‘Breaking Bad’ Recap (Season 5 Episode 14): Let’s All Kidnap Baby Holly!

Breaking BadUrsula Coyote/AMC

Oh how far Walt has come. Or rather, how much he has lost. Somehow the standard Breaking Bad description of him as a Mr. Chips who becomes Scarface seems woefully inadequate at this point. The devastation he has unleashed is unfathomable: Hank and Gomez are dead, Jesse’s being tortured and likely will be killed, Walt Jr.’s innocence has been shattered, and he’s lost his family…probably forever. There’s no going back now. And it all makes us wonder when he reached the point of no return, when he, like Macbeth, waded so far into a river of blood that he could only emerge by getting drenched in it. “Ozymandias” was one of the most harrowing, profoundly disturbing hours of television I’ve ever seen, in part because all of the decisions that led to its orgy of violence were made so very long ago.

“Ozymandias” began with a flashback to Walt’s first cook at To’hajilee, a little over a year earlier. With hair and a mustache, and no pants of course, he really had to rehearse his excuse to Skyler for why he’d be late — some cockamamie story about car wash owner Bogdan wanting him to go over receipts. Lying didn’t come as easy then. And it seemed as if at this point Walt really was focused on his family, agreeing to pick up a couple pizzas for dinner and thinking about Holly as a potential name for the baby. Jesse was still the bad one, the junkie burnout who might actually have lit up inside the meth lab if it weren’t for Walt’s warning. They’ve since traveled on completely opposite paths, which somehow still led both of them back to To’hajilee, where it all started.

Back in the present, the shootout came to a quick end. Walt’s Neo-Nazi allies had killed Gomez and cornered Hank, despite Walt’s frantic cries to call them off. He made a last-minute gamble at redemption: he’d give Jack his $80 million in exchange for Hank’s life. But Hank wouldn’t beg for his life, and he didn’t want Walt to either: “You’re the smartest man I’ve ever known, and yet you’re too stupid to know he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”

Jack put a bullet in Hank’s brain.

Walt knew it was over. His family was broken. There was no going back. Everything he had ostensibly done all this for was lost. He lay on the New Mexico sand in agony as Jack and his gang took his money anyway. All except for one barrel that they left for him with about $10-15 million in it, because these Nazis have a code, I guess. But Walt wasn’t finished. “Pinkman,” he said to Jack. “Pinkman.” They still hadn’t killed Jesse, and Walt knew exactly where he was: hiding under a car. They grabbed him and promised to pop a cap in his ass after they tortured him to find out exactly what he’d told the Feds. Walt began the torture on his own, though. He finally told Jesse the truth: he let Jane die. He watched her choke on her own vomit, when he could have saved her. That was probably the moment of no return for Walt, really. Jesse was speechless. There was no time for a frantically shouted “bitch” or anything — he’s beyond words at this point.

Walt left, but his Chrysler ran out of gas, so he rolled his barrel of money to a Native American’s shed and offered him a wad of cash to buy his ancient pick-up truck. Marie went to the car wash to tell Skyler what had happened: Hank had arrested Walt. It was over. This Shakespearean scenario — characters acting on information that’s horribly out of date — led to the moment the whole series has been building toward: Walt Jr. finding out his father is a murderous drug lord. Marie demanded that Skyler tell her son the truth, rather than have him hear about it from men in uniform. So they sat him down and told him everything. He recognized right off the bat that his mother is a liar. Either she was lying to him before or she’s lying to him now. No matter what, she deceived him, covered for Walt’s crimes, and probably bears some responsibility for them too. Or as Walt Jr. put it, “If all this is true and you knew about it, then you’re as bad as him.”

Skyler and Walt Jr. went back to their house and saw the mysterious, dented pick-up truck in their driveway: never a good sign. Walt was there, packing super fast to get out of Dodge. But his son wanted answers. Walt wouldn’t give them to him, instead saying that they need to get out of there and go somewhere where they can start a new life together. Totally delusional. Skyler realized what all this must mean for Hank. He must be dead. Walt said he tried to save him, but that meant nothing. Skyler could either grab the phone or the knife, and she chose the knife. She cut his hand, but Walt couldn’t leave it there. He struggled with her for the knife, until Walt Jr. finally intervened and helped his mom. He picked up the phone, called the police, and said that his dad pulled a knife on his mom. Somehow, I think he’ll want to be called Flynn exclusively after this.

Walt took Baby Holly and left. Because apparently that’s what people do when they want to hurt Skyler: take the baby! Or maybe that Internet theory about Walt assuming the traits of his victims wasn’t fully accurate. Maybe he also absorbs the traits of his victims’ spouses as well.

The police arrived at Casa White, and while they were there, Walt called Skyler and gave an incredible rant. It was a confession, yes, but like his previous confession that implicated Hank it altered the truth. This time, though, it was to take the blame entirely on himself and leave no room for Skyler to be implicated — since he obviously knew the police would be listening in. His rage toward Skyler was the only thing really truthful in what he was saying. He was ranting stuff like “I did all of this for you, and you never listened to me, I had to do it all alone!” And he took Baby Holly for good measure to just to emphasize to the cops the complete and total rift between him and his wife that means she was never his partner in crime. Once his goal had been achieved, he deposited Holly at a fire station and took off. He would do what Jesse refused to do: get a new life courtesy of Jim Beaver and head to the “Granite State,” the title of next week’s episode — New Hampshire.

Was that a harrowing hour of television or what?

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