Category Archives: Breaking Bad

My Most Anticipated Releases of November 2013


Alexander Payne has been on a hot streak basically since the beginning of his career. After “Sideways” and “The Descendants,” “Nebraska” brings the director back to his home city of Omaha for what seems like his turn even further into dramatic territory. Plus, Will Forte has a shot to show his dramatic chops (I know that they are there) and generally awesome person Bob Odenkirk gets a big role [Note: Saul Goodman was supposedly relocated to Omaha at the end of “Breaking Bad.” Hmmm…]. For great, little character-driven stories and perfect dark humor, Alexander Payne never disappoints.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I have yet to read any of the novels in the “Hunger Games” series, but I was a big fan of the first movie, which was a thoroughly entertaining dystopian blockbuster. Since I have no background knowledge of the story, I am excited to see where “Catching Fire” brings the story next. Also, this will likely only increase my love for Jennifer Lawrence. Let’s just hope that the baboons that I saw in one of the commercials are less ridiculous than the giant mutated dogs from the first installment.


Ever since the moment I heard that Spike Lee was directing a remake of “Oldboy,” I had no clue what to make of it. Why mess with Korean perfection? Could anybody ever recreate the pure shock of the octopus or hammer scenes? Still, I can’t help but be more curious than angry about this remake. It has a stellar cast (Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson), and its easy to forget that outside of his often annoying media presence, Spike Lee is an incredibly talented director. Let’s just hope this is more “Inside Man” than “Miracle at St. Anna.”

No Country For Oldboy: Josh Brolin, who looks like he’s auditioning to play Bruce Wayne stuck in the pit in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Goodbye, Mr. Blue

This is a recap of episode 16 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Felina.” IT’S THE FINALE. 


Well, well, well then. That’s all I can think of saying at first. There’s a lot to say. 

First of all, this definitely isn’t the ending you expected. Nearly every prediction made by the Internet was wrong, proving that Reddit can’t write a TV show. Or at least not one as good as this. 

Continued After the Jump

“Breaking Bad” was a show that constantly built up upon itself and changed. The final episodes of “Breaking Bad” did not resemble anything seen in season one. However, the series finale, entitled “Felina,” combined the best of the early years of “Breaking Bad” with the best of the later years. 

Right after the main title credits had rolled, Walt had already gone from New Hampshire to New Mexico. It was wise not to show his whole trip, as that could have been an entire season of a completely different show. This current Walt is hard to define. All I know is that he definitely stole Lindsay Weir’s jacket. Anyway, this was the end of silent rage Walt from “Granite State” and the return of the man who takes action. 

Much of this episode was about emotional catharsis. The tense yet surprisingly funny showdown between Walt, Gretchen and Elliot was the light patch this show needed after weeks of tragedy. Elliot and Gretchen’s house is a paradise for people with too much money to spend. At first, they’re too distracted with their gadgets and small talk to realize that Walt has broken into their house and is standing just a few feet away from them. Perhaps this is the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” Mexican standoff that was alluded to weeks ago. However, this showdown ends in a much less violent fashion. Walt gives them a sizable chunk of his fortune, and asks them to give it to Flynn once he turns 18. Gretchen and Elliot, who seem so shocked to be alive the entire time, accept Walt’s money. Last week, it seemed like Walt was returning to kill them for shaming him on Charlie Rose. But this week saw the return of a more level headed Walt. Instead, Walt got his revenge through fake snipers. Badger and Skinny Pete, the show’s best dynamic duo since season one, also showed the show’s overall view on humanity: you can make a person drop their moral code in an instant as long as you offer them enough money. Goodbye, you goofy Greek Chorus.

While “Breaking Bad” usually saves its flashbacks and flash forwards for beginnings and endings of episodes, “Felina” decided to plop a few right in the middle. One showed Jesse woodworking. The good thing about this week’s marathon on AMC was that it reminded me about Jesse’s past woodworking love. Then cut back to the present day, where prisoner Jesse looks like a mix between Jean Valjean and Viggo Mortensen in “The Road.” Following that, another flashback shows the fateful day that Hank asked Walt to come along with him to bust a meth lab. If only Walt had just said no to Hank. Throughout its five seasons, “Breaking Bad” liked to show that most of the bad things that happened to its characters were partly their own faults. Even a good guy like Hank wasn’t safe. No one was safe in this universe, any bullet could ricochet at any moment.  

The most exciting part of this finale is that it brought back genius Walt, who has been missing for a long time. At first, I thought Walt was still being an idiot. After all, Walt left his car in a Denny’s parking lot, went back to his own house, and then talked to his neighbor. But once he went to see Skyler, I realized that he was in the midst of a planned death wish. Skyler, shrouded in cigarette smoke, gives Walt five minutes to explain himself. After Walt gives her the coordinates for his buried money and bodies, Skyler expects to hear more lies about how this was all for his family. Instead, he finally admits that everything he did was “all for me.”  

“I’m surprised by this,” said no one.

Walt is good at a lot of things, but one of them is not being honest (and ironically, he also eventually became a pretty bad liar). It must have taken a lot for him to finally admit that the man who protects his family is driven by a lot more than love. When I heard that this show was “Mr. Chips becomes Scarface,” I assumed that meant that the main character would go out in a drug-riddled, ego-driven blaze of anti-glory. Instead, he tried to seek redemption in death, he died with his arms spread out because he wanted to die sacrificing himself for those he loved. He really wanted to convince himself of that. Maybe he could have done this if he hadn’t been so obsessed with building an empire.   

The saddest part about this episode was the moment that Walt watched Flynn return home from a distance. He could never talk to his own son again. And with that, he was off to seek revenge on the neo-Nazis. He went in with the cover of a new business deal that they weren’t buying into. While he never said this out loud, I believe Walt also wanted Jesse dead for making meth without him. However, once he saw what Jesse looked like, he realized that Jesse was a prisoner rather than a competitor. In that moment, Walt took pity on Jesse and perhaps saw a man that he knew so well, a man that he took under and raised like a son. Walt saved Jesse’s life, as he pulled the trigger on his brilliantly created trunk-gun device that brought down the entire gang. 

This scene was Jesse’s moment, and even Walt knew it. As Walt put a bullet in Uncle Jack’s head, Jesse brought down Todd in the most violent way imaginable. Once that happened, all I could feel was an immediate sigh of relief. “Breaking Bad” was always great at planting seeds, and the show was building up to that final showdown since Todd shot Drew Sharpe off of his motorcycle. 

It would have felt wrong if “Breaking Bad” concluded without a true showdown between Walt and Jesse. What was amazing about it was that they used so few words. Neither said anything about Brock or Jane. Instead, Walt hands Jesse a gun and asks Jesse to shoot him. Jesse notices that Walt has already been shot, but the real reason he lets Walt go is that he admits that he wants to die. Jesse got the same emotional catharsis out of that as the audience did from watching the neo-Nazis get mowed down. Another good name for this episode would have been “Confessions,” a title already taken by another episode this season. 

Walt and Jesse have fought on several occasions throughout the show’s run. Yet, they have always had a strong father-son relationship that perhaps neither of them could achieve with any of their real family members. I couldn’t tell if Jesse truly cared for Mr. White anymore. However, it was clear that Walt cared for Jesse. Like all of his other family members, Walt provided for Jesse even when it was a risk for him to do so. With Hank gone, Jesse is the closest thing to a hero left in this gritty world. He’s the only one who gets to leave the compound alive. With tears of joy in his eyes, he takes a car and drives right into “Need for Speed.” I don’t know if he’ll get to live the rest of his life and never get caught for his crimes. If he does, I have a feeling he’ll rescue Brock and then get a job that involves taking care of kids. He’s great at that.

After Jesse departs, Walt is left to hobble to his death. He is kept alive for a lot longer than he probably should have been for this thing called dramatic effect. The show’s final moments bring him back into a meth lab as Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” illuminates the scene. Walter White is now completely alone. His family and friends have either died or abandoned him. All he has left is his one friend, his baby, his true love: those little blue crystals. Call it an unhappy ending, but Walt got to die doing what he loved: cooking meth and tying up loose ends through murder. Some might interpret this as a hero’s death, but just remember all of the circumstances that led to this exact moment. Walt probably didn’t want to die, but he knew that he had to. He probably thought that a man who caused the death of his brother-in-law didn’t deserve to be alive. Plus, if he died in the lab, he gets to take credit for all of the meth Jesse cooked. Therefore, Jesse doesn’t get in trouble, and the Heisenberg legacy lives on. 

The ending of “Felina,” like that of such remarkable episodes before it like “Face Off,” was better than just about any movie. It was satisfying and answered a lot of questions while not struggling too hard to put a bow on every little thing. Here is a show that let its characters die memorably, but not necessarily with class or dignity. There were many faces to “Breaking Bad.” First, it was a dark comedy. Then, it was a tragedy. Then, it was a tale of karmic justice being served. 

