Breaking Bad S05EP14 Ozymandias – The family dismantled





“I’ve still got things left to do”- Walter White

Two episodes left to go and we are now almost joining up with the Walt, who on his 52nd birthday is collecting ricin from the shell of his former home, and loading an assault rifle into a clapped out car. “Ozymandias” felt like it could have been a finale episode, with lots of loose ends coming together, but also left us with a lot more questions, and the firm message that Walt isn’t at the end of his journey just yet.

“’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“- Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley

As Vince Gilligan promised, this was the episode in which we looked upon Walt’s (I have given up differentiating between Walt and Heisenberg as the lines are now so blurred) works and boy did we despair. Starting with a flashback to the time when Walt and Jesse first cooked in the RV on the Toha’jiilee reservation, we see the Walt (Bryan Cranston in loveable teacher mode) we all still felt warmth towards and the Jesse we thought was an idiot loser. Skyler boasts to Walt on the phone that she has made $9 on an Ebay sale of a crying clown figurine. These were simpler times, unmarked by multiple murders and betrayals. $9 profit on Ebay was a big deal.

Then what we all knew was going to happen, but hoped wouldn’t, happened. Hank died. We all knew Gomez would die, that was a given from the time the Aryan gang pulled up in the desert. Like Walt though, I hoped there would be a way of bargaining out of it so Hank could live. Unfortunately by pleading with Uncle Jack for Hank’s life, Walt not only sealed Hank’s fate but also gave away his legacy, the $80million he had buried beneath the sand.  Dean Norris did a fantastic job of delivering Hank’s final words, giving him resilience, anger and dignity. Walt watched both his brother-in-law, a man whom he loved and respected, get gunned down and watched the reason for all of the carnage disappear in the back of a pick-up. All except for the $11million which Uncle Jack left as “a mark of his nephew’s respect.”  However Walt’s defence of Hank made me question for a moment how bad Walt had become. Maybe there was still a bit of the old chemistry teacher in there.

Then there was Jesse. Poor Jesse has been the stray dog Walt picked up off the street, the rabid dog Walt wanted put to sleep, and now was (as Aaron Paul himself tweeted) a dog on a leash. Walt’s resolution to get rid of Jesse was seemingly hardened by his discovery that he had ratted him out to Hank, and so he was quick to hand him over to Uncle Jack and his crew, even being ready to look him in the eye as he got shot. Not content to just let him be shot, Walt tells Jesse about watching Jane die when he could have saved her, spitting it in his face in a mirror of the previous episode. I actually gasped at this. I somehow thought Walt would never be able to admit to that particularly dark moment in his history. This was always going to be the final straw in their relationship. For Walt, Jesse’s ratting to the police was the ultimate betrayal, and that was the only way he would truly feel he had got his revenge and regained power.  However, Todd extends Jesse’s suffering, taking him essentially into slavery. Todd now has the way to placate Lydia, and will no doubt still try to keep his word to Walt once he knows how to keep the meth blue.

So Walt lost a brother-in-law, and then sent his pseudo-son to his death, unaware that the rest of his family had now also left him. Marie persuaded Skyler to tell Flynn all about the drugs empire, thereby ensuring that the remaining family is firmly against Walt. Flynn’s reaction ensures Skyler realises how deeply she had been pulled into Walt’s murky world, with the words “You’re a liar. You’re just as bad as he is” ringing all too true. This provides the catalyst for Skyler to finally resist Walt, and for Flynn to do what she should have done a long time ago, call the police.

In Walt’s phone call after kidnapping baby Holly we are again left questioning how much of the original Walt is left, with his words clearly meant for the police to clear Skyler of any wrong doing. However, they are also  innately  true. This mirrors very closely the infamous “I am the one who knocks” conversation. Walt meant it then, and he means it now, but he also knows it may just have a nobler outcome this time around. He knows he is now on his own, the lone wolf to Jesse’s stray dog,  and that the only way to protect his family will be to stay away. Holly’s cries of “Mama” seemingly had the same effect on Walt as Flynn’s words did to Skyler. Out of the mouths of babes and all that.

So we are left at the end of the episode with baby Holly, still in that portentous-of-doom pink outfit, on her way back to the house we know will soon be a wreck, Marie knowing her husband has died, Skyler and Flynn sitting with the cops with a great deal to explain and Walt on his way somewhere with Saul’s fixer. However,  we know he is not going to find a new life,  and his words to Skyler “I still have things left to do” indicate he already has a plan. As the car pulled out of view an animal crossed the street- was it a lone wolf or a stray dog?

This all still leaves us with the question of who it is Walt is intending to kill in the final two episodes. Walt is clearly going to be marked as a threat to the drugs empire he left behind. Lydia will know the DEA were on to him, and is not going to be leaving him to get on with a new life in New Hampshire.  She needs new shoes, dammit. Doubtless Flynn, Holly, Marie and Skyler are going to find themselves being bargaining chips in the end game. So will Lydia get the ricin in her green tea instead of her beloved stevia? Will Walt use it on himself?  Will the gun be put to use on Uncle Jack and gang? And where is Saul?

Finally, let’s not forget Jesse isn’t the idiot we initially all thought he was. He may have been left alone, tortured and chained, but he is now in a room full of dangerous chemicals. This is by far from a hopeless situation for him, despite the implied threat of the photo of Andrea and Brock pinned to the wall.  There may still be hope, whatever that looks like in the world of Breaking Bad.


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