Here we are folks. The penultimate episode of Breaking Bad. The almost final episode of what is arguably the finest series in television history, at least in terms of continuing quality. With the exception of less than a handful of episodes, Breaking Bad has had a near perfect run, worthy of such heights as The Wire or The Sopranos. Breaking Bad isn’t just a great television series, it’s a masterwork of storytelling. Watching the evolution of Walter White is something that just doesn’t happen very often, and it’s honestly better then about 85% of films released right now. In short, this is a monumental series, and fans can rejoice that Breaking Bad appears to be leaving us on a high note. With this and the final episode being extended, we get the final sendoff of one singularly brilliant show.
Of course, the ending could end up sucking, but we choose not to think that, because we of course have faith in Vince and company. Even if the ending somehow falls short of peoples expectations, I doubt there’s a way for them to ruin such a fantastic show.
So how was the penultimate episode? If you couldn’t already tell, it was pretty fantastic. Not a moment was wasted in the 53 minute runtime. We start off with Saul getting out of the vacuum van, and apparently beginning the rest of his new life. This threw me off a bit at first, but was a beautiful little sidestep from taking place right after last episode. It has apparently been a couple of days. Walter is in hiding, and Saul has come to join him. This of course, isn’t for very long, as the two get moved along pretty quickly. We still get a great scene between Walt and Saul before the two part ways. Walt’s plan seems pretty clear. Rescue Jesse and get his money back. Seems logical, though at some point you may need to cut your losses. Too bad Walt has lost everything else. When he bribes the vacuum salesman to stay, it truly sinks in just how desperate and alone Walt is at this point. He has nothing left besides a barrel of money. It is now known, he is Heisenberg.
This scene, coupled with a scene involving Jesse, made this one of the most heartfelt and destroying episodes of the series. Everyone has hit rock bottom here. Jr hates his father. Skylar is under investigation. Marie has lost Hank. Everything and everyone in Walter’s path has suffered and he is finally starting to deal with that guilt. His plan, while rash, does seem like the logical path for a man who has nothing left to live for. Everyone is still rooting for Walter, hard as Gilligan may try to persuade us, I think most people want to see Walt redeem himself.
Then you have Jesse, who as I mentioned earlier, scores the heartbreaking scene of the season. I don’t want to tell you exactly what happens, but it involves Todd, who I still enjoy despite his evil nature. He never lets emotion get in the way of business, unless of course it’s for Lydia. If any scene didn’t work for me this week, it was Lydia’s failed attempt to look inconspicuous, but I guess that was the point. It’s been obvious for a while now that Todd has a thing for Lydia, and he is definitely willing to do whatever it takes to please her. So I am curious to see how that plays out during the finale. I imagine Todd will end up dying, but that’s just a guess.
The final phone call between Walt and his son was emotionally acted, and I wish we could spend a little more time on how Jr. is taking all this, but this scene did a fine job of cementing how he feels towards Walt. Also the final call to the DEA, coupled with Walt watching the Grey Matter interview was perfection. My excitement for the finale is bittersweet, but all I know is, this will be one long week.