The Walking Dead: Season 4 Mid-Season Recap

Welcome to Spoiler City, population: you.

So many questions and so little time!  Last December, the first half of season 4 of The Walking Dead wrapped up with the raid on the prison.  Oh, did I say not to continue reading if you have not seen season 4 yet?  Take caution, this is only if A) you have seen season 4 or B) you haven’t, but don’t really want to watch 8 hours of quality television.  

Here is what has happened so far:

The displaced people of Woodbury made nice with our group in the prison.  Rick chatted up a lady in the woods and narrowly missed being fed to her husband.  Glenn and Maggie were almost pregnant.  Carl wasn’t allowed to use his gun.  Carol was teaching knife skills to tiny children secretly.  Michonne looked for The Governor on her horse.  Then supplies ran short.  They went on a run.  A helicopter came through the ceiling of a convenience store and an alcohol bottle broke a entire shelving unit.  Then people died.  Survivors at the prison realized that the walkers on the outside of the fence were being fed rats.  Then a survivor died of the flu and starting chowing down.  Then people died.  Rick farmed, and then he quit when he realized his pigs probably caused the flu.  Tyreese got flirty with Karen, the crazy lady from the Woodbury crew.  Then he found her body burnt along with a man’s burnt body outside.  Tyreese raged out.  The group then quarantined the fluers vs. the non-fluers.  Maggie cried that Glenn was a fluer.  Beth got told her she still had a job to do.  Carl and Hershel went the woods to look for elderberries.  Daryl, Bob (a newcomer), Michonne and Tyreese went to look for meds at a vet.  Bob found his medicine: liquor.  Daryl got real mad.  Then they got stuck in a herd of walkers.  Tyreese beat his way out with a hammer.   Rick investigated the burnt bodies.  Carol confessed.  Then they went on a run and Rick kicked Carol out of the group and gave her a station wagon.  Some of the fluers became walkers.  Hershel gave a speech, killed a walker and cried.  Meanwhile, The Governor was sad and alone.  Then he found some girls.  Then he had sex with one next to her kid.  Then they joined a group.  Then he killed their leaders and became the new leader.  They raided the prison.  Hershel died.  The Governor died.  Lots of people died.  And we were all sad.

photo 2
No, no, no. SAD. SAAAAADD
photo 3
There we go. Just plain old SAD.

How do the events of the TV show line up with the comic books:

Up to the mid-season finale, The Walking Dead has done a great job of separating the story in all mediums, giving even the most well-read fans their money’s worth when watching. Many of the characters in the comic books are represented in the television show, but a lot of the context that brought them together has changed drastically. However, it’s our theory that, with the show moving so quickly, there will be a lot more content borrowed from the other forms of The Walking Dead.

Here are some of the most noticeable differences, separated by the rag-tag groups that split off at the end of “Too Far Gone:”

Rick and Carl Grimes:

In the show: Rick and Carl have left the prison totally defeated emotionally. Rick spent most of the first half of Season 4 protecting Carl from the dangers of the outside, but during the calamity of the gate collapse, Carl went Rambo on the walkers to earn Rick’s respect. They leave the prison together (without Judith!). Rick is badly wounded.

In other literature: Pretty much exactly the same thing. The only difference is that, along with the loss of Judith, he saw his wife Lori get murdered right in front of him. He then proceeded to go insane, with the phone and the whole shi-bang. Oh yeah, Rick also lost his freaking hand!

Predictions: This will be Koooooaaarrrrlll’s (Carl’s) coming out party. In the books, this was a big moment for Lil Rambo, as he was forced to care for an ill Rick. Couple that with Chandler Briggs’ puberty growth spurt, and you will have one temperamental young man.

Michonne:

In the show: In a fashion that only a bad-ass ninja like her can have, Michonne was busy hacking and slashing every single walker in sight, alone.

In the comics: Most of the comics focused on Rick & Carl. Michonne emerged to save them from an attack, as they drove off together and met back up with the others.

Predictions: Hopefully it will be more of the same, and Michonne will mow down every walker in between herself and the Grimes. They’ll need all the help they can get.  But because the show can get so deep, it would be good to see some introspective stuff from Michonne.  Who was she?  Who is she now?  Why did she cry about the baby? And who were the men who were her zombie slaves?  Maybe now is the time to find out.

Glenn and the bus full of useless strangers:

In the show: Still recovering from whatever gross disease was making people bleed out of their eyeballs, Maggie had put Glenn on the bus. Seemingly, Glenn is in the best spot, but we all know that everybody in the apocalypse is useless.  Plus, the bus was shot at as it sped away.

In the comics: Glenn and Maggie had actually taken off early with Dale and Andrea, making a retreat to Herschel’s old farm (which was not burned down).

Predictions: There’s no doubt in our minds that the bus full of useless people will become zombie fodder. Glenn will be forced to get himself out of a sticky situation again, but there’s no way they let him die.

Tyreese, Sasha, Bob and the little girls training for a role in the remake of The Professional.

In the show: It looked like Tyreese went off on his own, but he could have tried to follow Lizzie and Mika. Meanwhile, Sasha and Bob ran off together in a separate direction.

In the comics:  Tyreese was the one who was beheaded by Michonne’s sword in the comics. He was also MIchonne’s lover.  Sasha was not in the comics.  Bob stayed at Woodbury and we have seen him since.  The little girls seem to be the equivalent of Ben and Billy from the comics, a pair of brother’s who were a little odd.

Predictions: Tyreese has a leadership quality about him that has yet to be banked on.  Now that he is separate from the group, he may channel his inner Rick, especially if he is with the girls.  He may try to take on a father role to them.  Bob seems like he has a lot of development left in the show. We think it is possible he will be the cause of a lot more pain for our survivors.  Sasha doesn’t seem long for the world.  If Tyreese is to have any development, his overbearing sister will have to die.  We also believe that the little girl named Lizzie, the one who is a little more cuckoo will come clean about being the real murderer of Karen.  And maybe she will kill her younger sister.

Beth and Daryl:

In the show: Daryl and Beth escaped the carnage together. It’s almost too convenient for Beth, who has been after Daryl’s loins for over a full season now.

In the comics: Not applicable. Neither are in the comics.

Predictions: Daryl keeps everybody safe – well, everybody who looks to him for protection (RIP Merle), but something tells me that Daryl pushes her away; she will react similarly to the way Carol did in the comics. Carol, after being rejected by Rick when she offered to be shared by him and Lori (awwwwkward) and being cheated on by Tyreese,  jumped into the loving arms of a zombie. Besides, AMC has already announced that there will be Daryl-centric episode happening. Between Daryl and us, there’s no reason to let Beth become a third-wheel.

Carol:

In the show: Speaking of Carol… she is such a different person in the show vs. the comics and even a different version of herself than when we met her.  Last time we saw her, she had packed up her station wagon with a lot of gas cans and was on her way to find a different group after she admitted to killing and burning the bodies of Karen and David. Also, she felt like it needed to be done and didn’t feel very remorseful.

In the comics: Well, Carol never escaped prison, or even made it to the stand-off.  As said earlier, she asked to join the marriage of Lori and Rick and when she was rejected, walked right up to a walker and made out with it, subsequently, getting her face eaten off in front of the group.

Predictions: Carol will be at the Alexandria Safe Zone (rumored to be called “The Sanctuary” in the show).  It is the next place we go in the comic series and only makes sense that will be our next stop.  But with the way Carol left, not to mention the fact Melissa McBride has been making the late night circuit, we know that wan’t the last of Carol Peletier.

Burning Questions:

Question 1: Is Judith alive?

Hush Comics as a whole are torn on this issue, but we feel that Judith has nothing to offer to the story, and she (similar to Lori) was removed from the situation in a way that allowed The Walking Dead to stay on television.

Question 2: Who is the next core character to die?

According to an article from Comicbooks.com, the next character to die will be “somebody who hasn’t died yet in the comics.” Now, this narrows it down to: Maggie, Rick, Carl and Michonne. The most believable of that list is Maggie. Knowing TWD, I think there’s a play on words. I think that this implies that somebody who isn’t in the comics at all. And this list is much more interesting: Beth, Sasha, Daryl (yeah right!) and the two little girls.

Question 3: Where do we go from here?

Well, that’s the big question. This time, there’s no RV to the rescue and no Greene farm to go back to. Right now, we have several main characters all on the road, and all alone. Maybe they’ll head to Nebraska? The logical answer is that they will find a remote village, maybe by the name of Alexandria. However, I kind of hope that they take their time. The real fear in the apocalypse is the open road.

Question 4: Who else will join the ranks of the Survivors?

Abraham, Eugene and Rosita will definitely be making their debut this season. The trio were an integral part of the group in the comics, so I expect them to be great additions to the show.

 

Want to know more?  Check it out this video AMC released.  It gives the audience some scenes that make us speculate even more.  And don’t forget to watch The Walking Dead tonight on AMC!

All credit for pictures and videos are credited to AMC Television.

Written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

The Walking Dead Review “Dead Weight” S4E7

We open with chess pieces. The Governor is playing the strategy game with Megan again. They are in a new camp with a new group of survivors led by Martinez. Megan studies the board. Phillip Blake, still acting out the part of Brian Heriot, calls Megan “Pumpkin”.  We cut away to where “Live Bait” left off with Martinez pulling Brian and Megan out of the zombie pit. Martinez allows The Governor back to the camp with his brood, under several conditions, “One, I’m in charge. Two, no dead weight. That goes for everyone.”  The scene cuts back to the game. The Governor tells Megan that letting her win wouldn’t be winning – his daddy used to say so.  He also says that his daddy used to beat him in everything, including fisticuffs. Because of his tone, we are led to believe that Philip was an abused child.

We are introduced to a new crew of zombie killing roughnecks, Mitch, Pete, and Alisha. Alisha is  played by actress Juliana Harkavy of Graceland. Mitch is played by actor Kirk Acevedo, best known for his work on HBO’s OZ as Miguel Alvarez. Pete is played by Enver Gjokaj, known for his role as Victor on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse series. It was exciting to see TV junkie fan favorites in this episode.  I tend to give a series more credibility with known actors, especially  if they come from The Wire! (Dear Tyresse and Bob, please come back into our lives.)  Our new group is scouting the woods with “Brian” in the opening scenes. Sidenote: there’s some history in the book The Rise of the Governor that explains this more thoroughly, but we think that he changes his name because Brian only has one I…. get it?? One EYE! The exchange between Martinez and Philip is tense. Martinez immediately catches on to The Governor’s identity theft scam and plays along. We cut back to The Governor and Megan. The frame widens and just behind Brian is an army tank. Fans of the comic appreciate its significance.  It remains to be seen whether or not that tank will be used to its full capacity.

Well... FUCK.
Well… FUCK.

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead is titled “Dead Weight.”   We find Philip and Lilly clearly in a relationship. Their interaction reminds us of his relationship with Andrea. He deceived both of them. We are made to feel sorry for these women. If only they knew! Brian’s new family of Tara, Megan, and Lilly is dependent on Martinez concealing Brian’s true identity, the diabolical sociopath known as The Governor.

Martinez, Mitch, Pete and Brian go on patrol in the woods, and Mitch clearly doesn’t respect The Governor. He throws a jab at him. “Hey one eye, what you doing?” Brian is focused. We come upon a beheaded body strapped to a tree. The word LIAR is written on a sign and nailed to its torso. Back at camp Tara and Alicia have a flirtatious exchange.  Grrh.  The group finds another body, this time the word RAPIST is nailed to its cadaver. These bodies have led Martinez, Brian, Pete and Mitch to a cabin. MURDERER is nailed to the last body on the porch. They enter the cabin cautiously.  They investigate and are attacked by biters. Brian shows his prowess by saving Pete’s life and reasserting his dominance. The scene is horrid. The severed heads of the bound corpses are rolling about on the cabin floor. We are given no explanation as to why, and it adds to the loss of humanity in this ghoulish nightmare.

And you thought your exes were bad...
And you thought your exes were bad…

Martinez is clearly in charge. He tells The Governor that  he wouldn’t have saved him from the pit if he had been alone. Martinez has lost complete respect for him. He isn’t The Governor’s subordinate anymore. Martinez has made a place for himself now.  The four men spend the night in the cabin. Mitch finds beer and The Governor gives an disapproving  look. One of the funniest lines of the season comes at this point, “I can never tell if he’s winkin’ or blinkin’.” Said in a Southern accent by the gruff Mitch makes for some of the best comedic timing and delivery in the show.  In a tender moment, Mitch reveals that he was an ice cream truck driver turned army tank operator. Pete was at Fort Benning before the turn.  Hooah.

