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The Penultimate Breaking

Bad
: Heisenberg’s Vacation

Image courtesy of AMC.

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Note: This whole thing is a spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched the Sept. 22 episode of Breaking Bad, you need someone to explain how spoiler alerts work before pressing on.
Preparing For His New Life, Walter White Hibernates In New Hampshire Under His New Identity As Mr. Lambert, But Instead He Emerges As His True Persona: The Villainous Heisenberg

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By Serene Dominic
Special for Modern Times Magazine

Sept. 23, 2013 — After the last two explosive installments, the series needed a little calm before the final storm and tonight’s episode had a lower body than the Emmys if you want to count Carrie Underwood’s tribute to the Kennedy assassination. Entitled “Granite State,” it could as just as well been called “Stony End,” since Walter White’s remains might just become petrified if he stays in that remote new Hampshire cabin provided for him by The New Identity Foundation. Something tells me “Mr. Lambert” isn’t going to stay put.

And what a lovely surprise, giving Walt (and Saul) their orientation on starting over is Robert Forster, virtually reprising his deadpan Max Cherry role from “Jackie Brown.” He gets in the funniest line in this episode after telling Walt that TV reception in the cabin is nil so he’s better off watching DVDs. Walt checks out the available titles, among them Dustin Hoffman’s treacley 2007 box office bomb.

Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” marvels Walt. “Two copies!”

Forster: “I’m not much of a movie guy.”

Walt’s temporary bunkmate before getting shipped off to New Hampshire isn’t interested in continuing to work with Walt in this new life.

“If I’m lucky, in a few weeks I’ll be manager of a Cinnabon,” says Saul.

That would’ve been the funniest line in the show if it weren’t so tragic. Maybe Cinnabon will allow him to have an enlarged copy of the Constitution to work in front of. Given all the energy he expended on making a name for himself with his Better Call Saul billboard saturation, Forster tells him that he can probably be able to walk among the citizenry of Nebraska in two days. Ouch. To quote an old Engelbert Humperdinck song “Am I That Easy To Forget?”

Engelbert Humperdinck...you remember him, right?

Maybe a better name for this episode would’ve been “There Goes Todd.” We get to see all his courteous creepy Matt Damon look-alike faces in play. The Todd that doesn’t flinch as he watches a video of Jesse ratting him out to the Feds for killing a kid. The Todd that has as much of a thing for Jesse as he does for Lydia, bringing his prisoner two flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream. The Todd who sneaks into Skyler’s house and still has the same dopey courteous tone while wearing a black ski mask.

Uncle Jack senses Todd’s weird thing about wanting to keep Jesse alive and cooking has something to do with his nephew having the hots for Lydia, a woman he equates as probably having “a woodchipper for a cooch.” Jack, flush with Walt’s 69 million, isn’t even thinking about making meth but Todd reasons that Jesse cooking Heisenberg level meth is worth millions more

“How can you turn your back on more,” Todd asks Uncle Jack and gets a proud slap on the neck. Todd then arranges to meet Lydia in a diner. Lydia insists on doing the old spy movie trick of talking to him while sitting back to back in order to not look conspicuous. It doesn’t quite work since Todd, so turned on by Lydia, keeps turning around and lovingly tracing the contours of her chair with his index finger. He’s a whole chapter of creepy tonight.

Todd’s momentary kindness to Jesse allows Jessie to escape his little holding-pen MacGyver style — by using a paper clip that was on Andrea and little Brock’s picture as his handcuff key. Sadly he only gets as far as the compound’s perimeter fence and is forced to watch Todd shoot Andrea in the head without flinching.

Jack reminds Jesse to stop all of his sobbing and think about the kid who’s still alive.

Meanwhile back at the cabin, Walt goes all Betty Crocker stir crazy and bolts to a nearby bar. He calls Junior at school by getting some woman to pretend she’s his Aunt Marie before jumping on the phone. It’s only after Walt tells Junior his ingenious plan to send some money that Junior explodes calling him an asshole for killing Uncle Hank and screaming, “Why aren’t you dead?”

Despairing Walt calls the DEA to give himself up. Waiting at the bar to be picked up, he sees The Charlie Rose Show with guests Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, his former business associates in Grey Matters. They are guilted into giving a $26 million donation to drug prevention programs because of having drug kingpin Walter White as a one-time associate. They dismiss Walter’s considerable contribution to their empire down to merely coming up with the company name. Losing his identity as the family breadwinner was one thing, but having his identity smoothed over faster than “Better Call Saul” spurs him to bolt the bar and give chase to the DEA for the last show. Both the Schwartzes and the swastika crew have taken millions of dollars that should’ve been Walter’s away from him and someone’s gonna pay.

Laying low for a little over a month has done nothing for Mr. Lambert. Maybe Mr. White will get lucky next week. Don’t bet money on it!

Other loose ends

• Did the Jack Pack also find Walt’s confession tape and will Uncle Jack complain that Walt’s crying like a pussy all though all of it?

• After being told by Ski Mask Todd not to say anything about Lydia, will she say anything about Lydia and give the Feds something they can use besides blank stares?

•Where is Little Brock? Will trying to save him be the thing that keeps hope alive in Jesse?

• Did Walt actually watch one of the copies of Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and was that the thing that made Walt finally decide to bolt the cabin?

• The DEA tell Maria they’ll find Hank and Steve. Is my prediction that Hank had a bulletproof vest on actually gonna come true?

Ask me next week.

Serene Dominic is a freelance writer.
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