Tonight, I was reminded why “Breaking Bad” ever began anyway. Walter White, a dying man, started cooking meth to feel alive again. In the process, he caused the death of hundreds and then himself. It is fitting that Walt was brought down by his own gun. The only man who could ever kill Walter White is Walter White.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Not that any of them are reading this, but thank you to every single person involved in “Breaking Bad” for bringing this show into my life. “Breaking Bad” has become so big that it’s not “cool” to call this one of the best shows ever anymore. But I’ll just say it anyway because everyone knows its true. 
  • As always ladies and gentlemen…the sound of the wind. 
  • There are way too many pay phones in “Breaking Bad” for comfort. 
  • Until tonight, I almost forgot about how brilliant this show’s song choices could be.
  • I still don’t know what to call this new Walt. Post-Heisenberg? Hipster Walt? Unabomber seems fitting. 
  • I almost completely forgot about Lydia! The realization of her imminent death provided another cathartic sigh. I thought the closeup shot of her drink was just Vince Gilligan’s way of messing with us. No visual trickery this time. And a major PR blow to the Stevia industry.
  • Lesson learned Lydia: never use artificial sweeteners. 
  • Whether he’s tormenting Lydia and Todd or Gretchen and Elliot, Walt has a way of acting so nonchalant just moments before he’s about to try and completely ruin someone’s life. I think its a way to give himself control of the situation by putting his enemies’ off with his casualness. Now that is the stuff of a criminal mastermind. 
  • Todd’s ringtone is the song “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” Points to Todd for still being creepy even after death. Points deducted from me for life for not realizing until now that Groucho Marx sings that song.
  • “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” would have been another good song to end the series with.
  • Meanwhile, “Blue” by Eiffel 65 would have been the worst final song choice ever.
  • On “Talking Bad” (yes, I actually watch it), Vince Gilligan said that the ending was meant to be reminiscent of “The Searchers.” If you haven’t watched “The Searchers” yet, then you really should. 
  • Some unexpectedly great comic relief: Marie can’t tell the difference between Becky and Carol. Poor Carol!
  • Also, poor Huelle. 
  • Tonight’s funniest line: “Elliot, if you wanna go that way you’re gonna need a bigger knife.” 
  • Orchestral music strangely has the power to make things more intense. 
  • Did Walt really believe that it was all about him? Had he truly convinced himself? Or was he just playing Skyler once again in a really elaborate way? I vote that admitting his selfishness was his most selfless act in ages.
  • Jokes that “Breaking Bad” is a spinoff of “Friday Night Lights” > Jokes that “Breaking Bad” is a spinoff of “Malcolm in the Middle”
  • If you want some more insight into the decisions of Walt and Jesse tonight (and also throughout the whole season), watch “In Bruges” and pay close attention to Ralph Fiennes’ very strict code of life.
  • Uncle Jack just wants to die with a cigarette in his mouth.
  • Were Todd and Lydia on a date together? Was it business? Personal? Both? 
  • Walt was wearing the same green collared shirt that he also wore in the pilot.
  • This was most likely not deliberate, but that shot of Walt’s bloody hand slipping off the metal machine made me think of “King Kong” letting go and then tumbling down the Empire State Building. In both cases, the king falls and dies because they have no choice. 
  • The Stevia shot and the final shot resemble two very famous shots in “Taxi Driver.” I don’t know if it influenced “Felina” at all, but Walter White and Travis Bickle definitely have a lot in common. They’d definitely have a pretty interesting coffee date. 
I have had an amazing time watching these episodes and getting to write about them. I am sad that it all has to end now. Thank you so much to everyone who chose to read my recaps when there are so many others out there. Just because I never want to let this show go, I will be working on a full series recap soon. For now, onto the next show. 
“You know who else cut corners in life? Walter White. You know where he is now? DEAD.” 

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Granite State of Mind

Let’s play a game: “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad”?

This is a recap of episode 15 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Granite State.”

The more Walter White loses, the easier it is to see what is really underneath all of that rage and greed. Without his money, family, or meth empire, Walt is a lot of anger, and a lot of misguided pride. As per usual, Walt’s emotions are ruining his life.

“Granite State” is the first episode of this season to receive such a mixed reaction. But come on people, everyone should have been prepared for something nowhere near as good as “Ozymandias.” Even Vince Gilligan thinks that last week’s episode was the best one they ever did. “Granite State” is not the best episode of “Breaking Bad.” It has some odd pacing problems, and it definitely isn’t the one of a kind, gut-wrenching experience I’ve come to expect based on the past few episodes of “Breaking Bad.” This may have been a bridge episode, but it was a very important one. 

Continued After the Jump

“Granite State” is basically like the whole section of “Skyfall” where Bond goes to hang out with Albert Finney and those awesome black labs at his old home before Silva and his gang show up. The best part about a slower “Breaking Bad” this week was some much needed time to breath and reflect. Well, mostly. 

Tonight, Mr. Vacuum Man is finally revealed. He is played by Robert Forster, who you might know from “Jackie Brown” and “The Descendants.” It is an unexpected yet perfect casting choice. It turns out that Saul is also getting a new identity, leaving a huge gap in the Albuquerque market for lawyers with catchy commercials. The process for getting a new identity basically looked like getting a fake I.D., or at least the way “Freaks and Geeks” portrayed getting a fake I.D. Anyway, Saul got assigned to Nebraska. I’m going to try and assume that this isn’t subliminal advertising for Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska,” which Bob Odenkirk stars in later this year. 

While trying to avoid real prison, Walt finds himself in a prison cell under the vacuum store. Walt and Saul are forced to bunk together. This rooming assignment is temporary, and unfortunately not the setup for “Better Call Saul.” While Saul is ready to start his new life, Walt can’t stop looking back at his broken old one. Walt’s motivations are mixed, and I still feel like there’s something more he isn’t telling us. He wants revenge for Hank’s death, but he also wants to steal back all of the money he earned. Sadly, rescuing Jesse is not on his radar. Saul refuses to help and tells Walt that “it’s over.” Walt responds “it’s not over.” He tries his best to be intimidating, but he can barely finish a sentence between his cancer riddled coughs. There was a scene similar to this one in season three in which Walt was much more frightening. No matter how hard Walt tries, returning to that pure Heisenberg state will be tough.

Still, Walt tried his hardest. While isolated in his tiny, frozen, New Hampshire home, Walt brings out the old black Heisenberg hat. It’s treated like a villain putting on his disguise before terrorizing the city, but Walt is delusional enough to believe that he’s a hero putting on his mask. I’m honestly kind of surprised that this great moment wasn’t followed by Walt looking in a mirror and asking if anyone was talking to him. It’d make sense, as Walt can’t go too far, so he’s bound to go a little crazy from cabin fever. All he’s really got right now is a fireplace and a month’s worth of the Albuquerque newspaper. The only thing keeping him going is the thought of one day returning to his family. 

The New Hampshire scenes mainly serve to show just how far downhill Walt’s life has gone. Even with all of the evil, I am still convinced that Walt wants nothing but to be loved. Because he’s scared off or killed everyone who once loved him, he now has to resort to paying people $10,000 to hang out with him for just one hour. Even his wedding ring doesn’t want to stay put on his finger. But Walt, never able to let go of his past, ties it around his neck. Just like Frodo Baggins, Walt has a quest he is about to embark on. 

Back down in New Mexico, things were looking even darker. Without Walt around, Skyler was in danger with the law. The White house has become something of a local tourist attraction, so the bank took over the house and fenced it off (so bankers are the real villains here?). But of everyone, poor Jesse’s life is the worst. In some surprising craftiness, Jesse broke out of his handcuffs and nearly broke free in a doomed escape attempt. As Jesse can cook the purest meth since Heisenberg was in town, the Nazis couldn’t kill him for this. Instead, they decide to psychologically torture him, which leads to one of the most horrifying moments in the show’s history: Todd shoots Andrea right in front of Jesse. 

The one thing Walt and Jesse now have in common is that they’ve both lost everybody that they love. “Breaking Bad” didn’t necessarily need this scene. I was already convinced that Todd and family were psychos. But this will clearly lead to something important in the finale, as every little occurrence in the “Breaking Bad” universe always has a consequence.  


