Breaking Bad Round Table: "Granite State"

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Only one more Breaking Bad episode remains.

But before we get blown away by whatever fate befalls Walt, Jesse, Skyler and company, we were taken on a trip to New Hampshire in "Granite State," a powerful, emotional, gut-wrenching trip that culminated in a heart-breaking phone call and an unexpected episode of Charlie Rose.

In our latest edition of the Breaking Bad Round Table, staff members Matt Richenthal, Sean McKenna, Dan Forcella and Steve Marsi break down the penultimate installment and then try to take a look ahead to the finale...


What was your favorite scene from the episode?
Matt: Walt getting the IV and then playing cards with Mr. Shady Relocation Guy. As I outline more below, it was played so brilliantly by Bryan Cranston and illustrated so well just how far the man formerly known as Heisenberg has fallen.

Sean: It's tough because not a lot of happy or light moments filled this episode, but rather a rolling case of emotions both devastating and dark. Perhaps my favorite scene was that last moment of Walt deciding to take action, set to a version of the Breaking Bad theme song and further building my anticipation for an explosive ending. This show knows how to suck you in and never let go no matter what direction it chooses.

Dan: Todd killing Andrea was my favorite scene of the episode and it's two fold: 1. Todd's soft spoken nature, combined with a ruthless need to kill, has won me over. Watching him quietly execute this girl in front of Jesse was insanely thrilling as a fan; 2. I got to watch Jesse suffer yet again. I am so over him, his crying and his complaining that every time something worse happens to him, it makes me happy.

Steve: I loved the vacuum cleaner guy. For so long he's been talked about, and he lived up to expectations. From Mike, Saul and Todd to even more ancillary players, Breaking Bad gives its characters such depth. In second place, I'll second Sean's answer. I loved the use of the theme song and the cameras panning to Walt's unfinished drink, setting the tone for the most anticipated series finale in recent memory.

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Where does Andrea's death rank among saddest in show history?
Matt: I actually think it was the saddest. Certainly the most jarring. We all knew Hank would die this season, and he was at least aware that his occupation came with some health hazards. Jane? She was a drug addict and the most memorable takeaway from that passing was Walt's role in it. But Andrea? Poor, defenseless, innocent, single mother Andrea?!? It was so sudden and so brutal and Jesse's reaction was so raw that it tugged at my heartstrings harder than any death to date.

Sean: As soon as creepy Todd showed up on her doorstep, I knew something was up. I just wasn't quite prepared for him to shoot her in the head with Jesse watching. It was a shocking moment for me, a heartbreaking and crushing one for Jesse and will definitely be on the list of remembered deaths when the final chapter closes the series for good.

Dan: Last? Maybe right after the dude who got his head put on a turtle. I just watch Hank die right in front of me. Following that up with an Andrea death, how was that going to be sad?

Steve: In contrast to Dan, I'd say it ranks high on the list. Of all the people killed as a result of Walt, she may have been the least deserving. By no means am I saying Hank deserved it or that it wasn't upsetting, but he devoted his career to the dangerous task of hunting down Heisenberg, knowing full well this could be the result. Mike, with his life's work of shady dealings, can be viewed similarly. All Andrea did was care about Jesse, and for her to meet that fate is horrible. Also, Brock is going to presumably find her, which is even worse.

Do you feel any sympathy for Walt?
Matt: On the whole? No. He deserves to die, it's as simple as that. But Bryan Cranston plays the character with such emotion, it's impossible not to feel for him in small moments. Even Dan Forcella couldn't have laughed when he begged Robert Forster for just a little bit of company.

Sean: That's the beauty of this show and a character like Walt: he's neither just a good person or a bad person. He's done a lot of bad things (murderous, blackmailing, deceitful things), but even through it all, on some level he's tried to care for his children, his wife. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and, unfortunately, Walt skipped on down the path. But watching Walt alone, dying, told by his son to just die, and losing ultimately everything including himself on his meth empire journey, I can't ignore that. Still, actions have consequences and Walt made his bed. Guess we'll find out how he chooses to finally go out.

Dan: Tons. Breaking Bad has always done a great job of making Walt sympathetic, even in his darkest moments. Last night on Conan's Breaking Bad special, even the goofy red-headed comedian said he's been rooting for Walter the entire time (which elicited a huge high five from Bryan Cranston).  I feel bad for Walter, and want him to get what he wants in the end.

Steve: A great question and very difficult to answer, which speaks to the complexity of the character and brilliance of the show. The short answer is that no, I don't. What he's done at this point is irredeemable, and I really don't feel bad. However, that doesn't mean I'm rooting for him to die like Flynn or am not insanely curious how he'll respond to his new situation. What is driving him at this point? Rage? Redemption? Family? You can't overlook that he does care for his lived ones and is still capable of genuine emotion and heartbreak, which is what makes Walt so compelling to watch.

Will Todd and Lydia end up together?
Matt:Tydia ? Oh yes. Totes meant to be.

Sean: Those two weirdos better not ride off into the sunset and escape, that's for sure. I could see Todd trying to save Lydia or something, but Lydia is so in her own world that to her Todd is simply business. I've got a feeling getting together is only in Todd's sociopath dreams along with a bowl of ice cream.

Dan: No. Lydia is an absolute mess, and she has no idea what is going on. Todd's strange obsession will likely go on forever, but I don't see the two of them living happily ever after.

Steve: By virtue of the fact that both would have to first survive a machine gun-toting Heisenberg - a man with as little to lose at this point as any character in history - I'll say no. But boy, those two would make some cute, emotionless, sociopathic kids.

Make a bold prediction for the finale.
Matt: I've been writing in for weeks in my Breaking Bad reviews, so I can't back away now: Walt will kill himself with the Ricin.

Sean: I keep feeling that Marie still has one more part to play in this, perhaps even killing Walt. Really, the show has been crafted so expertly that anyone could take up the task. But I really think Jesse and Walt should be the final showdown. I bet Walt exacts his revenge on the Nazis, and Walt Jr. makes a final breakfast. To be honest, as much as the swirling predictions keep me excited for the series finale, the fact that Breaking Bad has fantastically led us to this moment has me perfectly ready to take in whatever ending Vince Gilligan and company deliver.

Dan: Walt goes into witness protection, but unlike the more popular prediction floating around, I don't think he ends up becoming the dad from Malcolm in the Middle. No, Walter learns how to fix teeth, converts to Judaism and lives the rest of his life as Dr. Tim Whatley.

Steve: Saul wheels, deals and talks himself into an upper management position at Cinnabon, which blows his cover. In all seriousness, Walt dies. There are plenty of scenarios in which this could happen - even by his own hand - but none I can imagine in which he lives.

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