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This Week’s Best Breaking Bad Recap Reader Comments: ‘To’hajiilee’

Breaking Bad left us with one of the series’ most intense cliff-hangers. In his recap of “To’hajiilee,” Matt Zoller Seitz made some predictions for the final three episodes: “In a sense, this story is over — Walt surrendered, and Hank arrested him — but since the big theme in these last few episodes seems to be something along the lines of ‘You cannot un-ring a bell,’ I have a feeling we’re about to see more blowback, more regrets, and more impotent raging at fate.” Here’s what you thought about “To’hajiilee” in his comments section:

You rooted for some characters …

“Am I the only one still somewhat guiltily rooting for Walt? I think Vince Gilligan’s conceit of turning a protagonist into an antagonist over the course of a show is coming up short for me because he hasn’t effectively substituted a proper protagonist for him. Hank is an arrogant *sshole, more driven by his bruised ego than by a desire for justice. You can’t root for him. Instead, you’re left with the man you started watching the show for, and even if his stated motivations have, well, strayed a bit since he first jumped in the meth biz, you still want him to get away with it, even if he’s become a ruthless bastard. I guess if you really need someone to root for, you’ve got Walter Jr., the only truly pure and uncompromised character left. His naivite is heartbreaking.” –Stephancox

“OK. Did anyone else feel bad for Huell? Anyone? I did! I felt awful seeing him so scared and confused.  (I don’t know about the plausibility of him buying Hank’s story; seemed convincing enough to me after the “dead Jesse” photo along with Huell knowing was a crazed f**ker WW is.)” –Nomi

“Speaking of barrels of fun, let’s have a little here and see who everyone is rooting for… I’ll take the ‘brotherhood’ guys. Something ‘bout Uncle Jack I’ve taken a liking to. And he did give Hank a chance to show his badge. That was only fair, right. And chances are, he’d probably ‘do’ a rat for free. In the world JnW have adopted as their own, that’s the rules you know. They more than anyone should know that. So Jesse’s got it coming. His whole act has gone on way long enuf. Btw, the b’hood boys could go by several names. Prison gang, biker gang, the AB, or the ‘Nazis’, which seems to be everyone’s favorite. Although in truth, none of us have ever seen a real Nazi, unless you frequent nursing homes in Germany. So who else is there to root for? Walt? No, at one time, but not now. Not that he’s jettisoned Heisenberg and become Mr. Nice Guy, who can’t even figure out Jesse is working with Hank, and only reluctantly wants it ‘quick and painless’. Who else? Hank? Hell no. Just a shame though to take Gomie with him or, more likely, instead. I’d rather see Gomez survive, but it looks like he’s not going to make it…unfortunately. They’re saving H for later.” –HeisenbergJr

“The climax and conclusion to any great story are the litmus tests, for excellence. Throughout this amazing story we have followed the trail of suspense and drama. Not unlike solving a Rubik’s cube, the outcome must be effortless and precise. I hope the finale is not littered with gigantic leap’s of faith. The job these writer’s have before them is incredible. Winding down this masterpiece will be critiqued for years to come. Has Heisenberg been exorcised??” –Rickstiff1

“This was a beautiful example of great suspense that did not require any mystery. We know everything. We know Walt is walking into a trap. We know the Aryan brotherhood is going to show up to save Walt from being arrested. That doesn’t make Walt’s drive into the desert any less exhilarating or Hank putting handcuffs on Walt any less climatic. This is where we’ve been going, all this time, and it feels right even if it’s also utterly tense (and stressful to watch). Unlike you, I’m still cheering for Walt and hold my breath for his escape. I’m still invested in his fate - and partly because we continue to see his family and glimpses of how terrible it would be for Walt Jr. to lose his father.” –Shoot_the_Critic

… and spoke less fondly of others.

“Tired of hearing all this talk about Hank and Jesse as if they are ‘heroes’ or ‘good guys.’ As if … pleeeease. Hank has been incorrigible since day 1; an egomaniac bully who would be horrible to work for with his bad jokes and bullishness. His only redeeming qualities are his tenacity and his superhuman ability to solve cases in a way that makes you wonder what the hell the rest of the team is doing at the DEA’s office. Still, his investigative skills always seemed contrived (for the show’s storytelling purposes) and he jeopardizes his cases constantly by doing things that can’t be used in court. What use is that to a prosecutor?!? Hank is as despicable as Walter the way Ahab was despicable with Moby Dick. And Jesse… hearing his cocky boasting on the phone reminded me why I didn’t like that dipsh!t from day 1. His arrogance and narcissism threatened his and Walter’s lives multiple times and it was Walter who had to rescue the day. Something he’s never given Walter credit for by thanking him to his face like a man. Instead he wants Walt to be ‘nice’ to him. Like he deserves it, the whiny brat. While Jesse’s agonizing about murder and his tenderness with kids/women gives him a likeable humane touch, he’s no knight in shining armor. I’m ready to say good bye to Hank and Jesse, two a-holes who couldn’t even merit to tie Walter White’s shoes.” –First_and_Ten

