrea is still alive, and everything was a bad dream caused by eating too much Ben and Jerry's.

The prosecutors drop all charges against the White family when it is revealed that the kid Todd shot in the desert was actually a child-sized adult who the DEA had adopted out to an unwitting family in order to infiltrate drug rings by getting kids addicted to meth. (This is the darkest moment. It is tempered by the fact that it was not the original DEA plan, and that the diminutive adult adoptee DEA agent had gone rogue.) Naturally, this is a very controversial tactic, and it somehow turns public support against prosecuting the White family. Elliott and Gretchen's $28 million drug abuse resistance education grant saves all of the meth-addicted children.

There is only one loose end left untied. What will happen to the Nazis and all their dirty money? They use it to buy a suede-hull luxury speedboat made entirely out of diamonds and leather. Then they take it out on a reservoir to go boating, but they are irresponsible and drink too much. The suede hull sustains serious water damage and begins to leak. The Nazis are too inebriated to use their life preservers. They go down with the leather/diamond ship, which is eventually discovered by Walt Jr. on a scuba-diving trip in celebration of his 18th birthday. He shares the diamond wealth with Holly and Skyler, who never know where it really came from. It turns out that diamonds are the cure for cancer, so Walt eats some diamonds and is fine.

Their house is a mess, but they buy a new one.

The closing moments are a real tear-jerker. It turns out that the cool car with the M60 in the trunk is actually a sweet lowrider that is also for Jesse. Walt gives it to Jesse and they drive out to the desert to the site of their first cook. Along the way, Walt demonstrates some of the lowrider's many features, like its hydraulic bounce unit and three-wheel motion abilities. When they arrive, Jesse sets the car to bouncing while they set up a grill and have one more cook — but this time it is a barbecue, and instead of cooking meth they are charring up some new-fashioned veggie dogs. (Both have adopted nonviolent lifestyles that include compassion for all living things, including whatever goes into hot dogs). They raise a toast to their bright future as content, self-aware human friends.

In a callback to the very first episode, where the cancer doctor had mustard on his doctor coat, Jesse asks Walt if he wants some mustard for his veggie dog. Walt says no, and asks what other condiments they brought. Jesse reaches into a grocery bag and pulls out a bottle of — what's this?

"Franch, bitch!" Walt and Jesse laugh, and the screen fades to white. Music: "Celebrate Good Times" by Kool & The Gang.
posted by compartment at 10:12 AM on September 24, 2013 [28 favorites]


The Charlie Rose thing did seem contrived to me at first, but Walt is the hottest fugitive in the country right now, and has a really compelling story. Former HS teacher with terminal cancer who ran the biggest meth empire in the country was responsible for the brutal deaths of two DEA agents, one of whom was his brother-in-law, before he and his shady attorney completely disappeared. It's really not a surprise that it would be all over the news, and in that situation, an appearance from the Schwartzes on Charlie Rose wouldn't be surprising. For all we know they've been making the rounds doing all the press they can to try to emphasize their benevolence and spin their connection to Walt. Given how huge his story must be, (and what a big deal Elliot, in his circles, seems to be) I don't think seeing Gretchen and Elliot on his first exposure to TV in a month is that huge a stretch. I can live with it, anyway.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:14 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like this from reddit:

A lot of people here seem to be predicting walt going after grey matter/nazis/lydia but I think we are all overlooking what the final episode will be about.
It will obviously end up in a standoff between jack and brock with brock having the most motivation to kill the nazis since they killed both of his parents. Wait what? Both? Yes both. Remember how brocks dad wasn't in the picture that's because his father was gomez. Gomez had to leave andrea as he was an up n commer in the dea and andrea was an addict brock will pull the trigger to kill jack only for the gun to be out of ammo jack smiles and asks good to go? With a smirk before a bullethole appears in his head as he drops we see huell standing with a gun pointed where jack stood. It turns out huell had been working as a PI for brock find out about his parents the whole time.
All thats said from huell is let's get out of here kid while he grabs a barrel of the cash and they walk off into the sunset together.
The last 23 minutes is just badger and skinny pete acting out his star trek script
Walt nor jesse appear in this episode its all just a bait if this isnt the most logical ending I don't know what is
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:15 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad (Episode: "Say My Name")

I wonder why they chose that episode to submit. It contains what is probably my least favorite scene of the entire series. I know many viewers found him telling the guy to say his name the pinnacle of bad assery but it just made me cringe hard. Saying "You're goddamn right" in a pseudo-tough voice became a running joke in our house for weeks. That exchange was cheese city and felt like bad fan fiction.
posted by MaritaCov at 10:18 AM on September 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


> know many viewers found him telling the guy to say his name the pinnacle of bad assery but it just made me cringe hard.

Especially since Declan was dispatched so easily and casually. He and his crew had kind of been built up as these badasses and then they were just eliminated from the story without really any exposition. Even Declan's death was just a quick chore, no drama whatsoever.

Not that I was hoping for a big Declan arc or anything, but he seemed more like filler than other players in the story.
posted by planetesimal at 10:35 AM on September 24, 2013


I always took Declan to be a second-rate dealer. Someone who saw Gus' absence as an opportunity but who never really had a decent cook or operation. It seemed like he was acting tough but understood that he was nothing compared to Heisenberg.

I'm expecting a final montage showing Skyler being processed into prison, Walt Jr. hitting the pipe, and Kuby, Badger, and Skinny Pete opening their own chicken restaurant to, like Declan, take advantage of the hole left when Gus got killed.
posted by bondcliff at 10:42 AM on September 24, 2013


I wonder why they chose that episode to submit. It contains what is probably my least favorite scene of the entire series. I know many viewers found him telling the guy to say his name the pinnacle of bad assery but it just made me cringe hard. Saying "You're goddamn right" in a pseudo-tough voice became a running joke in our house for weeks. That exchange was cheese city and felt like bad fan fiction.

I agree. Also, it shows that he learned nothing at all from the whole Gus situation. Telling them explicitly that he is Heisenberg, that he cooks the meth, leaves himself wide open for another round of being a tool owned by a cartel, cooking at gunpoint with no escape.

But that's how Heisenberg works. Walt puts on that stupid Debbie Gibson hat and he becomes some kind of unthinking Incredible Hulk type [bad/dumb]ass.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It turns out that diamonds are the cure for cancer, so Walt eats some diamonds and is fine."

I... I think I love you.
posted by Eideteker at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


M60 for Gretchen and Elliot.
M60 for the Peckerwoods.
Ricin for Lydia.
Cash for Brock.
Death for Jesse.
Cancer and general devastation for Walt.

And let's not forget, except for the Grey Matter call, I'm usually wrong.

Uncle Jack quoting Emily Dickinson is a keeper.
posted by Paris Elk at 12:02 PM on September 24, 2013


M60 for Gretchen and Elliot.

FWIW: the Breaking Bad Insider podcast for this episode noted that it was hard to schedule the Charlie Rose scene because both the actors had ongoing engagements -- Jessica Hecht in The Assembled Parties on Broadway. That probably argues against us seeing anything more of Gray Matter than that brief (fanservice) cameo.

And anyway, why would they bring Gretchen and Elliot back into the finale when they've been deliberately paring down the cast for weeks? No. Walt is resentful of Gray Matter because he made a bad decision in taking a buyout. But he is furious with Jack who disobeyed him, stole his money, murdered his brother-in-law. (All also results of Walt's bad decisions, but hey.) Walt made it very clear to Saul that killing Jack and all his men and GETTING HIS MONEY BACK was his one remaining task.

I saw the Charlie Rose interview as a deus-ex-machina kick to Walt's ego to get him back into action one last time. (It also incidentally tells him that (a) Jesse is still alive and cooking and (b) Lydia is still involved in distribution -- how else would blue meth be in Europe?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:20 PM on September 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


I saw the Charlie Rose interview as a deus-ex-machina kick to Walt's ego to get him back into action one last time.

This is exactly the intent there. He's not going back to gun down the Grey Matter people. Even without metagaming about actor/actress availability: There's no emotional pay off there for him or for the audience. Those two people have been out of the story for a long, long time at this point. We care about Walt's family, we care about Todd and crew getting what's coming to them, we care about Jesse. This was just a nice little callback to the early days of the show that also provided the emotional beat that what was needed: That punch in the ego/pride to get Walt to make one more terrible decision this one last time.

And let's be clear: He is doing the wrong thing here. He was about to give himself up with no further loss of life or anything else and to start possibly atoning for all that he's done... but we get that beautiful series of shots of the sheriffs creeping up on the bar and the slow pan across it revealing that he's gone and the full version of the show's theme swells up (which I can't remember the last time we've really heard that except maybe as credits music). It's a great moment. After months of sloth in that cabin, he's going to break bad one last time.

And I'm sure the consequences of his decision to go out in a (from his perspective) blaze of glory are going to be mostly awful, but well: That's it. That's the show.
posted by sparkletone at 1:01 PM on September 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


sparkletone: He is doing the wrong thing here. He was about to give himself up with no further loss of life

If his target is, indeed, the Neo-Nazis, then I disagree.
posted by spaltavian at 1:13 PM on September 24, 2013


and the full version of the show's theme swells up

I was going to mention that. I don't think it's ever been used like that before, and I quite liked how it was used here. Letting it play and build up to that final image of the untouched whiskey was a really great act-out, and I sort of got the impression that this was their last opportunity to use it in that way (e.g. because they had something specific in mind for the final act-out, perhaps a quiet moment of silence or something) and so they took it. It was a really great way to illustrate that the show was summarizing itself and sort of restating its central thesis: a crazy guy about to hatch a crazy plan out of pride and ego. That moment was simply perfect in all ways.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:21 PM on September 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


If his target is, indeed, the Neo-Nazis, then I disagree.

