The penultimate episode of Breaking Bad was granted a few extra minutes to tell its story, and sure enough, ‘Granite State’ managed to use the additional time to not only set up the events that will send the series forever into the annals of TV history, but also to stoke the embers of what was left from the catastrophic events of last week’s ‘Ozymandias,’ which saw a great many terrible things happen in and around the White household.
Of course, all of that culminated in Walter White abandoning his family as well as his identity, and fleeing in the wake of a colossal verbal explosion which left the Internet debating just what his parting words to Skyler truly meant, and if there was as much remorseful implication in them as there was unvarnished truth.
But there’s a side to Walt’s taped outburst that only matters to the DEA, and it’s one that buys his wife a small amount of leeway with them. But as Saul points out, it’s not enough to keep the government off his family for good, and he encourages Walt to cut his losses and turn himself in, telling him that’s the only way he can save the people he did all this for. Walt attempts to give him the “It’s not over until I say it’s over” speech, but the increasingly sickly former kingpin nearly collapses from a coughing fit. And before you can say AMC/Sony Pictures Television licensing deal, Saul says “it’s over,” grabs his bags and vanishes from Walt’s life seemingly for good.
Now, when you become one of the most recognized meth kingpins the United States has ever known, you probably never imagine ending up in a one-room cabin deep in the snow covered woods of New Hampshire, hoping Robert Forster has picked up a few tricks when it comes to administering your chemotherapy. And it’s a good bet the thought of offering him a portion of your “life’s work” for a few more hours of his time never crossed your mind, either.
Walt’s last-minute getaway plan doesn’t really resemble much of an escape. Sure, he’s not in a federal penitentiary, nor is he being forced to cook meth so Todd can indulge his schoolboy crush on Lydia, but rifling through month-old copies of the Albuquerque newspaper isn’t exactly the kind of freedom Walt thinks $11 million ought to buy. He has a barrel full of money and it’s just sitting there, thousands of miles away from the people it was meant for. In the end, Walt ostensibly has nothing; people are even trying to limit his involvement in his own infamy.
All that’s left is the specifics of what has become a harrowing and costly journey for all those who have crossed Walter White’s path. At this point, saying that Breaking Bad has managed to pack an emotional wallop with these last two episodes is as unnecessary as reminding everyone this is all one man’s transformation from Mr. Chips to Scarface. But just because it’s not required doesn’t make it any less true.
CLICK FOR FULL-SIZE VERSION
Breaking Bad will conclude next Sunday with ‘Felina’ @9pm on AMC. Check out a preview below: