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'Breaking Bad' — 'Ozymandias': ... And Despair

By Daniel Carlson | TV Reviews | September 16, 2013 | Comments ()


breaking-bad-ozymandias.jpg

Breaking Bad has shown itself to be nothing if not enamored of symbolism, so naming an episode “Ozymandias” — after the sonnet by Percy Shelley — is on one level par for the course. It’s a brief but haunting poem about the transient nature of power and the way that hubris lays low even the mightiest of rulers. But it’s also about the way we create legends in our own image and time, and how stories take on a life of their own. The poem’s narrator isn’t talking directly about the wrecked statue of Ozymandias, or the now-ironic inscription “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair”; he’s relaying the fact that he once met a traveler who’d seen these things and who told him about the ruin in the middle of the desert. The legend of Ozymandias outlasted his dominion, and though he ceased being a ruler, he became something far harder to kill: a story, a ghost, an idea to haunt everyone else who would eventually take the throne. When Breaking Bad teased this final half-season with an ad composed of eerie desert shots set to a reading of the poem by Bryan Cranston, the verse’s lamentation became even clearer. It’s a 14-line epic about the endless life of legends, and all the good and bad that entails.

So: the self-destruction of the powerful, and the way their legends outstrip their dynasties. Two things that are very much a part of Walter White’s world.

What’s stunning is how, even at this stage, Walt remains able to bifurcate himself and access what appears to be genuine love or sorrow or regret, albeit for mere seconds at a time before those emotions are perverted into something more reckless. For all his threats and posturing, he seemed to really ache for Hank (as did we all), and his breakdown was a reminder that his half-assed plan, whatever it was, was based more on getting Hank to back down than in causing him harm. He even repeatedly told Saul that killing Hank wasn’t an option to be considered. But the king, eager to bolster his kingdom, enlisted the help of men whose commitment and ruthlessness he greatly miscalculated. And when the worst happened, Walt focused his self-loathing and anger on an external target, pinning Jesse to the cross for Walt’s own deeds. The grimly casual way he set Todd’s crew on Jesse — and then, in Jesse’s moment of desperation, admitted his complicity in the death of Jesse’s former lover — was as terrifying as anything he’s ever done.

Similarly, Walt’s insane rage at his family, when he lost the last bit of control over his world, was shocking, but the act he put on when he called home — stating again and again that it was his drug empire, that Hank had crossed him and suffered the consequences — seemed a canny way to both take responsibility in the eyes of the cops he had to know were listening in while also shielding his family from any potential guilt by association. He excoriated Skyler for her actions, but his version of her was merely a nag, not the money-laundering assistant he’d helped her become. I could be way off (see again my comments last week about the sheer lunacy of trying to read tea leaves 44 minutes at a time), but it felt like a way to buy his family an out, even as he committed himself to the lonely life of a murderer in hiding. The father and the killer, the hater and the hated, all in one man tearing himself apart one pound of flesh at a time.

And oh, Hank Schrader. The man who started out a cowboy and walked through fire to become natural police. His death was the highest price Walt’s yet paid for his crimes, and there was nothing Walt could do to stop the bullet from being fired. Hank’s killing was sad and brutal, and worst of all, done at the hand of some hired thug who didn’t know or care a thing about the situation other than that he wanted to get his dollar and go home. Walt was left with a pile of money the likes of which most of us will never see, but it was a fraction of everything he’d earned, and all his wealth still couldn’t buy his brother-in-law safe passage. After a certain point, Walt’s power became so great he stopped understanding how to control it. That was the real beginning of the end. There’s always someone else coming along. The man who worked to take out Gus Fring couldn’t see he was just as vulnerable to downfall. Hank did the work, hunted his man, and caught the one and only Heisenberg, and for his efforts he was dumped in a hole in the ground in the New Mexico desert. That’s the kind of ache the best stories create in you: the pain of watching someone fight so hard and still come to a bad end. Watching Hank fall, and watching Jesse be beaten and caged, is the kind of piercing heartbreak only the best series achieve. These have become real people for us.

Yet maybe the best and truest moment of the episode — or at least the one that summed up Walt’s entire journey so far — was when Walt had to wheel his barrel of cash through the desert after his car broke down. Set against the easy bounce of “Take My True Love By the Hand,” an old folk song covered by The Limeliters, Walt pushed his last and most precious possession — his true love — over the horizon, bent and sweating but with no other choice than to keep going. The lyrics were as pointed as the lines from “Ozymandias,” but no less haunting for their obviousness: “Times are getting hard, boys / money’s getting scarce. / If things don’t get no better, boys / Gonna leave this place.”

