There's always been a fine line between family and reality for Walt. He's always done his very best to keep home life, who he was before this all began, and the realities of his day to day meth cooking and drug dealing separated. Hank has always been the pendulum between the two worlds, constantly on the trail of Heisenberg and showing up for family barbecues. It all came down to a shootout where we were left wondering who would be alive in hopes of finally capturing and convicting Walt.
Walt is left post shootout with a dead brother-in-law and most of his money gone. All his hard work accruing that fortune and keeping his loved ones at a away from his business has failed and now he has to recover what he can. Even at home he is met with more failures. Skyler has finally told their son Flynn everything and when Walt demands they pack and leave they don't listen. Skyler has finally woken up to the realities of who her husband is, she believes Walt was dangerous enough to kill Hank, and she turns on him in an effort to do what Walt is failing to do and protect her family. In a heart wrenching melee Walt is slightly wounded by a knife wielding Skyler and is forced to run. On the way out of his house Walt snags his young daughter Holly with him.
Maybe Walt decided as soon as Skyler cut him, maybe it was watching Hank get shot in the head, or maybe when Holly asks for her mama is the moment Walt decided on the best way to protect his family was to leave. Walt is smart enough to know you can't explain away a missing child to the police and most assuredly they are at his house. Heisenberg flashes out of Walt as an angry and fierce rant over the phone with Skyler. He paints Skyler as an unwilling wife doing her best to keep Walt's seedy meth cooking in check. Walt's own admissions are enough to convict himself but also to protect his wife from prosecution.
As Walt leaves town and disappears all that's left is Jesse. Todd and his uncle have already gone against Walt's orders once and they do so again. Instead of killing Jesse for ratting like Walt demanded they instead turn him into a meth cook slave. One more loose end which could explain away why Walt would return to his house and retrieve a hidden ricin cigarette. Walt is now on the run and those left behind must deal with his choices, at least until he returns.
I finally understand the non-ironic use of that gif from Community. That one, where Donald Glover is yelling “My Emotions” over and over.Breaking Bad just hits you right in the feelings (or feels or the Internet Cool Crowd). Well, at least we know now what caused Mr. White to become Mr. Lambert of New Hampshire.
It would be a cheap (but effective) trick if Breaking Bad were to ever use Neil Young’s "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” or “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”. The cold open was first a shot of coffee coming to boil. A slow burn eventually erupting in bubbles and spurts echoing the future bullets that would be erupting around that canyon. It’s a happier time for Walter White. He still has his hair and a partner in Jesse who might be ornery. The cook begins and there isn’t anything to do but wait. So Walt acts the part of a good husband, by lying to his wife and brings pizza back to his pregnant wife. Like the famed Neil Young song he just fades away. The internet will likely be putting great importance on the order of disappearance: Walter, Jesse, the Lab. Walter White’s present life isn’t like that cold open or song. He doesn't get to just fade away. Even after he does fade away to New Hampshire as Mr. Lambert his work and actions stick around like those canyons. It’ll take some real scrubbing to wash that away.
Last week's final act was a masterclass of tension which unsurprisingly was directed by Michelle MacLaren. MacLaren has a knack for getting the tense episodes of Breaking Bad and she certainly makes the most of them. “He made up his mind 10 minutes ago.” Once the guns were drawn Todd made the decision to kill Hank and Gomez. Hank also made the decision to live or die in that moment as well. The entire first half of "Ozymandias" doesn't play on tension or audience expectations. It serves it up with cold efficiency and just enough artistry. White had to bare witness to a reaction he couldn’t control for once. The results of wish he barely gets a glimpse of.
His phone call to Skyler, threatening her to toe the line, lest she join Hank in the great unknown, was surprisingly effective. Walter White is a bad man and still Bryan Cranston’s performance manages to eke out just a couple more drops of care. All White can do now is fall on the sword. He does it for Skyler with that phone call, hopefully getting her clear of any major crimes. Maybe Hanks death and Walts actions have turned Skyler off the hubris, Heisenberg, path of wanting it all. The fight for the knife, while not the cacophony of sound when baby Holly was first nearly taken, was a visual one with the camera always following the knife. Was it going to enter Skyler, Walt Jr. or worst Holly? Walter White’s entire world was crumbling to ash so anything could have happened as the support structure drifted away.
Lost in all this is Jesse. No prisoner to Jack and Todd, presumably forced to cook for them. Or at least, instruct Jack into cooking Blue properly. Of all the death and destruction that has hit this show, Jesse seems to have found himself in a predicament worse than death.
Two more episodes.