Ozymandias

Well, that was exhausting.

BreakingBadOzymandiasIf you excised the flashback scene, I have to wonder whether a newbie watching the pilot and “Ozymandias” back-to-back would even realize it was the same series.

To give you an idea of how dense this episode was, Hank’s death probably won’t be one of the three most-talked-about things from Ozymandias.  Think about that for a moment.

Where to now?  Here are a few wild guesses:

Skyler and Walt, Jr. probably die in the next episode.  Saul and his associates may as well.  Jesse has now told the Aryans what Hank knew, and they will come looking to tie up loose ends.

The kidnaping of Holly was possibly a way to separate her from the group, albeit temporarily.  She may be reunited with Skyler by the time the Aryans come calling, but even they won’t kill the baby.  Either they won’t notice her, or they’ll conclude she’s too young to comprehend / testify anyway.  Another possibility on that front would be the Aryans deciding to raise Holly themselves, but that strikes me as a little too Raising-Arizona-y for a show that’s gotten as dark as this one has.

In any event, I think the Aryans take out Walt’s family one way or another.  They may not even intend to kill Walt’s family initially, but do so when the family stands between them and getting rid of any evidence that would allow them to enjoy their $70,000,000 in peace.  An alternative scenario would see Skyler and Walt, Jr. placed into witness relocation, but that probably wouldn’t happen unless Walt was available for prosecution.

Whether killed or just gone, Walt’s wife and son will probably be out of the picture by the end of next week.  That leaves as his only real family . . . Jesse.

Yes, he hates Jesse, and, yes, he signed off on his death.  But, after what we saw tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walt tried to save Jesse from what is essentially slavery at the hands of those who may be responsible for his loved ones’ demise.  Either way, whether it’s because they killed his family or because he wants to rescue Jesse, or both, that’s when I think Walt kills Todd (possibly after Todd has killed Jesse) and takes his jacket.

I think the M-60 is for the Aryans, of course.  But the ricin?  One possible twist would be Holly winding up with Marie (the last survivor), and Walt going to collect her after killing the Aryans, with the idea being that he would poison Marie and take Holly.

Except that Marie somehow sees it coming, and poisons Walt instead via the method briefly referenced in the last episode, with the series ending with Walt dying a slow, agonizing death as paralysis sets in, living long enough to contemplate his life and crimes.

That would be one way to go.  But what backs me off of that position slightly, even with the poison foreshadowing (red herring?) by Marie, is that Walt took the time to reveal to Jesse the truth about Jane’s death.

Therefore, I will reiterate what I’ve been saying for two years:

Either cancer kills Walt, Jesse kills Walt, or no one kills Walt.

I think the phone call to Skyler was an attempt to save her from prosecution.  He made it clear on the call that he had threatened her life and that she was acting under duress.  I think he knew that cops were listening in, and I also believe he was deliberately providing evidence she could use to exonerate herself.  Walt’s emotion on the call was due largely to him reconciling himself to the fact that he would have to give up his direct connection to his family.

In other words, the call wasn’t simply Walt being a crazy asshole.  I think, like most things he’s done over the course of the series, it was a “move,” as Jesse would say.  Except that, this time, it was a move to help someone else instead of himself.

One other thing struck me tonight.  I wonder if Todd is the only one still interested in cooking meth.  He obviously has an interest in science, a respect for Walt, a desire for praise from his uncle and the Aryan crew, and, perhaps most importantly, a torch for Lydia.

I bring this up because a group of fairly small-time criminals would probably lose interest in running a meth territory if $70,000,000 suddenly fell into their lap.  I’m not saying they would cease criminal activity altogether, but running a meth business would be dangerous.  It wouldn’t just be risky on a street level (protecting distribution, etc), but it would also expose them to a lot of potential risk in terms of being caught by law enforcement—especially with two freshly-missing DEA agents.

Uncle Jack also made a point about greed tonight.  He may not be a typical, dumb criminal.  The smart play would be to take a few million each, chill out for the next 50 years in luxury, and get involved with criminal enterprises only to the extent that they were shielded from direct contact.

Either way, we know Todd is all-in on meth.  And I noticed he didn’t give Jesse a suit and mask.  Maybe he figures that, by the time Jesse teaches him how to cook, the fumes will kill him.

Back to some big-picture stuff to conclude.  At some point, we know the following things happen:

1. Walt must leave town for a period of months, during which he grows his hair back, changing his appearance somewhat.

2. The news of Walt’s activity becomes public and/or the public believes Walt to be dead.  Hello, Carol.

BreakingBadHeisenbergGraffiti3. Walt’s house becomes condemned and/or a crime scene, and someone with knowledge of Walt’s activities vandalizes his home with the word “HEISENBERG.”  Whether that’s because of #2 above, or someone sending a message at the time of certain other crimes remains to be seen.

4. Walt needs heavy firepower to take someone out, but . . .

5. Walt also needs ricin to take out someone else.  It is unlikely the two are the same, as an assault using a machine gun doesn’t mesh well with a ricin kill.

But we know little else for certain.  I’ve outlined where I think we’re headed, but I’m sure I’ll have to watch this episode again between now and next Sunday to flesh those ideas out more.

Breaking Bad is already on my “Mount Rushmore” of modern television drama, and has a chance to be my all-time favorite if the final two episodes play out in a satisfying way.  It should be a terrific ride.

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