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Recap / Breaking Bad S 5 E 15 Granite State

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Walt and Saul meet in a temporary hideout provided by Ed, the guy who's providing both of them with new identities. Walt is bent on revenge on the Aryan Brotherhood gang for killing Hank and stealing his money, and he asks Saul for help. Saul says there's nothing he can do anymore, and suggests the best thing Walt could do now is give himself up to the police, so that Skyler doesn't get the blame for his crimes. Walt attempts to coerce Saul into coming with him, but Saul refuses, saying that he is no longer a lawyer and that if he's lucky, he'll be "managing a Cinnabon in Omaha". Walt attempts to threaten him further but is subdued by a coughing fit. No longer intimidated, Saul bids Walt farewell and leaves for his new life in Nebraska.

Jack's gang, meanwhile, have been keeping themselves busy; they break into the Schrader house and recover Jesse's confession tape, and after watching it Jack prepares to execute Jesse for being a rat, but Todd asks him to reconsider, telling him that they can use Jesse to cook more meth for them. Jack is puzzled by the request at first, pointing out that they already have more money than they will ever need after stealing Walt's millions, but he then realizes that Todd wants to impress Lydia, whom he is now infatuated with, and agrees to keep Jesse alive. Shortly after, the gang break into Walt's house and threaten Skyler not to reveal Lydia's involvement, to which a shaken Skyler complies. Lydia visits Todd and wants to end their operation because of all the heat surrounding it, but she reconsiders after he reveals that the meth composition is now at 92% purity thanks to Jesse. At Jack's base of operations, Jesse uses a paper clip to unlock his chains and tries to escape, but he is captured. The gang punishes him by taking him to Andrea's house and forcing him to watch Todd shoot her in the head. They threaten to kill Brock if he disobeys again.

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Meanwhile, Walt, who's now the target of a nationwide manhunt, is relocated by Ed to a secure hideout, a desolate cabin in the middle of a forest in New Hampshire. Ed tells Walt to lay low for the time being, and warns that if he tries to contact the outside world in any way, he will get caught. Walt is still tempted from the first day to walk out, but ultimately he doesn't and instead, he resolves to keep hiding in the cabin, becoming more and more depressed and weak from his sickness. Some months later, Ed arrives on his monthly visit to bring Walt food and supplies, including a chemotherapy dose which Walt requested, and gives him news about the outside world; namely that Skyler has returned to using her maiden name, that she works as a part-time taxi dispatcher to earn money, and that she and Walter Jr. have left the old house, and that Walt is still being hunted by the authorities. Ed is about to leave, when the lonely Walt offers him an extra $10,000 to keep him company for another hour; Ed accepts and the two starts playing cards. During the game, Walt asks Ed if he could arrange for his family to receive some of his leftover money, but Ed very honestly answers that he simply can't guarantee that he won't just keep the money for himself.

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Alone again, Walt stuffs $100,000 of his leftover money into a cardboard box Ed left behind, before he finally decides to step outside of the cabin area and enters a nearby local bar. He calls his son, who has now legally changed his first name from Walter to Flynn, and tries to arrange for the box to be sent to his family, but Flynn refuses to accept anything from him, saying that he killed Uncle Hank and finishes the conversation by bitterly asking "Why don't you just die?" Shaken by Flynn's rejection, Walt finally takes Saul's advice and calls the DEA to surrender himself, leaving the line open so they can trace the call to where he is. Waiting for the cops to arrive, Walt orders himself a shot of whiskey and watches the bar's TV. In doing so, he happens to spot Gretchen and Elliott being interviewed by Charlie Rose on the Heisenberg case. Elliott claims that Walt's only major contribution to Gray Matter was inspiring the name of the company, while Gretchen says that whether or not Heisenberg is still out there, the man they knew as Walter White is now dead. Rose also reveals that Heisenberg's signature blue meth is still in circulation. Walt's anger visibly rises as the interview progresses, and when it is over, he has changed his mind about surrendering.

