Walter White (Bryan Cranston) shows his dark side

Well, you didn’t think Walter White was going to get away Scott free, didya?
Sunday night’s fifth season finale of Breaking Badstarted out like an homage to spaghetti western auteur Sergio Leone: all close ups of flies juxtaposed with pull focus close-ups of squinty eyes, plus lots of dead air and atmosphere. Clearly, creator Vince Gilligan was trying to drive home the fact that Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has been in this from the beginning for A Fistful of Dollars, then A Few Dollars More. He’d been Good, broke Bad—and things are about to get real Ugly.
SPOILER ALERT: stop reading now if you haven’t seen Sunday night’s episode and don’t want to know what happens. Seriously, run far, far away.
After the big shocker the week before—Walter offing Mike (Jonathan Banks)—there was plenty of clean up to do.
Todd (Jesse Plemons), that nice kid from Friday Night Lights who is now Walter’s new meth cook, helps dispose of Mike’s body. “Pretty cool when they do that—turn a car into a cube,” he tells Walter. Todd is either incredibly cold blooded or just as dumb as a rock.
Jesse (Aaron Paul) has had about enough of this killing stuff and wants out. Walter tells him “There is no we” anymore anyway, so Jesse takes the hint and scrams.
Walter put on his pork pie hat, dark glasses and best gangsta face and meets with Lydia(Laura Fraser) at a non-descript fast food restaurant. He wants the list of nine names (now 10 counting a lawyer) who can pin this on him. She gives up the names but first proposes a deal that could double Walter’s meth money by selling drugs to the Czech Republic. Her take: 30%. Deal, says Walter, so pleased he doesn’t kill her.
Next, list in hand, Walter meets with Todd’s hit man uncle and orders a take out on nine guys in three different prisons.
“It can be done, just not the way you want it,” says the uncle.
“It can be done exactly how I want it–the only question is are you the man to do it,” counters White.
Then—with Nat King Cole crooning “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start All Over Again,” guys in orange jump suits get whacked ugly in three different prisons. Mission accomplished.
There’s an awkward scene where Walter and Hank, his hobbled DEA brother-in-law (Dean Norris), sit opposite each other, Scotches in hand. Rocked by all the prison murders, Hank longs for the days when he was just a kid outdoors. “Tagging trees was a lot better than chasing mobsters,” he tells Walter.
Cut to a groovy montage of meth making starring Walter and Todd in yellow Hazmat suits as Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and the Shondells plays in the background. The Czech deal brings in truckloads of cash.
Meanwhile, Walter’s wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) has had enough. She takes her husband to the secret storage location where all his loot–millions of bills of various denominations neatly stacked in a pile about as big as a Buick—are kept. “How big does this pile have to be?” she asks.
Walter agrees it’s big enough, a decision possibly made urgent by a recurrence of his cancer. We don’t actually hear that diagnosis—it’s just inferred.
Still, something seems to soften Walter. He scares the hell out of Jesse by dropping by his dingy, bong blasted apartment and saying hello. The two awkwardly reminisce about their battered old RV. It’s the tensest small talk ever. Walter then leaves Jesse his cut–two giant bags full of cash. Jesse is so grateful he drops the loaded gun he was going to defend himself with.
Debts paid, squealers silenced, there seems to be nothing but blue skies ahead. The entire family gather in the backyard by the pool. Granddaughter Holly gets a little more sunscreen.
As the episode ticks past the hour mark, Hank goes inside to use the washroom. He reaches for a little reading material and stumbles on a book of poetry by Walt Whitman—Leaves of Grass. It is inscribed to W.W. Hank flashes back to an earlier confrontation and makes the connection to Walter White. The unthinkable is confirmed. White is Heisenberg. Hank KNOWS.

We all knew this day was coming. Now we have to wait well into 2013 for the final, eight episode conclusion. AMC, you know we are hooked.

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