Breaking Bad is currently looking over a precipice, staring into an abyss which has no end. Its toes are hanging over the edge and things are getting wobbly. A tiny movement can send it over the edge forever. But this is only the third to last episode of the second to last season. How can Breaking Bad go over the edge now? I have no clue, but the writers hammer the direness of the situation in the final 10 minutes, letting no stone go unturned.
To recap, Walt pleads with Jesse one last time, but that option was gone two weeks ago. Jesse has moved on, both professional and personally. Still, Jesse tells Gus not to kill Walt, either because he's a nice guy or figures that Walt in the picture gives him a potential exit. In any case, Walt strikes out with Jesse,
This leaves Walt to get tased and dragged to the desert where Gus clearly lays everything out: Walt won't be killed until Jesse gives the order, but Hank will be killed, and if Walt interferes, everyone dies. Walt begins to chide Gus about keeping him alive, trying to pull out that old Heisenberg magic which saved him a season ago. Except Walt has nothing. No cell phone, no big secret, nothing to leverage. As the sun goes down, so too does Walt's hopes.
On principle, Walt refuses to let family die, so he runs to Saul for the nuclear option, saving Hank and then running off forever. The entire package costs tons of money, which Walt is supposed to have. However, Skyler gave $600K to Ted and there's not enough left. Walt cries and laughs manically as Marie calls to tell Skyler about the threat against Hank. It's a twisted final scene, to be sure, but it also feels appropriate as if it were coming all along. The situation, once controlled solely by Walt, has spun out of control and he has nothing left. He has a bunch of money, but it's no good if he can't buy freedom. He has his family, but they're all going to be killed soon. Walt has nothing left. Damn... As always, Bryan Cranston is amazing, with the crazy urgency and distress one would expect of a dying man.
After a relatively slow start to the season and an unusual degree of complaining, there shouldn't be anyone complaining anymore. Every episode for the few weeks has ended on a bombshell and there's no question Vince Gilligan has a firm grasp on the show.
I've said that I didn't like the Ted plot, but I liked how it was wrapped up. While Saul's guys force Ted to give the money to the IRS, he slips on the rug and kills himself. It's humorous and silly, just what the show needed before the last act. Of course, the Skyler giving him the money have major plot implications, so it was a nice way to tie it all up. I guess it was a tad contrived, but you won't get any big complaints from me about it.
The question on everyone's minds is how Walt will get out of this one. There are 18 episodes left, of course, which means Walt will live for quite a bit longer unless there is the greatest coup in television history and Walt actually dies in the next episode. What options are left? It seems like the most logical choice would be to run for Hank, whose been on Gus's trail and has the friends to keep Walt safe for a while. I'll be eagerly awaiting next week's episode to see what happens.