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a member of the Houston Film Critics Society and the Online Film Critics Society. You can also find him on Twitter.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • St

    Well good job Jesse, - is all I could think about after death of poor Hank. Well we all know that it had to be done because it’s a tv show and Jesse couldn't just vanish to happy life in the middle of season. But imagine that this is real situation. And there Jesse was - standing on that road, full of money, waiting for that car to take him to new life and new identity and people would forget about him and his former girlfriend and her son. Where he could leave Walter and all that craziness behind.

    But no. He had to remember that stupid cigarette, then went all angry and run back to revenge Walter. And this is how it ended. Hank is dead, his former girlfriend and her son are now in great danger and could be kidnapped and killed if he escapes, and he is captured and was only saved by very convenient miracle. Good job Jesse. You just couldn’t go to new life. You had to be that stupid..

    P.S. Also did anyone notice that Aaron Paul gained a little weight in the last two years. It’s very little but it shows on his face. It’s more puffy now. He was very lean back in a days. And it was very noticeable in that opening flashback where Aaron was shaved. It was very distracting. Because Jesse used to look much younger back then. And now they shot that flashback many years later and Aaron is not as lean as he was.

  • apsutter

    His face is so damned puffy!!! He's usually so adorable but this season I have been so distracted by his big swollen head

  • St

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed it. What the hell happened to Jesse? He was so adorable in first seasons. But in the last 2 years his look just went away. I don’t understand what happened. It’s not like he gained a lot weight. His body looks good. But face is so damn puffy.

    I understand when Brad Pit at 50 does plastic and looks puffy. But how that happened to Aaron? He lost all his hotness. And it.s bad because he has to think about his career. He has that Need for Speed movie. And he looks puffy in that too. That movie must deliver. Otherwise Aaron will lose his status as leading man. And won’t be asked to star in big movies again.

    It looks like he gained a little weight and it all went to his cheeks. And it is so noticeable because he was so lean back in a days.

  • apsutter

    Speaking of The Pitt, there are new pictures out of him from last weekend and he looks damned good! He cut his hair off(finally) and is morphing into older Robert Redford. He's still got it

  • elenaran

    So, predictions for next week:

    Jesse escapes somehow, then goes and scares/injures/kills some/all of Walt's family. Walt comes out of hiding and gets the ricin and the final showdown occurs.

    Could it happen any other way?

  • Wigamer

    I'll give our resident contrarian this--he (she?) has made me examine my feelings toward Jesse, & had me wondering if I've give him a bit of a pass. Notwithstanding the fact that Jesse's character has *obviously* been written to elicit it, why do I have more sympathy for Jesse than, say, Skyler?

    Walt had little regard for Jesse as a human being from the beginning. Even as his teacher, Walt viewed Jesse as a lazy good-for-nothing, and when he saw Jesse fall out of that window in season one he thought of nothing but how he could exploit Jesse for his own gain. He's lied to him, insulted him, manipulated him, and even coerced him to kill, all the while knowing Jesse was too weak to put up much of a defense. And once Jesse did become strong enough to stand up to him (thanks to his new daddy-figure Mike), Walt was through. Jesse became a liability once he outlived his usefulness. I'm not saying he never had a single feeling for Jesse, but he relentlessly victimized him.

    And Jesse never rationalized a thing. While Walt could provide a thousand reasons why he did the monstrous things he did, Jesse has never offered a single excuse.

  • Josielukie

    I CANNOT wait for the inbred-Hills-Have-Eyes-Aryans to get it. You can be sure Walter White has something for their asses. They can't get away with killing Hank, imprisoning Jesse AND Walt's blood money! And Lydia, too. I think the peckerwoods are going to defile her in the worst way and I can't say I'll be sorry to see her get her comeuppance. Todd is too much of an unfeeling slab of rubber to have any fear or humanness or feeling so him dying isn't going to affect me, or him, either. But Jesse and Walt, I just don't know how to feel anything besides sadness for the both of them. They are just deplorable people, yet so lovable, too. I may need therapy to sort this all out.

  • Arco

    Thank you, you've summed it up well. I am so tired of people *needing* to hate characters. Walt-haters glorify Hank and Jess and keep glossing over the fact that Hank was more than willing to sacrifice Jesse to get Walt, or that Jesse had no problem burning down Walt's family's house (what did Walt's kids ever do to you, Jess?) And then there's the people who want Skyler to get raped and killed and gloss over Walt's terrible deeds.

    They're ALL shades of grey. That's the point. Needing to turn this into 'heroes vs villains' is ignoring what is so brilliant. There are no heroes or villains here. They've all done unforgivable things and I can still understand all of them to some degree.

    (And holy crap did we ever see both the best and the absolute worst Walt can be here...)

    This isn't about heroes and villains or crime and punishment. This is about actions having consequences.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I do hate Walt, but I don't mind the people that still root for him - as long as they don't try to tell me that Skyler/Marie/Hank brought violence upon themselves by simply questioning Walt.