The police arrive and ransack the bar, but Walt is gone, his unfinished whiskey and a $100 bill the only evidence of him having been there.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: However much you've grown to hate Walt, you will pity him when he shells out ten thousand dollars just so he can pretend to have a friend for an hour. And when he desperately begs his son "don't let this all be for nothing".
  • All There in the Manual: The name of the identity provider is never mentioned within the episode. Various press materials reference him as The Extractor or The Disappearer. The name 'Ed' is found in the plot synopsis for this episode on AMC's official Breaking Bad website.
  • Apologetic Attacker: After showing Andrea that Jesse is in his truck, Todd lets Andrea get a closer look before saying "Just so you know, this isn't personal." and shooting her in the back of the head.
  • Beard of Sorrow: During his stay in New Hampshire, Walt's appearance becomes increasingly disheveled, and he grows out a full, shaggy beard as he lives in isolation and grows ill from his chemo treatments.
  • Berserk Button: Gretchen and Elliott unknowingly slam down hard on Walt's by minimizing his contribution to Gray Matter Technologies to "just the name".
  • Broken Masquerade: By this point, the whole world has found out who Heisenberg really is.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz, returning for the first time since Season 2 note .
    • Carmen, last seen firing Walt in "Green Light", also makes a reappearance.
  • Butt-Monkey: Played for Drama. After all the bad stuff that's already happened to Jesse, this episode makes things even worse when the Aryans shoot Andrea just so Jesse will keep cooking for them.
  • Call-Back: Walt attempts the same intimidation tactic he used on Saul at the beginning of the season to bully him into remaining in his employment. This time, he can only say "You remember what I told you? It's not over until-" before a coughing fit takes the wind out of his sails, giving Saul the opportunity to get away from him with a parting "It's over."
  • Call-Forward: Saul did end up managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.
  • The Cameo: Robert Forster plays Ed, the guy who fixes Walt with a new identity and a hideout. And there's Charlie Rose as himself, interviewing Gretchen and Elliott. Rose has his own talk show on PBS and is also on "CBS This Morning."
  • Chekhov's Skill: At first glance, the compound being surrounded by a high fence topped with razor wire might be daunting. But Jesse has overcome that obstacle before, and he barely hesitates to go for it.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Walt finally emerges from the mountain cabin where he's been hiding out and goes to a bar. What pops up on the television mounted above the bar? Naturally, a PBS interview with Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, Walt's old partners and co-founders of Gray Matter.
  • Continuity Nod: During his "reality check" speech to Walt, Saul brings up how, as smart as Mike was, whenever he tried to get his money to his granddaughter, it just ended up seized by the Feds.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Walter is in hiding in New Hampshire. After he tries to reconnect with his son and is roughly told off, he calls the DEA and settles in to let them trace the call to the bar where he is drinking and arrest him. Before they find him, the bartender randomly starts channel flipping, which allows Walter to see an interview where his ex- and old business partner badmouth him on TV and minimize his contribution. This angers Walt so much he chooses to escape and return to New Mexico for his vengeance
  • Darkest Hour: Walter is the most wanted man in America, he's forced to go into isolation in New Hampshire, Jesse is taken captive by the Neo-Nazis, Andrea is killed by Todd right in front of Jesse's eyes, Hank is dead, Walt's family is completely broken and Walter turns himself in, only coming out of exile due to Gretchen and Elliott.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Walt comes close to this when Flynn refuses to accept any money from him. He is finally ready to surrender to the police, but seeing the interview of Gretchen and Elliott makes him change his mind.
    • Andrea's death is this for Jesse, not that he hadn't already crossed it to begin with.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • The point of Saul's entire rant to Walter on how he has failed to realize the full impact his actions have now. By being made out to be an innocent victim, Skyler has nothing to trade with for the Feds and thus they'll go after her to get at Walt. Walt may have the money but there's no way to get any of it to his family without the Feds grabbing it. Now that it's out that she was married to a murderous drug lord, Skyler will probably never find a job and that affects their kids. By the look on Walt's face during Saul's talk, it's clear that he never considered this himself and realizing how bad he's screwed things up.
