Editor’s Note: For eight weeks, WarriorsWorld’s Jesse Taylor will speak to Harrison Barnes about each episode of their favorite current TV show, Breaking Bad, as it completes its fifth and final season. This installment covers Season 5-B Episode 7: Granite State. WARNING: These are episode reviews, so there will be SPOILERS …
Jesse: One more to go. You open training camp on Monday morning. Breaking Bad’s series finale is Sunday night. Did you warn Coach Jackson that you might not be mentally all there Monday morning from the impact of the show?
Harrison: (laughing) I’m going to see if I can try to keep it together. Not let it get me too crazy so I can focus on the first day of camp.
This past Sunday was basically setting everything up for the big finale on Sunday. After the last two extremely tense episodes, I wasn’t too surprised they slowed things down a bit and let us see Walt reach a breaking point where he was finally ready to give up. What were your thoughts overall on the episode?
They really set it up perfectly for a crazy finish. You don’t know what’s exactly going to happen in this last episode. There’s so much ground that needs to be covered. We don’t know how far beyond this last week’s climax they are going to skip ahead or if they will pick it up right where they left off. Much is left to be desired and who knows how it will end.
This last episode, we pick up with not much time passing since Walt’s hopped in the red van. He’s still in New Mexico and Saul has joined him at the vacuum shop.
I thought people would enjoy the fact that it was Saul wearing purple this episode. I sent out some Breaking Bad questions on Twitter and asked if people expected Marie to once again don a purple outfit. But instead we get Saul.
Yep. Marie was in grief mode, going with black before seeing that her home has been ransacked for evidence by Todd’s crew. The episode starts with Walt flustered down in that room by himself and sets the stage for the rest of the show – an isolated, flustered Walt with no where to turn. We were also introduced to a new character this week, played by renowned character actor Robert Forster. What did you think of his role?
I enjoyed that character and his code. He was very business oriented. There wasn’t much beating around the bush with him. It’s unlike Breaking Bad to have a character that is so straightforward. There was no misconstruing his intentions. Like when Walt asked if he found him dead, would he give the money to Skyler and the kids. And his answer was basically, “Do you want me to lie to you and say that I would?”
He had a certain Mike-ness to him. I saw some comments about his character being somewhat unbelievable, because what’s stopping him from just killing Walt and taking his money? But I think this guy’s business is his life and if he does that, he risks compromising his business and his reputation. He’s not Walt. He won’t do one bad thing that could lead to much worse things happening down the road. Even if it seems clean and easy.
The biggest thing is that he just didn’t want to have blood on his hands. His business and his job are very much away from the hands-on crime side of things. He takes people who have been in trouble and puts them in new, safe situations. And he just leaves it at that. He told Walt, after dropping him off, that he usually never even comes back to check on anyone. He puts you somewhere and that’s the last time he ever sees you. I don’t think he’s about that killing, crazy type of life.
What was your take on the exchange between Walt and Saul early in the show? Especially the “It’s over,” “It’s not over” … cough attack … “It’s over” exchange?
I feared Saul was about to be right back in the same position he’s been in these last five seasons – victim to whatever Walt wants to do. That cough put Walt back into the state he was in during the first episodes of Season 1. He really is, at this point, helpless. Heisenberg is gone. He’s just Walter White now – former chemistry teacher with cancer.
The scenes with Skyler put things in perspective in terms of everything that Walt has done being for nothing. In fact, it’s made things worse. One, Skyler is in trouble with the law. Two, she’s got Todd and his ski mask crew threatening her and her family. And three, Lydia wants her dead.
Todd, the psychopath, is there in the mask threatening her, but there really wasn’t a forceful tone or anything. He just does things in his weird Todd way.
As he’s threatening to murder a little baby he still comes off as this sweet, sincere, polite kid. Then he goes into full on high school kid trying to impress his teacher mode for his meeting with Lydia. Wearing discount rack khaki slacks, dress shirt and shoes. His crush on Lydia is motivating his every move.