I was most thrilled to see that this was a very important Todd episode, and one that really let Jesse Plemons chew the scenery. Todd is so desensitized towards violence that when he shoots Andrea right in the head, he tells her right before hand that it is “nothing personal.” When he watches Jesse describe his murder of the boy on the motorcycle in Jesse’s confession video, Todd smiles ever so slightly. Todd takes pride in his murders the way that Walt took so much pride in his meth. What makes Todd so scary is that he never shows any semblance of human emotion (except maybe for condescending empathy when giving Jesse ice cream). When he put on a nice shirt and pants and went to a coffee shop, he looked like he’d never really been around non-Nazi people before. To me, Todd is more like an alien who just landed on Earth and is trying to blend in by being non-distinct. 

Up in New Hampshire, Walt, as usual decided not to listen to somebody who was trying to help him. He leaves his Thoreau like cottage for the local bar. It’s a dark, sad empty bar. It’s like the bar in Nepal where Marion spends her time before Indiana comes back into her life in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” or the bar where Ron Burgundy hangs out before the news team reassembles in “Anchorman.” Basically, it’s like any movie/TV bar where the main character waits for their imminent call to action. 

Yet, Walt doesn’t wait, because he literally makes the call. Walt’s phone call to Junior would have been more heartbreaking if Walt didn’t deserve that verbal beating from his son. A lot of darker dramas on television seem to have issues with their younger characters. Usually, they get reduced to one line or action that becomes a running joke. On “Homeland,” Chris Brody was all about his love of shiny things, and on “Breaking Bad,” all Walt Junior got was breakfast. But luckily the writers finally decided to elevate his character this season and RJ Mitte has really stepped up to the task. Luckily, the kid is smart enough to understand that getting $100,000 in the mail from a wanted man is probably a bad idea.

Todd Lydia meme Breaking Bad 5x15 Granite State
Coming Soon: Facing Backwards, a new romantic comedy!

With no motivation left, Walt turns himself into Albuquerque DEA and has himself a drink. That’s when he sees that Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz, our old friends from Gray Matter, on TV. The two of them are clearly on a PR campaign to distance themselves from Heisenberg, whose relationship with the company is making a dent in their stock values. This provides an enjoyable moment for Walt, until they basically discredit Walt from any of his contributions to their company. They basically had no choice to, but this moment burst Walt’s pride. Walt has no money, none of his empire, and now he can’t even say that he helped to start Gray Matter.

Walt’s history with Gray Matter is secretly one of the things that led to the creation of Heisenberg. The fact that his former friends basically stole all of his ideas and then cheated him out of the company is what led to his inner insecurity that made him want to build an empire. While Walt says that everything he did was for his family, he is in it just as much for his own ego. It seems like Walt wants to go back to Albuquerque and bring Gretchen and Elliot down along with the neo-Nazis, as a way to exorcise all of his demons. However, even Walt isn’t stupid enough to know that it is partly his fault that he missed out on the Gray Matter fortune. If Walt wants to spend the finale getting rid of all of his past mistakes, then the last one he might have to get rid of is himself.

Looking at “Granite State” by itself, I wish that this episode had come earlier this season. Peter Gould, who wrote and directed this episode, approached it as if he wanted to slow down a bit. However, there is only one episode left after this, so he had to keep the momentum going. Even the extended running time didn’t feel like quite enough. It would have been great if Gilligan and the crew had squeezed out a few more episodes of Walt living as a solitary mountain man. Maybe the series finale will provide us with some flashbacks. 

The series finale. Just one episode away. Now that’s weird to say.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • As Todd relives the memory of the freight train, the sound of a train can be heard behind him.
  • More wind sounds. This time in New Hampshire.
  • The scene in which Skyler hears all of the sounds and voices in her head is yet another brilliant bit of sound editing. Or mixing. I still don’t really know the difference. And I’m studying stuff like this in college.
  • There is a lot of heavy use of the color gray in this episode. The cloudy sky. The vacuum store. I should’ve known that this would have led the way to Gray Matter. 
  • Another technical/geeky note: the bar was so beautifully lit. I keep looking up images of it.
  • Saul’s luggage is blue. Maybe, like Lydia, he’s buying into the whole blue brand.
  • Saul’s afraid that he’s going to end up operating a Cinnabon in Omaha. Now that would be a great front for illegal activities. 
  • Seriously, check out Robert Forster’s Oscar nominated performance in “Jackie Brown.” If you do, you’ll also have the pleasure of watching Quentin Tarantino’s most underrated film. Also, Michael Bowen (a.k.a. Uncle Jack) is in it.
  • It’s funny how Walt has a knack for hanging out with criminals who are so professional and careful about not getting caught (Gus, Saul, Mike, Lydia) yet he never seems to learn anything from them. Todd might be the only other person who is as reckless as Walt is. Todd shoots Andrea right on her front porch. It’s like him and Walt both want to get caught, so they can take credit for their lifes’ works. 
  • Last week, Holly got kidnapped by her own father. This week, a gang of Nazis broke into her room. She’s going to need some serious therapy.
  • Vacuum man gives Walt a tour of his new house. He points out the stove and fire place. “Plus, you can cook on it,” he says. Probably not the kind of stuff Walt wishes he could be cooking, though.
  • Comic relief: Vacuum man isn’t much of a film buff. His DVD collection only includes two copies of “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” 
  • When someone receives chemotherapy, isn’t their hair supposed to fall out?
  • Flynn did a good job pulling off the Marty McFly look.
  • Before Walt tries to get his money back, I hope he watches this scene from “Fargo.” Unfortunately, “Breaking Bad” no longer has its “good guy” authority figure (Hank) around.
  • I almost forgot about Marie. She barely had any screen time and because of that, her story seemed kind of out of place. I’m assuming that it’ll pay off next week.
  • As I’ve said too many times before, “Breaking Bad” is about consequences. Well, it’s also about characters who think they can cheat the consequences of their actions. Lydia is always turning away from the evil in front of her, so as to act like she’s not a part of it even when she’s pulling all the strings. Lydia, I underestimated you. 
  • On that note, Walt also does something very similar. He lies not just to others, but also to himself. Here, he convinces himself that he lost all of the money he earned. In reality, he gave it all away to try to save someone that he couldn’t save. Now, by trying to get it back, he thinks he can undo the consequences of his mistake. 
Walter White Heisenberg hat gif Breaking Bad 515 Granite State Heisenberg Mode: ENGAGE! Imgur

Breaking Bad: Analog This- The Wizard of Ozymandias

This is a recap of episode 14 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Ozymandias.”


That would have been an apt title for tonight’s episode. And just as poetic. It was one of the last things that Hank ever said (“My name is ASAC Schrader. And you can go fuck yourself.”) and also the one thing I couldn’t stop saying over and over again throughout “Ozymandias.” I think I needed this little mantra. It reminded me of how cathartic cursing can be.

I know that I am always talking about how amazing “Breaking Bad” is every week but I feel like up to this point, I was being a tad hyperbolic. “Ozymandias” may be the show’s finest hour. If it is not the absolute best, then it was the show’s most horrifying and emotionally devastating. Appropriately, many critics are already comparing this episode to a horror movie. This episode was a horror western directed by Rian Johnson, who’s proved himself to be excellent at mixing and matching genres through the likes of “Brick” and “Looper.”

“Ozymandias” begins with a flashback to season one. Remember that season, when Jesse was still calling everyone a bitch and Walt still couldn’t figure out how to lie properly to his wife? He couldn’t even figure out whether to say “a bug” or “a stick” up his butt as he formulated his excuse for being home late from his first cook. While Walt has changed a lot since season one, I noticed a few habits that he hasn’t quite been able to shake off. For one, he still always tries to act like things are going just fine even when they are going horribly, especially when it comes to his family. Whenever Walt is around his family, it’s as if he immediately starts to believe his own lies.

Hi, can I have an Emmy please?

This flashback was absolutely perfect here, as this little plot of land has proved to be one of the most important locations in the “Breaking Bad” mythology. It is also the most haunting location as well. It will forever be known as the land where Hank Schrader died. I knew this moment was coming, but I didn’t think it would be quite this tough to get through. In the moments before his death, Hank showed off the best of his personality. He wouldn’t even sacrifice his principles as he was offered a chance to live. Meanwhile, Walt literally tried to give up everything he had for a battle he couldn’t win. Even Hank knew that Todd’s uncle had his mind made up from the start. For once, Walt found himself in a situation that he couldn’t talk his way out of, just as Hank found himself in a shootout that he couldn’t shoot his way out of.

So, Hank gets shot, the gunfire echoes, and his body is buried. And the show just moves on from there. This might be a tragic moment, but “Breaking Bad” doesn’t have time to stand around and mourn. Get used to it. Nevertheless, I was a wreck. In just a few seconds, the show completely changed course once again.

