“Granite State” picks up seemingly where “Ozymandias” left off, with the red minivan pulling into a vacuum warehouse. It’s not Walt who gets out, though, but Saul (how did we not see that coming last week?). His guy, played by Robert Forster, starts processing Saul, setting him up with a Nebraska driver’s license, and lets him know he’ll have to lay low there for a while before starting up his new life (his face is on billboards, after all). In a break with Forster’s character’s usual protocol, he’ll be waiting with another in-process client, Walt, who doesn’t look to be taking his situation particularly well, as he paces and writes furiously on a legal pad.
After commercial, we’re back with a stonefaced Marie as she’s driven home, transported by federal agents (DEA? FBI?). When they arrive, the driveway is strewn with papers- Jack and his crew have been here. Two agents get out to assess the situation as Marie is quickly driven to safety, and as the agents go to work, we hear Jesse’s voice overlayed, transitioning us to the Nazi’s man cave, where Jack’s crew are watching his confession in high def. They find Jesse’s remorse highly entertaining, but Kenny is less amused, fast forwarding to Jesse’s retelling of Todd’s murder of Drew Sharp. Todd has a slight (uber creepy, and perhaps proud?) smile on his face, but Jack is not happy. Of course, Jack being Jack, it’s not because his nephew fond recalls murdering a child, it’s because Jesse ratted him out for doing so. He storms over to kill Jesse, but Todd stops him. He wants to cook up more of the meth- yes, they have millions, but why turn your back on millions more? Jack laughs, plays with Todd’s hair affectionately, and acquiesces. He and the other guys mock Todd’s taste, but Jack’s amused by his crush on Lydia, seeing through to his actual motivation.
Jesse looks at the picture we saw last week ofAndrea and Brock, which has a paperclip on it, then starts picking his handcuffs with the paperclip. We cut to Forster on his cell at the warehouse, and then pan inside the hidden room to Saul and Walt. Walt is laser-focused; he wants to hit Jack’s crew- 5 guys should be enough. Saul tries to convince Walt to stay, to help his family. The phone call was smart, he says, but it’ll only get her off a year and a half down the line, at the trial. He won’t be able to get any cash to Skyler in the meantime to help with her defense- even Mike couldn’t get his nest egg to his granddaughter (nice callback!). Walt won’t be distracted though, he’s hell-bent on revenge. Saul wants no part of it, though, and in a mirror of an earlier scene Walt tries physically intimidate and threaten Saul into compliance, trying to reiterate that, “It’s over when [Walt] says it’s over”. He starts coughing party-way through though and slumps over, the weakest we’ve seen him in quite a while.
Next we’re with Skyler, looking good in a business suit (white and beige, her colors this season). The audio is highly distorted by a high-pitched wail as she stares into nothingness. The people she and her lawyer are meeting with (the authorities) ask if she understands the situation, and she does- they want Walt and will throw the book at her if she doesn’t turn him in, but she can’t even if she wanted to. Later that night, two officers watch the White residence as Skyler sits dejectedly on the couch, drink in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. She goes to check on Holly after she makes a noise and (terrifyingly!) finds three men in black clothes and ski masks in Holly’s room. Todd talks to Skyler, while Kenny stands behind her (and a third man lurks closer to the crib), asking whether she’s said anything to the police about Lydia. She’s able to convince him she hasn’t and swears she never will, and pacified, they leave while Skyler, formerly frozen with fear, grabs Holly.
Todd waits for Lydia at a coffee shop, hair coiffed and shirt pressed. To his disappointment, she sits at the table behind him, their chairs back to back. It turns out the home visit was at her behest, but she’s not pleased with Todd’s report- she wants Skyler dead, not “message”d. She says they’ll have to take a break, but changes her tune when she hears there’s 50 lbs of blue, 92% pure meth waiting for her. Stunned by the turnaround, she asks if Heisenberg’s involved and is worried to hear Jesse’s back in the mix, as the police are looking for him. She can’t ignore the purity though, missing her chance to get out; Todd, meanwhile, continues his creepy crushing.
We next cut to Walt, sitting in a dark metal tube, which we discover is the inside of a propane truck. He climbs out and Forster welcomes “Mr. Lambert” to New Hampshire, a snow-covered landscape with a single small cabin. The cabin it turns out is outfitted with a month or so of food, enough electricity to run the essentials, a wood-burning stove, and two copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Forster’s “not a movie guy”). There’s no phone, no internet, no sat phone, nothing- he’ll be completely cut off. There’s a small town eight miles away, but Forster cautions that if he leaves the cabin and immediate environs for any reason, he will be caught, and if Forster finds out he left, he won’t be back. Otherwise, he’ll see him in a month, with whatever supplies he requests. Walt, of course, immediately opens his barrel, grabs a bundle of cash, puts on his porkpie hat, and starts walking into town. The fabulous scoring mimics his heartbeat as he gets to the gate at the edge of the property- the drums slow and, with a cough, Walt rethinks a long walk in the snow, promising himself he’ll go the next day. Instead, he lights the wood stove and puts his hat, at a jaunty angle, on the antler of a mounted deer head.
