I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”. – Percy Bysshe Shelley
In a flashback, we see Walter and Jesse cooking, probably for the first time, in the camper, with Walter wearing nothing but his apron and those infamous tighty whities. While the chemicals set, Jesse goes out for a cigarette and Walt calls Skyler. She’s pregnant and wrapping up a box containing a clown figurine she sold for $9. Walt comes up with a bogus story as to why he’s going to be late and promises Skyler that he’ll come home with pizza. It all looks and sounds so innocent, in comparison to what’s taken place over five seasons and just over one year in the lives of these characters.
In the present, the shootout is over. Gomey is dead and Hank’s been shot in the leg. Hank tries to crawl to Gomey’s gun but Uncle Jack and his gang stop him. Jack points his gun at Hank but stops short of shooting him when Walter pulls himself up from the floor of the SUV and screams at Jack to stop. Todd tells everyone that Jesse is missing and Jack sends a couple of guys off to find him. Walter pleads with Jack to spare Hank’s life telling him that he’s family, his brother-in-law. He tells Jack that he called them off and they weren’t supposed to be there. Jack just says “Too late now.” Jack asks Hank if the cavalry’s coming and Hank says “Damn straight, cavalry’s coming.” Walter then turns his pleas to Hank, begging him to just let things go so that he can walk out of this alive. Trying to convince Jack that it isn’t worth it, he tells him about the $80 million buried nearby. They can take it all, go anywhere they want and move one – just let Hank go. Jack asks Hank “What do you think Fed.” Walt says “His name is Hank” and Hank looks at Jack, “My name is ASAC Schrader and you can go f**k yourself.” Then to Walter, “You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I know and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.” Finally Hank says to Jack “Do what you gotta do.” Then Jack shoots him and Walter collapses, sobbing.
Having done what he had to do, Jack wants to find the money Walter mentioned and, working off the coordinates, has his men start digging. They hit one barrel with a shovel and quickly uncover all six. After loading the barrels into the bed of their pickup truck, they drag the bodies of Hank and Gomey to the now empty hole. Jack, out of some sick sort of respect for a fellow drug dealer/murderer, leaves one barrel worth about $11 million for Walt and tells him to get in his car and get out of there. Todd comes over to Walt and tells him he’s sorry for Walter’s loss – oh, how polite Todd can be, always the gentleman. Before he does, though, Walter tells Jack that he still owes him – Jesse Pinkman’s still alive. Jack says that if Walt finds him, they’ll kill him. Walter, who’s been focused on something under his Chrysler, says that he has found him and the gang drags Jesse out from underneath the car. Jack is prepared to kill him then and there and Walt says it’s a go but Todd suggests that they take him back to their lair and find out what he’s told the feds. As they haul Jesse to their car, Walter tells Jesse, “I watched Jane die. I was there and I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could’ve saved her and I didn’t.” This had to be the worst thing for Jesse to hear, next to Brock’s poisoning, but Jane probably would have died anyway – if not that night, then soon enough. She was a junkie, just like Jesse and they might both have died if they had the money Walter delivered to them. She’d threatened Walter and his family and, by all appearances, was almost as ruthless and single-minded as Walt. She broke her father’s heart, over and over, and I’m not convinced that she loved Jesse as much as he loved her – his money maybe, him, not so much.
The Aryan Brotherhood pulls away with the barrels of money, Jesse in the backseat of their car and the DEA SUV in tow. Walter starts his Chrysler, adjusts the rear-view mirror and looks back at the shallow grave where his brother-in-law and partner have been left. After a short distance, the car sputters to s top, having run out of gas thanks to a bullet through the gas tank. Walter sets off on foot, rolling his money through the desert until he comes across a house with a truck outside. When the owner, a native American, emerges from the house, Walter hands him a fistful of cash and drives off.
Marie is at the car wash, and after greeting Walt, Jr., tells him that she needs to talk to Skyler. The two of them go into her office and Marie explains that Hank has arrested Walter. As Skyler sits there, Marie tells her how Jesse Pinkman worked with Hank and that he’s told everything he knows – and she couldn’t be happier. She then says, “I don’t know who you are and I don’t know if I can ever trust you again. I think about how upset you were with Walter and how you wanted to get the kids out of the house. I’m here as your sister. Everything changes now and we will help and support you in any way we can, but I have conditions. I want every copy of that tape you made. Understand?” Sky says yes and Marie then tells her that it’s time to tell Walt, Jr. It should come from them, not some strangers in uniforms.
While this is going on, Jesse is seen chained up in an underground cage and he’s been badly beaten. The cage opens, a ladder is dropped inside and Todd comes down. Jesse is hysterical and screams that he’s told them everything. “I gave you want you want. No one else knows.” Todd takes him up the ladder and leads him inside a warehouse where there’s a lab set up. He uncuffs Jesse, locks him to a tether attached to the ceiling and walks away. Jesse spots a picture of Andrea and Brock taped to the wall – a hell of an incentive for his cooperation as Todd returns and says “Let’s cook.”
Back at the car wash, Skyler has just finished telling Walt, Jr. all about his Dad, and the boy is understandably angry, confused, upset, the whole gamut of emotions that one would expect at such news. He takes out some of his anger on Skyler – “All this time you were lying. Were you lying then or are you lying now? This is bullshit. This is all bullshit. I want to talk to Uncle Hank.” Marie tells her sister that they should all go home and regroup, and she’ll stop by later.