It was interesting that, when he mentioned the 92 percent and Lydia was so impressed with the “Heisenberg numbers,” he didn’t take credit for that to look good in Lydia’s eyes. He tells her it was Jesse. I was like, “Come on Todd. You really collapsed on that. You could have looked good for her there.”
Lydia continues to be cold-blooded. She wants everyone dead who could potentially reveal her to the police. But Todd, for reasons I’m guessing are to protect him and his crew from getting any heat from the Feds, pushes to keep Skyler alive.
It was good to see Todd defend Skyler. It was nice that he did that.
What wasn’t so nice was when he shot Andrea in the back of the head.
That was crazy to me. It was shocking. It happened so suddenly.
It pretty much ruined any hope of something good happening to Jesse at the end of this series. Even if he survives, I don’t see how the rest of his life isn’t spent depressed and full of regret. Between Andrea, Jane and Gale, it’s just too much to overcome. I really wanted Jesse to walk off into the sunset with Andrea and Brock.
Again, I have to recognize the acting of Aaron Paul. Watching him from inside the car, right when that bullet goes through Andrea’s head, was brutal. You just have to pray that poor Jesse can find some kind of silver lining in this season because he’s just been emotionally non-existent. He’s been tormented, held captive and cannot win.
For a second there, I really thought he would escape the Nazi hellhole. But as soon as they showed that security camera you knew it was over.
I thought he might escape too. Not sure where he would go, but I figured at least give him the chance to try something. But unfortunately, it just didn’t happen for him.
Another complaint I saw on Twitter was the paperclip handcuff escape being unrealistic. But then I did a search on YouTube and saw videos showing how it’s really a piece of cake. Given all the time Jesse had down in the pit to figure out a way to unlock the cuffs, I can buy that.
Look at Jesse’s history. He’s been involved in some shady stuff even before meeting Walt. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched that this kid can pick a lock.
At least he got some ice cream from Todd as a reward for hitting 96 percent.
Todd. Such a nice guy, right? I’ll be interested to see if Todd’s alive when everything is all said and done. My guess is they kill him off.
Back at the cabin, we watch Walt go through the steps of hoping to do something to just giving up. Were you surprised he got to the point where he was actually ready to turn himself in?
That call with Junior really broke Walt down. After all that back and forth with Walt making attempts to go into town, then changing his mind. He finally did it after several months, and then that’s what he hears? Wow. It really shut him down. That was it. He was done.
His last hope was to at least send his family $100,000 in an Ensure box every once in a while to help out. And Junior just ripped that hope out of him. There was no need to go on anymore.
It reached a point with Walt we’ve never seen before – ever. He was so vulnerable. I couldn’t believe he hit the point where he wanted to pay that guy over $10,000 just to stay with him for two hours.
To make it worse, the guy negotiates it down from two hours to one.
That was messed up.
I still haven’t given up on Walt, even if Vince Gilligan might have, so I found it interesting to see how Walt was so open with this guy. He basically broke down all of his walls for him.
But the Heisenberg wall rises once again thanks to Gray Matter. By saying on national TV that Walt had virtually nothing to do with the success of the company, Elliott and Gretchen give Walt the fuel he needs to gas up his ego once again for a last Heisenberg stand.
Vince Gilligan did an interview about how back in Season 1 when Elliott and Gretchen offered to pay for his cancer treatments, it was his hatred for Gray Matter and the way things went down that caused him to refuse their help. He wanted to show them that he could do something better.
His whole reason behind building this meth empire is really about Gray Matter, not his family. Who stockpiles that much money just for their family? He was way beyond what he needed for treatment and his family and he kept pushing. He was trying to compete with Gray Matter this whole time.
That’s why when he saw that on TV at the end of the episode, it pushed him back over the edge to go out as Heisenberg one last time.
That scene put me back on Walt’s side again. I raised a right fist in the air for Heisenberg’s return thanks to Elliott and Gretchen’s smugness. He can’t let those two determine his legacy.
As much as it saddens me to say this, I hope he does something with his legacy quick, because I think Walt’s going to die in the finale. The only way it can go out is if Walt dies. I don’t see him walking away in the end.
Thanks for cheering me up Harrison. Let’s go out on that high note.