I see where you're coming from but going after them alone with a machine gun he's probably never used before seems like a pretty terrible decision, to me, and I can't imagine at the moment what else the m60 would be for.

Siccing law enforcement on them by giving up what he knows along with everything else after turning himself in is the non-break bad move. The end result (various complications I can think of notwithstanding) is still peckerwoods dead or in jail, but the chance for terrible collateral damage is way lower.

I feel pretty safe saying whatever the end result of all of this will be, it won't be whatever semi-redemptive blaze of glory Walt's imagined for himself in that bar.
posted by sparkletone at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2013


Possible scenario for the last episode: Everyone even tangentially involved in the meth operation in ABQ is out of the picture. For each character, pick the fitting ending you are happiest with. A black porkpie hat is seen rolling across a snowy landscape, being whimsically blown by the wind in a scene borrowed right out of Frosty the Snowman. A character new to the series picks up and puts on the porkpie hat, which we now understand has evil magical powers. He becomes the new Heisenberg the Methman and a new cycle of hubris, suspense, and heartbreak begins.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:14 PM on September 24, 2013


Walt hides out at Grey Matter, having taken Gretchen and Mr. Gretchen hostage with the M60. He cooks meth in the Grey Matter lab while ranting about his contributions to the company, coughing up blood, and turning out a batch of 99% pure blue meth, the best ever. It will be his swan song. He intends to flush the Nazis out by showing them what they have let go.

The Nazis, though flush with cash, are feeling well nigh invulnerable at this point. They go for the bait. Why settle for second best Cook when now they know where the best Cook is hiding out? They head to Grey Matter, leaving Todd in the lab with Jesse.

Meanwhile, Jesse pretends to accept his fate and throws himself into cooking for the Nazis. After an insanely successful cook (also, ironically, 99% pure), he offers Todd a smoke in a gesture of camaraderie. Todd, a stickler for lab safety, saves the cigarette to smoke later.

Lydia shows up, nervous about the blue meth coming out of the Grey Matter area. How can they be that good? Todd reassures her that their meth is of equal value. Anxious Lydia notices the cigarette Jesse has given him tucked behind his ear, and Todd suavely lights it for her, like the Don Juan he so badly wants to be, only to be told she is trying to quit. He shrugs, though clearly hurt, takes a puff or two. Awkward silence. Lydia changes her mind, asking for the cigarette to humor him. She urges him to get the meth from the lab and show her, which he does, after watching her take an obligatory puff.

Todd makes it to the lab, but is stricken by wracking coughs, doubling over, and is easily overpowered by Jesse, who frees himself and runs out, leaving the door flung wide. As Todd drags himself out of the lab, struggling for breath, he sees Lydia, similarly stricken, trying to make her way towards him. Jesse, recognizing what has happened, covers his mouth and nose and disappears around the corner. Todd and Lydia die, his fingers reaching out to touch hers in the final tortuous seconds...and missing by scant inches. Beside them, the ricin cigarette crumbles into ashes.

Jesse is also headed to Walt's lab, but for revenge. He stumbles upon a gunfight already in progress. As Walt and the Nazis engage in an epic shootout amid the ruined remains of Walt's Grey Matter (nice symbolism), Jesse hides out of sight, afraid to give his position away. The Nazis terrify him as much as his hatred for Walt consumes him.

In the commotion, Gretchen and Mr. Gretchen manage to elude Walt, and are about to escape when Todd's uncle Jack grabs Gretchen, using her as a human shield. Mr. Gretchen pathetically pleads for her life but Walt, remembering what Hank said about Jack, decides this is fruitless as Jack has already made up his mind, and shoots Jack anyway, much to the horror of Mr. Gretchen, succeeding in nicking Jack but also injuring Gretchen. As Mr. Gretchen cries out in anguish, Jack drops her, returning fire at Walt and fatally wounding him. He brazenly strides over, bleeding, to Walt, who is trying to reload a pistol, his M60 out of ammunition.

Jesse flies into action, pulling Gretchen to safety and yelling to her husband to follow. An injured Nazi confronts them, planning in taking Jesse back to cook even if they can't get Walt. Jesse turns Gretchen over to her husband but rather than giving in, lunges into the Nazi. He's NOT going back. He sustains injuries, but Jesse has been beaten too many times before to let that stop him. He is as surprised as anyone when he renders the guy unconscious. He picks up the Nazi's discarded pistol and leads the two hostages out, but rather than leave, Jesse heads back to the lab. Whether he is intending to take out Walt or Jack or both is not clear to us, maybe not to Jesse.

As Jack stands over Walt, gloating and/or admonishing him for being an idiot after all, both of them bloody and battle-worn, we know Walt is already dying. Jessie's expression is hard to read. Walt has been coughing. Across the room, Walt's eyes meet Jesse's as he stands in the doorway of the ruined lab. Walt's hand, over his coughing mouth, is also holding something. We see understanding dawn in Jesse's eyes. He taunts Jack, "Yo, bitch"ing at him to distract his attention from Walt. Jack is not so easily fooled, however, and grabs for Walt's hand, trying to take whatever concoction he has away from him. Walt, in one final moment of humanity, yells, "Run, Jesse!"and lets it go. As Jesse spins and takes off, we see the the whole place going up in flames the moment it hits the ground.

A terrified Jesse heads back to Gretchen and Mr. Gretchen, who is putting pressure on her wound, just in time to see the combined forces of the FBI, DEA, local police, Grey Matter security, etc., pull up with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Dozens of officers draw their weapons as Jesse falls to his knees, defeated, hands in the air. Behind him, the flames of the ruined lab where Walt and the Nazi met their deaths are faintly tinged with blue.

Gretchen's husband, the philanthropist millionaire, calls all the police off angrily, citing Jesse as the one who saved their lives. A bewildered Jesse is led solicitously over to a waiting ambulance, his wounds cared for. In the distance, behindmthe chaos, we see two figures. Flynn and his mother stand, watching the flames, saying nothing. Skyler puts her arn around her son's shoulders. They turn silently back to the car, where baby Holly sits, happily playing in her car seat, and drive away.

A date, months in the future, flashes up on the screen. We see a clean cut, suited and white lab coated Jesse working at Grey Matter. It becomes clear that he is working as a gopher in the lab and learning quickly. At the end of the day, after everyone leaves, he heads to the office of Gretchen and her husband, the Grey Matter logo clear on the window behind them. He is respectfully standing as Gretchen hugs him and leaves. Her husband, sitting behind the big desk., takes out two envelopes, stuffs cash into each one. As he seals them, we cannot see the names. he flips over the first. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is addressed to Brock. The Grey Matter return address is clearly visible. He hands this envelope to Jesse, who thanks him nervously and leaves.

He stares at the second envelope for a long moment, then tucks it into his breast pocket. On the way out, he drops it into a postbox with all the other outgoing mail. Finally, we see that the envelope is addressed to "Walter White, Jr." There is no return address.

~Finis~
posted by misha at 3:46 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


And after the credits have rolled, cut to a shot of Huell, still sitting in the hotel room, watching the TV (we can hear the soundtrack of a rerun of Malcolm in the Middle), surrounded by empty pizza boxes. Forgotten. Fade to black.
posted by Grangousier at 3:56 PM on September 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Screw you, misha for allowing me to imagine a happy ending for Jesse! :p
posted by gaspode at 4:01 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want the series to be over, I keep checking this thread, AV Club threads, and the Breaking Bad Subreddit for the smallest meat of info about the next episode. It's tiring. The anticipation is overwhelming.
posted by hellojed at 4:13 PM on September 24, 2013


Walt wakes up from chemo related coma, realizes that everything's been a bad, bad dream. And he's Canadian so the medical care is all covered by his health plan. He's dying in peace surrounded by his loved ones when a mid-air collision sends debris raining down, killing everyone.
posted by philip-random at 4:18 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


It turns out a previously unnamed character who died in the plane crash would've taken over America and been like, SUPERHITLER and so everything Walt did was a net good in the end.
posted by emmtee at 4:25 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


The ricin cigarette was never meant for smoking! It was only there as a convenient storage location. In fact, burning ricin would probably denature the protein rendering it into completely harmless ash. Ricin must be ingested, not smoked. And it takes days or weeks to kill its victim, not moments.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:28 PM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Walter White whips out his Blue Eyes White Dragon card, defeating Jack in the regional Yu-Gi-Oh tournament.
posted by hellojed at 4:31 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want the series to be over

Halfway through the episode I told someone, "I want this to be over so bad, and yet I never want it to end." Damn you, Vince Gilligan, for EMOTIONS.

A character new to the series picks up and puts on the porkpie hat, which we now understand has evil magical powers.

That's bad.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:33 PM on September 24, 2013


And it takes days or weeks to kill its victim, not moments.

ISTR us being told "days" when Walt was planning to use it on Tuco.

Which does seem to limit the scope for dramatic use of the ricin in the finale -- either they have to time-lapse for a poisoning to take effect, or they have to end on somebody being poisoned and leave us to assume the outcome.

And after the credits have rolled, cut to a shot of Huell, still sitting in the hotel room, watching the TV

Saul behind a Cinnabon counter asking us, Gus Fring-style, "may I help you with your order?"
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:44 PM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


M60 for the Peckerwoods.
Ricin for Lydia.


