Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I’m Watching: Breaking Bad (Penultimate Episode)

Breaking Bad: Season 5, Episode 15 “Granite State” (A-)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that is so insanely plot-driven. As compared with “Dexter,” which wrapped up its eight-year run the same night this episode aired, this show is firmly committed to seeing all of its many threads through, following all of its characters and showcasing their stories as well. Impossibly, it’s gotten even darker than ever before, moving into seriously disturbing territory with two acts committed by Todd. The home invasion brought Skyler back into things in a frightening way, and the murder of Andrea was a brutal punishment for Jesse’s escape attempt, all the more cruel after Todd gave Jesse ice cream as a reward for his 96% purity. It’s hard to read Todd, which is what makes him so fascinating, always the one to pull the trigger and do the dirty deed but mysteriously advocating for Skyler to stay alive. His relationship with Lydia is fantastic, and I’m so glad that these two fringe characters are being featured so prominently in the show’s final hours. The casting of Robert Forster as the man who makes people disappear was brilliant, and I loved seeing Saul for what may be the last time, expressing to Walt that he really isn’t into all this stuff, and then earning a rare victory over Walt when his cough kicked in and his threat didn’t seem so worrisome anymore. Walt arriving in snowy New Hampshire was an excellent start to a lonely end for him, and seeing him just months later offering to pay his associate $10,000 to stay and play cards with him was mesmerizing. Calling Walter Jr. only to have him lash out at him and tell him that he should just die already seemed like the final nail in the coffin for him. But of course this show isn’t done with Walt just yet, and hearing his old friends belittle him egged him on to ditch the DEA and make one last play which I have no doubt will prove to be absolutely spectacular in the upcoming series finale.

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