We return back to the camp with the girls. The Governor doesn’t like the conversation between Martinez and Lilly. He is visibly upset when Martinez hints to their past community at Woodbury. Martinez and The Governor clearly are in a pissing match. They are both the alphas. At some point they will have to lock horns.

If you were looking for Bromance, watch Big Bang Theory
If you were looking for Bromance, watch Big Bang Theory

Martinez invites The Governor to his camper.  Drunken, he shoots golf balls from the roof of his RV into the zombie pits. He reveals that Shumpert is dead  and it was Martinez who ended up having to put the bullet in him. Martinez hits the ball into the great beyond, and tells The Governor to grab him another. My how the tables have turned! In my head, all I could think was “Who’s the bitch nooow?” Martinez suggests that they share the crown, and that’s when the fun begins! The Governor clubs him with a 5 iron. It was a swing Elin Nordegren would appreciate. The Governor kicks him over the side of the camper. Once down, he drags Martinez, like dead weight towards the biter pits as The Governor blubbers, “I don’t want it,” The biters pull Martinez into the pit. Martinez is a sacrifice, and the image is almost Christ-like. His arms are spread, as if some macabre stage dive at a concert. The hungry mass pulls him in.

Oh man! Martinez is goin like big-screen TVs on Black Friday!
Oh man! Martinez is goin like big-screen TVs on Black Friday!

The Governor is upset about murdering Martinez. Lilly tries to comfort him, not knowing what he has done. He is conflicted. Pete now wants to control the camp, but is met with discord by the other camp members.  Why on Earth would he want that shit job? One thing that we can rely on in this world is that with enough time, heroes and loose ends meet their maker. Most of the camp look like extras from Duck Dynasty anyway.  Pete seeks Brian for help. They find another camp while on patrol. The three of them, Brian, Pete and Mitch, contemplate robbing the camp. Mitch wants to, but Pete still has morals and shit, and is not prepared to make the hard decisions. The Governor watches and plots. They return back to camp.

The Governor wants to leave . He feels like it isn’t safe. He doesn’t think the interim regime will last. He convinces the girls to leave. Alicia tags along because she and Tara have started a serious relationship, like a day ago.  They leave camp in the night and don’t get far. The road is blocked by biters in quick sand. Stuck in the mud, gruesome and alone, The Governor stands in the car’s  high-beams looking back at the RV of scared women with the biters behind him stuck waist-deep all vying to eat him; the scene is like a comic book  panel or one of those lame “Choose Your Own Adventure” Goosebumps books. They have no choice but to turn back.

Back at camp, The Governor wastes no time and kills Pete by literally stabbing him in the back.  How poetic.  Brian puts on his leather jacket and embraces his true self. He has his Mojo back!  Except that he forgot to pop his collar.  Oh, well.  He immediately goes to Mitch, gun drawn.  He offers a smoke and an opportunity. The nerve! He kills the guy’s brother and then cons him into believing that it was necessary because Pete was weak. The Governor talks about his own brother, a weakling, his first mention in the series. Easter Eggs, galore!!! The Governor tells Mitch a story about stealing his dad’s cigarettes. He and his brother smoked the Lucky Strikes, a clear shout out to Mad Men and Don Draper; plus we see what seems to be a Fleetwood Bounder RV in this episode, a subtle nod to Breaking Bad and Walter White.  Awww, look at AMC sticking together. He tells Mitch, that he won’t need to worry about doing the right thing or wrong thing, because they will do The Only Thing. This implies that morality is Dead Weight in our world and has no place. The two coldly craft a story about Pete’s death. The Governor intentionally doesn’t crack Pete’s skull to keep him “alive” as a biter. He dumps his chained body into a nearby lake. As Pete is reanimated, we see The Governor, standing above his submerged body. He is staring into the water as Pete the Biter tries to reach out of the water for him, much like he did with his heads in the fish tank. Fans of the books know that Phillip did this to keep strong – to erase any fear or doubt. Pete serves the same purpose; he will undoubtedly be visiting him often. Pete has now literally become Dead Weight.

That's cool AMC. Introduce on of our favorite actors from Dollhouse and then kill him. No hard feelings...
That’s cool AMC. Introduce on of our favorite actors from Dollhouse and then kill him. This scene will have him casted for Lady Gaga’s new video in no time.

The Governor is running the show with a  leather jacket and a swag in his step. He gives orders and people willingly follow.  He once again proves his badassery after a Walker wanders into camp and attacks Megan. While the others are unaware of what to do, he blows its head off, with his shirt open, blowing in the wind. It was a defining moment for the camp. He proved that he is the right man in charge. He won’t hesitate when threatened and they can trust him. He is back. With a new confidence The Governor drives his truck out to the prison. He watches Rick and Carl, once again plotting. He walks the perimeter and sees Michonne with Herschel. He raises his gun and…

governor shooter

Hush Comics gives “Dead Weight” a B for its awesome yet predictable portrayal of The Governor’s fall back into crazy. The next episode is the mid season finale entitled “Too Far Gone,” a title shared with the trade paperback of The Walking Dead Volume 13 in the comic series! The comics are far evolved from this point in the storyline that the show parallels, so we’ll see if there’s any connection to it on the mid-season finale. It’s been a wild ride so far.  Come back next week for our recap and review! 

written by John Soweto, Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

All images credited to AMC Television

The Walking Dead Review “Live Bait” S4E6

Last week we got to see a side of Herschel that Chuck Norris would be proud of. This week’s The Walking Dead continues with the individual character study and it does not disappoint. Welcome back, Governor! We open on the tail end of Phillip Blake’s bat-shit crazy assassination of his army.  He is tormented. He is defeated and alone. We see him burn Woodbury. He wanders the badlands like a Grateful Dead fan. He looks like a cross between McGuber and Forest Gump on his cross-country jog.  David Morrissey plays the nomadic drifter to perfection, although the 80’s Kurt Russell look doesn’t quite fit him. It is clearly No Shave November. As he walks, we hear a conversation as a voiceover. He is talking to a woman, and the voice sounds eerily like Carol, but we find out later that it may not be. He tells the voice, “I barely got out alive.”  All of this plays out over, The Last Pale Light in the West, by Ben Nichols.

Dodge-A-Walker champion goes to The Governor.
Dodge-A-Walker of the year champion goes to The Governor.

He is in a daze; he appears to not be aware of his surroundings. He comically sidesteps a walker, and it falls to ground. He had the grace of a Summer League Rucker player and continues on his sleepwalker roam until he sees a little girl in the window of a building.

This week’s episode is titled, “Live Bait.”

The Governor walks into the ransacked building and is greeted by a Smith and Wesson and a baseball bat. Completely alert and threatening are two women standing in a doorway, one with a gun aimed at his head, the other in a Jackie Robinson stance. There is a silent exchange; he hands over his bag and weapon. He is allowed to enter their home. We are introduced to Tara, Megan, Lilly and their father. For the true Fanboys these names will have meaning from The Rise of the Governor novel by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga.  Finally, we have comic book, novel and TV crossover all wrapped up into one neat little rotting flesh package. The immediate reaction in the room as we watched was one of shock. The Rise of The Governor is essential to The Walking Dead folklore and we recommend that you pick it up or download it from iBooks.  There are three books in the Governor story arc and they are crucial for understanding Wizard Magazine’s villain of the year 2010. Even more compelling is the fact that he tells them that his name is Brian Heriot, a name that was on a barn he passed while on the road. The use of the name Brian is very significant in the novel and could be seen as forewarning for future events. He is allowed to stay by promising by “pounding it up,” with Tara. We are sure the Obamas would be proud.

The girl’s dad is elderly and on oxygen. Miraculously, his tank is still full. Before the turn he drove for the Gorbelli food company and his truck is parked in the front of the building. This has been their primary food source.

They feed The Governor Spaghettios, and he throws them out in disgust. I guess Herschel’s Spaghetti Tuesday gets one less vote.

After a talk with the father about a game of Backgammon he goes upstairs to retrieve the game, he finds an immobile zombie in a tub, he puts #BathSaltZombie down and takes a gun that was by its side.

Lilly explains to Phillip that her father has Stage 4 lung cancer and he needs oxygen to live. He is nearly out and is dire need. She asks Phillip if he could go on the equivalent of a Taco Bell run and grab some tanks at the near-by retirement home.

He accepts. This benevolent Governor is puzzling.  Why is he doing this for these strangers? What will this ultimately benefit? Doesn’t he have a Michonne to torture and a Rick to kill?

The clinic is filled with zombies in wheelchairs, id-bracelets, and hospital gowns. Ironically they don’t look much different from what you would expect in a hospice. Once again he avoids them like some grotesque game of tag. Terrell Davis had nothing on this guy! Go Broncos!!!

He dodges and closes doors behind him; he has obviously found a way to manage avoiding them with little effort.  He is fearless, but his heroics seem misplaced. Why isn’t he killing zombies? After stirring up the Bingo room he can’t get all of the oxygen tanks out and brings back what he can carry.

He returns to the apartment with two full tanks and goes to his room. Lilly takes care of him and it is clear that they are forming a relationship.

The blonde haired, blued eyed girl seems to be the metaphor for innocence, or salvation in our world. It’s either that or an omen for really bad shit to happen. Megan is a cute little girl who resembles Penny, Sophia and especially Teddy Bear Walker from the very first episode of The Walking Dead Series. She thought the governor was her dad; that’s why she watched him from the building, which ultimately led him to this group of women. Megan’s real father left for a couple of beers and a Powerball ticket before the turn, and we’re guessing he didn’t win.

The Governor has alone time with Megan in the bathroom, but not that kind. She asks what happened to his eye, and he speaks freely to her, more so than any of the others. He says that he was trying to help people and got hurt as a result.

They Pinky Swear to keep the secret about his eye and she “crossed her heart and hoped to die,” but left out the “stick a needle in her eye” part because she probably didn’t want to seem insensitive.

He tells her that he is a pirate with a smile on his face. He laughs, almost in a jovial way and shows the first bit of emotion since the episode began. This tender moment shows us another side of Phillip Blake. He is the governor no more, at least not now.

He is working backwards. He teaches Megan to play chess, now clean-shaven; it seems as if Megan has brought him back to life. As he is explaining the basics it is apparent that he is talking about the events at Woodbury.

The Governor teaches us about the game, too.
The Governor teaches us about the game, too.

“You can lose a lot of soldiers and still win the game,” It’s the king; it’s the guy you want to capture. Megan takes a marker and puts an eye patch on the white king piece. “We start with the pawns.”

AMC does love their White Kings.... when will Don Draper get one?
AMC does love their White Kings…. when will Don Draper get one?

So who do you think is creepier with kids, Carol or Phillip? Phillip is bonding. He gives a jealous look to Lilly when she comes to get Megan as their dad is dying. This brief moment is strange enough to fill our thoughts will all kinds of devious acts that The Governor could be plotting.

As their dad dies and turns, in his reanimated state he grabs for Tara and Phillip smashes his face into the bed with his own oxygen tank. Splat!

Did anyone else notice that Lilly is like a less hot Maggie?

The next scene we find Phillip burying dad in the back. Megan is now fearful of the Governor and hides behind the couch when he comes back inside. Tara pounds him up for saving her life, but he is not concerned with her. Alone he burns the picture of his old family, they are now dead to him, he has found a new family, or has given up on the idea.  He threatens to leave them, but they stay together, taking to the road in the Gorbelli truck like a National Lampoon’s Vacation sequel set in hell.

Tara apologies to Phillip for lying to him about her occupation before the turn.  She asks if Phillip is lying to her, and he says no. His con-game is working; he has earned their trust and can manipulate the situation to suit his needs.

Megan is still afraid of Phillip. This is clearly upsetting him; he has to make things right with his pseudo-daughter.

They travel through the day and stop to rest.  In the back of the truck Lilly allows him to cuddle with her. They kiss, oddly, and seemingly make love. Yuk!

The next morning the truck breaks down and they end up walking. There is a small herd of walkers around the bend in the road, they swarm in hunger as Tara falls and injures her leg. Megan freezes and Phillip calls out to her, she runs to him, and he carries her away from the herd. We made note that he called to her instead of just picking her up because we feel like he wanted her loyalty. This is the long con.

