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Recap of Breaking Bad S05E14 'Ozymandias'

RecapKevin Perry

By Justin Farris

This week’s Breaking Bad opened with a reminiscence, perhaps to remind its viewers of simpler times. In the same spot where we saw Hank and Jesse under fire of Nazis just last week, Walter and Jesse are back in the RV working on their first cook.  Walt takes the time to rehearse his lie before he makes a call to Skyler to explain why he’ll be home late. Jesse is an amateur, and unprofessional. The flashback then slowly fades into the present, where we’re met with the aftermath of last week’s gunfight.

Hank is shot and can’t stand up. Gomez is dead.

One of the men verifies their DEA status, and Jack draws his gun to end Hank’s life. Walt desperately tries to stop him, offering him the $80 million buried beneath their feet, but Hank looks at him, grimacing, and says, “You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see…He made up his mind 10 minutes ago.” With stone-faced acceptance, Hank turns to Jack and utters, “Do what you got to d– “

Jack cuts him off with a bullet to the head.

Walt falls to the ground as if paralyzed by what just occurred. He lies there, still in handcuffs, while Jack and his team split up to search for a missing Jesse and dig up all the barrels of drug money before taking off. They set Walt free, leaving him one barrel. No longer in shock, he climbs to his feet and demands that they still owe him a job. “Pinkman…Pinkman,” he repeats, as he stares at the underside of his car. “I found him.”

Jesse is practically screaming for his life as Jack and his men haul him to his knees. Todd stops them, suggesting they interrogate him first to find out what he told Hank and Gomez, just to be safe. Later we discover that Jesse is actually brought to the new lab to perfect Todd’s cook, who is incidentally (through his little manipulation) proving to be a young Walter White. However, he is still far from Walt’s current levels of sociopathy, which we witness as he looks into Jesse’s eyes and says, “I watched Jane die. I was there; and I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her.” He grimaces with a hint of pleasure, and adds, “But I didn’t.”

Walter, having used all his gas frantically speeding to the desert, buys a truck off of a Native American he comes across in the desert. In the meantime, Marie goes to the car wash to confront Skyler and spark the destruction of the family. She explains what Hank told her over the phone, clearly unaware of the latest events. She extends a wary peace offering to Skyler, who she feels compelled to look after as her sister, but demands she tells Walt Jr. about everything. Initially hesitant, Skyler gives in and quickly uproots Junior’s entire life, off-camera. He is devastated, and Marie makes them go home. There they find a frantic Walt packing up the family’s belongings. A tense scene follows, where Walt urges them to pack their things but Skyler demands to know what happened to Hank. The situation escalates, and soon a bleeding Walter is struggling with Skyler over a bloody butcher knife. He soon finds himself looking over his family with the knife in his hand, met by an intense fear in their eyes as he desperately whispers, “We’re family…we’re family.” Before the words are even fully out Walt realizes just how untrue they are, as his 16-year-old son turns on him and calls the police. With tears in his eyes, Walter grabs his daughter and last chance at family, and takes off.

The next we see him, Walt is in a public bathroom changing Holly. She begins to sob, asking for her mommy, and Walt understands that he has officially lost the support of every member of what he once called his family. He calls Skyler, who has the police at her home with a recently issued amber alert. They monitor the call as he expresses his anger and blames her for what happened. He spews insults and verbal abuse, saying with pure vehemence:

“You stupid bitch… How dare you?”

He has all the airs of an abusive husband, and the police catch it all on tape. He threatens her to “toe the line,” admitting that Hank is dead and promising her a similar fate if she crosses him.

When she asks him to come home, he simply replies, holding back a sob, “I’ve still got things left to do.” He then breaks apart his phone, and turns to look at his sleeping daughter with tears in his eyes. She is the one member of the family who still has a chance to escape the horrors of their world. Hoping to set her free from him and the shambles of the family he just left, Walt leaves Holly in the fire station across the street to be found within the hour. In the meantime, he sets off to find his own fresh start in the red van of Saul’s “disappearing guy.”

So what of the title, “Ozymandias”? The poem of the same name, written by Percy Shelley, is about the inevitable decline of all mighty empires and their leaders. Walter White, whose own name is derived from another poet (Walt Whitman), has always claimed not to be in the money business or the drug business, but the “empire business.” Now he and his empire are quickly being reduced to a pile of rubble, and only two episodes remain before Breaking Bad fans everywhere will know Walt's ultimate fate.