Emotions are boiling over in Albuquerque, as Breaking Bad races toward the series finale, with “Ozymandias,” episode 14, of the fifth and final season. There’s blood, sweat, and tears (and spoilers) to follow.
Last weeks episode left viewers hanging on for dear life with the mother of all cliffhangers, promising to bring things quickly to a head in this week’s installment of AMC’s groundbreaking drama. And boy did Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and company deliver. A quick scene survey of “Ozymandias” tells us a few key things: Agent Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) is dead, Hank (Dean Norris) is wounded, and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is missing. With Todd’s Uncle Jack and his gang of neo-Nazis holding all the cards, Walt, with tears streaming into the desert sand, begs for the life of his wounded brother-in-law, offering Uncle Jack his full $80 million (buried nearby) to spare the man trying to put him away for life.
Will his impassioned plea, and monetary incentive, be enough to keep Hank alive. Perhaps Hank himself said it the best:
“You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see: He made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”
Bam. The shot we were all expecting is fired, and Walt doubles over, emotionally eviscerated, as if he, himself, took the fatal blow. Breaking Bad has officially broken the family. But that’s not the only torture the day has in store for Albuquerque’s most notorious drug kingpin.
You see, Aunt Marie (Betsy Brandt) decided it was time to come a-callin’ to the carwash and let everyone know it’s all over. After all, as far as she knows, Walt is in custody and her husband is still alive. She reveals in a little sisterly chat with Skyler (Anna Gunn) that Walt has gone down and forces her to disclose everything to Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte). But by now, Walt has already made his way home and started packing, so confusion is in the air when she and the rest of the family make it home and find him decidedly not under arrest. Where is Hank? how are you free? Where are we going? But Walt just wants to make it out the door before having to say a single word that may give him away.
Naturally, his evasiveness betrays him; Hank is dead and now his family knows it. Bring on the drama, complete with knife-wielding Skyler and Walter Jr.! In the end, Walt absconds with Baby Holly and drives off into the distance. He then calls and verbally destroys Skyler, with the police listening in and an Amber Alert already issued. He confirms the death of Agent Schrader and all but hangs himself. After that it’s a quick stop at a fire station to drop Holly at a safe haven and then off to meet Saul’s guy in the minivan to disappear.
“Ozymandias” brings Breaking Bad‘s broken home to the breaking point. There is no going back for actor Bryan Cranston and his character, Walt. Dead fed? Check. Dead brother-in-law? Yep. Abducted baby? Ding ding ding, tell our contestant what he’s won!
This installment, which takes it’s title from the Greek name for Ramesses II, greatest among the ancient pharaohs, shows the ruin of Walter White, king of kings, and the downfall of his empire. Most of his money is gone (courtesy of Uncle Jack), and he has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. Might as well cash in his chips and walk away, which he does.
Overall, it’s a gripping, edge of your seat, insert-cliché-for-“exciting” hour of everyone’s favorite. The only thing more viewers could have asked for was a little Saul Goodman. But surely television’s slimiest scumbag lawyer will turn up before all the dust settles, right? And if not, you can always catch him in his own series, coming soon to a living room near you.
While certain details of this week’s episode were almost assured to come to fruition, it was jarring to see such a complete severance. Granted, there are only two episodes left of what many consider the greatest show in television history, but it makes the viewer what could possibly be in store in next week’s penultimate episode, “Granite State.” One thing is certain: Breaking Bad faithful around the world will be watching.