Breaking Bad is regarded as one of the greatest television shows of all time. The epic saga of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned drug lord, is filled with so many iconic, thrilled and gut-wrenching moments. Yet in its final season, the show managed to outdo itself with the incredible episode "Ozymandias."
Directed by Rian Johnson, the episode is when Walt's life of crime finally catches up with him and he has to pay for what he has done. Critics have called it one of the best episodes of television ever produced. With so much happening in the brilliant episode, you probably didn't catch all of the interesting details. Here are some of the things you might have missed in Breaking Bad's "Ozymandias."
10 Episode Title
In such an expertly written show as Breaking Bad, even the episode titles are meticulously chosen. The show has had a lot of fun teasing and hinting at different things with those titles, but the choice of "Ozymandias" for this episode is especially layered.
The title comes from a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley and tells the story of a fallen king. Clearly, the episode holds a lot of similarities to that story as Walt sees the empire he built and the family he tried so hard to protect, come crumbling down.
9 Opening Credits
After an opening scene that flashes back to the very first cook Walt and Jesse ever did together, the episode dives right into where the previous episode left off. Jack and his Nazi gang have pinned down Hank and Gomez with heavy artillery. It's an intense moment that only gets more intense.
Given the nature of the episode's beginning, the show sought to avoid any distractions. The opening credits would normally play during these first few minutes, but the show got permission for various guilds to push them later in the episode so the audience could be immersed in this scene.
There are a lot of recurring images in this episode, which provides subtle yet powerful moments that can go almost unnoticed. It is a testament to Johnson's skills as a director. One of the most prominent features is the multiple shots of reflections, specifically Walt's reflection.
We see this near the beginning when he sees himself in the car mirror after Hank's death and again in the car's side mirror at the end of the episode when Walt is being driven to the safe house. It goes with the theme of Walt having to face the damage he has caused.
7 Hank's Grave
Though it seemed inevitable, Hank's death was nonetheless a shocking moment to kick off the episode. Walt's negotiating with Jack and attempts to save his brother-in-law are heartbreaking and ultimately useless. Hank is killed and it is Walt's fault, regardless of who pulled the trigger.
In a fitting connection to Walt's part in Hank's death, Jack's men dispose of Hank and Gomez's bodies in the hole that was once filled with Walt's barrels of cash. In a symbolic way, Walt is the one who dug Hank's grave.
6 Familiar Pants
With the episode opening with that flashback, it is a telling reminder of how far things have come since those days. Walt was a very different man and he had yet to embark down that dark path. However, that is not the only callback to the beginning of his journey.
After Walt is left alone, he is rolling his barrel of money through the desert. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that he passes a pair of pants in the dirt. These are meant to be the same pants that Walt lost in the desert in the pilot episode.
5 The Knife
Even with the shootout that kicks off the episode, the most intense moments come later when Walt returns home. Desperate to get his family and leave, things come to the inevitable boiling point when Skylar realizes that Hank is dead. Finally, willing to separate her family from Walt, Skyler grabs a knife and attacks.
The knife is foreshadowed in the opening flashback as the camera lingers on it when Skyler is on the phone with Walt. Even more interesting, it is the same knife Walt armed himself with to protect his family from Tuco, now used to protect the family from Walt.
4 Fall To Their Knees
Another recurring image in the episode is seeing one of the main characters fall to their knees in grief or despair. Walt does it when Hank is killed. Skyler does it when Walt runs off with Holly. Marie does it when she learns Hank is dead. Jesse does it when he is about to be executed.
The image is meant to harken back to the theme of a fallen kingdom. Walt's actions are bringing everything crumbling to the ground, including his loved ones whom he tried so hard to protect for so long.
3 Shattered Earth
Walt's fall to the earth is the first seen in the show and the most significant one. He has always been a man in control but now he is confronted with what he has done. Rian Johnson obviously knew the importance of this moment and went a little further in capturing it.
As Walt falls, you can see the ground where his head lands, split and break apart. It is meant to show the magnitude of Walt's fall and the ramifications it will have going forward.
After his intense confrontation with his family, Walt takes Holly and goes on the run. Walt takes his infant daughter to a gas station washroom and tries to convince himself that he is doing the right thing by taking her with him. At that moment, Holly calls for her mother and Walt realizes he has to let her go as well.
Remarkably, this moment was not planned. Initially, Walt was just meant to look at his daughter and realize she had to go home. But the actor baby decided to call out for her real mother at that moment and it was too perfect to not include.
In a haunting display of what Walt has done to his family, he is forced to leave Holly in a fire station where the firefighters find her to return her home. But there is also an interesting visual cue when the camera lingers on a chessboard in the station.
The game that is being played shows a white king piece which is obviously meant to represent Walt. In a representation of how bad his situation has become, the king is surrounded and is ready to fall.