Walter White begins his escape from home as we say goodbye to Saul Goodman and find out just how far Todd will go to keep Jesse in line…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Empires are always rising and falling in America.
Okay, so that’s not exactly what Nathaniel Hawthorne said, but in the context of Breaking Bad it certainly fits given Walter White’s rise to the top of the drug trade all the way to the point where he’s crashing down on a broken down mattress in a one room shack somewhere in the hills of New Hampshire. We’ll get back to New Hampshire in a few minutes, but first let’s give a run down of how we arrive there as well as the other shocking incidents in the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad.
We Say Hello Mr. Lambert and Goodbye Saul
At the end of last week’s monster episode of Breaking Bad we see Walt getting into the minivan of Saul’s contact who can make anybody disappear for the right amount of money. Jesse passed up on the opportunity to go for a ride with him (he might be regretting that decision right about now), but Walt takes the opportunity to disappear now that he’s been exposed as the evil Heisenberg. This is where we meet Robert Forster’s character, and he does a great job with his deadpan portrayal of the man responsible for helping wanted criminals flee capture. Imagine his character from Jackie Brown except he’s not trying to catch anybody, just the opposite.
His second pickup after Walt is for attorney Saul Goodman, who is also leaving in great haste after relationship with Heisenberg has obviously been exposed as well. Saul’s new identity will make him a cornhusker in Nebraska where he hopes to be slathering on icing all over delicious Cinnabons by the middle of next month. Walt has other ideas. He wants Saul to put together a list of ‘hitters’ that can help him take out Uncle Jack, Todd and anybody else that’s standing in the way of the $70 or so million they took from him in the desert after executing Hank and his partner Gomez. Saul pleads with Walt to go down like Dillinger, to give himself up and go to jail for his crimes because if he doesn’t it’s Skyler that will bear the brunt of the punishment from the cops.
Walt wants no part of that plan, and tries to unleash Heisenberg on Saul, but as his shell disappears what is revealed instead is a sick, dying chemistry teacher who just lost his family, all of his money and is left a broken man. Saul exits for his new life in Nebraska, parting with Walt for one final time. Walt’s new residence (after a 30+ hour ride in the back of a propane truck) is a one-room shack in the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire — the Granite State — thus the title of our episode.
There Walt will have access to a wood burning stove, enough food to keep him fed for about a month, and a couple of copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium on DVD. His new pal who helped forget this escape will return about once a month with supplies and anything else he may need including New Mexico newspapers, presumably so he can keep up with the case and how his family is doing.
Todd’s House of Horrors
A DEA agent is driving Marie home when they notice that the front door of their house is kicked in and the whole place was ransacked. The house is turned upside down, including the camera equipment used to record Jesse’s confession to Hank and Gomez. Next thing we see is the taped confession currently being mocked by Uncle Jack and his Nazi co-horts. At this point in the tape we hear Jesse tell the story about Todd shooting and killing little Drew Sharp in cold blood. The chilling look on Todd’s face hearing all this is almost as if this is a replay of the big game where he scored four touchdowns. He’s proud, and he’s made his psychotic uncle proud as well. The only problem with this whole scenario is Jesse was ratting out not only Mr. White, but Todd as well and Jack won’t have any of that.
Jack heads out to the pit where Jesse is being kept, planning to execute him for his part in the confession. Todd begs Jack to leave Jesee be for now because they are cooking up some of the bluest meth this world has ever seen, and there’s never enough money to be made despite the fact that they just walked away with $70 million of Walt’s money. It’s then that Jack realizes it’s Lydia that’s putting Todd in this ever so gracious mood. Todd’s in love, and Jack can’t fault him for that so he’ll let Jesse live…for now.
What they can’t live with is the chance that Skyler White will rat them out to the police or mention any of their associates to the cops. So in one of the scariest scenes that Breaking Bad has ever incorporated, with a police car outside keeping an eye on the house, Skyler hears Holly begin to cry in the other room. As she enters her daughter’s bedroom, three masked men looming over the crib all pounce to grab her and it’s clear that Todd is the one who will conduct this little interview. He makes sure that Skyler has no plans of telling the cops anything about anybody that was involved in his operation — especially the pretty black haired lady who came into visit the car wash not long ago. A terrified Skyler complies as she picks up Holly in a moment of terror as Walt’s life continues to haunt them.
Jesse has been put through the ringer this season. From his catatonic state in the early parts of this season to turning rat to make sure Walt pays for all of his past crimes all the way to the moment when he lays eyes on a picture of Andrea and Brock being used and incentive to make sure he helps Todd to continue to cook the blue meth. But even in his damaged mental state, Jesse can still hope to find some self-preservation when he notices a paperclip on the picture he’s been given of Andrea and Brock to keep him company. He’s able to undo his handcuffs and ankle cuffs and begin his attempts at escaping. In the middle of this, Todd shows up with some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as a reward after the pair hit 96-percent on the most recent batch of meth. It’s a creepy brother dynamic that Todd has developed with Jesse because for as much abuse as he’s given him over the past few weeks, he’s still ultimately protecting him from Jack’s wrath.