Is the small amount of ricin that Walt has enough to make some kind of ricin gas? I think it would be beyond implausible that Walt could openly outgun the nazis, especially since they have been portrayed as disciplined and well-coordinated, almost ex-military, when they attack. However, if Walt can leak some ricin gas into their hideout to soften them up, he can then finish them off with the M60.

M60 for Gretchen and Elliot.

I hope to God that he doesn't touch Gretchen and Elliot. No matter what Walt thinks they did to him, they don't deserve to be killed for it. If he goes after them, with the trigger being a television interview(!), he'll enter into being evil as in the Columbine or Virginia Tech murderers. That's an association I really, really hope BB doesn't make.

That said, the main thing I want for the last show is that the bulk of the speaking parts go to Walt and Jesse. Unlike Granite State, which had way too much Todd for my liking. Frankly, I'm starting to find him pretty tiresome.
posted by Bokmakierie at 5:20 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, this show has some serious Aristotelian shit goin' on. Although it feels not so much cathartic as, well, Scotty slipping on the controls and all your guts going into space. Only it takes place in slow-motion, over weeks.
posted by angrycat at 5:37 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who knew that picking lint off someone's jacket could be so creepy.

Your comment reminded me of another jacket scene, from the 2nd season of Showtime's Shameless (the first two seasons of which I heartily recommend as DVD binge-watching after Breaking Bad ends). There's a scene where a character takes off the jacket she's wearing, and it's one of the most emotionally powerful moments I've seen on TV.

Seriously: She just takes off her jacket.

It's amazing.

I've been surprised at how many folks I know who've never heard of Shameless, but it's got William Macy as a low-life alcoholic shit who's spawned a huge family trying to get by, mostly without him but aggressively in spite of him on the rare occasions he shows up. The acting is routinely great, even from the kids, the editing sharp, the writing and dialogue alternately funny/goofy/tragic/wrenching. I'm not saying it's the greatest thing on television, but then Breaking Bad wasn't the greatest thing on television, either. All I'm saying is Shameless works a similarly interesting, if not necessarily similar, vibe, with less meth, more alcohol, more queerness, more sex in general, much more poverty, much *much* more integral female characters, and lots of outrageously ridiculous stuff to balance the heavy.

Try the first season. I was surprised at how quickly I got hooked. It's not perfect (I agree with the weirdly judgmental recapper at AV Club on one thing, at least: the show's better when it reigns in the goofy idiot plot points in favor of the more realistic ones), but Shameless definitely provides plenty of room for the kind of identification with assholes and pulling for losers that makes Breaking Bad so much fun to be part of.
posted by mediareport at 6:26 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


mediareport - I assume you've heard of the original, UK Shameless? (I've only seen a couple of episodes of both versions but have heard great things about both - this is a good reminder to add them to the playlist once I've finished Justified and Sherlock)

Also, lol @ Heisenberg's "Debbie Gibson hat"
posted by triggerfinger at 6:33 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I assume you've heard of the original, UK Shameless

If you haven't, just a warning: It skews a little more toward "goofy idiot plot points" than the US version. It's still pretty good, just really different tonally. And they're different enough plot-wise that if you like one, watching the other won't feel like a retread.

P.S. cf.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:46 PM on September 24, 2013


Okay, ricin cigarette won't work. Bad idea, scratch that.

No problem, I'll just get robocopisbleeding to polish this baby up for Hollywood and we'll be stacking mad Benjamins.

That's how the cool kids talk these days, right?
posted by misha at 6:47 PM on September 24, 2013


She seems so fresh and innocent! Obviously a different hat.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:13 PM on September 24, 2013


I assume you've heard of the original, UK Shameless?

Yeah, saw a couple of the early UK episodes (they're all on YouTube) and it didn't feel the same. *Much* goofier, from the overuse of music to the bizarre camera angles to, well, everything. There's a strong emotional resonance I found in the US version right away that's missing in the little I saw of the earlier series. Part of that may just be the difference in production style from 2004 (the UK debut) to 2011 (the US debut), part may be cultural, I dunno. I'll admit I didn't give it as much of a chance, and maybe it got better, but the US version caught me right away. It's really well-made television - with flaws, sure, but to me clearly more enjoyable than, say, Sons of Anarchy or Boardwalk Empire, and much smarter and deeper than Justified. Though, to be clear, I generally enjoy those shows.

Fans of those shows and Breaking Bad would find a lot to like in Shameless, is all I'm saying. Plus, offering recommendations for future watching once BB ends would be a much more useful and interesting thread between now and Sunday than trying to predict the last few twists in the Walter White saga.
posted by mediareport at 7:20 PM on September 24, 2013


It's amazing.

Oh, I should clarify: by "amazing" I mean "intensely wrenching and actually kind of horrifying in a way that makes perfect sense for the story."

I cried. She just took off her jacket and I cried.
posted by mediareport at 7:28 PM on September 24, 2013


Okay, you've sold me on the US version.

Plus, offering recommendations for future watching once BB ends would be a much more useful and interesting thread between now and Sunday than trying to predict the last few twists in the Walter White saga.


I would like this too, though I'm worried there might not be much we don't already know about. After Breaking Bad, my next favorite show is Homeland, which you probably all have seen. Also, The Walking Dead.

I read an article a month or so ago on shows to watch after Breaking Bad is over and it mentioned Utopia (UK), which I haven't watched yet and know almost nothing about but it looks promising.

Also, just last night the pilot for Hostages aired and a few people in my facebook feed mentioned it favorably (drawback: CBS).
posted by triggerfinger at 8:17 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


future watching once BB ends

I don't see the point, nothing will top the radiant perfection of the Dexter finale.
posted by emmtee at 9:28 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't see the point, nothing will top the radiant perfection of the Dexter finale.

That was a finale, yes.
posted by jeather at 9:41 AM on September 25, 2013


That was a finale, yes.

With a capital F.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:37 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


With a capital F.

I'm really not sure that's fair to other things that have been graded F.
posted by jeather at 10:47 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


mediareport: “Yeah, saw a couple of the early UK episodes (they're all on YouTube) and it didn't feel the same. *Much* goofier, from the overuse of music to the bizarre camera angles to, well, everything. There's a strong emotional resonance I found in the US version right away that's missing in the little I saw of the earlier series. Part of that may just be the difference in production style from 2004 (the UK debut) to 2011 (the US debut), part may be cultural, I dunno. I'll admit I didn't give it as much of a chance, and maybe it got better, but the US version caught me right away. It's really well-made television - with flaws, sure, but to me clearly more enjoyable than, say, Sons of Anarchy or Boardwalk Empire, and much smarter and deeper than Justified. Though, to be clear, I generally enjoy those shows. Fans of those shows and Breaking Bad would find a lot to like in Shameless, is all I'm saying. Plus, offering recommendations for future watching once BB ends would be a much more useful and interesting thread between now and Sunday than trying to predict the last few twists in the Walter White saga.”

I guess I was shocked at this. I really like the UK Shameless, and I – well, I refused to watch the US version after they got the worst actor of his generation to play the central character in the show. The show is so much about the UK, anyway, that I have a hard time seeing it work in the US. But I guess if you say it's good, I might try it. Do I have to look at William H Macy, though? I don't think I can stand to watch him flail around.
posted by koeselitz at 11:04 AM on September 25, 2013


The central character in the US version is Fiona. William Macy is a little overused in the first few episodes, but the show veers quite quickly from essentially copying the UK show in the first two episodes to being its own (very good) show.
posted by jeather at 11:15 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh - that's interesting. Fiona hasn't been on the UK version in many years.
posted by koeselitz at 11:18 AM on September 25, 2013


Huh - that's interesting. Fiona hasn't been on the UK version in many years.

So Wikipedia told me, which is why I was informing you. (But she's really the primary character from the beginning, or at worst episode 3.) I'd argue that the older siblings and the neighbours are at least as important as Frank is in the show. I didn't watch the UK version, but the plotlines diverge very quickly, and there's no weird sense of "this really does not work as a show set in the US". Honestly, it's a very good show, and Emmy Rossum is absolutely fantastic as Fiona, and if you can keep the two shows separate -- maybe hard to do -- it's worth the fairly short investment.
posted by jeather at 11:22 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh Dexter... sigh. Those guys at Red Letter Media need to do a two hour takedown of how the Dexter storytelling is so awful, like they did with the star wars films.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:36 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: "Say My Name" and it's badassery or lack thereof

I feel like Walt has a significant history of talking big about himself, particularly when he has no idea what he's doing--he is the blowfish.

In my opinion, the "one who knocks" monologue wasn't the declaration of awesomeness from a cold-blooded killer that so many fans want it to be. It was the condescending knee-jerk reaction of a cranky, hungover Walt to his wife's reminder that he fucked up real bad last night, which he did. And he knows it. It was at least the third time in season 4 that Skyler tried to shake him into self-awareness of the league he was playing in. Each previous time, he was venting his own concerns about his safety, then when Skyler suggested that maybe he should quit or get help, he backpedaled vigorously. This time he doesn't backpedal, though you can see by the look on his face immediately afterwards that he knows that that was a bridge too far. And we should see that too, because Skyler's quite reasonable reaction to Walt's declaration that he is, in fact, a murderer (so don't worry your pretty little head about him) is to grab the baby and drive far, far away.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good "because I say so" as much as anyone, but I think that a lot of things that Walt says and does are clumsy, and I'm sure that's deliberate. He's still wearing some of the dowdiest clothing ever made. He was a teacher who blackmailed an ex-student into showing him how to be a criminal. I can think of no demographic to whom that's cool. It's comically uncool. I guess it's a testament to the incredible art of the show that we can ever see Walt as anything but an embarrassment.

