Breaking Bad: When The Dust From The Shoot-Out Settles, It’s Time To Say Goodbye

It’s taken some time to recover from last night’s Breaking Bad, an hour of television deserving of all the hyperbole and extra exclamation points you may have seen flooding your Twitter feed. With two more episodes to go, the decision to pick up where the desert shoot-out left off, and take out at least one beloved character, will be debated for month’s on end. But why wait? Let’s do what we’re going to do…

Spoilers ahead!

RIP Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada). Oh Gomey, Gomey, Gomey. You didn’t stand a chance, “special guest star” and all, but that doesn’t make your death sting any less. You did your part through five seasons, diligently following orders from inside the DEA, and spewing venom at those evil enough to put a hit on an active agent. For all the jabs Hank (Dean Norris) and Gomez traded over the years, his response following Hank’s run-in with the cousins proved how much he cared about him. Gomez long served alongside ASAC Schrader, to the point where he ultimately joined his Heisenberg investigations after hours and out of the office, without so much as giving notice to his department or family. (We think.) But maybe Gomey has a big mouth at home and told his wife everything? Maybe he made a call that we didn’t see, moments before the parade of Nazis came barreling through? Maybe Gomez isn’t really dead?! Unless Vince Gilligan decides to reenact the LOST finale in the coming weeks, it’s probably time to say goodbye.

After having the satisfaction of looking his bastard of a brother-in-law in the eye, reading him his rights, and slapping him in bracelets, Hank will never get to see Walt (Bryan Cranston) actually pay for his wrongs. Sure, he saw the look of defeat, and the genuine terror in Walt’s eyes when Jack (Michael Bowen) was huddled over his wounded relative, with the barrel of his gun staring him down, but it’s not the same. Hank is a by-the-book kind of badass, relegating people as either good or evil, and expecting consequences for immoral behavior that comes from the latter. Just because Walt begged for his life doesn’t change that he cooked and distributed meth to the greater Southwest and stole multiple lives, and it doesn’t erase the fact that this was the second time he’s been responsible for Hank getting shot. With so much building over the last few episodes, it’s hard no to feel defeated as well. Hank doggedly pursued Heisenberg–a target that was right under his nose and often in his own home–for the better part of two years, risking his own career and family to bring forth justice. But this is a show that began with a nasty life curveball (a cancer diagnosis the day after a man’s 50th birthday) and has yet to reveal whether or not “happy endings” truly exist.

While upsetting, the scene did allow Hank to deliver a Stringer Bell-esque “get on with it mother f–…” before getting cut off by the Neo-Nazi who’s managed to usurp the throne from Heisenberg and shatter any hope that the DEA will actually win this on or that we should have faith in our institutions and justice system.
Walt is still evil, but these are our new enemies. And depending on the way you view BB, you either want Walt to take them out, or get taken out with them.

Our sincerest condolences go to Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) and anyone who ever had the pleasure of listening to one of Hank’s off-color jokes in a DEA elevator. With one of the most unexpected character trajectories in recent memory, Gilligan created a man we absolutely loathed, whose sole purpose was to reinforce the sorriness of Walt’s lousy life, yet quickly came to love, without the use of any gimmicks. (The mineral collection helped, though.) Goodbye, Sweet Hank. We’re pouring out a bottle of Schraderbrau in your honor.

So where does the show go from here? Marie knows that Hank and Gomez were working with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to bring Walt down, but how much help will that be if all four of those men are missing and/or presumed dead? Leave your thoughts and theories in the comments below, as well as your favorite Hank memories.

[Photo Credit: AMC]