In the final analysis, Walt’s empire business has crumbled all because Huell, card carrying member of Saul’s “A-Team”, hasn’t heard Bald Move’s standing Public Service Announcement, “Don’t Ever Talk to Caps, Man, For Real.” Walt tried to do Los Pollos Hermanos on the cheap, and from the start Vamanos Pest Control has plagued by problems stemming from the sub-standard parts he tried to build his business with. Gus had Mike and a network of well vetted, well paid, qualified enforcers to shield him from the day to day problems. Walt has Meth Damon, Uncle Jack, Huell and Cubie.
If there’s anything that five years of watching The Wire has taught me, is that one day you’re on top of the mountain, wearing the Crown, and the next, a drop of blood hits the water, the sharks circle, sensing weakness, your strengths and refuges flee, and you’re left with nothing, sometimes not even your freedom, often times not even your life. Walt thought that the Uncles of Anarchy (or Team Panzer Grey, if you prefer) were just another reliable tool he could employ to make problems disappear, but sometime between the prison hit and the meeting regarding spilling Jesse’s blood, the balance of the scales shifted, and Walt was no longer Heisenberg the great, but Ozymandias, buried in the desert, empire toppled, not even being aware of it.
I don’t know why, and won’t until I watch the episode again, but I was bugged a little by the first 30 minutes. It seemed a little too pat that they’d just find Huell, get the full story, all of Hank and Jesse’s gambits would work. Would Walt really be so foolish as to not check the vehicle for bugs? Why did he trust Huell and Cubie so much? Would he really be so careless about his entire legacy, the future of his children? It seems out of character for Walt, but he’s just one man, with just a year of criminal experience, and at some point, there’s just too many plates spinning in the air and mistakes are made.
But the last 30 minutes, wow. Every built up to this sinister rube goldberg device that was put into motion, and there was no stopping it. As Walt made his mad drive to the desert, you knew he was walking into a trap. As Hank, Gomey, and Jesse pulled up, you knew that Walt wouldn’t be able to call off Uncle Jack and the rest of his Devil dogs (that’s for the three fellow Justified fans reading this). When Hank called Marie, you just knew he was going to die, and as the certainties started piling up, so did the knots in my stomach.
Obviously, we don’t know if Hank will make it out alive. Signs point to no, but if that’s the case, why push the resolution into next week? I’m beyond trying to second guess Gilligan, as evidence by my unwilling to judge the first 30 minutes without some repeat viewings and time to think. But if he does die in the line of duty, what does that do to Marie? That final phone call will become one of the all time gut punches when we’re re-watching the series for the umpteenth time years from now.
I assume Jesse makes it out alive, since we last see him open the car door and then don’t see him again, but again, who knows? The only thing certain is we have 3 more glorious hours of this show left, and Walt ends up with a machine gun a little more than a year from now in show time. The fact that we still know so little while knowing so much is it’s own kind of brilliance, and again, hats off to everyone involved in the making of this show.
- We’re averaging about 30 seconds worth of “ha-ha” comic relief each episode this season. This episode, we got the bizarre but hilarious intersection of Walt Jr. and Walt’s other life, as poor Flynn was star struck by local celebrity Saul Goodman. Some might think this was hokey, but as a young man, A.Ron and a car full of his pals spotted local legend Don from Don’s Guns in a drop top ‘Vette cruising around Greenwood, Indiana. We screamed “Don! Don!” and he looked over, flashed his grin, and gave us his trademark gun finger point. We thought it was the coolest fucking thing, ever. Maybe Walt Jr. thinks the same about Saul telling him to call him when he gets pulled over after drinking… When you’re from some backwater like Albuquerque or Indianapolis, you take celebrity where you can find it.
- I hope for Walt, Jesse, and Hank’s sake, that Walt can parley his buried cash into some time and freedom. I think Uncle Jack will be all ears, but only if he plays it cool with the location, and doesn’t blurt out where it is until he’s long gone. How he does that, I don’t know, but…
- Since Hank was running this operation off the books, and if the Uncles kill him off, that resets the evidence against Walt yet again, doesn’t it? That phone call, his incriminating presence in the desert, it’s all gone. How will Jesse take that?
- What will become of Andrea and Brock? It’s strange to bring them back for 10 minutes that didn’t really go anywhere. But I can’t see where they’d fit in down the line.
- Now that the Uncles likely have Walt and Jesse, what becomes of Walt’s family? I feel like this episode slammed the door shut on the more exotic scenarios involving the death of the likes of Skyler, Marie, and Holly. Although there is still a mountain of evidence of Walt using death totems from Skyler (last name, bacon numbers), Saul (driving a Caddie), and Jesse (drinking his coffee black), and with Skyler breaking bad, Marie going shades of dark grey morally in last episode, Saul being Saul… it’s not a bet that’s off the table.