‘Breaking Bad’ Welcomes You to the “Granite State”
It turns out Saul’s vacuum cleaner repair guy is, in fact, a vacuum cleaner repair guy. He picked up Walt at the end of last week’s watershed episode. The person who got out of the van at the beginning of “Granite State,” though, was Saul, who decided he needed to get out of Albuquerque, too. The plan is to send Saul to Nebraska, but he and Walt are going to share a bedroom in the vacuum store until things die down. Saul asks how Walt’s been, and the repair guy directs him to a live feed of Walt’s room. He’s pacing back and forth.
After the opening credits, we get a quick Marie update. She’s in an SUV with men who assure her that they’re going to find Hank and Gomez. She doesn’t seem too confident. They pull up to her home, but something’s wrong. Papers are strewn all over the driveway and the door is bashed in. The inside of the house is completely torn up. This was Jack’s work – he wanted Jesse’s confession video. They skip to the part where Jesse fingers Todd as Drew Sharp’s murderer and Jack is not happy. He’s ready to get rid of Jesse. They just inherited a massive fortune. Why do they need to stay in the meth business? If they’re no longer cooking, Jesse’s life is inconsequential. Todd wants to stick with it, though, so he can stay close to Lydia. They still have a massive supply of methylamine, so they might as well finish it off and make a few more millions. “No matter how much you got, how do you turn your back on more?”
Jesse, meanwhile, is still covered in cuts and bruises. He’s sitting in his underground cell staring at the picture of Andrea and Brock from the lab – really reminiscent of the scene where he continuously called Jane’s cell phone so he could listen to her voice after her death in season three’s “I.F.T.” As if inspired by the photo, Jesse starts to work at picking the locks of his handcuffs with a paperclip.
Back at the store, Walt is trying to devise a plan to take out Jack, asking Saul if he knows of any “mercenaries.” Saul, though, thinks Walt should stay in New Mexico. No matter how much Walt distances himself from Skyler, he said, the feds are still going to go after her. Anyway, Walt would also never be able to send the money to them. The FBI would undoubtedly be right on top of any communication attempt. Walt doesn’t want to leave, but it’s really his only option that doesn’t involve jail time. He doesn’t want that because not only does he want Jack dead, he wants to get the rest of his earnings back too. Killing Jack isn’t about Hank; it’s about the money, and rightfully so. Walt wants Saul to ditch Nebraska and join him in New Hampshire. He could be helpful. Saul feels like his involvement with this is over, but he’s still a part of it no matter how much he wants to believe he isn’t. Walt starts to go Heisenberg again, but a coughing fit interrupts his speech. Saul is free to go.
Just as Saul predicted, Skyler is speaking with lawyers and FBI agents. Speaking might be a little bit of an overstatement. She’s in a total daze. She knows she’s in trouble. The men in the room think she knows where Walt it, but she truly has no clue. She’s advised to “Rack your brain and hope you can come up with something we can use” before their next meeting. Later that night, a police car is stationed outside her house. She’s walking towards her bedroom when she’s stopped in her tracks by men in ski masks standing over Holly’s crib: Jack, Todd, and their associates. Todd, who entered through the window with his cohorts completely unseen by the cops, wants to make sure Skyler doesn’t implicate Lydia in any of this. She agrees, and they leave. Todd meets with Lydia at a familiar coffee shop to let her know that Skyler got the message. He tries to join her at her table, but, as we know, Lydia prefers to sit back-to-back. He starts using names, and Lydia has to correct him again. Not everybody can be as skilled as Mike and Walt when it comes to following criminal protocol. For Lydia, just the message wasn’t enough, apparently. She wants Skyler dead and she wants to cut ties with Todd. In an effort to keep her around (because he’s in looooooove), he tells her that their latest batch was at 92% purity. Lydia likes what she hears.
The next scene picks up with the coolest camera angle of the episode. Walt was stuck in a propane tank after travelling over 2,000 miles to New Hampshire, the Granite State, with the vacuum guy. They’re surrounded by snow and pine trees, a stark contrast to the desert landscape we’re used to. He’s going to be living in an isolated cabin without phone, internet, cable, or heat. Walt is already thinking about leaving, but he sticks around. The next day, he’s wearing a parka and shoving bundles of cash into his pockets. He finds the old porkpie hat, punches it back into shape and puts it on as he makes his way outside. He comes upon a gate and there’s nothing in front of him but open space. He coughs and says he’ll make the journey tomorrow.
In the meantime, Jesse is free of his shackles. He’s standing on top of a bucket trying to reach the bars of the door at the top of his cell. He’s so close, but he has to get everything back on and settled when he hears Todd coming. He gets some ice cream as a reward for his latest cook, which clocked in at 96% percent. Before Todd goes, Jesse asks him to keep the tarp off and he gets back to work. He leaps up – and makes it. He clutches the bars and inches closer and closer to the lock until he pops it open and sprints across the property. He reaches a fence, but Jack and the guys find him before he can climb it. Jesse just wants them to kill him, but they have other plans.
Todd knocks on Andrea’s door claiming to be a friend of Jesse’s. He tells her Jesse is in the truck across the street, and she starts to head over (BECAUSE SHE IS A SAINT). With her back to Todd, he takes his chance and shoots her in the back of the head after declaring that it was “nothing personal.” Jesse, screaming in the car, saw the whole thing and they promise to do the same to Brock if Jesse tries to leave again.
At least a month has passed back in New Hampshire. Walt has hair and a beard and is in need of a new pair of glasses. The repair guy brought him supplies and a selection of specs, though we already know he’s going to choose the thick-rimmed pair at the top of the box. He receives a bundle of New Mexico newspapers, which are filled with articles about him and Skyler that he later clips out and puts on his wall. Skyler no longer lives in their house, which has been vandalized after becoming a “tourist attraction” for local kids. She’s using her maiden name, Lambert, the same as Walt. The repair guy brings Walt’s cancer treatments and he’s about to head out when Walt offers him $10,000 to stick around for two more hours. He’ll stay for one, he says, and they start a card game. Walt knows he doesn’t have much time left, so he asks the repair guy if he’ll get the rest of his money to his family. He says no, so Walt needs a plan.
Later that night, he’s woken by a coughing fit and his wedding ring sliding off of his finger – that’s how much weight he’s lost. He’s looking around the room when he is struck with an idea. He can stuff Ensure boxes with bundles of money and mail it to Walt Jr.’s friend Louis’ house. He calls his son’s school and his former employer from a bar and poses as Marie. He tells Walt Jr. his plan and tries to explain to him why he made the decisions that he did, but he’s not having it. Walt Jr., who is obviously going by Flynn again, doesn’t want want the money. He just wants his father dead, and he makes that clear as he screams at him through the phone. After they hang up, he calls the DEA, gives his name, and leaves the phone off the hook, effectively turning himself in. He settles in at the bar and orders a drink – whiskey, neat. The bartender flips through the channels on the TV. Walt sees some familiar faces: Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz. The two recently made a donation funding local drug abuse treatment centers, and it’s been suggested that it was only an attempt to distance Gray Matter from Walt, one of its co-founders. The pair assure the host that the only thing Walt contributed to the company was its name, and in that moment, Walt forgets about everything else that just went wrong; the Heisenberg face is back on and the theme music plays. The police pull up to the bar, but Walt is already long gone. All that’s left is his drink, a napkin, and a $20 bill. Walt has one more thing to take care of.