The episode Full Measure opens with a flashback that reveals Walt was working at Sandia National Labs after Gray Matter but before he was a high school chemistry teacher. Ever since seeing that episode, I've wondered what Walt did to torpedo his career there. I don't expect the last episode to make that clear, but still, it would be nice to learn a little more backstory before everything ends.

The thing that always strikes me about that flashback is how upbeat and self-assured Walt is. It's such a contrast from episode 1! So I'd love to know, although I wouldn't be surprised if it involved his ego being hurt, since that's his thing. It could be something very small. It could be that there were titters from his colleagues that Captain Nobel Big Brain married that giant blonde who works in the cafeteria, so he did what he always does when his feathers are ruffled, he flees. A potential clue we have is from a Hollywood Reporter interview with Bryan Cranston, who said that Walt became a teacher because "it was a job no one could criticize," although I think it's fair to say that that could be Walt Reasoning regardless of his situation.

Speaking of torpedoing yourself, I would love to see the revelation that the buyout from Gray Matter was his own idea to begin with--perhaps especially if he rains hellfire on Gretchen and Elliott in this last episode. I'd love for it to turn out that he did this to himself from the get-go. That the story he told Jesse in "Buyout" was just another example of his ability to twist the truth to suit his own emotional needs. I would find that absolutely scrumptious.

I'm also still hoping very much that this does not end with an actual shootout. I want Walt to find some crazy creative application for those tracer rounds, and do horrible things scientifically like in the old days.

Re: future viewing recommendations

One of the films that reminds me most of Breaking Bad, although I never see it mentioned, is The Browning Version.

The main character in this film is a teacher who becomes ill and decides to retire. He needs money. His students don't respect him, and he feels no one around him really appreciates his subject the way he does either. And emotionally, he's closed off. But then he forms a bond with a young student, and things begin changing. The acting and writing are superb. It is not heartwarming or corny in any way. It's a black and white British film, but it has enough in common with the show that if I ever get a chance to ask Vince Gilligan a question, I have to know if he ever saw this one, because I think if you watched it through the mirror from Prince of Darkness, you'd get Breaking Bad.
posted by heatvision at 1:17 PM on September 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


With a capital F.

Was it as bad as Weeds? Worse?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:19 PM on September 25, 2013


The Weeds finale was Citizen Kane compared to the Dexter finale.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:26 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would you call it the Citizen Kane of shitty finales?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:31 PM on September 25, 2013


Walter White watches the Dexter finale
posted by Rhomboid at 1:47 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, well, for anyone looking for something to watch, earlier this year I followed up a recommendation for Äkta Människor, a Swedish series which people stubbornly translate as Real Humans, though I think Real People would be a much more satisfying title. It's nothing like Breaking Bad - it's essentially a domestic Blade Runner - and you'd have to go scrabbling around for torrents and svt files, but it's very good.
posted by Grangousier at 1:49 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


So much worse than Weeds. Just absolutely godawful.

It wasn't just the finale, though. The shit accumulated over the season, and just reached overflowing levels with the finale. You pretty much have to see it (the whole season, unfortunately, because the stupidity adds up) to believe just how monumentally fucking shitty it was.

There's really no comparing it to Weeds. All Weeds is guilty of is getting a bit too wacky. As wacky as the situations may have got, the characters still made some kind of consistent sense. You believed X would do Y because Z, even if it was all a little outlandish. This season of Dexter, X did whaa? because huh? about a dozen times per episode.

I half expected the finale to be just like the Roseanne one, only instead of the last shitty season turning out to have been written by a bored and depressed housewife, it would have been written by Dexter's four-year-old kid. That would have been believable.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:00 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Weeds finale was Citizen Kane compared to the Dexter finale.

Thank you kindly for the advance warning. I'll be steering clear of that shit iceberg.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:15 PM on September 25, 2013


Yeah, the Dexter finale really does recap the season. It was also apparently very expensive.

The Dexter producers defend themselves interview is something, though. They did not ever understand their show.
From the very beginning the paradox was here’s a guy who doesn’t feel he’s a human being, who has to fake it. But in faking it, he’s a better brother, boyfriend, colleague that most real people.
posted by jeather at 2:25 PM on September 25, 2013


Why does Walt's cancer come back?

Seriously, I keep thinking on that, I allude to it snidely above ("a touch of the cancer cough"). It seems like such a weird thing to drop on us at the end of the story, particularly with relatively little comment. The most unkind interpretation is that the show writers mean the cancer as a metaphor for a disease in Walt's very soul. Which, ick, please don't confuse disease with morality. The kinder but still frustrating interpretation is that it's the writer's way of saying that no matter what happened, Walt isn't escaping. That interpretation annoys me too because seriously, Walt's managed to fuck things up all by himself without some random bad genetic luck. I'm much more interested in the reading of the story where Walt causes all his own problems, it's all his own failures. Blaming something external dilutes that story.

The only non-stupid reading of bringing the cancer back I've come up with is that the writers needed a way to accelerate events, to put Walt under some sort of external pressure so that he realizes no matter what he does, he'll never have enough time to make things right again. But that seems unnecessary and lazy.
posted by Nelson at 2:28 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pre-cancer, Walt was an aimless nobody. Post-diagnosis, the pressure of facing death compels him to be willful about his role as a provider. Later, it becomes about leaving a legacy, to be known as someone who was the best. Cancer isn't a metaphor for morality rotting away, I suspect, so much as the motivator or external force that awakens Walt's true character, pushing him forwards to live out his remaining days on his own terms.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:43 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't necessarily say that they just dropped it on us. We see Walt getting a scan of some sort in episode 508, right after he's been confronted with the enormity of the pile of money by Skyler and right before he tells her that he's out. The implication seems to be that he realizes that he has more than he could ever spend and he's reminded that the remission was only ever expected to be a temporary reprieve, and that this is the final thing that pushes him over the edge and convinces him to stop and spend his remaining time with his kids. He takes his sweet time telling anyone else about it, but it seems that he made up his mind when he saw that busted paper towel dispenser in the medical center's bathroom.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:44 PM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Thank you kindly for the advance warning. I'll be steering clear of that shit iceberg.

No no no it's the funniest thing I've seen on television in ages, although somehow simultaneously the most utterly mind-destroyingly boring. I can say with absolute confidence you won't see anything quite like it on TV again. I woke my partner up twice laughing at it and felt a sort of perfect distilled despair when I realised it was only halfway through.
posted by emmtee at 2:46 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nelson: "The most unkind interpretation is that the show writers mean the cancer as a metaphor for a disease in Walt's very soul. Which, ick, please don't confuse disease with morality. "

Metaphors and symbols don't conflate the concepts they juxtapose, though. I don't think Coppola was confused about the lethality of oranges when he associated them with death in The Godfather.

I think the cancer returning is a nice reversal, in that it underscores the emptiness of being at the top. The first time he was told there was a cancerous growth in his lungs, it set the whole Heisenberg thing in motion. The second time, there's no more victory or conquest that he could be spurred on to, so instead it encourages him to quit.
posted by invitapriore at 2:55 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know this is only fiction, but sometimes cancer returns. There is no why.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:02 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the cancer returning is a nice reversal, in that it underscores the emptiness of being at the top. The first time he was told there was a cancerous growth in his lungs, it set the whole Heisenberg thing in motion. The second time, there's no more victory or conquest that he could be spurred on to, so instead it encourages him to quit.

This, plus it makes his hiding in the cabin utterly pointless- he'll never be able to wait for the heat to die down, than take his money and make a life for himself. He's going to die, soon, and everything he did will be totally pointless and not help anyone except some nazis and a vacuum salesman.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:06 PM on September 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Did you ever notice that the bacon "52" in the season opener looks a lot like a mushroom cloud?
posted by planetesimal at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think (to summarise the million words I could say about this but it's late) there's something in the fact that the consequences of Walt's absurd careless fantasy life have managed to outpace terminal cancer in destroying him and his family.

Also Walt has never won. Cooking meth has only ever brought him temporary and often entirely imaginary victories. Even the cancer treatment his meth money bought him, which might have been the single real, lasting, usable thing he achieved, turned out not to last.
posted by emmtee at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


What a bummer of an epitaph.

"DIED HAVING HAD A NET POSITIVE EFFECT ON NAZIS"
posted by invitapriore at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think it's fair to say that Walt has achieved nothing. By the time of his death he'll have personally destroyed more of the illicit drugs infrastructure of Albuquerque than the DEA could possibly have dreamed of, albeit inadvertently.
posted by Grangousier at 3:18 PM on September 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


I mean obviously even if he'd accepted Whatsit and Gretchen's or Hank's offers the cancer presumably still would have returned (although the return having been hastened or caused by exposure to something while cooking wouldn't shock me), so the return isn't a moral judgment, but in that case the treatment would have bought his family another year plus of time with their beloved husband and father, which if Walt had ever actually asked what they wanted, presumably would have come higher up the list than barrels of unusable money or a massive DEA prosecution or nationwide fame as the family of a meth kingpin or home invasions by nazis.

I don't think it's fair to say that Walt has achieved nothing. By the time of his death he'll have personally destroyed more of the illicit drugs infrastructure of Albuquerque than the DEA could possibly have dreamed of, albeit inadvertently.

