While last week’s episode, Ozymandias, was arguably the most intense episode of Breaking Bad, Granite State slows things down quite a bit. The latter half of the episode reminded me quite a bit of the episode “Fly” from season 3, while still carving out its own identity. If Granite State can be summed up by any phrase it would be “ripple effect”, because it’s essentially the continuation of how Walt’s choices still impact everyone who’s ever crossed paths with him.
Granite State begins with Saul making use of his vacuum cleaner guy and getting himself a new identity. Saul is shocked to find out that his vacuum cleaner guy actually does deal in vacuum cleaners. He takes Saul’s photo for his new identity card as Saul prepares for his new life in Nebraska. Afterwards he informs Saul that he’ll be having a bunk mate before he’s ready to begin his new life. He turns on a monitor that’s keeping an eye on Walt who’s not too keen on having to wait around, as you would expect from Walt.
We see a distraught Marie being driven home by DEA agents. They stop abruptly at the end of her driveway when they notice that her house has been broken into and ransacked. Two of the agents go inside to investigate while the other takes Marie to safety. It turns out that the home invasion is the handy work of uncle Jack’s men who were looking for the confession tape that Jesse made.
This segues into uncle Jack and his men watching Jeese’s confession video. They’re highly amused by Jeese as he tearfully recounts the night he murdered Gale. Kenny fast forwards the video and shows the real reason why they’re watching it: Jeese explains that the kid who has gone missing was killed by Todd when they robbed the train carrying the methylamine. This send uncle Jack into a rage. Gun drawn, uncle Jack starts off to put an end to Jeese for good. Todd stalls him wanting to keep him around to cook the rest of the methylamine. Uncle Jack reminds him that they’re sitting on millions of dollars, but Todd argues that there’s no reason to turn down an opportunity to make more. Uncle Jack then realizes that it’s not about the meth, it’s about Lydia. Uncle Jack teases Todd about being into someone so uptight but he eventually acquiesces and lets Todd keep Jeese alive so he’ll still have a shot with Lydia. Not long afterwards Jeese realizes that he can use the paper clip on the photo of Brock and Andrea to pick the locks on his chains and free himself.
Walt and Saul getting reacquainted in the vacuum cleaner guy’s safe house. Saul is as grounded as we’ve ever seen him. He realizes that this is it, his life old life is over and he’s made peace with that. Walt on the other hand is still clinging onto his ambition; to make sure that every dime of his money gets to his family and to kill uncle Jack and his crew for killing Hank. Saul tells him that the best thing he can do for his family is to turn himself in. Saul explains that with him gone they’re going to go after Skylar and they’ll use everything that they can to get him through her. Walt reiterates that he’ll only do that after he’s assured that his money is given to his family. Saul reminds Walt that even Mike, as cautious as he was, still had his money seized by the feds when he tried to leave it for his family. Walt attempts to bully Saul into helping him but the cancer has taken its toll and he’s left in coughing fit. Saul reiterates that it’s over before walking away.
We check in on Skylar who’s completely checked out while a room full of lawyers are grilling her. She doesn’t hear a word that they say but she knows exactly what they said. They want Walt and they’ll do anything that they can do to get her to give him up. She tells them honestly that she has no idea where he is. They advise her to discuss things with her lawyer and hope that she can come up with something that they can use. As if that wasn’t bad enough when she gets home she’s greeted by a pair of masked men, despite there being a police car parked outside. One of the masked men is Todd who puts quite a scare into Skylar. He tells her that she’s not to say anything about Lydia to the cops or to anyone. Skylar promises that she hasn’t said anything and that she won’t. Todd believes her but cautions her that he really doesn’t want to have to make another visit.
Todd meets with his crush Lydia who tells him that things are too dangerous for them to continue their arrangement so until then, their deal is on hold. Todd tells her that Skylar won’t be a problem but Lydia is not satisfied with them simply scaring Skylar since she knows what she looks like. She wants Skylar dead. Todd attempt to convince her that Skylar won’t say anything but Lydia doesn’t seem completely convinced. Lydia is ready to conclude their business until Todd informs her that the purity of the meth is now at 92% and that gets her attention. When she questions how they got the purity to Heisenberg levels, Todd explains that they Jeese cooking. This gets Lydia flustered as he’s wanted by the police as well. Todd assures her that Jeese isn’t going anywhere. Lydia doesn’t come out and say it but it’s clear that she interested.
