Sorry for the tardiness this week. I make it a point to get these out by noon on Monday’s but unfortunately some personal obligations got in the way. Thankfully there’s a lot to talk about this week
“Branding” was thrown all over this episode. Lydia gave a lecture to Uncle Jack and crew about the importance that Todd’s slightly improved – albeit still bellow standard – product is blue, Walt Jr. learns to tell everyone he sees to have an “A-1 Day,” and Saul makes sure he’s our “one call” when we get a DUI. However the best brand this week was that of series-veteran Michelle MacLaren who directed one of the most memorable episodes and sequences of the show’s five season run.
While it was obvious the cell phone photo was a fabrication – credit to production for using flip phones because we are only in roughly 2009 – Walt’s drive to his secret stash is one of the most exciting sequences the show has ever done. It was surprising to see Jesse continually drop his catchphrase during his conversation was surprising as the character’s catharsis didn’t carry through the audience thankfully it was still riveting.
Vince Gilligan is emphasizing that the end is near and we only have making it very clear there are only three episodes left. The final sequence of this rang very similar to “The Red Wedding,” the penultimate episode of the most recent season of Game of Thrones. We’ll have to wait till next week to see what happens in the gunfight but Hank finally catching Walt, his phone call with Marie and my theory that the final episode will be all flash-forward put strong odds on Hank sinking to the bottom of a hydrochloric acid barrel.Audiences being trained to expect the worst for good people who achieve their goals hurts the cliffhanger here. The show hasn’t ever bothered me with the way it creates cliffhangers in the middle of big events even though I’m more partial to game changers that emphasize the changing of the game board like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos or The Wire but here it only seems like a matter of minutes into next week’s episode when we are mourning the loss of Hank Schrader.
Last week I had issues with the coincidence in Hank and Jesse leaving the White residence just before Walt returned. Uncle Jack’s arsenal showing up at the end avoided that by planting the proper motivation. While Todd’s skills have improved, he won’t be appearing on Bravo’s “Top Meth Chef” anytime soon they need Walt’s skills – it looks more and more like they’re going to have to settle for Jesse though. This again show’s the skill of MacLaren’s direction in hiding the clues like Saul wearing a bulletproof vest.
At this point the rest of the series is laid out fairly clear. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little disappointed. I can’t decide if any show can live up to the expectations for its ending or if it’s an issue with this specific story. For some reason, I want something more grand than Walt saving Jesse from Uncle Jack in the same way the “cork,” analogy was underwhelming on “Lost.” This time though, I have no doubt it’s going to be exciting. While the path for the final three episodes seems fairly laid out in front of us I wouldn’t put it past the show to put another trick or two past us.