He also took out what looked like a fairly tacky chain of chicken restaurants, so there's that.
posted by emmtee at 3:22 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


For those who want to talk about what to watch next: Though nowhere near as good as BB, FX's remake of "The Bridge" is very good. Remains to be seen if it'll stick the landing on the finale, but the setting is superb and there are some great performances.

Oddly, I'm also going to recommend Ricky Gervais' "Derek," which is available for binge-watching on Netflix. The only thing it has in common with BB is some very complex and very real characters. It oscillates, in top-notch Gervais fashion, between being really funny and really sad/poignant.

Last but not least, the mother of all long-form spy dramas, "The Sandbaggers." Not available on instant, but Netflix has the discs. Spy drama set back in the 70s - typewriters, rotary phones, constant cigarette smoking - with some outstanding characterizations and storylines.
posted by jbickers at 3:27 PM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Disagree about "The Bridge". It started off great, but just 4-5 shows in, turned into the MA-14 Saw, and it's already seen one vile antagonist vanquished. What next for our pair of cop protagonists? Who knows, but they they haven't been motivated by their own needs and desires; so far all they've done is react to others'.

(The subplot with the widow and and the border tunnel is much, much more compelling because those people have clear motives and act accordingly. So too with the dude with the weird voice and the muttonchops.)
posted by notyou at 3:36 PM on September 25, 2013


The central character in the US version is Fiona.

Yes, absolutely. Haven't seen the third season of Shameless but Fiona is definitely central to the first two. I mean, if you really hate William Macy's acting, koeselitz (a concept that astounds me, since he's fantastic on the show), you should probably skip Shameless, but you'll be missing Emmy Rossum, among other great performances, so that'd be your net loss. Everyone else, it's a pretty damn good show that's not getting even close to the respect it deserves, and I think a lot of Breaking Bad fans would like it.

It's the best replacement series available when you start jonesing in two weeks.
posted by mediareport at 3:49 PM on September 25, 2013


It's the best replacement series available when you start jonesing in two weeks.

Eh, I'm glad it worked for you guys. I couldn't stomach it after a couple of episodes when the wife and I began watching it a few months ago. She stuck with it, all the way to the end, and loved it. Me, not so much.

That said:

I refused to watch the US version after they got the worst actor of his generation to play the central character in the show. The show is so much about the UK, anyway, that I have a hard time seeing it work in the US. But I guess if you say it's good, I might try it. Do I have to look at William H Macy, though? I don't think I can stand to watch him flail around.

Them's fightin' words.
posted by CommonSense at 3:58 PM on September 25, 2013


emmtee: "He also took out what looked like a fairly tacky chain of chicken restaurants, so there's that."

Oh man no way. You have no idea how hungry every in-show description of their chicken makes me, especially Don Eladio's. I wish Pollos Hermanos was real.
posted by invitapriore at 3:58 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually yeah I take it back, I would kill for real Los Pollos Hermanos right now, especially because there actually is a chicken place down the street open at 5 past midnight and it is awful.
posted by emmtee at 4:07 PM on September 25, 2013


I really like the UK Shameless, and I – well, I refused to watch the US version after they got the worst actor of his generation to play the central character in the show. The show is so much about the UK, anyway, that I have a hard time seeing it work in the US. But I guess if you say it's good, I might try it. Do I have to look at William H Macy, though? I don't think I can stand to watch him flail around.

Wait, you can stand Maggie O'Neill as UK Sheila, who always seems to be in the middle of some kind of erotic asthma attack, but Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated, Emmy- and SAG Award-winning (worst actor of his generation, indeed) William H. Macy, you can't handle?

I really don't know what to say.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:27 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd watch the UK Shameless if it had subtitles, I can only understand a third of what's being said.
posted by peeedro at 4:29 PM on September 25, 2013


Vince Gilligan and the cast of Breaking Bad on Conan.

Also (and opinions are like assholes, of course), I kind of hate Shameless (US) as a shapeless mess of caricatures jammed into unconvincing stories, but it's one of those shows that I keep watching nonetheless.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:50 PM on September 25, 2013


One thing that's been gnawing at me at week is that when we last saw Walt he was obviously in a frail physical condition, but the Walt we saw in the flash forward of 509 seems much healthier.

I know this isn't just some continuity error, so it will be interesting to see how that flash forward and the events leading up to it mesh.

Disagree about "The Bridge". It started off great,

I've been watching and have mixed feelings about it, but I l do love the idea of Ted Levine continuing to play LEOs as some kind of penance for being Buffalo Bill (NSFW).

As far as what to watch now, I'd suggest that if you haven't been watching Justified you should start binging now for the S5 debut in January. I always tell people that you don't have to have watched it from the start, but S2 is so good (Margo Martindale won the Emmy for that season) so just start at the beginning.

Speaking of Margo Martindale, I'd also be on the lookout for S1 of The Americans to show up in the usual places. It didn't get a lot of coverage, but I think it's the best new show, and it's been picked up for S2. Alan Sepinwall covers both shows.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:26 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


'Breaking Bad's' Vince Gilligan Nabs CBS Drama Series Order
posted by Room 641-A at 6:30 PM on September 25, 2013


The last season of Dexter played like everyone involved was so tired of doing the show, and were so aware they had already jumped the shark, that they collectively decided to turn the boat around and jump right back over that shark again, and again, and again. The whole tone surrounding the Dr. Vogel character reminded me of something out of a bad late 70s episode of pimp-McGarrett-era Hawaii Five-O.

Perhaps it would be fitting for Breaking Bad to end with a crossover episode. Walt flees into Canada looking for a less obvious route back to New Mexico. He gets drunk in a bar in Alberta and spills his guts to a surprisingly sympathetic young lumberjack, who turns out to have dark secrets of his own, and convinces Walt to let him help exact his revenge. Walt gets his comeuppance when, after killing all the Nazis, etc., Dexter finally turns his knife on him. Dexter takes the barrel of money and flees to Argentina as he originally should have, and gets the redemption of appearing in a non-shitty finale.
posted by mubba at 6:31 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The cross-over idea joking tossed around on that Conan episode was that Walt enters witness protection, and that's the start of "Malcolm in the Middle." I far prefer the idea that Todd's people have a terrible accident in the lab, and end up creating the virus that is the start of "The Walking Dead."
posted by jbickers at 6:34 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The storm took Dexter to another universe. Where everyone is a lumberjack.
posted by emmtee at 6:37 PM on September 25, 2013


I know this isn't just some continuity error, so it will be interesting to see how that flash forward and the events leading up to it mesh.

Why do you say that? When we last see him at the end of Granite State, Walt is capable of walking the 8 miles down the hill from his cabin of solitude and sadness to the bar in town, which implies that he's finished his round of chemo and has regained a little strength. In the flash-forward he's not doing anything nearly that strenuous, and he's even shown having a slight cough before taking his meds in the Denny's bathroom after meeting with Jim Beaver. I don't see any inconsistency.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:56 PM on September 25, 2013


I also really like Banshee, which finished up its first season last spring. No one else seems to really know about it though - I really hope it catches on so I have people I can talk to about it.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:46 PM on September 25, 2013


Bansee was amusing in the same over-the-top, gratuituous kinda way as Shameless or Sons of Anarchy, both of which are slightly guilty pleasures for me. One of the other shows that nobody seems to be talking about, yet, which also recently finished its first season, and that I am much more in love with is Rectify.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:49 PM on September 25, 2013


Well, also keep in mind that Walt in the flash forward has been out of the snow and back in his natural habitat for at least the amount of time it took to get back there. And warm showers, sunshine, communication with others and cooked meals...those things do wonders.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:04 PM on September 25, 2013


Rectify does look good - thanks for mentioning it. I guess I didn't realize the Sundance channel did original programming.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:04 PM on September 25, 2013


Oh, yeah ... and that reminds me ... Top of the Lake was superb, also aired here on the Sundance Channel.
posted by jbickers at 8:18 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why do you say that? When we last see him at the end of Granite State, Walt is capable of walking the 8 miles down the hill from his cabin of solitude and sadness to the bar in town, which implies that he's finished his round of chemo and has regained a little strength.

I may be mis-remembering, or just totally confused. Maybe more time passed from when his ring fell off to him going to the bar than I realized? I'll go back and check.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:35 PM on September 25, 2013


(But yes, he was clearly at least a little stronger if he was going to make it down the hill.)
posted by Room 641-A at 8:36 PM on September 25, 2013


Oh, yeah ... and that reminds me ... Top of the Lake was superb, also aired here on the Sundance Channel.

It's also on Netflix.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:38 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why does Walt's cancer come back?

It never went away; he was just in remission. It was always going to return. I can't remember exactly how long they give him, I think it was 18 months. We're only at 24 months, so it's not exactly a miracle. When Walt goes into remission, everyone is happy, but I don't recall "cure" ever being thrown around. That's cancer; it's very hard to beat it forever. I don't think Walt is ever under any illusion that he is not going to die soon, the question was just how much wiggle room he was going to get.

One thing that's been gnawing at me at week is that when we last saw Walt he was obviously in a frail physical condition, but the Walt we saw in the flash forward of 509 seems much healthier.

His frailty is not due to the cancer as much as the chemo. In the flash forward, it's been weeks if not more since he did his last round. It's weird how, well, fine, people with cancer can seem until the last days. I never knew my grandmother, but apparently she went from "maybe I should get that checked out" to dead in five weeks.
posted by spaltavian at 8:59 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Top of the Lake was great. I did correctly guess the culprit in the first episode, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like that's the point. Six episodes.

