Posted on Monday, September 16th, 2013 by Joanna Robinson
5. “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far awa-OH HEY WALT’S PANTS FROM THE PILOT! And then we get Walt journey through a hellscape. In Dante’s vision of hell, the Fourth Circle is reserved for the Hoarders and the Spendthrifts. The two sides are locked in an eternal struggle pushing a “boulder-like weight” that represents their wealth back and forth. It’s like Sisyphus, only worse. But there are a few lighter elements to Walt’s Baggage Of the Damned. If you remember in the episode “Seven Thirty-Seven,” Hank and Gomez watch surveillance footage of Walt and Jesse’s hapless attempt to boost Methylamine. Hanks calls out, “Hey, try rolling it morons! It’s a barrel! It ROLLS!” Also, look, we found Walt’s lost pants from the pilot (teased beautifully in the opening flashback). I needed that chuckle.
6. Sky vs. Sky: And this is where I bow down and kiss the feet of our illustrious director, Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper). Johnson has directed two of my favorite episodes (“Fly” and “Fifty-One”) and brings to “Ozymandias” all of the beautiful touches we’ve come to expect from him. A Johnson episode tends to be a little bit heavier on the symbolism so we get that lovely shot above of the two sister, one light, one dark divided by that splash of purple (Marie’s signature color). Instead of gloating or twisting the knife, Marie tries her best to reach out and protect her sister. Shouldn’t she be the one in white, then? Well she’s already in mourning. Has been for the past few episodes. We also get gorgeous visual callbacks like the three times we visit the cordless phone and the knife block in the White household.
And, as he’s wont to do in his films, the director snuck in one of the Johnson Regulars, Noah Segan (Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper) to cameo as the firefighter who finds Holly.
Johnson is one of those rare directors who never lets his flair for the visual overwhelm his ability to tell a compelling and emotional story. I think you’ll agree that none of the camera trickery got in the way of the visceral nature of this episode.
7. Just A Rat In A Cage First things first, who has a sunken concrete torture cage ready and waiting? Meth-cookin’ Nazis, that’s who. When we were back out in To’hajiilee, Todd saved Jesse’s life by telling Uncle Jack he could get the information out of Pinkman. That they had “history.” So I suppose we can blame Todd’s jackboots for Pinkman’s pulped face. (Left side, like a pink bear or a dying Fring.) But we can also thank Todd’s crush on Lydia for Pinkman’s temporary reprieve. The Nazis certainly don’t need the Czech money, but Todd, ever the over-acheiver, wants Lydia to be happy. And for Lydia to be happy, the purity percentage has to go up. Enter Pinkman. But if we’re tossing around blame, then it’s Walt, once again, who’s to blame for putting Brock in peril. He’s the one who let the Nazis know about Pinkman’s Achilles heel. So Pinkman is stuck, now, in a hell dimension of sorts. Bound and forced to cook until Walt shows up to rescue him with an M60?