It’s been a very long haul for Walt. We find him now far away from the desert of Albuqerque, trying to steal a Volvo. As he jiggles a screwdriver vainly in the ignition, the flashing lights of a police cruiser shine though the snow-covered rear windshield.
It’s one of the last times we see Walt. He stiffens, remaining stock still as the cruiser passes by. He whispers a desperate prayer: “Please just get me home.” Someone up there hears him – the cruiser doesn’t stop and as it rolls away, Walt unearths a pair of keys from the sun visor.
In a second, he becomes Heisenberg. With a firm elbow to the car door, he loosens the shield of snow covering the window. Heisenberg is coming back to town.
From there, we know the drill. A stop at Denny’s to pick up a trunk full of provisions, a quick jaunt to the White’s house to retrieve a tiny vial of white powder hidden behind a socket.
There’s one stop we didn’t expect – a pit stop for a conversation with Gretchen and Elliot. Walt still blames them for putting him in the position that he finds himself. He has a favor that he needs from them, and it’s only fair that they comply, considering how much they have that he should have. It’s a small favor really – create a trust with cash provided by Walt to go to Walter Jr. Walt ensures that they will comply, even if he’s not around to make sure they hold up the end of their bargain – arming Badger and Skinny Pete with laser pointers, he creates the impression that Gretchen and Walt are being watched by snipers.
Walt knows what to say and how to say it to ensure compliance. He knows what to do with Schwartzes, and he knows what to do with Todd and Lydia. A creature of habit, Lydia always meets Todd at the same place and at the same time that she used to meet with Walt.
He’s come there for one purpose and it’s not to sell his new method of cooking meth to the new kingpins in town – kingpins that he crowned. Strange, there’s only one packet of Lydia’s precious Stevia in the sugar bowl. As she dismisses Walt unceremoniously from the table, she frowns with smug satisfaction that Walt needs her more than she needs him. Later, as she is slowly dying of ricin poisoning, Walt calls to tell her exactly what he’s done to her.
News of Walt’s return spreads fast, but he won’t be swayed from his agenda. His next stop is at Skyler’s new digs – a small apartment for herself, Holly and Flynn. He’s there to say goodbye. Marie calls Skyler in a panic to warn her, Skyler is already face to face with the man himself.
It’s clear that Walt’s not planning to get through the next 24 hours alive. He tells Skyler as much, tells her he has no money left, nothing to help her though the hell she’s found herself in. What he does have is the offer of leverage: the coordinates where he buried their money, where now the missing bodies of Hank and Gomez lie.
It’s the last thing he has to offer her. That, and the admission that he did all this for himself, because he enjoyed it. Not for the family or any of the other lofty BS that he normally spews. He admits it. It’s a small penance, but significant. Walt is coming to terms with who he has become.
His final mission is a business meeting with Jack. He makes the same offer he made to Lydia – again, it’s a ruse to gather the crew together: the whole crew, including Jesse Pinkman. Walt assumes that Jesse’s cut a deal to partner with Jack and he can’t execute his plan until Jesse is there for the reaping.
There’s a chink in this plan, one Walt didn’t expect. Jesse’s no partner, in fact he’s a prisoner. From the moment Walt lays eyes on him, he realizes his mistake. It’s the last betrayal of Jack. He’s taken Walt’s son – the son who knows who he is and what he’s capable of – and debased him.
Walt leaps on top of Jesse, pushing him to the ground as he sets off the machine gun he set up in his car. When the trunk opens, the machine gun propped on a revolving sprinkler empties itself into the room. Jack and all his men are caught in the crossfire – all except Todd, who miraculously avoids the bullets.
Once the bullets stop flying, it’s Jesse’s turn to leap. He decends onto Todd, choking the life out of him with his chains. It’s a mad death, full of all Jesse’s pent up anger and hatred toward himself and Walt, the guilt of the deaths of Jane and Andrea, the suffering of Brock.
Vengeance delivered to Todd, Walt faces off against Jack. This showdown is less cathartic. Jack tries feebly to trade Walt’s money for his life, but Walt’s no longer interested. He ends Jack’s sentence with a bullet.
In the final confrontation of the episode, Walt slides the gun across the floor to Jesse. Jesse picks it up, brandishing it with a shaky arm at the man himself. Walt, already shot by his own weapon, waits for Jesse to pull the trigger. It’s too easy of a death for Heisenberg, too awful of a final showdown for Jesse. Instead, Jesse walks away, driving off into the night, maniacally laughing and crying simultaneously. He’s finally free.
Alone now, for good, Walt takes a final stroll through the cook room. With a final look at the gas mask and cooking utensils, he says goodbye to Heisenberg.
And so do we all.
Goodnight to the king.