I’m going to be talking about the last eight episodes of Season Five Breaking Bad – the last eight episodes of the entire series. Breaking Bad is too great a television show to be spoiled, so if you’re not up to date:
- Don’t read anymore of these posts.
- Start watching Breaking Bad. It’s available on Netflix, bitch.
Recently, my wife and I watched Felina, the final episode of AMC’s excellent drama Breaking Bad. We have different reactions springing from a common root emotion: she’s missing the show because (quite frankly) it was awesome, but I’m glad we’re done because (quite frankly) it was crazy intense. Also awesome.
I need to have some television downtime where my nerves aren’t all jangled and on edge. (Luckily, I’ve read all of the A Song of Ice and Fire books so this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones won’t sucker punch me the way the last episodes of Breaking Bad did. Probably.)
Enough preamble. I’ve written recaps and observations on the previous four and a half seasons, so this series of posts (I’m planning to write three) will bookend the three posts I wrote for Season One.
Didn’t I say enough preamble? I lie worse than Walter White.
This post will be a recap (so I understand if you skip it, but then you’ll miss my witty captions, yo), next post will be some season-focused observations, but post three will be a grab bag of opinions, which should cover the entire show. We’ll see.
Back Half of Season Five
- Hank found Gale Boetticher’s copy of Leaves of Grass, personalized with a message to the “other W.W.” Hank keeps a panic attack under control just long enough.
- Walt’s just trying to be a guy who owns a carwash. But his former international-distribution partner Lydia is unhappy with the purity of meth that Declan’s people have been producing now that Walt has retired. She tries to convince him to come back, Walt refuses her offer.
- Skyler puts the icing on that message’s cake.
- Jesse has been feeling increasingly awful about the death of Drew Sharp (the boy Todd killed during the train heist in the previous fifth season.) His assumption that Mike is dead has also not improved his outlook.
- He opts to donate his money to Drew’s parents and Mike’s granddaughter. Jesse drops the money off with Saul to handle the details. Saul immediately calls Walt.
- Walt brings the money back to Jesse, trying to convince him that he’s earned the money. (The money Walt originally refused to give to Jesse, deriding it as “blood money.”)
- Jesse decides on a Plan B for the millions. Since he can’t give it away to the Sharps and Ehrmantrauts, he starts tossing out wads of cash in a poor neighborhood. He’s the greatest paper boy ever.
- Walt’s hanging out in the bathroom, dealing with nausea (his cancer is back), and notices Leaves of Grass is missing. Since Hank has been acting squirrelly, Walt checks his car and finds a tracking device.
- Meanwhile, Jesse’s car is in a neighborhood playground, full of money. Jesse gets a trip to an APD interrogation room.
- Walt goes to see Hank. There’s an exchange of “I know and I know that you know that I know.” And a punch. And veiled threats.
- Both try to contract Skyler, Hank gets to her first.
- Hank tries to get Skyler to spill the beans at Denny’s, but Skyler refuses to cooperate with Hank.
- Walt, terrified that his wife is telling Hank everything, has Saul’s minions barrel up his pile of money. Walt takes it out into the desert (to where he and Jesse first cooked) and buries the barrels.
- Marie tries to get Skyler to cooperate, but Marie becomes angry when she realizes just how long Walt’s criminal enterprise has been going on, predating the attack on Hank. Marie tries to abduct Holly, but Hank correctly prevents that.
- There’s now a pretty big wedge between Skyler and Marie. How could there not be?
- Walt returns exhausted, passes out in the bathroom. Skyler, finding out that Walt’s cancer has returned, reassures him that in her analysis, it’s best they keep their head down and stick together.
- Marie pressures Hank to tell the DEA what’s happening. Hank is reluctant to do that without proof. Then he gets word that Jesse Pinkman is being held and the bizarre nature of his wealth redistribution activity.
- Lydia employs Todd’s Uncle Jack to end the business arrangement with Declan. Violently. Todd’s going to be the new cook.
- Jesse refuses to cooperate with Hank. Saul bails Jesse out, and Walt convinces Jesse to leave town, to get a fresh start. Jesse agrees to make use of Saul’s vacuum cleaner repairman (new-identity-relocation specialist.)
