With a small army of Nazis taking the place of Walder Frey‘s men and Hank and Gomie filling in for Robb and Cat Stark, that feeling of sick dread and exhilaration was back in my stomach as the shoot-out took place in the desert.
(GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS FOLLOW) Of course, the Red Wedding episode ended fairly conclusively for the Starks, but Breaking Bad left us hanging on, with the shooting ongoing. Traditionally, you’d say that was potentially good news for our DEA agents, as major characters rarely die at the start of episodes, so if you make it to the cliffhanger, you’ll probably be ok.
But it would very much be in the style of this show if the next episode began with a slow motion crawl along the dusty desert floor to reveal Hank and Gomie’s bodies in the aftermath of it all. Certainly their fate looks hopeless unless Jesse manages to pull off some kind of masterstroke to save them.
The only person we know will be ok is Walt, of course, as we’ve seen him in the flashforwards, and Breaking Bad is hardly likely to end with three episodes of Skyler and Marie bickering (hopefully). Who else returns from To’hajiilee is anyone’s guess.
After last week’s less eventful episode, the show was right back on top form again this week, VERY top form, with Jesse and Hank outdoing Walt’s attempts to manipulate the situation, maybe a sign that his powers are weakening after all.
The build-up saw great scenes with Saul at the car wash and with Huell (will he be in the mooted Saul spin-off? I hope so) trying and failing to work a poker face, while Walt sold his remaining soul to the Nazi devils, agreeing to cook one last time in exchange for killing Jesse.
After clever work from the Schrader/Pinkman/Gomez posse and a barrel of money by the BBQ pit, the adrenaline started to pump with Walt’s mad dash to the desert and the tense scenes when he handed himself over.
I was expecting him to have something (possibly literally) up his sleeve to take out his enemies, waiting for an explosion caused by different bits of rock or something, but Heisenberg was out of tricks. Unfortunately for all concerned, he’d unwittingly already played his remaining card and the Nazis were on the way.
The tension built up and up as Hank resolutely refused to hurry up and get Walt to jail as quickly as possible. As soon as he rang Marie to share the good news, you knew that things were going to take a turn for the worse, and that conversation seems to be setting itself up to be their last.
Fortunately for Hank and Gomie (so far) these Nazis shoot just as badly as the ones in old war movies, otherwise the gun fight would have been brief, and quite how they both managed to get behind cover while having a machine gun fired at them stretched credibility a little. But that was soon forgotten.
Three episodes left, and Breaking Bad is heading ever further down the road towards tragedy. This may well have been the big first step towards doom and destruction. And it was up there with the very best television you’ll see.