Alex Casey has never watched a second of Breaking Bad, nor read anything about it. Going in completely blind, she has committed to watching the whole series over summer in the lead up to spin off series Better Call Saul‘s arrival to Lightbox in February. Contains spoilers, obviously.
Day 22, Thursday 22 January 6.30pm
Watched: Episodes 1-5
I cannot believe this is the last season. I’m honestly going to hurl.
At the scene of the now-exploded lab, Hank is poking around for whatever he can get. He spots a potential security camera half intact on the wall. The gang devise a plot to wipe the security camera footage from the seized computer.
I love this, the three musketeers are just absolutely nutting stuff out like on some hardcore criminal episode of Let’s Get Inventin’. They settle on parking huge magnet machines next to the evidence room and wiping everything with magnetic science. Jesse is very excited about magnets:
The whole thing works a treat, despite being probably the most crazy and farcical heist of all time. All the crap in the evidence room is stuck to the wall like something out of Paranormal Activity. It rocks.
In other news, Ted didn’t die. I really thought he had died. Walt finds out that Skyler dropped major benjamins on Ted, but forgives her. It irks me that Walt has the nerve to think he can grant Skyler forgiveness, considering that she has been covering his ass this whole time.
Episode two opens with a grim chicken tasting at Madrigal HQ, the German parent company of all things chicken, ventilation and meth. The head honcho Mr Schuler, tastes all the different sauces with chicken and then leaves the room quietly to kill himself. It’s becoming pretty clear that everyone involved with Gus Fring is either killing or being killed.
Mike meets with this crazy-eyed woman called Lydia in a diner, she has a list of Madrigal employees that are being questioned by this police. These people probably need to be killed if Walt wants to get away with this. Well, not just Walt. Jesse. Skyler. Mike.
Okay, onto episode three. Really pushing through, I’m getting so stressed already. We get a hilarious Huell moment right at the start with this heavy comedy breathing. Mike is not amused. The gang are back together to go shopping around for a new meth lab. Walt finds inspiration in a folded up pest control tarp and, before you know it, they are moving on in to pest-ridden homes and cooking up a storm. Imagine how buzzed out those fleas must get!
Skyler is looking really terrible. You can see the weight of Walt’ secrets on her face. Marie is pestering her and she absolutely lashes out:
It’s Walt’s birthday in episode four, Walt Jr forces Skyler to unceremoniously arrange the bacon. She’s still truly terrified of Walt, I really can’t remember the last time she spoke more than a few words that weren’t “SHUT UP.” Pray for Skyler.
Walt’s birthday party is a damn washout, despite his best efforts to pretend like everything is absolutely fine. You can hear literal crickets as Skyler slowly gets out of her chair, and walks into the pool. She is all consumed in the blue of her long skirt, the blue of the water. She’s drowning in blue (meth). Such a beautiful and sad moment:
Time for the ultimate train heist in episode five. They have found trackers on Lydia’s methylamine, so have gone for the easier option of robbing an entire freight train instead. I can’t even describe how incredible and action-packed the robbery is. Here is a cool behind the scenes video that I found explaining how the hell they filmed it all:
The heist is successful, but at the last minute they see a kid watching nearby. Psycho Todd shoots him square in the head. Jesus christ. Todd is a looooose unit.
Day 23, Saturday 24 January 2pm
Watched: Episodes 6 & 7
The most awkward part of this episode is the intensely long dinner scene between Jesse, Walt and Skyler. Determined to keep things casual, Walt forces Jesse to stay for dinner and endures the piercing wrath of Skyler’s eyeballs.
Mike kidnaps and cuffs Walt later on so he can sell off the methylamine without his permission. Jesse and Mike want to ‘go straight’ and run away with money. Walt will not have a bar of this, burning his way through the cuffs (and a good chunk of skin) using live wires. I love how brutal he is with himself, it’s like his own body doesn’t matter anymore. Burns here, bludgeons there – who cares?
Walt claims back all of the methylamine in a powerful as hell sequence. It’s incredible how chilling and powerful Walt can be when he goes into full Heisenberg mode:
The episode ends with the DEA closing in on Mike. He flees, but is followed by Walt who shoots him in the stomach. Mike sits on the riverbed, slowly dying. RIP one of my favourite characters of all time.
Day 24, Sunday 25 January, 4pm
Watched: Episodes 8-11
Two huge things happened in the episode that made me forget everything else that ever happened.
First huge thing is when Walt gets people in prison killed with sharpened toothbrushes:
Second huge-holy-shit-everything-has-gone-to-crap thing:
HANK HAS FOUND THE TOILET BOOK OF SECRETS
Still unaware that Hank has found the book, Walt goes about his carwash business. Lydia comes to visit, and the parallels are insane in how similar Walt is to Gus. His professional ‘manager’ veneer doesn’t drop for a second, guess he learnt from the best.
Hank is at home compiling evidence, he still has little to go on. Whilst having a quiet vom, Walt realises that the Whitman book is missing. He goes outside and there is a tracker stuck on his car. The shitteth has hitteth the fanneth
Little paperboy Jesse starts crazily throwing his money into people’s backyards. He just wants rid of all of it. Jesse never wanted to be bad. We see him in a desperate state at the start of the next episode (10). A chuffed old man follows the money train to Pinkman, lying on a children’s playground like the pointer on some giant depressing winning wheel. He hasn’t really won anything though, has he?
