Episode: ”Ozymandias” (5.14)
Original Air Date: 9/15/13
Written by: Moira Walley-Beckett
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Line Synopsis: Walt, uh… And Hank, um… Then Jesse, uh… But then Marie and Walt Jr…. um… And Skyler’s like, uh… Death. Shakespearean. Stuff.
Walt reaches his most pure form of evil in this episode, yet also commits his most redemptive acts yet. In the aftermath of the gunfight with the Neo-Nazis, Walt begs for Hank’s life. But the attempt, as Hank rightfully understands, is futile. Finally completely broken at the loss of Hank, Walt spots Jesse and turns him over to Todd and the Neo-Nazis. But not before telling Jesse he stood there and watched his ex-girlfriend die of an overdose and didn’t do anything to help. Then knife-fights with Skyler, yells at his son, and kidnaps his baby girl. But it’s not until his final discussion with his wife over the phone and he starts tearing up that you realize he’s regaining some sense of humanity and is putting all the blame solely on himself so she can’t be arrested for participating in his schemes.
Marie makes a pretty major mistake. Her pride and sense of justice takes her over as she goes to gloat (though that may be too strong a word) to Skyler about Walt’s arrest, not realizing what’s happened out in the desert. She forces Skyler to tell Walt Jr. the truth about his father, which totally destroys what little family dynamic they had left and causes a huge fight later when Walt is furiously scrambling to get them out of town.
The episode is titled Ozymandias, which–if you know nothing of poetry–is a poem about a traveler who had come across an old, destroyed stone statue in the desert with an inscription saying he was Ozymandias, king of kings, and how he rules all. Of course the poem is a bit of a cautionary tale of how all empires fall and all leaders–ruthless or otherwise–will one day meet their end. And it’s a perfect connection to this episode.
Walt now has nothing. He loses almost the entirety of his money. He loses his family. He gets rid of Jesse (for now). He even departs with his name and, at the end of the episode, is given a new identity and moved away by Saul’s guy. Everything he worked for is no more. He has nothing, and nothing to say for it. In what is being heralded as one of the greatest moments in TV history, Walt calls Skyler knowing full well the police are there listening in. So he gives what starts out sounding like an evil, mean-spirited speech. But as it goes on, you start to realize he’s doing this to clear her name and put every ounce of blame on himself.
This was one insane episode, moving from one heartbreaking and/or WOW moment to the next. It was truly Shakespearean in how every character faced some form of tragedy or caused some form of tragedy. Nobody comes out of this OK. Everybody is broken here. There’s even–finally–a solid reason for the Todd/Lydia cook subplot. I had been worried all it was setting up was the shoot-out, but they have a legitimate reason. It’s keeping Jesse alive to help cook purer meth. And if he doesn’t want to do it, they even put up a picture of Andrea and Brock to give him a little persuasion.
I honestly don’t know what else to say about this episode. It was amazing. The next episode will most likely be a jump into the future a bit or have some kind of montage to get there. I’m also assuming that ricin is going to be used on either Todd, Lydia, or Todd’s family. I heard a rather good theory it will be Lydia, because they’ve been focusing on her and her tea drinking quite a bit since introducing her. I’ll be honest… all I’m really hoping at this point is that Jesse somehow makes it out of all of this alive. I’m rooting for you, kid.