Walter’s managed to make it home in the pickup truck and is frantically packing a suitcase. Skyler is on her way there with Walt, Jr. and Holly. Skyler asks Junior, Flynn, for sure, now, to put on his seatbelt because it’s not safe to ride without it. Junior just says “You’re shittin’ me, right?” The kid has a point. Looking right at his Mom, he tells her that iff all of this is true and she knew about it, then she’s as bad as his Dad. That’s the second good point he’s made. They pull into the driveway of the house and wonder who’s truck is there. Just then, Walter comes out and starts hollering at his family to get inside and pack, fast. Once in the house, Junior wants to know if what he’s been told is true. “Are you a drug dealer? They say Uncle Hank arrested you. “ Skyler has some questions, too. “Why are you here? Hank had you in custody. Where is he?” Walter tells her he “negotiated”. When his wife asks him what that means – “negotiated”, Walter says that it means they’re all fine. Everything’s going to be fine but they have to leave right now. She isn’t satisfied with his answers and insists on knowing where Hank is. Walter just says that he has $11 million in cash, which means a fresh start but they have to go right away. Skyler says “You killed Hank.” Junior is stunned and cries “Uncle Hank is dead?” Skyler moves to the kitchen and picks up a knife, the tells her husband to get out, that it’s done – enough. Walter tries to talk to her but she slashes his hand and they start to fight. It’s a terrible fight with the married couple thrashing around on the floor and Skyler trying to hold onto the knife. Then Junior jumps on his father’s back to defend his mother and Walter rolls away. He looks at them and says, “What the hell is wrong with you? We’re a family.” Junior dials the police and tells them that his father, who’s still in the house has attacked Skyler with a knife. Walter (oh Walter, Heisenberg, whoever the hell you are right now) panics, grabs baby Holly and runs out the door. Skyler, runs after him screaming, crying, pleading for her husband to give her daughter back, as Walter rams her car, pushing it out of the way and speeding away with the one year old.
He stops somewhere, to change Holly’s diaper and coos happily to her. The baby ( do they give Emmy awards to one year olds? Is there some special category for them? Well, there should be.) starts crying for her mother – “Mama. Mama. Mama.” – over and over as Walter tries to comfort her and realizes he can’t.
Marie and the police have arrived at the house – they’re issuing an Amber Alert - and the phone rings. It’s Walter, and after the cops start their trace, Skyler picks up. this was their conversation: Walter – “Are you alone? No police?” Skyler: “No police. “Where are you?” Walter: “What the hell is wrong with you? Why can’t you do one thing I say? This is your fault. This is what comes of your disrespect. I told you, Skyler, I warned you for a solid year. If you cross me, there will be consequences. What part of that did you not understand?” Skyler: “You took my child.” Walter: “Because you need to learn a lesson.” Skyler: “You bring her back.” Walter: “Maybe now you will listen. Maybe now you’ll use that damned head of yours. You were never grateful for anything I did for this family. Oh Walt, Walt, you have to stop this; it’s immoral; it’s illegal. Someone might get hurt. You’re always whining and complaining about how I earned my money. Now, now you tell my son what I do when I told you and told you to keep your damn mouth shut. You stupid bitch! How dare you!” Skyler: “I’m sorry. “ Walter: “You have no right to discuss anything about what I do. What the hell do you know about it anyway? Nothing. I built this – me, me alone. Nobody else.” Skyler: “You’re right.” Walter: “You mark my words, Skyler, just toe the line or you’ll wind up like Hank.” Skyler: “Walt, tell me what happened. Where is Hank? We need to know.” Walter: “You’re never gonna see Hank again. He crossed me. Think about that. Family or no, you let that sink in.” Skyler: “Walt, I just want Holly back. Please, just come home.” Walter: ” I’ve still got things left to do.” Then he hangs up and destroys the phone. The entire time, Walter has been in front of a firehouse and the firemen notice that the lights on their trucks are on. They go outside to turn them off and find Holly, tucked into a car-seat in the passenger side of one. Walter is seen waiting for, then getting into the van that belongs to Saul’s “I can make you disappear” guy.
So this is how Marie finds out that her husband is dead, cruelly and coldly but Walter’s side of that conversation was more than just an exercise of power and callousness. He gave his family a chance at a new life. He knew the cops would be there and listening and he gave a full confession and offered his wife a lifeline. Maybe she understood that, and said what she did to convince law enforcement officials that she was just an innocent player in Walt’s empire. No one knows him better than she does – both his Walter side and his Heisenberg monster persona, and I think she played along knowing exactly what he was doing. He offered her a chance at absolution and allowed his son to have one parent to cling to. Maybe even Marie can reconnect with her sister – even forgive her - and help with the children. She’s lost everything, too and they’re all going to need each other.
For a long, long time I wanted Walter to get away with his crimes, because his motives seemed pure. Over the course of this last season, I realized that nothing good could come of that. Walter needed to get his comeuppance. His avarice, out of control ego and selfish drive made him less and less sympathetic. So, I looked to Hank for justice, hoping that he’d figure it all out and be the one to make Walter pay. When he slapped the handcuffs on his brother-in-law, then called Marie to tell her the news, I smiled for him, although I wish he had left the desert just a few seconds earlier. Despite all of the really dumb things he did, including beating Jesse to within an inch of his life, Hank – and even more so, Gomey – were the good guys. Those few moments when he had Walter in custody, Hank vindicated himself. He was right all along, even though he didn’t always know who he was searching for – who that Heisenberg fellow was. He died knowing, though, and for that, I’m happy.
It pains me to say this, but there’s only two episodes left and we still have to deal with Todd, Uncle Jack, Lydia, Jesse and, of course, Walter White. Then we’ll be able to stop holding our breath. And yes, my favorite episodes list just grew by one.
AMC has announced a spinoff – “Better Call Saul” – a prequel to Breaking Bad about the life and clientele of Saul Goodman before he met Walter White.