Broadchurch
was another whodunnit series this year that was pretty great. It has David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Olivia Colman (Peep Show*). Six episodes. Renewed for a second season. Apparently there will be a US version coming to Fox next year. It will not be as good.

Also in that vein, the last season of The Killing (US) was pretty self-contained and pretty great this year. (I say it's self-contained only because the earlier two seasons were met with a lot of hostility. I loved seasons 1 & 2, but I watched them all in one week; I can definitely understand hating them if I'd had to wait a week between episodes, plus a whole year in the middle. Those two seasons are basically the same sort of thing as either of the two aforementioned 6-episode series, but stretched out over 26 episodes; they jerk you around a lot to fill the time. I enjoy being jerked around -- it's sort of the whole point of mysteries -- but others don't. Anyway, there are fewer red herrings in the third season.)

*New (final?) series of Peep Show starts soon, probably November. It's my nominee for the other best show on television, but it's nothing at all like Breaking Bad.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:04 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Banshee is pretty great as far as guilty pleasures go. I don't know how much Alan Ball has to do with the day to day operations, but I suppose you can feel a bit of that trashy-sexy-pulpy thing going on that made True Blood interesting, at least at first. Beware, however, that Banshee likes its violence, and it prides itself in coming up with sequences like this that make that fight between Dan and the Captain on Deadwood seem tame. And then Banshee follows up with this.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:09 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and for all its machismo and testosterone, Banshee does feature a transgender supporting character who is not there to be laughed at or damseled or whatever but is kind of a badass.)
posted by Rhomboid at 9:22 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha, I forgot about that prison scene. That was probably one of the most violent scenes I've ever seen - movies or TV. It's a guilty pleasure for sure. No depth like Breaking Bad, not even really realistic. There was one scene where a man and a woman were beating the everloving shit out of each other for like 20 minutes and were basically just panting heavily throughout. IRL one or both of them would have been unconscious or dead within a minute or two. The violence is shocking. But otherwise some good suspense, good characters - I think it's great fun.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:24 PM on September 25, 2013


Completely different type of show, but did anyone check out Agents of Shield, and was it good? We recorded it but haven't had a chance to see it yet.
posted by misha at 9:31 PM on September 25, 2013


Okay, so I'm watching the first episode of Peep Show just now, just 'cause I just mentioned Peep Show a second ago and haven't seen it in a long time, and, hey, remember that sister with cancer?

Yeah, well...

(ETA: No, it's not Laura Fraser. Me stupid.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 PM on September 25, 2013


Team Walt
posted by planetesimal at 11:10 PM on September 25, 2013


Seconding Broadchurch, and the first and third seasons of The Killing
The only thing wrong with Broadchurch is that Tennat is rocking a kind of neck beard that sort of interferes with the great beauty that is David Tennat.
posted by angrycat at 4:43 AM on September 26, 2013


David Tennat

Do you have a cold?
posted by Grangousier at 6:18 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rhomboid, I totally agree about the guilty pleasure that is Banshee, which is almost formulaic in the number of fights and fucks per episode.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2013


UNCLE JACK. stabs Walt White power!

WALTER WHITE. collapsing I'm... White.

(someone photoshop that and submit it to Breaking Development)
posted by Eideteker at 8:02 AM on September 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


"*New (final?) series of Peep Show starts soon, probably November. It's my nominee for the other best show on television, but it's nothing at all like Breaking Bad."

I have explained/sold people on either series by explaining the similarities (usually, I'm selling Peep Show, but—especially early in BB's run—I've pitched it the other way, too). They're both about watching people manufacture justifications for the bad choices they've just made. Maybe that's where the similarity ends, but maybe that's why you and I both feel like they're both the best shows on TV.
posted by Eideteker at 8:05 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did you ever notice that the bacon "52" in the season opener looks a lot like a mushroom cloud?

I have seen that idea dismissed many times as "looking too deeply into things," but I'm borderline certain that it was deliberate. That flash forward was telegraphing as hard as it could that Walt is about to drop some kind of bomb on ABQ.

Walt wears a porkpie hat just like Oppenheimer. Walt worked at Sandia, just like Oppenheimer. He was a teacher, just like Oppenheimer. And Oppenheimer's team was competing against that of Heisenberg to create the bomb.

Weirdly, Oppenheimer's childhood hobby was mineral-collecting. He and Heisenberg dated the same girl. And there is a widely believed story that as a young man, Oppenheimer once attempted to poison a tutor.

Maybe the point of the parallels and references in the show are to stress that Walt is also killing people with science, even if he's making drugs and not weapons.

I sometimes wonder if it was a deliberate nod to the morality issue. I think it's fair to say that generally, everyone now sees Oppenheimer, the American, as "the good guy" and Heisenberg, the German, as "the bad guy." And that's the question that the show comes back to again and again, is Walt a good guy or a bad guy? He literally puts on the Oppenheimer hat and starts calling himself Heisenberg at a point in the series when he has no idea what he's doing.

Sometimes I think that that hat, being the signifier for these parallels, told us from the beginning how this was going to end. Because like Heisenberg, Walt did not succeed with his grand plans. He could not get them to work. And like Oppenheimer, Walt has come to have some deep regrets over what he has done. Does this mean that Walt is absolutely, positively going to die of cancer, as both Oppenheimer and Heisenberg did? And is Walt going to kill the Nazis now, and if so, what will that mean?
posted by heatvision at 8:27 AM on September 26, 2013 [24 favorites]


Everyone dies.

And we all survive to be pallbearers.
posted by wensink at 9:10 AM on September 26, 2013


"Everyone dies."

It turns out Andrea was the daughter of a hyperdimensional air traffic controller after a brief visit to our plane. In the next episode, he is too distraught to do his job and so our universe crashes into its antimatter duplicate. We zoom out to see that the universes were actually particles in an extradimensional particle accelerator that was also an anti-matter bomb developed by hyper-Oppenheimer (say that three times fast), who watches the resulting gamma ray flash and mushroom cloud, and sheds a single tear as he utters his famous line about being the destroyer of worlds. Zoom out on the tear, then directly over his porkpie hat and straight up and out to show the planet as a whole. Space Baby. The End.
posted by Eideteker at 9:51 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have seen that idea dismissed many times as "looking too deeply into things,"

NO SUCH THING
posted by Eideteker at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Breaking Development

lol
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on September 26, 2013


I have seen that idea dismissed many times as "looking too deeply into things,"

There's a lot of super deliberate stuff in the show, but I kinda think this particular thing is a case of apophenia.
posted by sparkletone at 10:51 AM on September 26, 2013


What happens in the finale will change everything. So much is going to happen in just one episode. I don’t know how we did it.
RJ Mitte, AKA Walt Jr.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:14 PM on September 26, 2013


77 hours...
posted by Rhomboid at 12:40 PM on September 26, 2013


Very nice, heatvision.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:49 PM on September 26, 2013


Eideteker: "UNCLE JACK. stabs Walt White power!

WALTER WHITE. collapsing I'm... White.


There's this one: I'm... White.

Meanwhile....

Mr. F
Why are you trying to get me out of the house?
We're having a fire! Sale.

The quality/quantity here is very high for a tumblr.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:01 PM on September 26, 2013


Nelson: “Why does Walt's cancer come back? Seriously, I keep thinking on that, I allude to it snidely above ('a touch of the cancer cough'). It seems like such a weird thing to drop on us at the end of the story, particularly with relatively little comment.”

Rhomboid: “I wouldn't necessarily say that they just dropped it on us. We see Walt getting a scan of some sort in episode 508, right after he's been confronted with the enormity of the pile of money by Skyler and right before he tells her that he's out. The implication seems to be that he realizes that he has more than he could ever spend and he's reminded that the remission was only ever expected to be a temporary reprieve, and that this is the final thing that pushes him over the edge and convinces him to stop and spend his remaining time with his kids. He takes his sweet time telling anyone else about it, but it seems that he made up his mind when he saw that busted paper towel dispenser in the medical center's bathroom.”

A couple of things here.

First of all – if Walt's cancer is going to come back, this is exactly how it has to. There was comment about it – it's been mentioned several times this season. He told Hank an episode or two before Hank figured out the truth. But Hank dismissed it – telling Skyer, "he didn't tell you his cancer was back?" and then, when she seems shocked, "well, I wouldn't worry, he was probably lying about that too." And it does seem like a lie when he says it. How does he know? I think he said something at one point about tests, although I dismissed it immediately myself. It doesn't seem like Walt would subject his body to a doctor's examination at this point, although of course I could be wrong. So, yeah – there's little "fanfare," because all the people who ought to care when he says it either don't believe him or don't even know if they should; and because he's obviously not likely to trust anybody else with this information, probably not even doctors. He clearly only mentions it to people to manipulate them anyway.

Second of all – well, I think that's interesting, and is in itself an important signifier of where he is as a character. There was a time when playing for cancer sympathy was beneath him, pride-wise. He's moved beyond that pride to a more desperate place. But it doesn't matter, because he's also become a person that people don't trust with their sympathy.

