Breaking Bad S05
Breaking Bad S05E15: “Granite State”

"Ozymandias" was a tough act to follow, but even then we didn't expect the slow, reflective pace of this episode. There's something a bit off with the pacing ever since the Nazis took over, and the shots are more saturated than usual. A bridge episode that positions the story for its conclusion, with some intense, emotional scenes involving Walt, but oddly disappointing regardless with only one episode to go.


Walt attempts to walk away from his past.

[do action=”play-by-play-spoilers”/]

[do action=”moment” emo=”Exciting” title=”Robert Forster in the house”/]

With one episode to go, we didn’t expect Breaking Bad’s casting to still surprise us; yet here is Robert Forster, playing the mysterious Vacuum Repair Guy. Best guy for the job, in our opinion, although Harvey Keitel would have been pretty cool, too.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Insane” title=”‘This is millions, Uncle Jack. No matter how much you got, how do you turn your back on more?'”/]

Todd’s brand of gentle sociopathology is turning into something pretty mind-bending. Like here, when he convinces Uncle Jack to save Jesse’s life basically because he wants to get into Lydia’s pants. And did this fucker smirk while listening to Jesse’s retelling of the kid’s death? This show crosses the line in the subtlest of ways, sometimes.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Interesting” title=”‘If I’m lucky, three months from now, best-case scenario, I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.'”/]

Every time in the past when Walt looked weak, it was an act in order to turn the tables on his enemies. Not here, though: for the first time, he looks utterly and completely weak, thin, defeated. Saul, up to the bitter end, continues to assume his Cassandra role. Fat chance Walt will listen to him this time. Has he ever?

[do action=”moment” emo=”Intense” title=”Nazi ninjas. Nazinjas?”/]

Creepy of the Neo-Nazis to walk right up to Holly’s crib to scare the crap out of Skyler. And by the way, we’d like to take a moment to snicker at the fact that Todd, even when wearing a ski mask, still looks like frickin’ Todd.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Theory” title=”Todd’s Achilles heel”/]

Strangely hilarious that fidgety Lydia finally gets her back-to-back meeting because Todd is the first one to agree to the terrible idea after Mike and Walt turned her down. Todd borders on cute when he picks the lint from her shirt. Is Lydia the chink in his sociopath armor? Is Lydia’s stevia obsession foreshadowing that Walt will pass the ricin as stevia to poison her? This show is known for throwing up red herrings, so we’ll have to see.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Disappointing” title=”Future Walt arrives”/]

Did we need to spend a solid minute watching Walt select his future set of eyeglasses? Or hear how his house is now boarded up? It feels like the writers tacked an extra fifteen minutes on this episode in order to apologize for the cold open they threw at us at the beginning of the season. We get it: we’re bridging the gap between the series and the sequences that take place after Walt’s 52nd birthday. No need to agonize over the details.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Heartbreaking” title=”The wedding ring”/]

The most heartbreaking shot of the episode happens when Walt, asleep next to the stove, loses his wedding ring due to weight loss from cancer treatment. Such a simple, understated scene that marks the utter destruction of the man and his dreams. The scene with Walt Jr. played pretty much the same role, but was more on the nose.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Creative” title=”Riffing on the Breaking Bad theme”/]

The use of the extended Breaking Bad theme in the last scene was exciting, and the Western influences finally made perfect sense in the context of the scene. Nice touch.

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