Hank’s death hit Walt the hardest. H just lay in the dirt with his mouth agape like some character out of Pac-Man (I don’t know man, it just made sense to me). Then, just as it seems like this show couldn’t gut punch us any further, Jesse looked like he was the next chicken out to roost. Found hiding under Walt’s car, Jesse looks like a dog hiding away because he knows his death is near, to bring back the rabid dog metaphor. Jesse is spared by Todd, who believes that Jesse has information that they could use. And by “information they could use” he really means “the ability to cook meth.” Todd showed off many facets of his sociopathy tonight. First, he told Walt “sorry for your loss” regarding Hank, and then he tied Jesse to a rope and made him cook meth for him. As Todd, Jesse Plemons is one of the few actors who can play both a nice teenager and a murderous psychopath, sometimes separately, and sometimes at the exact same time.

“Ozymandias” might have secretly been the final episode of “Breaking Bad,” as so many loose ends were tied up tonight. It was revealed that Walt’s fortune amounts to $80 million, but he would only be getting $11 million of that. Then, just to spite Jesse, Walt told him that he watched Jane die and did nothing. The look on Aaron Paul’s face as Walt told him that was the definition of heartbreak.

Anyone looking for pants?

This was also the first time that Junior and Holly got involved in the family business. Skyler had no choice but to tell Junior the truth, as it was the only way to get Marie back on her side. Junior obviously doesn’t take to the news too kindly, but he oddly takes out more of his anger on his mother. Poor Skyler. But then again, she’s just as evil too. In maybe the most poetic thing that Junior has ever said, he points out to Skyler that by not doing anything, she is in effect as evil as Walt. That seems to be a big theme on this show, and it even goes back to the airplane and teddy bear of season two: by not stopping something from happening, you are eventually at fault for when it does happen. Basically, it is impossible to stop most things, and it is always your fault.

Poor Junior, he’s basically messed up for life now. The kid won’t even put on his seatbelt, he doesn’t even feel like he’s safe anyway. Then, the episode piles on another devastating and violent surprise as Junior and Skyler come back to find Walt still at the house. Skyler pulls a knife on him and ends up stabbing his hand, “Shining” style. The more Walt tries to protect his family, the more he harms them. “We’re a family,” Walt says, as his last shred of dignity fades away. I thought the Bluths were TV’s most dysfunctional family, but clearly this family could use a better publicist as well.

For the rest of the episode, Walt’s actions border on the surreal and bizarre. Any of them could be interpreted as either beneficial or harmful. In the third worst thing he’s done on the show, Walt kidnaps his own daughter. This seemed like the desperate act of an extremely sad man. Holly is the blank slate and therefore the only family member left that can’t hate him. That is, until she utters “mama” right in his face. Then she says it a few more times seemingly just to rub it in. Walt then talks to Skyler on the phone, who is on the other end as a bunch of cops stand behind her and wait to track Walt’s phone. Walt then confesses every crime to her, which would seem dumb if Walt wasn’t smart enough to know that there are cops on the other line. At first, his confessions seemed like pure ego. But then, it seemed like one last attempt to save Skyler, as he takes full responsibility for all of his actions. This was pretty fantastic to see; Walt isn’t someone who usually holds himself accountable for the crimes he’s committed. He even takes responsibility for Hank’s death here. Maybe he sees himself as responsible since he couldn’t stop the murder, or because it’s a way to keep the neo-Nazis from getting any more pissed off at Walt and his family.

So Walt goes and brings Holly to a nearby fire station, where he leaves a note on her which I couldn’t read, but hopefully listed her return address. Then Walt follows the advice of the song that plays earlier that episode: “I have no place to go…guess I’ll have to roam.” So a solemn Walt is picked up at the cemetery by the man who is also known for selling vacuums. Walt’s reflection in the side mirror disappears further and further away. The Walt we have known for so many years is now gone. So is Heisenberg. What we are about to get is some kind of post-Heisenberg who is fueled by revenge.

And so ends “Ozymandias,” an episode that felt like a collection of horror shorts which built upon one another. Rarely did I think television could be this stressful until I watched this episode, but Vince Gilligan has always demanded that the audience became a part of the characters’ world in order to feel the pain of it. There are only two episodes left of “Breaking Bad.” Had it ended tonight, I would have been both baffled and satisfied. I speak for a lot of people when I say that my best guesses for the end still tell me nothing.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Yes, the title of the episode comes from a poem. Yes, it means something. Look it up.
  • Smartly, Rian Johnson (I’ll just say him because I’m not sure who’s responsible for credits. The editor?) decided not to put the credits over the scene of Hank’s death. Instead, the credits don’t come on until at least 25 minutes into the episode (including commercials). It’s a bold move that works out well. Like “The Departed,” whose credits didn’t start until at least 18 minutes in.
  • Rian Johnson also directed the season three episode “Fly.” That was the episode where I thought Walt was on the verge to telling Jesse the truth about Jane. I guess Johnson felt he had some unfinished business. 
  • There’s a great vertigo shot in this episode.
  • Some funny things about the early flashback: The knives are visible in front of Skyler; Skyler tells Walt to pick up a pizza which may or may not end up on the roof at some point. Dipping sticks, Skyler. 
  • Usually, Hank is as good at shooting his way out of a situation as Walt is at talking his way out of one. In the show’s opening minutes, both men failed at their apparent strengths.
  • RIP Hank. Seriously. It’s amazing to see how that character went from a side character who seemed like a dumb jock to one of the show’s smartest and most intelligent character. Keep brewin’ up there, Agent Schrader. 
  • Also, RIP Gomey. Your comic relief did not go in vain. 
  • Every time Walt is in a weak position, his glasses are always sitting lower on the bridge of his nose. 
  • Marie: “Oh you know…this and that.” Sounds like Betsy Brandt is auditioning for the new “Fargo”-based TV show.
  • Now that all of the Skyler hatred from the past few years has mostly gone away, I think it’s fair to say that Anna Gunn is amazing at what she does. 
  • While in the lab, Jesse’s face looked like Gus’ when he had half of his face blown off. 
  • The image of Walt lying on the ground also reminded me of an image from “Once Upon a Time in the West.” 
  • After tonight’s episode, I’m convinced that Todd eats people. Among other things.

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Dumb & Dumber

This is a recap of episode 13 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “To’hajiilee.”

Walt has spent the past five years (real time, not “Breaking Bad” time) outsmarting everyone he knows. It turns out though that Walt’s ego, the same thing that’s always helped him get out of trouble, could also cloud his judgement. Finally, the joke’s on him. 

Only on “Breaking Bad” could a cathartic moment suddenly be turned into one of fear and pain. When Walt finally got handcuffed, it felt like a moment that was long time coming, which is probably why this episode alluded to the pilot so much. Of course all the hurt happens under the direction of Michelle MacLaren, who’s directed some of the show’s most twisted episodes. And hopefully once “Breaking Bad” ends, she’ll become a fine movie director, hopefully funded by Megan Ellison

I don’t know if Walt has gotten dumber, or if we the audience have gotten to know him so well that we can officially figure out his every move. Or, as Bryan Cranston said on last night’s episode of “Talking Bad,” Walt has gotten less scientific and more emotional. Yet, Walt still doesn’t understand how those emotions work. Sometimes, he doesn’t know when to use these emotions to call off a hit. 

Speaking of emotions and lack thereof: Todd. Todd is secretly the most evil bastard on the show, and even he doesn’t know it. He is what somebody smarter than myself would call a sociopath. But maybe he can experience love, as it looks like the man who once chased after Tyra in the “Friday Night Lights” universe wants some of that sweet blue jacket action from Lydia. I don’t think he’s going to get it though, even if they can improve the meth formula. Todd and his gang claimed to have “burned” the batch thus not giving it its distinct blue tint. Apparently, the people who buy up the product abroad find this to be a big selling point, like a marketing tool. Its funny because in the real world outside of “Breaking Bad,” blue meth has become an important marketing tool for the show. People go out and buy bags and bags of “blue meth candy” that probably tastes awful.

But back to the episode. Lydia still annoys me more than any other character on the show who has ever annoyed me, but I feel like we are going to see something come out of her completely unexpected during the last few episodes. Perhaps she’ll have to put out a hit on Todd and his neo-Nazi family and she’ll do the dirty work herself. She seems like somebody who’d be careful, methodical, and remorseless at a job like this. So, maybe she and Todd would make a good couple.

The episode brings us to Todd and his camp leading up to the moment from last week when Walt called Todd about a little job he had, which was a nice little wrap around. Then it was back to the dream team of Jesse, Hank, and Gomie. Gomie might be by-the-book, but he takes his work seriously and isn’t afraid to show when he’s pissed. I’m pretty sure I heard him call Jesse “Timmy Dipshit” for his move at the end of the last episode. This was a slower episode than usual, but by the end, it all made sense that were watching Jesse pull off a long con. Finally, Jesse was the one pulling the strings.

