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Breaking Bad Review: For Family

by at . Comments

When Vince Gilligan said recently that "I think people are going to have trouble breathing after this thing airs," regarding "Ozymandias," he wasn't speaking in hyperbole.

There were moments in this third to last episode of Breaking Bad that had me holding my breath, there were moments that had me gasping for air and there were those that had me spit taking.  It was THAT crazy of an hour of television.

Ozymandias Scene

Last week's "To'hajiilee" ended with Uncle Jack and his crew opening fire on Hank and Gomey, and I was disappointed at the time that their arrival didn't bring a surprising one-shot murder of Agent Schrader.

Then, it seemed a swift killing of Hank would have been the more thrilling choice and would have made more sense coming directly after his call to Marie.

However, my tune changed quickly after seeing what Gilligan came up with for Hank's demise. Watching Walt beg Jack for his brother-in-law's life was emotionally intense, while hearing Hank tell the bad guy to "go f*ck yourself" was almost the perfect ending to the character's arc.

And that was just the start of it all! There was the pain on Jesse's face when Walt came clean about Jane, that ridiculous song that was playing while Walt trekked it with the barrel of cash in the middle of nowhere and, of course, Marie acting all high and mighty telling Skyler that Walt was locked up.

Todd, who has easily become the second best character in this back half of season five (yes after Walter), continued to be cool, calm and collected in the face of danger. His decision to keep Jesse alive, and then have him help him cook, was not only smart, but it also made for one of the hilarious moments from the episode.

After letting others (I assume) beat the living snot out of Jesse, Todd quietly gets him out of the hole in the ground, cuffs him to the ceiling, puts on his yellow jump suit and simply says, "Let's cook."  Perfect timing Todd. Perfect timing.

With Jesse locked up by Todd and company, and Skyler and the kids seemingly safe, we have to assume that Walt's ensuing move with that trunk machine gun is to rescue his former partner from indentured servitude, correct?

Before we get there, which may not be until the finale two weeks from now, we have to discuss the moments that led to Walt getting out of town with his new identity.

The frustration that was pouring out of Walter as he screamed at his family to pack and get in the car was at an all-time high, and it was carrying over to me as a viewer. I was ripping my hair out with annoyance that Sky and Walt Jr. weren't listening to him. I understood why they wouldn't, but a watcher of Breaking Bad isn't expected act with understanding, right?

You could quickly throw all the rules out the window, though, when Walter and Skyler started wrestling with that knife. It was absolutely one of the most intense scenes I've ever watched in my life.  

Anything could have happened. That's how high the stakes are at this point. Of course Walt wasn't going to die, but Skyler could have. The knife could have flown out and hit Walt Jr. It was insane.

It quickly became one of the funniest moments I've ever witnessed, however, when Walt screamed "WE'RE A FAMILY!"  In that second it hit me what I was watching. A flashback to Walt as the nerdy high school teacher jumped into my brain - which may be one of the reasons they used that flashback to start this episode - and the fact that he has become a ruthless drug dealer that was fighting his wife with a kitchen knife overwhelmed me in that moment.

I burst into laughter.

Things quickly became serious and intense again when Walt Jr. called the cops and Walt Sr. left with a stolen baby.

But the comedy returned after the commercial break when they opened with Walt talking in a baby voice to Holly, basically saying "goo goo gah gah" to his child.  

In that moment, it reiterated once again why Walter White has been such a great character over the last six years. He is still that dorky but loveable dad trapped in this vicious murderous drug dealer. And we love him for that.

He started doing all of this for his family. He may have become one of the most selfish people of all time during the process, but even to the end, he was always looking out for the people he loved.

Whether it was attempting to keep Hank alive at the opening to this episode, or laying it on extremely thick when he knew the cops were listening to his conversation with Skyler, he did everything he could to help his family.

I wonder what, if anything, he will do to help Jesse.

Like Vince Gilligan, I thought this was one of the best episodes Breaking Bad (or any series for that matter) has ever made. What did you all think of "Ozymandias?"

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (385 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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@kalobhr: That was my thought as well.
From Walt's point of view, Jesse is responsible for everything because he's still too stupid to figure out what Walt has been trying to teach him. Walt gave Jesse a way out, Jesse focused on Walt "poisoning" Brock but he should've known that the reason why Brock is still alive is because Walt did not want to kill him. Letting Jane die? A self-destruction junkie with daddy issues? Walt was just looking after Jesse, who was pretty much Heisenberg's son. As for the ricin, at first I thought it was for Lydia. Without her and Jesse, Blue Meth is off the streets forever. But Lydia has a kid and she's doing all this for her daughter, just like Walt, so I don't know anymore. Maybe it's for Todd.

