Breaking Bad: “Granite State” Season 5 Episode 15 Review

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It never ends does it? Breaking Bad has always been a bleak show, but this slow burn penultimate episode prepared us for what can only be an epic finale.

Walt and Saul find themselves on the run together (under the care of special guest star Robert Forster!). Naturally, Walt doesn’t seem to think his fight is over. At least at this point we are getting a fully honest, fully genuine Walter White. He can’t afford to hold anything back as he simultaneously begs and threatens Saul for his help. But Saul knows when to get out (well, we’ll see what role, if any, he plays in the finale).

So Walt gets carted off to the snowy wilderness of New Hampshire. Putting him in a frozen wasteland when the rest of the series takes place in a desert was a clever move. It showed how far removed Walt was from his life and home. It was smart to play these scenes out slowly. This was a very different episode than last week’s rollercoaster, but not necessarily in a bad way.

In some ways the pacing here is a perfect chance to breathe before whatever the hell is about to go down next week. But when the last six episodes have all been so memorable, I can see this one falling to the wayside when all is said and done.

Walt’s solitude did bring on some great moments though. His phone conversation with Walt Jr. was pretty difficult to take in (but not as difficult as Walt Jr.’s distracting bright orange vest…). Walt Jr. officially joined the “Why can’t you just die already?” club with Marie (and Skyler to a lesser degree).

But the best scene of the episode was easily Walt watching Elliot and Gretchen, characters who I believe haven’t showed up since season two, being interviewed by Charlie Rose. Walt can’t handle how they discredit his contributions to their company. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Walt appears to be on his way back to New Mexico.

But what about those who never left?

Skyler is left to deal with lawyers while Marie can’t even make it home. The sisters, as well as Walt Jr., only had one scene each in this episode, signifying that their role in the finale will be as surprising to us as it is to Walt.

Then there’s Jesse. Hasn’t the poor guy suffered enough? No, of course not, because this is Breaking Bad. Jesse is now two for two on having his love interests die. But maybe, just maybe, he can still save Brock.

This all reminds me, f*ck Todd. Seriously. I hope Lydia cuts his head off slowly next week, just for irony’s sake. Todd and his uncle have become fairly legendary as far as this show’s villains go. They are no Gus, but who is? I seriously cannot wait to see these guys burn (hopefully!) next week.

So all in all, Granite State accomplished exactly what it needed to. The board is set and the pieces are moving. Next week we find out who the real star of this series is: Walter White or Heisenberg. I know, the next seven days are going to feel like you’re stuck in New Hampshire with nothing but two DVD copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. But we’ve made it this far. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

 

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