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Monday, September 16, 2013

Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 14: Toe the Line

Posted By on Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Skyler earmarks some of Walt's $11 million for Holly's future therapy. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMC.
  • Photo courtesy of AMC.
  • Skyler earmarks some of Walt's $11 million for Holly's future therapy.

Let's just start off by saying that there are no longer lines to toe on Breaking Bad. All rules or sense of order have flitted off into oblivion, like the spirit of a brave Agent Gomez or the right side of Gus Fring's face. It's clear after watching "Ozymandias" that chaos will reign until the series ends in two weeks.

We open the episode with a flashback to one of Walt and Jesse's first cooks in the desert, a time when Walt and Skyler chatted sweetly on the phone about naming babies and taking family trips. As Walt, Jesse and the RV disappear from the frame, we prepare ourselves to pick up from last week's episode.

How did we end up here? Well, we can trace this hellish trajectory by mapping out all of Walt's worst decisions.

1. Summoning the Nazis

Walt should've known that he couldn't just call off his request for the Nazis come out to To'hajiilee, like it was canceling brunch at the last minute on OpenTable. History has taught us that once Nazis feel like mobilizing, they're pretty much ready to go.

2. Telling Nazis where your money is

I suppose we should credit Walt for offering up his prized bounty to try to save Hank's life, though we could all deduce that Jack would stay true to form and kill Hank anyway. Hank doesn't compromise even as he faces death and as Walt futilely begs at Jack's feet. RIP, ASAC BAMF Schrader. Walt is now without a brother-in-law and is left with a "no hard feelings" consolation barrel of money after the Nazis take their cut. Someone's getting their swastika tattoo freshened up tonight.

3. Giving up Jesse Pinkman

You'd think after this little tete-a-tete in the desert, Walt would be ready to just let some shit slide. But no, not only does he order Jesse's death, but he tells him that he watched Jane die and could've saved her. What he didn't predict is that Jesse would be secretly held as Todd's meth cooking slave and now has the motivation to avenge Jane's death and save Andrea and Brock. If he breaks free, there will be a Pinkman reckoning. Possibly with robots and magnets but definitely with science, bitch.

4. Kidnapping Holly

Every unstable family member anyone has ever known eventually has a moment--a "climax of crazy," if you will--which causes once skeptical relatives to finally admit: "Ah, I get it now." For Walt, it was lifting Holly from her playpen and driving off (slamming into another car no less) after engaging in a knife fight. With his wife. In front of their disabled son. I'm not sure why Walt later demeaned and threatened Skyler on the phone with the police present, but when he snapped his phone in two and dropped Holly off in a fire truck, it became clear that even he knew he had long crossed the proverbial line. We end the episode with Walt hopping into the Saul's Vanishing Van, his beloved barrel by his side. What quirky misadventures will they get into before they return to Albuquerque for the final showdown?

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Sylvie Kim

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