Breaking Bad: Everybody (Including The Audience) Gets Their Comeuppance In "Ozymandias"

ASAC Hank Schrader's last moment in life, as he tells Uncle Jack to do what he's gonna do. Right before this, Hank had the last word with Walter, telling him he's one stupid smart guy, for giving up his whole drug-money stash (of $80 million!!) to the ABs in an effort to save Walter's brother-in-law, when it was obvious Jack was going to waste Hank anyway.
There’s a lot to be said about Sunday night’s episode of Breaking Bad, entitled "Ozymandias".

Some people are calling the episode heartbreaking, excruciating, amazing, the most bad-ass, hard-to-watch episode of television in history—or just maybe the best episode of television ever produced.

Well, I’m not sure about that, but it’s definitely a contender for that title.

In addition to the numerous heart&gut-wrenching touches of “Ozymandias”, there was a lot of comeuppancing going on as well. Indeed, pretty much every character experienced a solid kick in the face in this episode. The only characters who didn’t were the professional criminals, the AB crew of Todd’s Uncle Jack. They made out like the bandits and murderers they are, cashing in on Walt’s stupid, morally-conflicted nonsense about keeping his terrible crimes family-safe.

A lot of people have been pissing and moaning about the “tragedy” of Hank Schrader finally meeting up with a shootout he couldn’t survive. But Hank wouldn’t have been in the desert to meet his doom, dragging his partner Gomez down to Hades with him, if his own bloated ego and need to make up for his obliviousness about Walt, hadn’t driven him to go capturing Heisenberg without proper backup.

But this seems to be the year for dumbass lone rangers.

