Flawless TV episodes: Ozymandias, Breaking Bad

Tom Moorcroft takes us through his pick of a perfect TV show episode

Tom Moorcroft
3rd May 2020
I’m not quite sure if this counts as cheating or not, but I sought some guidance from the internet's most trusty TV tool: IMDb. I knew that I wanted to look at Breaking Bad for a flawless episode, but I had to make sure that I wasn’t alone in my reasoning. After some research I can rest assured that my decision isn’t just my own, as it’s backed up by thousands of fans who rated this episode a 10, the highest in the history of the show.

'Ozymandias', named after Horace Smith’s poem, was the 14th episode in the show's fifth season, a couple episodes before it’s finale. It’s by far the most iconic episode of the show, with various loose ends tied off and questions answered. You can rest assured that this will contain spoilers…

Many fans will instantly recognise this episode as the one where we lost a huge character in the franchise: Hank. Walt’s brother-in-law is shot ruthlessly by the leader of a gang, whilst Walt has front row seats for his demise. The directing of the scene is conventional for the show, which is to say that it’s absolutely amazing. The way in which all sound cuts out, as we see Walt’s head hit the ground in a combination of guilt and sadness, shows us a human side to someone who has become numb to how his actions affect others. The moments afterwards of reflection, as Walt wails in remorse, gave me goosebumps the first time I watched it.

Not only is the scene in which Hank dies in the middle of the desert, which draws parallels with the poem, but it perfectly symbolises the point in which his empire will collapse

It fits in perfectly with the title of the episode, with the narrative of Ozymandias speaking of someone finding a mighty statue which reads “I am great OZYMANDIAS [...] this mighty City shows the wonders of my land”. This statue, however, is contrasted by the barren land in which surrounds it, covered in “sandy silence” in “the shadow of the Desert ''. It’s an incredibly emphatic poem which perfectly mirrors Walt’s situation in the episode. Not only is the scene in which Hank dies in the middle of the desert, which draws parallels with the poem, but it perfectly symbolises the point in which his empire will collapse. With Hank out of the picture it’s only a matter of time before the DEA close in on Walt’s wrongdoings. His own ineptitude, like Ozymandias, has led him to the point in which he can truly reflect on his actions.

Credit: IMDb

As significant as that scene is, however, there's also so much more that happens elsewhere in the episode. Walt Jr is told of his father's wrongdoings, Walt kidnaps his child Holly as he flees their home, and Skyler and Marie are given Hanks true whereabouts. That's not just it, as we also see Walt reveal to Jesse that he watched Jane die, and refused to do anything about it. Despite the fact it wasn't the final episode of the series, you can see why people see it as a book-end for the show, simply due to the sheer amount of content that happens. The final scene is the true end of Walt's kingdom, as we see Walt escape with a new-identity.

At least we think that's the last time we'll see Walt in Albuquerque....

There’s a really cool clip below which features Bryan Cranston reading the poem, coupled with scenes from the episode. For Breaking Bad fans wanting to relive some of that nostalgia, I’d give it a watch.

Featured image: YouTube

Source: YouTube@Ultimapooh
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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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