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Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 15

Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 15

breaking_bad_2013‘Granite State’

Following last week’s searing episode, it comes as no surprise that things were a bit quieter this week as Walt was forced into exile after finally being outed as Heisenberg. But it was no less a very good hour of television, allowing time for the true ramifications and hopelessness of Walt and Jesse’s situations to sink in.

Rejected by his family and with Hank now dead, Walt had no choice but to skip town and the pieces of the flash-forward puzzle slowly began to fall into place as he was given a new identity and taken to hide in a lonely cabin in New Hampshire. This may have been the penultimate episode of the entire series, but it still managed to show us a whole new side of Walt – there were no crazy schemes, no dues ex machina, no amazing feat of chemistry to save him here; he was defeated.

It was a fittingly thoughtful episode for one just before the big finish and really allowed us to question Walt’s original motives – he’d turned to meth cooking in order to pay for his astronomical health bills, but here he was, still dying of cancer, only now he’d also managed to alienate his entire family, to the extent that even own son wishes him dead. The way things currently stand, everything he’s done has been for nothing. It’s a brilliant move on the writers’ part because it allows the members of the audience who have long since wanted Walt to come to a sticky end to be won back over to his side, for just one last time.

As grim as Walt’s situation is though, Jesse is having a far worse time of things. Still being held captive by Todd’s neo-Nazi gang, and forced to help them cook meth, you’d think he’d really hit rock bottom. But after a nail-bitingly tense escape attempt was foiled, he was forced to watch as they executed his former girlfriend to punish him. Someone needs to give that poor man a hug.

For a long time, Walt has been the ‘bad guy’ of the story, but by beefing up Todd’s gang and showing just how ruthless they are, the writers have succeeded in shifting hate onto them. After everything he’s done, you may want Walt dead, but now you want to see bad things happen to them first. Todd in particular has long been worthy of psycho status, but his sudden appearance in Skyler’s bedroom, threatening the baby, was a genuinely surprising moment and really hammered home the belief that there is no one he won’t kill.

With Walt so utterly defeated, it was hard to see what would motivate him to make one last stand and of course, keen to leave no loose ends, the writers have brought back the storyline involving Walt’s old company, Grey Matter. If there was one thing that could propel him back onto the warpath, it was this old wound. Watching his former colleagues belittle his contribution to the company was all he needed and Gretchen’s words hit surprisingly close to home – Walter White is “long gone”, only Heisenberg remains now. And he’s going out with a bang.

★★★★★

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