Let’s go down the list of the highly satisfying comeuppances in “Ozymandias” :
  • Hank Schrader—Let's face it, Hank was always an irritating jerk. He never really liked Walter, viewing him as a hopeless nerd, and not really a man—i.e., somebody capable of taking down (and preferably gunning down) bad guys, like Hank Schrader did. But, the long-running joke of the series is that being long on courage (or luck), while being really short on brains, is not an appealing or, as it turned out, a survivable, condition. Hank prided himself on being able to see the lowest common denominator in just about anybody. And even at the end, he insulted Walt for being too stupid to see that Jack had already made up his mind "ten minutes ago". But it was Hank who was too stupid to see that having a blinder where family is concerned is just plain fatal. Hank's merciless treatment of Walt, who literally gave up everything to save his brother-in-law's life, is returned to the DEA copper as Uncle Jack good-naturedly executes Hank like a dog. 
  • Steven Gomez—You can call it loyalty, the way Gomez followed Hank around like a dog for years. But it just smells like stupidity. Hank had repeatedly treated Gomez like dirt, basically hating his partner for never being there to take a bullet with Hank or preferably for him. Hank fixed this deficiency, making sure he got to see Gomez go down in a hail of bad-guy bullets, B4 Hank finally got his own shutup slug.
  • Marie Schrader—Actually, even more irritating than Skyler White, is her sister, Marie "The Klepto" Schrader. While Skyler is a perfectly revolting human being (see below), the sisters Lambert are one fucked-up sorority. Watching Marie triumphantly dictate the terms of her sister's surrender, insisting for example that Skylar finally explain to Walter, Jr. exactly who and what his parents are, you feel no sympathy for Marie at all, even though you know she's about to learn her husband is (finally) dead. Also, an intelligent woman, a loving wife, would have insisted—demanded—that her husband get the fuck out of the stupid DEA back when he was shot to pieces by the Salamanca cousins. Marie was more concerned that Hank get back to work.
  • Skyler White—While Marie is more irritating, Skyler is way more horrible—in fact Skyler White is so horrible, even the actress who plays her is horrible too. Taking baseless Skyler whining to an unbelievably new low, a few weeks ago, Anna Gunn, complaining just like Skyler would, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, wherein she denounced all the fans who hate not only Skyler White's guts, but Anna Gunn's too. Gunn complained that Skyler wasn't being judged "by the same set of standards as Walter", and that she viewed that as an expression of gender bias, even though a lot of the haters are women. A lot of people have written responses to Gunn, explaining their hatred of Skyler in simple terms—Skyler is a fucking bitch. Or, as Walter White, Jr. accurately put it to his mother: she's as bad as his father. No doubt. Skyler could have picked up the phone any time in the past five seasons to turn her husband into the cops. But, as Saul Goodman correctly assessed Skyler once, she's not going to give up everything—especially not the money—just to go through the motions of doing the right thing. Another thing, going back to the Marie-Skyler battle, it is true Marie is amazingly unkind to Skyler, but it's just payback for Skyler being just as unkind and sanctimonious to Marie back when Mrs. Schrader was giving out stolen gifts to her sister.
  • Walter White, Jr.—It isn't like Flynn deserves anything that is happening to him. But it isn't like deserve's got anything to do with it. When you're unlucky enough to have the kind of parents Walter Jr. does, or for that matter the kind of aunt he does, getting crushed by reality is just part of the menu. We don't yet know how Walter Jr. is going to react to learning about his parents, and to calling the cops on his dad. It is difficult to see how it is going to end up very well for him. I suppose the one way in which Walter Jr. does kind of deserve what is happening is in the same way all kids do, that is in the hatefully absurd manner in which kids hold up their parents as paragons of virtue and accomplishment, or otherwise denigrate them for not being the best. Those blinders have been completely, and ruthlessly, ripped away from Walter Jr. We can only hope he doesn't try to put them back on. 
  • Jesse Pinkman—Jesse needs his own article. The comeuppance he received was total, devastating, and so well deserved. Jesse of course had his reasons, many of them, for ratting out Walter. But being a rat is itself a very bad thing to be, unless you're going to try to make a case that poor Jesse was always a victim, which I think Gale Boetticher for one would say is fucking bullshit, or Gale would say it if Jesse hadn't shot him in the face and killed him. As Walter correctly said to Jesse—they're both going to Hell. And also, Jesse was a criminal when Walter met up with him. Walter didn't force Jesse into a life of crime. Walter forced Jesse into helping Walter into a life of crime. And Jesse helped a lot! Just like he helped Jane back into using drugs. And just like he helped his friends to stay the criminal course. As with most of the characters in Breaking Bad, Jesse mainly feels he is a victim of other people's bad behavior, more than his own. In spite of choosing, over and over again, to work with and for Walter White, Jesse feels he has been unfairly manipulated by the older man. The funny thing, the audience might have thought that too, since obviously Walter has repeatedly and definitely manipulated Jesse. But at no point did Walter rob Jesse of his will. Jesse chose to give that up, for a lot of the reason that Skyler did the same thing. That meth money was looking way too good for a long, long time. Now, it seems Jesse's fate is sealed, at least it is unless Walter decides—for what reason?—to rescue him from Todd's meth-cooking slavery.
  • Walter White—Well, the thing about Walter is that yeah, he's getting his comeuppance, but he kind of has been expecting it and wanting it right from the very first episode. With Walter, it's always been a very blended pleasure and pain. His cancer was a death sentence, but one that could be "managed" or put off a couple of years maybe. His rise, or Heisenberg's, to drug-lord status was scary and exhilarating, but it also hemmed Walter into a set of self-destructive assumptions (like Walter was as coldly proficient as Heisenberg). Walter benefitted greatly from Heisenberg's boldness and success. But Walter did not understand that once Heisenberg had been invoked, his hold on Walter could not be turned off like a light. In fact, to do so would prove fatal, as it has. Leaving Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" lying around the bathroom is the sort of lazy, stupid, thing Walter White could afford to do (in the past), but which Heisenberg would never have done. And it was this mistake which began the collapse of Walter's and now everyone's houses of cards on Breaking Bad. Now, we still do not know how Walter's comeuppance will play out. There is a possibility that Heisenberg may yet figure out some way in which Walter can put some portion of his card house back up. But never again will it be whole. Walter knew that when he collapsed in the desert, right after Uncle Jack's bullet killed the last bit of hope Walter had that he could keep the mortality that has haunted him since the beginning from touching his family. That's over now. And really, so is Walter White. It's up to Heisenberg to finish the job.
  • The Audience—Getting the emotional crap beaten out of them is exactly what they deserve. Worse, it's exactly what they demanded. 
Finally, if poor Percy Bysshe Shelly can still turn in his grave, he’s probably spinning pretty good at this point, what with his finally going viral as a consequence of being alluded to in the murderous madness of some fictional American criminal narrative. How penny-dreadful degrading!—Shelly's literary comeuppance.

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