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Breaking Bad – S5E15 – Granite State

Previously, on Breaking Bad: “Ozymandias

The previous episode of Breaking Bad left us with Walter White finally getting into that red minivan and “disappearing” himself away from his family. This week, we open on that very same red minivan, as it pulls into an actual vacuum cleaner store. The driver (Robert Forster) steps out and opens up the back; who steps out? Saul Goodman. That’s right; he’s also paid for the services of the disappearererer. Saul will be staying in the basement of the vacuum cleaner store, while the cleaner gets his evacuation to Nebraska taken care of. Guess who is still there. Walter White; they’ll be bunkmates for a few days.

Breaking Bad | Marie

Next, we see the feds are driving Marie back to her house; on the way, they’re reassuring her that they will find the bodies of Hank and Gomez. She’s basically catatonic, though, and doesn’t seem interested in hearing anything; she’s in a “granite state”. Just then, as they’re pulling up to the Schrader residence, they see the place has been trashed. Some of the officers jump out to check the house, while the car speeds off to take her to safety. Inside, we see the video of Jesse’s confession has been taken; as the confession plays over this scene, we fade to the Uncles of Anarchy as they are watching the video. Smartly, they stole the video while everyone was over at the White residence crying. They see that Jesse did tell Hank all about how Todd killed the kid in the desert. After learning this, Jack is all ready to storm right over to the hole where they’re keeping Jesse and kill him right now. Todd stops him, though… again. Todd says they can use Jesse to keep cooking meth. Smartly, again, Jack is like, “We just hit the lottery; why should we keep cooking meth?” As Todd insists, Jack realizes it’s because Todd has feelings for Lydia and wants to keep working with her. Reluctantly, Jack agrees, and they go back inside to keep watching Jesse “the crying little bitch”.

Breaking Bad | Jesse

Meanwhile, we see Jesse down in the hole, crying like a little bitch, and he’s looking at the picture of Andrea and Brock they gave him to remind him why he should cooperate with them. What does he also have? A paper clip, which he begins bending in an ominous fashion. I don’t know if he’s going to use it as a weapon or to pick his locks or what. Something.

Back at the vacuum cleaner store, we see Walt and Saul are hanging out like college dorm room buds… or, you know, cellmates. Saul is a defeated and sullen man, but Walt is working over a plan. When Saul asks him what he’s planning, Walt says he’s going to go after Jack and his boys for killing Hank. Saul is understandably incredulous about this and hands Walt a dose of reality. The phone call he made trying to exonerate Skyler will only buy her time; when the feds cannot get Walt, they will go after Skyler, and the only way he can help her is if he stays and turns himself in.

 

Breaking Bad Saul and Walt Granite State

Walt, of course, has no interest in accepting that. He’s going to go after Jack, he’s going to get his money back, and only then will he be done. At that moment, the cleaner comes in and tells Walt it’s time for him to go, but Saul’s disappearance will take a bit longer. Walt says there’s a change of plans; Saul is coming with him. Saul is like, “The fuck are you talking about? I’m not going with you.” As Walt begins to intimidate Saul into compliance, he’s interrupted by a coughing fit. Saul uses this opportunity to tell Walt that he is done, as he walks out of the room.

Breaking Bad | Walt

Next, we catch up with Skyler, as she’s sitting in a room full of lawyers and prosecutors; they’re trying to “convince” her to turn her husband in, but she can’t because she has no idea where he is. She’s also in a glossy-eyed “granite state” of unresponsiveness. Everyone has been rendered stone-cold quiet. They send her out to talk with her lawyer about being more cooperative.

Breaking Bad | Skyler

Back at her house, we see there are police positioned outside of her house, and they are monitoring her every move. She goes to check on Holly, when she’s startled by the sight of masked men surrounding Holly’s crib. There’s something about this house that makes it really easy for people to get in and out, even when there are people watching the place. Anyway, it’s Todd and some of Jack’s guys; they’re there to scare Skyler into not telling the police about Lydia. Todd’s somehow less creepy with a mask on, but whatever. Skyler agrees, and they leave her alone.

Breaking Bad Skyler

We jump to Lydia’s favorite coffee shop meeting place, where Todd is sitting alone. Lydia enters and sits with her back to his, at a separate table. Todd begins to join her at the table, but she tells him they will talk like this; she’s seen way too many spy movies, and it’s funny to see Todd–again–basically acting like the person in the conversation who’s the professional. She proceeds to tell him they’re going to need to take a “break” (this scene plays like a romantic “breakup” in a romcom), but he tells her they have some meth that is ready to ship. She first tells him that she doesn’t care, but then he lets her know that it is 92% pure, and she doesn’t believe it. He tells her they have Jesse working with them, and she is intrigued. The scene ends with a long shot showing Todd picking a piece of fuzz off of her back.