Jesse suggested that they needed hard evidence to bring Walt down, and the only evidence of Walt’s crimes are the barrels buried in the desert. Jesse and Hank were all about the fake pictures tonight. First, they used a fake brain to get Huell to admit where the money was. By the way, Huell made the saddest face after Hank and Gomie left him and told him not to leave his house. I’m surprised there was no scene in the closing credits with Huell still sitting on the couch, waiting for somebody to let him go. Man, maybe he should have just gone to Mexico with Kuby.

Walt, meanwhile, takes the easiest possible way out by looking for someone to take Jesse out. In the scene in which Todd’s uncle asks Walt for information on Jesse, Walt doesn’t even seem to know anymore why he wants Jesse dead, just that he needs him dead. This is reminiscent of Walt’s current state: there’s no passion left in his work, just a need to tie up loose ends. However, there is a chance for that passion to come back, as Walt was offered a new cook job by the neo-Nazi gang. Walt means it when he says he is out of the business for good. On the other hand, I’m sure Walt wouldn’t mind being crowned the meth king once again. 

How though, did Walter fall for Jesse’s trick barrel photo? Nobody else knew of the location of Walt’s money. I also would disparage Walt for not thinking about the fact that his call is possibly being recorded, but he had no idea Jesse was working with Hank. Walt thinks Jesse is a lot of things, but he never thought he could be a rat. That’s probably why he shouts out nearly every person he has murdered over the phone, letting Jesse know that most of the bad things he did were to protect them both. In that moment, I sincerely thought Walt was also going to blurt out “also, I killed Jane.” That’s a confession still waiting to happen.

There are many “Breaking Bad” episodes that manage to move slowly, but completely redeem themselves within 10 minutes. That’s what this week’s episode was, as “To’hajiilee” brought us back to the very first episode. Walt got arrested in the place his crimes began, a full circle. The episode really picks up when Walt hides behind a rock as he waits for Hank, Jesse, and Gomie to pass. The most perfectly framed shot in the episode, and perhaps one of the best in all of “Breaking Bad,” is that closeup of Walt’s face as Jesse’s voice echoes in the background. That voice doesn’t just pain Walt in real life, it is deep in his subconscious, and the pain it causes him is so apparent.

Still, Walt tries to argue that everything he is doing is for his family. At this point, it’s no longer justification and more like deflection from blame. You can’t lock me up, because I have a family to take care of! You can’t take the millions of blood dollars I made, because it’s for my family! This makes me think of my source of all wisdom, “Kill Bill”: “just because I have no wish to murder you in front of your daughter doesn’t mean that parading her around in front of me will inspire sympathy.” Mr. White, we love Walt Jr. and Holly but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see you pay for your crimes. 

But Walter gives up, and in doing so, he calls off the hit on Jesse. His last fighting words before being taken away are “coward.” Something that got to me in this scene was seeing how cocky Hank was as he taunted a defeated Walt who sat handcuffed in the back of the car. Like I said last week, Hank might be the good guy of “Breaking Bad,” but he is not necessarily a good guy. He’s got an ego to fulfill, and definitely some thoughts of revenge as well. Hank pays the price for this when Todd and his uncle show up with a whole gang to foil the arrest. This scene has been controversial. Why do they show up anyway? Every time there’s a little victory on the show, Vince Gilligan loves to yell “surprise!” and screw up our good time. 

“To’hajiilee” concludes with a hell of a cliffhanger. It leaves in mid-action. Somebody is probably going to die now, but it leaves us with no indication as to who. Or maybe the more tragic part about is that we know Walt will definitely survive, thanks to those flash forwards. Once again, I see a connection to “No Country for Old Men”: Walter White is Anton Chigurh. Like Chigurh, he is a grim reaper figure who manages to walk out of every horrific incident he gets into unscathed. He will then be forced to walk the Earth, as a reminder that evil will always exist in the world. I’m getting dark here, but my point is that only fate (cancer) can kill Mr. White at this point.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Like Jesse before him, Todd refers to Walt as “Mr. White.” It is fascinating that even after his teaching career ends, Walter continues to be a mentor/teacher figure for so many younger men. I guess once the teacher leaves school, he’ll find another place to teach. Walt is like a Pai Mei (sorry for another “Kill Bill” reference) for aspiring meth cooks.
  • I found the scene where Todd and his buddies pretended that they saw blue in the meth to be pretty hilarious. I got a “who’s on first, who’s on second” vibe from it. 
  • Maybe I am going too meta here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the debate about colors from the beginning is a bit of winking joke at viewers who obsessively analyze the way that the show uses colors for theme. 
  • This episode consisted of a lot of people pretending that they didn’t know who Saul was.
  • Most joyful moment in this very dark episode: Junior is genuinely starstruck by Saul Goodman. The face he makes is absolutely priceless. 
  • Continued presence of the haunting sound of the wind.
  • While taking notes, I subconsciously kept calling Todd “Landry.” My apologies to Jesse Plemons.
  • Brock asks for string cheese AND yogurt squeezers in his lunch? Respect. Although if I suddenly got poisoned one day, I would probably only eat food that was sealed shut in little packets for the rest of my life. 
  • The way that Hank says “I got him” to Marie reminded me of when Walt called Skyler to tell her “I won” at the end of season four. 
  • I love the way Saul bosses around the guy cleaning his car. The way he tells the guy to “get in there real deep” just made me think of “Dodgeball.”
  • Also, I like how Saul refers to Walt as an “occupational hazard.”
  • In New Mexico, cops clearly don’t care if you go through red lights. 
  • I didn’t exactly catch what Todd’s ringtone was, but it was definitely hilarious. “Breaking Bad” loves funny phones and ringtones. 
  • I’m happy that the scenes for next week didn’t actually show any scenes from next week. I still have no idea who is getting out of that shootout alive. 
  • My friend Jeff Wucher made a prediction that the neo-Nazis will kidnap Jesse. Walt will then come back later to rescue him, which explains the shotgun during the flash forwards. At this point, I have no idea what is going to happen. But this is the most interesting prediction I’ve heard so far.
  • The next episode is called “Ozymandias.” “Ozymandias” is also the name of a poem written by Percy Shelley. Well, time to do some research!
Until next week everyone, Keep Calm and Tread Lightly. 

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Every Dog Has His Day

This is a recap of episode 12 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Rabid Dog.”

Tonight’s “Breaking Bad” episode requires a little history lesson on the “Breaking Bad” universe. So for just a brief moment, let’s go back to season two. Remember that pink teddy bear that fell from an airplane that signified that Walt’s selfishness could lead to an airplane crash? Well once again, Walt can’t do anything without ruining the lives of others. In “Rabid Dog,” Walt showed that if he was going down, his whole family would be going with him. 

“Rabid Dog” is one of the more plot-driven episodes of “Breaking Bad.” It is also one of the quietest. Music and crazy dutch angles drive a majority of the action. Along with the creepy shadows, parts of this episode felt like scenes from “No Country for Old Men.” Episodes of TV are so short that sometimes its hard to have one quiet moment. “Breaking Bad” can make an entire episode chock full of them. 

Slowly, the false exterior that Walt tries to project on others is slowly crumbling. Even Junior starts to see through Walt’s lies. I also could see Walt’s lies much better this week. That’s not because we’ve all gotten to know Walt so well, it’s more because his lies are getting worse. Come on, faulty gas pump? If you could convince people that you didn’t murder someone, how come you couldn’t cover for some gasoline stains? Once Jesse called Walter out, the show itself (let’s pretend it’s a living, breathing thing) also became self-aware of Walt’s lies.

So, what does Walt do to keep his lies going? He gets the family a hotel room for the night. Junior, of course, is excited about this (Junior you’re great, but you’re also kind of the Chris Brody of this show). Though RJ Mitte did have one of his best episodes ever. Junior is one of the few people left who still thinks highly of Mr. White. Tonight, Junior acts like he knows something is up, but it is not the full truth that he will inevitably learn. In one of the most memorable moments of this episode, Walt sits in front of a pool (his thinking spot in several other episodes) contemplating, and Junior gives him a big hug. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this monster still has to be a father. 

Junior isn’t the only one that Walt has to father. No matter what happens, Jesse will be another son to Walt, which is why Walt still seems to be looking out for his best interests. This is something that Hank decides to exploit. Tonight, “Breaking Bad” broke from its usual narrative format to go back in time to the moment right before Walt got into his house, when Jesse was about to burn it down. Turns out Hank decided to stop by and calm Jesse down. Hank offers Jesse revenge through the legal system. 