While running they fall into one of his walker traps (Remember those huge pits he was using to build a zombie army?).  He immediately springs into action with the walkers in the pit and pulls a walker’s throat out in a completely badass move. Fatality!

Um. Ouch.
Um. Ouch.

He grabs a femur and uses that to pry the jaw off another walker.  This primal survival tactic seemed to be for Megan’s benefit. Remember, he got really good at avoiding the dead without using force. As he fights Spartacus style in the pit we hear gun fire in the distance. Martinez shows up with his machine gun at the end of the episode and now things should get really interesting. Upon Martinez arrival, he will have to maintain his Brian Heriot persona with Tara and Lilly. He will ultimately have to kill anyone who threatens his identity bluff or continue the deception indefinitely.  

Hush Comics gives “Live Bait” a B+. This episode pulled us deeper into The Walking Dead mythology but left us with more questions. There were epic kills and border-line restraining order behavior with minors. My vote for Governor goes to Brian Heriot.

Stay tuned next week when we recap Dead Weight, and don’t forget to visit our website! This week we have a special message from comic book legend Todd McFarlane!

written by John Soweto

Breaking Bad Review – “Felina” S5E16

I say this in all seriousness, if you are a fan of the series and have yet to watch the finale, do not read until you have watched the episode.

bloodmethtears

It is our great delight to be writing our 100th post on the series finale of one of the greatest television shows ever made, Breaking Bad.  It is also bittersweet.  BrBa has been an inspiration to us here at Hush Comics to pursue our passion of pop-culture as well as any writing we do for our personal pleasure.  Now that it is really over, it is a little overwhelming that this chapter is closed.

At the beginning of the episode, Walt enters a Volvo that is unlocked.  Apparently, people in New Hampshire do not fear meth kingpins stealing their cars.  After he finds a screwdriver in the glove compartment, he unsuccessfully tries to start the ignition.  It is so bitter cold, and his coughing is much worse, so it is near impossible for his hands not to shake while he tries.  For a brief moment, police lights can be seen flashing past the snow-covered car he is sitting in.  He whispers to himself, “Just get me home.  I’ll do the rest.”  Walt has a definite plan in mind for what is going to happen in Albuquerque.  He takes the screwdriver to pull down the sun-visor and the keys fall into his hands.  When he starts the car, the song “El Paso” by Marty Robbins, whose cassette fell out of the glove compartment, plays.  The song refers to the narrator’s love, Felina.  You can read the lyrics here.

Walt arrives in New Mexico with the stolen Volvo and gets gasoline out in the desert.  He grabs some of his cancer medicine out of the trunk that is full of money (we assume he went back for the money still left in the cabin).  He then uses a pay phone to call someone named “Susan” claiming to be David from the New York Times.  He has already convinced her that he is writing an article on the Schwartz’.  The woman easily gives him their address after claiming he needs to get a photograph of them for the article.  Walt then looks down at this wrist, takes off the watch Jesse had given him a year earlier for his 51st birthday, and leaves it on the top of the pay phone.  As said on Talking Bad by Vince Gilligan himself, this was originally done for continuity purposes, as Walt is not wearing the watch in the flash forward scene at Denny’s.  But the “artsy-fartsy” explanation is that he is done with that part of his life, knowing what he is going to do in Albuquerque.

Gretchen and Elliott arrive home.  They are bickering about the difference between pizza and Thai food.  Their home’s entrance is so grandiose that they don’t even notice that Walt is waiting for them in the shadows.  As they enter their home, Walt follows them.  It is so creepy the way he easily allows himself into their house, just by hiding in the shadows.  The shot of him gently touching the wall was a brilliant showcase of Walt realizing what could have been his, had the circumstances been different.  He finds their collection of photos and picks up one of he and Elliott back when days were better.  Gretchen and Elliott make reference to having not been to Napa Valley in two years, which has been too long.  Ironically, our story started exactly two years ago.  Gretchen goes to turn on the fireplace and when she turns around, she sees Walt and screams.  Walt acknowledges the Schwartz’ and compliments their home.  Walt hold up the picture of he and Elliott and remarks on their view of the Sangre de Cristos Mountains.  This may be a geography error, since we assume they live in Santa Fe, and the Sangre de Cristos are in our home state of Colorado.  But the reference to the mountains named after the Blood of Christ are more important here.  The blood of Christ will play a major role in the following moments of the episode.  Walt compliments Gretchen on how she looked on Charlie Rose, giving a nod to the fact that Walt regrets not being with her in the end, perhaps.  He then asks them to walk to his car to show them something, a very eery invite from a man wanted in multiple murders.  Elliott raises a small knife at Walt, to which he responds with one of his final great Heisenberg lines, “Elliott, if we’re gonna go that way, you’ll need a bigger knife.”  Elliott promptly drops the knife.

Back at the Schwartz house, Gretchen and Elliott stack piles of cash on their coffee table.  Walt informs them the total is nine million dollars.  When they want to know where it came from, Walt demands they give the money to Walt Jr. on his 18th birthday, which is less than a year away.  He instructs them give it in the form of a trust fund.  It really is the smartest way to ensure his family gets some money.  He knows any other way and the government will take the money.  He also knows that the only people who won’t steal his money are the people who have more money.  Elliott and Gretchen reluctantly shake with Walt on the deal.  To ensure they will do as he has asked, he sends a signal out the window to two people who then set laser guns aiming for the couple.

gretchen and elliott

He tells them it cost him 200,000 dollars to hire the “two best hit-men west of the Mississippi.”  It seems so laughable he would use that term.  Only cowboys in old movies say west of the Mississippi.  Also, a thought ran through our heads… the two best hit-men cost ONLY 200,000 dollars?!  And then the way Walt touches their shoulders as he threatens them and Gretchen’s reaction made me root for the Heisenberg master mind behind this act. Notice that he also mentions that if they don’t give the money to Jr., that they could be anywhere and be shot.  He says Prague in a number of places he lists; Prague is the largest city in … the Czech Republic.  He ends his speech by telling them, “This is where you get to make it right.”  Walt clearly feels that they did him wrong and by giving the money to whom it belongs, they will redeem themselves.

Walt drives away from the house and the two hit-men run to Walt’s car.  Badger and Skinny Pete reveal themselves and hand their regular laser pointers to Walt.  When they question the morality of what they just did, Walt hands them their share of the $200,000.  Immediately, they say they are feeling better about what they just did.  Walt questions Jesse’s two best friends about the blue.  They genuinely think that Walt has continued to stay in the game.  Walt gets visibly upset that Jesse is still cooking; meanwhile, Skinny Pete and Badger are stunned he isn’t in Alaska, but proud of him for cooking, yet upset that he isn’t giving them any.  Aww.. I’m gonna miss those nerdy meth-heads.

Jesse is in a wood-working shop making a box.  He is being careful with his craftsmanship and takes a moment to sniff the final product.  He cares about the art, just as he once did with the meth.  Is Jesse like Jesus, a carpenter? Well he snaps back to reality when he realizes he is caught on his chain in the meth lab.  Walt is at Denny’s and we are in the scene we started the season in.  He arranges his bacon into the “52” and then goes to get his ricin.  He stands in his now empty living room and remembers when it was full of life at his 50th birthday party.  Hank tells him he should go on a ride along to get some “excitement in his life” and Walt responds “someday.”  Two years later, Walt has gotten most of the excitement he will ever get in his life.

Lydia enters the cafe in Albuquerque wearing her Christian Louboutin heels, rolling her very expensive luggage, and very unsuspecting that Heisenberg has been sitting there waiting for her.  She orders her standard chamomile tea with soy milk and looks for her package of Stevia in the sugar caddy.  I think everyone was rooting for the fact that this package of Stevia was different than most and just praying that bitch would get the ricin treatment.  Todd comes and sits down, attempting to compliment Lydia on her shirt..er… blouse.  She not so slyly slides the bag of money to him under the table, just as she had done with Walt at one point.  Walt then pulls up a chair to sit with them at their table.  I like this Walt.  He is so cavalier, he does not give a flying fuck if people are afraid of him or that he is just out in the open.   He seems to think that the methylamine is running low and can teach Todd a way to cook without it.  As he goes into a coughing fit, it is hard to believe him as a viewer.  We do know the truth, but it would seem that in real life, Walt is dying.  He says he needs money and Lydia, being afraid of being caught by the police, offers to have Walt talk to Jack.  When the waiter comes, Lydia shoos him from the table.  She asks for more Stevia.  Todd and Lydia agree they are not going to do business with him.  But little do either of them know, Walt has done his business with them both.  Lydia pours the Stevia in her tea and stirs her poison right into her drink of choice.  Being a schedule-oriented person isn’t always a positive thing.

Mmmm Mmmmm.. Ricin!
Mmmm Mmmmm.. Ricin!

In the New Mexico desert, Walt uses his science skills to build a motorized device to set the famed M-60 on.  It was so great to see the use of science and logic by Mr. White.  And it made me root for him again.  I don’t want to.  He is an evil and terrible man.  But we know he is going after the Aryan’s.  And we know he is smarter than they are.  And we just want him to beat them so badly.

We cut to a very small town home.   It has familiar furnishings: the painted photographs of Skyler and Walt Jr., the couch with the knitted afghan draped over the back, the china cabinet that used to sit in the living room of the White residence and the large wooden spoon that used to hang on the dividing wall in the kitchen.  The phone rings and Marie leaves a message asking Skyler to pick up the phone.  Noticeably, Marie is wearing white, much Skyler does in season 5b because the life has been sucked out of her. Skyler is smoking as Marie tells her that Walt is back in town, as the car he stole was found at Denny’s.  Marie says that Carol, their old neighbor, or was it Becky, saw him at the house and he looked like the Unibomber.  There are calls about his “manifesto” being made to several different agencies.  It is hard to believe that Walt is making these calls, as he seems preoccupied, but it is plausible because it would throw the police off so he can carry out his plan. Marie’s house is being watched as is Flynn’s school.  Skyler is warned that her house is probably being watched, too.   Marie says that she knows watching the houses is what Hank would do.  As annoying as she can be, she is still a good wife to Hank.  She then goes on and on about how dumb Walt is and how he isn’t a mastermind.  Blah Blah Blah.  But he is.

The next scene is one of the most beautifully shot out of the whole episode.  Behind the wooden post, Walt stands waiting for her to finish her phone call.  Skyler lets him know he has five minutes.  He is wearing his favorite outfit, a green button-up with khakis and his beige jacket.  Skyler lights up a second cigarette, her great coping mechanism, commenting on how Walt looks, terrible.  The camera pans and we can see Skyler’s face reflected in the microwave with the smoke flitting over it.  I wish Vince Gilligan had never admitted it was a happy accident because the symbolism of her fading away in the smoke was the perfect touch on this good-bye.  Walt tells her that he wanted a proper goodbye, not their last phone call.  Calling your wife a stupid bitch probably isn’t the best way to end things. She asks if he is turning himself in and he says, “They’ll be coming to me” solidifying the hope that the gun is going to do some serious damage.  Skyler expresses her fear of the people who came and threatened the family. Walt assures her that they aren’t coming back, after “tonight.”  “What happens tonight?” Haven’t we all been wondering that for years now?  Walt hands her the lottery ticket with the coordinates of the desert on it.  He tells her what to say to the DEA.  He tells her what really happened to Hank and Steve and that they are buried where the money used to be.  Walt tells her to use the ticket to get herself a deal with the prosecutor.  Walt and Skyler’s next exchange is the best of the episode and could be added to the best quotes list.

“Skyler, all the things that I did, you need to understand..”

“If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family..”

i was alive

It is the first time Skyler ever gets the truth from him.  And it was the first time Walt admitted it to himself.  As the camera pans back, the wooden pillar divides the two, showing the wedge that has always existed between the two.

walt and skylerWalt then asks to see Holly.  How gut-wrenching to see this man rub his child’s head for the last time, knowing that he never really was a part of her life.  Cops are waiting outside of the town house.  Flynn exits the school-bus, noticeably not the Dodge Challenger.  Walt watches Flynn enter the home through the glass of a nearby window. It seems so gutsy of him to be out in the open with the police nearby looking for him specifically.

