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Aurora Snow’s Breaking Bad: Season 5: Episode 514: “Ozymandias” Review

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“Ozymandias”

I feel like I’ve just had the air knocked out of me. After watching the latest installment of Breaking Bad I don’t know if I should be delighted with the superb storytelling or depressed over the heavy subject matter that can weigh a person down like a ton of bricks. True, “Ozymandias” was another amazing episode. Walt’s world crumbles before our very eyes. You know it’s nearing the end when the very thing he fought for is exactly what he’s lost, his family.

Hank knew he was dead well before Walt bargained the $80 million for his life, “you’re the smartest man I’ve ever met and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago.” What a brilliant parting line for Hank. When it comes to family Walt has very little logical reasoning, he becomes vulnerable and willing to do anything to keep his family alive and that includes Hank. It’s what makes Walt likable, it’s his humanizing quality. It’s also what ultimately destroys him.

Uncle Jack is more of a ruthless criminal at heart, he gets rid of the DEA agent and scoops up his new multi-million dollar fortune all before Walt’s tortured eyes. Just to prove he isn’t the heartless bastard we think he is, Uncle Jack leaves Walt with one token barrel, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 11 million. It’s refreshing to see a ruthless criminal that isn’t consumed with greed. Not bad I guess.

Who’s to blame for this mess? The rotten apple that is Jesse Pinkman. His hands are stained with Hank’s blood not that he cares, but Walt sure does. The moment Walt spotted Jesse under the car was electric. He saw that little weasel and wanted him dead that instant, but consented to Jesse’s “interrogation” (read: torture) instead. At this point Walt probably blames Jesse for everything that has gone wrong, after all it’s easier to blame Jesse than himself. It just goes to show how little love Walt has left, if an ounce of Walt cared about Jesse he would’ve insisted on the instant death. But torture before death is a far more savory punishment.

Feels like karma has come back to haunt Jesse: Todd has a new meth cooking slave. I must admit there’s a certain comic relief in seeing him chained up like a dog in the meth lab. Tragic, yes, but also a fitting punishment for the weasel. I wonder if he’ll somehow escape with his life or if he too will die in the next two episodes.

Reality hit when Junior made the 911 call and lied to protect Skyler, in that moment Walt knew he was on the losing side. He lost his son and his wife, the only family he has left is baby Holly and even she prefers Momma. There is nothing left for Walt anymore. I imagine he kidnapped Holly intentionally once more the master chess player, three steps ahead of everyone else. In one final loving act of selflessness, Walt throws himself under the bus. He exonerates Skyler of all wrong doing, playing up the evil mastermind bit in a recorded phone call, knowing full well the police are listening in. I cannot help but simultaneously cheer for Walt and yet also pity his situation.

Now it’s just Walt and his money, it’s all he has left. Watching him push his barrel of a fortune across the desert echoed this brilliantly. Where the series will take us in the final two episodes is truly a mystery, it could have ended here as Walt rides off into the sunset to collect his new ID. But that wouldn’t be the Breaking Bad I’ve come to know and love. Everything this series does this season is in style, it’s cruel at times but always cutting edge.

Aurora Snow Says:

Episode Rating:

[Rating:5/5]

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8 COMMENTS

    • @ bohemrox,
      The truth is not black and white, it holds many shades of grey. I’m not exactly on Walt’s side, I feel that both he and Jesse are incredibly flawed characters. And particularly with this last episode it’s made incredibly easy to paint Walt as bad and Jesse as good. Perhaps my points weren’t as clear as they should have been, but what I was trying to illustrate is that Jesse isn’t exactly good. Yes he has heart, but so does Walt, they just have heart in different ways. And its made easier to sympathize with Jesse and forget any good that Walt has ever done.

  1. You think the guy working with the authorities to stop a criminal mastermind is the bad guy? You think “snitches” are worse than those who want to continue committing crimes? You think torturing is justified and enslavement is funny? You’re scarier than any fictional character.

    • @ BT,
      Yes, I think both Jesse and Walt are bad guys. Both are flawed characters, and while it’s easy to sympathized with Jesse I feel that its a simplification of where he is now as opposed to looking at how he got there and all of the decisions he has also made along the way. Jesse is in a stage of “repent” and Walt wanted to make up with Jesse before Jesse turned on him remember? Walt saw Jesse as family, something Jesse couldn’t understand. It wasn’t until he was backed into a corner (by Jesse) that he made another morally repulsive character, again to protect his family. If Jesse had given Walt a chance it wouldn’t have been a different story. Of course torture is never justified and neither is enslavement, but this is television. This is a made up story with made up characters and to be honest there is a lot in this show that if it were true I’d find horrid and repulsive.

  2. I think BT has a point to make. Sometimes the story telling makes heroes out of villains and the less morally endowed. It’s a choice of bad or worse. As far as the attention paid to the anti-heroes this also makes them more attractive figures of idol, in some peoples eyes. It is like living with an ogre.
    Perhaps if you saw a Christmas carol concert DVD you might enjoy it?

    • Perhaps. However I think neither Walt nor Jesse are heroes, both are villains in different ways. However I feel like this last episode worked to separate Walt and Jesse getting the viewers to sympathize with Jesse and forget his flaws while bringing more of Walt’s to the forefront to further divide their characters. They are both flawed.

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