We see Walt arrive to his new home transported via propane tanker. The vacuum cleaner repairman shows him he’s humble abode. And humble it is; there’s no phone, no internet, a wood burning stove, and a TV doesn’t get much reception due to the mountains. All Walt has for entertainment are two copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium on DVD. His only source of news from the outside world will be the Albuquerque Times that he’ll drop off monthly. The vacuum cleaner guy tells Walt that he’ll be making a supply trip in a month. Until then there’s a months worth of canned food and no one else around for 8 miles. He tells Walt that if he leaves that he’s definitely going to get caught and that he won’t be coming back if he finds out that he’s left the reservation. Walt is listening but not hearing him at all. Once he leaves, Walt immediately prepares for a trip into town, stuffing his coat full of money and donning his Heisenberg hat. Once he reaches the perimeter of the reservation, and he reconsiders the daunting task of the 8 mile walk in the snow, given his less than stellar physical condition. He plans to have a go at it the following day instead.
Todd, being the swell guy that he is, brings Jeese some ice cream. He tells Jeese to rest up because they have a long day ahead of them tomorrow. Jeese asks if Todd can leave the cover off of his cage so that he can see the stars. Todd figures it can’t hurt so he agrees to do so. Once Todd is out of sight, Jeese picks the locks on his chains, stacks his bucket and blankets and is able to reach the lock on the cage. Once he’s free from the cage he opens it and races towards the perimeter fence in an effort to escape. He’s found before he can even attempt to scale the fence. Jeese tells uncle Jack’s men to get ahead and kill him because there’s no way that he’s going to cook for them again. Well, the picture of Brock and Andrea wasn’t there just for decorations. Uncle Jack and Todd drive Jeese out to her house and Todd goes to the door. He tells Andrea that he’s a friend of Jeese’s and that Jeese is over in their truck. Andrea looks around for him but it’s too dark to see. Jeese is helpless in the truck, gagged and screaming trying to warn her. Todd pulls out a silenced pistol, explains that it’s nothing personal before shooting her in the back of the head. Jeese starts flipping out but uncle Jack tells him to settle down unless he wants something to happen to Brock as well.
The vacuum repair man returns to bring Walt some supplies, a copy of the Albuquerque paper and some bifocals. Walt now has a full beard along with a full head of hair. He updates Walt on Skylar and her whereabouts. He tells Walt that she and the kids have moved out of the house. Their house is up for auction and they put a fence around it because kids kept breaking into it and vandalizing it. He assists Walt with his chemo drugs and then goes to leave. Walt asks him to stay for a couple of hours but he explains that he has a long drive ahead of him. Walt offers him ten thousand dollars to stay and that’s enough to convince him to stick around. As they prepare to play a card game, Walt tells him that sooner or later when he shows up for his supply run, he’ll be dead. Walt asks him what will happen to his money then, he asks if he’ll make sure that his money gets to his family. The vacuum cleaner guy replies that if he said “yes”, would Walt believe him.
That night Walt decides to load up 10 thousand dollars into a box of Ensure. The next morning he starts off to town with the box wrapped up to be mailed. He goes to a bar and calls his son who’s at school. He tells the principal that it’s Marie calling. He explains to Walt Jr. that he wants to send him money but he’ll be sending it to his friend’s house so that the police won’t seize it. Walt Jr. is insulted and completely loses it. He blames Walt again for killing Hank and tells him that he should just go ahead and die. Walt tries to explain but it’s too late.
Walt then calls the police department, tells them that Walter White is calling, walks to the bar and waits for the police to arrive. While he’s having a drink and watching TV, the bartender is flipping channels. He stopped on a program where Walt’s former business associates, Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz are being interviewed. They’re being questioned about their charity’s $28 million grant for drug abuse treatment centers. The interviewer is grilling them on their associate with Walter White since he was the co-founder of Grey Matter Technologies. Elliot tells him that the only contribution Walter made was the name of the company. His last name, Schwartz , means black combined with Walter White makes grey. The interviewer then asks if Walter White still out there. Gretchen answers, stating that Walter White is no longer out there. She explains that she doesn’t know if the Heisenberg person that he’s become is still out there but the Walter White that they knew is long gone.
Granite State ends with several police officers arriving at the bar but Walt is gone. He leaves behind his unfinished drink, $20 dollars and a napkin folded into a swan.