‘Breaking Bad’: Intensity Level Rises for Show, Fans

'Breaking Bad': Intensity Level Rises for

High drama in 3rd-to-last episode 'Ozymandias' spurs flood of social media reaction from buzzers

Breaking Bad” broke the Twitter dam with its third-to-last episode that ratcheted up the intensity level even by the show’s own high standards.

“Ozymandias,” written by Moira Walley-Beckett and directed by Rian Johnson, featured everything from the death of central character, DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) to a devastating knife fight between Bryan Cranston’s Walter White and his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) being chained up and forced to help his tormentors cook a higher grade of meth.

The episode was a jaw-dropper for “Breaking Bad” fans because it featured 90-degree turns in the fortunes for all the key characters. Skyler turns on Walt, and Walt turns on Skyler, so much so he calls her an expletive during a telephone call — a disturbing sign that Walt has completely gone round the bend. Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) finally learns the truth about his father and turns on him. Marie forces Skyler’s hand at the start of the episode, before she realizes that her husband Hank is dead, thanks to Walt.

(As readers were quick to point out, it’s clear in hindsight that Walt’s call was his twisted effort to be a good husband by taking the heat off Sklyer with statements indicating her lack of involvement in the whole bloody mess as he knew police would be recording the call. Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker wrote eloquently about this particular dramatic touch.)

The sheer volume of major dramatic developments in “Ozymandias,” the title of the famous 1818 poem about a “Colossal Wreck,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, led to a storm of social media reaction from many bizzers who count themselves among “Breaking Bad’s” biggest fans.

Here’s a sampling of the chatter:

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  1. EB says:

    Kept hoping to find something that would be challenging to me about this show, but all is see is a garden variety over-rated actor plumped up to be more than he is, yeah, he gets angry, so what !!

  2. Alan Sheldon says:

    I am going to be ecstatic when the show ends. This review is far from the worst offender, others call
    Breaking Bad the greatest to appear on television. To these writers, each aspect of the production is genius, even though most of these seem unplanned. Forget the public comments, these are insufferable.Vince Gilligan himself has stated that viewers have attributed much to the show which was not conceptualized by himself or the writers. My personal favorite is the complex color chart which possibly took weeks to formulate and is about as valid as the flat earth concept. Although I admit to being an avid fan, I am becoming nauseated by the adulation the program elucidates. Good thing Citizen Kane arrived pre-internet. Orson Welles would have become president (for better or worse). Spare a thought for David Chase, who must be having a quiet freak. The Sopranos remains the gold standard for television. If this has to be explained, we are simply wasting time. Try writing the final episode. That’s after most people stop praising everything about Breaking Bad including the presumed
    experimental craft services.

    • JJust says:

      Yes. Some people don’t like bacon. They write paragraphs about how wonderful tofu is. The world remains the same despite their efforts.

  3. Luluinhollywood says:

    Dude. I watched the episode but I find it so damn WRONG that these articles can’t put a simple *SPOILER ALERT* in the heading to make sure people who haven’t seen it yet have the chance to avoid THE ENTIRE PLOT being revealed. To me that is poor taste & not respecting the viewers for crying out loud.

    And yeah- the fact that the author of this article missed the very obvious subtext of the phone call is… a bit baffling.

  4. Chris says:

    That phone call might go down as one of the best acted scenes in film and television history. It is heartbreaking and brilliant how Cranston delivers such vitriol verbally while going through such emotional agony. I cried along with him.

  5. Sean Ryan says:

    Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.
    Check out my analysis for “Ozymandias” at:
    http://mydogsaretiredofhearingthis.blogspot.com/2013/09/things-fall-apart-breaking-bad-episode.html#more

    • Amazing and well written analysis of last night’s episode! That must have taken you hours to write. You did a great job and made me think about many details that I missed on the first viewing. You make me realize how much Gilligan has delivered, notwithstanding the off-the-charts viewer expectations. (*)

      (*) My only quibble is your thinking that Walt might have been serious in the phone call to Skyler. Sean — go back and rewatch. There is absolutely no way that Walt, with anguish and tears running down his cheeks, is doing anything but helping Skyler with her defense. He still loves her and wants to do what little he can at that point. You should not have any doubt on the subject, as all these Comments have echoed in their criticism of Cynthia Littleton and others who similarly have taken that call at face value.

  6. Cynthia you should be fired for stupidity. Every comment below understands what the phone call was really about but you are too damn clueless to comprehend it. You should absolutely be fired from your job here.

  7. Jon DeMuria says:

    Walt didn’t turn on skylar he exonerated her by saying he forced her to go along with everything. You think he didn’t know that was being recorded?

  8. that was one of the best episodes ever of BB….I am on pins and needles about Jesse…Walt has become the Evil Emperor!!!!! Great acting!! Great show!!!!!!!!!

  9. Nick Fehlinger says:

    You just heard him say the word bitch and totally shut off your ears, huh? You couldn’t be more off the mark about what happened in that scene. You really shouldn’t be writing about television if you have that little understanding of what you’re watching.

  10. Bruce says:

    Come on! Walt knew authorities would be listening to his call. He clearly wanted to get Skyler, the mother of his children, in the clear. The exact same thing she was doing when she forced him out of the house. He finally understood that when Holly asked for “Momma”. The song “Take my true love by the hand”- song by the limelighters was classic art by this show. Skyler sliced his hand. The lyrics say it all “Say goodbye to everyone”. The questions still remains, what is the last thing Walt has to do? Who’s going to be on the receiving end of that “50” and who is the Ricin for? His singular goal remains, to provide for his family when he’s gone. That’s all he has left.

