Breaking Bad Recap: Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair [Updated]
First, the verse chronicles the way that all empires, no matter how grand, inevitably crumble into dust and nothingness. (Cautionary tale, Walt?)
Second, if you’re going to hype the final episodes of a well-crafted drama, you might as well do it by highlighting the title of an episode that is arguably one of the best in TV history.
As Breaking Bad hurtles toward its finale – can you believe there are just two episodes left?! – let’s review the major developments that took place in “Ozymandias.”
EVERYTHING FADES | The episode begins not in the middle of the shoot-out that ended last week’s installment, but with a flashback to the events around the pilot. “The reaction has begun,” a nearly nude Walt tells an insolent Jesse as the meth starts to percolate in their RV, which is parked in the desert. Walt steps outside in tighty whities, trades his lab apron for his green shirt and then steps away to call Skyler.
As he walks, he practices the lie he’ll tell to explain his late return. Remember when the falsehoods didn’t trip so easily off his tongue? Preggo Skyler picks up and they have a loving, lighthearted discussion as they plan pizza for dinner and some “family time” the following weekend. They’re cute as they talk about maybe naming the baby Holly. (Jesse being an idiot in the background is pretty great, too.)
Walt fades away, as does Jesse and the RV, but the landscape remains as we return to the aftermath of the shootout. All of Uncle Jack’s gang is fine, but Gomez is dead and Hank is shot in the leg. Hank makes a valiant attempt to belly-crawl for his colleague’s weapon, but Uncle Jack gets to it first. Upon learning that Hank is DEA, Uncle Jack prepares to finish Hank off, but Walt pops up from his backseat hiding place and starts hollering for Jack to stop. He outs Hank as his brother-in-law and offers Jack and his gang all of the money in the barrels, desperately pleading with Hank to “promise us you’ll let this go.” Absolutely no one present thinks that’s going to happen, least of all Hank, who earns his way into the badass section of the great beyond when he tells Jack exactly what he can do with himself. Then Schrader turns his attention to his brother-in-law: “You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see: He made up his mind 10 minutes ago. Do what you’re gonna d—” but he’s cut off by Uncle Jack killing him (and me sobbing).
PARTING SHOT | Walt collapses, ugly crying, as Uncle Jack realizes that the coordinates Walt gave him are probably where the money is buried. The crew finds the cash easily enough, digs it all up and drag Hank and Gomez into the hole left behind. Throughout, Walt’s lying like a carp on the sand. Todd uncuffs him, saying “I’m sorry for your loss” (I’ve said it before, but the kid scares the bejesus out of me), and Jack levels his conditions: He’ll leave Walt a barrel of money and his car in exchange for Walt talking off and never coming back. But first, Walt wants Jesse dead. “If you can find him, we’ll kill him,” Jack says jovially. “Found him,” Walt says flatly, directing their attention to a hole under the car in which Jesse had been sitting.