Breaking Bad Season 5 Review “Granite State”

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 15 Granite State (1)

With a lot of enticing counter-programming on tonight, including the 65th Primetime Emmys and the series finale of Dexter, there was absolutely nothing I wanted to see more than the new episode of Breaking Bad, “Granite State”. With the exciting announcement that the final two episodes would be an hour and fifteen minutes, I was thrilled to see how the best series on TV would resolve. So did tonight’s installment do a good job setting up next week’s finale? Read on to find out!

Tonight’s episode was written and directed by longtime Breaking Bad producer Peter Gould, who also wrote and directed the great season four episode “Problem Dog”. We started out by finally seeing the “make you disappear” guy, after he’s been called by Saul four times! It was a fun little swerve at the beginning where we think he’s driving Walt into his lair, but we find out that it’s actually Saul. I was glad that Saul was able to distance himself from Walt, as he skips town to go to Nebraska. I’m sure this means that Saul will be absent from next week’s series finale, and maybe the Saul Goodman spin-off that AMC announced can focus on Saul’s life in Nebraska! I know they already said it will be a prequel series, but maybe that was just a diversion to make us think that there’s a possibility of him dying in the final two episodes.

Meanwhile, Jack and his men are still rooting through Hank’s evidence, trying to find out exactly what Jesse still knows. You never really know what Jack is going to do, which is the sign of a intimidating villain, but now I’m starting to question his entire decision making process. I was confused when he let Walt live last week, and now I’m not sure why he’s letting Jesse live either. He must really respect Todd’s opinion, as he’s the only reason that he hasn’t killed Walt or Jesse, but both of those guys represent such a danger to them, so it makes no sense to me.

I loved Skyler’s scene with the lawyers, which was a great callback to the series premiere when Walt found out he had cancer. Skyler looking straight into the camera, with a high-pitched noise ringing in her ears as she focuses on the mouths of the lawyers, was almost a shot-for-shot remake of when Walt was told he had inoperable lung cancer. Anna Gunn finally won her first Emmy tonight, and it was episodes like tonight’s that make you wonder how it took this long. Her scene with Todd and Holly was also great, and I’m glad that she’s finally received the recognition she deserved! Congratulations, Anna!

Walt was relocated to New Hampshire, as we finally get to see how we get to the bearded and full-haired Walt that we saw back in the season five premiere. There was definitely some kind of time jump here, although they weren’t specific on the exact number of months. We’ve seen Walt in some extremely low places, but this had to be his rock bottom (maybe that’s where they got the title “Granite State”!). Paying a guy $10,000 to spend two hours with you, and then that guy doesn’t want to spend time with you so much so that he has to haggle to make it only one hour of quality time! Walt is truly begun the atonement for his sins, so it will be interesting to see how much that continues with next week’s finale.

Speaking of paying for their sins, Jesse is still paying the piper (and then some), as he has to watch Andrea be gunned down right in front of him. Even though Jesse had some fun stunt work to do tonight, it’s really been tough to watch his character for these past few episodes. I’m really hoping that Jesse is able to escape Jack and his men for next week’s finale, and that he’ll hopefully be the one to take down Heisenberg once and for all.

Before we get to the crazy last scene in the bar, let me just say that it was great to see Carmen Serano back as Principal Molina, and this led to the second incredible Walter White phone call in just as many weeks. Bryan Cranston was robbed this year at the Emmys, but I don’t think they’ll be making the same mistake next year. RJ Mitte also definitely held his own, and I have to say that I was very proud of Flynn’s reaction of not wanting anything to do with his dad. However, Miss Molina was not the only one making her long overdue reappearance on tonight’s episode. None other than Gretchen Schwartz, along with her husband Elias, made their first appearance since season two!

This leads us to what could possibly be the craziest misdirect in Breaking Bad history, as we have the very strong possibility that Walt is taking his M80 rifle back home to go after…the Schwartzes?! Is that what we were supposed to take away from that scene? That Walt felt so slighted and so robbed by them diminishing his accomplishments at Gray Matter that he’s going to return to Albuquerque to go after them? It certainly looked like he was mad enough to want them dead, and how freaking cool was it to hear the iconic theme song playing when the police were storming that bar? If there’s ever been a scene to get me excited for a series finale, that was it.

So here we are, folks. Only one episode left! What do you think is going to happen? Is Walt really going to try to kill Elias and Gretchen? Or is that big fancy gun still meant for Jack and his boys? Or maybe it’s for someone else entirely! Sound off in the comments section below, and let me know how you think it will all end!

Random Thoughts:

– Maybe I’m just having a hard time remembering, but what exactly does Skyler know about Lydia? Even if she could tell the police anything about Lydia, what all could she say? That Lydia came into the car wash and she told her to leave? What information did she really have on her?

– I was getting serious flashbacks of Friday Night Lights when Todd was in the diner with Lydia. Jesse Plemons does the innocent schoolboy crush thing so well, it’s sometimes hard to remember how much of a psychopath his character is.

– I bet Stevia is really pumped about being name dropped tonight. I hope someone is keeping track of all of these brands that get name checked and product placement on this show, as it really is quite an eclectic list.