Hank and Jesse are a great little odd couple, given their history together, which could be described as awkward. I think I see a possible father-son bond between them, which began with that nice little moment when Hank buckled Jesse’s seatbelt for him. Hank is more of a caring man than Walt is at this point, yet Hank would also sacrifice Jesse’s life for his cause as well. Poor Jesse is always getting caught in the middle of everyone’s selfishness. If Jesse is a dog like everyone has been labeling him, he is just an innocent pooch that wants nothing more than someone to love him.

The face-off between Hank and Walt heated up once again. The two of them are exact opposites yet, they have a lot in common. Both of them would surely put somebody else’s life on the line to advance their goals. This is why I think that this could all possibly end in a stalemate. Hank knows every way to track down Walt, but Walt is always one step ahead, and he is relentless in getting exactly what he wants. 

There has been a lot of bloody episodes of “Breaking Bad.” Nobody died in this episode, but the scent of death was all around. Marie, in one of her most chilling scenes, tells her therapist that she’s been doing some research on different poisons. Imagine if she’s the one who eventually brings Heisenberg down. And of course, nearly everyone at one point in this episode suggested that Jesse needs to die. Even Skyler, who’s trying so hard to be the better person, thought it’d be for the better to bring down Pinkman. Saul compared Jesse to Old Yeller. Then by the end, Walter makes the phone call in which he says “Todd, I think I might have another job for your uncle.” Unfortunately, we all know exactly what that means.

Overall, this was a very different episode of “Breaking Bad.” Especially when Jesse wears a wire, it felt almost like an episode of “24.” Fortunately though, this didn’t turn out like an episode of “24,” as in the writers didn’t rely on some cheap plot shortcut, and nobody decided to shoot the person they needed for information because they were unstable (yes, this happened A LOT on “24″). “Breaking Bad” doesn’t roll like that.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Walt refers to Badger as Beaver. In an episode of “Beavis and Butthead,” Beavis is referred to as Beaver. This is the second stupid connection I’ve made to a Mike Judge show in the past two episodes of “Breaking Bad.” Time for a fake theory in which Walter White moves to Texas and becomes Hank Hill in the finale.
  • Other things of Marie’s that are purple: Mug, curtains, blanket, chair, pillows, luggage
  • Could anyone figure out the song of Jesse’s ringtone? 
  • This was an especially serious episode. Even Gomey didn’t have many jokes to crack.
  • Walt can even make the line “sleep it off” sound condescending. 
  • “I never should have let my dojo membership run out.” Hope Saul gets his membership back if there’s a spinoff. 
  • Yes Walt, of course we remember when Jesse came over for dinner.
  • Funniest moment of the episode: Walt as Santa photo. 
  • Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the brilliant people that do sounds effects for this show.  
  • Also, this show really knows how to play with shadows
  • This is the first time that Jesse and Marie have ever been in a scene together. 
  • When Jesse is walking to meet Walt at the plaza, I got this feeling that we were seeing everything directly from Jesse’s point of view. It was as if we were experiencing the world from Jesse’s paranoid vision. Brilliant. 
  • Apparently, pay phones are still a thing in Albuquerque. 
  • No matter how bad he gets, Walt still has a thing for tighty whiteys. 
  • The scenes from next week could be changed with the scenes from next week at the end of every “Mad Men” episode and I would see no difference between them.
Until next week everyone, Keep Calm and Tread Lightly. 

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Burning Down the House

This is a recap of episode 11 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Confessions.”

Not that I will actually do this, but from now on I am going to stop trying to predict every little thing that will happen on “Breaking Bad.” That’s because nobody can mess with Vince Gilligan and the gang’s sheer brilliance and intricate plotting. I don’t know how this show will end, which is why I am not a writer for “Breaking Bad.”

“Confessions” opens with a scene that isn’t addressed for the rest of the episode, but it will definitely come back to haunt everyone. It is important to note that one of the men that Todd met with also orchestrated all those prison murders at the end of last season and now he knows Walter’s name. Also, that bloody tissue he wiped his boot with probably didn’t flush all the way, as this show follows Chekhov’s Gun very closely. 

After the credits, it was back to where we left off last week. The two a-hole cops continued to taunt Jesse, in a slow motion sequence that kind of resembled the opening of “King of the Hill.” However, once Hank walks in, things gets serious. Jesse, who looks like he’s aged about 50 years in the past three episodes, is still no closer to giving Hank what he wants to hear. For now, he still seems too crushed to do anything. Suddenly Saul, who always acts like he’s saving the day, barges in and reads Jesse his rights. In the mean time, Hank is no closer to revealing the truth to the DEA. This displeases Marie, who’s mainly around this episode to tell Hank to confess to the DEA already. Meanwhile, Walt was working on a little confession of his own. 

This was an episode filled with particularly long scenes, the best of course being the restaurant scene, in which Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie sit down for dinner and discuss what happens next. This scene displayed everything that makes “Breaking Bad” great: uncomfortable humor, underlying tension, and breathless suspense. The scene was funny as the waiter, who was basically the annoying Chotchkie’s waiter from “Office Space,” kept offering to make them guacamole while Hank gave Walt the death stare, all to a mariachi tinged soundtrack. All of their concerns are the same yet their goals are very different. Walt slides Hank and Marie his confession CD and walks away.

And here is yet another of the show’s great twists: Walt wasn’t actually confessing, he was instead framing Hank for crimes that he never committed. This has to be one of Walt’s most evil episodes. First, he manipulates Junior with his cancer, then he threatens to ruin Hank’s life. Mr. Heisenberg can be an evil bastard without putting his finger on the trigger. What gives Walter White most of his power is the fact that he is a brilliant man. 

After watching the video, Hank finds himself in more and more of a bind. Marie reveals to him that Walt paid for his medical bills after the twins nearly left him dead. The standoff between Walt and Hank is becoming more of a stalemate by the minute. Hank would probably take some satisfaction in knowledge of the fact that Walt is also scrambling for a solution to his problems. Walt’s desperation leads him to call a meeting with Saul and Jesse in, you guessed it, the middle of the desert. While waiting, Jesse catches sight of a tarantula, perhaps the same one owned by the boy that Landry/Todd shot last season. Poor Jesse can never escape his past. 

Walt is the biggest part of Jesse’s past that he can never get away from. He is like Jesse’s own personal cancer, as he frequently comes in and out of Jesse’s life and finds any way possible to ruin it. Walt tells Jesse that he should follow Saul’s plan from season three by calling the guy who can you a new identity. Jesse has more to look forward to in life than Walt does. However, Jesse isn’t having it, and decides to finally call Walt out for his selfishness. Walt looks insulted and says he would never do that and gives Jesse a big hug. Jesse immediately breaks down crying. The beauty of this scene and this character is that at this point, it could go one way or another. Walt has always been something of a father figure to Jesse, and the fact that he hasn’t offed him yet shows that he must care about the kid. However, this episode also showed Walt lie to and emotionally manipulate his real son. It’s nearly impossible to tell now whether or not anyone is safe from Walter White. Heisenberg isn’t dead: he just comes out whenever he feels like it.

So Jesse goes along with the plan. He tells Saul he wants to move to Alaska. I have no idea why. Maybe he would move there and assume the identity of Dr. Joel Fleischman.* Or maybe he would meet up with Francis from that season of “Malcolm in the Middle” when he runs away to Alaska.** Then, while Jesse waits for the van that will take him away to the freedom of a new life, he has a sudden Jimmy Neutron brain blast that his ricin cigarette, like the dope he was carrying, was snatched away by Huell, therefore realizing that Walt played a very instrumental part in nearly killing Brock. Sure, this came somewhat out of nowhere, but I’ll give it a pass because it was a means to a pretty excellent ending.

After punching Saul multiple times in the face, Jesse rushes over to Walt’s house, gasoline in hand, and starts pouring it all over his house. We never see the house actually go up in flames and given the show’s habitual misdirection, maybe Jesse never actually gets to burn it down. After all, the flash forwards show a house that is wrecked but not burned to the ground.

Last week, we got the cathartic scene of Marie slapping Skyler in the face. This week, we get the cathartic scene of Jesse finally snapping out of his funk and taking control of his life. But this was no mere act of vengeance; this was Jesse Pinkman finally freeing himself from Walter White. One horrible chunk of his past could really become just the bad dream that Walt described to him. Maybe Jesse won’t have to go to Belize after all.