    • Jesse's escape plan essentially amounted to "Get out of the hole, then run like hell", with nothing planned for exactly how to escape from a compound with surveillance cameras and a barb-wired fence around the perimeter.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Jack would be happy to retire but stays in the business so he can help his nephew impress Lydia.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. Initially it looks like Uncle Jack is disturbed by the idea that Todd so effortlessly killed a child. It turns out he was actually furious that Jesse ratted his nephew out personally.
  • Every Man Has His Price:
    • Subverted. Walt finds out that even though he has millions of dollars, it won't help him in his revenge against Uncle Jack's gang, nor can he give it to his family.
    • Played razor straight with the Extractor, though, who negotiates Walt down from two hours to one hour in exchange for ten thousand dollars.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Jesse's escape plan is pretty abysmal. He not only fails to spot the blatant cameras looming down on him, but he ends up barrelling through the compound to make a frenzied attempt to climb a barbed-wire fence. All things considered, it's a very Jesse-like escape plan.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: While it is certainly not played for laughs, Walt tries to threaten Saul into working for him before they leave with their new identities but is interrupted by a long coughing fit. This prompts Saul to leave as soon as he can before Walt can finish.
  • Forced to Watch: The Neo-Nazis force Jesse to watch Andrea getting killed as a punishment for trying to escape.
  • He's Back: Walt after seeing the Gray Matter interview.
  • His Quirk Lives On: Walt sometimes imitates the habits of people he has killed, or whose death he feels responsible for. In this episode we see him ordering his whiskey the same way Hank used to do.
  • Hope Spot: Jesse nearly escapes the Aryan compound, after fooling Todd, not noticing the camera on the boundary. During his moment of escape, he is captured again. Todd and Jack drive Jesse to Andrea's house, where Todd lures her out on pretext of Jesse's information. When Andrea is in clear view of Jesse, he panics as he tries desperately to save her. Todd shoots her quickly, with Jack warning Jesse another such attempt will lead to Brock's death. Jesse's breakdown really seals the deal.
  • I Have No Son!: Inverted in the case of Walter Jr., who has legally changed his first name to Flynn in the interim months after his father's disappearance and blows up at Walt when he calls him at school to offer to send him money, telling him to just up and die already before angrily hanging up.
  • Ill Man: Walt's cancer advances greatly during his stay in New Hampshire, such that his body becomes increasingly emaciated to the point where his wedding ring slips off his finger.
  • Ironic Echo: Flynn repeats his "Why don't you just die already?" from the first season. Back then, it was out of despair at his dad seemingly giving up. Here, it's out of complete disgust. He's also unknowingly echoing Marie's more recent line.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: After dressing down how Walt's actions to exonerate Skyler have made it worse, Saul outright says that if he really cares about his family, he will give himself up to the Feds to spare them the suffering they are about to endure. Walt doesn't.
  • Kick the Dog: Jack orders Todd to kill Andrea in front of Jesse.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Saul suggests that the best thing Walt can do for his family is give himself up, as it'll spare them the DEA's attention and he'll be a celebrity felon for his remaining time. Walt doesn't listen.
  • Leno Device: As proof of Heisenberg's nationwide notoriety, the case is being discussed on Charlie Rose.
  • Meaningful Echo: Walt and Saul's last scene together is a replay of the scene in the season premiere where Walt tells Saul they're done when he says they're done - only this time Walt begins coughing before he can finish speaking and, no longer intimidated, Saul says "It's over," before exiting the scene and the series.
  • Meaningful Rename: Skyler has gone back to her maiden name "Lambert", while Walter Jr. has legally changed his first name to "Flynn", symbolizing the fact that neither of them wish to be associated with Walter White any longer. Interestingly, Walt has also chosen "Mr. Lambert" as his new alias while living undercover, meaning that he and Skyler are still sharing the same last name.
  • Men Don't Cry: While watching Jesse's confession, Jack and his gang spent most of their time calling him a wimp for crying.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: When Walt tries to intimidate Saul into sticking with him, echoing his "We're done when I say we're done" declaration from the season premiere, he goes into a coughing fit that takes all the wind out of his sails. Saul sees Walt for the man he is: weak, desperate, and divested of any power he once had. With that, he simply tells Walt "It's over" before taking his leave.
  • Nothing Personal: Todd says this to Andrea before he kills her.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: A less heavy example. After living in isolation for a while, Walt is willing to pay Ed a small fortune just to stick around a little longer.
  • Put on a Bus: Saul goes off to live under a new identity.