Walt pulls up to the Aryan’s headquarters for his meeting with Jack.  Kenny comes out and admires the Cadillac that Walt picked up at the Denny’s lot from Lawson.  Kenny directs Walt to the “clubhouse”, but Walt carefully parks his own way, despite Kenny’s protests.  The Aryan’s come out to greet Walt in a not so friendly way and take his keys and wallet.  They ask him to lift his shirt to show he isn’t wearing a wire.  I was surprised that Walt wasn’t more emaciated.  He asks for his things back, but they don’t budge.  A lookout is told to stay outside.  Inside, Jack comments on Walt’s hair, and Walt’s things are thrown onto the pool table.  Walt asks if Jack knows why he is there, but declines to do business with Walt.  Jack lets Walt know that Lydia sends them small amounts of methylamine and the system is fine. Todd tells Walt that he shouldn’t have come back, referring to him as “Mr. White” still.  As the men decide to take Walt outside to murder him, Walt brings up that he knows Jesse is still alive.  Instead of killing him, he is now their partner.  It is a little unclear whether Walt truly thinks he is their partner or prisoner.  Either way, the use of the word partner sets Jack off.  Jack wants to know where “the rat” is.  A good reference for how many viewers have been feeling about Jesse because he has been a snitch.  Todd tells him he is finishing a batch and goes to get Jesse.  Jack makes his fatal flaw by being an arrogant son-of-a-bitch.  He is going to prove “how wrong” Walt is.  This is a proven way to die in recent history with Walt, but to each is own.  Jack then says that he will put a bullet in Walt’s head.  Todd and Jesse come back to the clubhouse and in the time the rest are waiting, Walt makes a move for his keys, clearly the trigger for the machine gun waiting in his trunk.  Just when the door opens, he his able to grab his keys. Jesse comes in full view of Walt, and, out of the two, is the one who looks truly terrible.  His face is badly scarred, his hair is long and matted and he looks very scared.  He looks at Walt as Jack mockingly calls him his partner and then quickly looks away.  In the background, Kenny reclines in a massaging chair, making for very annoying noises.  Walt lunges at Jesse landing on top of him on the ground.  To the Aryan’s, he looks mad, but really he is the sacrificial lamb to save jesse from what is about to ensue.  He pushes the remote for the keys and the machine gun goes off.  In one of his most epic moments, the Heisenberg sets off the machine gun that kills all but two of the Aryan gang.  The whole scene seems to last forever as the M-60 goes off, and in the process seems to hit Walt. The bullets go back and forth and as the gun stops, there is a line of bullet holes along the homes exterior.  In the ceiling to floor shot inside, we see Kenny’s dead body still being bounced on the recliner, calling back to Jesse’s hydraulics’ in the season 2 Tuco shootout. Walt rolls off Jesse and Todd goes to look outside, because lets face it, he is NOT SMART.

mr white gun in your carHe calls “Mr. White?!” and Jesse comes up behind him strangling him to a slow and miserable death with the chains he’s been locked in for months, finally breaking his neck.  It was so reminiscent of how Walt killed Krazy-8 in season 1.  If you weren’t screaming “Yeah, Bitch!” and clapping, you’re a robot, and an evil one at that.  Walt picks up a gun and approaches Jack.  Jack puts a cigarette in his mouth and tells Walt that if he kills him he’ll never find his…. BAM.  Walt shot him in the head first.  The blood splatters on the camera and we know that this isn’t about Walt’s money.

jack dies He turns and faces jesse.  Walt slides the gun to him and Jesse aims it at his head.  When Jesse hears him say “I want this,” he drops the gun and tells him to do it himself.  As Jesse said in “Confessions” he will never do what Walt tells him to again, and he doesn’t.  A ringtone calling “Lydia, oh Lydia” is heard and Walt approaches Todd’s pocket.  Walt answers telling Lydia that he has poisoned her using her own Stevia and his ricin.  She is left alone in her room with her sick face and humidifier.  Walt exits the house and looks on at Jesse.  They give each other a small nod, the yep only desperados can give each other.  Jesse gets in Jack’s car and speeds away, half crying, half laughing.  As he drives away, Walt opens his jacket, showing the blood from the wound he did receive in his side.

jesse free

Walt then enters the meth lab. He taps the pressure gauge.  He walks and finds a gas mask.  He is reminiscing on the one thing he was perfect at in his life. He looks at his reflection in the pressure cooker, as he has done so many times in his time as The Cook.  In that reflection, we see the cop cars approaching.  He touches the cooker and as his hand slips away, his bloody handprint is left.

blood on the cookerHe falls to the floor and we see his blank, dead stare.  He lays dead with his arms out and the police slowly surround him as the song “Baby Blue” plays.  Was Walt Jesus, as he posed like in the final scene?  Hardly.  Remember, Mr. White is the Devil.  But the way he died, it was on his own terms, and he was able to save the only family he had left.  A friend of ours mentioned that Walt looked more like Leonardo DiVinci’s Vitruvian man.  Walt is every man and every man is Walt.  We are all capable of being heinous people, yet we are also capable of being our best selves.  Dying in the meth lab after saving Jesse, letting Skyler off the hook and giving his money to Walt Jr. was Walter White at his best self.

walt is dead

It’s hard to grade perfection, but we will give what is the only grade to give:

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad’s“Felina” an A+.  There was no other way for the great Heisenberg to die but than to die in a meth lab. There was no other way for Todd to die but for Jesse to choke the life out of him.  Bringing the episode full circle, from the classic green shirt to allusions of the past.  It was the perfect end to a very imperfect chapter in the lives of those effected.

written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

Breaking Bad Review – “Granite State” S5E15

But it was personal… only read ahead if you are cool with spoilers…

This episode was considerably slower than last week’s “Ozymandias”.  Many scenes were quiet, and that is one reason Breaking Bad has been so great.  The premise is about drugs and guns, but the majority of scenes don’t involve either.  “Granite State” was quiet, but hard-hitting.  There were several scenes that were very hard to watch, or had you on edge of your seat.  It was what the audience needed after such mayhem just a week ago.

At the beginning of the episode, the ominous red van pulls up to … an actual vacuum repair shop… with front of the building’s design resembling the pick up spot.  Now you’ll never be able to go to the vacuum repair shop/U-Haul rental down the street without wondering what kind of criminal petri dish is hiding in the basement.  The Exterminator (that’s what I’m calling him) gets out and Saul follows, which was very unexpected.  It was unclear if this was how he came to ABQ or how he left, but we quickly find out it is how he left.  For the first time since the end of the 2nd season, Saul is not wearing his blue ribbon, which symbolizes McGill (Goodman’s real name) finally shedding his scumbag lawyer facade and becomes “just another douchebag with a job and three pairs of Dockers.”  Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) as The Exterminator takes Saul’s new ID picture in the shop, directing Saul to fix his hair.  Saul flicks his hair back like a woman preening in the mirror.

I'm so pretty, so pretty...
I’m so pretty, so pretty…

The exterminator makes the Nebraska ID.  Saul asks, “What’s in Nebraska?” a question which many people have thought of themselves.  The Exterminator tells him it will be a few days before he can get Saul out of New Mexico, but it will have to be faster than normal since his ads are still plastered all over the city.  Saul will have a roomie, and Saul looks at surveillance footage of Walt throwing a temper tantrum in his room.

Marie is in the DEA car.  She is being told by other DEA agents that they will find Hank.  Sadly, it is after the death of her husband that we find Marie the most attractive Marie has ever been.  As they arrive at the Schrader house, it is clear it has been broken into.  I guess we got this wrong last week.  I never thought the Aryans would actually go get a tape they weren’t sure even really existed.  As the agents realize the house has been compromised, two agents hop out and Marie is whisked away. I have no doubt that this will not be the last time we see the lady in purple.

In the background the viewer hears Jesse’s voice on the confession tape.  We see Jesse on the TV and the Aryans watching the video while drinking beers.  Todd looks at the video like he is proud while Jesse describes the “Opie dead-eyed piece of shit” murdering Drew Sharp.  The Aryan’s go out to Jesse’s dog-pound and Jack is ready to kill Jesse because of the tape.  Todd stands up for Jesse, saving him once more and then Jack realizes that Todd likes Lydia.  That would be the only reason to keep cooking meth after they have so much money. Jack also likens the uptight Lydia’s lady parts to a wood chipper.  Ouch.  In the dog-pound, Jesse pulls out the picture of Andrea and Brock from Todd’s meth lab.  He takes the paperclip from it and begins to pick the locks on his cuffs.

Back at the vacuum shop, Saul and Walt are having a jammy party in the basement, waiting for their new lives.  Walt asks Saul for a list of five hit-men.  Walt wants to kill the Aryans to avenge Hank and Walt’s money.  Saul says he doesn’t know any hit-men.  Walt tells him “you know a guy who knows a guy”, something that is classic about Saul.  Saul then gives Walt is first tid-bit of free advice: if he leaves, he is leaving his family high and dry and in danger.  He tells Walt that without him giving himself up, he is putting Skyler in jail because she would have no leverage for the lawyers to offer a plea.  The money and house will be gone and everything will be tapped.  Walt tells Saul he doesn’t want to leave and he will give all of his money to his children.  He must kill Jack and his crew, get his money back and then he will be through.  We’ve heard Walt say he will be through many times before.  He is also jumping the shark by believing he alone can take out Jack’s crew.  The Exterminator enters and tells Saul he’s ready to go.  Walt tells him that Saul and he will being going together.  “I’m not your lawyer anymore.”  Walt backs Saul into the wall and tries to use his best Heisenberg voice on him before he has a nasty attack of cancer-cough.  Saul tells Walt, “It’s over.”  And for Saul, it really is.

At the lawyer’s office Skyler, wearing her, of late, signature white, is hearing the white-noise of lawyers going back on forth on her case.  Her lawyer, certainly no Saul Goodman, looks over at her like a deer in headlights, which oddly enough is how he is referred to later in the episode.  When Skyler comes to, she answers the lawyers pleas for giving up Walt and she admits she doesn’t know where he is.  At the house, the police watch the White residence.  Skyler looks out her window at the beat down cop car and takes a drag off her cigarette, her vice when she is stressed the whole series.  Holly cries and she goes to check on the baby.  Three of the Aryan’s dressed in black with masks are in the nursery.  Todd talks calmly to Skyler.  She pleads for them to not hurt Holly and Todd tells her that he respects her husband.  He then tells her to not say anything about Lydia to the police.  We see Todd’s love for Lydia here, because it seems odd that she would be who he is worried about in Skyler’s confession to the police.  As he leaves, he touches her shoulder in such an odd, reassuring way.  Todd is so icky!

At the coffee house where Lydia and Walt first make the Czech deal, Todd dressed for a date and sipping a cup of Lydia’s signature tea and waits for Lydia.  Lydia refuses to sit with him, which visibly hurts Todd’s feelings, and lets him know she is going to back out of their deal, even saying they are going to take a break (ouch), because she is worried about being given up to the police.  He tells her his batch of meth is at 92% (Heisenberg Level!) because of Jesse.  Todd turns in his chair to look at Lydia.  He talks of their partnership as being more than just the meth deal.  He thinks they are in an actual relationship.  If anyone in that coffee shop were to look at them, they would think he was just as creepy.  He picks the lint off her blazer.  Weird-o!

Hey Girl.
Hey Girl. you can’t spell methylamene without ‘me.’

Walt is in the bottom of a propane truck.  He gets out of the awkward holding cell, and enters the cold, snowy emptiness of New Hampshire.  The Exterminator greets him as Mr. Lambert.  In the long shot, similar to the ones we get of the New Mexican desert, we see the vast amount of snow and trees and a very tiny cabin that will be Walt’s new home.  It will be a lonely life in the forest.

Walt wheels in his barrel of money into his new shack.  The Exterminator gives him the grand tour and gives him the all the downsides to the place (no internet, no TV, no phone).  Walt finds the two copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Mr. Magorium dies of cancer just like Walt, although his Emporium is way cooler than Walt’s).  The Exterminator tells him that he will make a supply-run for him in a month.  Walt is paying him a substantial amount of money to come back and check on him every month.  For news, Walt will get the Albuquerque newspaper.  Walt is insistent that he still has business to conduct, presumably killing Jack and the clan.  The Exterminator lets Walt know that he is wanted nationally by the DEA and that his face is all over the news.  He will surely be caught if he leaves.  The Exterminator says his goodbye.  Walt opens his bin of money and takes some cash out.  In classic Heisenberg fashion, Walt puts on the pork-pie hat, smoothing the rim.

Say my name.
Say my name.

He walks in a determined pace to the gate and sees the long roadway with nothing in else in sight.  Walt has a coughing fit, closes the gate and promises himself he will go to the town “tomorrow.”  The Heisenberg is still determined, but Walt still has cancer.