    But, I'm curious, why does Jesse owe Walt any loyalty? What would be an appropriate response from Jesse when Walt:

    Watched Jesse's Girlfriend Die
    Had Jesse kill Gale to preserve the cook

    Poisoned a little boy
    Threatening to turn Jesse in if he doesn't cook meth with him
    The list goes on, but really, are these the actions of someone who's earned a lot of loyalty?

  • Arco

    I'm sorry but what's the point in answering? You hate Walt and so you only list the bad and ignore the good. For the characters you do like, you do it the other way around: you gloss over their misdeeds and only point out how awesome they are. There is no discussion to be had that way. Did you really just ignore several seasons worth where Walt kept protecting Jesse? The only reason things ever went wrong between Walt and Gus if because Gus wanted to get rid of Jesse from the start and Walt kept protecting him, time and again.

    And "Had Jesse kill Gale to preserve the cook" is just sheer nonsense. Did you even watch the show back then? He had him kill Gale because if they didn't, Gus was going to have Mike assassinate both Walt and Jesse. That was very clearly stated. Which is exactly the point I made: there is no real possibilty to discuss these things with someone who is a hater. (No offense meant, you admitted you're a hater)

    In other places that are very pro-Walt, I've defended Jess, Hank and Skyler. It's really all the same type of thinking.

    I don't hate any of the characters. I find them and their story fascinating without needing to judge anyone. I completely understand why Jesse hates Walt and I completely see why Walt now hates Jesse. I can see through either's eyes and understand where they're coming from. I don't need to choose sides.

    (Well, okay, I'm against the Neonazis who need their asses killed. I would love for Walt and Jesse to team up one last time and wipe those fuckers out)

  • Gistine

    I think there is SO much hurt between Jesse and Walt? Don't you? I don't think it's all hate -Maybe 25/75%?

    Maybe the ricin will resurface and Jesse will kill every last one of them, including himself? And don't forget Lydia, she of nine lives! Those inbreds have guns, but they don't have restraint and they certainly don't have smarts. It will be fascinating to see how it all plays out!

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Haters gonna hate, apologizers gonna apologize. It's the way of the world. Hopefully when this crazy show is over we can go out for some Los Pollos Hermanos and laugh about our differences.
    Or one of us will wind up in a barrel, it's hard to tell with these things.

  • Gistine

    Right? :) It's totally about actions and consequences. Honestly, for me all the characters throughout the series (except Holly and Walt Jr.) have had the whole push-pull, hate-love, good-evil dynamic. There have been so many episodes when I was so pissed/shocked/appalled at at least one of the characters, but then they would do something that totally gave me a change of heart. So confusing!

    At the end of the day, they are people and the last time I checked, a lot of people are jacked up. Especially when you throw in copious amounts of money/drugs/cartels/inbreds/family/law. But even then, after all that, one of them (not sure if the inbreds are capable because I do not think they are human) does something that redeems them and tells us, "I'm only human!" And then I find myself asking, what the hell I would do in their situation?

    That's why I believe this show is so amazing because it doesn't sugar-coat anything. The guy doesn't get the girl, and the guy seemingly does not get away with it. There is no "happily ever after" because that is life. I think it's refreshing. Really, the only other show that equates in my opinion is Game of Thrones. Only BB doesn't have porn and beheadings. At least not yet. :)

    PS: I posted earlier as Josielukie - my real-posting name is Gistine. It took me a bit to figure out how to post correctly. :)

  • Arco

    Agreed. The show beautifully demonstrates how much 'bad' many people have in them when the circumstances are there. And how they still insist they are not bad people. Walt not only still doesn't see himself as 'evil' he doesn't WANT to be evil.

    And good point about junior. He is one of the few true innocents in this story. The breaking down of the White family was heart-breaking all around. And it's entirely understandable that both Skyler and Junior think he personally murdered Hank. All the more ironic considering how hard Walt tried to save him, which they will probably never believe.

    But Walt's face when Skyler attacks him with the knife was perfect in its pain and horror (And Skyler, a little over the top, girl. Walt's never once threatened you, no matter how much you hate what he's become. But emotions were flaring all around)

    I loved Junior's calm when he called the cops. He knew it was his mom that started the attacking, he just had to get Walt out of there. With everything he saw, he knew Walt was the element that brought down all this. And then Walt's heart-breaking attempt to keep at least his little girl with him. Clearly not thinking at that point, until the 'mama...' brings him back to reality. Best thing to do for his girl is not to take her on the run with him, but return her to her mom.

