'Breaking Bad,' Season 5, Episode 15, 'Granite State': review


#1

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#2

It was disappointing, for me, that Jesse's shot at any semblance of redemption is kaput. He could have possibly blown himself and the operation up in the lab. There would have been no point in killing the love interest after the fact. In Jesse's attempt to free himself, he killed her indirectly. Even though her son survived, his life is fucked. He might be the one who discovers her body with her brains blown out. But even if he doesn't, the psychological trauma will be immense.


#3

There would have been no point in killing them after blowing himself up in the lab, but honestly he couldn't guarantee they were safe in that scenario. He's being held captive by a gang that doesn't bat an eye about shooting a kid in the face, so I can't imagine having the confidence that killing myself would resolve anything for them.


#4

Given the timing, I suspect Walt got Skyler pregnant when he casually cheated on Gretchen with her.


#5

There was a comment on Twitter that the last shot of the show should be a thin Huell, still sitting in that apartment.


#6

Since Walt's departure from Gray Matter is the ultimate root of the resentment and failure that led him to become Heisenberg, I too would've liked to see a bit more exposition there. Now it looks like we'll never know (unless, in a final twist, Walt uses his last few moments to shoot up the Gray Matter HQ instead. Todd is spared, then uses his meth money to buy up the GM stock at rock bottom prices and marries Lydia to become Albuquerque's new #1 socialite couple).
Given what just happened to Andrea, I wonder where the "sweet" part of the promised bittersweet ending is going to come in? As Jesse said himself, death would probably be merciful for him at this point, and that was before they killed her. Someone may pull him out of the physical hole he's in, but there's no one left to do the same for the psychological one. Since nobody bothered to arrange serious protection for Skyler and the kids, their lives are now in danger in addition to the toll of the investigation. In Junior's eyes, there's nothing that will redeem his father. Marie will never find out what actually happened to Hank, and won't even be able to bury him. So with the total lack of any positive perspectives for the few people left who are worth rooting for, what's supposed to offset the tragedy of the final arc? Seeing Todd and the Nazis wiped out would provide a measure of justice, but I can't really see that as truly satisfying when it doesn't result in something good for the rest of the cast.


#7

I was surprised that the motivation was Gray Matter at the end of this one, though it does make perfect sense... it's the whole reason behind his "empire business" — I really wish we got to see more of the backstory behind that. Maybe we will, but there's a whole lot to pack into an hour here.

Really hard to tell how this will all end — Walt's blind anger and realization that he's got nothing left to lose coupled with returning home with major firepower certainly seemed like he was going to go on a nazi-killing rampage, but maybe he poisons the meth and makes the Nazi's answer to the Czech while he goes to shoot up Gray Matter...

Alternatively, I originally thought that the ricin would be for Lydia - but that could be for Schwartz and Gretchen and he still goes to shoot up some nazis (and Jesse)...

Hell, it's not like there's any predictability - the gun may never be fired.

There's no remotely happy ending to be had for anyone here (unless we close on Todd and Lydia's wedding ceremony with Nazi family in tow). Everyone involved is at a point of no return. There was a lot of suspicion that Jesse may get out alive, but at this point that'd almost be worse than being dead.


#8

Man the APD was useless in this episode. They have guys staking out the White's home that don't notice black masked men breaking into it. If the actual Walter White had returned I doubt they would have spotted him either. Walt also seems to have such a disdain for the truth that he can't manage to get it out even when it would help him. Jr. is flipping out because he killed Hank, but he couldn't get out "No, actually that was some neo-Nazis, and his body is at these coordinates, tell Marie".

Did the Nazi guy even get rid of the gun he used? He seemed so confident that nobody would ever find the bodies that he might have kept the only piece of evidence linking him to the crime. Not that it matters, there is zero chance he is going to be captured by the police, not permanently.


#9

I think we have a new target for the big gun in the trunk. Do we know the history there or is some big reveal going to make Walt's actions pale in comparison to the "achievements" of his former partners. Big chemistry sometimes equals defense contracts and ugly truths.

My impression of the underlying point of the whole story is that original intent goes out the door when the first big check arrives and from there on out no one is in control of what happens. It is a parable about entrepreneurship, imperialism and the overwhelming power of greed to make something bad far worse.