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presumably Walt wonders why there's high quality blue meth back on the streets and knows that Jessie hasn't been killed by Uncle Jack. Therefore the gun is not to rescue Pinkman but to finish off the job himself

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I have a funny feeling, the unknown person driving the "new identity" van, will turn out to be someone we know, will take Walt out to the country and kill him for the millions. Unknown person might even be Saul. hmmmmmmmmm

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All the ladies posting their LoveFest with Walt remind me of the women that become pen-pals with men on death row.... Walter poisoned a little boy, Walter allowed an unfortunate drug-addicted young woman to die, Walter murdered Mike, and might as well have pulled the trigger on Hank. Walter is not a good guy, get over it. Still great TV though!

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I'm with this reviewer on some things- especially just thinking Skyler & Jr were being stupid in that scene at the house. Sorry, it was not all that long ago Gus was sending people to kill them... and maybe their little family squabble could have waited an hour or so. Walt, for all his badness, was right to be trying to get the hell out of there in that moment and they were just not listening. In an instant Skyler reverted to the nagging shrew of season 1 (happy b-day! here's your disinterested Handy-J!), but we forgive it more now because Walt's such a bastard. I didn't find those things "funny" per se, but-- we all have different reactions and finding humor in a tough tense situation IS well known as a coping mechanism, so good on the show: the reviewer was captivated even if the reactions were a bit different than most. I do NOT think Walt was thinking in those moments after Hank's death. He gave up Jesse, demanded his life-- he was just angry and hurt, he didn't even know what he was doing. And it IS possible that he regretted giving the nod as soon as he did. It's POSSIBLE the reason he told Jesse about Jane was to give him a reason to live. VG has said that BB is about "Mr. Chips" becoming "Scarface"-- the ending of Scarface probably gives a good idea how this all ends (the machine gun = Scarface's "little friend"). Walt will end up dying in a shoot out with the white supremacists, possibly at Jesse's hand, but possibly just gunned down as he's killing them.

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Wow what a stupid review.

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First, @Lord Eddard: As much as I love GoT, Breaking Bad >>>> GoT. Hands down. Second, what did I think of this episode? Let's just say you need a few more stars to rate this one properly. Anyone else thinks he told Jesse about Jane because it's Jesse's fault Hank is dead? Also, Walt was good until his ego took over somewhere at the end of Season 4. He wasn't in the "Empire Business" then, he was just trying to make money for his family and keeping them safe from all the bad things around him. This also includes Jesse, who's pretty much Heisenberg's son imo. I mean think about it. How many bad guys did he kill by his actions to protect the ones he love? Now that he's putting Heisenberg on ice, the ones he love have started dying. Wouldn't it be awesome if the new identity he takes is something like "Walter Heisenberg"?

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cont'd:
And as soon as he admits he's the bad guy (something he never embraced), the good he wanted to do for his family will begin coming to pass. There's an old proverb that reads:
'A good name is more desirable than great wealth. Respect is better than silver or gold.' This is the legacy Walt can still leave his wife, daughter and son. Not just money, but a name. A good name. But in order for that to happen, he must put to death the murderer known as Heisenberg before he can rise as the true husband and father, Walter White.

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Dan,
You wrote:
"He may have become one of the most selfish people of all time during the process, but even to the end, he was always looking out for the people he loved." But unfortunately, Walt broke bad to do good only to realize he never was doing his family any good at all.
His good intentions and self justification were a cover for Heisenberg, who was always there, beating just below the surface.
(Is this maybe what really happened at Grey Matter? Did a non-fully formed 'Heisenberg' emerge back then in some form or another?) It seems Walt is finally realizing what it takes to do good for his family: self sacrifice.
There was no self sacrifice in him breaking bad. The name of the game was self preservation at the expense of the lives of others. But now the baby returns to Skylar. He has laid down his bargaining chip.
He has removed himself from the presence of his grieving family.
And as soon as he admits he's the bad guy (something he never embraced), the good he wanted to do for his family will begin coming to pass. There's an old proverb that reads:
'A good name is more desirable than great wealth. Respect is better than silver or gold.' This is the legacy Walt can still leave his wife, daughter and son. Not just money, but a name. A good name. But in order for that to happen, he must put to death the murderer known as Heisenberg before he can rise as the true husband and father, Walter White.

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Walt is not a good guy. The title pretty much says it all. He was ready to let jesse die when fortunately todd came to his rescue, although he does have his own agenda. Walt did the right thing when he left Holly in the firefighter's truck. All he cares about is his family, and watching hank murdered right before his eyes will only make him a worse monster. I bet he will avenge hank's death. I'm not so sure he's going to rescue jesse. For all he knows, uncle jack wouldve already killed him. I bet he comes back to town to kill uncle jack so that he could reclaim his empire and his $69 million. Walt has gone into a full blown villain mode. There's no turning back for him, no salvation. If the show ends in a happy ending for Walt, I'm going to destroy my TV with my own bare hands

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 14 Quotes

You're the smartest guy I ever met, and you're too stupid to see he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.

Hank

I watched Jane die. I was there, and I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her, but I didn't.

Walt