Hank takes Skyler to a diner and tries to manipulate her into giving evidence against Walt. Once again Skyler sits there in silence as the men in her life weasel their words around her. She gets up and screams “AM I UNDER ARREST OR NOT” which shuts Hank up. She knows he can’t do anything without evidence, she’s smarter than you think Hank!
Walt buries his millions in the desert. He prints the GPS on a lottery ticket and sticks it on his fridge. Skyler tells him “maybe our best move is to stay quiet.” No shit guys.
Final episode of the night is episode 11:
This has got to be one of the worse double dates ever. Notice how even their costuming has worked to separate them. Marie and Hank in dark clothes, Skyler and Walt in full camel. Walt tells them he has recorded them a confession tape, it’s not exactly what they were after. I couldn’t find the real footage so here’s a comedy version:
Day 25, Monday 26 January, 10.30pm
Watched: Episodes 12 & 13
Jesse has been taken in by Hank in the hopes that he will throw Walt under the bus. Jesse doesn’t let up, I think part of him is scared that Walt has yet another plan up his sleeve, “Mr white is the devil, he’s smarter than you, he’s luckier than you.”
Turns out Walt does have a plan up his sleeve – getting Jesse whacked.
The next episode (13) sees Todd get real weird with Lydia. He clearly has a crush on her, and it’s a jarring storyline to behold in the midst of this tense house of cards. Hank manipulates Huell into spilling the details of Walt’s cash by pxting him a picture of Jesse next to some brains:
It works a bloody treat. Once he knows about the barrels he sends Walt yet another false pxt. Walt thinks they are digging them up and quickly rushes to the burial site. They are tracking him all the way. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WAAAAAALT!! The power of the pxt is undeniable.
Hank arrests Walt as the hordes of Neo Nazis appear. They are still trying to hit Pinkman, as per Walt’s request. Walt tells them not to shoot, but gunshots are fired. Someone’s about to die, big time.
Day 26, Tuesday 27 January, 4pm
Watched: Episodes 14-16
I have been told this is the best episode of television ever made, so let’s do this. It might not help that I accidentally saw a major spoiler, but we’ll see.
I wanted a clip of the opening sequence as I think it is the best one yet. All I could manage was this nice little fan video. I’m talking about this shot here, a very powerful fade out:
Hank has been killed. Gomez has been killed. The Nazis leave Walt in the sand, taking all but one of his barrels.
Walt makes it home to have a horrible knife fight with Skyler. “WE’RE A FAMILY!” he screams before kidnapping Holly. Nothing has ever looked less like a family in the history of the entire world:
It truly is a hell of an episode. The intensity of the knife fight is almost unbearable. Also, never bring a baby to a knife fight.
Episode 15 sees the beginning of the end, as if we hadn’t already seen it. Walt and Saul both go into incognito mode, taking on new identities and getting dropped in god knows where. Walt is now Mr Lambert, who lives in New Hampshire with more than one copy of Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium on DVD. It’s so lonely, all he has is his little man who brings him the chemo.
Jesse is still tied up with the Neo Nazis, he tries to get away so they go to Andrea’s house to kill her and Brock. Oh Jesse. Poor poor Jesse.
We’ve made it to episode 16. What a journey. I’m exhausted, and have become violently ill as a result of pre-emptive Breaking Bad withdrawals.
Walt is barely in the snow hut for two minutes before galavanting back out to see his duties through. He storms the luxury abode of Gretchen and Elliot Schwarz after hearing their shit-talking on the TV earlier. He wants them to donate his drug money to Walt Jr and Holly, and has a bloody persuasive way of doing it, even if it secretly is just Skinny P and Badger with laser pointers:
Walt crashes a meeting between Lydia and Todd in classic Walt fashion, starts spinning some major yarns about having a new formula that doesn’t require methylamine. You’ve got to be kidding Walter! What are you doing! I figured out later that he was poisoning Sylvia’s sweetener. I bet Stevia stock really took a hit after that aired.
Maree rings Skyler to tell her that Walt is in the area and that she should be careful. She hangs up, and then when see the best reveal shot of the series:
Walt finally admits that he didn’t do any of it for the family, that he was doing it for himself. “I liked it, I was good at it, and I was alive.” It’s his final admission to Skyler, and also sounds a hell of a lot like a goodbye.
Finally, Walt heads to Jack’s Nazi HQ. He parks his car right up against the wall and, all of a sudden, it rains 1000 bullets on our bad men. Everyone is dead, apart from Jesse and an injured Walt. Walt goads Jesse to shoot him, but Jesse simply says “why don’t you do it yourself then” and flees. Free at last.
Walt slowly walks through the meth lab, gently stroking the tools that dug him so very deep into this imminent grave. He lies down serenely in the middle of the floor as the flashing red and blue police lights approach.
It’s the perfect end I thought, and brought with it a strangely overwhelming sense of relief. I was expecting a bit of a non-ending in the snow, or for Walt to get violently shot by somebody (maybe even Skyler?!). For him to just give up and lie down brought a sense of reality, weight and (most importantly) closure to the story.
I realised just how long I had been gritting my jaw and holding my head in my hands whilst watching for the past month, and to have it all just calmly end was the perfect release. I can’t even imagine how it must have felt for Walt. Shut up, I know it’s not actually real. Bloody feels like it though.
Tread lightly around me friends and family, it’s been a harrowing and exhausting run.
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