    And seriously, if Cranston doesn't get another emmy for the phone call scene alone...! How he struggles to sound like a wife-beating monster, how he's breaking down while doing it. Skyler's face as she realizes what he's doing...man. His final gift to her. Too little, too late, but he tried. Masterful.

  • Gistine

    You're right about Cranston's acting. Masterful, indeed. I think it's scary when comedic actors go the sociopath route. This just demonstrates Cranston's acting is out-of-control awesome, but then again Skylar, Marie, Junior and Hank aren't too shabby either. Remember Skylar just coming un-effing glued: "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" And Jesse, too. He contorts his face in pain and cries like no other. You KNOW that man is HURTING!

    The dynamic of Walt and Jesse is probably one of the best I have ever seen in all fiction. Jesse, at first, wanting to connect and Walt's tough-love, arm's-length fathering was so heartbreaking to watch sometimes. I think much of Jesse's hatred of Walt stems from Walt's rejection of him- At least until he drove the final Grand Canyon-esque wedge when he spilled the beans about allowing Jane to die, and I think even that comparison isn't wide enough. Poisoning Brock was bad enough, but after that revelation, I almost think Jesse would rather suffer at the fate of the inbreds and be a cook-slave then to allow him self to be saved by Walt. Which is SO tragic!

    Remember the chain of events after Jane's death? Her air-traffic controller father unraveled and as a result, caused a horrific plane crash! Walt is responsible for SO many deaths, directly or not. His meth may have been divine, but everything else and everyone he touched imploded. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all of these characters own an asphalt-paving factory. Just, remarkable.

  • apsutter

    The only people that I have unabashedly loved the entire time is Badger and Saul.

  • Gistine

    Thank God for Saul. Who is just as bad as everyone else, but consistently likable and got-damn funny. Were it not for Saul, I'd have no fingernails because he certainly lightened up the tension that was just excruciating at times. Even so, there were plenty of times I found myself laughing at situations that were not something one would ever laugh at.

    I liked Badger's Star Trek ideas. Every tragedy needs a fool and he fit the bill rather nicely, IMHO. They cast all the tweakers perfectly, too. Including the inbreds.

  • chanohack

    HOW QUICKLY YOU FORGET STEVE GOMEZ. GOD, he's not even cold yet!

  • Wigamer

    *Pouring one out for Gomie*

  • Bert_McGurt

    I'm pretty fond of Skinny Pete too.

  • Fearganainm

    See last weeks discussion...

  • apsutter

    Oh and how about the cold open? Jesse was cracking me up! And in hindsight how sad was that interaction between Sky and Walt? They really loved each other and he just threw it away.

  • Sarah Meigs

    Well said! I love the connection to the poetry. Thanks for the enlightenment! I also think that Hank's story is one led by power and ego. He was just on a different side of it. Looking forward to reading your blog next week!

  • Kristin

    God, this show is incredible. I haven't felt this upset by a fictional character's death since Wallace in the Wire. Hearing the anguish in Skyler's voice as she asked, "Where's Hank?" was just as haunting as D asking, "Where's Wallace!?"

  • apsutter

    I was re-watching it this morning and I had to skip the part with Jesse in the cell. It made me feel physically ill.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I was so grateful they didn't show the beating... yet. My MIL was covering her eyes and telling me to fast-forward.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Am I correct that if Skylar has been saved from anything, it is only prosecution? If they can tie their possessions to any of the drug money, they will take them, right? She's alive, she has her children (whether Jr./Flynn wants that is questionable) but she will be ruined, ostracized and destroyed. Unless she goes into witness protection, I guess. You know, like she should have when she initiated divorce proceedings against Walt.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Whether she was Bonnie to his Clyde or just a hostage, the government should be coming for her. To take the business, the house and probably Walt Jr.'s car.

    Also, I find it really hard to believe that a forensic accountant couldn't produce proof that she was cooking the books at the car wash, which in turn should reopen the fraud investigation in Ted's company. Legally speaking, she should serve time, it may be minimal, but she should serve some.

  • apsutter

    I think she'll play along and spill everything she knows which will help them in their investigation of Hank and Gomie's murders. I was also thinking they would put the White family in Witness Protection because during that phone call Walt was incredibly menacing and threatened her several times.

  • Mrs. Julien

    She should serve TONS of time. She'll probably serve a little. She could argue she was forced to cook the books. If they look at Ted's books too things could go awry.

  • apsutter

    She laundered the money into Beneke's company so wouldn't everything appear to be on the up and up there?

  • Mrs. Julien

    I couldn't remember. One would think a good forensic accountant could figure it out OR is it that as they show a paper trail they can't do anything?

  • Bert_McGurt

    She's alive...for now.

  • meadowdancer

    Based on the phone call I am assuming that Skyler has already worked some kind of deal out with the police. For all we know the police/prosecutor has already frozen their joint bank accounts.