The meth being produced at such high qualities calls for Todd to add a little happiness to his life as well when he gets a visit from Lydia at a local coffee shop. She’s ready to sever ties with him and his entire organization, and calls it quits by saying ‘we need to take a break’. Now for anybody that’s ever been a part of any relationship, those are six words no one ever wants to hear. A break is just a friendly way of saying break up. But Todd has other plans in store because just as Lydia is ready to bolt, he reveals that he’s gotten the cooks up above 90-percent.
“Those are Heisenberg levels,” Lydia says with surprise in her eyes.
Todd has repaired his relationship with Lydia for now and he tells her as much when he proclaims that they are good together. The final shot between the two showed Todd picking up something off of the back of Lydia’s jacket while she stares off into space amazed at the prospects of Heisenberg level meth. It was truly the perfect way to showcase Todd as the creepy psychopath that he is as he gently picks up something off of Lydia’s clothing like she’s his girlfriend and their meth deal is just a way of advancing their relationship.
Back at Nazi headquarters, Jesse is ready to make a run for it. He gets the cuffs off and manages to slip up to the top of the cage and undo the lock as he prepares for a shot at making it over the barbed-wire fence walls surrounding the camp. He doesn’t notice a camera staring right back at him in the face, and within seconds the Nazi crew busts him trying to scale the wall. Jesse pleads with them to just end this and put him out of his misery. They have other plans.
A few moments later Jesse knocks on a door, and when it opens Andrea appears. He tells her that he’s a friend of Jesse’s and he’s actually out in the truck parked across the street. She walks out looking for Jesse, but he’s hogtied in the truck only able to lay eyes on the woman he loves. Just then Todd speaks and says “Just so you know, this is nothing personal” before popping a silencer capped gunshot into Andrea’s head. She crumbles to the ground in a pile as Jesse can only watch and react in sheer horror. To calm him down, Jack sends him a chilly reminder — there is still the kid he needs to worry about. In other words, Jesse keeps cooking, he stays their prisoner, and if any of those conditions change, Brock will join his mother in the ground.
There have been a lot of deaths on Breaking Bad. Most of them have been fairly emotional, even with the characters we may not have loved or cared about as much. But witnessing Todd pull the trigger to put Andrea’s life to an end may have been the most disturbing and shocking death of the entire series — or at least since last week when we saw Hank undergo the same fate.
Walter White is Dead
Back in the cabin in New Hampshire we find Walt months later now with a full head of hair and beard (remember the debut episode from this season). His contact has returned with new supplies, some reading glasses, the New Mexico newspapers, an at home chemotherapy kit, and some information about Skyler and the family. Skyler is now working part time as a taxi dispatcher, but she still has the kids. They are living in a new place as the house has been put up for auction, but the bank had to put a fence around it after locals turned it into a celebrity tour. The entire place has been worked over since the New Mexico community learned that Heisenberg lived among them (again now we know why the house was in ruins at the beginning of the season). Skyler’s public defender isn’t doing her much good, and the trial that she’s about to undergo hasn’t started yet.
Walt wants to get this money to his wife and kids, but maybe more than anything right now he’s just begging for some human contact. He offers to pay his contact $10,000 to just stay for an extra hour to pass the time with him while he takes his chemotherapy. Since the day he arrived there, Walt has been trying to gather the strength and fortitude to leave the house and trek the eight miles to the closest town to escape this little piece of hell. Everyday he tries, and everyday he turns around.
But after hearing about his family’s misery, he packs up one box full of money and heads down to the local bar where he has a woman call Flynn’s school pretending to be his Aunt Marie. Flynn answers and Walt begs him to listen — he’s sorry for everything he’s done, and he wants to help them out with some money so he’s going to send it to his friend Louis’ house where he can pick it up. Flynn seems receptive at first as his eyes fill up with water, but a moment later he begins shouting at his father for killing his Uncle Hank and betraying the entire family but just staying alive right now. Flynn hangs up in a justifiable moment of anger, and Walt is once again a broken man. He decides enough is enough. He picks up the last of his quarters, and places another call. This one is to the Albuquerque DEA’s office where he identifies his name as Walter White before dropping the phone knowing full well they can trace his location.
He sits down for one final drink awaiting the arrival of authorities when a stray channel on television catches his eye. It’s his old friends the Schwartz’s and they are discussing with Charlie Rose the new endeavor they are starting and his question to them is simple — is this just an attempt to distance themselves from their association with Walter White? Both quickly answer back not at all, and then Elliott proceeds to say that combining his last name which means black with Walt’s last name White was how they came up with the name Grey Matter Technologies. That’s all he had to do with the company. Gretchen then tells the cameras that the friend they once knew as Walter White is long gone. The sweet, friendly Walt is gone.
It all comes back around for Walt in that brief moment. It was Gray Matter Technologies that spurned him once upon a time to begin in the meth business after they cut him out of billions using his science and research to build the company from the ground floor. It was that deal where Walt felt helpless and too nice and friendly to do anything about it. It was there that he began to allow Heisenberg to be revealed. And in that moment when he saw Elliott and Gretchen taking credit once again for his work while essentially patting him on the head for being a nice guy once upon a time, he’s had enough.
As the cops arrive to arrest Walter White, the bar stool is empty and a tip is left next to his drink. It’s true, Walter White is gone. He’s dead and buried. Now all that’s left is Heisenberg…
Make sure to come back next week for the series finale of Breaking Bad!