Breaking Bad: “End Times” Review

Cooks and killers ‘til the end

**Warning this review contains spoilers from the twelfth episode of Breaking Bad **

Photo Courtesy of AMC

Well that was interesting. Breaking Bad, if nothing else, has always delivered the goods in the final episodes of each season, and thankfully this second to last episode was no different.  With some amazing sequences, and a few curveballs that lead to some pretty insane character moments, “End Times” truly is a means to an end for both Walt and Jesse.

The episode begins rather franticly as Walt and Skyler pack up as quickly as they can to head to the safe haven that is Hank and Marie’s home. “All that matters is that you are safe,” Walt tells Skyler as she looks at him affectionately, just as she once did long ago. I have always criticized Walt for not being the most sincere person, but his words cut like a blade as he told Skyler to leave. “There’s got to be another way,” Skyler humbly ask him as they are about to head out the door with the agents sent to protect them. As Walt tells her that there isn’t, and that is about him and Gus, I sadly smiled as this is truly what it has always been about, only now the repercussions of his actions are staring him right in the face.

As Skyler slowly drives off in the car, Walt calls Hank whom appears to not be taking the situation quite as seriously. As Hank tells Walt that this will be done and over within a couple days, Walt blankly stares out at the street trying to remain as calm as possible. Although he says nothing, this was such a powerful, albeit simple, scene that demonstrated everything that Walt is going through. I would have flipped out on Hank if I were Walt; and yet Walt simply takes it all in, hiding his emotions and true motives as he always has. This saddened me, as even though everything is crashing about him, Walt is bitterly independent until the very end.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

As Walt sits by the poolside in his backyard, flipping around a gun that is either meant for him or Gus, Jesse had to deal with the D.E.A. coming to the laundry mat. As the D.E.A. inspected above ground, in the land down under Jesse came to face Gus through a camera lens. “This is why Walt must die,” Gus tells Jesse as the D.E.A. inspect every nook and cranny of the laundry mat. However, being loyal character that he is, Jesse holds his ground and tells Gus that he will never work for him again if Walt dies. I never thought I would say this, but Jesse is the best, most loyal friend one could have. Despite everything that he has been through with Walt, this season let alone the last three, Jesse is willing to stand by his side, even if it means his own death. You have to admire that, no matter who the person is.

 Things go from bad to absolute sh!tstorm as Jesse receives a frantic call from his girlfriend saying that her brother (Brock the kid who killed Combo last season) is in the hospital. As Jesse franticly rushes to her side, he realises something…the cigarette with the poison is missing. The look of fear and desperation in Jesse’s eyes at that moment is absolutely haunting.  The burden of possibly killing not one, but two innocence, one being just a child, in his life is too much to bear. As Jesse tells her that Brock has been poisoned, he rushes off to Walt’s without explanation, in hopes of some help…or at least that’s what I thought.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

As Walt lays shacked up in his home, paranoid that at any second Gus will come to kill him, Jesse arrives. Explaining that Gus threatened him and his family, Walt frantically looks from window to window, afraid that every breath he takes may be his last. It is at this exact moment that Jesse pulls a gun on Walt, just as he did to Gale last season. As Walt stares blankly at him, Jesse breaks down believing that Walt poisoned Brock as a way to get back at him for helping Gus.  “Admit…admit what you did!” Jesse yells as he tosses Walt to the ground.  As Walt blindly stares up at Jesse and ask who would do such a thing, he freezes and burst into hysterics, realising exactly who would do such a thing…Gus.  “I have been waiting…I’ve been waiting all day. Waiting for Gus to send one of his men to kill me…and it’s you…” Walt grimly tells Jesse.  Gus has never been afraid to use children to get his way, only this time he went a step too far and used someone Jesse was attached to.  Gus has manipulated Jesse every step of the way, and now through using his one weakness (if you can call it that) has pitted Jesse against Walt.  As Walt so adamantly says “You are his cook…and now that cook has reason to kill me”.  As  Jesse stares down at Walt, gun in hand, Walt makes possibly the boldest move he has ever done. “If you think I am capable of doing this” Walt proclaims, “…then put a bullet in my head and kill me right now”, he tells Jesse as he grabs Jesse’s hand and places the gun right between his eyes. 

Never have I been so afraid and admirant of someone at the same time.  Walt has made some pretty bold moves in the past, but to put his own life in the hands of another, well that is something far beyond bold.  The thing is for a minute I thought Jesse was going to do it. I mean as Walt has clearly said he is no longer needed, and in a broader sense is no longer needed in the show. After all we have seen Jesse and so many others grow in such a way that this show could carry on without Walt, but I don’t want to think about that terrible fact.

However, this is not the case and Jesse slowly walks away, hell-bent on a mission to kill Gus: “I am going to do this once and for all Mr. White,” Jesse tells Walt. “Then let me help,” Walt responds. In such a simple conversation the old partnership is back, only this time they aren’t cooks…they’re killers.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

As Jesse returns to the hospital, he comes to meet Gus who has been waiting for him. Apologetically he tells Jesse that he has the whole week off to be with his loved ones, but will return to him next week. Once again in such simple dialogue, Gus once again proves he is still the boss and will do anything, and go anywhere to get his way.  As Gus leaves, and enters the parking garage where his car is, a shot shows Walt on the opposite rooftop, conducting a little science with a walkie-talkie. You see folks, little known fact but, apparently you can make an explosive pipe bomb with nothing but household ingredients and a walkie-talkie to set it off. Now that is some good ol’ science brought to you by the letter B for Breaking Bad.  Anyhow, as Walt anxiously waits to set off the explosive, Gus stops in his tracks and looks out at the building surrounding him, almost instinctively knowing where Walt lies. As Walt looks at Gus, desperation in his eyes, Gus simply turns around and walks away as if to say come and get me. Slouching over Walt is left on the roof, with nothing but his thoughts for a new way to kill his former boss. Boom! End scene!

Breaking Bad has always managed to deliver the goods in its final episodes, and “End Times” was no exception. With only one episode left this season it is either kill or be killed for Walt and Jesse. This statement would normally not bug me, as I always assumed that Walt and Jesse would survive for another season, but seeing as this is the penultimate season of the show, I am not so sure now. However, there is one thing I am certain about, and that is that Breaking Bad has never been one of those shows to go out with a fizzle, for this fizzle is about to turn into one hell of a bang.

The Good: Seeing the dire repercussions of the last two seasons actions come to a header

The Bad: Not as much on the D.E.A. laundry mat stint as I would have liked, but I am sure it will come up next week.

Gus: So Gus was pretty badass in this episode, I mean he indirectly told Jesse that he was still his bit*h, and walked away like a bamf from what would have been his explosive death. Now remind me, what did you do today?

Overall: 9.5 out of 10