Beware! This article will spoil you utterly, so read no further unless you watched the episode titled 'Ozymandias'.
Last night's Breaking Bad was not a rollercoaster ride of emotion - it was a headlong plunge into a bottomless pit of despair. Every minute brought some fresh horror, but here are 10 of the absolute most horrifying moments.
Maybe Hank survives? Oh...
It was cruel enough to see the camera pan across Steven Gomez' lifeless corpse at the end of the gun battle, but Hank's end was a real kick in the teeth. With Walt begging for his brother-in-law's life, the poor abused viewer is led maybe to believe that a DEA agent captured in a shootout with white supremacists might just make it through alive. We are given, in fact, exactly enough hope to hang ourselves with before the man with the swastika neck tattoo puts a bullet through Schrader's head. The fact that he doesn't quite utter his last words is a final indignity.
Walt gives Jesse away
During all this desert palava, it's quite easy to forget that Jesse was present for it too. And after Hank, we need someone to root for, even if he is stranded in the New Mexico desert without a car. But no sooner are we reminded of Jesse's existence, Walt is giving him away. This is Walt's revenge on his erstwhile partner, whom he apparently blames for Hank's death. Well, one of his revenges...
Walt tells Jesse how he let Jane die
Before Jesse is hauled away for a spot of enhanced interrogation at neo-Nazi holiday camp, Walt, in all his unlovely rage and grief, finally lets his protégé in on one of his other big secrets: he was there when Jesse's former girlfriend died of a heroin overdose, and instead of rescuing her from choking on her own vomit, he let her die. This might be Walt's worst ever moment, which is saying something.
Jesse's tortured face
He's seen his victory over Hank thwarted by the world's meanest cavalry, he's been ratted out by a man whom he now knows has left one of his girlfriends for dead and poisoned the son of another, and then he's dumped onto the cold hard floor of an oubliette to await his execution. And that isn't the worst of it for poor old Jesse. The slow turn of his scabbed, brutalised head in that pit is truly spine-chilling. Nearly as spine-chilling as our (and his) realisation that genial old Todd is going to turn him into a meth-slave.
It isn't bad enough that all of the above has happened to poor Jesse, who, let us not forget, had just wanted to sell a bit of crystal meth to his chums. Because his release from the dungeon only happens so he can be chained to the ceiling of a meth lab so he can help Todd make Heisenberg-standard crystal and win the affection of Lydia. Could he refuse? Sure, provided he doesn't mind the photo of his ex Andrea and her son Brock menacingly pinned to the wall of the lab.
Knife fight in a suburban home
This whole scene should count as a heart-wrenching moment. From the point Skylar grabs a kitchen knife and slashes at Walt, to the split-second he's spent kneeling on her chest, weapon poised, to their son's desperate tackle of the dad he thought he knew off his mother's prone form, the entire sequence is tremendous, if a little hard to process considering all earlier depredations.
So if that's hard to process...
Walt, who has already comprehensively given leave of his senses, adds the coup de grace he couldn't manage with his knife by kidnapping his infant child and driving off. It's when she smiles uncertainly out of the window at her despairing mother that really makes this moment so horrible.
But even that isn't the worst Holly moment in the episode. No, that dubious accolade goes to the moment that Walt finds himself somewhat manically chuntering baby talk as he changes his daughter's nappies... and she asks for her 'mama'.
Hank's wife Marie is perhaps not the most sympathetic of characters in the show. This is quite the masterstroke on the parts of its writers, who have effectively managed to turn the most blameless and ordinary of the main characters into someone everyone dislikes and mistrusts, but when she finally finds out her husband is dead, her slide from elation at his success to utterly defeated sobs would in any other show be the climax. In the context of this episode, it's just one more brutality about which to feel numb.
Walt cracking up as he regains his senses, far too late
Another unforgettable sequence is Walt's final monologue to his wife. At first he seems like he's gone totally off the reservation, growling and threatening and aggrandising, but the second he starts welling up - while maintaining his furious tirade of threats - is the second you see him start to regain his humanity. He's no longer Heisenberg in this scene; he's come out the other side and has regained a modicum of Walt-ness, as he explicitly pins all the blame for his and Skylar's criminal misadventures on himself for the benefit of the listening police.
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