Back in the dog-pound, Jesse has uncuffed himself.  and he is struggling to reach the grate at the top of the cage.  He hears the voices clan and Todd walks to the cage.  Jesse is laying on his mat, cuffed again.  Todd lowers a bucket to Jesse with two different flavors of Ben and Jerry’s.  It is a “prize” for cooking 96% percent (closer to Heisenberg level) in the last batch.  Todd lights up a cigarette and watches Jesse eat his ice cream.  Jesse asks Todd to keep the tarp off the cage because he wants to “see the stars”, appealing to Todd’s softer side.  In a mad dash, Jesse takes the cuffs off again, piles this blankets and bucket to balance on and in the coolest Mission Impossible stunt, Jesse Tom Cruise’s his way to the top of the cage, hanging by one arm off the grate.

For a meth-head, he's pretty strong.
For a meth-head, he’s pretty strong.

He finally is able to get both arms on the grate, unlock it and run.  He sees the long fence surrounding the property, but does not see the cameras.  As he climbs the clan surround him.  He turns around and asks them to kill him.  Aaron Paul’s intensity is mind-blowing here.  The way he screams at them, especially the use of the F-bomb is so real.

Todd walks up to what we know is Andrea’s house.  It was hard to deny what was coming next.  This time, it is Todd who knocks.  Todd kindly approaches Andrea and as per usual, is very polite to her.  He lures her out by telling her that Jesse is out in the truck outside.  Considering this girl grew up in the hood, its amazing she falls for this.  But she does and Todd being so fucking polite tells her “Just so you know, this isn’t personal” and shoots her in the head.

What is it with AMC and killing off "Andrea"?
What is it with AMC and killing off “Andrea”?

I really can’t wait until that fucker dies.  Jesse looks on crying and screaming uncontrollably.  Todd gets back in the car and Jack warns Jesse that he needs to settle down and that “the kid” is still to be killed.  This was one of the hardest scenes to watch in all of BrBa history.  I didn’t have much of an attachment to Andrea, but rather what she represented for Jesse and any kind of normalcy he knew in the series.  Poor street smarts or not, Andrea was the last presence of innocence left in all of Albuquerque.  Forcing him to watch her die really could be the factor that causes him to go psycho on the psychos.

This was too heartbreaking to watch.
This was too heartbreaking to watch.

Back in New Hampshire, Walt is a little snow bunny.  He walks to his gate to let The Exterminator in for his monthly drop.  Walt did not choose to go out “tomorrow.”  He now has hair and a full beard.  The Exterminator brings Walt new glasses, as his aren’t working anymore (now we know how he got that look).  He updates Walt on his families well-being.  She and the kids don’t live in the house anymore, she works as a taxi dispatcher and she is using her maiden name (also Lambert).  The house is fenced in because it has become a tourist attraction.  The Exterminator pulls out the chemotherapy IV.  He assures Walt he can administer the needle because he watched YouTube videos (yikes!).  The IV hangs from the deer antlers on the wall where the pork pie hung earlier in the episode.  After the needle goes in, The Exterminator gets ready to leave.  Walt offers him 10,000 dollars to keep him company.  It is a new kind of sad and lonely for Walt to have to pay a stranger to sit with him in his condition.  As The Exterminator deals cards, it is hard not to notice the wall Walt has created of all the news paper clippings of his pictures and claims against Skyler from the newspapers.  Walt asks The Exterminator to give his money to his family after his death.  It becomes clear, this would not be the case, because who would rightfully give a free 11 million to who it belongs to?  Later, a very thin and sickly Walt wakes up form a nap.  His wedding ring has fallen off his finger due to his weight loss.  He ties the ring around his neck, still trying to keep his family a part of his being.  He looks at the boxes of Ensure The Exterminator brought him to gain weight and gets an idea.  He was warned to not wire the money, but not to mail it.  He puts the money in the ensure boxes and finally makes his trek to the one horse town.  Walt is clearly weaker.  He walks slowly and is coughing more.  Also, a note on AMC’s choice of commercials: whose idea was it to go from the shot from behind Walt walking into the stark snow to a back shot of Rick from The Walking Dead waking up to a zombie apocalypse.  Talk about a shitty transition.

Back in Albuquerque, “Flynn White” is called to the principal’s office, but not for anything his fault.  Carmen, the administrator Walt used to have a crush on tells him that his Aunt Marie is on the phone.  A fat biker lady is on the other line in a bar.  Walt takes a hold of the pay phone and tells his son why he did what he did.  He then tells him that he sent him a box of money for the family to Jr.’s friend, Louis.  Walt is degrading himself for not doing more.  Flynn has the opposite reaction Walt expects and freaks out about Hank and the money.  Walt says, “It can’t all be for nothing” while Flynn screams at him to “Just die already.” Again,  Walt is defeated.  It really could all be for nothing and his son hates him, an opposite reflection of when Flynn gets so mad that Walt won’t get chemo in the first season, telling him to die.  When the line is cut off, Walt makes another call, to the Albuquerque DEA.  It’s pretty amazing he knows their number by heart.  Anyway, he asks for the agent in charge of the investigation and tells them it is Walter White.  At this point, with nothing left that matters, he is ready to just give it up.  He leaves the phone hanging and is knowingly and willingly about to go down as the kingpin of Albuquerque.  He grabs a drink at the bar, “dimple pinch neat”, and watches the TV.  He asks the bartender to stop on a channel where he sees his old pals Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz being interviewed about their contribution to drug rehab facilities in the Southwest United States.  They are asked if this contribution was to cut the ties of Walter White “the methanphetamine kingpin” being the co-founder of Grey Matter.  They say that Walt had nothing to do with the company and where it went other than the name.  There is also a mention of the blue still being sold in the Southwest and Europe, even though the Walt is not the cook any longer.  When asked if Walt is still out there, Gretchen is sure that he is not.  Now that Walt has lost his family and his money, he now looks at the TV and realizes that his pride and legacy are gone, too.

Walt is all about his pride.  He will not take being an Ozymandias.
Walt is all about his pride. He will not take being an Ozymandias.

Walt’s life has come full circle.  He lost all credit for everything he did for Grey Matter, and now he has lost control of his precious blue meth.  Pride gets the best of him, as it should, or the story wouldn’t be consistent.  The theme song plays as the New Hampshire police swarm the bar.  As the enter we get a shot of Walt’s drink, the tip and an empty seat.  One of the best uses of music this series.

Nothing but the drink.
Nothing but the drink.

Hush Comics gives “Granite State” an A.  It’s hard to knock the writing, because it is Breaking Bad and the second to last episode.  It is hard to tell how much of this episode will effect what happens next week.  After the lack of movement in this episode, and how little we saw of Skyler or Jesse in the several month period, it is hard to see how the entire series will culminate in only an hour and fifteen minutes.  But as always, amazing acting and amazing character development. It was a bit disappointing to not end this episode where the season premiere started. There were about four months of time skipped to convey Walt’s physical depreciation, desperation and loneliness instead of focusing on other major characters and their lives during this  pandemonium.

written by Adrian Puryear

Breaking Bad Review – “Ozymandias” S5E14

Spoilers ahead

Agreed.
Agreed.

That shit was bonkers.

But before we get to that… let’s start off with the teaser. Enter the RV. And may I say, I’m so glad we get a glimpse of the RV one more time. It has been such a symbol to represent the show and I for one have truly missed it. We are at the first cook, as made clear by Walt’s lack of clothing and tighty whities. Jesse asks Walt questions about the cook and Walt says “The reaction has begun.” A great use of dialogue to sum up what that first cook really was. The reaction began for everything and everyone else in the series. Walt and Jesse step out of the RV and we get a close up of Walt calling Skyler with the background of the desert, the RV and Jesse practicing his karate moves. Walter tells the lie that starts all the lies that Bogdan has a “bug up his butt” and is making Walt stay late. The use of the “bug” in this episode is a nice little twist on the symbol. Meanwhile, Skyler is packing up ceramic crying clown that is dressed in blue and white, just like how Walt is dressed in the shootout from last week. The clown is also creepily crying red tears. The tears of the clown is usually an expression for someone realizing truths of their own life and it becomes too hard to handle for them. Once we come back to the shootout scene, it becomes clear the situation is too much for Walt. The fading of the first cook scene to present day is so well done. First Jesse and Walt fade, then the RV fades and then we just have the desert. From then until now has been quite a journey.

We join our BrBa buddies with the big shoot-out behind us. The gun smoke has cleared the air and we see that Steve Gomez lies lifeless on the desert floor, with Hank having a rather painful bullet wound in his leg – this guy just can’t catch a break. As Hank army-crawls towards Gomey’s shotgun, Uncle Jack and his crew find out that Hank and his partner are indeed law enforcement. The apathetic reaction that Grand Dragon Jack has to this news suggests that it wouldn’t have changed the initiation of their encounter a bit. As Jack reaches for his pistol to finish off Hank, Walter pleads with Jack to spare his brother-in-law, and everybody can just go on their separate ways, pretending that none of this ever happened. Walt even tries to buy Hank’s life by offering up the 80 million. Fat chance, Heisenberg. Walt also insists upon Jack using Hank’s name when before he was referred to as “fed”. Respect is a big deal to Walt and using one’s name is the utmost sign of respect. In what might have been his most heroic act of the series, Hank recognizes his fate and looks death straight in the eye, telling the head of the Aryan brotherhood to go fuck himself and taking back his name by not just being called Hank, but dying with his life’s work, ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) Schrader. Hank is a proud man, too, and decided to take control of his title directly tying it to his life’s work. Walt expects that Hank will want to save himself and in what will become one of the most memorable lines of the series, Hank looks up at Walt and says, “You’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago.” And then Jack shoots Hank point-blank in the head. It was so hard to watch, and the scene cut away before we even see Hank really fall. It wasn’t nice, but it was the what had to happen for the rest of the story to continue. Hank spent the entire time we have known him trying to take down the Heisenberg, and seemingly, he actually did it, because his own death is what set in motion Walt fleeing town at the end of the episode.

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

After Hank is shot, Walt falls to his knees. He lays on his side and cries uncontrollably. Todd looks at him and wipes his nose. Again, Todd is a reflection of Walt and feels bad for Walt’s loss, as he says a few minutes later. The similarity between Walt and Gus crying over the death of a loved one must be noted. Through the broken glass of Hank’s suburban, we see a shovel being pulled out of a car. Jack tells Walt that his directions were so specific. He knows the money is buried at those coordinates because Walt was too specific on where to go. He goes to look for Jesse by Hank’s car, but says there is no sign of him. I find this odd because we find out that Jesse is under the car. Who wouldn’t look under the car for someone? One man is sent to look for Jesse and the others uncover Walt’s money. They pull out the barrels and move Gomez’ and Hank’s bodies into the grave that Walt dug. Amazing imagery of the place that once held Walt’s money now holds his family. Jack tells a catatonic Walt that he is leaving Walt a barrel of his own money. Jack then tells Walt that Todd would be unhappy if anything were to “go the other way.” In this scene, Jack leaves Walt little choice to accept his terms, and in the same way that Walt embraced Jesse when he asked him to “start over” in “Rabid Dog,” the handshake here is a symbol of submission. Walt better accept that the two parties are even, or the Neo-Nazis will murder him and his family with the same reckless abandon that they just dusted two highly-ranked lawmen. Walt then does something unexpected; amongst all the calamity of watching his family member die in front of him, he reminds Jack that the deal is not complete until they kill Pinkman.

Why the importance of ending Jesse’s life? It’s evident that Walt holds Jesse accountable for Hank’s death (although it was Walt that figuratively and literally dug Hank’s grave), but why is it so paramount that Jesse is the last loose end? Even as they brush off his request with a “sure, if you find him, we’ll do it,” Walt has already spotted him underneath the Chrysler 300 and orders they end his life. The drag Jesse who is kicking and screaming from underneath the car. After a season of spiraling out of control and being lost in the abyss all fifth season, it was gut-wrenching to see Jesse finally fight to live. As Jesse kneels on the ground before Walt, he looks up at two black birds flying free in the sky, almost poetically, to explore the unknown blue, wild and free. I was almost convinced they would end his life there, until Todd saves the day, suggesting that perhaps they should find out what Jesse has told the feds before “doing the job.” Todd says that Jesse and he have “history,” which should somehow help him get information more easily, I guess. Having a history with Todd hasn’t been too much help for anybody thus far in the series and it no doubt insinuates torture and death for Jesse, a fate that Walt agrees with. As they drag Jesse’s defeated body away, Walt has one last anecdote to share with his former partner. “I killed Jane. I was there and I watched her die. I could have saved her, but I didn’t.”

