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9.  Was This Really Necessary? The major bone of contention in this episode, however, seems to be with Andrea’s death. Many feel it was pointlessly brutal and didn’t serve to advance the plot. Jesse knew the dangers of trying to MacGyver/Air Jordan his way out of that cage and did it anyway. The stakes haven’t changed for him, his refusal to cooperate still means a loved one may die. Do we think Jesse didn’t understand/believe the implications of that photo? Did we really need more evidence that Todd and his merry band of ice-cream eatin’ psychopaths were not to be trifled with? No. So what’s it all about? Well, and no offense to Andrea and the lovely Emily Rios but I think it all comes back to Walt and Jesse. What we see go down between those two in the final episode is what will determine the entire moral thrust of the show. Is Walt still even capable of redemption? After Jane and Andrea, is Jesse capable of forgiving him? Andrea’s needless, senseless 100% innocent death is a reminder to all of us of the corruptive influence of Walter’s actions. (He’s the one, after all, who tipped the Nazi’s off to Andrea’s location.) Did we need that reminder? Well, you know what, some of you do.

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10.  And Like That, Pffff, He’s Gone: And then we get to my favorite moment of the episode, maybe of the series. Because it surprised me. Because it was a deep cut. And because it brought us right back to the beginning. I had assumed, as we watched Heisenberg struggle to reemerge all episode, that this 75 minutes would be about the end of Walt’s darker side. What with the chemo and the oppressive cold, Heisenberg couldn’t even work up enough steam to walk to town. And that’s exactly where we were headed with Walt tenderly fondling his wedding ring and, after the phone call with Walt Jr., giving up his location to the police. Heisenberg would never.

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But then as fate would have it, Gretchen and Elliott reared their smug, legacy-snatching heads and in a complete reversal, Walter Hartwell White bowed out and Heisenberg took the wheel. Gretchen may have said a lot of sh*tty erroneous things in her attempt to distance Gray Matter from Walt, but she’s on the money when she says “the sweet, kind, brilliant man that we once knew long ago.. he’s gone.” That’s what we’ve been seeing in the flash forward and what we’ll see in much of the finale. Heisenberg’s last stand. I hope it gets more complicated than that. I’m sure it will.  But for now we’re dealing with wounded pride and “righteous” indignation. Do we have any sympathy left to muster or are we just going to watch in shock and horror?

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Crackpot Theories Of The Week:  Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is about a dying man who spends the film trying to ensure the survival of his legacy. When he dies (which he does) he cites the stage directions of King Lear (you know, the story of a demented man and his three children each of whom make a case for being his legitimate heir…eh? eh?) which simply read “he dies.” Is Walter White headed this way? Yes. Was Vince Gilligan making a pointed comment on Walt’s fate or just a joke about how terrible an eternity with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium would be? Maybe both.  

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Is the gun for the nazis and the ricin for Gretchen and Elliott?  Maybe slip a little powder into Elliott’s Ramen? Many folks seem to think so…

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…but they keep bringing up the tea, so my money’s still on Lydia (or maybe her tea-drinking proxy, Todd). After all, if we’re headed for a Shakespearean ending, then it makes sense for the poison something to go into the lady’s cup. After the way Lydia was talking about Skyler this week I’m all for a Rodarte-Quayle hunt. Yeah, she’s gonna need more Stevia.

Musical Moment Of The Week: How could you even ask? The first (and last?) use of Dave Porter’s AMAZING theme from the opening credits. This was my favorite moment of the episode.

Finally, congratulations to Breaking Bad and Anna Gunn for their Emmy wins last night. Cranston and Paul? You’ll get them next year. 

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