Film and TV

Breaking Bad: Everything Is Broken

I don't know about you, but I spent this entire week postulating exactly how last week's episode of Breaking Bad really ended. I have e-mailed, Facebooked and Tweeted everyone I know who watches the show, and even a few strangers, to find out what they all thought; everyone was pretty much on the same page. A shootout involving two against a bunch more than two can only have one outcome.

If you have yet to watch this week's episode, I am about to ruin it for you.

Rather than starting this week's episode of Breaking Bad with the heart-attack moment we left off, we are thrown back into the distant past. Walt and Jesse are in the very same desert in which last week's bloodbath occurred. Except now they are in their original meth van, cooking up a batch. It's the good old days! Walt even calls Skyler and they have a very normal, married conversation about baby names and family fun time. Remember when these characters weren't on the verge of destruction? That was nice.

And just like that, it's all gone and we are back to reality.

Hank is nursing a bullet to the thigh, Gomez is a goner and Uncle Jack and his crew need to clean up shop. Despite Walt's insistence that they leave Hank alone, it's too late. Worse than that, Walt stupidly tells the gang that he's hidden $80 million in the vicinity. So, that's what those crazy coordinates were that he read off to them last week. Walt is, in a word and pardon my French, fucked.

Where this show exudes brilliance is in Walt's emotional response to the situation. His initial reaction is heartbreak; he didn't mean for Hank to die. Or is he more upset that the Nazis are going to walk away with everything he has worked for? Or perhaps, there's more to Walt's inner psychosis. Lest we forget that the reason that all of this happened was due to a one traitor named Jesse Pinkman. The same Jesse we previously saw Walt the father/teacher lecturing fondly. Jesse still has to pay. And pay he does.

The Nazis find him hiding under a car and, since they just yanked several of Walt's money barrels, they feel compelled to finish off Pinkman as promised. But not until Todd the sociopath tortures him just 'cause. Before Jesse is taken away to whatever doom lay before him, Walt takes the largest metaphorical knife and shoves it deeply into Jesse's beating heart. If you are a Breaking Bad fan, and I assume you must be as you are bothering to read through this, you and all of the other BB fans across the country sat up straight and collectively we shouted, "NOOOO!" as Walt told Jesse he watched girlfriend Jane die and did nothing about it. If I had high blood pressure, I would have said something like, "Oh my blood pressure!"

Marie, thinking all is good in the hood, grabs her balls and goes to confront Skyler. It's over, and it's time to tell Walt Jr. Imagine having that conversation? It doesn't go well.

Meanwhile, Jesse is being beaten and tortured, but worse than that, he is being forced to cook with Todd.

Walt makes it out of the desert with one barrel in tow and gets it back to his house just in time for Skyler and Walt Jr. to show up. Walt insists they pack and run quickly. They can start over, make a new life. But Skyler knows something really, really bad must have happened for him to be talking like this; plus, didn't Marie just say that Hank had arrested him?

The light bulb that must have been temporarily broken suddenly turns back on. Her husband is a monster. How has she gone along with this for so long? She attempts to stop him with a large kitchen knife, but instead he runs out of the house with their baby!

As the episode closes, Walt takes the nail and hammers it further into the proverbial coffin with what may be the most insane phone call a man has ever made to his wife. Not only does he call her a bitch for going against him, but he also threatens to kill her.

Walter White is no longer breaking bad, he is forever broken and he can never go back.

Despite the episode's initial attempt to get the audience to sympathize with Walt -- he didn't mean for Hank to die -- these feelings were quickly yanked out from us when Walt turned the corner into no man's land without any possible hope for return. Recall the children's fable when a trail of bread leading home is eaten leaving no possible way back. This is Walt's current situation, and despite the large pile of dung he has been dumping on himself over the past five seasons, there always was some way to dig out of it. That is no longer the case. Walt is not Walt anymore. He isn't even Heisenberg. He is a stranger.

I keep waiting for the old Walt to come back. Sure, he's killed a few people but all in the good name of... wait what was it in the name of again? What did he do all of this for again? The good fight he was fighting for doesn't exist. Whether Walt dies at the end of this series or not, he's already gone.

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig