While this week’s episode of “Breaking Bad” didn’t have the high-action, gun-heavy scenes of the past few eps, it was utterly heartbreaking for a variety of reasons.
It starts with a van pulling up to the “Best Quality Vacuum” store, and New Identity Guy (played by Robert Forster, in a casting coup – will he be in Saul’s new show?) opening the door to the van. Out steps … not Walter, but Saul. Turns out Walter is inside and they’ll be bunking together. Fun!
Saul finds out he’ll be headed to Nebraska, but it’ll take some time since his “Just Call Saul” face is plastered on billboards and buses all over town. And Walter? Keep reading…
Meanwhile, Marie is in the car with some feds, heading to her house. But when they get there, the place has been broken into. They drive off as we cut to Todd et al watching the video that Jesse made, the one where he talks about all the bad things that Walt has done. And the kid that went missing in Whitehorse? Oh yeah, Todd killed that kid. Watching Jesse say that in the video does not sit well with Jack.
Jesse is still trapped in the underground cage, but takes the paperclip from the photo of Andrea and Brock and unlocks himself.
Back at the Best Quality Vacuum sleepover, Walt asks Saul to give him a list of mercenaries. “Five should do it, provided they’re the right men for the job,” he says.
“Who are we hitting?” asks Saul. Jack and his men, says Walt. “They stole my life’s work.” So apparently, he hasn’t left the life behind altogether. In fact, he’s ticked.
Saul advises Walt not to leave Skyler, but Walt explains that right now, she’s a blameless victim. “The phone call was a smart move,” says Saul, referencing last week’s call where Walt goes off on Skyler trying to lead the cops away from her. But if they don’t get Walt in a year and a half, they’re going after Sky, says Saul. “They will RICO your wife and kid out of the house.”
Saul says if Walt goes back, head held high, maybe his family can stay in the house. Walt responds with this: “I’m going to kill Jack and his entire crew and I’m going to take back what is mine and give it to my children. And then, only then, am I through.” A man with a plan.
Cut to Sky sitting at a table with a bunch of imposing guys in suits. “I understand I am in terrible trouble,” she says tearfully. “I understand that you will use everything in your power unless I give you Walt. But I don’t know where he is.”
Later, the feds wait outside Sky’s house while she sits inside on the couch and smokes. When the baby cries, she goes into her room to find several guys in black garb and face masks lurking around the crib. It’s Todd et al.
Todd says he knows Sky’s been talking to the cops. He wants to know if she’s said anything about Lydia. “The police don’t need to know anything about her,” he says.
“I will not say anything about her ever,” says Sky. Todd seems satisfied, but menacing. Ok, how could these guys sneak into her house? Wouldn’t the cops have someone out back?
Anyway, Todd meets Lydia later in a restaurant and says she won’t have a problem with Skyler. She wants to take a break, but he says he’s got 50 pounds vac-packed and ready to go. And it’s 92 percent. And blue, just like before.
That gets her attention. Of course it’s just like before, because Jesse cooked it.
Cut to Walt in his new digs in New Hampshire. He’s Mr. Lambert now, in a little shack in the middle of the snow-covered wilderness. He’s got a month’s worth of food, mostly canned goods, with some steak in the fridge. There’s a wood stove and a generator outside that should last out the winter. Two acres, and a nice warm place, though no cell reception, no satellite, no TV. Mostly limited to DVDs, says New ID Man.
And two copies of “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”? Significance, anyone? Other than Walt being Mr. Magorium?
New ID Man says he’ll make a supply run about once a month. If Walt needs anything, put it on the list. And don’t go anywhere, otherwise he WILL be caught. “And if I find out you’ve left the reservation, I won’t be coming back. That is for my own safety. you understand?” Walt understands.
“Seems like just the spot for a man to rest up, think on things,” says New ID Man. “If you look around, it’s kinda beautiful,” he says. Welcome to the cold north woods, Walt!
Walt’s still got his precious barrel of money, and starts stuffing cash into his coat pocket to, I guess, make a run to town. Clearly, he has no idea what he’s doing, because by the time he gets to the gate, he turns around. The way he’s coughing, he might not even be alive in a month.
Meanwhile, after a visit from Todd with some ice cream, Jesse manages to break out of the cage and make a run for it. When Todd et al catch him, they take him to Andrea’s house and make him watch while Todd kills Andrea.
Ok, Todd is really starting to tick me off!
Back in New Hampshire, time has passed and New ID Man brings Walt some stuff – reading glasses, newspapers, etc. Sky and the kids are still in a house (not their old house, a different one), and no court date has been set yet. She’s using her maiden name and doing taxi dispatch part-time.
Oh, and apparently, New ID Man gives Walt a DIY chemo treatment. “Watched a couple YouTube videos,” he says. “It’s all about finding the vein.”
When he goes to leave, Walt pays him $10K to stay another hour. Yes, it’s come to this. Walt has NO one, and has to pay someone thousands of dollars to stay with him.
“One of these days when you come up here, I’ll be dead,” says Walt. “My money over there, what happens to it then? What if I asked you to give it to my family? Would you do it?”
“If I said yes, would you believe me?” says New ID Man.
Later, we see that Walt – now with hair and a beard – has newspaper clippings of Skyler taped all over the walls. He’s lost so much weight that his wedding ring falls off his finger, so he ties a string on it and puts it around his neck.
Spying the Ensure box that New ID Man left him, he loads it up with cash and treks into town. At a bar, pretending he’s Aunt Marie, he uses a payphone to call Walt, Jr. in school.
“It’s so good to hear your voice,” weeps Walt. “Son, the things that they’re saying about me … I did wrong, I made some terrible mistakes, but the reasons were always… things happen that I never intended. I never intended… listen, son, we don’t have much time…”
He says he’ll send a box of money to Jr.’s friend for him, but Jr. will have none of it. He loses it at this point, yelling into the phone, saying how Walt killed Uncle Hank and ruined his mom’s life. “Why are you still alive? Why don’t you just die already?! Just die!” Ouch.
It’s enough to make Walt call the DEA office in Albuquerque, say who he is, and leave the phone off the hook so they can find him. Then he catches a Charlie Rose show on the TV at the bar. It’s Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz, from the Gray Matter Corporation – which, remember, basically started this whole journey.
When Gretchen says the “sweet, kind brilliant man that we once knew long ago … he’s gone…”
Well, that’s enough for Walt to revive Heisenberg. He will not be written off that way! When the cops get to the bar, he is long gone.
Thoughts on this episode of “Breaking Bad”? Any predictions for next week’s finale?