Abhijeet Singh ’15
Where do we begin? While last week’s episode offered balanced pacing that led to an extremely tense finale, this episode was packed with shocking, game-changing, and thrilling moments that completely turned the tables and set the stakes higher than ever for the final two episodes.
The beginning moments of the episode saw a prologue that showed a flashback to where Walt and Jessie were working together for the very first time. Walt was shown communicating with his wife and discussing the name of his child, and lying for one of the first times, only beginning to hone a skill he would soon master and constantly use to his advantage in his web of deception. As Walt soon faded away into the background, a powerful statement was made about his state in these final episodes. On top of adding a sense of perspective as to how far the show has come, it also gave a bit of foreshadowing; has this Walt and his old world, like the empire of Ramses II (referred to as Ozymandias), soon to disappear for good?
Shortly after this, the aftermath of the intense shootout between the gang of neo-Nazis and Hank and Gomez was revealed; Gomez lay dead and Hank was injured, before being pinned down, unable to move and at the mercy of the gang. Walt’s persuasion and begging was to no avail this time; his brother-in-law was gunned down, another indirect casualty of the deadly rampage that Walt set in motion. The remarkable thing was that Hank, despite knowing the inevitability of his death, didn’t compromise his character; he even acknowledged that Walt had, in fact, won. Walt’s unsympathetic nature is soon revealed again, however, as he points out Jessie, who narrowly escapes death, only to be given a fate that is arguably worse. When Walt approaches Jessie and with a straight face, admits that he left his girlfriend to die her terrible death, we feel the final chord breaking between them; they want each other to suffer, and at any cost.
The poor audience isn’t even given enough time to mourn the loss of Hank or the despondent situation of Jessie. Another relationship is devastated, as the fragile house of cards that Walt built with his family come crashing down in an onset of violence, rage, and betrayal. When Skylar turns on her husband with a knife, Walt Jr. turns from being an innocent bystander to a part of his father’s dark reality, and baby Holly becomes a hostage, the audience realizes that Walt is truly on his own. He was broken his already-fragile relationships with everyone who he once turned to, from his family to Jessie to his brother-in-law, who now lies buried under the dirt, in the very place where Walt’s millions were once held. By allowing himself to be taped by the police, he absolves his family of any possible blame from his crimes, a selfless and redemptive measure that marks Walt’s goodbye to his family.
At the end of the episode, Walt decides to leave his old identity and start anew; this is not only an important plot development, but a symbolic gesture that represents how drastically different his world has become. Walter White as we knew him is gone. The people and places that dominated his life have been killed and destroyed; regardless of his intentions, his every action has led to death and suffering for even those who used to be closest with him. This episode featured extremely emotional situations, stellar acting, unpredictable plot turns that have been years in the making, and countless surprises. There are two more episodes to go, and if they are anything like the previous two, we are in for a hell of a ride.
Edsman Rating: A+