Then we cut to Walt hiding in a (septic?) truck. A door opens, and we see it’s the cleaner letting Walt Mr. Lambert out at his new home in the Granite State of New Hampshire. It’s a lonely cabin in the middle of a snowy nowhere. Inside, the cleaner tells Mr. Lambert all about his new surroundings; about how there’s no phone, no television, and no internet. If he wants supplies, he’ll have to pay $50,000 for the cleaner to bring them to him. He informs the new Mr. Lambert that he normally would have already parted ways with the client, but these are special circumstances: Walter White is the subject of a nationwide manhunt, so he absolutely cannot be seen anywhere. Mr. Lambert inquires as to what there is to stop him from going somewhere, and the cleaner says there’s nothing he can do to stop Lambert from going into the nearby town, but he’s certain to be captured, if he does. With that, the cleaner leaves.

As Lambert begins unpacking and making himself at home, he pulls out the old Heisenberg hat. It’s been crushed in the move, and you’d imagine him packing it was a symbolic gesture for us, to let us know he is still holding onto that persona, for now. He uncrushes the hat and puts it on. With it, he puts on that familiar attitude, and he ventures outside in the same determination we saw when he buried his money in the hard dirt of the New Mexico desert. He makes it all the way to the gate, and then he has a second thought… “Tomorrow…” he says to himself.

Breaking Bad Granite State Walt

Then we rejoin Jesse in his prison. He did use the paper clip to escape his chains, and now he’s standing on his folded blanket and his poop bucket trying to reach the door of his cage/hole. Then he hears someone coming, so he hurriedly returns to his bed and acts all “I’m tired” when Todd shows up to give him some Americone Dream Ben & Jerry’s (I’m sure that will get a mention on The Colbert Report). After lowering the ice cream down to Jesse–all Buffalo Bill style–Todd creepily hangs out like he wants to spend some quality time with Jesse. After an odd few moments, in which I was sure Todd planned to order Jesse to put the lotion on its skin or get the hose again, Todd departs, but not before acquiescing to Jesse’s request that he leave the cover off his cage “so I can see the stars.” In this moment, Todd seems extremely gullible. Once Todd is gone, Jesse unchains himself and again assumes the precarious position atop his poop bucket ladder (this scene reminds me of the scenes in “Fly” when Walt tried his best to catch that damn fly in the lab). Just like with the fly, though, it works, and Jesse is able to grab the cage door; as he’s hanging there, he struggles with the lock until summoning the power of all the bitches of the universe with a mighty “Come on, bitch!”

After he’s out, we cut immediately to him running across the Nazis’ compound. He momentarily stops behind a building to assess the situation; the whole place is surrounded by a fence, so he’ll have to climb once more to complete his escape. As he bolts for the fence, we see they have security cameras, so it’s only a matter of time before they see him (Todd’s wasn’t so gullible, after all). Jesse leaps onto the fence and gets almost halfway up before the boys come up behind him and he knows there’s no escape. He turns to them and begs them to “Just do it!” He’s not hawking Nike, either; he wants them to just kill him and get it over with, because he says there’s no way he’s going to cook for them anymore.

With that, we jump to the exterior of Andrea’s house. Todd nonchalantly walks up to the door and knocks (he is the one who knocks, now). At first, she reacts exactly as you’d expect a single mother to react when creepy ol’ Todd knocks on her door: she’s scared. Then he explains that he’s a friend of Jesse. Now, let’s just stop here. I can understand, when Walt showed up and asked her about Jesse, she was comfortable with him and let him inside and blah blah blah. But who the fuck is Todd to her? Nobody. Yet, she undoes the chain lock on her door, just because he says he’s a friend of Jesse. Then he tells her he actually brought Jesse with him. This is where she gets even more stupid because Todd is like, “He’s in that truck right out there!” She walks past Todd–leaving her door wide open, might I add–and she tries her best to see Jesse cuffed in the back of this SUV screaming at her (like I was). She doesn’t see him, of course, because it’s fucking midnight and the truck is on the other side of the street. Todd says, “It’s not personal.” and shoots her right in the back of the head. Now, as asinine as her actions were, I’m completely fine with it; why? Aaron Paul acts the fuck out of that back seat, banging his head all up against the window and shit. This scene mirrors the moment when Walt watched Jack kill Hank. Just as Walt will get his revenge on Jack; Jesse will most definitely be getting some sweet, sweet revenge on Todd. As Todd is getting back in the truck, Jack tells Jesse to shut up with a threat, “Remember: there’s still the kid.” These motherfuckers have got to fucking die.

From that, we jump to Walt in soft focus, walking toward the camera. From our viewpoint, the gate outside his new cabin is between us and him; has “tomorrow” come? Is he going to defy the cleaner and walk into town? No. As he gets closer to the camera, he comes into focus, and we see he is now all beardy (the international symbol for time having passed). What he’s doing is opening the gate, so the cleaner can drive in. Inside the cabin, the cleaner has brought some supplies, and–once Walt removes his hat–we’re shown that his hair has grown back out; many “tomorrows” have come and gone. He’s basically looking the way he looked in the first episode of the season, so we’re getting really close to catching back up to that moment in time. Of the supplies the cleaner brought, there are newspapers, new prescription glasses, and Walt’s chemo drip. The cleaner apologizes for “last time”, as he’s preparing Walt’s arm for the IV, so we know they’ve done this before. There’s some uncomfortable small talk about the cleaner having watched some Youtube videos to learn how to properly administer the medicine; after Walt takes the needle and says he’ll do it himself, he sheepishly gives it back and allows the cleaner to continue.

