From Geek Goes Rogue TV Editor Zach W. Lorton, who just saw The World’s End and really wants a pint…
Get your bug bombing tents out and practice your best “Am I under arrest” delivery, because it’s time once again to travel back into the world of chemistry teacher turned drug emperor Walter White and his happy band of miscreants, of which none are truly happy. It’s time to break bread over Breaking Bad, and I am more than willing to help you through the rough waters of the final episodes by bringing you, yet again, my own version of a review: play-by-play, reactions in real time, with commentary where it’s appropriate. Or needed. Or if I just feel like it.
0:01:10 – Recap.
0:01:40 – Light amber goo drops onto a cooling pan in a pretty cool up-from-under shot. Todd is showing Lydia and his uncle how he makes the meth now that Walter’s out of the cooking process. You can tell that the low purity factor that Lydia tried to tell Walter about at the car wash (“Have an A-1 day!”) really hits home, because the goo doesn’t even look that clean. When Todd’s uncle takes his mask off, I think it’s sweet the way Todd says “Mr. White says the fumes aren’t good to breathe.” He still doesn’t call him Walter.
0:02:43 – Todd measures the purity level of the goo. 76%. Todd’s uncle laughs and congratulates Todd. Did I mention he has a swastika tattoo on his neck? It’s that kind of purity that gets him excited, apparently. But Lydia wonders why the product isn’t blue. Blue is their brand, and the people in Europe who are used to Walt’s blue product might not buy if the new stuff doesn’t match the old.
0:03:33 – #ItsBlue-ish.
0:04:15 – Lydia was okay with Todd’s uncle’s crew shooting down Declan and the former crew, but she sure isn’t into telling these guys off on their shoddy product. Todd can tell that’s it not the same, though, and he eyes Lydia. I like Todd. He’s unassumingly smart, but sometimes he just doesn’t get it.
0:05:08 – After fetching Lydia her tea, Todd admits he heated the batch a few degrees too hot, burning the color out of the mix. But he’s pretty sure he can bring the purity level up, as well as make sure he preserves the color. Todd offers to ask his uncle to “smooth things over” with the buyers. (Really, Todd? How smooth do you think it’ll go?) Lydia’s response is great — she just looks at him levelly and nails it. “I’ll pass. Thanks.”
0:06:52 – Todd’s ringtone is Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.” That’s because it’s Walt on the other line. “I think I might have another job for your uncle.”
0:07:35 – Title card.
0:10:27 – Gomez is meeting Hank under a highway overpass. Jesse’s got an idea that Hank thinks Gomie needs to hear, and it’s about getting evidence to put Walter away. He suggests that Walter’s money might be enough, and although he doesn’t know where Walt keeps it, Jesse says he knows who might. PleasebeSaul, pleasebeSaul, pleasebeSaul…
0:11:53 – ShraderHaus. Gomez has come back from picking someone up, but they aren’t saying who. PleasebeSaul, pleasebeSaul, pleasebeSaul…
0:12:05 – Gomez lets Hank know very bluntly that “…if this guy decides that he wants to lawyer up, I don’t care if you are my boss, I’m gonna put a stop to this.” My guess is it’s not Saul, but right now, I can’t think of who it might be. Huell? Bill Burr?
0:12:44 – Hank takes some kind of meat out of a package and dumps it on the floor. He takes some of the blood and pours it on top, rearranging it to look like human brains, I guess. That’s what it appears to be. Hanks looks at Jesse. “You’re up.” Cut to a profile shot of Huell, sitting on a bed in a living room in a safe house. Hank and Gomez begin questioning him, but of course, he’s not under arrest, etc.
0:15:07 – Hank’s not getting anywhere. He feed Huell lines about Saul selling him up the river, Bill Burr’s gone missing, Walt’s named Huell in a hit — none of which Huell believes. Then Hank shows Huell a cell phone picture (A cell phone picture, Huell! Don’t you watch CSI? It’s not real!!) of Jesse, lying on the kitchen floor, head next to the splattered meat and blood, looking like he’s been shot or bludgeoned.
0:15:12 – #HuellFellForIt.
0:16:17 – Huell doesn’t know where Walt’s money is, but he doesn’t mind letting Hank and Gomie know how many barrels full of money he had to pack up. Also that they had to wash the van before returning it to the rental place because it looked like Walt had taken it off-road.
0:17:38 – Hank does a somewhat poor job of telling Huell not to leave the safe house or put his battery back in his cell phone, in case Walt’s tracking him via G.P.S. However, #HuellFellForIt.
0:18:04 – Lab Mark II. Walter is meeting with Todd’s uncle about the job. Walt looks none too pleased that he’s going this route. He’s convinced that Jesse’s not a rat, but he won’t “listen to reason.” He really wants to believe that there’s no way Jesse would go to the authorities, that’s he’s just angry. When Todd’s uncle asks whether or not this is a job Walt would do himself, Walt answers swiftly: “Jesse is like family to me.” Now, I know we’ve all thought about killing someone in our family from time to time, but everyone knows that you just don’t kill your family. You hire a white-power killer to do the job for you, everyone knows that.
