I’d like to say that my extremely late write-up of this phenomenal episode of Breaking Bad was caused by emotional shellshock – the episode did reduce my partner to gasping sobs as Skyler collapsed in the middle of Negra Arroyo Lane. The real explanation is less poetic; I simply had a tonne of exams to mark.
“Ozymandias” was an incredible episode – possibly the show’s best – filled with so many moments of tragic finality it would’ve made a fitting (if frustrating) series finale. By the end of the episode, Walt, like the titular Ozymandias, is reduced to almost nothing; look on his barrel of $11 million and tremble. Critically, there’s still Walt there; I had expected the show to kill off “Walt” and leave only Heisenberg when Hank was murdered. But that incredible, emotionally complex phone call to Skyler revealed that Walter White remained; simplifying his character down to that duality of Heisenberg-good-Walt-bad is too reductive for a show this layered.
That phone call has become an epicentre of debate around the nature of Walt and the show’s audience – it’s been thoroughly addressed by Emily Nussbaum, Maureen Ryan and Matt Zoller Seitz, so I’ll merely direct you towards their uniformly excellent pieces.