Holy. Crap. We thought last week’s episode was intense, but “Ozymandias” takes us gently by the hand, pats us on the back, and patiently gives a masterclass in intensity. *Deep breath* On to the recap.
After last week’s climactic final moments, and given the season’s habit of opening with unrelated scenes, it’s not surprising when we open with a clear fluid boiling in an Erlenmeyer flask. It’s a flashback to Walt and Jesse’s very first cook out in To’hajiilee. We get a clear reminder of the Walt and Jesse we met in the pilot, their dynamic, and a few moments later, Walt and Skyler’s relationship, as Walt calls her to give his excuses for coming home late. As they talk back and forth and plan some family time, deciding on Holly as the name for the baby-to-be, we get a few moments of respite in this location that will become a battle ground far too soon. First Walt, then Jesse, then the trailer disappear, dissolving away in the order they became all but unrecognizable from the versions we first met.
After commercial, we hear the hail of bullets that ended last week’s episode and we’re back in the present. Agent Gomez is dead, Hank is conveniently wounded (just enough to be helpless, but fully coherent), and Jesse’s gone. Todd, his Nazi Uncle Jack, and the entire crew are unharmed, all equipped with body armor, and after a brief exchange with Walt, wherein he once more tries in vain to negotiate with someone outside his pay grade (something only Hank seems to realize), Jack executes Hank. In his attempts to save Hank’s life, Walt spills about his $80 million stash, Jack puts two and two together, and has his crew dig up the barrels, dumping Gomez and Hank in the hole. Jack leaves one barrel with Walt and is about to head out when Walt points out Jesse, who’s to this point remained hidden under Walt’s car. Just as Jack’s about to execute him as well, finishing the prior hit, Todd intervenes, requesting to torture Jesse for information on just how much he’s told the DEA before they kill him. Walt’s fine with it, adding insult to injury by coldly informing Jesse of his role in Jane’s death, and Jesse is dragged off while Walt, after a look in the rear view mirror back at Hank’s final resting place (which is also the grave of Walt? We seem to be dealing with Heisenberg for most of the rest of the episode), drives away. Not long afterward, Walt’s car runs out of gas, a bullet hole having punctured the gas tank, and in a shoutout to the methylamine heist in the season one finale, he rolls the barrel of cash ahead of him through the desert until he comes across a small house in the middle of the reservation. A Native American man greets him and, after some haggling, sells Walt his truck.
We cut to Marie walking up to the car wash (dressed all in black, as opposed to Skyler, all in white and beige). She informs Skyler of Hank’s arrest of Walt and we’re treated to a few brief moments of interaction before Marie lays down the law- turn over every copy of Walt’s false confession and tell Walt Jr. the truth immediately, and she and Hank will do everything they can to help and protect them. Next we cut to Jesse in a pit cell, badly beaten. Todd gently leads him up to the surface, Jesse protesting he’s told them everything, and then locks him in the lab. Jesse notices something and walks forward on his leash to discover a photo of Andrea and Brock- Todd is ready to cook, and it looks like Jesse will be there for quite a while.
After commercial, we’re back with Skyler and Marie, as Walt Jr. reacts to the truth about Walt (hence the title of the recap- thanks, Ken!). We also see Walt frantically packing back at the house. Skyler drives Holly and Walt Jr. home, the seatbelt alarm pinging the whole way, and we’re treated to an intense altercation at the White residence, as Skyler, prompted by her conversation with Marie earlier, demands to know how Walt could possibly be there and where Hank is. We get our last glimpse of Walt when he says he tried to save him, but from then on, it’s Heisenberg. Skyler grabs a kitchen knife and orders Walt to leave. There’s a skirmish (‘cause who needs to breathe?), and eventually Walt Jr. intervenes, placing himself in front of Skyler and calling the police. Walt makes one more attempt at playing the Family Card before picking Holly up from her playpen and leaving, Skyler running out behind him and left behind in the street, her white sweater now stained with blood (in a nice touch, by the ends of the sleeves- her hands aren’t clean either).
It’s another commercial break and then we’re back with Walt, who’s changing Holly’s diaper. He’s in full soothing voice mode, but this doesn’t change Holly’s mind- she wants Mama (in the most engaging baby acting in a drama in quite a while, and certainly the best use of Holly during the show’s run). Then we’re back with Skyler. An amber alert is out for Holly and the police are there. Walt calls the house and, after the police start a tracker, Skyler picks up. In full-on denial/Heisenberg mode, and clearly paralleling the start of episode conversation, Walt rails at her, seeking forgiveness and understanding in the only way he can. Walt tells Skyler (and by extension, Marie and the authorities) that Hank is gone, leaving them to assume that Walt is responsible for his death, and when Skyler begs him to return Holly, Walt insists he has more work to do. He drops Holly off at a fire station, turning on the lights of one of the engines to alert the firefighters to her presence, and then takes Saul’s contact up on a new identity, leaving Albuquerque carrying only a duffel bag.
Seriously guys, holy crap. What did you think? Post your reaction in the comments!