Understand that so much happened in this episode that there WILL be spoilers galore in this review.
Before you continue reading, watch the video above. I’ll give you a minute. Finished watching? Okay, now if you are a Breaking Bad fanatic as much as I am, you have probably seen this video at least 100 times, trying to analyze and over-analyze the life out of it. After tonight’s episode, however, it is like watching a completely different video altogether. Walter White was once the almighty king of New Mexico. Heisenberg was a powerful king whom everyone feared, including his own family. We are now at the point of the story where we are past seeing Walt at his best, but now see him when he has crumbled. He is officially killing off Walter White and Heisenberg but will always be remembered for everything he has done. He did this all for his family and he has absolutely nothing now but himself. He worked so hard for his family that it ended up destroying the very thing that motivated him.
Last night’s episode was directed by Rian Johnson who is known for his phenomenal masterpiece, Looper, staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. Without giving away the plot, the movie deals with time paradoxes and time travel. “Ozymandias” had some elements from said movie within the first few minutes into the episode. I always especially enjoy seeing flashbacks for these characters. It shows the audience that these were once normal, everyday humans. We often forget that Walter was just a normal law-abiding citizen who taught high school Chemistry. And then to see him tell his first meth-related lie to Skylar was the beginning of the end. In that general area where Walt is standing, he went from discussing bringing home pizza to Skylar, to witnessing his brother-in-law get shot in the head right in front of him. In one year, too. The elements from Looper come into play when the characters and the RV fade into the past and are replaced with the gun showdown. It was time travel that brought us back to the past of the good ol’ days and then quickly back to the ugly present.
Knowing that Hank and Gomie were incredibly out-numbered and out-gunned, there was no way that everyone would make it out alive. The way the show reveals that Gomie is dead was a huge kick in the face. Instead of doing a cliche, slow-motion scene of Gomie getting shot, the camera cuts to his body spread out on the dirt. Bam. Gomie has gone to Belize. But when Hank calls Walt the smartest man he has ever met but was too stupid to realize what was happening, that was Hank fully understanding his fate. Seeing Hank die was like losing a friend. We’ve come to know and love Hank, despite his actions. He was a man who was extremely passionate about his job and understood that diving deeper into the Heisenberg case would yield great rewards had he solved it. However, Hank went too far and the very case that he risked his career over ended up being the death of him.
Then there’s Jesse who was so close to being done with everything but is now being forced to cook once again. Jesse almost suffered the same fate as Hank and Gomie but then Todd realizes that there’s quite a bit of information that he could know. Plus, they know that Jesse knows Walt’s recipe. It makes me incredibly sad to see Jesse beaten half to death, being chained up and placed on chain rope, then being forced to cook with Todd. OF ALL PEOPLE. As if Jesse’s condition wasn’t bad enough but now he has to work again with the guy who, not only does he hate, but the one who made him realize that he shouldn’t be in the meth business anymore after he killed that kid. Oh hey Jesse, here’s your new office and here’s a photo of Andrea and Brock for your work station. Wow…the rabid dog is now on his leash.
It’s interesting to note that every time I see Marie, I always think the worst possible outcome will happen. She is a volcano waiting to explode with the truth. As she forces herself to remember that Skylar is her sister, she informs her that her husband is officially in custody and that Hank has won. Little does she know of the real truth. She has also been trying so hard to get Walter Jr. to understand the truth. The character of Walter Jr. has not really been developed at all since season 1. The furthest he’s evolved is wanting to be called Flynn and hating Skylar. But that’s nothing compared to how the other characters have developed. The moment that Walter Jr. was told everything, he was almost in denial but once Skylar pulled the knife out, he was willing to stand in the middle of the crossfire. It was rough seeing Walt and Skylar scuffle over the knife right in front of Walter Jr. Understand that he just found out about the actual truth of Walt’s meth business and then moments later he witnesses his parents almost killing each other.
Baby Holly ends up playing a much bigger role in this episode, surprisingly. As Walt kidnaps her and is about to embark on a new life with her, she cries for her mother. It was that moment where he knew that he couldn’t do that to her. She’s better off with her brother and mother than a father with a massive criminal record. Later on, when Walt calls Skylar at the house, he puts the blame all on himself. Yes, he calls her a few choice words and throws her under the bus, but at the end of the day, he put all the responsibility on himself. He knew 100% that the cops were listening to their conversation and had to put on one last act as Heisenberg before he started a new life. He figures that if he can never be with his family, they might as well have each other. Moments later, we see Holly in the firetruck at the fire station. Walter Jr. used to play the middle ground between the characters and now Holly took that role. That’s why the flashback involved talking about naming the baby.
As Walt rides off in the red van to start a new life, we are on the horizon of the final and epic conclusion to, once again, the greatest show on television. I must have made that statement in almost all of my reviews of this show. Every week this show simply proves that it is the ultimate king of television. The acting was absolute top-notch, production and editing astonishing, and the storytelling and pacing was absolutely on point. “Ozymandias” may be the greatest episode of any television show that has ever existed. We are so privileged to live in this golden era of television that I feel honored to be able to say that I’m about to watch a new episode of Breaking Bad. The entire team earned their Emmys with this episode alone. Ladies and Gentlemen, this was a classic episode and you got to watch it premiere live. With only two more episodes remaining, the final pieces of the puzzle will finally be in place.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’