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I Can’t Take it Anymore: ‘Breaking Bad’ Episode 514 “Ozymandias”

by on September 16, 2013

Before Sunday night, before episode 514 of “Breaking Bad,” I wasn’t sure if I wanted the show to end. On one hand, I wanted the show to finish so I could find out how all of the loose ends are tied up. On the other hand, I knew I would miss all of the characters, the quirkiness and the fun of watching “Breaking Bad.” I wanted to know the ending, but I didn’t want it to actually happen.

Not anymore.

After tonight’s brutal episode, “Ozymandias,” I want Walter White’s one-way trip to hell to end. I can’t take it anymore. The show has always been dark, but this took a turn towards the kind of darkness you only see when you turn off all the lights and you can’t even see your hand inches in front of your face. We thought we had seen Walt reach the lowest of lows before, but he managed to reach even lower.

Vince Gilligan’s long-running science project is almost done. Will the end result spell doom for everyone involved?

Have there ever been so many heartbreaking moments in a single episode of television before? Gone were the sly jests of Saul Goodman. Gone were the hilarious stares of Walter White after Jesse tells him where the cow houses are. Gone was Hank. And all that remained were the brutal, terrifying after-effects of everything Walt had done. He had tried, for so long, to hold a net over the bee’s nest, to keep everything from coming out.

He never allowed any loose ends. Everything was accounted for. Whenever you expected him to do something, he did the exact “reverse opposite” to save his own skin and keep his drug empire afloat and invisible. But finally, it all caught up to him.

This is not a criticism of the show for doing something wrong — I give credit to the writers, the director Rian Johnson, the actors and everyone involved in last night’s show. But it was painful to watch Walt not only revert back to being Heisenberg but to become something much worse. Once Hank died, without the shield of “protect the family” to hide behind, Walt became the kind of monster you only see in superhero movies. Cold, ruthless, cruel.

In a way, Walt’s handshake with Uncle Jack was harder to watch than Hank’s death. He conceded that he was fine with what they were doing, what they had done. Hank’s death was tough to see, but at least he went out with his pride. Walter gave his up, as usual, to save himself. And when he pointed out Jesse hiding under the car, my heart stopped. His partner, for so long — he just gave him up, ready to have him killed. If not for the gracious, lipstick-loving Todd, two fan favorites would have been killed off in a matter of seconds.

Did the information about Jane really need to come out? I thought for sure that either the circumstances of Brock’s poisoning or Jane’s death would be revealed but certainly not both. The hate emanating from Walter as he told Jesse he let Jane die had to be worse than death for Jesse. That was like Walt stabbing him in the heart. At least he had a reason to poison Brock. There was no reason for letting Jane die. When Jesse saw the picture of Andrea and Brock in Todd’s lab, he would have rather done nothing than kill himself on the spot, I’m sure. He can’t take it anymore. Jesse is fragile emotionally and taking that many gut-punches in succession was certainly debilitating.

TV’s favorite “father-son” combo is now split up. How will their fates differ?

But the heartbreaking, hard-to-watch moments never stopped coming. There was Marie — fully believing that Walt was in cuffs and Hank was alive — forcing Skyler to tell Walt Jr. everything. I couldn’t watch. Everyone has a higher image of their own father, looking to him as a role model. To have his — of a man who fought off cancer and a gambling problem to provide for his family and run a successful car wash — destroyed so quickly was overwhelming. And when they arrived home to find Walt, still refusing to answer any questions and ordering them around, trying to lie his way out of things again, it was just too much. And to find out his beloved uncle Hank could be dead? He couldn’t just leave. The confrontation with Skyler and the knife finally revealed to Walt Jr., who had for so long seen his mother as the villain, who his father really was. A monster.

And, oh, that scene with Chekhov’s knife. Walt, still thinking he is in control and can talk his way out of it, certainly never thought Skyler would actually swing at him. The battle for the knife was chilling and reminiscent of the ending of “There Will Be Blood.” Walt had kept the violence out of his own home for so long, and then it showed up at his kitchen island in the most terrifying, brutal way possible. That was as jarring to watch as the scene where Marie tried to take the baby from Skyler earlier this season. There was something so primal, so savage-like about Skyler and Walt wrestling on the floor for the knife that it became more disturbing than seemingly anything Walt had done before.

