Soon I won’t have to say this anymore, but spoilers for Breaking Bad.
This felt like a “connect the dots/fill in the blanks” episode that would carry us from the present to the future. There were a lot of brilliant scenes and moments, but for the most part, this was all build-up for the series finale. Amazing build-up at that.
First up, we’re finally introduced to the guy who knows a guy that knows Saul; “The Guy Who Makes People Disappear.” Hard to believe that it’s none other than “that guy” from “that thing.” [IMDB revealed him to be Robert Forster, and I realised it was Jackie Brown I knew him from, amongst other things.] Surprisingly, it’s not Walt who is being disappeared, it’s Saul, indicating that some time has passed since the last episode, but not the full year I had predicted. It was interesting seeing Saul out of his element and shaken and this episode was the most human we’ve ever seen the lawyer. The scene with him and Walt living together in the bunker was Odd Couple gold. Saul, despite his comic sensibilities, still proving himself to be the most logical and sensible of the two as he tries to reason with a vengeful Walt. This was the first time we’ve seen Saul draw the line with Walt and it was refreshing – “I’m a civilian, I’m not your lawyer anymore…. just another douchebag with a job and three pairs of Dockers.” This will probably be the last time we see Saul until his prequel show starts, and this swansong proves that he’s got the dramatic cred to handle a leading role.
We see Marie briefly, but hear nothing from her, as she’s promised by her escorts that they’ll find Hank and Gomez’s bodies. The morose music would suggest otherwise. They arrive at her house to find it ransacked and we audio-cut to Uncle Jack and Friends watching Jessie’s heartfelt confession to killing Gail. Todd’s slight smile as he hears Jessie recount how he shot the kid in the desert is downright frightening. It’s the small things that Jessie Plemons does that make his performance as Todd so affectingly freaky. The nazi buddies reconvene outside to what I thought was going to be Uncle Jack pulling up Todd on his child-killing habits, but instead he pulls him up on his meth-making habits. Stating the obvious, he asks why they would continue to cook considering recent barrel-related events – “we’ve won the lottery here.” Why? Because Todd likes high percentages and Lydia.
We check in with Skyler as she’s grilled by the feds for “something they can use”, exactly as Saul suggested would happen. Cue a genuine jump-scare as she goes in to check on Holly and finds….
Ninja Todd “throws a real scare into her”, as he puts it, and then explains to the ever-paranoid Lydia that she has nothing to worry about. Todd reassures Lydia with the magic-meth number of 92% and some very “good” language for why they should continue to work together: “I just think we work together… good. We make a good team. I think it’s kind of… mutually good.”
Cut to snowy New Hampshire, a far cry from the dry scenery we’re used to, yet as lonely as the deserts of Albuquerque. “The Guy Who Makes People Disappear” turns out to be “The Guy Who is Very Pleasant and Efficient” as he introduces Walt to his new, isolated and depressing life of watching Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium on repeat. As Walt rifles through what little he brought with him, the Heisenberg hat makes a welcome return (it was probably the first thing he packed.) He makes a play for the gate, but thinks better of it and we get a nice symbolic shot of the hat hanging up.
Our last few scenes with Jessie start with some tenderness from his captors as Todd treats him to some Ben and Jerrys following a whopping 96% batch. It then descends into utter depression as his frantic escape is cut short and he’s punished by witnessing another heartbreaking Breaking Bad death. If Jessie wasn’t broken before, this is surely the last straw – the poor man has endured apocalyptic levels of suffering. If the series doesn’t end with somewhat of a happy ending for Jessie, I might have to give up on life myself.
Cut to more misery as the final 20 minutes of this extended episode are dedicated to future-beardy-hairy Walt. We unceremoniously flash to the future and get a glimpse into Walter’s life as a hermit. Some appropriate exposition from The Disappearer fill us in on Skyler and “Flynn’s” situation, while we get a sympathetic moment from Walt as he tragically pays his only human contact in the world to stay with him for an extra hour. At $10,000, he struck a good deal. Little is left of the great Hesienberg, as he clings to life in a log cabin, wondering whether the last vestiges of his empire will be taken from his corpse by his only remaining companion.
Walt’s phone call with his son is one of the most tragic moments of the entire series, as Walt continues to miss the point, still desperately focusing on the money instead of addressing the pain that money has caused. “I wanted to give you so much more, but this is all I could do,” he tells Walt Jr, seeing only the diminished cash reserves as his failure instead of the immense agony, pain and death that his actions have resulted in. Junior lets loose on his dad and calls him out on his crimes; as always, seeing things in innocent black and white.
Defeated, Walt turns himself in with a phone call and sits at the bar for a final drink. Cue some fortuitous channel-hopping and the blast-from-the-past tag-team of Elliot and Gretchen reappear to conveniently remind Walt of the catalyst for the whole series – his bruised ego. It’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen next, but I’m hoping that this is Walt’s rock bottom and he is finally on the road to some final redemptive act – hopefully saving Jessie. Final mention goes to series composer Dave Porter for that fist-pumpingly good closing twist on the theme song that has me stupendously excited for this day seven days from now.
4 THINGS I WANT TO SEE THAT I WILL NEVER GET TO SEE:
- I want to see the entire Jessie confession tape
- I want to see the backstory to how the second copy of Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium got there
- I want to see The Disappearer watching Youtube videos on how to treat cancer patients
- I would give anything to see Lewis’ face when he receives $100,000 in the mail
4 MORE BREAKING BAD SPINOFFS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN
- A sitcom where Walt and Saul live together in the cabin and fight over who owns which copy of Wonder Emporium
- A light-hearted drama about the day-to-day issues of being a taxi driver, starring Skyler
- A spinoff movie called “Lewis and Flynn’s Day Off”, where they skip school and spend $100,000 in a day
- A romantic comedy called “Pure Blue” in which Lydia slowly begins to look past Todd’s sociopathic behaviour and sees the gentleman underneath