SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Ozymandias" episode of "Breaking Bad" contains storyline and character spoilers.
It's OK if your brain just imploded, if you cannot yet speak about that episode of TV which you have just watched, if you feel the need to crawl into a corner and rock silently for a while. That's where we all are right now.
But just so you have the corroboration of another witness that you did in fact see what you just saw — everything that you saw, the whole episode's worth of reveals, shocks, and heartbreakers, an episode so packed with big moments that it would have taken any other series at least half a season (or half a series) to unspool them — we'll run down the events of "Ozymandias."
1. The episode opened in To'hajiilee, but not with the climax of last week's cliffhanger shootout. Instead, a flashback showed Jesse and Walt (in tighty-whities, for those who didn't think we'd seen the last of that look) sniping at each other about their meth-cooking session in the old RV. Walt wandered off to make a phone call to a pregnant Skyler (lying about why he would be home late), and that's when they first discussed naming their baby girl Holly. Simpler times.
2. Then, present-day To'hajiilee. The gunfire ends. Uncle Jack and his men are all standing. Pan to a bleeding leg… it's Hank. Pan to a dead body sprawled on the ground… it's Gomez. Jesse is MIA, and Uncle Jack and his minions move towards Hank. Walt has made himself heard, finally, that he doesn't want Hank to be killed, because he's his brother-in-law. "No, he's family! He's my family," Walt says. But it's too late. Jack knows Hank is a DEA agent. Walt offers him $80 million to spare Hank, but even Hank knows it's too late.
"You're the smartest guy I ever met, and you're too stupid to see: He made up his mind ten minutes ago," a resigned Hank says to Walt, right before Uncle Jack puts a bullet into his head.
Uncle Jack, Todd, and company don't need Walt to give them his money, anyway. Uncle Jack deduced that Walt's very specific coordinates led to more than just his location; he guessed the money is buried there. He and his men dig it up, take all but one barrel, and are about to leave Walt with that barrel of cash ($11 million)… until Walt reminds Jack he agreed to kill Jesse.
Jack says he'll do it if Walt can find him, and Walt does. Jesse was hiding under Walt's car, and Todd suggests they drag him off for questioning, just before Uncle Jack is about to kill him. Before Jesse goes, Walt — clearly blaming Jesse for Hank's death — tells Jesse he watched Jane die; he allowed her to die as he watched.
3. Walt drives out of To'hajiilee, but his car sputters, out of gas. He rolls the barrel along until he happens upon a house, with an old truck parked in front of it. He buys the truck, heads home, and immediately starts throwing his and his family's clothes into suitcases.
Meanwhile, Marie, who thinks Hank is at the DEA office booking Walt (as per his call to her last week), goes to the car wash to warn Skyler that her world is about to crash down around her. She also tells Skyler to tell Walt Jr. the truth about his dad, or she will. Junior doesn't believe it at first, and angrily rides home with his mother, telling her she is just as bad as Walt if she knew what he was doing all along.
When Skyler, Junior, and baby Holly walk into their home, Walt is frantically packing, yelling at them to grab their possessions so they can lam it. They refuse, as Skyler slowly begins to realize that if Walt is free — when Hank was supposedly booking him — it means something has happened to Hank. When Walt admits the truth (or a version of it), Skyler grabs a butcher knife and tries to force him out of the house. They end up in a tussle with the knife after she slashes his hand, and Walt Jr. has to pull his dad off his mom. Junior then pulls out his cell phone and calls the cops on his dad, who runs out the door… with baby Holly.
4. After a vicious call to Skyler, who's surrounded by Junior, Marie, and police officers at the house, Walt sends Holly home, via the fire department. He leaves her in a fire engine, with a note pinned to her, and turns on the engine's flashing lights so she'll be noticed right away.
5. Final scene: Walt is waiting beside a road, with his suitcases and his barrel, at the same spot where Jesse had waited earlier for Saul's fixer guy. This time, when the red van pulls up and stops, Walt loads what's left of his life — a few bags and a barrel of money — into it and rides away.
Get a sneak peek at next week's "Breaking Bad" right here:
"Breaking Bad" Bits:
* Before these final eight episodes began airing, Vince Gilligan previewed that this is the best episode of the entire series. Vince Gilligan does not lie. Vince Gilligan does not exaggerate, not even a little bit.
* That song that played while Walt rolled his barrel through To'hajiilee: "Times Are Getting Hard, Boys."
* "Ozymandias," the episode's title, refers to the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem of the same name, about a once great leader who falls, at least partially, because of his own ego. Listen again to Bryan Cranston read the poem here.
Let's hear your thoughts on:
* Walt's angry, vitriolic phone call to Skyler, before leaving Holly at the fire station: Did you think he was simply being vicious? Or did he know the cops were listening in on the call, and he was trying to distance Skyler from his actions, to at least give her a chance of not being connected to his crimes? He emphasized that he was the only one responsible for everything he did, and tried to seem menacing, as if he had threatened and coerced her into going along with him.
* Walt told Skyler in "Rabid Dog" that Jesse was not a dog, but now he's chained up like one — bruised and battered — in Todd's meth lab. Is Todd going to make Jesse teach him how to cook the blue meth the correct way? Does Jesse get free somehow instead? And if so, does Todd end up in a barrel of acid, just like that little boy he shot?
* Which broke your heart more: Walt so coldly telling Jesse that he let Jane die, or Walt Jr. finding out the truth about his dad?
* Hank: defiant to the end, the only way that character should have gone out. Dean Norris must be on the Emmy nomination list next year.
* Walt's reaction, collapsing to the ground, his glasses askew, to Hank being murdered: Was he sincerely distraught at the loss because he really did care about Hank, or because he realized this would be the event that ensured he would not survive with his family intact?
* Walt has told himself all along he was doing everything for his family, for his children. That's how he continued to justify his actions. And now, all Walt's children have turned on him: Jesse, his pseudo son; Walt Jr.; and even Holly, who only cried for her mama when Walt changed her diaper after taking her from the house.
* Should the series have ended with Walt riding away in the van of Saul's fixer guy? It would have been a satisfying wrap-up, if not for the questions that remain about those flash-forwards of Walt in New Hampshire and back at the abandoned, graffiti-covered White house.
* About those flash-forwards, with Walt buying a gun and retrieving the ricin from his house: Any guesses about who he plans to use them on? Uncle Jack, Todd, and their crew? Jesse? Lydia? Saul? Remember, the "Better Call Saul" spinoff is a prequel… no guarantees our favorite smarmy attorney makes it out of "Breaking Bad" alive and scheming.
* For those who've remained fully, or even partially, on Team Walt: How ya like him now? Do you still find the character at all redeemable?
"Breaking Bad" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.