Flynn, finally turned against his father, became the only thing protecting his mother from a harbinger of death. They told him to leave, and you thought it was over. Then he took Holly with him and drove away with Skyler chasing him down the street, hands and arms bloodied.* Walt could have been in “The Shining” at this point, who knew what he would do with poor Holly? There was no refuge to be found for the audience at any point, at any moment.

*This is probably a good time to point out that Anna Gunn was brilliant in this episode. Her raw emotions being brought to the forefront several times may have provided her best work to date.

And finally, the phone call. He didn’t completely want to do it, but he had to do it. He couldn’t go back. Everyone knew too much. It was time for Mr. Lambert. Maybe he thought he could protect his family by leaving them behind. Maybe he finally realized that the one thing contaminating Walter White’s life was himself. But first he had to threaten the one person he had once loved in the world. He had to warn her that he would kill her. If she “crossed” him like Hank did. He had to make one last desperate act to protect his family from prosecution.

We got one more look at old Walt on Sunday night, a look we may long for in retrospect.

But if tonight was any indication, this ending is going to be one of the most brutal, heartbreaking endings we’ve ever seen. You watch the hi-jinks and the drug-dealing and the meth-making of the early seasons, and you think the ride will never end. But it’s like riding a roller coaster where they never finished building it. Where the track just ends and the car flies full-speed into the ground. It’s fun while you’re on the ride, but once you hit the end, there’s hell to pay for everyone involved. Sometimes you forget that Walt’s actions should and will have consequences. “Breaking Bad” has never let us forget that every action has a reaction, and now we will have to watch the effect of Walt’s actions on his family.

And maybe Walt gets away with it. Maybe he does the dirty work with the machine gun and the ricin and lives the rest of his life out in To’hajillee. But the effects on his family, the people he claimed he sought to protect, cannot be undone. Skyler mentioned she would have to live with what she’d done, what he’d done, but so would Flynn. He would have to live with the things his father had done. Maybe Holly finds out. Marie has to live without Hank because of Walt. Jesse lost everyone he ever loved because of Walt. His actions adversely affected so many, yet he still just wants to get away from it all.

No matter how it goes down, the end of “Breaking Bad” will be a brutal reminder that actions have consequences. That everyone can be forced to live with the actions of one. And it’s not going to be pretty. The final two episodes won’t be enjoyable. They won’t be fun. We’ll descend deeper and deeper into hell. And then we’ll have to wash off the stench when it finally fades to black.

So yeah. I want “Breaking Bad” to end now. I can’t take it anymore. The fun part is over, and no matter how well-made the final two episodes are, watching them is going to be incredibly painful. This one’s going to take some time to digest when it’s all said and done. It will affect everyone who watches it, and it will all be because of the actions of Walter White. He may not have to live with his actions, to suffer the consequences, but we will.

Try and have an A1 day, everybody. And comment below with your thoughts on Sunday night’s episode.

  1. Jesus Christ Marie, you’re the third reviewer I’ve seen who didn’t understand the phone call. Were you even watching? He was exonerating her for the police. He said over and over again “You told me not to do it” “You never knew what was going on” “You tried to stop me”. In that moment Skylar realized he was still doing everything for his family. When she told him to come home it’s because she wanted him there, and when he said he still had more to do he was telling her he would be back eventually but he had to tie up the loose ends first. Walt is still protecting his family and Skylar knows this.

    I would like to point out that i am not “on team Walt”, I think that he long ago crossed the line into evil and he needs to die. i’m not saying that this one act absolves him of wrongdoing, all I’m saying is that he was not threatening Skylar, he was protecting her and it boggles my mind how many people didn’t get that.

    • taylorgaines permalink

      Thanks for the comment Nick!

      Sorry it didn’t come across completely clear, but I did catch that. The last sentence of this paragraph was where I tried to point that out:

      “And finally, the phone call. He didn’t completely want to do it, but he had to do it. He couldn’t go back. Everyone knew too much. It was time for Mr. Lambert. Maybe he thought he could protect his family by leaving them behind. Maybe he finally realized that the one thing contaminating Walter White’s life was himself. But first he had to threaten the one person he had once loved in the world. He had to warn her that he would kill her. If she “crossed” him like Hank did. He had to make one last desperate act to protect his family from prosecution.”

      The “desperate act to protect his family from prosecution” was kind of where I tried to imply that. Sorry for the confusion!

  2. GarySF permalink

    Very well written. Thanks.

  3. Ken G permalink

    Totally agree…I had a pit in my stomach the whole episode. If that we’re the first episode of the series, I’d never watch again. I’m too committed to do that now

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