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Monday, September 23, 2013

Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 15: Define 'Good'

Posted By on Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 9:03 AM

click to enlarge Jesse wishes he had a robot to help him escape from his cell. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AMC.
  • Photo courtesy of AMC.
  • Jesse wishes he had a robot to help him escape from his cell.

We open our penultimate episode "Granite State" with Saul preparing to take that cushy Cinnabon gig in Nebraska, astutely answering questions of if he's good with: "Define 'good'." As we check in with the rest of the Alburquerque crew, we realize that everyone's lives have imploded and generic greetings like "How's it going?" no longer have much relevance. Am I glad to be alive? Yeah. Is my life now encumbered by fear, pain and loss? Most definitely.

Walt, emaciated and furiously coughing in his New Hampshire cabin, decides to use his last chips to take out Uncle Jack and the Nazis (the least successful doo-wop group in history) to at least give his family a chance to upgrade their lives from devastatingly traumatic to moderately shitty. Walt sets off from Maine to begin his rampage on Jack and his crew, fueled by Flynn's angry rejection of him and a below-the-belt diss by Gretchen and Elliot on Charlie Rose.

Walt likely doesn't know the extent of Jack's reach at the moment. Who's currently affected by the Nazi regime?

1. Jesse

Thanks to Jesse's slave labor, Todd is able to creepily woo Lydia with 50 pounds of Heisenberg grade meth. When he picks lint off of Lydia's jacket, I'm fairly sure a collective shudder rippled throughout the entire country. At this point, we don't know if Todd wants to date Lydia or make an army jacket out of her skin. Jesse's Houdini routine out of his cuffs and cage was impressive, but he was no match for a heavily-manned Nazi compound surrounded by barbed wire. The result? He has to watch Andrea get capped, and Jack warns him that they'll kill Brock next. It's not a matter of beating a dead horse with the ongoing tragedy of Jesse Pinkman's life; it's the fact that Jesse is the actual (nearly) dead horse being beaten. If you listen closely, that horse is gasping, "Bitch." With so many traditional "heroes" already down for the count, there must be a sliver of redemption reserved for Jesse.

2. Brock

His uncle was murdered, a drug kingpin poisoned him, his one father figure isn't around because he's enslaved, his mother is dead, and now some white supremacists have put a bullseye on him. How incredible would it be if Lil' Brock is the one to somehow bring Jack and Walt down?

3. Skyler

I'm glad Skyler got to have a cocktail and a smoke break in before discovering masked Nazis in her infant daughter's room. Though Todd believes that she won't mention Lydia to any of the cops hounding her on the daily, Lydia seems dissatisfied that Skyler hasn't been murdered already. Maybe she and Todd do make a good couple.

4. Marie

Not only have the Nazis killed her husband, but they've gone and pillaged Marie's house in order to retrieve Jesse's confessional tape. Though Marie is whisked off by the DEA, I hope we get to see her have some agency in the finale. Maybe her black wardrobe doesn't just express her mourning, but indicates that she'll break some rules that go beyond petty shoplifting and simply researching discreet ways to poison people.

With the inevitable demise of Heisenberg but seven days away, we're left wondering who will do the honors. If the writers are justice-minded, they'd pick Jesse Pinkman. If they're realists, they'd go with Todd "I smile when I hear references of me killing children" Alquist and Uncle Jack's crew. I always root for the underdog, so I'm gonna say a ragtag duo of Marie and Brock officially kill the Heisenberg empire. The weapon? A ricin cigarette and some stolen spoons.

The Breaking Bad finale airs on Sunday, September 29 on AMC.

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Sylvie Kim

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