Meanwhile, Jesse struggles to reach the bars of his cell, his hands free from the cuffs thanks to the paperclip. He scrambles to put them back on, though, when Todd approaches, bringing him some Ben and Jerry’s (Peanut Butter Cup and Americone Dream) as a reward for the 96% pure batch he cooked earlier that day. Todd agrees to leave the tarp off the cell so Jesse can see the stars, and heads back inside, excited for the next day’s cook, allowing Jesse to MacGyver his way up to the bars, work his way over to the latch, unlock the cell, and escape (with the underscoring again mimicking his heart beat and ours). Just as he starts climbing the exterior fence, the Nazis catch him, and he demands they kill him- he won’t be doing one more cook for them.
Really wish he hadn’t said that. In response, Todd walks up to Andrea’s house, knocks on the door, and gets her to come outside, telling her Jesse’s in his truck across the street. As she looks for him, and he screams uselessly into his gag, Todd lets her know, standing behind her, that this isn’t personal, and, the camera showing Jesse’s POV, kills her with a quick bullet to the head (Ahh! Damn it! I thought they were out of people they could kill ruthlessly with no warning). Jack reminds Jesse that there’s still Brock to think of and, the camera still on Jesse’s devastated face, we cut to commercial.
We come back to Walt, who’s back at his fence (more prepared this time, in a parka and gloves, not a porkpie). He waves in Forster, who’s there for his monthly check in and has a bundle of papers and the rest of Walt’s supplies. We don’t know how long it’s been, but Forster is able to update Walt on Skyler’s case and the family’s living situation. Skyler has a public defender and the court date is set. Interestingly, she’s working as a part-time cabbie to make ends meet, leaving Holly with a neighbor during her shifts (guess that tells us how Marie reacted to Hank’s death). The house has been seized and is up for auction, with a fence up to limit the spectators who’ve started dropping by. Forster hooks a bag of meds up to the deer and presumably starts up Walt’s chemo, then goes to head out. Walt’s desperate for company though- he asks him to stay, but Forster has a long trip ahead. After haggling ($10K for an hour), he stays and shuffles some cards for a hand of poker. Walt asks if Forster would give his money to his family, the inevitable time he makes his monthly visit and finds Walt dead, but Forster won’t make any promises.
Walt rests, still coughing, and his wedding ring falls off. He’s clearly lost weight. After tying the ring onto a string necklace, he looks over at the boxes of Ensure Forster brought, but rather than drinking some, he pours them out and packs a box full of cash. With a literal brown paper package, tied up with string in his hands, he makes it past the gate and walks into town, between the fresh tire tracks of Forster’s truck.
Flynn’s in chemistry class when he’s called to the principal’s office. Apparently Marie’s called, and it’s an emergency. We cut to the other end of the line, though, and it’s a random woman in a bar- Walt takes the receiver from her, desperately trying to connect with Flynn, calling him “Son”. Flynn is conflicted, but he doesn’t hang up. Walt wants to know if Jr.’s friend Louis (Lewis?) still lives at the same address- he’s sending them money, via the friend. Walt tries his hardest to get through to him, but Flynn’s not hearing any of it, talking over him and not letting him speak (finally, someone stripping Walt of his Super Power- persuasion). Furious for what he did to Skyler and Hank, Flynn takes a page out of Marie’s book and asks his father why he won’t just die, and then hangs up on him, prompting Walt to call the DEA and identify himself, before leaving the phone off the hook and walking away. Walt sidles up to the bar, finally ordering a drink. The bartender flips past several channels before Walt asks him to go back, hearing a familiar voice. Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz, his former colleagues, are on Charlie Rose, being interviewed about their new drug intervention program. Walt seethes as Elliot negates Walt’s early work forming the company, boiling his entire contribution down to the name, Gray Matters. Rose asks if Walter’s still out there, and Gretchen is confident he isn’t- she can’t speak for Heisenberg, but the kind, brilliant man they knew as Walt is most certainly gone.
As a version of the opening credits music plays underneath (the only use in-show I remember- are there others?), several cars of law enforcement personnel pull up to the bar, approaching in formation before entering. They’re here for Walt but, his mostly untouched drink still at the bar, he’s already gone.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Were you expecting Andrea to pay the ultimate price for her compassion towards Jesse? What are you hoping to see next week in the finale? What are you dreading? Post your thoughts in the comments below!