Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 13 ended with an epic cliffhanger, and Episode 14: "Ozymandias" picks up right where it left off, and then, incredibly, keeps the high-stakes tension going through the whole episode, which is jam packed with incredible, shout-at-your-TV moments. Yep, we're one step closer to a near-perfect final season.
So, what's coming up for our characters as the show rushes to a close? After a short recap of the episode, I'll take stock of where the characters are at the moment, and where they might be headed in the end. Sound good? Then read on for Wetpaint Entertainment's recap of Breaking Bad Episode 14: "Ozymandias."
Just to keep us on our toes, the episode begins with a flashback to Jesse and Walt's early days — van, tighty-whities, and all. We see Walter give a pregnant Skyler a phone call to make his excuses about running late; they talk family time and Holly's name while Jesse amuses himself in the background. And then it all fades out.
In the present, in that same location, the bullets are flying. As the dust settles we see Hank is hit in the leg, and Gomez is dead. Jack and co. realize Jesse, the one person Walt actually wanted them to kill, is MIA, and they figure out Hank is DEA. Before Jack can do the obvious and off him, Walter yells for Jack to back off, because Hank is family. He even offers Jack the buried 80 million — yes, 80 million — to let Hank live, but it doesn't work. Jack shoots Hank, and Walter collapses in tears. Damn. No holds barred.
Of course, now Walter has told the bad guys about his money, and since he happened to give them the exact coordinates to get to him last week, they figure that's where they should dig. Yep, Walter is now down a brother-in-law and a fortune. Well, not an entire fortune. Jack is "nice" enough to leave Walt a single barrel of cash, which is still a significant chunk of millions, plus his car. That's supposed to leave them square, but Walter points out that they still owe him Jesse's murder.
And bad news: Jesse isn't actually MIA; he's been hiding under a car the whole time. But before Jack can execute one of the few decent humans left on this show, Todd jumps in and points out they should probably torture Jesse for info about what he spilled to the feds. Och. Not that anything they do could be more terrible for Jesse than Walter's finale words to him: "I watched Jane die." Yep, he finally fessed up, and it could not be more heartbreaking.
Walt gets in his car and drives, because what else can he do? Too bad the firefight left the gas leaking; he quickly runs out, and has to resort to rolling his millions along the road, in a moment of dark comedy as good as any this show has done. He finally stumbles upon a lonely house, and buys the owner's truck because, again, millions.
Meanwhile, Marie meets with Skyler to give her the bad news about Walter's arrest. Mmm, a bit behind the times, Marie. She's there to offer Skyler an olive branch; she's willing to help her sister as long as Skyler hands over that blackmail video, and tells Walter Jr. the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
We check back in with Jesse, who is a bloody, desperate mess at the bottom of a cell. How much more is this show going to put this boy through? It turns out, a lot. Todd removes Jesse from his prison and walks him to the White Power gang's lab. As long as Walt is running free, they may as well have the next best thing to help them cook, right? In a nightmarish hellscape of a scene, Jesse is locked to scaffolding in the lab, able to walk around and work, but not escape. And if that's not enough, there's also a picture of Andrea and Brock, clearly a threat. He's a cook again. Tragic.
Back in the world of Walter, Walter Jr.'s reaction to the news that his dad is an evil drug lord is to completely flip out. Because, yeah, what else do you do in that situation? Imagine his and Skyler's surprise when they arrive home to find Walter yelling like a crazy person about packing. Skyler realizes Hank must be dead, and despite Walter's insistence that he "tried to save him," she draws a knife on her husband, in front of their son. Sure.
Cue one of the simultaneously greatest and most absurd scenes of the entire series. Walter and Skyler wrestle with the knife. Walter Jr. intervenes and calls the cops on his dad, so Walter, devastated at the realization that he has finally, irreparably destroyed his family, grabs the baby and runs. W. T. F. This show never fails to surprise me.
On the road, Holly adorably asks for her "mama." Walter hugs his daughter close and, I like to think, contemplates what a terrible a person he is. He gives Skyler a call. At first, he seems to have gone full Heisenberg, an evil monster blaming Skyler for crossing him, but as the scene goes on, we see the tears in his eyes. This time, the monster is an act: he realizes the cops must be listening, and he's letting Skyler off the hook, taking on the whole blame, making himself seem even eviler than he is.
He drops Holly off with some firefighters, and then gets into a car with Saul's friend who helps people restart with new identities.
God. Damn. Is it next Sunday yet?
Where Our Characters Are
Walter White: "I've Still Got Things Left to Do"
Present: Despite his momentary baby-napping and his continued cruelty to Jesse, this episode actually shows Walter in the best light we've seen him in seasons. His desperation to save Hank is palpable and real; his devastation when he realizes his family is gone for good is heartbreaking, despite the fact that he clearly deserves to lose everything because of what he's done. His final phone call is a masterstroke of characterization. He can still tap into that Heisenberg side, but it's Walter who's in control.
Future: Well, he went off with Saul's guy in the end, which might explain the New Hampshire license plates on his car in the flash forwards. Based on this episode, it seems logical that in the flash forward he's preparing to face off with Jack's gang, either to help his family or, perhaps, even to help Jesse, if he comes to realize his former mentee wasn't wrong to turn on him. Does that mean the show is setting up a bit of a redemption arc for Walter? At the moment, it seems like the answer is yes. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Jesse Pinkman: "No!"
Present: So... Jesse is basically a meth cooking slave now, right? That's dark, even for this show. I'm talking seven rings of hell twisted.
Future: Please, for the love of everything, let Jesse escape this, even if it's by death. At this point, Jesse's fate is a complete question mark in my mind. Will he die? Will he be saved by Walter? Will he escape on his own merits? I can see it going in any direction.
Hank Schrader: "He Made Up His Mind Ten Minutes Ago"
Present: I said last week that Hank's plotline seemed to be over, and the show wasted no time in tying it up this week. At least he went out defiant. That's something.
Skyler White: "Where Is Hank?"
Present: Finally, Skyler seems to have remembered that she's not actually on Walter's side. Though, ironically, the one thing that pushed her over the edge into attacking him, Hank's death, actually wasn't something he did. Still, about time.
Future: Is Skyler's change of heart too little, too late? I still think she might come to a bad end.
Other Thoughts and Notable Scenes
- Even in its darkest hour, Breaking Bad has some good comedy moments. Jesse playing in the background in the cold open; Skyler telling Walter Jr. to put on his seatbelt because it's "not safe"; Walter rolling the barrel through the desert.
- "Hank is booking Walt as we speak, and I, for one, could not be happier." Marie had some good lines this week, when she thought things were going her way.
- Do Todd and co. really plan to keep Jesse indefinitely? It seems that way, and I just can't get over how effed up that is.
- So, Bryan Cranston is getting another Emmy, right? Right. I know we still have the entire 2013-14 TV season for other competitors to show their stuff, but come on. He's getting another Emmy for this season.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!