Breaking Bad: Granite State
Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the episode of Breaking Bad that aired Sunday, September 22, 2013. If you haven’t viewed this episode yet and do not wish to know what happened, stop now or forever hold your peace. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
“Welcome to New Hampshire, Mr. Lambert.”
Those were the words that greeted Walter White as he unceremoniously arrived at his new home, a desolate one room cabin in a snowy, remote part of New Hampshire. It was a total change of pace for the show, with New Mexico’s painted desert replaced by the stark beauty of the gray northeastern woods. This episode, coming on the heels of last weeks epic tsunami, was infinitely slower paced, and at times even seemed a bit slow on the surface, but I think it was a needed break to let everyone catch their breath and recalculate the show for the finale. Changes in pace has always been a strength of Breaking Bad, and this was just another example.
It’s fairly amazing though, that an episode which featured Marie’s house ransacked, Todd’s threatening of Sylar and Holly to ensure Skylar’s continued silence about the existence of Lydia, Jesse’s near escape (one question, has anyone actually ever been able to pick the lock on handcuffs with a paperclip? Regardless I loved the scene where Jesse worked his cage open while hanging from the bars), Andrea’s brutal execution to punish Jesse for his escape attempt, and Walter’s near capture at the end of the episode after he seemingly had decided to surrender to the DEA could be considered “slow.” It’s indicative of the high bar that exists for each episode.
Two things stood out:
1.) We knew Todd was a creepy dude (Jesse nailed it with his “dead-eyed Howdy Doody” description) but he certainly raised the bar on his creepiness tonight. The scene where he and his masked friends broke into Skylar’s house was genuinely terrifying, his picking lint off Lydia’s back like a grooming chimp while telling her that they made good partners (and dropping the news that the purity of the latest batch of meth was up to 92% when she suggested that they take a break in order to reduce risk) was downright disturbing, an of course the ease and politeness with which he carried out Andrea’s execution was brutal and chilling.
2.) It was the height of irony that Walt was sitting in his little shack with a barrel full of cash, but it was essentially worthless, since he has nothing (and more importantly no one) to spend it on, save for “$50,000 Costco runs” and $10,000 an hour poker games. Otherwise it is just him, his (2!) DVD copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and his monthly supply of Albuquerque newspapers.
Next week, of course, is the series finale. I’ve spend a good bit of time trying to predict what is going to happen (I still think the ricin is meant for him, letting him regain some since of control over his final act), but I’m not going to do that this week. Instead, I asked myself how I want it to end, knowing full well that Vince Gilligan and co likely have other ideas and they will probably be better than anything I would have dreamed up.
I guess most of all, I hope Jesse survives, or at least is able to find some measure of redemption in his death. I feel like Jesse has been underplayed on purpose in the past few episodes, and perhaps that was intentional to spring him into a more prominent role in the finale. It’s fairly clear now the big machine gun Mr. Lambert is sporting is meant for the Todd, Uncle Jack, and the newly mega-rich Nazis. I do hope that no other members of White family have to pay a price for Walt’s choices, though I fear that may not be true. I do believe Walt will die (see above), but do I necessarily want him to? I’m honestly not really sure. Basically, I’ll be good with just about any ending that doesn’t involve Walt waking up next to Skylar saying that it was “all a dream.”
How do you hope the show ends? What would you like to see happen?