Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and his team of writers have proven yet again their facilities for subversively manipulating the familiar narrative contours of the crime melodrama. After all the anguish and duality, the parallels and rivalry that have been carefully established over the years between Hank (Dean Norris) and Walt (Bryan Cranston), the former is ultimately shot in the head like a winged dog, in a manner probably befitting any number of people who’ve gotten on the wrong end of Uncle Jack’s (Michael Bowen) path.
Walt’s expectations, which cannily mirror the audience’s, are such that he assumes a member of his inner circle can never truly buy it unless he wants them to, and last night’s “Ozymandias” toed a powerful line in providing Hank a death of real stature that still somehow managed to feel poignantly random. Hank’s death was tragically puny, and the pairing of those seemingly contradictory words goes a long way in explaining the impressive range of emotions that “Ozymandias” stirred. Many of us assumed, and probably hoped, that the final series showdown would be between Walt and Hank, a way of ironically maintaining the sanctity of family while simultaneously destroying it. But our lives rarely provide us with carefully orchestrated waves of pleasure and closure upon our demand.