It’s fascinating to watch Walt now play at being Heisenberg. You watch Saul back away from him as he’s threatening him to comply and GIVE HIM SOME HIT MEN, DAMNIT, but Saul’s fear is more of the “This dude’s a complete nutter, and I’d like to get away from him before he goes off the deep end,” vein. The fire of vengeance makes him pretty threatening, of course, but it’s not the same. At least until the end of the episode, when his former partner, Elliott, and his wife, Gretchen, quote the exact recipe for Heisenberg and bring him fully back. Well done, idiots. To say that all he gave the company was the name wasn’t even a plausible story anyway. And then for Gretchen to dismiss the possibility of his existence. Hello? Way to incite the beast, dumbass! You can see his face transform from Walt, the dying father who has just fully realized that the loss of his son is a final matter and made the call to bring the DEA to his front door to Heisenberg who is ready for the final showdown with all those people who refuse to acknowledge his greatness and his supremacy. (This certainly includes Jack. It would have been more respectful to kill Walt. Particularly after killing Hank. But Walt isn’t a threat to Jack, so he gets to live.) Looks like Schwartz might have bought his own ticket, too. The little insignificant fool. (ED. Note: Obviously these two and Gray Matter were incredibly significant at the onset, and at the beginning were major drivers of the Heisenberg bus of destruction, but so much has taken place since then, and up until that interview, I think Walt believed he had finally bested them.) He wasn’t even on the radar. Maybe Gretchen as well. She was certainly extremely dismissive in that interview.
So Heisenberg is back by the close of the episode, but Walt was just wearing the persona at the beginning. I’m not sure at what moment Heisenberg was stripped from Walt. Was it the return of the cancer? Was it when he decided to quit the meth business? I always write these silly posts and then start reading the real reviews to see what I got totally wrong (almost always 90-100%) and what I misread. I think some of the reviews I read last week completely misread that phone call between Walt and Skyler. Some reviewers were pretty adamant that Heisenberg made that call and there was nothing but contempt and threat in there. No attempt to scrub Skyler of complicity in the crimes. But we’ve heard Heisenberg talk to Skyler before. “I’m the one who knocks.” Remember that one? Compare that conversation with last week’s call and you’ll see a distinct difference. Even if you couldn’t see Walt’s face crumpling from time to time with the weight of the words he’s flinging at Skyler, you can hear the hesitations. Oh sure, there was some anger in last week’s call. Anger that Walt didn’t have to dig too deep to find. But Heisenberg doesn’t really operate in emotion. And that phone call was all about emotion. I think Heisenberg hasn’t been around for a while. And I can’t quite put my finger on when he left. I’ll have to go back and rewatch the season to decide. But he’s certainly back now. Just in time for the finale.
Todd is one scary sociopath and watching him smile makes me shiver. He’s a very effective bad guy. That scene with them in Holly’s nursery scared the bejesus out of me. But the show hit a new low even from there for me. Watching Todd kill Andrea was the death that hit me the hardest. OK, wait. I’m forgetting how awful Mike’s was. But this one was extremely tough. I was expecting them to kill Jesse when he escaped. I was prepared for the gunshot. I was terrified for that death because Jesse deserved a better exit than that. And yet, I think that might have affected me less than this. Maybe it was the way the scene was filmed? Maybe it was that Todd was the executioner? Maybe it was the fact that yet more emotional pain is being inflicted on Jesse, and I don’t know how much more his character can possibly bear? I have no idea. This was the first point of the entire series that I thought, “I might not be up for the end game.”
So, here we go. It still has to be a Jesse and Walt/Heisenberg end. Jesse’s character is too important and has been put through far too much to be killed (if that’s his BB end) by a lesser character than Walt/Heisenberg. And frankly, the reverse is probably true as well. Though Skyler would be a very satisfying substitution. But this is Breaking Bad, so I’m sure something I can’t even dream up will be what happens and will be the perfect ending. I’m ready.