“Is it bad if I more than kind of want Hank to croak? I have long despised Walter, but the way Hank was gloating in front of him, and to Marie, made me grit my teeth? It’s funny how this season so far has made me like Walter again, little by little …  ” –smithgaltney

You posed questions …

“Would Walt’s confessions of murder over the phone (while he was driving) to Jesse have been recorded? So even if Hank and Steve Gomez die, is there a chance that they were kept and recorded onto something even if Walt only confessed onto Jesse’s Hello Kitty phone? Should be enough to take Walt down even if Hank and Steve die, no?”  –alan3

“If Walt believed Jesse was in the desert, digging up the money and burning it, what was he (Walt) going to do when Todd and crew showed up to kill Jesse? Wouldn’t they see the money, if it had been dug up? How would Walt prevent them from just taking it?” –fightingirish

“Who would write ‘Heisenberg’ on the walls of Walt’s abandoned house? That seems like something that Jack and his crew would do to intimidate. I honestly have no strong opinion on what direction the big finale will go because I just have no idea … but it seems like Walt gets away to have a final showdown with Jack/Todd and their crew. And, unless something miraculous occurs (which it could), I don’t see how Hank gets away alive.” –MrGreenbird

… and philosophized.

“I’m reminded of the expression ‘the banality of evil’ when I see Todd. To me he’s like the love child of Walt and early Jesse, the cold killer quality of Walt and the puppy dog like loyalty of Jesse. And I caught Jesse Plemons in a season 3 episode of Children’s Hospital, where he played a death row inmate. The guy just can’t escape eeevvvviiillll (to be voiced like MermaidMan).” –jamess1957

“The opening sequence of the final eight episodes are shots of skaters playing somewhere - it turns out to be in the White family’s empty swimmingpool. Maybe the skaters are a picture of playfulnes with no hidden motives, or conveying playful meaning to a place without meaning. Because a swimmingpool without water is just a hole in the ground. You could also see the skaters as people passing time in a meaningless place. There are a couple of significant holes in the ground in the story: Walters hiding place for the money, Tod’s meth lab in episode 9, and the recurring pool images that are symbols of blue meth. Remove the water, or the meth, or the money, or the lab, and those places are just holes in the ground. The ultimate hole in the ground in a human life is the grave. I believe it’s a visual point in the final episodes, that Walt has been wasting his time doing nothing but digging his own grave. It fits with the classic tale of Faust.” –Jake_M

“This show has always been about one thing: Morality. It will end with Justice or No Justice so to speak. It will be the creators and writers final say on what they believe. Do they believe that everyone must pay for their actions or do they believe that the world they built is a place where there is no karma there is no reckoning for evil doing. This show is a piece of art, and through that the writers and creators will make their statement on how they feel about morality.” –splitintwo

“This is a classic example of how Gilligan plays with the emotions of the audience. Whatever lingering sympathies we might have had for Walt vanish the moment he shows up at Andrea and Brock’s. I nearly came out of my skin. Somehow, that was worse than when we learn he ordered the hit on Jesse - that move had been telegraphed for a long time, and fit with Walt’s perverse logic of necessary evil to protect his family. But this was again manipulating an innocenet child for his end. But then, when we sit with Walt in the desert as he realizes that yes, it was all for nothing, and he has been defeated, we feel a flicker of sympathy. But then Hank slaps the cuffs on him. I have to admit, I cheered out loud when that happened. Walt deseved it, and Hank earned it, and I loved the look on Jesse’s face as he breathlessly waits for the arrest to happen. But Gilligan never lets you stay happy for long, as the neo Nazis roll in. It is tempting to speculate about what happens next. On the one hand, Gilligan specializes in getting characters out of impossible spots. On the other, it would be the ultimate karmic punishment for Walt if his family paid for his sins, with Hank being the first to fall. Either way, I have never experienced a final season of television where each episode ended with a cliffhanger better and more intense than the last. It is perfect.” –DCVotes

You made predictions for the last three episodes …

“While I love all the predictions for the episodes yet to come, most seem to be overlooking two things–the M60 that Walt bought (and we can all rest assured that he bought it for a very specific reason–he doesn’t do anything without a reason)–and the rycin. My prediction? The M60 is to rescue Jesse from the Aryans, who kidnap him after they kill Hank and Gomey, and the rycin is for Lydia, the final “loose end” that the writers would need to tie up to end the series.” –jzsisson

