Is anyone breathing yet?
To summarize “Ozymandias,” the third to last episode of Breaking Bad, quickly: Hank is dead. Gomez is dead, too. Todd’s uncle Jack and his guys take most of Walt’s money. Walt Jr. knows the truth. Jesse is being held captive by the white power Nazis and forced to cook meth with Todd. (A dog on a leash, Aaron Paul tweeted.) Skyler slashes Walt’s hand with a knife. Junior calls the police on his dad. Walt kidnaps Holly, then leaves her at a fire station with her address pinned to her baby clothes. In the final moments of what may be the most intense episode to date, we see Walt sitting by the side of the road, with his one barrel of money and suitcases. The vacuum cleaner man pulls up in his red van, Walt gets in, presumably to start his new life – possibly in Alaska, but probably not – since we know he’ll be back in Albuquerque. A stray dog walks across the screen. End credits.
“Ozymandias” is a poem written by Percy Shelley about the downfall of kings – how all people in power will eventually lose that power.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Shelley might as well have been writing about Walt. And Walt – who built a meth empire worth upwards of $80 million – has certainly lost almost everything.
Not just the money, of course. (Although he is down about $69 million.) He’s lost his family, his sole motivation for every meth cook, every dead body, every bad deed.
First, Walt loses Hank. In the aftermath of last week’s shootout, Gomez lies dead on the desert ground. Hank is wounded, but still reaches for Gomez’s gun. Jack walks up to him and points his gun at Hank’s head. Walt gets out of Hank’s car and begs Jack to reconsider – even offering him $80 million for his brother-in-law’s life. Jack asks Hank if he should take that deal. Hank acts defiantly.
“What do you think, fed? Would you take that deal?” Jack asks Hank.
“It’s Hank. His name is Hank.” Walt interrupts.
“How ‘bout it Hank? Should I let you go?” Jack questions.
“My name is ASAC Schrader. And you can go f**k yourself.” Hank gets Mike-level points for great (almost) last words.
“Hank, listen to me. You’ve got to tell him, you’ve got to tell him now we’ll work this out,” Walt pleads.
“What? You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind 10 minutes ago,” Hank tells Walt.
Hank turns to Jack, “Do what you’re going to…” and the shot rings out before he finishes his sentence. Rest in peace, Hank. You died an honorable and noble death. We’ll see you under the dome.
Second, Walt loses Walt Jr. and Skyler. Marie, not knowing Hank is dead, pulls up to the car wash to tell her sister the news – that Hank has Walt “dead to rights.” Marie forces Skyler to tell Walt Jr., who doesn’t believe his mom and his aunt. Skyler drives her kids home, to find Walt frantically packing.
“All we have to do is go,” Walt tells his family. Skyler asks where Hank is. She realizes he’s dead, and accuses Walt of killing him. He tells her that’s not true. She grabs a knife from the kitchen, and tells Walt to get out of the house. He tries to calm her down. She waves the knife at him, cutting his hand. He lunges at her, and they fall to the ground. Walt Jr. goes after his father, shielding his mother. Junior calls the police. Walt leaves the house, taking Holly with him. Skyler runs after her husband. She’s too late. Walt drives away, with a bloody Skyler screaming after him in the street.
NEXT: The semi-return of Heisenberg