  11. Mykyra Nunya says:

    This writer must love eating hot dogs. Well, she likes to lick and suck them at least until the mayo squirts out. That’s the only way I can figure out that she got this job! She didn’t even know that the phone call was meant as a way to get Skyler off the hook. Lawdy, lawdy! So far, all the writers that I’ve read that have missed it have all been women. What’s up with that? That’s three so far!

  12. Brian says:

    How did the author not get the fact that Walt was giving Skyler plausible deniability for all that Walt has done. The author of this article really needs to re-watch the episode again, the “snapped” moment was when he told Jesse about his girlfriend and sent him to be tortured and killed.His phone call to Skyler was Walt’s last gift to his family.

  13. Wu Sha says:

    I think you missed the part where the reason he called Skyler an expletive on the phone was to sound convincing to the police in that entire phone call and get Skylers name cleared…he obviously still loves her and regrets taking Holly, hence why he gave her back.

  14. Jake says:

    Actually the sign that he lost it was when he told Jesse that he watched Jane die and ordered his death– which I could see as him blaming Jesse for hanks death. This episode requires a lot of thought and was so completely intense that I don’t remember a show putting me through so much. Probably the best episode of any show on tv ever

  15. Claire Browneing says:

    Honestly I’m mostly horrified that the TV Editor of Variety didn’t understand Walter’s phone call was for Skyler’s benefit. I find that far more depressing than anything that just happened on BB.

    • Silly Girl says:

      Exactly. How could someone in a seemingly prominent position like this be so dense.
      TIL I’m overqualified to be a TV analyst. I wonder whose pipe she puffed to land this position.

    • Augustin says:

      I was thinking the same thing. The writer for the Huffington Post story didn’t understand the phone call either.

  16. Augustin says:

    This is the third analysis of the episode I’m reading, and all three writers seemed to have missed Walt’s complete selflessness in his phone call with Skyler. Walt said what he did, in the way he did, to protect Skyler from involvement—so Walt Jr. wouldn’t have a mother in prison.

  17. You missed a critical point when you said that Walt turned on Skyler or went ’round the bend’ (whatever that means). He totally knew that Skyler wasn’t alone and was with the Feds when he called (he had to — he allowed his son to call the cops as he was leaving). He did the only thing he could do for her — he protected her from the authorities by appearing psychotic and controlling. That way, the authorities wouldn’t arrest her. He gave her a plausible defense. That’s possibly even why he snatched Holly as he left (or it could be when she said ‘mama’, he realized he had to return her. But that’s why Walt is crying as he says those things to Skyler. It’s tearing him apart but he has no choice. It’s also possibly why Skyler starts crying too as she realizes what he’s doing for her (possibly, as Anna Gunn is nowhere near as good as an actor as is Bryan Cranston).

    Regardless, I can’t wait for the last two episodes! We know Walt survives as we saw the flash forward on his 52nd birthday and when he returns back to his abandoned house.

  18. JJust says:

    Yeah, this episode was intense! Just wanted to mention though, where you say:

    “Walt turns on Skyler, so much so he calls her an expletive during a telephone call — a disturbing sign that Walt has completely gone round the bend.”

    (*Spoiler Alert– although, not more than the above article) Walt maybe around the bend, but that entire phone call was calculated by Walt to be for the benefit of Skyler. It was pretty clear he knew the cops were there and he was trying to take all the blame and get Skyler off the hook. For me, it was a touching display of the old Walt.

    • jamn19 says:

      I think this is fitting for Walt as he enters his final spiral down…. “The End”, The Doors

      This is the end
      Beautiful friend
      This is the end
      My only friend, the end
      Of our elaborate plans, the end
      Of everything that stands, the end
      No safety or surprise, the end
      I’ll never look into your eyes…again
      Can you picture what will be
      So limitless and free
      Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
      In a…desperate land
      Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
      And all the children are insane
      All the children are insane
      Waiting for the summer rain, yeah
      There’s danger on the edge of town
      Ride the King’s highway, baby
      Weird scenes inside the gold mine
      Ride the highway west, baby
      Ride the snake, ride the snake
      To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
      The snake is long, seven miles
      Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold
      The west is the best
      The west is the best
      Get here, and we’ll do the rest
      The blue bus is callin’ us
      The blue bus is callin’ us
      Driver, where you taken’ us
      The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
      He took a face from the ancient gallery
      And he walked on down the hall
      He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then he
      Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
      He walked on down the hall, and
      And he came to a door…and he looked inside
      Father, yes son, I want to kill you
      Mother…I want to…WAAAAAA
      C’mon baby,——— No “take a chance with us”
      C’mon baby, take a chance with us
      C’mon baby, take a chance with us
      And meet me at the back of the blue bus
      Doin’ a blue rock
      On a blue bus
      Doin’ a blue rock
      C’mon, yeah
      Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill
      This is the end
      Beautiful friend
      This is the end
      My only friend, the end
      It hurts to set you free
      But you’ll never follow me
      The end of laughter and soft lies
      The end of nights we tried to die
      This is the end

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