‘Breaking Bad’ Recap (Season 5, Episode 7): “Say My Name”
Well. I knew Mike was a goner when he left all of his money to his granddaughter on her 18th birthday. I knew Mike was a goner when he disposed of all of his weapons. I knew Mike was a goner when Walt decided to be the one to pick up his bag. I knew Mike was a goner when he chose a half measure instead of a full measure and when he didn’t kill Walt on any number of occasions over the past three seasons. Walt was always going to kill Mike; it was only a matter of time. With only one episode to go this year and nine overall, that time has arrived. Mike has to go.
And go he did. What a beautiful, but tragic, death. My heart first broke when Mike had to abandon his granddaughter at the park as the DEA closed in. I think that was the first time we’ve ever seen Mike scared. I remember him looking shocked when Gus cut Victor’s throat but this was different: Mike was lost. As he sat on that rock bleeding to death with Walt pacing and rambling around him, all he wanted was peace. And now he has it, just not the way he expected.
I think it’s clear that Walt didn’t want to kill Mike. All he wanted was the names of Mike’s guys in prison; he only took the gun from Mike’s bag as a precaution. It wasn’t until Mike insulted Walt and belittled him once again that made Walt realise he had had enough. Walt shot Mike purely out of anger, because his all-important ego was hurt. And then he panicked: what if Mike escaped? How was he going to get the names now? It’s sad that Walt had a moment of clarity as he watched Mike peacefully bleed to death; he could have gotten the names from Lydia. Walt realizes he’s made a mistake and apologizes to Mike but it’s too late; Mike collapses, dead, and Walt has another victim to “mourn” over.
I suppose this incident is without positives (to Walt, at least). The DEA have just lost their primary suspect; Walt can kill Mike’s guys in prison without angering him (I expect Todd’s prison contacts to come into play here); and losing Mike doesn’t disrupt Walt’s business one bit, considering Walt’s new partner just bought him out.
What was Walt’s brilliant plan that he risked possibly electrocuting himself/burning to death over? Rather than selling the methylamine to Declan and his guys in Phoenix, he’s going to sell his meth in bulk directly to them. Declan will make a lot more money, Walt will be able to continue cooking, and Mike can still leave with his five million dollars.
But what about Jesse, you might ask? Well, that’s the thing… Mike gets his severance package, but Jesse doesn’t. Walt tries to manipulate Jesse into sticking around, but Jesse’s not having it. He decides he doesn’t need the money and leaves anyway, leaving Walt alone with his new friends. Walt ends up recruiting Todd to be his new assistant because he’s already proved that he has no problem killing children to keep the business going.
And now, we only have one episode left this year. I think we can expect to see Walt and Lydia (and maybe Todd too) teaming up to dispose of Mike’s guys in prison. I don’t know how Walt is going to explain Mike’s death to Jesse or how Jesse will react (I doubt it will be well), and I don’t know how Hank and the DEA are going to catch up to Heisenberg, but I’m sure either one of those plots is going to leave us with an excruciating cliffhanger for us to ponder until the show returns sometime next year.
Rest in peace, Mike Ehrmantraut. You are now free from Walter White. And thank you to Jonathan Banks for playing the greatest cantankerous hitman/cleaner/fixer/go-to guy ever. I will miss you.
Image credit: AMC
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