By Will Ashton
Spoilers for Breaking Bad, obviously.
Just, holy shit.
That is the only true response I, or any real fan of Breaking Bad, can give after watching last night’s episode, “Ozymandias.” Every scene, it is just one hard-breaking moment after the other. One more reveal that we have been waiting, dreading or expecting (or not) one after another. Bam, bam, bam. Like the bullet to the heart that Hank got in this episode.
Any show that is able to kill its fourth biggest character in the first 20 minutes of its episode has to deserve at least some mild respect. It was the outcome that many were expecting, especially after last week’s call to home that played out like every cop movie were the cop to tell his wife he loves her just before he bites the dust. It was expected, but was anyone truly expecting the emotion resonance that it would bring? Walt didn’t kill Hank, but he was response for his death. Because of his actions, the damage has finally hit home for good this time. And now, he can do nothing about it, besides lay in the dirt with his hands cuffed behind his back.
But this was just the beginning. Walt told Jessie about Jane. He even told him that he could have saved her, but didn’t. Walt Jr. finally found out about his father’s actions. Walt had to abandon his family, but not before taking his baby daughter.
It has been noted that many people consider this the best episode in Breaking Bad history, and they may very well be right. I am still under the impression that there will never be another episode better than “Face Off,” but I’ll be damned if this one didn’t get close. Besides one little nitpick I had (why didn’t Walt call home when his car broke down?), this was essentially a perfect episode. And, I must give the credit to director Rian Johnson, who has now directed two of my favorite episodes (“Fifty-One” and this) and my least favorite episode (“Fly”), and to the screenwriter, Moira Walley-Beckett, for their incredible work this week. But, ultimately, the true stars are, well, the stars themselves.
Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn really brought their A-game in this episode. Dean Norris made sure he had a badass ending too. Hell, even the baby gave a great performance. I felt for her when she cried out for her mother. The only one that didn’t quite do it for me was R.J. Mitte, though, he certainly gave it his damnest. Poor Walt Jr., all the bacon and waffles in the world can’t heal that wound in his heart.
The tension in this episode was sky high, and I’m not sure how they are going to keep it up with these next two episodes. But Breaking Bad always surprises me, and I’m sure they will again. Only two more episodes. I want them now, but I never want it to end.