The end is near… The final episodes of AMC’s hit television series Breaking Bad have begun. For those who have never seen the show, it stars Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) as Walter White, a former high school chemistry teacher turned Methamphetamine Maestro and Mastermind. I had wanted to watch the show for the longest, but just hadn’t gotten around to it until a few months back. But, when I did, I had to pull my family, and my cousin into it with me. And it got to the point where they were watching old episodes on Netflix without me; I had to play catch up.
The captivating part of the show is watching the characters grow and change, especially Walter. The show starts with us finding out he has been diagnosed with cancer. He is an average almost forgettable kind of man. Even in the face of his illness, he is concerned about his family and how they will sustain themselves in the event of his death. Through a series of events, he turns to cooking meth to make money. Perhaps not the most prudent of courses, but being a chemistry teacher, and a former chemist we learn, it is, in a way, right up his alley. From this we see Walter go on his journey and season by season, we see him grow and change,along with those around him. I won’t give anything away, but it is honestly, one of the best things you can watch on television. So, if you plan on watching the show and catching up, many ways you can catch up too, I highly advise it, but if you do plan to catch up, don’t read any further. There will be spoilers.
We begin the episode with a very unshaven and unkempt Walt returning to his home. It looks like its been deserted from quite a while. If you recall from the beginning of season five, Walt looks terrible, and,for some as yet unknown reason, purchased a heavy machine gun, its still in his trunk, so I’m guessing its still around that time frame, a bit in the future from most of what we see this season. He goes inside of his house and we see “Heisenberg” spray painted inside on one of the walls. Out back, in what was once his pool, kids are skateboarding in it now. He goes to his old master bedroom, takes off one of the covers of an electrical outlet and retrieves the vial he had hidden in there. When he leaves, his neighbor sees him while she is holding groceries and look terrified to see him. She just stands there. He speaks and says hello to her and she drops her groceries to the ground and into the street.
So, at the end of the first half of this season, Hank is left on the toilet having made a world shattering realization. He believes he finally knows who Heisenberg is. I can’t quite tell if that has made him angry, afraid, or a combination of the two at this point. He hastily takes the book out of the bathroom and places it in his wife’s bag and tells the family he doesn’t feel well and that the family needs to leave.
They quickly get into the van and leave. As he is driving, Hank’s vision gets blurry and he has a hard time seeing the road. He also can’t hear anything his wife is saying. His face loses its color and the end up swerving off the road and into someone’s yard. It looks like he is having an anxiety attack and they call and ambulance. Shortly later, they are home and Hank takes the book and compares the handwriting against a sample of Gale’s, and sure enough, it’s a perfect match. Hank pretty much knows what he needs to know. Walt and Skyler are still running the car wash, and still attempting to launder the millions of dollars Skyler has tucked away for him. Walter suggests they buy another car wash to attempt to launder his money more efficiently and faster. Skyler agrees. Then, Lydia shows up at the car wash. She speaks to Walter and you get the impression that since he has stopped cooking, the quality of the meth had dipped considerably. She pleads with him to return and cook, or even as little as a one week tutorial to get the quality back up. Walter will have none of it, and insists it is not his problem or concern. Skyler notices the awkwardness of their exchange and asks Walt who she is. He tells her a former business associate, which is all she needs to hear before she walks out and tells her to go away and never return. I never noticed how tall Skyler was until I see her next to the much more petite Lydia. Last we saw Jesse, Walt had finally dropped off his share of the money and left him. Now, his two friends, Badger and Skinny Pete, appearing incredibly high, are there talking about Star Trek while Jesse seems less than interested and would rather be almost anywhere but there. He leaves and goes into another room and comes back out with his two large duffle bags of money and leaves. He heads to Saul’s office and wants him to send some money to Drew Sharp’s family (the curious young boy who had the misfortune of stumbling upon the heist of the Methylamine from the train and was killed) and he wants some money sent to Mike’s granddaughter. Saul tries to convince Jesse not to do this, it could cause more problems but Jesse insists that Saul do it. After Saul leaves, he calls Walt, and Walt says he will handle it. Its during this scene, we see that Walt is back in chemo…the cancer is still an issue. Walt goes and visits Jesse and brings his money back, and tries to tell him not to do this. Jesse just seems…despondent. But, he lets us in and he believes that Mike isn’t alive anymore. He explains that with Walt having killed Mike’s guys, if Mike were still alive Walt would have to constantly look over his shoulder, and since Walt doesn’t work that way, it can mean only one thing, Mike is dead. We all know this is true, and his logic is sound, but Walt works to convince him that Mike is alive and well, and he keeps saying he needs Jesse to believe him. Meanwhile, Hank hasn’t been into work, and has been having files regarding everything Gale’s death, to Gus Fring, to Tuco, the whole thing. He’s researching everything and is piecing the whole thing together. Over dinner one night, Walt suffers the effects of the chemo and has to go to the restroom. While in there, he notices that his book that Gale signed, is missing. He asks
Skyler about it and she hasn’t seen it. Walt gets out of bed and steps outside for a minute. He turns and is about to head inside when he pauses and looks to his car. He walks over to his car and begins to feel under the sides of his car until he finds a GPS tracker. It’s a similar tracker to the one he and Hank used on Gus Fring.
So, the next morning Walt goes to check up on Hank. The exchange is visibly awkward. Hank puts his files away and you can tell he really doesn’t want to to Walt. Walter keeps things cordial as if he is simply checking up on him, and is about to leave. He stops though and turns to ask Hank about the tracker he found on his car. The garage door is closed and Hank punches Walt…hard. He tells Walt about what he’s found out and makes accusations. Walt, initially flat denies them, but then, it seems as if his Heisenberg persona slips in. He tells Hank his cancer has returned, Hank seems unmoved. He tells Hank that even if those accusations were true, who would believe him, further more, in six months, he expects to be dead so what is the point. Hank tells Walt that he doesn’t know who Walt is anymore and he doesn’t know who he is talking to. Walt, calmly states, “Then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.” The look on Hank’s face and the shot of the two of them standing face to face is what they leave us with. An excellent closing to an eagerly anticipated show’s return.