I suspect that by now, those of you who have seen last night’s episode of Breaking Bad already, have likely digested it, poured over the recaps, checked the power rankings, and read every single post on the Internet pertaining to it. You may have come up with your own theories. You may be chattering away this very second with a co-worker about who you think will die at the end of the series and how. It’s possible that, by now — less than 24 hours after it aired — I have nothing new to add.
However, on my second rewatch this afternoon, there were some interesting things that I picked up on that may help fuel your conversation or trigger some other thoughts on the episode, the series, and the finale.
The most interesting foreshadowing theory to come out of the show is actually something that Cajun Boy touched upon in his recap, and was heavily discussed this weekend, and that is the fact that Walter is wearing a similar coat to Jesse’s. Why is that relevant? Because Heisenberg has a habit of absorbing the characteristics of those he has killed. We wrote about the extensive examples here, but for example: After he killed Krazy 8, he began cutting the crusts off his sandwich, just like Krazy 8; and after he killed Mike, he had whiskey on the rocks just like Mike did (previous to killing Mike, Walter had whiskey, no rocks). In the first flash forward at the beginning of the season, we also learned that Walter took Skyler’s maiden name, and that he — like Skyler used to do — arranged the bacon on his plate to signify his age on his birthday, two clues we had reasoned might foreshadow the death of Skyler.
Last night’s episode offered a couple of other clues. For instance, this is the car that Walt drives now.
This is the car that Mike Ehrmentraut drove.
Not the same car, but they certainly are similar. Moreover, when speaking to Lydia in the car wash, Walter used the phrase, “None of which are my concern,” which I believe was something that Mike often said, as well (this could also be coincidental, since the episodes are written by the same group of people).
Likewise, he’s also clearly picked something up from Gus Fring:
So this clearly has some significance:
He also left $100 bill to the Denny’s waitress, which parallels Jesse’s sudden freedom with money.
Does that mean Jesse and Skyler are cooked? Quite possibly, but we didn’t really need the foreshadowing to know that.
If the color choices had any foreshadowing implications, I found it interesting that both Jesse and Lydia were wearing black shirts:
While both Walt, Jr. and Hank were wearing gray and red.
If red is a dangerous color, I worry for Badger and all the CAR WASH employees, who are wearing goddamn targets on their heads.
Speaking of colors, the last time we saw a kid with a yellow shirt:
I also really wish they’d stop dressing Baby Holly in pink.
Vince Gilligan knows by now that you absolutely cannot use oranges without foreshadowing imminent danger.
Bryan Cranston, who directed the episode, had some more fun with mirrors, something they often use to illustrate Heisenberg’s break with Walter White.
This is a great shot suggesting that the darkness has overcome Walter White. There’s very little lightness remaining.
But of course, this cannot be mistaken for anything other than the shattered life that Heisenberg has left. It also calls to mind the Ozymandias poem: “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.”
Just as the image below calls to mind this line from the poem: “And on the pedestal these words appear: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
The shot of Jesse beneath the coffee table with a cockroach crawling on top made me think of Tony’s line in Scarface: “I’ll bury those cock-a-roaches.” I think it’s Jesse that’s going to be buried.
I also loved how Cranston filmed Jesse from above, and Walter from below to highlight who holds the power. It’s the little things that are often so impressive in this series.
There were two license plates in the episode. “-68-516” (which is probably a reference to the finale (i.e., Season 5, Episode 16), though I have no idea what the first part references. Likewise, the second license plate, “5BB920X” is likely a reference to the 5th season of Breaking Bad, September 20th X, though I don’t know what the “X” refers to.
Finally, someone last year tossed out a fun, but ultimately crackpot theory that Walt was wearing a wire in the flashforward based on the fact that you could KIND OF see an outline of the wire under his shirt.
If you looked REALLY CLOSELY, you could kind of make out the same line in the shirt in last night’s episode, which is probably just a crease. If, however, it is mic, it seems to me that you could rule out it being a regular mic that actors wear because Walter actually had no lines in those scenes, except when he said, “Hi Carol.” Why would he have needed a mic beforehand while he was walking around the house, UNLESS …