    However yep Walt Jr. now knows that she knew about it and of course Marie. No matter what I think that those two will still blame her at least partially for Hank's death when that all comes out into the open.

    I don't think she would do witness protection since I don't see her son going along with it.

  • Fredo

    Even if she's not afraid of Walt -- and by that point, she's gotta be -- she's also got to be afraid of any other elements out there. Going into WitSec is really her only alternative to escape with her children.

    But yeah, Walt Jr will resent her and I can't imagine that she will have much of a relationship with Marie regardless of what happens.

  • meadowdancer

    True.

    I think she is just done. She is going to have her son hating her and will become estranged from Marie for life due to any WitSec deal

  • Mrs. Julien

    They should blame her. She is culpable.

  • meadowdancer

    Oh I agree. Not at first but once Skyler found out what Walt was doing she should have divorced his butt and took the kids (even with his threats). I would have went right to Hank and told him what was going on.

  • apsutter

    Agreed. Remember the moment when her divorce attorney(or maybe therapist, I can't remember offhand) told her that she had to get out now or she was liable. She should have done it, it's not like Walt was not going to get found out at some point.

  • meadowdancer

    Yup. I think her deal is worse though since Walt is never going to take any responsibility for his actions and be gone, she is going to have to deal with the fallout all on her own. I do feel for Skyler since she is in the shittest situation now.

  • chanohack

    The decisions she made, for whatever arguable reasons, were against her better judgement and rather naively hoping for the best. Her life is pretty much ruined and she could have salvaged part of it a few times, which she probably sees clearly in hindsight. I think we can understand that her own actions led her there and pity her at the same time. (Same goes for several of the main characters.)

  • apsutter

    She definitely could have gotten out many times which is interesting because it mirrors Walt's journey. There were many times that he could have gotten out but he just didn't want to until he got bored with it. Just think of when he bought the new hot water heater and then found rot under the house so he spent days fixing it. Then he ran into those two guys at the Home Improvement store who were buying meth supplies and he clearly missed the excitement of it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    They could have left with 80 million and a confused son. Now he's alone with 11 million and a destroyed family.

  • Wigamer

    Yeah, Ms. "Let's Buy Car Wash #2" doesn't exactly have clean hands.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Remember when she went to the four corners and flipped a coin and then slid it back to New Mexico? She made her bed.

  • meadowdancer

    Yep.

  • pfeiffer87

    I don't understand all these Walt apologists - I mean I thought sane society agreed that murder, deceit, bullying and greed were wrong - right? RIGHT?? Walt is a bad man, please stop trying to make out he's alright, it worries me.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Maybe this is just sofa psychology, but (at least reading the Team
    Walt posts) there seem to be a lot of Breaking Bad fans who are pathetic
    little men that feel henpecked by their significant other and dream of
    the day they can unleash their inner Heisenberg. That's the only way I can explain some of the insane comments about people "making Walt kill/hurt them".
    That or some people are just assholes.

  • jon29

    I think there's a middle ground between the apologists (ridiculous) and the prevailing opinion around here that Walt has always been a bad person.

    It's not that I want Walt to win, exactly. It's more like I can see how, having made one morally questionable decision, he's left with an ever increasingly immoral set of decisions, and while he obviously can't walk them back, I can see how he got there. There's a really interesting place between wanting him to come out OK, and knowing that he can't, and shouldn't. I find him a sympathetic monster.

  • meadowdancer

    I think it's because people want him to win. Walt is an anti-hero though. What Breaking Bad did well was show you Walt's struggle to try to provide for his family and how it just spiraled into a never ending mess that he was never going to be free from.

    My turning point with him was when he let Jane die in Season 2 and lied about it to Jesse to get him back on his side. I was just flat out horrified by him.

    From the beginning it was about how an ordinary man, who was science smart thought that he could translate that into being people smart. I always thought that Walt didn't just kill Gus because he was under his thumb but also because Walt had that need to show Gus that he was better than him. Heck when he got in Skyler's face about being the one that knocked I freaking got scared for her. He has not been Walt for a while now. Just Heisenberg.

    Before it is all said and done I am scared something horrible is going to happen to the kids.

  • googergieger

    ditto for jesse then.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Jesse is a bad guy, and he knows it and hates himself for it. That's why a lot of people feel a bit of sympathy for him.
    Walt is a bad guy, but he believes that he's a good man forced to do bad things by bad people. He accepts no blame for his actions and remains an arrogant little dip-shit.
    So, can we agree that both are bad and move on from there?

  • googergieger

    But Walt doesn't think he is a good man. Walt thinks he is a right man. Walt points out that the drug money is dirty money to Jesse. Walt knows he is a piece of shit, but he thinks he is all the superior for knowing it, and there being reasons for it. He doesn't think he is forced to do bad things. He thinks the bad things are the best options, so he takes them.

