AMC’s Breaking Bad
5×15: “Granite State”
Directed & Written
by Peter Gould
* For a recap & review of 5×14, click here.
* For a recap & review of 5×16, click here.
A van arrives at Best Quality Vacuum. The owner of the place, Ed (Robert Forster), has smuggled Saul inside. The lawyer’s surprised to see an “actual store” behind the whole vacuum salesman ruse. He then stands in front of a blue screen for a new photo ID to go along with the brand new identity with which he’ll be furnished. Saul finds out he’s going to be headed for Nebraska. For now, until Ed gets things sorted out, Saul will be staying downstairs with “a bunkmate.” Because Walt’s also downstairs waiting to be disappeared by Ed’s magic services. And Walt’s definitely not in the best of moods, either.
Marie’s life is forever altered. They haven’t found Hank’s body yet, but everyone knows that he’s dead. Hank and Marie’s home has been ransacked. Uncle Jack and the neo-Nazis have already tossed the place to find the tapes of Jesse’s confessions. They’re laughing at Jesse crying. They hear the part where Jesse explains Todd killing the kid. So Uncle Jack’s prepared to go out and kill Jesse for ratting out his nephew. Yet Todd says it might be worth it to keep Jesse around, keep making money off the Heisenberg meth formula. Jack thinks Todd is just sweet on Lydia. For now, Pinkman lives, but only because of Jack’s nebulous sense of mercy. Down in the caged hole, Jesse looks at the picture of Andrea and Brock. Then he tries using a paperclip on the photo to undo his chains.
In the vacuum shop’s basement, Walt is writing on a notepad while Saul watches him. He wants a list of “mercenaries” from the lawyer. He’s planning on hitting Uncle Jack and the neo-Nazis for the death of Hank and the heist of his “life‘s work.” Saul says Walt shouldn’t leave his wife “high and dry.” But Walt doesn’t want to hear it. He made that phone call to her so it looked like Skyler was a “blameless victim.” Saul breaks out some of his lawyer knowledge. He suggests Walt “face the music.” But Walt says he isn’t running because he wants to, he’s trying to bide his time and plan to secure the money he made for his children. Then Ed comes down to tell Walt it’s time to leave. Walt wants Saul to go with him. Saul mentions that if he’s lucky he’ll be running “a Cinnabon in Omaha” in a month’s time; exactly where we find him in Better Call Saul. He says it’s all done.
For Walt, nothing’s finished yet until he says so.
Skyler’s left to deal with the DEA and lawyers. At night, she sits by the window smoking as local police watch her home. It’ll be a long, long time before she escapes the gigantic shadow of what her husband’s done. She goes in to check on Holly and finds masked men waiting: Todd and the neo-Nazis. Skyler’s terrified, rightfully so. Todd’s looking to tie up loose ends. He asks Skyler if she said anything about Lydia; she says no and promises not to say anything to the cops about Lydia. Then they let Skyler go, urging her not to talk to the cops outside. Definitely the most harrowing experience Skyler’s had since becoming aware of Walt’s business.
Later, Todd meets with Lydia at the coffee shop, doing her awkward back-to-back thing. He tells her about going to Walt’s house: “The message was received, loud and clear.” Lydia isn’t so sure about the risk involved with everything. She wants to take a break from their business. Then Todd says they’re at 92% purity and the blue colour’s back, which intrigues Lydia. He tells her that Pinkman is cooking with them. He’s half hoping to do good business for his Uncle Jack, half hoping he’ll impress Lydia because he’s got puppy love for her.
Eventually, Walt’s let out of the bottom of a propane truck where Ed stowed him. They’ve arrived in New Hampshire, where Walt, as Mr. Lambert, will live in a small cabin in the snowy woods. Quite the life for a multi-multi-multi-millionaire! There’s food and a generator, as well as a wood stove. There’s a bunch of DVDs to watch. Ed will be back with supplies in a month. This is not exactly the situation Walt imagined he’d find himself in. He says he has business left to do. Ed hits him with the truth: Walt is being hunted nationwide. So, if Walt wants to leave, he can, but he’s going to be found by the authorities. Though we know that, at some point, Walt does leave, because we’ve seen him with the beard and the hair and the New Hampshire license plate. Walt sits in the cabin with his big barrel of money. Then, he puts on his Heisenberg hat and walks. He sees the long road out from his cabin into the woods, deciding against escaping the wilderness.
Back at the neo-Nazi hideout, Jesse gets a Ben & Jerry’s treat from Todd. While he eats he’s told by Todd that the latest batch of meth hit 96%. Before Todd goes Jesse asks to have the tarp left off the cage overnight. He agrees. Jesse says he wants to see the stars. It’s actually so he can try to escape. He undoes his chains and the cuffs with his paperclip. Then he uses the bucket on top of his mattress to try reaching the cage above. He hops up and grabs hold of the cage. He manages to get the lock open and crawls out, making a run for cover. Jesse rushes for a fence and starts climbing, only to hear the neo-Nazis run up behind him, having seen him on their cameras. He begs them to kill him.
A while later, Todd knocks on Andrea’s door. He acts all nice. Andrea asks about Jesse, so Todd says that Jesse’s actually in the truck across the road. And that’s when Todd shoots Andrea in the back of the head while Jesse watches in the truck, gagged, weeping for her. Absolutely horrific. But then Uncle Jack warns: “There‘s still the kid.” Jesse is stuck with the neo-Nazis.
A month has passed. Ed returns to the cabin with supplies for Walt, including some glasses. Walt asks about his family. He finds out that Skyler’s using her maiden name and working at a taxi dispatch. The old White house has a fence around it because kids break in like a “tourist attraction.” Then Ed sets up Walt’s chemo medication before he gets ready to head out again. Walt offers Ed another $10K if he’ll stay a couple hours to keep him company; Ed agrees to stay for an hour and play cards. What a lonely life Walt has created for himself when all he originally wanted was to take care of his family. Now his family’s left with nothing, except the awful memories and reputation he’s left behind. Walt talks about dying and wonders if Ed will find him one day, hoping the money will make it to his family. Ed doesn’t give any assurances, though.
That night, Walt decides to fill a box with money.
He leaves on foot with the box in the morning.
At school, Walt Jr. gets a call from Marie. Except it’s Walt in a bar somewhere. He tells his son that the reason he made so many awful mistakes is because he was trying to take care of his family and never meant for anything like this to happen. He asks for Walt Jr.’s friend Louis’s address. He wants to send the box of money there. But Walt Jr. doesn’t care about the money, he only cares about his dead Uncle Hank and the wreckage of their family. He tells his father: “I don‘t want anything from you.” He tells Walt to “just die already” before hanging up.
After that, Walt makes a call to the DEA in Albuquerque and tells them it’s him, then he lets the phone hang and sits at the bar for a drink. While he sits drinking he sees Gretchen and Elliott on TV talking about a donation they’ve made to drug treatment centres. They’re questioned about whether the donation was due to their association with Walt, a way for them to wash off the stink of that association. Walt’s very angry listening to Elliott and Gretchen talk about how he had nothing to do with the foundation of their company outside the name. Uh oh. Walt is never more dangerous than when his pride’s been damaged.
Soon there are cops at the bar looking for Walt.
But Heisenberg is long gone.