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Heading to the “Granite State” – Breaking Bad Review [SPOILERS]

Posted on September 22, 2013 at 11:00 pm by Amanda Andonian

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It’s the beginning of the end for Walt, and he doesn’t have much time left. Tonight’s episode seemed like the calm before the storm, setting up next week’s finale when we’ll finally see what Walt plans to do with the ricin. As always, there are spoilers ahead, so for those who aren’t caught up, here’s my spoiler-free recap:

Everyone is completely unmoored in this episode, trying to find their own ways of dealing with the fallout from Walt’s actions, not the least of whom is Walt himself. It showed us that even though Walt’s meth cooking days are over, what he did will reverberate and ripple outwards, continuing to affect every single person who was ever involved with him. There’s no going back for anyone, but Walt still can’t set his ego aside and make what little amends he can. No doubt next week will end in an even more horrific mess as Walt prepares his final act. I give it an A-.

Last Spoiler Warning

breaking-bad-granite-state2Although “Granite State” wasn’t as tense as last week’s episode, there were several key moments that were heart-racingly fraught with danger, most notably for Jesse and Skyler. As the two people closest to Walt, they have the dubious honor of becoming the focus for every law enforcement agent and seedy element in New Mexico as everyone tries to track down Heisenberg. Unfortunately for both, they wind up right in the middle of Todd Alquist’s crosshairs.

First, Jesse. You have to hand it to him that he managed to keep it together long enough to devise a way to escape from the hole that Todd put him in. He might be one to crack under pressure most of the time, but when it comes to life or death, Jesse can seriously deliver. His painstaking efforts at unlocking the cuffs, stacking what meager materials he had, and then jumping up to the bars to open his cage kept me at the edge of my seat. Sadly for him, his ingenuity was for nothing as security cameras tip off Jack and the gang that their prisoner was loose, culminating in one of the saddest scenes for me thus far: Todd shooting Andrea in the back of the head to teach Jesse a lesson.

breaking-bad-granite-stateAs for Skyler, just because Walt is out of the house doesn’t mean she’s in the clear. As Saul predicted early on in the episode, the FBI come down on her hard for information about Walt and where he went. Unfortunately, his attempts to cut her off and separate his actions from her are a little too effective, and so she’s no use to the FBI in finding him (not that they care). That doesn’t stop Lydia from being paranoid and sending Todd to scare the living crap out of Skyler, though. Convinced that Walt’s wife must have noticed her when she came to the car wash a few episodes back, Lydia is freaking out and wants Todd to ensure that Skyler won’t talk. The scare tactics apparently work, though I was sort of hoping that Lydia’s paranoia would backfire on her.

The real focus of the episode, though, seemed to be that Walt just cannot let go of his “empire.” Still adhering to the line that he’s doing all of this for his family, Walt attempts to intimidate Saul into staying on and continuing to work for him. Despite the way things have been blowing up in his face, Walt is still determined to hold on to what few scraps he has left and finish what he started. Of course, when and where does any of this actually end? Although Saul firmly asserts that it is indeed over, Walt can’t let it be. Even as the fixer (guest star Robert Forster) lectures Walt on not stepping outside of the safe house unless he wants to get caught, Walt still gives in to his ego and makes it all the way to the road, ignoring the warnings.

breaking-bad-granite-stateIt seems that the hope that he can somehow get his money to his family is the only thing keeping Walt alive. Jumping forward a month or two, we see Walt wasting away from his illness, so desperate for companionship that he pays the fixer $10,000 just to spend one hour keeping him company. The end is near for Walt, so he makes one last desperate move to send some of the money to his family, only to have Junior completely rebuff him on the phone, screaming that he wishes his father would die. It’s that final condemnation from his son that finally seems to get through to Walt, and he calls the DEA so that they can track him down and bring him in.

There’s no way his end would come that easily, though. By pure chance, Walt catches an interview on TV with Elliot Schwartz (his one-time business partner) proclaiming definitively that Walt had nothing to do with starting Grey Matter Technologies except to contribute to the name of the company. That final insult brings Walt out of his state of surrender and back under Heisenberg’s hat. If there’s anything that we can count on Walt for, it’s that his ego cannot stand a bruising, and he’s going to let everyone know just who exactly they’re dealing with.

Any last minute theories on how the last episode will go down? What do you think Walter’s final act will be? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Breaking Bad: Season 5 Episode 15, “Granite State” aired September 22th on AMC.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

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