Walt begins his adventure with the intention of leaving his family with the means to go on after his death. A noble plan with a rotten core, but a last ditch attempt by Walt to save his family. As things progress and success happens people are attracted to the enterprise who don't share the founder's "vision." The motivation for the new comers is more clear. They want money and power and don't care about missions or standards. The energy the founder put into the enterprise has been hijacked by forces beyond his control.

I have talked to people who have had this experience in their business lives. One can imagine the issue is much bigger the more successful one becomes. Now we will find out why Walt left his company. I suspect we will find he took a principled stand which he failed to live up to after leaving.


#10

But the threat was more than implied with the photo paper-clipped in his work station. Rather than removing the risk to them, (himself), he used that clip to free himself for what he wanted in life (them) rather than what would be good in their lives; the absence of him and his associated danger. When they caught him, he felt he had nothing left to live for, so he said "Kill me". He wasn't escaping to save them. He could have sacrificed himself for their benefit.

He knew the casual ruthlessness that the group operated under. I don't know. In a less blatant way, he is not so dissimilar to Walt in motivations. Walt says he wants to take care of his family, but he is only doing something for a legacy representing himself. Saving them would be sacrificing himself and going for broke in turning himself in. The same could be said for Jesse's circumstances. I lost some sympathy for Jesse last night because of it. Maybe the ending will change that, but I don't know.


#11

The person with the most integrity and strength is Walt's son. Left in the dark, on many occasions, due to the perception of frailty related to his condition, he has shown the greatest character.


#12

Did you people watch the same episode as me? What's all this nonsense about Gray Matter being the catalyst for the coming apocalypse? Obviously the last straw was him being stranded in hell. I'll save you the trouble of looking out that dictionary and just provide you with the definition: "hell (n) - being trapped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but two copies of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"


#13

He was prepared to turn himself in until the Charlie Rose show.


#14

I wasn't actually surprised given Walt's earlier speech to Skyler when he was still working for Gus in which he essentially bragged to her that if he quit cooking an enterpise so big that if it was legal it would be listed on the Fortune 500 would go under. Abandoning Gray Matter only to see it become so huge was THE primary motivator for Walt once he was told by Jesse that he was the greatest meth cook ever. He may have initially gotten into the business for the money, but his wounded pride slowly trumped everything else as he desecended to the depths of depravity.

And I totally agree about Jesse. I replied to posters after last week's episode that Walt going to rescue Jesse makes little sense in that Jesse is well beyond saving. If he survives physically, he'll be completely shattered emotionally and will likely be facing life imprisonment. Better that he be put out of his misery at this point. My bet is that Jesse and Walt will meet again at the Shootout at the Nazi Compound, and that the last scene of the series will in some way feature the two of them together---alive or dead.


#15

I wonder what Walt was doing up in the cabin for those two or three months? Writing his memoirs? It doesn't seem like it would take that long to clip out every Heisenberg article and post it on the wall. Does he know every single line of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium?

It also seemed like the Vacuum Cleaner Repairman could have probably found some isolated mountain cabin that wasn't all the way on the other side of the country. Colorado no doubt has an abundance of them and would shave many hours off of his road trip each month. I think he may not have thought that all the way through, and was going on his old instincts of just getting his clients as far away as possible.


#16

I think he was getting sicker and sicker, lost track of time, and slept a lot.


#17

The primitive conditions of Walt's exile are surely for symbolic purposes... a Kindle would have kind of ruined the desolate purgatory-like ambiance. The fees mentioned actually seem pretty low to me. Maybe he's suffering the price of going with a a cheap vanisher. He should have used Ken Lay's guy.

I was pleasantly surprised that Walt didn't murder his caretaker to steal his truck, and protect his precious barrel.


#18

Perhaps the Charlie Rose show gave Walt an idea for a plan. Gray Matter could be a last minute inspiration rather than his ultimate motivation.


#19

Walt is the malignant cancer. Look how he metastasized far and wide to others.


#20

I think Walt sees Gray Matter's current PR problem as an opportunity to extract some financial security for his family by blackmailing his old colleagues. He already feels he is owed something by the company so recording another DVD "confessional" or just threatening to lie to the authorities would allow him to kill two birds with one stone: exert dominance over those that betrayed him and protect his family.