In fact, to be completely honest, seeing him cough, seeing the home-rigged chemo, those things were really a shock to me. I figured he must have been lying earlier when he said the cancer was back. Heck, maybe he was, and it turned out to be true. It's interesting trying to sort all that out.
posted by koeselitz at 2:24 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seven months until Game of Thrones!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:39 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks everyone, I like the explanation that the recurrence of the cancer gives Walt the final kick in the ass to get out of the meth game. It is a nice symmetry to how he got into it in the first place. It feels weird to me there's not more writing about it, but I take that as a mark of his isolation that he's really alone on this too. Other than paying ROBERT FORSTER to bring him a bag of poison to filter into his veins every once in awhile.
posted by Nelson at 4:33 PM on September 26, 2013


Placemarker to come back to after the FelinaFinale
posted by ColdChef at 6:08 PM on September 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


In fact, to be completely honest, seeing him cough, seeing the home-rigged chemo, those things were really a shock to me. I figured he must have been lying earlier when he said the cancer was back. Heck, maybe he was, and it turned out to be true. It's interesting trying to sort all that out.

I'm not sure what episode it is, but we see Walt getting chemo way earlier in Season 5, before Hank finds out. The audience knows he is telling the truth.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:09 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anybody else watching the rebroadcast marathon on AMC right now? They're up to the point where Walt just told Skyler where the money came from. Really amazing how well this show holds up to repeated viewings. It's a contrast to another show that I truly loved when it first ran - NYPD Blue - but the reruns were never interesting to me, because in my mind those characters had moved on and watching reruns just didn't feel right. But this story, it holds up so well to scrutiny and to going back.
posted by jbickers at 6:43 PM on September 26, 2013


for those who don't have the time for the rebroadcast marathon, Youtube's got a bunch of season (and individual show) reviews.

Season 1 Catch up
posted by philip-random at 6:58 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know, I know, Buzzfeed, but SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.
posted by maggieb at 1:52 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


All of the terrible things that have happened to Jesse Pinkman.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:50 AM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Jesse-terrible-things thing is hilarious and heartbreaking. Perfect ending!
posted by thinkpiece at 3:48 AM on September 27, 2013


All of the terrible things that have happened to Jesse Pinkman.

1. Does Aaron Paul do voice work for Cadillac commercials?
2. I'm pretty sure the Cadillac ad that played before the video was voiced by Aaron Paul.
3. Not unpacking this.
posted by dyobmit at 6:16 AM on September 27, 2013


I loved reading that the Jesse and Jane actors spent their breaks playing Nintendo. I hope in this Gilligan version of reality there is some afterlife and Jesse and Jane can hang out forever. Hey, they could even be dope fiends, they're dead, who cares.
posted by angrycat at 7:58 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The trailer for Aaron Paul's new movie, The Need For Speed.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:11 AM on September 27, 2013


they're dead

Please, he's not dead yet! I'm holding out hope!

And just for fun: Why you dead, Ricky?!
posted by thinkpiece at 8:20 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


GODDAMMIT THINKPIECE

robots ain't shit
posted by tzikeh at 8:56 AM on September 27, 2013


Twinkie me, bitch!
posted by entropicamericana at 9:40 AM on September 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


I thought the scene with Gretchen and Elliot, apart from being the last straw that kicks off the finale, was also a pointed reminder of the whole Grey Matter back-story, which was really the precursor (see what I did there) to the entire story arc that begins when Walter finds out he has cancer. If he had stayed with the company he would have been able to easily afford his treatment, and none of the horrors he's inflicted on everyone around him would have happened.

It's hard to remember it now, but in the earlier episodes of the show it was easier to empathize with Walt and look at his newbie meth adventures as a blackly funny lark*. The restaurant scene with Gretchen in S2 is the moment it becomes absolutely clear just how much rage Walter White has been carrying around behind his doofy nice guy science teacher persona all those years, and that the meth business is about more than just providing for his family.

*I mean, the things Walt does and the lies he tells his family early on are also terrible, but at least we believe him when he tells himself that he's doing it all for his family.
posted by usonian at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Claim your cockamaimie theory about the last episode, courtesy of Mefi's Own Linda Holmes.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:21 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


My cockamaimie theory is that Jesse will somehow turn out to be Walt's son. Even if that's not the case, I think there'll be a flashback to some moment when Walt is teaching Jesse in high school.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2013


My cockamaimie theory isn't about the plot, but the final shot: Walt breaks the fourth wall and stares silently at us as the screen fades to black.
posted by wensink at 12:30 PM on September 27, 2013


My cockamaimie theory is that Huell gets any screentime.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:48 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mike was an older Jesse, temporally displaced and given amnesia by a chemical accident in the nazis' lab.
posted by emmtee at 12:58 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Marie is an alternate universe Saul.
posted by emmtee at 12:58 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lydia and Wendy are the same person. It's a very rapid rags to riches thing.
posted by bondcliff at 1:04 PM on September 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Final scene is a montage of the whole cast staring into the camera, clapping, and saying "congratulations!"
posted by hellojed at 1:11 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" will play over a slow-motion montage of old clips.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:15 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" will play over a slow-motion montage of old clips an outtake real.
posted by wensink at 1:21 PM on September 27, 2013


Maybe the final episode will be a Clip Show! A delightful trip down memory lane with five seasons of the funniest and most exciting moments cut together into one extended montage, the occasional tearjerker inserted to keep it real. All narrated by Huell, watching from the motel sofa, a bag of popcorn in his lap.
posted by Nelson at 1:29 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Am I the only person who's preoccupied with how bad machine-gun-buying Walt must smell after three shower-free months in the same clothes and a 1,400-mile non-stop drive across country?

Perhaps it will turn out to be one of those episodes of Red Dwarf where they are in a virtual reality machine or hallucinating. Which is most of them, actually, but you know what I mean.

(Walt = Rimmer, Jesse = Lister, Saul = Cat, Hank = Kryten)
posted by Grangousier at 1:50 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Economist on Breaking Bad
posted by aerotive at 1:51 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


[OT] The murky origins of cockamamie
posted by maggieb at 2:05 PM on September 27, 2013


Walter White's "I am the one who knocks" speech, by other authors
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:22 PM on September 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


^ heatvision noted the tracer rounds provided with the M60. Wikipedia says tracer rounds can potentially ignite gas. Perhaps Walter will lie in wait for the next cook session to spray the lab with tracer rounds blowing everyone up who is not already shot dead. We've been warned many times how volatile the lab can be. Not having a meth lab explosion yet is another Chekhov's gun.

My cockamamie theory is that Gilligan will not use the ricin. We expect him to use it but he will do the exact reverse opposite.
posted by maggieb at 3:03 PM on September 27, 2013


I Wish I Wasn't Jesse's Girl.
posted by ColdChef at 3:11 PM on September 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


Just to be clear, the text on the ammo cans seen in Walt's trunk lists a 4:1 ratio of M80 (ball) and M62 (tracer), i.e. every fifth cartridge in the linked chain is a tracer. This is a standard military configuration (note the orange tips) and if Lawson has a supplier with access to a military base, there's every reason to believe that's what he would procure. So let's not assume that Walt deliberately requested tracer rounds for some special plan or anything like that.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:40 PM on September 27, 2013


Am I the only person who's preoccupied with how bad machine-gun-buying Walt must smell after three shower-free months in the same clothes and a 1,400-mile non-stop drive across country?

I thought there was a shower you could see in the bathroom in the cabin?
posted by stoneweaver at 3:51 PM on September 27, 2013


In the last scene, Walter wakes up in the middle of the night with a start. He turns on the light and says to a sleeping Skylar, "I just had the weirdest dream." Skylar rolls over, revealing she's really Jane Kaczmarek, who says, "Go back to sleep, Hal."
posted by Room 641-A at 4:05 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


The cabin does have a bathroom visible, but all we ever see is the toilet. It's hard to tell what else is present in that space, and whether it's just a toilet or a toilet and a shower. In the exterior shots of the building, the outline of the bathroom area extends all the way to the corner of the main cabin, which does imply that it's more than just a toilet. From a practical standpoint, if you're only receiving deliveries monthly and you're not unloading gallons and gallons of water, that pretty much means the cabin must have a well, so a shower wouldn't be totally out of the question, although I'm sure it's not going to set any pressure records.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:18 PM on September 27, 2013


Isn't Walter surrounded snow? The Disappearer brings Walt Costco-sized packs of laundry stuff and shower stuff and Walt heats up snow/water and takes a sponge bath. Or a tub bath like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, but in an emptied Costco barrel.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:54 PM on September 27, 2013


A study in contrasts based on IMDB episode ratings: Breaking Bad vs Dexter. Throw in The Shield for good measure.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:10 PM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I figured the gun was something he picked up from the nazis, rather than something to use on them, since as Walt has been entirely cut off from every connection he's ever made in life -it's hard to believe he'd just bump into someone that could set him up with a huge machine gun. I keep wondering how the money has effected the nazis; if they'll self-destruct and Walt is lucky enough to walk in and pick up the pieces.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:38 PM on September 27, 2013


In the flash-forward it's very clear that he's buying the M60 machine gun from Lawson (Jim Beaver), a weapons dealer with whom he's dealt previously in episode 402 when he acquired the .38 snub nose revolver that he hoped to use on Gus. At that point he'd never even met Todd or Uncle Jack, so there's no reason to connect Lawson to the white supremacists.

However, I too have wondered why Lawson would answer Walt's calls given the amount of notoriety surrounding him, but I guess we can assume that enough time has passed that his story has dwindled in the public's consciousness. Walt is not recognized by the Denny's waitress, for example, although Carol does instantly recognize him. And I'm sure Walt made it worth his while for the weapon, although the envelope of money that he hands over doesn't seem like it could be much more than one or two 10k stacks.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If he could make it to Denny's I don't see why he couldn't he have called Jim Beaver again and at least ask if he could get the gun.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:00 PM on September 27, 2013


Jesse enters a living room and sits down on the sofa, cracking a beer. The camera pans around the house, showing pictures of him with Andrea, him with his little brother, him with Badger and Skinny Pete (who doesn't look so skinny in the pictures), him with Walt.