*That whole joke theory that Walter goes off into witness protection and becomes Hal from “Malcolm in the Middle” is getting kind of stale, so why not throw in another fake theory involving another TV show?
**Okay, I know what I just said. But this would be hilarious.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • This review contains a helpful timeline of the events of Jesse’s life since season four that makes his revelation plausible.
  • Can anyone find any meaning in the colors on Saul’s tie. Come on people! Ties are the key to overanalysis!
  • Speaking of Saul, his license plate says LWYRUP. Because of course.
  • Can somebody please take a clip of Jesse crying and put this audio over it?
  • The way that Marie tells Walt to go kill himself is chilling. Betsy Brandt has been on fire this season.
  • “Jesus Christ Marie.”
  • More wind sounds in this episode. 
  • One of the many documents seen on Hank’s desk: “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” I bet Gomie had some great jokes about this memo. 
  • Why does Saul even have a Hello Kitty phone?
  • The gun in the soda machine was covered in ice. Little details like this are one of the many reasons this show is different from any show that’s ever been on TV.
  • Wow, Vince Gilligan. I dunno. Having Walter turn away tableside guacamole makes him seem REALLY unlikable.” -Tweet from Patton Oswalt. So very true.
  • Seriously, who turns away tableside guacamole?!
  • That restaurant seemed like a Mexican version of T.G.I. Friday’s/Applebee’s/Chili’s to me. I would go to places like that more often if they actually offered tableside guacamole.
  • Okay, now I can’t stop thinking about tableside guacamole.
  • Saul has been involved with drugs, money laundering, and murder. You’d think he’d let smoking in his office go.
  • “I’m so upset that Lydia wasn’t in this episode!” -Nobody
  • There is a painting of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in Hank’s house. This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I’m sure Vince Gilligan was also hugely influenced by it. I know I’m overanalyzing again, but I have a feeling that was put there for a reason. If we don’t get a standoff between three men in the final episode, maybe we’ll at least get some Ennio Morricone music. 

Analog This: Breaking Bad Recap- Belize Navidad

This is a recap of episode 9 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Buried.”

Well, there was no way to top last week’s episode.

Last week, the cat leaped out of the freaking bag, tore up the entire place, and pooped outside the litter box after Walt warned Hank to “tread lightly.” This week’s episode was also tense, but in a much quieter way. It was a linking and in-between episode, a nice valley between last week’s eventful episode and what is sure to be another great one next week. 

“Buried” begins with a very sad Jesse Pinkman, having thrown all of his money on stranger’s front lawns like some rich paperboy, as he lies on one of those tilting and spinning things on a playground. At this point, he seems less sad then flat out dead inside. The overhead shot of Jesse spinning away is something to marvel at. It’s a great reminder that “Breaking Bad” is the most cinematic show on all of television.

The episode then picks up right where we left off last week: a stunned Walt stands outside of Hank’s garage. Hank, without saying a word, once again closes the garage door. Walt is more panicked and vulnerable than ever. His suspicions further when Skyler won’t pick up her phone and in the distance, Hank makes a call of his own. It’s enough to make Walt drive over to Saul’s, because calling him clearly isn’t an option anymore, as phone taps are a dangerous thing for a wanted man.

Shortly after, Hank meets Skyler in a diner where ever-so-sweet Hank offers his condolences and does everything he can to help Skyler. However, ever-so-blissfully-ignorant Hank doesn’t know the extent of Skyler’s involvement in Walt’s empire. The ever so-confident Walt and Skyler that emerged in the past seasons are starting to crumble, and their desperation is just starting to look like the scene in “Goodfellas” where Henry realizes that Karen flushed all of his coke down the toilet: they are helpless in a frightening, clueless way. 

This was a particularly long scene for a TV show, and one that proves that “Breaking Bad” never adheres to an episode-by-episode structure. Anna Gunn also has a strong chance to show off her dramatic chops in a scene where she must act like she’s a victim even though deep down she knows that she’s screwed. 

“Buried” also had some fine acting from Betsy Brandt, who rarely gets a moment in the sun as Marie. Her only major plot line on the show, in which she moonlit as a shoplifter, was one of the show’s few weak moments. This week, she was finally let in on the big secret by Hank. Hank probably shouldn’t have told. However, Hank’s confession led to the moment in which Marie slapped Skyler across the face. The moment felt weirdly cathartic, as if it were actually the result of five seasons worth of buildup. Marie’s true anger didn’t come from the fact that Skyler knew about Heisenberg, but that she’s been aware since long before the twins attempted to murder Hank. So that’s when the tearful Marie let her hand do the talking. And while many of you might find Marie annoying, she definitely isn’t wrong. 

As all of Skyler’s secrets came out, Walt started hiding all of his. Saul gave him some very Saul Goodman advice (dismantle your phone) and then some (more on that in a bit). Then came the welcome return of Saul’s goons (including Bill Burr, who’s currently one of the funniest standup comedians in America), who entered the episode by using Walt’s giant piles of accumulated money as a bed.

Walt then took the money out to the middle of the desert and buried it in barrels, a great opportunity to stick the camera inside some barrels as well. Maybe it was my sister and I who are the only ones on the planet to think that the digging scene felt a little like “Encino Man,” but you judge for yourself:

Foolproof argument right here.

Walt returns home that night a defeated and exhausted man. As he prepares to step in the shower, he strips down to nothing but his underwear, those same tighty-whiteys he last ran around in during the pilot episode. This Walter White is very similar to that Walter White: equally as pathetic, yet less innocent. However, Walter White from season one said “screw it” because he knew he was going to die. Walter White from season five gives up because he’s done everything he’s needed to and he knows he’s going to die.

It was in this brief scene that Walt and Skyler shared together that I realized how much power Skyler holds over Walt, and I’m not sure if she is aware of that. She tucks Walt in, who looks a little like a grown child at that moment, and stands over him as the puppet master. She pulls the strings. She’s the one who can choose to say one word to Hank and bring the Heisenberg legacy down. Yet, Walt still has this bit of leverage over Skyler: family. Walt asks Skyler to give away every cent of his money to his children and his children’s children if he is to die. “You keep the money,” he tells her. He wants to make sure that everything he did actually has a purpose.
Now, that’s already a lot for an hour long TV show. But that’s not all. Lydia is still here apparently, because the writers still haven’t found a way to write her off the show. But she’s here and she’s mad that her new cooks can’t live up to the Heisenberg standards. Well, she’s not mad, her Czech employer is mad, because she has no feelings or personality of her own. That also might be why she doesn’t bat an eye when the new cooks are brutally murdered, though she refuses to look. This brings Todd back onto the show. Jesse Plemons’ innocent look and kind accent do such a great job at hiding the fact that Todd is a psychopath. 
The catchphrase that didn’t quite take off.
Back at Casa de Schrader, Hank must decide what he is going to do with the Heisenberg file. Marie encourages him to just turn him in already to save his own skin. Marie is a good woman who always looks after her husband. Yet, Hank presents a fine rebuttal: the moment he turns Walt in is the moment that his career in the DEA ends. It’s hard to work for the DEA when you’re brother is a dangerous meth cooker, I guess.
Regardless, Hank returns to work the next day to a surprise visitor. Jesse has been brought in for questioning after his money-throwing spree. He’s giving the officers nothing, so Hank figures that if he goes in the interrogation room, Jesse might finally open his mouth. So, Hank proceeds, and the episode ends in a bit of an abrupt cliffhanger which doesn’t provide a lot but promises much for next week. This is a different Jesse than the one that Hank punched in the face. I have a feeling that Hank will eventually get to him in an incredibly well written scene, and then Jesse will provide Hank’s missing link to Heisenberg. 
Other “Breaking” Points
  • If Dean Norris doesn’t win an Emmy when this season is qualified for awards next year, I will be very angry, and write some blog posts about how angry I am.
  • This was a great night for comic relief. Gomez is back! And I was happy to learn this week that Steven Michael Quezada is actually a local Albuquerque comedian/talk show host. Glad to see Vince Gilligan goes local in his casting.
  • There was a haunting presence of the sound of the wind in this episode. Maybe it was to add a western feel to it, but whenever they use it, it sends chills down my spine. It reminds me of when Gus told Walt that “I will kill your infant daughter.”
  • Speaking of which, I love the way this show pays attention to sound as much as color. Also pay attention to the buzzing when Walt goes out to the desert.
  • Yes, Marie’s entire outfit is purple. But here’s a nice little easter egg: so is her teapot. 
  • Another great little detail: bullets falling through the roof of the underground meth lab. 
  • Walt is Daniel Plainview from “There Will Be Blood.” That’s just a little thought I’m still working out and thinking through. 
  • Skyler tells Walt that she “can’t remember the last time she was happy.” Walt might have left enough money behind for his children, but he can never be the great family man that he thinks he is.
  • Speaking of families, it is interesting to see Walt and Hank’s differing views on family. Last week, Hank, the show’s supposed hero, says “screw family” when it comes to bringing Walt down. Meanwhile, this week Saul proposed that Walt take Hank “on a trip to Belize” like he did with Mike. Walt refuses, saying that Hank is family. There is still one, little shred of humanity left in Walter White.
  • Where has Walt Jr. been? I’m guessing that he’s stuck in line waiting for a Grand Slam at Denny’s.
  • One last thing. This guy’s mustache:
“And what, pray tell, is the five-point-palm-exploding-heart technique?”
Thanks everyone for reading. I’ll be back again next week. And the next week. And many weeks over. I hope to hear some of your thoughts in the comments.