    Jesse hates Walt. Jesse thinks bad things have happened and he was accidentally a part of them. Jesse never thinks about how his actions have consequences. Both are horrible. So if you hate one, hate the other. Someone did that a few BB articles bad. Major props to the dude.

  • Wigamer

    Jesse has not always hated Walt. Jesse has at times looked at Walt as a surrogate father figure (remember the watch for Walt's birthday?) and has been gratified by the times Walt has seemed proud of him. He sure as hell hates him now, though.

  • googergieger

    Of course he didn't always hate Walt. He hated him the more he realized what he was doing was wrong and the more Walt seemed okay with it. Never the less, Jesse kept on doing it, and well Walt was okay with it. Why would he stop doing it?

  • Wigamer

    I agree that Jesse is not totally innocent--he cooked meth, dealt meth, and took part in many bad things. I'm curious--do you think Jesse would've done any of this stuff without Walt's influence?

  • googergieger

    He cooked and dealt before Walt ever approached him to team up?

  • Wigamer

    Yes to the cooking and dealing--he was 100% involved in that before Walt ever showed up. Totally fair point. My opinion is that there is one thing that separates Jesse and Walt, and tends to make Jesse more sympathetic and it's this: Jesse feels remorse (for the murders, etc.) and Walt talks himself out of feeling any remorse. Jesse is bothered by what he's done; Walt is bothered by what's been done to him, or what he's been "forced" by circumstance to do.

  • googergieger

    But I mean how many times can that be an excuse? If Jesse feels bad. Feels what he is doing is wrong. But constantly does it anyways. Can you still like the kid and totally hate Walt? I mean it'd be interesting if Jesse hated Walt because he kept feeling worse about what he has done, meanwhile Walt has found a way to be okay with it(almost jealousy?). Granted I don't think that is the case. He has valid reasons to hate Walt and all.

    But yeah, in Walt's mind the ends justify the means. So he can move on. Jesse can't. So Walt wasn't continuing down a path he felt was wrong. He was okay with it. Meanwhile Jesse constantly did what he felt was wrong. Out of ignorance? Out of he couldn't do anything else? Walt does bad because he can rationalize it. Jesse does bad because he really doesn't think his actions have consequences. And after a while, that excuse just doesn't stick. I think the people that still like Jesse feel his excuse of him not knowing any better/feeling bad about the bad he does is valid. I think the people that dislike/hate both Walt and Jesse, realize it's the same shit different toilet with them. If Walt and Jesse both shot someone I cared about, one to save himself and the other to save someone else, I'd still hate them both just the same.

  • Wigamer

    I agree that Jesse and Walt have both had chances to walk away. And both have, at different points.

    You mentioned previously Jesse wanting the dirty money as much as Walt, but last I saw Jesse was throwing the money out the window of his car while Walt was burying his in the desert.

    Walt broke my heart during that phone call to Skyler & when he left Holly at the fire station. I still want him to face the consequences of his actions, though. I feel like Jesse's been facing some of the consequences of his actions all along & Walt's have been (somewhat) delayed. I don't think you're 100% wrong, we just disagree in degree. Which is fine, right?

  • googergieger

    But Walt accepts it is dirty money and who he is. Again Walt had to point out to Jesse it was dirty money. When Walt confronted Jesse with it matter of factly, Jesse could no longer be ignorant to it. That he feels bad, he thinks he is innocent, but he is still getting paid from all the bad he thinks he is above. If Walt gave him the money then and there and let him walk away, Jesse would be spending that money right now without a second thought. Much in the same way Walt couldn't see Hank was already a dead man and lost majority of his money for no reason. Jesse couldn't see that him feeling bad means nothing if he takes the money anyways.

    I think the disagreement is in the fact you can forgive Jesse because he asks for it. Where as I feel at least with Walt you know he'd fuck you if you gave him the chance. With Jesse, he'd fuck you, apologize for it because it was an accident, and then go right back to fucking you. One or two of these Breaking Bad write ups back, someone pointed out that I might know a Jesse Pinkman and most people probably do too. I know someone who is a nice guy but selfishly and ignorantly constantly fucks everyone over and makes his life much harder than it has to be. Coincidentally enough he also was/is a meth dealer. And honestly he deserves all the bad that comes his way. Unfortunately his family doesn't, but that is what Pinkman's do. Don't think about how their actions can have consequences that can hurt those around them and innocent people in general. Just feel bad after the fact and go right back to the pattern.

  • googergieger

    Woah, sorry for the wall of text. Probably way more than it needed to be.

