Does “Ozymandias” Foretell
Breaking Bad Climax?
Image courtesy of AMC.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
By Serene Dominic
Special for Modern Times Magazine
Sept. 16, 2013 — I’ve read Facebook posts all week that read, “Who ends an episode in the middle of a shootout?” Well, duh, The Sopranos ended a series with that hanging over Tony’s head, so at least be grateful we’re gonna get some closure with the promise of three more episodes.
But before we return you to our regularly scheduled shootout, we’re served up a flashback of happier times on the To'hajiilee Indian Reservation when Walt and Jesse were in a trailer cooking side by side, Holly was still in Skyler’s tummy and the only lie Walt ever had to tell Skyler on his phone in those days was why he was going to be late for dinner. After the Breaking Bad theme we’re brought horrifically up-to-date. Gomez is a goner, and Hank is shot in the leg pretty badly (that limp is never gonna go away now!). Hank’s brave commando belly crawl to retrieve Gomez’ rifle is stopped by Nazi Jack’s foot.
Still handcuffed, Walt gets out of the bullet riddled DEA car and pleads for Hank’s life, in the process spilling the beans about where his $80 million dollar barrels of fun are buried. This sounds like the start of another devious Walter White last minute save, from a chess master who has coordinated a lot of last-minute saves. But not this time.
When Walt pleads with Hank to assure Jack that nothing will be said about this, Hank decides life is not worth living through negotiating with scum with swastika wrists. “I’m ASAC Hank Schrader and you can go fuck yourself!”
And …he’s outta there! Boom, no more Hank! I know, cherished reader!! I did the same thing!
Instead of bolting off my couch, Walt reacts by falling to the ground weeping, Hank’s last words to his brother-in-law no doubt ringing in his ear: “You’re the smartest guy I ever met and you’re too stupid to see that he (Jack) made up his mind (to kill me) 10 minutes ago.”
That would be right around the same time Jack called Hank, “FAG!” Because, as you know, the Nazis didn’t cater to homosexuals.
(Note, some people have corrected me and said Jack called Hank a “fed” and not a “fag.” So Jack’s not a complete asshole, he’s just got a little cheek. How PC do you want your neo-Nazis to be anyway?)
With weeping face to the ground, Walt spies with his left eye Jesse hiding beneath his car, Walt rats him out to Jack, with Jesse looking back at Walt incredulously, like a pooch that’s being left in a hot car. Walt the chess master is possibly lying to Jesse when he tells him, “I watched Jane die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could’ve saved her but I didn’t.” Maybe Walt figures filling Jesse with hateful vengeance is a good reason for Jesse to stay alive while the Jack pack takes him to the lab for interrogation. Kind of the same “get-tough-or-die” rationale Johnny Cash’s dad used when he went and named his boy Sue.
I gotta confess, I had this fervent feeling that Hank might’ve had on a bulletproof vest and would have some kind of Kill Bill moment rising from a sandy grave. Could still happen. Probably won’t.
Marie goes to Skylar and informs her that Hank has Walt in custody and she has to tell Flynn the truth. Poor Junior has officially had his first lesson on how to not have an A1 day at the car wash.
A desperate Walt arrives home with the 11-million barrel Jack graciously left him, which I think would be his cut if divided fairly with the members of the Jack Pack. At once, Walt tells Skyler and Flynn they have to trust him, grab their things and come with him to where they can all start over. Instead, the family has a violent melee over the newly carpeted living room that leaves Walt with a stigmata hand, Flynn angry enough at his dad to call the police and Walt taking baby Holly as a lovely consolation prize to Walt for not being able to keep his family together.
When Walt has a change of heart about keeping Holly, he calls Skyler whose landline is now being listened into by Amber Alert police. It does not go well. Skyler keeps demanding to know what happened to Hank and Walt goes into an abusive rage punctuated with not so-endearing phrases like “You stupid bitch” and “You will never see Hank again. He crossed me!”
SSaul’s new identity sedan arrives to pick Walt up sans Holly, who was left in good hands and clean diapers at an Albuquerque Fire Station. Suddenly, that really weird flash-forward at the beginning of the season is starting to make sense.
Other things we learned this week:
• Matt Damon look-alike Todd may have save Walter’s life by putting in a good word for him to Uncle Jack who just as soon would’ve killed him and kept the extra 11 million. And he may have inadvertently saved Jesse by suggesting they interrogate him back at the lab to see what he told Hank. Seeing Jesse after the beating — his face and chest resembles into raspberry pulp — it seems apparent that Walt’s plea of how he wanted Jesse killed (“Painless, no suffering, no fear”) fell on deaf ears.
• During his interrogation, Jesse tells the Jack pack that he told everything he knew about their operation to Hank and Gomez and that the tape they made of his confession is at Hank’s house. Earlier, Marie told Skyler she wanted every copy of Walt’s video accusing Hank of blackmailing him into cooking meth. Hilarity will most certainly ensue when the Jack Pack goes to collect the videos and finds the wrong tape! (No not Hank and Marie’s sex tape!)
• The show’s title “Ozymandias” comes from the Shelly sonnet about a ruler whose empire lies in dust. Now Walt will live like a king in exile in some other equally innocuous suburb.
• For a guy whose show is now slated to be a spin-off, this show’s lack of “Better Call Saul” meant no comedic relief whatsoever, unless you want to count the traumatic jump cut from the heart rending White family riot to the KoalaKare changing table logo.
• Meme of the Week, Walt admonishing Skyler for cutting him in the kitchen: “What the hell is wrong with you? We’re a family!”
Serene Dominic is a freelance writer.
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