I could have saved her...
I could have saved her…

I am not sure he said this line just to spite Jesse. The look in his eyes and the tone of his voice say that he is saying it to make himself feel better. It is something Walt has held in for a long time and this is his moment to get it off his chest. Jesse is put in the Aryan’s sedan and they drive away leaving Walt in the desert. The scene pulls back and we get a long shot very similar to the end of the teaser, this time Walt alone in the desert.

By the time we come back, the episode is at his halfway mark, but we just now get the credits. It doesn’t mean much for the episode, but it is worth noting. Walt looks at his reflection in the rear view mirror and quickly turns the mirror to look behind him at the desert. Not only does Walt not want to look at his reflection (reflection is a common theme in this episode), but he is looking at the scene behind him where Hank now rests. As Walt drives away, his car makes strange sounds and he sees he is out of gas. He gets out of the car and looks under it to see a gas leak. The next shot is so great because it is exactly the cinematography that matters in Breaking Bad. Walt stands to look at the bullet hole in the side of his car. The sole intent of the scene was not to show that we know why the gas is leaking, but we see Walt’s reflection in the car several times over. The most obvious reflection is Walt’s face with the bullet hole in his forehead. And for me, this confirms that Walt dies at the end of the series.

Good thing this show doesn't ever use foreshadowing... oops!
Good thing this show doesn’t ever use foreshadowing… oops!

We then see Walt rolling his one barrel of money through the vast desert. Several things are of note here. 1. Walt has finally learned to roll the barrel, unlike his grand theft of the barrel of Methylamine with Jesse. 2. He passes by the pants he loses in the Pilot episode, the same episode Ozymandias” flashes back to. 3. The song playing to the epic rolling. It is called “Time’s a Gettin’ Hard” by Eddy Arnold. In the lyrics played, we hear the chorus of the song, “Take my true love by her hand/Lead her through the town/ Say goodbye to everyone.” The rest of the song that we don’t hear is just as interesting, mentioning being happy a year ago, having a house, the money being scarce and having no place to go. My question is, who is his true love? It isn’t Skyler. Is it the money or the blue? This will most likely be answered once we find out why Walt comes back to Albuquerque.

Walt rolls the barrel to a man’s home on the To’hajiilee Reservation. The man looks out his window and sees Walt’s reflection coming up to his property. Walt offers to buy the man’s truck, and the man says its not for sale. But Walt is actually able to buy his way in this situation offering the man a stack of cash. Walt has the truck and loads up the barrel of money.

In the next scene, Marie enters the carwash to talk to Skyler. I love the production’s attention to detail. Marie is wearing black in this scene, a very rare occurrence when she normally wears her signature purple. The death of Hank touches everything. The two sisters sit in Skyler’s office. The shot of them sitting across from each other, Skyler wearing white, Marie wearing black and a purple orchid sitting between the two is striking. With a smug look on her face, Marie gloats that Hank had won, “dead to rights,” she believes was the way Hank put it. As much as it pained us to see Hank go, I was personally satisfied to see Skyler’s world turn to shit by it. Marie corners Skyler, telling her to give up the fake videotape she and Walt made and give up everything she knows to get herself off the hook, on the condition that Skyler tell Walt, Jr. everything. Of all the things I dislike Marie for, the prospect of making Jr. find out the truth from his family before a random officer was the closest endearing moment she’s had this season. Skyler goes from kingpin’s wife and accomplice to total victim in five seconds flat. In my opinion, she’s a total wuss and is willing to sell her husband down the river to save her own skin, using the children as a shield to hide behind.

The scene shifts to Jesse, who is chained like a dog in an empty cellar and has had the utter shit beaten out of him. Again. It seems as though the Aryans have already interrogated him for information, or fun, when the gate opens suddenly, sending Jesse whimpering and crawling into the corner. The right side of Jesse’s face is so beaten in that his eye is swollen shut, and it almost looks like it is missing. The symbol of “one eye” has recurred throughout the series and particularly in this season.

Eye See You.
Eye See You.

In total gentlemanly fashion, Todd lifts Jesse out of the grated pit and shows him their super secret meth hideout. Classic Bond villain mistake. Which brings the comparison of Jesse and James Bond in last week’s episode a little more to fruition. After chaining Jesse to a sliding ceiling pole, it becomes apparent that Todd’s plan all along was to have Jesse teach Todd to cook the blue. Now, while the words “Todd” and “plan” are seldom mentioned in the same sentence, it shows that Todd is not just a pawn in his uncle’s scheme, but is capable of his own actions outside of Jack’s posse. It can be assumed that he’s keeping Jesse a secret from the rest of the Aryans and we predict that, since thinking is not Todd’s strong suit, his journey will end in death during the next episode, in the way of some good old fashion Red Phosphorus to the face via Jesse, especially since Jesse sees a picture of Andrea and Brock hanging in Todd’s lab. This would give Jesse even more reason to kill the guy who either has a creepy obsession or is planning a future hit.

Back in the carwash office, Jr. is visibly upset and calls Skyler and Marie out on lying. But really, who is telling the customer’s to have an A1 day now that no one is manning the cash register? Anyway, Jr. calls them out and demands to talk to Walt. After realizing that Walt is supposed to be in jail, he wants to call Hank. Hank and Marie have always been better parents to Jr. than his own parents have been. Back at the house, Walt frantically packs his clothes and his family’s clothes. In the car, Jr. tells Skyler she is “as bad as he is.” It’s about damn time someone told her that. The shot of them in the car is also ominous. It’s usually not a good thing when the camera is following someone from behind, because they usually die soon after. We see the back of Skyler and Jr.’s head and Holly faces the camera. Is Holly the only one to make it out alive?

As the family comes together in the house, Walt yells to everyone to pack the things that are most important to them, Jr. wants to know if what Skyler and Marie told him was true, and Skyler is bent on why Walt is there and what happened to Hank. Walt tells her he negotiated and Skyler becomes increasingly angry demanding to know what happened. Walt says, “everything’s going to be fine,” the same thing Hank told Marie on the phone in their last conversation. Walt also tells Skyler that he “needs” her to trust him, just like he needed Jesse to trust him regarding Mike. No one trusts Walt anymore. Continuing the reflections of past conversations, Walt also tells Skyler that he has 11 million dollars and they can go and do whatever they want, very similarly to the conversation Jesse and Jane have when they want to take their money and go to New Zealand. Skyler then calls Walt out for murdering Hank. He yells that he didn’t but that he tried to save him. Walt will never blame himself for anything.

Skyler turns and in the same shot from the flashback, we are facing Skyler and into the hallway of the home. The phone and the block of knives are sitting on the kitchen island. Skyler grabs a knife, enters the hallway and puts her hand on Jr. to block him from her future attack. She tells Walt to leave and when he refuses she slices the palm of his hand. In a very dramatic scene, Skyler and Walt wrestle to the ground with the knife. It was terrifying to think that either one of them could be mortally stabbed in the fight. Due to Jr.’s abnormal forearm strength, he is able to put his dad in a headlock and save his mother. Jr. then calls 911 and lies that Walt attacked Skyler with a knife. Walt gets his bags, grabs Holly and goes to his new truck. Skyler realizes he has taken Holly and runs out of the house screaming. Walt backs out of the driveway, pushing Skyler’s car out of his way while she chases after the truck screaming. It’s a scene that the neighbors definitely overheard, as is the Amber Alert then put out on Walt for baby Holly.

Walt takes Holly to what we assume to be a restaurant bathroom (Koala Kare stations are usually only found in restaurants and airports) and changes her, taking an intimate moment out of his frantic life to be the father that, up to that point, he has not been. In large, Holly has been but a prop to Walt – a means to justify the monstrous acts committed throughout the series. Holly begins saying “mama” repeatedly, showing Walt that Holly is indeed not his, but Skyler’s. He has effectively missed the very precious moments that he hoped to cherish by making and selling meth in the first place. With his terminal cancer back and currently a fugitive on the run with no place to turn, Walter White commits the single most selfless act throughout the series. He calls Skyler and berates her for being a terrible person, mother and accomplice, implying that she could not follow instructions and that she should “toe the line, or end up just like Hank.” While viewers can follow that he is upset with her, he is uncharacteristically violent in his words towards her. It’s not until you see tears streaming down his face that the audience realizes that he knows he is being recorded and that he is going out of his way to clear her name of all charges, an act that Skyler would never do for her husband. He fights back the sorrow as he explains to Skyler that they will never see Hank again, sending Marie into hysterics and, in turn, accepting responsibility for his murder. Accepting that a lonely and shameful end is not one to be shared with his estranged infant daughter, Walt leaves Holly inside of the cab of a firetruck with what can be considered the least-attentive fire-fighters in the world.

Yes, I'd like one Hoover Max Extract PressurePro model 60 and a piece of my soul back, please.
Yes, I’d like one Hoover Max Extract PressurePro model 60 and a piece of my soul back, please.

As Walt takes his last barrel of money to meet the disappearer the following day, it brings up the question of where Walt was the previous night. It’s a pretty big blank page to fill; we know that he had to have called Saul to arrange for a new vacuum cleaner because he meets at the same spot Jesse met Saul’s “guy,” but we don’t get many answers as to what links this moment to the flashbacks in the beginning and mid-season premieres. It’s great symbolism that the viewers don’t even get a glimpse of who the guy doing the disappearing is. What we do get, however, is a closing season of the van driving away, likely to the Granite State of New Hampshire, and a dog running across the scene – noticeably without a leash. This has been a symbol for Jesse, the “Rabid Dog,” a “Problem Dog” and now a dog on a leash while Walt is the stray dog with no place to go. The news of Jane’s death being a play of Walt’s hand will not be taken without vengeance. We both firmly believe that Jesse will follow Hammurabi’s Code, taking a lover for a lover and, gulp, a son for a son.

Predictions for the rest of the series are wild in theory, but one thing is for certain – the secret is out. Marie, by way of Skyler and the confession tape Jesse made for Hank and Gomez, will out Walter White as the notorious meth kingpin of Albuquerque, and Carol will lose her oranges somewhere in the process. We believe in a future where Jesse or the Aryans murder the remainder of Walt’s family, save for little Holly, and spray “Heisenberg” sarcastically in yellow. We also predict a ricin-flavored cup of tea for Lydia, who is really the only loose end that needs to be dealt with subtlety. And we believe an epic showdown between the Whites and the whites are going to bring the series to a close.

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” an A+(++…+). A beautifully shot and written episode that tugs at the heart-strings and makes you cheer for others’ misfortunes. After watching the episode, the viewer feels like a true Heisenberg. There’s no going back now, as we are two weeks away from ending this tragic journey. Thanks to The Heisenberg Chronicles and AMC for the pictures in this week’s review.

written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib
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Breaking Bad Review – “To’hajiilee” S5E13

Spoilers below! Be warned… if you have yet to watch “To’hajiilee” the following will absolutely ruin it for you. Do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled. I highly suggest you do not read this if you have not watched the episode because the thrill of it will be lost on you once you do watch it… that being said… here is my recap and review.

jesse happy

So the above is pretty much my face after watching this episode. But before I get to that epic-ness, the rest of the episode is pretty darn important, too.

We start off in the meth lab the Aryans have made. Lydia is with Todd, his Uncle Jack and the other creepy white guy. Todd tests the meth he just made and it is at 76%. The best part of the two older Aryans interactions are their references to pop culture. They tell Lydia that the best the “Wolverine” look-a-like made was less than 70%, referring to Declan. I notice that Lydia is always wearing her blue jacket now-a-days. She represents “the blue” that she so desperately wants to attain again. Apparently she is dressing for the job she wants, not the job she has. The men all discuss that they believe the meth is tinted blue, even though Lydia has made it clear the product needs to be blue and it is not. The Aryans suggest they add food coloring to the mix, just like it is done to salmon. This just shows how little these men care about quality. Later on, Todd makes Lydia tea, addressing her politely as Miss Quayle, and then he tries in a very uncomfortable manner to hit on Lydia. Isn’t Todd like 18? It’s just gross. When she leaves, he rubs her lipstick on her cup and then drinks out of it. Before that, he receives the call (with the ringtone, “She Blinded me with Science”…is this only Walt’s ringtone on Todd’s phone, or everyone’s?) from Walt to kill Jesse. Todd asks no questions and offers to set up a meeting with his uncle.