- Walt manages to prevent Marie from luring Walt Jr. over (where he would no doubt get an earful and not be allowed to return.) He tells Walt Jr. that the cancer has returned.
- Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie meet for dinner (although they rebuff the waiter’s offer to make the guacamole at the table.) Negotiations quickly break down, so Walt gives Hank a video he recorded, accusing Hank of being the mastermind. If the video got out, it would be bad for Hank.
- Jesse is nearly ready to head to Alaska and start anew, when he realizes that Huell, Saul’s large minion, had subtly frisked him at Saul’s and confiscated his weed. He remembers that the last time he had been frisked, his ricin cigarette had gone missing. Jesse puts together that Walt must have had the cigarette lifted so he could imply Gus had used ricin to poison Brock in an attempt to frame Walt. This had given Walt the leverage to get Jesse on board to help assassinate Gus.
- Jesse assaults Saul, gets the truth, then rushes to the White household to commit arson.
- Hank prevents Jesse from torching the house and takes Jesse into his personal custody.
- Walt tries to invent a bullshit story to explain a gasoline soaked rug, but he has to come clean to Skyler.
- She pragmatically wants Jesse dead. Saul also wants Jesse dead. (Saul’s big on wanting complications dead.)
- Walt wants to have a meeting with Jesse, to make things right and avoid violence.
- Hank has a recorded statement from Jesse, but needs more proof. He coerces Jesse to agree to wear a wire and to try to get Walt to confess. Jesse is concerned about his life, and interestingly enough, the only other person who gives a damn about Jesse’s life is Walter White.
- Jesse decides at the last minute not to go through with the plan. He calls Walt from a payphone, and threatens Walt.
- Walt decides it’s time to bring in Todd’s Uncle Jack to take care of business.
- Hank and his partner Gomez are furious with Jesse, but he manages to convince them that the way to get to Walt is to get to his money.
- Hank has Huell picked up and gets enough info from him to get a plan going.
- Walt meets with Uncle Jack and makes a reluctant deal. Jesse is to be humanely put down and in return Walt will help cook a batch of meth. Todd’s better than Declan’s cook, but Lydia has not been happy with the quality. She really wants the blue color back in.
- Todd would really like to make Lydia happy.
- Walt is tricked into thinking that Jesse is threatening his buried money. Talking to Jesse the entire time on his cell phone, Walt drives out to the spot on the To’hajiilee reservation, leading Hank, Gomez, and Jesse to him. Realizing the trap too late, Walt calls for Uncle Jack to come rescue him but rescinds the order when he sees who has come.
- Walt gives himself up. Hank makes a triumphant phone call to Marie.
- Uncle Jack and the Jackholes show up anyway. They gun down Gomez, and despite Walt’s pleading, kill Hank.
- Uncle Jack confiscates all but one barrel of Walt’s 80 million. Walt insists that they fulfill their bargain and kill Jesse. He then reveals Jesse’s hiding place.
- Twisting the metaphorical knife, Walt tells Jesse about watching Jane die. Dude.
- Jesse is taken away, expecting to be interrogated for information regarding Hank’s investigation. And to be killed.
- Walt takes his barrel and starts to drive, but his car was hit in the gas tank and he’s soon stranded. He ends up rolling the 10 million dollar barrel through the desert before he can get to a vehicle.
- Marie visits the car wash and breaks the news (what she believes to be true) to Skyler. That Walt was in custody and Hank had him dead to rights. Skyler breaks down and agrees to tell Walt Jr. before he’s told by the police.
- Walt Jr. takes the news that his dad has been a drug dealer for over a year about as well as could be expected. He freaks out.
- Both sisters head to their respective homes, Skyler desperately trying to get Flynn to wear his seat belt.
- Marie’s home has been ransacked for the tape, the only concrete evidence that could give the authorities any leads whatsoever. Jesse had revealed the details of the tape at the hands of Todd. Todd, rather than kill Jesse, expects him to cook meth. Todd really wants to impress Lydia.
