‘Breaking Bad’ Discussion: Leaves Of Grass

On August 25th I tweeted the following: “Has ‘Crystal Blue Persuasion’ by Tommy James & the Shondells ever been used on Breaking Bad? (I don’t recall.) If not, it’s overdue.” Of course, I imagined that it’d be the perfect song to use for a meth-cooking montage, and after last night it’s obvious that a) I was right and b) Vince Gilligan must follow me on Twitter.

ANYWAY, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and because I knew some of you wouldn’t be able to wait until tomorrow to talk about last night’s season finale, I decided to interrupt my long weekend to write up my weekly Breaking Bad discussion post — the last one until next summer :( — today. So let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are a few notes I made during last night’s Breaking Bad about characters, scenes, etc. I found interesting for one reason or another.

– You just find help like Todd anymore these days, amirite? Walt comes back to the shop with Mike’s body in a trunk and dude doesn’t ask any questions — just gets right to it helping Walt destroy Mike’s remains in a barrel of acid. And then later he arranges to have his uncle use his “prison connections” to take out nine people in 3 different prisons for Walt. Give that kid a raise!

– Speaking of Todd’s uncle’s prison connections, I found the fast and furious nature of the murders kind of hilarious, specifically the way almost all of the victims were repeatedly stabbed in a manner that was almost comically manic. Was this an homage to a past gangster movie, perhaps Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas? I seem to recall him stabbing the shit out of someone like this.

– If there’s one thing we all learned last night is that you should always spray your mountain of cash for silverfish. Thanks, Skyler!

– So Walt’s cancer is back, right? As Alan Sepinwall pointed out last night, the painting Walt was hypnotized by at the meeting with Todd’s uncle was the same one that hung in his hospital room back in season one. There was also the re-appearance of the dented paper towel dispenser Walt punched repeatedly after a discussion with his doctor about his cancer. And, of course, there was a quick shot of Walt being slid into an MRI machine. Could this be part of the reason why he’s suddenly willing to walk away from the meth empire he seemed so hell-bent on not walking away from in the previous few episodes?

– The ricin is back, baby! Walt was totally going to try to slip some poison in Lydia’s coffee, wasn’t he? And then when he didn’t — presumably because she wisely made herself valuable to him — I thought for a second that maybe the ricin would be used to poison all of Mike’s guys in prison. I suppose it will now wait for someone else in the next and final season. MAYBE HANK? Ooooohhhh…more on that shortly.

– Good on Walt for getting Jesse his money, but I got the sense that Jesse was expecting to find Mike’s body inside the bag when he unzipped it and not a pile of cash. After all, it did appear to be a bodybag that Walt put the money in.

– There seemed to be more blue that normal in this episode. Obviously, there was a lot of blue in the meth-cooking montage. But there were multiple swimming pool shots as well, and the storage facility where Skyler keeps the mountain of cash was also very blue. Just saying.

– I still can’t get over that AMC allowed Small Town Security to follow Breaking Bad all season. That’s like a steakhouse offering you a dessert of rotten fruit after you’ve eaten filet mignon.

– So about the final scene/sequence: was I the only one sitting on the edge of my sofa, heart racing the entire time. I kept waiting for some angry relative of one of the murdered prison inmates to come busting through the fence with a machine gun blazing. It just seemed perfectly set up for tragedy.

– With that said, the moment we’ve all been waiting for — one that I was beginning to think would never happen — finally happened: Hank connected the dots, or at least appeared to, linking Walt to Heisenberg in his mind. I was really beginning to think that it would all end with Walt right under Hank’s nose the entire time. And naturally the revelation comes when Hank is taking a dump — in Walt’s house, no less. Of course, Walt could very easily figure out some way to talk himself out of it, but it now appears as though the final eight episodes will be all about the cat and mouse game between Walt and Hank. Next summer can’t get here soon enough.

– Seriously, how f*cking stupid and careless of Walt to leave that copy of “Leaves of Grass” laying around. I suspect this is exactly how Walt will feel when he discovers that it’s what tipped Hank off to him…

– So what becomes of Jesse now? For a while I thought that he and Skyler would join forces to bring down Walt, but now that they both seem to have gotten what they want from him, well, what’s the point?

– Oh, and shout out to Hank for being a Knob Creek man. Respect.

– Vince Gilligan gave an interview today to the LA Times in which he discussed the episode’s ending.

Gilligan explains: “The folks at home know it’s the end of the season and know there isn’t going to be another season of ‘Breaking Bad’ for about 10 more months. They are watching this scene by the pool and the family is talking about nothing. They are talking for minutes on end about nothing.”

“Skyler is talking about putting lemon juice in her hair and Walt is talking about brewing beer with Hank,” he continued. “We want the audience on the end of the seats saying, ‘What kind of ending is this? This is the worst kind of ending for a season of “Breaking Bad” we’ve ever seen! There should be things exploding, you can’t end it in such an undramatic way. Everything is hunky dory. That’s not this show. What the hell kind of ending is this?'”

Then, as Gilligan notes, Hank heads to the john and picks up a book for reading. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”

W.W. is Walt Whitman. W.W. is also Walter White.

“It’d be the most ironic and undramatic way of Hank catching Walter,” added Gilligan. “It’s just happenstance and bad luck on Walt’s part. If only he hadn’t left that book lying around, he would have been OK. We love those kind of moments on this show.”

– Finally, I sense a meme brewing…

Your own thoughts and observations are of course welcome in the comments.

(GIFs via Chet Manley)

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