Finally the camera settles on Brock, who is playing on the rug in front of the fireplace. He picks something up--it's a snow-globe with a miniature scene of Albuquerque inside. We can see the car wash and Los Pollos Hermanos. Brock shakes the globe and it fills with sparkly blue snow. FIN.
posted by lovecrafty at 6:32 PM on September 27, 2013


misha: did anyone check out Agents of Shield?

This thread.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:37 PM on September 27, 2013


I've never thought of "the heart wants what it wants" as, like, a ~quotation~... isn't it just a common expression these days? Like saying "those are the breaks" or something?

Yeah, my take on Uncle Jack's delivery of the line is that he could just as easily have said "It is what it is." I don't see him as being particularly concerned about protecting Todd's heart. In fact, I'm envisioning an "At Close Range" -style takedown of Todd by Uncle Jack once Todd's peculiar sort of romanticism becomes a problem for the gang. (That is, Todd will accompany the gang to a remote location at night and get shot in the back of the head. He won't see it coming and it will sort of parallel what he did to Andrea.) I think the gang will "disappear" Lydia too because she knows too much and they're done with cooking since they've got most of Walt's $80 million.

I read an interesting speculation on reddit that Grey Matter is now somehow associated with Madrigal. Walt really would want to kill Gretchen and Elliott if he knew some of the fruits of his labors during his Los Pollos Hermanos tenure actually did end up benefitting them.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:05 PM on September 27, 2013


Whew... something to keep me going after Sunday's finale...
posted by kettleoffish at 7:51 PM on September 27, 2013


So above I made some disparaging remarks about The Bridge, which I stand by, HOWEVER, after the latest episode, they have succumbed to my wishes, and the subplots are coming forward, PLUS!, they are accentuating the differences between the protagonists -- autistic detective genius versus fiery emotional detective genius.

Shoulda stared a few episodes sooner.
posted by notyou at 11:09 PM on September 27, 2013


Vince Gilligan did a Q&A with Damon Lindelof at the VIFF tonight. No video yet, but here's a little recap:

Creator Gilligan reminisces in Vancouver as hit series Breaking Bad winds down

But since there's not really too much of interest in that article, here's another from the same generally shitty Vancouver rag that does have a bit of interesting stuff in it, an interview with a UBC chemistry professor:

"They get into details that the average person would probably miss. In one episode, White talks about chirality, which is the handedness of a molecule. Methamphetamine is a chiral molecule, meaning it is either right- or left-handed. One form is relatively inactive, the other form is the active drug. The second method they use to make meth produces both types of molecules, which results in a lower purity. For chemists it was a nice detail."
posted by mannequito at 1:33 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trust goes both ways. Gilligan & Co are lucky to have this audience, and if you asked, they'd agree. It's a perfect storm, and the pressure must be immense. Good for them to have this!
posted by notyou at 1:54 AM on September 28, 2013


I'm standing by the idea that we haven't seen the last of Gretchen and Elliot. Was the Charlie Rose interview just a catalyst? As Usonian mentions above, Walt has never gotten over missing the boat on Grey Matter. That chapter in his life was key to his getting involved with cooking to begin with, and it kept him from getting out of the meth business when Mike and Jesse gave him the chance.

Doug Cornelius says it better over on Claim Your Cockamamie Theory:
The big split is whether the Charlie Rose interview triggered Walt to act because (1) it mentioned the Blue was back on the streets or (2) his contribution to Gray Matter was diminished. How you come down on that drives whether Walt is going after the Nazis or the Schwartzs.

Given what Walt did to Jesse in the desert I don’t see how Walt could be heading out to save Jesse. That relationship is over. Perhaps Walt wants to kill Jesse to preserve his Blue formula and process.

Walt saw the firepower of the Nazis in the desert. While holed up with Saul, Walt was looking for five good hitmen to help him take down the Nazis. I don’t see how one big gun changes that. They have $70 million of his money, but money no longer seems to be Walt’s motive. He can’t spend it or give it to his family.

That leaves me with the conclusion that Walt is going after the Schwartzs and Gray Matter. We flash way back to see the formation of the company and learn why Walt get kicks out. Walt ties that event to robbing him of his legitimate fortune.

posted by Paris Elk at 2:13 AM on September 28, 2013


As for what to watch when BB is just a memory...

Thanks to this thread on the Blue, I recently watched the 1976 BBC mini-series I Claudius. The setting and narrative style are completely different from BB, but some of the themes are similar: empire-building, megalomania, manipulation, moral deviation "for the sake of the family" and nasty deaths featuring a lot of poisoning. It's great drama with a superb cast including Derek Jacobi as Claudius and John Hurt doing an unforgettable Caligula.
posted by Paris Elk at 2:28 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


The fact that you wrote that paragraph without mentioning BRIAN BLESSED as Augustus or Patrick Stewart With Hair as Sejanus saddens me a little.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:21 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry zombieflanders, no slight intended. The whole cast really is superb.
posted by Paris Elk at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2013


Huell's Rules
posted by Sys Rq at 6:42 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"AMC: now we're funny" is pretty much indistinguishable from one of those actual ridiculous taglines that networks keep coming up with because they think that such things matter.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:47 PM on September 28, 2013


Hard to believe in a little under 24 hours this show will be over.
posted by sparkletone at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2013


LMAO, Jesse on SNL re Affordable Care Act. Video sure to be online soon.
posted by maggieb at 8:36 PM on September 28, 2013


So far I've only been able to find a still image.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:56 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Ignore everything I say tonight because I just got back from a party which included substance abuse.)

Re mannequito's ^ post above about chemistry: I think Gilligan and the other writers used the chemistry of meth production in multiple ways over the course of the story. Walt's changes seem to reflect the changes of the chemicals that transition from their non-meth state to meth. The mirror image of the molecules, each having different properties. For example, there is a substance in carroway seeds that gives them their distinctive flavor but the same molecule reversed tastes like spearmint.

Walt is changing like the chemicals (and people) he manipulates.


Every time we see Walt's reflection it illustrates his character in flux. More often than not his reflection is distorted like in a funhouse mirror. The dented paper towel holder. The mirror in his trashed house. His fender in the desert with a bullet hole (that shot showed a double Walt with the secondary Walt with the bullet hole in his head.)

Walt may be a brilliant chemist who can cook 99% pure meth but he could not change all the way bad. He may be 99% bad but the residual amount (the soul? as noted by young Gretchen) will not let him go.

[Still watching SNL: Per Weekend Update: Not sure who will survive in Breaking Bad but does not like the chances of Low Winter Sun. ha!]
posted by maggieb at 9:22 PM on September 28, 2013


Er - randomly - does anybody know when this last episode is gonna be available on iTunes?
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 PM on September 28, 2013


Knock knock
posted by maggieb at 9:29 PM on September 28, 2013


and now some GIFs
posted by Rhomboid at 9:35 PM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


And now some video!
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 10:03 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


My wife and I watched The Michael J. Fox Show tonight, and missed several jokes while we focused on whether MarieBetsy Brandt was wearing purple. We also had a laugh seeing Matt Jones talking about bong hits on Mom.

I hope RJ Mitte gets some good work like some of the other cast members have -- the only thing I saw him on was "Best Week Ever" accepting that show's eponymous award on behalf of Breaking Bad. Doesn't seem right that he has to slum it on VH1 while his colleagues are getting major network sitcom gigs.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:38 PM on September 28, 2013


Knock knock

Walt who?
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 11:12 PM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Less than twelve hours away from the end.

My final attempt to bake blue cheez-its commences now.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


We're making our first batch of meth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I made breakfast! And it was kind of a.. mess?

It wasn't blue.

I'm pretty bad at this breakfasting business, it seems.
posted by curious nu at 8:44 AM on September 29, 2013


a simple request of NY mefites: my early gig in midtown ends at around 8, so if y'all wouldn't mind steering clear of the westside highway, the brooklyn bridge, and atlantic ave, i'd stand a chance of getting home in time. TIA.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Breaking Bad as an Austerity Allegory
posted by hellojed at 10:30 AM on September 29, 2013


If we're gonna get all political,

GOOGLE AARON PAUL
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on September 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, man. The marathon just saw Badger present his idea for a Star Trek episode. It's still pretty damned funny.
posted by planetesimal at 10:43 AM on September 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Another funny fact about Bryan Cranston - we all know that from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad, his characters tended to wear tidy whities, but what you don't know is that any close-up shot of Bryan on Breaking Bad where you didn't see the lower half of his body, his pants were always off. His pants were always off. True story, I'm not even joking. His pants are always off." --Aaron Paul, Reddit AMA
posted by maggieb at 11:59 AM on September 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Everybody has to check out Rhaomi's brilliant BrBa post.

Oh my stars and garters.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:00 PM on September 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rhaomi is like the Michelangelo of MetaFilter. He carves and paints epic testaments to the pop culture that is our religion.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:38 PM on September 29, 2013


Way to bring the thread to a screeching halt by pointing to something so intimidatingly well-done, zombieflanders.
posted by wensink at 5:17 PM on September 29, 2013


Follow us over to the fresh thread. Pants optional.
posted by maggieb at 5:49 PM on September 29, 2013


I just woke up with a splitting headache and there's a pizza on the roof. Fuck. Are my pants in this thread?
posted by mannequito at 12:39 AM on October 1, 2013


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