- Skyler finds Walt frantically packing. She realizes that Hank must be dead and refuses to cooperate with Walt any further. They fight and Flynn protects his mother from Walt. Walt abducts Holly in the heat of the moment.
- Walt eventually calms down and calls the house. He knows the police are there listening, so he berates Skyler and gives the impression that she had been an unwilling victim in all of this.
- He then leaves Holly at a firehouse to be found and returned to Skyler.
- Walt signs up for the Underworld Relocation Program that Jesse opted out of.
- Saul happens to have signed up for that too. With DEA agents missing presumed dead, he knows he has to get out of town too. Walt tries to browbeat Saul into remaining in his service, but that’s not going to happen. Walt has no more leverage.
- Walt is shipped off to a safehouse in New Hampshire. He knows he’ll be there until the cancer takes him and then the vacuum cleaner repairman/relocation-expert who’s keeping him hidden and supplied will end up with Walt’s barrel of money.
- Skyler is visited by Todd and masked associates, who threaten her to keep quiet. Particularly about Lydia. (Maybe Skyler shouldn’t have confronted Lydia at the carwash.)
- Walt tries to arrange of shipment of money to the family, but talking to Walt Jr. on the phone underlines how much he’s not wanted by the family. He opts to give himself up, and decides to have a drink and watch TV at a bar while waiting for the police.
- On the TV, he sees Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz being interviewed. Walt is no longer interested in being captured, and he has a plan.
- Avoiding the police, Walt drives cross country back to New Mexico.
- Jesse remains the meth cooking slave. Uncle Jack, upon seeing on the stolen evidence video that Jesse had informed on Todd, was all ready to kill Jesse, but Todd convinced Jack to keep Pinkman alive. Because, you know, Todd’s working on getting Lydia to respect him for his meth production. Todd has that thing for Lydia.
- Jesse tries to escape and fails.
- As a result of trying to escape, Jesse gets to see Todd shoot Andrea. If Jesse misbehaves again, Brock would be next.
- Walt arrives in New Mexico on his 52nd birthday. He purchases an M60 machinegun and a replacement vehicle from his regular arms dealer. He retrieves the vial of ricin from his wrecked and abandoned home.
- He extorts compliance from Gretchen and Elliot to set up a trust fund for Walt Jr. using nearly the last of his millions from the barrel. They believe they will be killed if they do not go through with this.
- Walt sets up a meeting with Todd’s Uncle Jack by interrupting a meeting between Lydia and Todd. He discovers that Todd has Jesse alive and Jesse is cooking meth.
- Walt visits Skyler and in contrast to his usual assertions that everything he had done had been done for the family, he tells her that everything he had done, he had done for himself. She lets him see Holly. He catches a glimpse of Flynn in the distance.
- Walt goes to Uncle Jack’s Aryan Brotherhood compound, presumably to make a deal to cook for them. He discovers that they’re planning on killing him. I mean, they already have a cook. Walt accuses Jack of reneging on the deal to kill Jesse and expresses his dissatisfaction that they are now meth cooking partners. Jack’s prickly about his honor, so he has Jesse brought to them in chains to prove that in no way is Jesse a partner.
- Walt triggers the M60 in the trunk of his car remotely before knocking Jesse to the floor. It has been rigged up to swivel back and forth, firing. The Jackhole captors are hosed down with machine gun bullets, Jesse strangles Todd with Jesse’s own restraints, and Walt delivers a coup de grace to Jack.
- Walt offers Jesse a chance to shoot him, but Jesse would rather not. Jesse drives into the night.
- Lydia calls to check up on things, Walt takes the call. Lydia’s not feeling too well. Could it be… THE RICIN WALT SLIPPED INTO HER TEA? Nice.
- Walt had been wounded by his automated death machine, but manages to stumble through the meth lab Todd had set up. He falls and as the police invade the compound, he dies.
All Bad Things Must Come to an End.
Well this has been a big wall of text. I’ll stop here. Next post, the second of three posts, will cover topics that I felt were important during Season Five. After that will be a final post, talking about the entire series.
Images are obviously from AMC’s Breaking Bad.
I make no claim to any of the artwork obviously, but I do make some claim to the text of this posting. So there.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2014 Some Rights Reserved