0:19:20 – Walt tries to change the subject from the details of how they’re going to kill Jesse (which is what Walt is asking them to do… grow a backbone, Walter) to payment. Todd’s uncle says they don’t want money. They want Walter to cook for them. I guess “blue-ish” isn’t good enough anymore, eh?
0:20:05 – TUncle lays it out — Walter teaches Todd how to cook meth just like him, and that’s the only thing they will accept in order to carry the job out. Walter negotiates to one cook, and only after the job is done. TUncle stands and offers Walt his hand to shake on the deal. Walter hesitates for several seconds. This is a moment, he realizes, that he cannot come back from. Setting this in motion could very well change everything for him for the rest of his life.
0:20:34 – The shake is made. The deal has been struck. Time is critical, and while Walt doesn’t know where he is, he knows how to flush him out. That’s the thing about family — the hired guns can always count on you to know how to push their targets’ buttons just right.
0:24:32 – Andrea’s house. Brock is at the table eating cereal and reading the back of the box. No, Walt. No! Baaaaaaad emperor.
0:24:50 – There’s a knock at the door. Andrea answers it and finds Walt standing there.
0:25:25 – “You’ve met Brock before, right?” Irony, thou art heartless. Walt asks Brock how he is, and Brock — I love this kid — just looks up at Walt, then goes back to his cereal. You know what you did, Walt.
0:26:07 – Jesse’s using again, can you help me find him? Andrea suggests Saul, but Walt says no help there. He relays that they had an argument, and that hopefully, the fact that he’s upset is why Walter hasn’t heard from him. He convinces Andrea to try and call Jesse, which she does, leaving a voicemail. You know, Walter, I’ve been rooting for you this entire series, but now, I think I’m starting to hate you a little bit. I mean, really. I kind of hate your guts right now.
0:28:32 – Walt walks out to his car, and someone’s watching him from the front seat of a Ford Crown Victoria. TUncle and his friend are in the car, taking Walt’s call. The trap has been set, and Walter wants to make sure that neither Andrea nor Brock know anything about what’s about to happen to Jesse.
0:30:53 – ShraderHaus. There was no G.P.S. system in the van Walt rented, so they can’t track his travels from the rental time. Hank remembers the dirt on the van from Huell’s story, and thinks Walt buried the money somewhere. Even though the van didn’t have a G.P.S. system, Hank’s betting that Walt’s not aware of that. Looks like we’re playing another round of chess, ladies and gentlemen.
0:35:38 – Car Wash World. Walter, Jr. is working the cash register. “Have an A-1 day!” Junior asks if he can go home, pick up a few things, etc., when Saul walks in, asking who to give his voucher to. Yay, Saul!
0:36:36 – Junior recognizes Saul from the billboard, and he’s a little starstruck. He’s a lawyer, Junior, not an athlete or an actor. And certainly not a blog writer. Saul confirms his identity with his catchphrase, “Better Call Saul!” Like a prairie dog, Walt pops in to the room from around the corner, holding Holly.
0:37:18 – “Don’t drink and drive. But if you do, call me.”
“Have an A-1 day! Mom, you forgot to say it.”
0:37:46 – Saul tells Walt that Huell’s gone, and he looks none too happy about it. Walt notices he’s wearing a bulletproof vest.
0:39:25 – Walt’s phone beeps. Walt opens it to find a picture of a barrel full of money, uncovered from the earth with the lid off. In one of the first shots of this type that I’ve seen in this entire series, we cut to a zoom in on Walter’s shocked face as the phone rings. It’s Jesse. “Got my photo, bitch?”
0:40:02 – Jesse uses a story to convince Walt that he found the stash, which works. Walt is in his lease, speeding around traffic, running red lights. Jesse’s threatening to torch all 7 barrels of money unless Walt meets him out there. He’s even going so far as to say he’s burning $10,000 each minute until Walt arrives.
0:41:48 – One thing about Jesse’s demand that Walt stay on the phone… it’s a great plot device. Walt explains that his cancer is back and that by destroying the money, Jesse’s only hurting Walt’s kids. Of course, Jesse finds the irony in Walt talking about his kids needing to be protected, when it was Walt who poisoned Brock in the first place. To which Walt says, “Oh, hello Hubris! So glad you could be here! Do you mind if I get in?” Walt lets it fly that it was his plan to poison Brock to get Jesse to turn on Gus, that Walt had killed the dealers that almost shot Jesse, going all the way back to Emilio and Krazy-8. He’s giving up EVERYTHING.