Hank and Gomez meet up in a tunnel. Gomez then says that Jesse is safer behind bars than out in town in “open season”. I only note the importance of this because it becomes open season later in the episode. The tunnel they are in looks exactly like the one Jesse picks up his meth money from Victor. Oddly enough, Jesse then tells them his brilliant plan is to go after Walt’s money. That is where he really lives. I promised I would give a shout out to my friend Evan Lowe for getting that one right last week.

Back at Hank’s house, Gomez comes in with a brown paper bag. They have a cryptic discussion about another DEA agent not asking questions, but agreeing to “babysitting”. Gomez also lets Hank know that if “he” (at first I assumed he meant Jesse, but now I realize it is Huell) gets a lawyer, Gomez will put a stop to the whole thing. It is the first time Gomez has really stood up to Hank. It will probably be the last time. Hank takes out a brain (animal) and puts it on the kitchen floor. He turns to Jesse and says, “You’re up.” ‘What the hell does that turn out to be?” were my initial thoughts. Hank and Gomez go to an apartment where Huell is being babysat. They let Huell know, in a very large ploy, that he is on Walt’s hit list. They bluff and say Kuby is already missing. Hank also shows him a picture of “dead Jesse”.

You spilled something.
You spilled something.

Huell easily gives up that he moved the money to the barrels from the storage unit. He lets them know the details of the van, its dirt, where it came from, the shovel, and the exact description of the barrels. It seems that all this questioning of Huell and keeping him in the apartment is illegal. Even if it all worked out for Hank, would Huell’s testimony mean anything to a judge?

At the Aryan’s house, Walt, Todd, Uncle Jack and the other white guy discuss the price for killing Jesse. They assume Jesse is a rat and Walt states very clearly that “Jesse is not a rat.” Little do any of them know. He tells them that Jesse is “angry.” Again the Aryans and their pop culture references, asking if Jesse is The Hulk, Rambo or James Bond (ummmm is James Bond angry???). Walt tells Uncle Jack that Jesse is like family, so he can’t do it himself. When he says this Todd looks at Walt like he is hurt that Jesse is considered family. Uncle Jack agrees to the hit, but the price isn’t money, no matter how much Walt is willing to throw out there; it is to be their cook. Walt is very reluctant to agree, but eventually says he will do one cook after the hit is done. It seems strange that they would be so trusting that Walt would actually do a cook for them after the fact. They offer to do it that night, and Walt tells them he has to “flush him out” referring to Jesse. The tic-tac-toe game is in full swing. Who will flush the other one out first?

Walt goes to Andrea’s house and gives her the story that he can’t find Jesse. Andrea invites him in which seems odd because of her problems with Jesse and that she has only met Walt once at Jesse’s house. Walt greets Brock and Brock gives him one of these:

Da fuk you doin' here?
Da fuk you doin’ here?

I think it is clear that Brock recognizes Walt as someone more than just Jesse’s friend. Andrea calls Jesse’s phone and leaves a message. Walt tells her that he will call her later because he has her number. If I were Andrea, I would wonder why he had my number. She seems pretty cavalier about it all. Walt then goes to his car and instructs Uncle Jack and crew to wait for Jesse and not to alarm Andrea or Brock.

Hank listens to Andrea’s message on Jesse’s Hello Kitty cell phone. I know I mention this phone in every recap, but who thought it would become the symbol of season 5b? It is a reminder of the pink teddy bear; a cute children’s toy that has its innocence destroyed. After Hank hears the message he says, “Nice try, asshole,” mimicking Jesse saying the same thing to Walt in “Rabid Dog.” Hank doesn’t tell them about Andrea’s message, but does say they are going to continue the game by making Walt think there was a GPS on the van he used to bury the money.

Walt Jr. and Skyler are at the carwash. Skyler is teaching him the cash register, but she is really keeping him away from the house in case there are more problems. Saul Goodman enters the car wash. Skyler is freaked out that he is there and Jr. is starstruck. Walt approaches Saul as to why he’s there. They discuss that Huell is missing and that Jesse is still AWOL. Saul tells Walt that Jesse isn’t as dumb as Walt thinks. Walt has yet to find this out for himself.

Better call Saul!
Better call Saul!

Walt goes back inside. He lightly touches his jacket pocket checking for his gun. He looks on at his family in deep thought. And then the beginning of the end happens. Walt gets a picture message of a barrel of his money, or so he thinks. Immediately he gets a call from Jesse saying, “Did you get my photo, Bitch?” Yes! A bitch moment! Walt runs out of the car wash and gets in his car. Jesse tells him he is burning the money unless Walt comes to him. It is surprising Walt fell for this. He believes the van had a GPS and that Jesse has found the money. It is strange that Walt never realized on the way there what was really happening. But it shows what Walt really cares about and how blinded he is by the money. In this moment when Walt is speeding like a maniac to the desert and Jesse is playing him on the phone, Jesse pulls out one of the best “bitches” in BrBa history, “Fire in the hole, Bitch. There goes 10 G’s. Ah, nice orange flame.” Walt later confesses on the phone pretty much everything he has done, including killing Emilio and Krazy 8, killing Gus and poisoning Brock all the way down to how he did it. He never mentioned cooking meth or Gale. If this conversation is tapped, it still wouldn’t be admissible in court. Hasn’t Hank watched The Wire!? Walt arrives to To’hajiilee and realizes it was a set up. Walt lets out his own “son of a bitch.” He takes the battery out of his phone and drops it. He runs to the top of a cliff and then when he sees a car in the distance he runs back down, gets the phone, puts the phone back together, and calls Uncle Jack. When Walt realizes that it’s not just Jesse, but his brother-in-law and Gomez he tells Uncle Jack to forget the hit and hangs up. Hank looks all around Walt’s car and calls out his name. And for once we see authentic emotion from Walt.

You have something in your eye, Mr. White.
You have something in your eye, Mr. White.

After the last commercial break, the shots of the desert linger on screen. It is very reminiscent of when the cooking was happening out there. Walt shows himself. He drops his gun and walks to Hank with his arms up. This moment reminded me so much of when Gus walked right towards the cartel with his arms in the air. And then the moment that we have all waited for since the first cook, Walt is arrested. It seems like such a moment of relief, yet we all know that it can’t end like this. It is too easy. And illegal still because Hank and Gomez don’t have a warrant for the things they have done. But it still felt good to see it.

Gotchya, Bitch.
Gotchya, Bitch.

Jesse mentions that this is the first place they ever cooked together. Every episode of season 5b has allowed the audience to come full circle with the first season and particularly the first episode. During this whole scene suspense builds. It isn’t quite clear what we are supposed to be anxious about, but with Jesse hanging out in the background, it was hard not to wonder if he would be sniped by Uncle Jack. Gomez searches Walt and takes his car keys. I feel that this will be very important next week if anyone ends up getting out and using Walt’s car to do so. As Walt is being read his rights he is staring at Jesse like he is filth. He finally calls Jesse a “Coward” with hate in his voice. Jesse approaches him and does what everyone else has wanted to do at some point…

You have something on your face, Mr. White.
You have something on your face, Mr. White.

Finally, someone spit on Walt. It must feel awful to have a drug addict spit in your face. After their confrontation, Hank and Gomez take Walt and Jesse to different cars. Walt is in Hank’s truck and Jesse is in Walt’s car. Hank gives Marie a call to let her know he got Walt. Marie answers the phone and says the best Marie line of all time, “Hank, why is there what looks like brains in our garbage can?” While Hank is on the phone with her, he foreshadows the outcome of the end of this episode. “It’s gonna be a rough couple of weeks, but it’ll get better.” He also says “It may be a while before I get home.” Does Hank die? Or does he get seriously injured like he did at Salamanca twin incident? I find it interesting that Hank is wearing an orange shirt here, similar to the one in the Tuco Salamanca shootout scene.

Bad Ass orange shirts.
Bad Ass orange shirt.

As Walt is looking out the car window, he sees the Aryan’s cars pull up. He starts to yell for Hank, but Hank ignores him. Unfortunately, this could have probably been avoided had Hank gotten the hint and they hit the road. But they don’t and the Aryan’s pull up. Uncle Jack, Kenny (the guy I’ve been calling “the other white guy”) Todd and really another white guy point their guns at Hank and Gomez. Hank has a pistol and Gomez has a rifle. They are outnumbered and outgunned, as the main two Aryan’s have assault rifles. Walt attempts to yell for Jack to stop, but Jack ignores him. When Hank and Gomez don’t show their police badges, all out war begins. The Aryans are not afraid to use their ammo.

Holy bejeezus.
Holy bejeezus.

They go for the car Walt is handcuffed in because it is the car Hank and Gomez hide behind. Jesse seemingly starts to get out of Walt’s car. Walt is forced to weasel his way in between the seats of Hank’s car. It seems dumb for the Aryan’s to shoot up the car that their new cook is in, but they haven’t ever been for details I suppose. And then it ends. What?! Why?! Who lives? Who dies?

I truly believe that Gomez will die at the least. Of course Walt doesn’t. It is getting so close to the end and even harder to figure out how all these loose ends will tie up.

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad‘s “To’hajiilee” an A+. It was great to see who could outsmart each other better. Jesse and Hank are worthy adversaries. Walt finally was cuffed and cried. A likable moment for Marie And the cliffhanger ending was b-a-n-a-n-a-s. I have nothing to fault this episode for.

Before I end, did anyone else notice that Todd had the sissy gun??

todd pew pewwatch-out-we-got-a-badass-over-here-meme

written by Adrian Puryear

Breaking Bad Review – “Rabid Dog” S5E12

Spoiler City ahead.

Poor Jesse. No one cares about him. This makes me really sad. I care about Jesse. Skyler wants him dead, Saul wants him dead, Hank doesn’t care if he’s dead or alive, and Walt just put out a hit on him (it can be assumed the last statement is true). Everyone’s reaction to Jesse throughout the episode is as if he is a “rabid dog”, except for Walt (until the end), and maybe Marie’s gesture of coffee. Hank even points out that Walt cares about Jesse, as proven by Jesse’s confession tape and Jesse responds:

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It’s not only funny, but draws back to when Jesse calls Walt gay for stripping down in the RV before cooking the meth. Funny enough, Walt strips down in this episode, too. But instead of stripping down to avoid the toxic smell, he strips down to add the toxic smell. He even has his gun tucked in the back of his whitey tighties like in the Pilot episode. After coming home to find his home broken into and soaked in gasoline, Walt devises a plan. Before I get to that, the beginning teaser was the best scene of the episode. The suspense that was built when Walt is walking through his home with a gun entering the different rooms of his home until he gets to his bedroom was exhilarating.

walt

So Walt devises his plan to cover the gasoline smell. He tries getting the carpet cleaned and when that doesn’t work, he douses his clothes and car in gasoline. Then he tries to pass off the worse lie ever, a gas pump malfunction, on Skyler and Walt Jr. Even Walt Jr. can see through it. Jr. thinks Walt may have passed out while pumping gas. That would have been a better story than a “malfunction.” Why is the lie so bad? Perhaps this is the first time that Walt has really ever been scared of Jesse. He was very close to going through with burning the house down, and Walt thinks he had a “change of heart”, but isn’t sure what that change was. He is still banking on the fact that their partnership means something.

Several times through the episode, Walt proves his love for Jesse. He calls Jesse after he finds his house gassed down and tells him he wants to talk and to fix whatever it is that’s wrong. He calls again and sets up a time and meeting place to hash it out. And when Jesse shows up, it looks like Walt has brought backup, but really Walt did show up to talk. He may actually care about Jesse, in his own sick manipulative way.

What about those keys? Why was Walt so crazy about those keys? It makes sense that he doesn’t want Skyler to know the truth, but in great BrBa fashion, there is a reason that Walt was so bent on the fact the keys had to stay the old set. This will come up again. Along those same lines, when Walt and Jr. are talking by the pool, Walt tells Jr. that cancer will not kill him. I know I’ve thought it before, but what if Walt really does die of cancer? It wouldn’t be the best ending, but ironic, no? And Marie casually mentioning to her therapist that she thinks about poisoning Walt. She has even gone so far as to look up different ways to poison people. Well, at least she’s not stealing anymore.