  • Mrs. Julien

    "We make poison for people who don't care." From the first cook, he crossed the line. It's been fascinating to watch, but he is a wretched excuse for a human being, but this is the life he chose and he deserves every bad thing that happens to him. As does our beloved Jesse, as does Skylar.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Did it occur to anyone else that now would be the perfect time to use the "confession" DVD? Hank can't defend himself and there are no witnesses to gainsay Walt.

  • meadowdancer

    Hmm not really.

    Marie knows that Walt is really Heisenberg and the flashforward scenes show that eventually that comes out that he is Heisenberg due to the graffiti.

    I think no matter what he is cooked since Skylar is obviously going to tell the cops what she knows and the cops already suspect him or know what was up since they tapped the phone call. With the phone call Walt gave Skylar an out so she is not arrested for the meth side of things.

  • Mrs. Julien

    You're right, of course. I was thinking it when Marie was confronting Skyler, but it is too late now.

  • meadowdancer

    Yeah it could have worked out maybe if Walt hadn't come home and Skyler finally saw the damn light about Walt and her actions. Heck I am not giving her a pass either. She was all for killing Jesse to make sure he didn't rat on them.

    I think what I love best is you see this perfectly ordinary family that got sucked into something that Walt decided that needed to happen in order to take care of them. And what is Walt left with. Just a ruined life, family, and still trying to tell himself that he was the good guy. Ugh.

  • apsutter

    Good points, small correction...Sky wanted Jesse dead because she thought he was going to try and harm the family not rat on them.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Yep. He destroyed the thing he was most trying to protect by taking an unethical and immoral path. Perfect. If he'd died of the cancer they could have mourned him. Now they have all (except Holly) been ruined by his prideful acts of "love".

  • Bert_McGurt

    So I woke up this morning in the half-vague, half-vivid remembrance of a dream about going on the run with Jesse Pinkman. My subconscious has never tried to rescue a TV character before and it didn't make for the best sleep.

    I feel like Aaron Paul has spent half the episodes of this show with his face beaten in, and the other half with his soul beaten in. Walt has ruined a lot of lives, but I don't know that anyone else has been so thoroughly abused as Jesse. It sounds absolutely ludicrous to say, but he would have been BETTER OFF AS A METHHEAD.

    But this can't be it for Jesse. For better or worse, consciously or not, he's picked up a lot from Walt. He's been a surprisingly good learner. And the flashback at the start of the episode has me wondering if we'll get to see all that Jesse has learned. Perhaps he'll remember how Crazy 8 and Emilio were incapacitated and get his revenge on f*ckin' Todd. And then, maybe, on f*ckin' Walter.

  • Mrs. Julien

    And it's all so efficient the way they do it. It's a business plan.

  • Mrs. Julien

    The gasp I made when Walt told Jesse about Jane was a good 8 seconds long. Talk about burning nuking a bridge.

    I was watching with my mother-in-law and even in the midst of the craziness when Walt took Holly, we both admitted that we had thought, "HE DOESN'T HAVE A CAR SEAT!". Then when I watched again later with Mr. Julien (long story), it took all my strength not to say, "Watch this!" or "You ain't seen nothing yet!" when things kept escalating. All bets are off. I thought for sure someone was going to get it in that ugly, ugly fight at the Whites.

    On Talking Bad last week, Cranston spoke about how Walt originally operated purely from intellect and as things progressed he has become more dominated by emotion. I kept that in mind when Walt kept making profoundly stupid decisions when speaking to the White Supremacists. And the hubris, "Pinkman. You still owe me Pinkman." God damn, Walt., trying to prove he is still in control of something, anything and lashing out in a counterproductive way. That scene in the house was like a nightmare come-to-life when one knows there is a desperate situation and no one will listen to you. It was the one time I wanted them to go without question.

    Hank's death was the only true thing that could have happened. The writers could have saved him for the fans, but it wouldn't have been honest.

    Thank God, they didn't show Jesse getting tortured. He's such a raw nerve that to watch him get hurt would have been unbearable. "They don't show it," was the one thing I allowed myself to tell Mr. J while we watched. Jesus, that leash on Jesse. They have $70M and Meth Damon still wants to proceed with the cook.

    Lastly, if I may, not only did Walt look like Gus Fring lying on the ground after his partner/Hank was killed, he also looked at exactly like the tragedy half of a comedy/tragedy drama mask.

  • Wigamer

    Uncle Jack & co. seem gone. Do they need to sell meth if they already have $70 million? Maybe Meth Damon needs to learn how to cook from Jessie in order to keep working with his girlfriend Lydia?

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I totally had that thought about Holly too. "Walt, you monster, she doesn't have a car seat!"

  • apsutter

    Fucking nazis have a ready made torture pit. Walt wailing(sp?) when Hank died was so awful and his crying during that phone call. He fogged up his glasses from it!

