Breaking Bad Season 5 Review “Ozymandias”

Breaking Bad Season 5B (13)

“I think these last three episodes, not to overstate it, and you could say this about the last eight, but with these last three in particular you need to install a seat belt on your sofa, you need to wear a crash helmet and a diaper. [laughs] I tell ya, this next episode, I think for my money, is the best episode we ever had had or ever will have.”

This is what Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said about these last three episodes, and tonight’s episode in particular. For a TV show that might go down as one of the greatest in history, saying that tonight’s episode “Ozymandias” is one of the best installments they’ve ever had is quite a statement. With incredible episodes like “One Minute”, “Full Measures”, and “Dead Freight”, this would have to be a pretty outstanding 47 minutes. So did “Ozymandias” deliver? Well, that’s the crazy part. Yes. This might actually be the greatest episode of the series.

After the cliffhanger ending from last week left us wondering who would survive the shootout, we were instead treated to a quick scene from way back in season one. It really was incredible getting a reminder of just how much has changed for Walt over these past five seasons. Remember when he could tell Skyler a bold faced lie, and she’d be none the wiser? Remember when he could bring a pizza back to his family with a smile on his face? Remember when he could tell his wife “I love you” when he says goodbye, and she would say it back? Wow, it feels like a million years ago.

We’re then brought back to the harsh reality of the present, as we see that Gomez was unceremoniously killed off camera. We saw last week that he had a few bullet wounds in his chest, but it looks like he succumbed to them after all. So even though Gomie finally bit the dust, I was just hoping that there might be some way where Hank would live. If Walt was somehow able to barter for Hank’s life, though, it just wouldn’t have rung true. It pains me to say it, but Hank dying really was the only outcome that would have made any sense. However, that definitely didn’t make it any easier to watch, but what an incredible final scene for Hank Schrader and Dean Norris. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we finally see Norris get his first Emmy nom this year, and it would be well deserved.

The only part of the showdown in the desert that didn’t really ring true was Jack’s resolution with Walt. I mean, this is a guy that just shot and killed two DEA agents without blinking an eye, and he just stole almost 70 million dollars from Walt, so why on earth does he let Walt live? The only way I thought he’d let Walt survive is if he forced him into cooking his blue meth. Not only did he let Walt live, but he left him with a car and plenty of money to come back for the Neo-Nazis and the rest of his cash. Kind of an odd time for Jack to start feeling generous.

I’m already a few hundred words into this review and I’ve only gone over the first few minutes, but I can’t skip over the incredible line that Walt had for Jesse: “I watched Jane die”. I mean…wow! This is a callback all the way to season two, and many Breaking Bad fans (including myself) just assumed that Walt would never end up confessing this to Jesse. It was as if Vince Gilligan always knew the exact moment when Walt would finally drop this bombshell, and he was holding it for the time when Walt would want to hurt Jesse the absolute most. Completely superb.

Having Hank die was already one of the most painful parts of the episode, but it was even worse seeing Marie storm into the A1A Car Wash with her false sense of security and superiority. Betsy Brandt has been incredible this season, and yet again, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear her name come Emmy season with the rest of this incredible cast.

Things aren’t going any better for Jesse, as he’s forced to cook with Todd. After Todd’s creepy behavior with Lydia last week, I was interested to see how he’d treat Jesse this week. It’s clear that he’s not as bad as the rest of the guys, since he wanted to keep Jesse from being killed, but he’s clearly not a saint either. I’m interested to see how, or if, Jesse will get out of this predicament. Is there any way for Jesse Pinkman to have a happy ending?

I thought that Walt telling Jesse about Jane was going to be the only big payoff this week, but I was wrong. Walt Jr. finally found out the truth about his dad, and man was that an intense reaction! The scene at the White’s house will go down as one of the most intense of the series, and I was just happy that everybody got out unscathed (except Walt’s hand). I don’t know if my heart could have handled another death in this episode!

Walt’s phone call with Skyler was one of the most incredible pieces of acting I’ve seen. Ever. Absolutely brilliant performances by Betsy Brandt, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, and of course, Bryan Cranston. I’m sure this episode will be used as Cranston’s Emmy submission, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he snags his fourth Emmy for this incredible season.

So after two failed attempts at getting in touch with the “Make you disappear” guy, he finally shows up to whisk Walt away! We still haven’t seen this guy’s face, but I’m sure that will all go down in the last couple episodes.

So what did you guys think? Was this the best episode of the series? Only two more left, folks! I don’t know if my heart can take it!

Random Thoughts:

– This is the first episode that Rian Johnson has directed since he released Looper last year, so it was interesting to see all of the visual similarities between the two projects. All of the aerial shots of the characters, or wide shots of the vast landscape, reminded me very much of Looper. If you somehow haven’t seen that yet, go check it out!

– Does anybody else feel kinda bad for baby actors? I mean, Holly wasn’t pretending to cry! They made the baby cry so that the scene would work!

– Just like Denny’s and Hello Kitty before it, the next family friendly brand to be featured on Breaking Bad is Koala Kare. And yet again, I have to wonder how the good folks at the popular changing table company feel about being on such a gritty TV series. I guess there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

  • Herbert Birdsfoot

    Jack spoke his justification for letting Walt go, and it was because his nephew “looked up to him”. Jack said Todd would never forgive him if he just went the “other way” and shot him, which he easily could have done. Besides, these guys were cashing in on retirement money so it’s unlikely they’d ever be near town again to face any music if Walt “rats” on them. Then again, what’s the plan with Jesse and the meth lab they’re running?

    • Colin

      They are greedy. They won’t take off with the money they just want more. They will force Jesse to cook indefinitely until Todd can reproduce his work and then they will kill him…unless of course….Walt comes back.

    • Luke_Gelineau

      I just don’t buy that he would keep Walt alive just because Todd looks up to him. He just killed two DEA agents in cold blood, and was about to kill Jesse, so it seemed like an odd time for him to suddenly grow a conscience. Maybe I would buy him letting Walt live, but giving him a car AND a barrel full of money just seemed way too generous to me.

  • Colin

    Crazy stuff.

    I was really hoping Hank would live, but sadly, after he went all Captain Ahab, he had to die. I thought for a moment Walt might be able to bargain with Jack by offering money AND providing a way for Hank to leave without fear of retribution. I thought he would suggest enacting the frame job of Hank to make him look like a drug kingpin and force him to abscond with some money Walt would give him. That seemed way to in depth though I suppose.

    Jesse is in a world of hurt, but it is hard to feel to bad for him. He basically caused all of this mess. All he had to do was take his money, sit at home and relax, and now he’s a prisoner and countless people are in danger because of his actions.

    There is no way Walt does not have to come back after Jack and the gang (possibly to free Jesse after he has his moments of levity and realizes he might have been overly harsh on him).

    First, as soon as they can produce the product the gang will want to kill Walt and Jesse to eliminate competition.
    Second, with Walt gone their only leverage is his family and they will probably attack them.

    Now you have these other issues too like if the Feds will go after Skyler. At first I thought Walt’s call was a little off, that’s not exactly how he would deal with his family and it is not in character. Then I realized he was doing it to make it seem like Skyler was under duress when she helped cover for him to get her out of trouble. Brilliant play.