Monday Morning Critic – Breaking Bad Season 5 Part 2, Episode 7, “Granite State” Review, Thoughts and Spoilers

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This Week’s DVD Breaking Bad Season 5 Part 2, Episode 7, “Granite State”

I have seen a bunch of films on DVD this week … but for some reason I keep coming back to wanting to talk about Breaking Bad in its final season. And nothing this week in film was compelling enough to write about, nor were the couple of films I saw on DVD enough to make me break format. Plus the final two episodes of the series could probably work as a stand alone film that would be a Top 10 movie of 2013 if Vince Gilligan was so inclined.

Nothing I’ve seen on DVD (and nothing in the news) has been as compelling, week in and week out, as this final season of Breaking Bad. I gave up a huge portion of the Bears game on Sunday night against the Steelers to watch the show, for what it’s worth. Not really gave up, technically; NBC Sports website broadcasts the game and I use a combination of my laptop and desktop to be able to keep up with the game while Walter White’s tale takes place.

Last week we saw Walt go into hiding with his 11 million dollars, waiting for the man Saul Goodman told could give him a new life far away from it. He gave the ultimate mea culpa with the cops on the line and skipped town. Jesse is now a slave to some Neo Nazis in their meth lab. With only two episodes left there are only so many knockouts they can have left in them, right? I mean this final eight episode run has been so exceptional so far that we have to have one forgettable, plot filling episode right?

This week finds us with Walt making the long anticipated move to New Hampshire, relocated to a cabin. But the theme of it was loss: Walter was losing everything he ever worked for in the months since he disappeared away from it all. Even Saul lost out, having to choose to use the disappearance service himself.

The sum total of Walt’s existence, even the ability to exact revenge, was taken from him. His ability to become Heisenberg, to intimidate Saul into doing what he wanted, left him with one final hacking cough. There was something powerful about Bob Odenkirk finally getting that one upper hand on his interactions with Walt after being on the receiving end of his intimidation for so long. On top of that we got the full theme song in the episode, as well, and I’m not sure what that means.

His son and family hate him for what he did and what he became. The money he wanted to leave to them, to take care of them when he was gone, was going to go into other people’s hands. His family was going to suffer in ways he never meant them to and his legacy was gone. Even the company he founded was disassociating itself from him, claiming his legacy as theirs and reducing his contribution to their billions as nothing but a name. His wife was going to bear the brunt of his criminal dealings as well. As good of a reason as it is to provide for his family Walter White was going to have the sum total of everything he ever did reduced to “drug kingpin,” dying in a cabin after waiting for company like a senior citizen at a home for the elderly was kind of pathetic.

And you could easily feel sorry for him, especially as his son was telling him he hoped he would die soon. Walter was broken, only able to leave a handful of the money he made to his family. Hearing the Vacuum Salesman tell him “Would it make you feel better if I said yes?” was hard to watch. This was Bryan Cranston showing weakness in its most primal form; it was heartbreaking and made you remember the reasons why you wanted Walter White to succeed in the first place. Cranston has declared he’ll never do anything better than Walt and that’s the truth.

This is a genuine acting clinic for Cranston and the role he’ll be remembered for long after he’s done acting. The heartbreak of the episode was Jesse’s ex girlfriend and kid being killed in chilling, brutal fashion. I thought they were just going to kidnap her and then … it was hard. Like I want to find Aaron Paul and just give him a hug. It’s a TV show and such, of course, but Breaking Bad has basically been a series of awful, awful things happening to Jesse Pinkman and you can see the inherent goodness in him.

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This was a genuine episode of epic proportion for Walt. The film’s final moments were powerful. Seeing the last of his legacy pissed away on television along with the realization that Jesse was now cooking math for the Nazis, brought the final path for Walt: redemption.

Considering he looked so skinny, and his ring fell off his hand, this became the moment where we saw the same look in his eyes that we did when he decided to talk Jesse into the meth game. This was a desperate man doing a desperate thing and I loved the time shift between Walt leaving (and being discovered) to being a fugitive hunted nationwide. It’s the one thing I’ve always enjoyed about the show: they move forward just far enough to skip all the little moments that can be skipped. The monotony of him cooking meth and shipping it overseas to end the first half of last season, etc,

And we have the series finale to come next week, too, as this is Walter White’s Darth Vader moment.

That’s where we’re leading to. Walt’s done on a lot of bad things in the past year, and he’s without redemption, but he needs to do what Saul told him to do initially: make things right. Only he’s not going to do it in prison, and lose everything. How he does will be something to behold.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Rush – A tale of the 1976 Formula One racing championship between James Hunt and Niki Landa.

See It – No one ever discusses how Ron Howard is their favorite director, or one of the best of all time, but he’s got two Oscar wins and a plethora of great films to his credit. Go figure, huh? It’s getting some great buzz early so far, too.

Don Jon – Joseph Gordon-Leavitt gets his Guido on, is banging Scarlett Johanssen and yet still really likes porn. Go figure.

See It – JGL is on a streak where everything he’s doing is quality work. Not going to doubt he can continue it for some time.

Baggage Claim – Paula Patton hit the wall and is now going back through he ex-boyfriends via the power of creepy electronic stalking, trying to see if she missed a connection over the years. She’s a flight attendant, hence the film’s name.

Skip it – I love Paula Patton but this is equal parts creepy and stupid for a setup, just saying.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – More crazy things as food or something.

Skip It – The trailer looks awful and with animated fare most of the time a trailer is as good as the film will be.

Metallica; Through the Never – An IMAX concert experience with the American metal scene’s Led Zeppelin.

See It – It’s Metallica, one of the best live shows out there.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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