  • chanohack

    They don't show it YET. (I had the same thought about the carseat. Walter White had truly lost it.)

  • Mrs. Julien

    Oh God. When I was watching, I was thinking that there was a rough justice to what happened to Jesse. He's culpable and the universe is exacting its revenge. Designated meth cook for the Aryan nation, once again Gilligan shows us there are fates worse than death.

  • chanohack

    Even if he lives, he's a destroyed person. That's been true for weeks now, but every episode just seems to emphasize it more. Even if some wild twist of fate happens and he walks away with no legal trouble and the barrel of cash, he's not surviving.

  • Mrs. Julien

    He's already dead. Remember when Jesse told his therapy group that he had realised he was the bad guy. This is what happens to bad guys, if there is any justice.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    They burned the forest to the ground. Offered no apologies. The rabbit had it coming.

  • K1i1

    Excellent episode. By the way, did anyone notice Walt passing what looked suspiciously like a beige pair of pants lying discarded in the desert as he was pushing his barrel?

  • apsutter

    His pants from the first episode

  • K1i1

    Exactly. Very nice touch.Maybe if Walt and his pants had finally been reunited everything might have been ok- but it was not to be.

  • Fearganainm

    I love it when I'm right...

  • apsutter

    What did you predict?

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's glorious, isn't it?

  • Iman Alterego

    Could not sleep after viewing such an intense episode. Next week, I'm watching it on Monday morning, but I think we've seen the worst. Final episode is called "Felina," which could mean a few things, but I looked up the lyrics to an old Marty Robbins song called "El Paso." Felina is the girl in the song, and Vince G. seems to love such references.
    http://www.metrolyrics.com/el-...

  • Guest

    This was fantastic!
    Most of them got what they deserved, whats missing is the payback for the goons, but thats what the M60 is for.

  • phofascinating

    I would put my hand over my heart and say "Ohhh Marie...." and be on the verge of tears every time they cut to her. I can't handle seeing her reaction when she finds out about Hank's fate. It breaks my heart just thinking about it.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I loved Hank and Marie so much. I really felt her pain. Hank was truly her partner and that must have been just unfathomable for her.

  • ZizoAH

    Give baby Holly ALL THE EMMY's.

  • apsutter

    Seriously, usually child actors are the bane of a show's existence but I'll be damned if she didn't steal the end of that episode.

  • chanohack

    And can you Pajibans chime in on this: clearly Walt's phone call was made to take as much blame as possible because he knew the cops were listening. He even made it seem like he was threatening Skyler's life the entire time. BUT, was that his plan when he grabbed Holly and stormed out? Or was that an emotional reaction to stay in control of something, or to hurt Skyler, or to hold on to the only member of his family that hadn't turned on him? Basically, do you guys think he took the baby with the intention of making himself look like a monster? Or did that plan come later, and he took the baby because he was BEING a monster? (I think it's the latter.)

  • Wigamer

    Walt frequently acts out in a petty, vindictive way...I think it was retaliation for Skyler "turning" Walt Jr. against him. It was very similar to him killing Mike. He killed Mike because Mike shamed him, not for any strategic reason. He as much as admitted that to Mike as he was dying. Same thing here; he didn't think through how Holly might slow him down, or what would happen to if the cancer made him too sick to care for her. In the moment, he just wanted to hurt Skyler. Same reason he told Jesse about Jane.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    He is a monster. But I think once he realized how utterly impractical it was for him to run off with Holly, he decided to do, somewhat the right thing.

    I don't think the whole thing was planned. Walt has a history of acting rashly then having to plan quickly to make up for the shit he pulled.

  • googergieger

    .....

  • apsutter

    He was being an emotional asshole when he took the baby. My immediate first thought was that when he was looking down on Sky and Jr and screamed about them being family and they were looking back at him with fear in their eyes he knew that they had turned on him. So he was going to take the one family member who would still love him wholely and that he could still sell his lies to. Then when Holly calls for mommy and wants nothing to do with him (rightfully so, Walt clearly nevers spends any damn time with his kids) he realizes what he must do.

  • emmalita

    The last few episodes they've showed Walt with Holly a lot. Which has made me more and more afraid for her.

  • He was being a monster. Walt has a history of incredibly rash and dangerous choices. But he's also good at coming up with plans under pressure. So he feels like he was justified until Holly rejects him. Then he realizes its not going to work.
    I know pink is said symbolize death in this show. There is a shot that lingers on Holly's swinging pink dress as Walt packs. I think its Holly that kills Heisenberg, so to speak.
    I'm wondering if that dog that crosses the street at the end means anything.

  • apsutter

    I'm really curious about the dog too! It was the one thing I couldn't figure out and it clearly meant something.

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