0:43:02 – Walt pulls into the desert area where he buried the money, but he can’t hear Jesse on the phone anymore. He also doesn’t see Jesse. He stops the car, pulls his gun, and gets out. He runs towards the burial spot, only to realize that the barrels haven’t been uncovered. Instead of Walt flushing Jesse out, Jesse’s brought Walt into the open.
0:44:25 – Walt climbs up on a rock to get a better vantage point, and begins coughing pretty hard. He notices a vehicle approaching in the distance, and runs past his car to a place out of the way. He calls TUncle and tells him that Jesse’s coming after him, to which TUncle signals to his compadres, who were all enjoying a nice lunch, that it’s time to make it happen.
0:46:14 – Walt’s given TUncle the coordinates, but he’s also just realized that it’s Hank and Gomez that have brought Jesse to the site. Despairing, he renegs. “Don’t come. It’s off.”
0:47:44 – Hank and Gomez, guns drawn, are looking around, calling for Walt. Walt sits behind the rock, looking at his options, of which he appears to see none. He’s weighing what all this means as he hears Hank call for him. “It’s over!”
0:48:24 – Taco Bell’s Fiery Doritos Locos Taco, with a hint of lime, actually tastes pretty good. I tried one this weekend.
0:53:16 – Walt still hasn’t come out. Hank, Gomie, and Jesse are still looking around. After a few seconds, Hank wheels on a target. “Got him.” Walt slowly walks out from behind the rock and drops his gun when Hank demands. He raises his hands and slowly walks towards the three men. I still hate Walt, but this is kind of painful to watch.
0:54:50 – Hank makes Walt place his hands on his head, turn around, walk backwards, get on his knees, fry up 3 eggs sunny side up, recite the 23rd Psalm, dress his bandages … finally he cuffs Walt, and we see a close-up shot of the cuffs going on. Hank whips him around and reveals that he faked the photo and sent it to him. Now, Hank is a smart man, but WHY, HANK, WHY?? Why did you tell him? Hubris only has room for one man at a time, and really, it looks better on Walt than on you.
0:55:56 – As Hank is explaining the details of the setup, Walt glares with whatever energy he has left in Jesse’s direction. Jesse realizes the spot is the place where he and Walt set up their very first cook. Why is this important right now, Jesse? Does this foreshadow anything, really? Hank’s satisfied with bringing out a search team since Walt won’t say where the money is buried.
0:56:44 – “Walter White, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at the government’s expense. Do you understand these rights as I have just recited them to you?”
Daggers are stared at Jesse.
Jesse approaches Walt, pauses, then spits in his face. An altercation tries to break out, which is not likely to go anywhere since Walt’s in cuffs, and it’s easily broken up. Walt is escorted in the back of Hank’s SUV, while Gomez tells Jesse to get in Walt’s car.
0:58:14 – Hank tells Gomez that he’ll take Walter in to book him, and that Gomez should stay behind with Jesse to wait for the search team. Oh, this won’t end badly.
0:58:27 – Marie looks in her trash can and sees a mess of meat and blood. Disgusted, she closes the lid and answers the phone. It’s Hank. “Hey, baby. I got him. Dead to rights… …Want me to wave to him for you?” Again, Hank, Hubris. Hubris does not look good on you.
0:59:54 – Walt looks out the window, then turns his gaze towards the rearview mirror of the SUV, in which he sees Todd & his uncle pulling up in their vehicles. Panic. Gomez and Hank notice them, too. Walt tries to shout at Hank from inside the car to warm him, but to no avail.
1:00:38 – The two vehicles come to a stop, and six men get out and draw their guns on Hank and Gomez, who respond in turn, telling the men to drop their weapons. TUncle can see Jesse in the front seat of Hanks’ car, and he demands to see identification from Hank and Gomez. The whole time, Walt is yelling at Jack (that’s TUncle, I couldn’t remember his name) to back off.
1:01:25 – “We’ll give ourselves up if you show us some badges! Simple as that! How ’bout it?” It’s that last part that makes me not believe Jack, almost like he’s hungry for the chance to off some guys who might be police, even if they aren’t. Neither Hank nor Gomez are backing down.
1:02:05 – Jack looks over at one of his cohorts, who replies by opening fire on Hank and Gomez. They take cover behind the SUV while Walt ducks down, trying to stay clear of the gunfire. Shots ring out from both sides, Hank and Gomez positioning to get the best shots off they can, Jack and his crew unloading, and Walt trying desperately to not get struck.
1:02:48 – Executive Producer Vince Gilligan.
Vince, I gotta tell you, as a writer and a director, you have my utmost respect. But you’re really starting to make me angry.
I’m gonna go watch “Talking Bad” and see how everyone else is reacting to this. Maybe I’ll find some comfort.
Zach W. Lorton is a media producer and professional DJ/MC by trade, and a comedian, actor, and musician by default. His debut music project is set to begin recording in 2014, and will likely take the world by storm, possibly in the form of a Sharknado.
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