We all know that Breaking Bad comes to an end next week. And if you didn't, the penultimate episode's incessant hints that Walter White is on the brink of death should be enough to take you there. (There's lots of horrific coughing, be warned.)
Walt's nasty phone call to Skyler has been revealed as a ploy to get the Feds off her back (look, not all of us got that right away). Walt tells Saul early on, "As far as the police are concerned, Skyler was a blameless victim," but then again, with her public defender and regular meetings with agents looking to capture the now-MIA Walt (she tells them truthfully, "I understand that I am in terrible trouble… but the truth is that I can't give you what you want, I don't know where he is."), it sure didn't do much. Walt taking the blame in person might just be a little more helpful.
All the while, Walt is living in a snowy shack in New Hampshire with a month's worth of mostly canned food and a few steaks in the freezer. For $50,000, that's not exactly a bargain, but hey, when your former business partner is on Charlie Rose defending his dealings with you ages ago, you're kind of a big deal. (Though, reality check: When was the last time a hunt for any kind of drug-related case has gotten this much attention in real life media? The Wire does not count.)
And that disappearing act comes with strings too. No calls, no Internet, no visiting the nearby town. In fact, once Walt leaves his two acres of trees, he's on his own with no more pricey protection. Of course, this means he can't get revenge on Jack or continue to fail to protect his family. In a rush of hubris on his very first day, he trudges to the gate… and chickens out.
Walt stays in the hut for what seems like awhile (there's beard to prove it), and the next time we see him at the gate, it's as if he's about to make his dash back to humanity. Too bad he's receiving another monthly shipment of food and newspapers.
At the end of the visit, Walt begs the Disappearer/vacuum repair man (man man) to stay for another two hours — offering him $10,000 in exchange. They bargain and agree on one hour for $10,000, and it's clear just how desperate Walt is for human interaction, even if it's just cards. "One of these days when you come up here. I'll be dead. My money over there, what happens to it then? What if I asked you to give it to my family, would you do it?" Walt asks.
"If I said yes, would you believe me?" The Disappearer replies.
Of course, desperation leads to crazy things. Like going into town, hitting up the nearby dive bar, and calling your kid to tell him you plan to mail his friend a big box of money. Walt Jr. has been getting ballsier and better throughout the show (he should write a book for teens on overcoming adversity) and finally calls Walt on his crap, screaming into the phone — in the middle of school after being called out of class for a phone call, no less — "What you did to mom, you killed Hank… I don't want anything from you! Why don't you just die already? Just die."
While big boxes of money may sound like the best present Santa Claus could bring the common man, when your family is under investigation for being involved with a drug kingpin, getting deliveries of money might fall under the "suspicious" category. Walt tries to prove to his son that he's not a bad person; it's not like he intended for tons of people to die for his greed (all in the name of his family!). And then he dials up the DEA and asks to speak to the person in charge of the Walter White investigation. Who's calling, they ask? Walter White, of course. And he leaves the phone hanging.
The episode ends with the sheriff's department in small town New Hampshire (it's so remote they couldn't get some DEA SUVs up there?) surrounding the dive bar.
This would be a great teaching moment to tell kids: Hey, crime doesn't pay!
In the meantime, Walt isn't the only one who might get the ax. "We can't settle for sending messages," Lydia says to Todd about Skyler as she contemplates cutting off their business relationship due to the risk involved. "I'm not like you and your uncle. I can't handle this kind of risk. We'll have to take a break." (She's swayed back in when Todd tells her he's making pure blue meth again.)
And Jesse attempts to escape from his cage in the ground, but gets caught just as he's about to jump over the fence to freedom. His punishment? Andrea is lured out of her house and shot right in front of him. "Remember, there's still the kid," Jack reminds Jesse as he's hauled away to make more of the 96 percent pure meth he has been producing.
So, ready your drinking games, kiddies. And if you're doing one shot for every time someone is offed on the show (personal recommendation), prepare for a rough Monday morning next week.