  • Pet the Dog:
    • Saul's final bit of legal advice for Walt is for him to turn himself in to save Skyler from prosecution.

    • Todd talks Lydia out of Killing Skyler.

  • Reality Ensues: Walt is forced to face the reality of what his family would have to endure when he goes on the lam: beforehand, Walt called his house while the police listened in and played himself up as an intimidating druglord who coerced his wife Skyler into helping him, rather than her being a willing accomplice, so that she wouldn't be blamed for his crimes. Unfortunately, when Walt goes on the run, he essentially leaves Skyler holding the bag; without any information on Walt's whereabouts or anything else of import, she would remain the target of prosecution.
    • Walt also learns the cold truth about illegally obtained money; it's more of a liability than a resource. Despite the millions he still has, he's reduced to hermitage in a broken-down cabin in an unfamiliar state because of his status as a wanted criminal. He can't get the money to his family through any legal channels, and even Ed admits he'd likely keep it for himself if Walt asked him to get it to Skyler. He can't even risk putting it into a more secure location, like a bank or safe deposit box, and has to keep it in the same barrel.
    • During his talk, Saul points out to Walt that it's no longer being able to hide from drug charges and wait for the heat to die down. Because two agents are presumed murdered, the DEA is never going to stop hunting for Walt and he's already a wanted man so even vanishing is going to be hard for him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Junior to Walt, when Walt tries to send him money:
    ...you killed Uncle Hank! YOU KILLED HIM! What you did to Mom, you asshole! You killed Uncle Hank-Just shut up! Just shut up! YOU KILLED UNCLE HANK! YOU KILLED HIM! What you did-just shut up! SHUT UP! Will you just-just leave us alone, you asshole! Why are you still alive?! Why don't you just-just die already?! JUST DIE!
  • She Knows Too Much: Lydia wants Skyler dead because the two met at the car wash and fears implication in the Heisenberg case.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Uncle Jack figures out the reason Todd wants to keep on cooking meth- even though the gang is now richer than they could have ever imagined- is because he has a crush on Lydia and wants to impress her.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Andrea is killed to give Jesse more angst, and to show - yet again- what a psycho Todd is.
  • Take That!: The film chosen as the absolute antithesis of what Walt would want as his only entertainment material? Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. "Two copies!"
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When Walt is his at his Darkest Hour and having a last drink at a bar before surrendering to the police, but happens to watch an interview on the bar's TV with his old business partners, Gretchen and Elliott, who manage to seriously push his main Berserk Button by attacking his Pride, as they downplay his contributions to the Gray Matter company. As Walt's fury grows as he watches the interview, resulting in him changing his mind about surrendering himself, the show's main theme song starts kicking for the first and only time during an episode, and the "power-up" lasts Walt until the very end of the finale.
  • Un-person:
    • It's the fear of becoming this that motivates Walt out of his Despair Event Horizon and to make his final moves, fitting with the season's tagline, "Remember My Name!"
    • Saul is this, in a sense. Only he's not Saul anymore. Even his Jimmy McGill, Attorney at Law days are far behind him. He's just plain old James Morgan McGill now.
  • Wham Episode: Walt and Saul both disappear using the identity-eraser, with Saul fleeing to Nebraska and Walt to New Hampshire, where he takes the name Mr. Lambert. Walt's plan to absolve Skyler from any culpability has failed, leaving her to face trial, and she is threatened by Todd and Jack's men to not mention Lydia to the police. Jack has Todd kill Andrea to punish Jesse for trying to escape, and threatens to kill Brock too if he tries again. Walt makes one last call to Walt Jr. (who legally renamed himself Flynn) at a local bar and, barely holding it together, tells him he wants to send $100,000; Walt Jr. responds with a scathing speech, prompting Walt to decide to turn himself in to DEA. But, seeing Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz announcing on TV that Walt had nothing to contribute to Gray Matter Industries (plus talking bad about him in the process), he decides to leave the bar (avoiding the police), going to talk to Elliott and Gretchen.
  • Wham Shot: Walt calls the DEA to give himself up and settle down to have a last drink before being captured, only to see his former Grey Matter business partners talking on television about him. The police raid the bar he called from, the final shot being his still full glass left alone on the counter.
  • Would Hurt a Child: After Jesse tearfully witnesses Andrea's murder, Jack threatens to kill Brock too if he stops cooking blue meth.

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