As the cleaner begins to leave, Walt looks about as sad as he has ever looked on the show, when he practically begs the cleaner to stick around and talk for a while. He’s lonely; “the danger” is a lonely, sick, old man. He’s well on his way to becoming Hector Salamanca; he might as well go ahead and have the cleaner bring him a bell next time. The cleaner reluctantly agrees to stay for an hour and sits down to play some cards. Almost immediately, Walt makes it even more awkward than it was by saying, “One of these times, when you come up here, I’ll be dead.” He has become that grandparent none of us want to admit we hate to visit. The cleaner is visibly annoyed at this thought, but Walt continues, “What happens to my money then?” He asks if the cleaner would give it to Walt’s family; the cleaner accurately points out that, whether he says yes or no, Walt’s not going to believe him.

Next, we see the cleaner has long since left and Walt is passed out on his bed, in his longjohns, and his hand is hanging over the edge of the bed. He moves, and his wedding ring falls off of his finger. If you’ve ever lost a significant amount of weight, or known someone who has, you know this is a very accurate symptom of that. Walt is emaciated, or at least he’s supposed to appear that way. He picks up the ring, puts it on a string, and ties it around his neck; he’s not quite to the level of Gollum, yet, but he’s getting there. Just then, he sees a box across the cabin (it’s a single-room cabin, so he doesn’t have far to see). He jumps up and starts moving some of his money into the box; as much as will fit. He again ventures out toward the gate; this time, he goes beyond it. He’s carried his little, neatly packaged box of drug money into town and to the back of a quiet bar.

Breaking Bad Granite State Barrel

Back in Albuquerque, we see Junior sitting in class, when someone calls him to a phone call. It’s his Aunt Marie, and she says it’s important. Junior picks up the phone, and we leap over to the other side of the line; it’s a woman in the bar with Walt, and he has paid her to pose as Marie. Walt gets on the phone and begins talking to Junior. Junior is shocked, of course, but he manages to somewhat respond to Walt’s statements and questions. Walt’s plan is to send the package of drug money–$100,000–to Junior’s friend Lewis, and Junior will get the package from there. Walt is still clinging to his family, and–for a moment–you think maybe Junior is going to go along with the plan… but of course he’s not! Being he first to snap out of the “granite state” they’ve all been in, Junior blows up at Walt with “You killed Uncle Hank!” Now, I hate that line of dialogue because Walt has yet to clarify, in any of the many times he has been accused of killing Hank, that he did not, indeed, kill Hank.

The only time he came close to denying it was when he told Skyler he tried to save him, but I digress. After Junior gets that out of his system–and after Walt refuses to deny killing Hank, for whatever reason–the scene is great. I like that Junior defiantly tells Walt to fuck off and die, in no uncertain terms. This finally makes Walt accept that he does not have his family anymore, and there is nothing he can do to change that. In a brash move, he calls the Albuquerque DEA and asks to speak to the man in charge of the Walter White investigation; when the officer on the line asks who he is, Walt says he is Walter White and drops the phone, so they can be sure and trace the call back to this little bar in a tiny New Hampshire town. Walt is giving himself up.

That is until he sits down, orders himself a drink, and starts watching the television. He sees on the television is an interview (Charlie Rose’s guest appearance) with Eliot and Gretchen Schwartz, the people with whom Walt founded Gray Matter Technologies. They are starting a fund to combat drug trafficking in the Southwest, and Charlie Rose calls them out on how that’s a transparent move on their part to try and clear the image of their company. The image of the company is damaged, as Rose says, because a meth kingpin is a co-founder. This is when Eliot and Gretchen unwittingly pull Walt back in; he keeps trying to get out, but they keep pulling him back in.

Breaking Bad Granite State Walt in bar

They completely downplay Walt’s involvement in the company; they say the only real involvement he had was in the name of the company. Gretchen goes on to say she’s certain Walter White is no longer out there; the sweet and intelligent man they knew does not exist anymore. It’s only Heisenberg, and Walter White/Mr. Lambert/Heisenberg agrees, as he angrily clenches his fist. Walter White is dead. His family is gone. His money is unwanted. And the only thing left is Heisenberg’s empire that, by all accounts, is still going strong. His signature blue meth is still on the streets (all over the world), and that’s what Heisenberg has left. The episode ends with police barging into the bar, and we see that all that’s left of Heisenberg in this bar is the drink he didn’t even finish.

This was an awesome episode. A fantastic 75 minutes of television.

About John Elrod II (285 Articles)
John is currently untitled. This complete lack of definition would drive most into abject bitterness and utter despair, but not someone of John’s virility. No, John is the picture of mental stability and emotional platitude.

1 Comment on Breaking Bad – S5E15 – Granite State

  1. Can’t believe Hank is dead….man.

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