Because of the carpet ordeal, the Whites go to a hotel. Outside of the hotel, Walt meets with Saul and Kuby in a car. Saul utters the best line of the episode to Kuby, “I never should have let my dojo membership run out.” Yeah that dojo membership would have really helped contain Jesse last week. To Walt’s surprise, Saul’s face is the work of Jesse and Saul says, “Yeah, but you gotta understand that deep down he loves me.” The subject of abuse is used sarcastically here, but everyone is in an abusive relationship, mostly with Walt, a theme that is becoming more and more relevant. It is discussed that Jesse cannot be found, not even with Badger (Beaver?) or Skinny Pete, although they have moved away from Star Trek and have moved on to Babylon 5. Saul then suggests that once they find Jesse, he should be put down like Old Yeller. Later when Skyler goes all Mrs. Heisenberg and suggests that talking to Jesse is not enough, Walt becomes very defensive to both Saul and Skyler. He insists that killing Jesse is not an option, even though they both think it is. His reaction to it suggests he is as loyal to keeping Jesse alive as he is Hank.

When Jesse is in the midst of dousing the White residence down, Hank enters. I gotta say, I knew that Hank was leaving work to go to confront Walt. I am glad I was right, but from here on out, I am not happy with the result. It would have been nice to see Jesse and Walt team back up like the good ole days, but it seems that will not happen again. Jesse goes back to Hank’s house and eventually tells his story to Hank and Gomey, who is now in on the investigation. Jesse being allowed in to a DEA agents home is interesting for two reasons. Its safer for Jesse, but more dangerous for Hank. Not only does Jesse, a meth addict and murderer, know where Hank lives, but Hank could also be fired for harboring a known criminal and not turning that known criminal in. I think what Hank did there was illegal. And he and Gomez both agree with Jesse that there is no physical evidence in Jesse’s account, though Jesse did give them a lot of info. They still have the possibility of Lydia, Saul and Todd. Instead, they decide to wire Jesse. Jesse tells them that wiring is not going to work. He fears that Walt has set up to kill him. He lets Hank and Gomez know that Walt is smarter than they are. He is still a little enchanted by Walt. He calls him The Devil, but makes it clear that Walt is very intelligent, lucky and is capable of anything.

Jesse’s confession isn’t seen on camera, but we do know that he gave up a lot based off things Hank mentions after the taping. But the one thing we do see is Jesse say that Walt was his teacher. Has Jesse finally learned from Walt how to beat Walt? When he goes to the Plaza with the wire to talk with Walt, he thinks he will be killed by a guy who turns out to be a random bystander. Instead, he calls Walt from a pay phone and tells him that next time he is going to go after Walt where he “really lives.”

This is not the face of someone who is playing nice anymore.
This is not the face of someone who is playing nice anymore.

Where does Walt really live? Is it his family? Is Jesse outsmarting Walt by saying this, or killing himself? When Hank picks him up in the van, Jesse tells Hank he has a “better way” of getting Walt. What is this better way? Hank won’t go for killing the family. It seems a little willy-nilly on Jesse’s part, but I hope he has something fantastical up his sleeve. And of course, Walt has things up his sleeve. The episode closes with Walt calling Todd asking for his uncle to do a job for him. Walt knows that Jesse is threatening his family and as loyal as Walt has been to Jesse, it is clear Jesse is no longer loyal to him.

Little Things

-Jesse drinks his coffee out of a DEA mug.

-Hank calls Jesse “partner” after he puts the wire on Jesse. Jesse pauses for a moment. He will never be Hank’s partner. He’s being used in an even more obvious way than Walt has been working him over.

– Gus Fring also hired other people to do his dirty work, but as we saw in last weeks episode, Todd’s uncle is not the clean killer Victor was. It won’t just go off without a hitch.

– Where is Lydia?

-The Hello Kitty phone. And that awesome ringtone. Is Hello Kitty the mascot of season 5b like the teddy bear was to season 2?

Predictions

I have said that the M-60 has got to be for the Aryan gang and that they aren’t happy with Walt. My new theory is that either Todd or the Uncle come to kill Jesse and Jesse kills them first, leaving the rest of the Aryans to think Walt set them up and now they are after him.

Hush Comics gives Breaking Bad‘s “Rabid Dog” a B+. Too much time was spent on the fake gasoline story and not enough time on what Jesse said to Hank or what he was thinking threatening Walt. Props to the acting, the suspense in the teaser scene, the emergence of Mrs. Heisenberg, and Jesse’s newly discovered leadership.

written by Adrian Puryear

Breaking Bad Review – “Buried” S5E10

Tonight, Breaking Bad‘s new episode “Buried” aired.  After last weeks big confrontation, it was expected this week’s episode would have some big bangs.  But there weren’t big bangs.  There were a lot of small bangs that seemingly is setting up for big things to come.  And with as many loose ends as there were last week, there seem to be even more after tonight.

Now.. here be spoilers..

You tell 'em, Huell.
You tell ’em, Huell.

The episode starts with one of the recipients of Jesse’s money finding it on his front lawn and seeing other neighbors who have stacks of cash on their lawns.  The man then finds Jesse in the park beyond the neighborhood.  Was Jesse purposefully waiting there?  Did he want to be arrested?  Is he still empty inside?  Unfortunately, we don’t find out in this episode, but Jesse obviously doesn’t care about anything anymore.

Next, Walt and Hank have a pretty good stare down on Hank’s driveway.  Walt tries to call Skyler, but Hank beat him to it.  Skyler then meets Hank at a restaurant.  The scene, like many throughout this episode is a lot of Hank talking at Skyler rather than an actual conversation.  Hank is very calm towards Skyler, almost babying her to give Walt up, yet when he talks about Walt, he gets angry, gritting his teeth, and he never calls Walt by name, but rather “animal” and “monster”, distancing himself from Walt by not calling him by name.  Skyler is calculating as Hank talks to her.  She wants to make sure she isn’t involved in Hank’s mind.  When she realizes she is not on Hank’s radar, she states she needs a lawyer for her own protection; she is not thinking about Walt or the kids.  She is thinking of what her crimes are and, I think, she is really thinking about Ted and how she is responsible for his injury.  Then Skyler does the very Skyler thing and causes a scene in the middle of the restaurant yelling, “Am I under arrest?!”  very much like her outburst to Marie to “SHUT UP!”

The comedic break of the episode was my favorite.  Saul’s henchmen, Huell and Kuby, go to the White storage unit to move the money.  Upon seeing the amount of cash, Huell feels it absolutely necessary to lay down on the bed of money.  After making fun of Huell with “We’re here to do a job, not channel Scrooge McDuck”, Kuby lays down in the money, too.  Really, who wouldn’t lay down in a bed of money if they saw it?

Walt is in Saul’s office and Saul is calling Jesse.  He tells Jesse’s voicemail to hide the money, but obviously, they don’t know what Jesse has done with it.  Saul suggests to Walt that he give Hank the same vacation Mike is having in “Belize.”  It is funny that this is how Saul words it, but it also proves that Saul knows that Mike is dead.  Walt’s reaction is important for two reasons: 1. He doesn’t deny that Mike is dead and 2. He exclaims that Hank is family.  This temporarily puts the kabosh on the theory that Walt will kill Hank.  This could change, because everything in Breaking Bad changes, but Walt is so angry when he says it, I think he may actually stick to not killing his family member.  There is a knock at the door, and Walt casually says “Belize.  I’ll send you to Belize.”  Does he??? If Walt kills Saul, that would be pretty messed up.  I hope this was not foreshadowing.

Huell and Kuby return with the money in barrels in a white van.  Walt gives them and Saul a cut, adding they need to find Jesse before he drives to the New Mexico desert.  He drives to what looks like the same spot he and Jesse do their first cook.  He pulls out a pick axe and shovel and begins digging.  Back in the ABQ, Marie approaches Skyler at the White residence.  Marie talks at Skyler about how long she has known Walt was the guy, without Skyler saying much if anything to Marie.  And then Marie slaps the shit out of Skyler’s face.  Those Schraders sure are violent people.  Marie yells “You won’t talk to Hank because you think Walt is going to get away with this.”  Which is the truth.  Then crazy klepto Marie tries to kidnap baby Holly.  After Hank intervenes in that hot mess, Marie gives Holly back to Skyler.  Later, Walt is still digging to some pretty awesome Mexican music.  He makes sure he finds his GPS location and memorizes it.  When he returns home, he pins a lotto ticket to the fridge marking the same numbers of where his money is buried.  Two thoughts on that lotto ticket.  If Hank is able to get back in the house, and sees that ticket, he will be smart enough to wonder why the Kingpin of Albuquerque is playing the lottery.  Also, what if Walt won the lottery?  Wouldn’t that be kinda cool?

Walt then goes to take a shower and Skyler talks at him asking if he moved the money and that Hank knows nothing.  Walt does not respond, per usual, but then he collapses half naked in the bathroom.  When he comes to, Skyler tells him she knows the cancer is back.  He asks her if she is happy that the cancer is back and she says she can’t remember the last time she was happy.  The scene is touching in a way because it seems that Skyler still does love Walt.  He tells her that he wants to give himself up as long as she and the kids have the money.  After everything Walt has done, its hard not to feel sorry for him.  At the crux of it all, it was all for her and their families well-being.  I think Skyler knows that.  Plus, she won’t narc if it means being rich, which we know Skyler wants.  Skyler informs Walt that Hank doesn’t seem to have real proof, and echoing Walt’s “best move” speech from last week, she advises Walt that their “best move is to stay quiet.”

Lydia arrives blindfolded to a junky looking desert area.  Once Declan appears, we can assume this is the desert of Phoenix, AZ.  Lydia is told she can take her blindfold off and confronts Declan about the low-quality blue his cook is producing as the Czech’s aren’t happy.  She asks to see the lab and she is taken to a man hole.  She goes down and comments on the filth of the place and that Todd (who by the by I was wrong about last week) should be cooking as his quality was better.  Lydia then clicks a button on her watch.  Instantaneously, there is a problem above and Lydia stays in the lab.  She checks her phone and then seeks cover.  There is a struggle above and then gun shots.  Lydia set up this hit.  When the dust settles, a voice so politely asks Lydia if she is ok.  Todd is above and helps her out of the hole.  She refuses to look at the bodies of the dead men (even though she virtually pulled the trigger), so Todd navigates her through the carnage as her eyes are closed.  Todd is freakishly polite for someone who is quick to kill little children.  We see that the Arizona guys have been taken out by the White Supremacist group who orchestrated Walt’s prison hits.  It seems to me that these are the people Walt must be at war with in our future scenes.  He wouldn’t bring a gun like that to a one man show.  Also, now that Todd will be cooking again,  it seems that the blue stuff will be coming back to Albuquerque, which could throw the DEA off it’s investigation as to who Heisenberg is.  Just a thought.  But the killing of the AZ guys by the Aryan guys is where we have created so many more questions.  There are a lot of holes to fill between now and the final moments of the series.

At the Schrader residence, Marie instructs Hank that he must involve the DEA into the investigation of Walt.  Hank knows that if he tells his partners and boss this information, he will be done in his career.  He insists that when he brings it up, he will have the proof and be the guy who brought the Heisenberg down.  And I think this may be Hank’s undoing.  Just like Walt, Hank is a prideful man.  He must be the hero and the winner.  Will he do something illegal in order to get Walt and in the process not be able to get him behind bars because of it?  Marie tells Hank he must tell or else he will be in trouble for not once the DEA finds out.  Hank goes into work asks Gomez to set up a conference call with their boss.  Before Gomez does, he tells Hank that Jesse is in interrogation for throwing money.  We cut to Jesse and see his favorite douchebag cops talking at him.  Jesse doesn’t respond.  Hank, going against Marie’s demands,  asks the cops to go in and then we get the credits.  The credits!  So upsetting, but a brilliant cliffhanger.

Theories:

Will Jesse flip on Walt?  In the past we have seen Hector flip on Gus because of Walt’s way with words (and bomb making).  Will Hank’s smooth talking get Jesse to talk?  I think he may.  But I fear that means Jesse will die.

Next week’s episode is titled “Confessions.” This may not refer to Jesse talking to Hank, but it could mean Walt confessing some if not all his infractions to Jesse.

Lydia just has to die.  Maybe not next week, but eventually.

Neither Hank nor Walt will bring each other down.  Their own pride will be their own downfall.

“Buried” gets a B+.  Jesse had practically no screen time and no dialogue.  Otherwise, Hank is treading hard, Blue Sky is on its way back to ABQ, making money angels, and Walt and Skyler 2gether 4eva.

written by Adrian Puryear