Analog This: Breaking Bad Recap- When One Garage Door Closes…

This is a recap of episode 9 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Blood Money.”

Last we saw “Breaking Bad,” Hank made the discovery we’ve been waiting five seasons to see. Last night, all of that came to light and it did not disappoint.

Vince Gilligan has such an amazing grip on how the camera works, he is like a master filmmaker who runs a TV show. He is so skilled at misdirection, that I thought the opening shot of a bunch of kids skateboarding in an empty pool was an episode of “Rocket Power.” Nice trying pranking America, Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

This was actually yet another flash forward in the “Breaking Bad” timeline. Walt, with a full beard and a full head of hair, returns to his dilapidated home to get the Ricin that he hid inside an outlet last season. Remember, on “Breaking Bad” every little moment means something and will likely be mentioned again. So you can bet that old lady who nearly spoiled Walt’s assassination attempt on Gus will be back.

I am really digging these flash forwards. They’re simultaneously fascinating and annoying. We see so much, yet get so few answers. Things are beginning to make a little more sense though. I have one possible idea that Walt’s not-so-pure meth that pissed Lydia off might invoke the wrath of some very angry customers.

Now that I got those predictions out of the way, let’s talk about how funny “Breaking Bad” can be. This was an episode chock full of with funny moments.  one of the funniest moments in the show’s history came as Walter simply uttered “Hello Carol.” This show has always been so good at peppering in tiny, subtle comedic moments in the tensest of scenes. After “Breaking Bad” goes off the air, Vince Gilligan should really give comedy writing a try.

“Blood Money” might be right smack dab in the middle of season five, but this episode still felt like something of a fresh start. Walt sheds his black Heisenberg outfit for something more plain and in the process starts to look a little like the old Walter White, sans mustache. Walt is running the car wash with Skyler now, and the most exciting thing about his day is that they might expand to another location. Walt may not show boredom, because he has no choice but to abandon the way of life that he loves so much, but he definitely feels it. Later, Badger describes a script for a “Star Trek” movie that he wants to write (someone please make this happen), in which the characters are stuck in a “neutral zone” and get bored. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting installment of “Star Trek” ever, but it definitely describes what Walt’s life is slowly becoming.

But enough theorizing about what Walt thinks about owning a car wash. There was an underlying tension between Walt and Hank throughout the episode, given that the episode begins with Hank discovering Walt’s big secret. The irony plays well for a while. Usually, Walt is the one hiding a secret from Hank and the rest of the family. Now, it is the other way around. For once, it was nice to see Walt being the one not in the know.

So after finding out the truth on the toilet, Hank went home early, as always blaming it on a bad stomach. After suffering a major panic attack, he puts the Heisenberg investigation back into gear. He sets up shop in his garage. This is a great opportunity to remind us all that Hank brews his own beer. Things go great until Walt stops by and asks some questions. This time, he doesn’t try and put a nice ribbon on anything he has to say, because the jig is up. The second Hank closes the garage door, my blood ran cold. It was such a brilliant way to raise the stakes of the scene with one slow little action. Once again, Hank displays his violent temper and punches Walt right in the face. Walt doesn’t fight back with violence, because no matter how much of a psychopath he is, he is almost always careful about when he uses force. Walt is an emotionless manipulator, while Hank can never keep his emotions out of his actions. Dean Norris is the MVP of this episode, going from a Kubrick stare to a cathartic anger in moment’s time.

The very last thing Walt says in this episode is “tread lightly,” a line that is likely to become yet another one of Walt’s classic, evil one-liners. Treading lightly and carefully is something the writers must have had to do as they created each remaining episode of the show. I thought that this moment would be held off for another few episodes. It was an incredibly risky move to put it in episode one, and a move that I believe paid off. I felt like I was holding my breath for a majority of the episode and once the credits rolled, I could exhale. I hate to have to wait another week for the next episode, but I think it’ll just make the tension even more exciting.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Tonight was a night for some of the characters to start over, but how many times are we going to have to watch Jesse fall back into his drug addiction? It makes sense but haven’t we seen this enough before? Plus, sober Jesse would appreciate it when his friend writes a “Star Trek” script.
  • Speaking of Jesse, Aaron Paul is the best cryer on television. Take that, Jon Cryer. 
  • Five seasons in, and “Breaking Bad” still doesn’t know what to do with Marie.
  • Bryan Cranston directed this episode. I can’t wait to see what he does once “Breaking Bad” ends. 
  • When Walt throws up into the toilet, he kneels down on a folded up towel. Gus did the exact same thing in the episode “Salud,” a great reminder that Gus and Walt were actually not so different.
  • Hank lists all of the terrible things he now knows that Walt has done. If you forgot that Walt was a bad person, this was a good reminder that he’s kind of had a lot of people killed. 
  • Whenever Walt is in trouble, he likes to inform people, even those he is closest to, that they really have no idea who he is. 
  • Revelation: Saul enjoys happy ending massages. “Duh,” said everyone.
  • Flynn asking for extended curfew is the new Flynn asking about breakfast.
Never forget. (I did NOT make this, but I wish I did)

Emmys 2013: What They Got Right

I want a poster of this in my room.

Louie! Louie! Louie! Louieeeeeee

Every year I want to say that it’s “The Year of Louis C.K.” Let’s just say that this decade belongs to him. The comedian with many jobs continues to break more ground: this year he picked up multiple nominations. He wasn’t just nominated for his show “Louie,” which had its best season yet, but also for his hosting of “Saturday Night Live,” and his new special “Oh My God.” While “Oh My God” wasn’t the best standup that the master has ever done (though it is still leagues above most of the other stuff out there today), Mr. C.K. earned every nomination that he got. It’s nice to see that one of the funniest, most talented, and hardest working people in the business today is finally getting his due. And with Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” coming to theaters next weekend, could the Oscars be next?

Veep Sweep

Armando Iannucci’s latest political satire got over any speed bump from season one for an incredibly smooth ride of a second season. This season, “Veep” displayed some of the sharpest writing on television as well as a brilliant performance from Julia Louis-Dreyfus and excellent work from the rest of the cast, including fellow nominees Anna Chlumsky and Tony Hale.

Breaking Bad

There are few things that I could say about “Breaking Bad” that hasn’t already been said over and over again. However, Vince Gilligan’s televised masterpiece deserves all the praise in the world. The first half of season five raised the dread. In a world of predictability, I can say that I have absolutely no idea how the hell this show is going to end. And I like that. “Breaking Bad” has only two more chances to win the Best Drama award. And I can confidently say that “Breaking Bad” will win the Best Drama award at least two times.

30 Rock’s Swan Song

Some great shows overstay their welcome. “30 Rock” realized that season seven would be their last and went out with an absolute bang. “30 Rock” has already won for Best Comedy three times so it wouldn’t be a big travesty if it lost. But like the show itself, which seemed to be saving some of its best lines (Liz Lemon answering her phone: “This is Lemon. Make lemonade.”) for the final season, the Emmys crammed in as many nominations as possible. Will Forte finally got a nomination for his turn as a Jenna Maroney impersonator, while Jenna Maroney herself, Jane Krakowski, has one last chance to walk home with a statuette. I’m not begging voters to give “30 Rock” another Emmy, but would it be so much to ask for one more win? For old times sake? After all, this is the show that changed the modern sitcom as we know it.

I dare you not to tear up at this.

Mandy Patinkin

To say “Homeland” hit some rough patches this season would be an understatement. As “Friday Night Lights” also proved, involving your teenage character in a hit-and-run murder plot never ever works. Even in an off episode, it was comforting to know that Mandy Patinkin would be there. As Saul, Patinkin always provided humor, warmth, and insight at all the right moments. Not to mention, he has a great Hebrew chant for every situation. Wait a minute, Patinkin has a big, white beard, and we can always rely on him for a joyful moment. Is he Jewish Santa Claus?

Bill Hader

This was Bill Hader’s last chance to get nominated for an Emmy for “Saturday Night Live.”* Luckily, voters delivered. Besides being a master impressionist, Hader also killed it with his original character. His most famous, Stefon (co-written by John Mulaney, one of my favorite comedians in the world), became an institution by the end of this season through an epic wedding send-off. Hader may have laughed through many of his sketches, but he always managed to make that the highlight. I think that will lead to great success for him in the future. I can think of another “SNL” alumni who laughed through most of his sketches, and he turned out just fine: Jimmy Fallon.

*But this may not be Hader’s last chance at the Emmys: he will be a full time writer for “South Park” next season.