I reviewed last night’s penultimate Breaking Bad for Rolling Stone. I focused on the last things we see of Walt and Jesse before next week’s finale, which really will be the last things we see of Walt and Jesse.
I had a few more thoughts that didn’t make it into the review:
* The casting of Robert Forster as the disappearance specialist is, I think, even better than it seemed with that first flush of “Hey, it’s Robert Forster!” Seriously, to come up with an actor with the recognition factor and gravitas necessary to play that part, yet who wouldn’t be so famous or so showy that showing up for the first time in the penultimate episode would throw the whole thing off balance? That’s miracle working is what that is.
* At first I found Todd’s demurral over murdering Skyler difficult to believe, particularly after he killed Andrea and grinned while watching Jesse tearfully talk about his murder of Drew Sharp. But the only explanation for it, that he truly does respect Mr. White so much that he wouldn’t kill his wife unless she gave him no other choice, actually works, because after all it’s the only reason Walt himself is alive right now, too. If you were Uncle Jack, you’d have killed Walt, buried him alongside Hank and Gomez, taken his $10 million, and tied off that loose end for good, right? But Jack explains to Walt that they’re not doing that because Todd doesn’t want them to. If that’s true, and apparently it is because why else would they spare him, then I can buy that Todd would threaten Skyler rather than kill her, even in the face of Lydia’s disapproval.
* A bit more of a credulity strain is the vacuum repairman’s continued contact with Walt. Wouldn’t the heat on Walt make him less likely to maintain a working relationship with him, not more? Is Walt just the richest guy he’s worked with, and the money’s what’s keeping him around? If that’s the case, what’s to stop him from killing the sick and helpless and isolated Walt and taking all the money instead of accepting it in $10k/hour installments? Is it just a sense of professionalism? Even if it is, how would word of his betrayal of Walt ever get back to anyone and affect his reputation? I guess, like Heisenberg, some people just take pride in their work.
* One of my favorite moments of the episode was Marie’s disorienting arrival at and departure from her house. I loved how tight the camera was at all times, how it took a while for it to be clear what the hell was happening, how it all happened so quickly. Part of me would love if that’s the last we see of Marie, her face full of confusion and dismay, submerged for good in the chaos Walt has wrought.
* I was glad to see Carmen’s the principal now.