“Hank and Gomez are about to die. That’s partly because the setup of the scene seems to require it. (Could they really outgun all those heavily gunned guys? And nobody else is showing up, because backup hasn’t been called.) But also because the show seems to require it. If Hank or Gomez survive, it can only be by killing all the Aryans. The Aryans wouldn’t let them survive, and wouldn’t hold them captive. The Aryans also aren’t running away. So if Hank or Gomez survive, whoever is left would take Walt in to custody. That’s the end of the show right there. But the next episode isn’t the last episode, and the flash-forward shows that Walt is a free man in the future. The battle to come must be between Walt and the Aryans. That’s what the machine gun is for. Maybe they hold his family captive. Walt Jr.? One question is Marie. She will either be killed (because she knows the truth about Walt) or she will go to the police/DEA/media first, taking away the motive to kill her and saving her life. One way to see whether Walt really does “break bad” for good is to see what he does about Marie. My guess is Jesse lives, and maybe helps Walt fight the Aryans. I doubt the show ends with an Aryan victory. My guess is that Walt might defeat all his enemies, and still have his money, but Walt Jr. learns the truth and hates him. Or Walt Jr. dies. Walt survives and suffers as a free, rich man. He has his money but lost his family. Kind of like Michael Corleone at the end of Godfather 2.” –TNRrefugee

“I think this episode was definitely a turning point. This is when Walt finally tries to stop Heisenberg and fails. That’s also why I don’t see any plot problems with Hank getting killed off right now.  I think Hank and Gomez will die and the Aryans will force Walt and Jesse to get back to cooking which could give us a nice ending when Jesse and Walt team up to take them down… However, we all know Walt just can’t keep getting away with it so the question is where the real blow will come from and i’m pretty sure we can all expect it to be Todd. Also, I have this nagging feeling that when Jesse jumped Walt after he called him a coward Walt slipped him the lottery form as a hail mary pass. I don’t think Walt did it out of love for Jesse but just as a last ditch effort, the only possible way to have some part of his empire saved…” –shpooky

“OK. Please indulge me here because I think I have a sound prediction that might actually pan out.* Marie will leak to the media that Walt is the meth-dealing kingpin known as ‘Heisenberg’. Her motives aren’t that complicated since if Hank dies, which now seems a definite possibility, the hatred directed at Walt will be magnified even more.  But here is where the best evidence lies: Marie was the one who brought Walt Jr’s ‘Save Walter White’ website to the media’s attention back in season 2. In fact, Walt, in front of the TV camera, was described as a hero by his son. In essence, Marie, who was initially responsible for presenting WW to the public in a positive light, will now make amends by exposing him for who he truly is. My guess is that she has access to Jesse’s confession. Can you say ‘viral.’ Also: later, in season 3, Marie threatens to go to Nightline to expose the injustice of Hank’s insurance company not paying enough for his rehabilitation. IOW, there’s a prior connection between Marie and her use of the media.” –ed68

“I can maybe see Hank grabbing Walt out of the car and using him as a human shield. He is the only one the white supremacists want alive. Maybe they will come to some sort of an agreement with Walt as a bargaining chip? I just can’t see Hank dying. It’s too obvious and there’s always a twist as the next episode continues after the cliff hanger. Also, Jesse looked like he was going to make a run for it. I also can’t see Hank having time to call the police as someone suggested during the shoot out. They are too out numbered to have time for that.” –amykinslynn

“I speculated last week that Jesse would go after Walt’s money but dismissed it because of how Walt had buried it. Loved how they got around that. Reminded me how you have to expect the unexpected on this show. Things could really go either way. Hank’s death now seems a little too on-the-nose after his call to Marie. Realistically, now that he’s behind cover, he’ll be calling the tribal police for backup and the Aryans will want to clear out pretty quickly. It’s possible they just grab Walt while keeping Hank and Gomez pinned down.  Also, if Hank and Gomez are both killed, I don’t see how Jesse survives. Sure, he can cook, but he’s also a rat and I’m sure the Aryans would kill him on the spot. I don’t think they really even want Walt around that long. They just want someone to teach Todd how to make the blue meth. OTOH Hank’s death might be necessary to move the plot forward with Walt’s family. I don’t think Skyler would stand by him anymore if Hank didn’t come home and we’ve been waiting for Walt Jr. to find out who his dad really is.” –rklin

“OK, I can’t be the only one who thinks that Lydia and Skyler should team up and have their own spinoff. Oh, and Saul will have to remain in the show as well.” –triniman65

… and got a bit teary-eyed about the end of your favorite show.

“I have dedicated myself to Breaking Bad. I feel like graduation is in three weeks and I will get my B.S in Breaking Bad. What I do after is questionable. Maybe I will travel to ABQ. Matt, I bet you and Alan Sepinwall, Margaret Lyons and who ever writes at the A.V club will miss writing your insightful thoughts about the very best show. You can see the love all of you have for this show. I guess you will be graduating also! To what you will write about. I wish I could go back to just missing it for 10 months like we all did. No more waiting or guessing. What a great ride. Thank you and just three more weeks to Break Bad.” –February6

“Brilliant episode.The entire episode was perfection. Cranston’s acting when seeing Jesse, the realization that he has been outwitted and betrayed, the expressions on his face, so much conveyed without words. He is the one who knocks. Damn what a cast, I am so hating that it’s almost over.” –SVLynn

Best Breaking Bad Recap Comments: ‘To’hajiilee’