Breaking Bad Review: "Crawl Space"

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What can one even say about a conclusion such as that?

"Crawl Space" would have been yet another classic episode of Breaking Bad if it had simply ended with Walt collapsing in the desert. But then there was the utter panic in Saul's office; the frantic search for the money; the admission from Skyler that it's gone; the bawling; the maniacal laughing; the slow drum beat in the background; the call from Marie; the panning away of the camera to reveal Walt in a makeshift grave.

I said it last week, but what other reaction can one have here except... WOW.

Gustavo Fring Picture

It seems impossible to comprehend that last Sunday night concluded with Gus being rushed to the hospital and here he was more alive and in control than ever before. That's what happens when you take out the head of the cartel.

He taunted Hector, he threatened Walt - the infant daughter truly sold his steady, menacing warning - he made it clear that Jesse really is part of the family. Seriously, both Walt and Skyler could learn something from Gus. This is a man that plans for every conceivable obstacle, preparing a blood supply for each important member of his team while having a fully-briefed, loyal doctor on call.

The contrast with Walt and his reactionary fits of anger couldn't be more stark. Same for Skyler, now that her desperate plot to force Ted to pay the IRS went as wayward as possible. (Between this and her infamous "I f-cked Ted" line, Walt really must be sick of hearing about that guy.)

It's also worth noting, as I have before, the differences in how Gus has treated and molded Jesse. Walt used intimidation and manipulation, while Gus has actually crafted a new chemist and a committed soldier. Ironically, Walt likely cares more about Jesse than Gus ever could - that appeared to be a hint of a legitimately grateful smile on Walt's face when Jesse opened the door to his house - but his hubris and ego get in the way of forging any kind of true father/son bond. And now we see where that has gotten him: pushed away from the only ally he ever had.

Somehow, though, Jesse still won't abandon his first mentor completely. When this series started, could you ever have envisioned Jesse being the show's moral compass? He really is a good guy.

But it all comes back to that incredible ending. It was the stuff of (terrific) season finales. But that doesn't even take place next week. There are two more episodes remaining this season. And then 16 more after that. Something major has to go down because Walt has finally reached his breaking point. There's no Heisenberg any longer, there's simply the realization of all he has wrought on himself and his family. That can't go on for too much longer.

Yet what separates Breaking Bad from almost every other show on TV is that I don't care what happens next. I'm not thinking about next season or next Sunday. I'm just reveling in the fascinating hour I just witnessed, capped by as tense a final five minutes as I can imagine and saying to myself... wow.

Crawl Space Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (269 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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