Granite State (S5E15)

So I’ll admit, and I call it an admission but it should be of no surprise to anyone at all, I did not obtain copies of this program legally. The guy who gave me the idea put them on a flash drive for me and told me to go to town. So when I pulled up the second episode I was a little surprised to see a “Previously on AMC’s Breaking Bad” segment. Of course the episode recap was previous relative to the actual broadcast order of the episode, so for me it was a recap of events I haven’t seen yet, which included Skyler slashing Walt’s hand with a knife and some guys getting executed in the desert. These are pretty minor spoilers in the grand scheme of things I guess.

Now that I’ve seen more than one episode of the show, I fear that these entries are just going to be recounting “Oh yeah, they set that up in the last one I watched” and “Oh that answers some questions I had.” And going back to my previous entries, I did have some of my questions answered.

Bob Odenkirk is in the show, and apparently he got into such a mess that he needs to disappear for a while with help from Vacuum Cleaner Warehouse guy

I guess the baby is Walt and Skyler’s.

But why would they choose to risk having a baby when their first kid, that she had 14-18 years ago, needs crutches to walk and appears to be retarded? Was the baby unplanned? Another tragic little soul for Walt to worry about when he learns he’s dying?

(Is Flynn mentally diminished? He sounded a little slow but he might’ve just been upset, plus the class they pulled him out of didn’t exactly look like Special Ed)

In any event this episode was (perhaps not surprisingly) a huge clear-up over what went down in the finale, besides giving me a little more background on the story in general. All sorts of details are getting thrown around that I lack context for, and while my educated guess of “things are going badly because Walt is a prolific meth dealer and got caught” is probably correct, I’m sure it’s also imprecise.

The breakout character for me in this episode was Todd Elquist (ever notice that in fiction, a guy named Todd is usually a dirtbag?). In the finale he struck me as the obvious stand out in the greasy ponytail gang, and I figured maybe he was just the gofer for his drug lord uncle, a clean-cut looking kid without a criminal record who would go out and handle business deals that the scummier looking members of the organization wouldn’t be able to do as easily. Perhaps that is essentially his function, but because of that clean-cut, soft-spoken quality of his, I figured he was sort of caught up in the life through circumstance and would’ve liked to get out of it. In this episode I watched him threaten a woman and her baby, then shoot a different woman while someone she was close to (her boyfriend? brother?) watched her die, bound and gagged in the back of a truck, plus an incident is referred to in which he shot a guy off a dirtbike or something. I felt bad for the guy during the last episode, and now I see that I wasn’t supposed to.

(Or maybe I was? Maybe circumstances forced him to be a bastard? I don’t have all the information)

Also the cops who were watching Skyler’s house really dropped the ball when none of them noticed three grown men in sitcom-burglar costumes break in or leave.

I figured out the show takes place in New Mexico. It was something I was uncertain about last time since he was in a cold environment, but pretty much any time I saw a background in promotional stills it was a desert. I kind of figured this episode would end with Walt stealing Hider-Man’s car since I don’t recall the first episode ever explicitly showing how he came across that car he used to drive back home, but it just showed him getting mad at the philanthropist couple on TV and leaving his unfinished drink and a little cash. I’m guessing it was a little cash, I just saw there was a bill, Walt certainly had enough large bills on hand to leave the bar a hundo for the inconvenience of using the woman’s voice to fool a school administrator, and as an apology for defeatedly mumbling his location into the bar pay phone, causing them to be raided in short order.

I liked the shot of Hider-Man letting a dazed Walt out of the empty tanker. Assuming they departed from New Mexico, the poor guy must’ve been in there a very long time. I’ve only ever seen a laconic, mumbly Walter White, so I was surprised at first seeing him so worked up in the beginning. When Bob Odenkirk tells him he can’t feasibly transfer the money to his family, when Hider-man drops him off in the cabin and tells him he’s got to stay buried, he becomes that familiar zombie. When he begs Hider-man to stay with him a little longer, offers him $10,000 to just hang out for two hours, and the guy says he’ll stay one, that was a powerful scene. Walt is apparently America’s Most Wanted at this point, but from how shocking he finds these revelations, that he can’t get the money to his family, that he can’t leave the cabin, I’m guessing Walt wasn’t used to being told “No” in the recent past. And he shouldn’t be, he’s smart and scary and he has more money than God, but apparently his criminal enterprise was powerful enough to bring the might of America’s law enforcement to bear on him and he had to disappear. Also apparently the Elquists managed to take a lot of that from him, so that explains why he tore them apart with a machine gun last time.

Anyhow, some questions I hope to find answers to:

Who is Hank? Last time Walt gave Skyler the location of Hank and Steve Gomez’s bodies. Walt tells Bob Odenkirk that the Elquists murdered Hank, Flynn says Walt killed Hank and calls him his uncle, and I have no idea what to believe because of the weird way I have chosen to approach this program

Do they ever explain or theorize how Walt got cancer? Do they ever imply that maybe it’s because Skyler smokes in the house?

Is there any symbolism to Walt keeping his money in a 55 gallon drum?

Todd keeps throwing around a percentage when he talks about their product, he did it in the last episode too. What does this percentage refer to? The potency? The purity? Isn’t meth something anyone can make with about 50 dollars worth of stuff from a K-Mart? I get that this is a TV show and the guy who made the formula they’re using is a genius, but do they demonstrate the efficacy of Walt’s meth vs. the stuff every other person from Florida makes in the trunk of their car?

How involved was Walt with Elliot and Gretchen? He seems to get really furious when they imply that he didn’t have much to do with the company they started with him, and their insistence that he’s gone. Did they betray him in some way? Did they have something to do with his forced exile?

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2 thoughts on “Granite State (S5E15)

  1. I would be hesitant to watch the previously on segments, simply because they will show important stuff that you won’t see until the next episode. That being said, these are very thoughtful.

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