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“Granite State”

23 Sep

Questions answered in this episode: Marie calls the DEA for protection, but the seemingly all-powerful Aryan Uncles have swept her house and gotten Jesse’s DVD confession and presumably whatever else they wanted. So, she’s probably living somewhere else, and we don’t know how she’s handling her grief or whether she’s in touch with Skyler.

Skyler, left holding the bag, is not only penniless and up on charges, she and Holly are threatened by Todd and the Uncles in scary black balaclavas. She promises not to reveal anything about Lydia, Todd’s nail-biting lady love (what does she really know anyway?) This was an incredibly tense and effective scene — the only unrealistic element was that any normal baby probably would have screamed its head off throughout, possibly tripping an itchy trigger finger. We find out later that Skyler and the kids have moved and that she’s working part-time as a cab driver under her maiden name. The old White house has been fenced off from curiosity seekers and graffiti artists.

Saul’s flipping burgers or the equivalent in Omaha after realizing he can stand up to Walt and sever their connection.

Walt wanted to be safe from the law so he’d be able to get things the way he wants them before he dies of cancer, but, stuck in a remote cabin in New Hampshire with no car or connection to the outside world, he can do nothing. Determined to get some money to his family, he walks eight miles to the nearest hamlet and calls Junior at school to try to explain himself a bit and get the boy to pick up the package of money Walt plans to send to Flynn’s friend Lewis’s house. Junior emotionally, but wisely, refuses. Broken and crying, Walt then calls the Albuquerque DEA to turn himself in. He quickly changes his mind, but leaves the phone hanging, virtually guaranteeing that the call will be traced. What’s up with that? Then he orders a drink, and on the bar TV sees Charlie Rose interviewing Eliot and Gretchen Schwartz about their charitable donation to drug treatment throughout the Southwest. The Schwartzes tell Rose that the Walt they knew is dead, and that, anyway, the only thing he contributed to Gray Matter was the idea for the name. I believe Walt’s also aware that the blue meth is back on the street, either from the TV or from newspapers the disappearerer’s brought him and/or remarks he’s made.

By the time the New Hampshire state police make it to the bar, Walt’s gone, and we’ll have to wait till the next (and final) episode to see how he got away. All he has with him is a box of money ($100,000). The rest is still in the cabin. It’s unclear how he’s going to make it back to New Mexico undisguised and probably nauseous from the dose of chemo administered by the d-man the day before. How much time has gone by? Two months?

Jesse, to his credit as a man, manages to escape from his underground cell, but doesn’t make it out of the Uncles’ compound. Even if he had gotten away, he’s underestimated their speed, power, and thirst for retribution. They take him to Andrea’s house and kill her while he watches, trussed up and gasping, in their vehicle. Now he’ll cook for them, to keep Brock alive (though how the Uncles would know where the kid would go to live — with his grandmother or great-grandmother probably — is unclear).

There’s not much hope left that anything good will happen, and the possibility is strong that more bad things will. Walt and Jesse each in their own ways have wanted to make things right and only made them worse. It’s as if what they set in motion is a big mass of spreading, sticky goo no one can escape. I wanted things to be made right — or righter — too, but have lost hope for that, which is making me like the show less, at least at this moment.

The scenes with Walt and Skyler were good though. It’s amazing how the writers can wring out yet more sympathy for Walt, even as the destruction he’s set in motion spreads.

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