With the second part of the final season of Breaking Bad under way, fans and followers of the epic crime drama are sad to see the end of one of the most celebrated TV shows in recent history. Meanwhile, through its five-year run, the program has picked up an unlikely group of fans in hip-hop artists, who seem to either identify or empathize with the show’s protagonist, Walter White. So, in order to ride out the final installments of Breaking Bad and celebrate the series, XXL has teamed up with Atlanta native (and one half of Run The Jewels) Killer Mike to recap each episode. Check out our over-the-phone conversation with Mike while he was waiting in the dentist’s office about last night’s episode below.
My first, and biggest, question is: What the hell?
[Laughs] I expected someone to get shot and die. I was like, any mercenaries who shoot that many times and don’t hit anybody are worthless, or at least nearsighted. I think Hank went out gloriously, he basically said, “Fuck you.” And again, this is a whole new world, I was telling my friend, as excited as people get about shows like The Wire, I was always removed from them because I’ve been in that environment so much. In real life, Stringer Bell doesn’t die, he’s one of those guys who opens up a real estate company or a soul food restaurant. He’s one of those guys where you say, “He used to [do that]“—I know those guys. But this show, because I don’t know that world, I don’t know the inner-workings of middle class white people. This is so interesting to me—the amount of evil, of malice that they have for one another, that’s what Hank’s last breath showed me. It wasn’t even that he was a cop who believed in justice prevailing—he was personally offended that he was fooled, to the point where he wasn’t even gonna beg for his life. And that was badass.
I love that last line he had, too—”Walt, you’re the smartest man I’ve ever met, but you’re too stupid to realize he already made up his mind 10 minutes ago.
Already. I knew that, he knew that, Uncle Jack knew that, everybody knew that. I knew by the time I saw Jesse pop back up on the screen fighting like a dog, I knew he was going to be a slave. I was like, it’s over. They need a cook! Me and the wife were just sitting there like, oh, he’s a slave. But he was so gloriously made a slave—with an actual leash, like one of those little kids in the airport whose mom has a leash on ‘em—I was like oh, this is even better than him just dying. [Laughs] I think the most sociopathic person on this show, though, is the nephew. The nephew handles killing a child and harm with such callous disregard. It’s just like, “Mr. White, we’re gonna torture him, we’re gonna find out what he said, and after that we’ll take care of him.” It’s nothing to him, it’s just business. And that made me realize that Walt isn’t Gus, he can never be Gus, because all of his decisions are based on, basically, greed and emotion, or preservation of the perception that he’s built. Even though he tried to morally do the right thing for Hank in the end, 15 seconds later he was evil as a demon telling Jesse that he watched his girlfriend die.
That was insane.
Ah, yeah. The motivation for that was shown right after. When he did that to Jesse, I realized then that the only thing Walt really loves is money. Money gave him his life to pay for his treatment, money gave him power, money saved him—it’s the rich man’s peril. All you treasure and love and care about is this inanimate thing that is put in the wrong position. It’s a barrel that you’re rolling through the desert; this barrel, this worthless paper essentially—it’s worthless in the desert when you run out of gas, it’s worthless when your friends are dying all around you—it’s his greatest love and his greatest burden at the same time. And just when you think some great, grand spiritual message is gonna be taught, like in an Oliver Stone movie with the Indian and the truck, he pulls out a wad of money and the Indian’s like, shit, hell yeah! It’s your truck. [Laughs] I found that amazing.
The sister, Marie, back to that WASP maliciousness, the fact that she was so elated to get the call from Hank that she marched herself down to her sister’s place, totally out of order, but just evil, because she wanted to see her sister in pain. She wanted to see her sister doing worse than her so she can be the saint. Then she not only told the sister, but made her tell the son. The son, based on the popular theory from my DJ and Internet friends, was going to pull a Keyser Soze-like figure and arise out of his handicap like some kind of mastermind. [Laughs] The sister just enjoyed it so much—I really was hoping to see her heart crushed, and they gave it to me in the most beautiful way, later.
Can we talk about that knife fight quickly? Holy shit.
Yes, the knife fight. He should’ve offed Skyler a long time ago, but he loves her and I get that, as a married guy, I get that. But once Skyler sees that she has an out for her and her children, she’s back with her sister and she can see she has an out—Hank’s gonna help me supposedly—right after that, she totally abandons Walt like no true wife abandons her husband. Didn’t she see Donnie Brasco? Didn’t she see Goodfellas? But again, that’s a culture I know nothing about. I don’t know anything of it. It’s foreign to me. So to see her abandon her husband, man, that was as cold to me as [Walt] telling Jesse [about Jane]. When she looked at the phone and the knife, and I’m like, what is this gonna be, the cops or this bloodlust of I want to kill you? But I think she’s wanted to stick a knife in Walt the entire time.
But again, Walt didn’t kill his family, but he definitely chose money over them. That barrel was the co-star of the show; it was the second most important thing on screen all night. And when he took the kid, I told the wife that he’s gonna drop the kid off, and him and the barrel are going to disappear. Remember what he tried to do with Jesse? I bet you he’s gonna do it. The way they ended it with that was beautiful. But the baby popping up in the fire department, which was brilliant—’cause I was thinking, where’s he gonna drop off this baby? You can’t leave it in a gas station. But if you leave it in a fire department, it kind of makes the track cold immediately. There’s no cameras in the fire department. They don’t know which way you’re going. Most of them are going to worry about the baby first before finding out where he’s gone. It was just remote enough and right enough to do. And you knew it’d get to the news quickly, so it wasn’t like they’re right on you. And he got to talk to his wife, which showed me that he still cared for her. He still doesn’t love her as much as the money, but he cared for her enough to do that.
But the look on the sister’s face, I want to put it on a t-shirt. [Laughs] She reminds me of all the Hannity’s, the Limbaugh’s, just the people that think they’re somehow better than you but are just as evil, just as desperate, just as bad. So for her to get it like she got it, laying around the living room with a bottle of Jack Daniels going insane, I think this is the best television I’ve ever watched in my life.
When I was watching it, I kept thinking about what you said about how they’ll never repeat themselves. I knew Hank would have to die there. But when Junior called the cops, I still couldn’t believe it.
I couldn’t believe he did it to his old man! But it just goes back to those middle class, suburban values. I always thought Walt was gonna take one of his crutches and beat his head in. I thought Walt was going to kill the whole family at that point. At one point that thing got so intense that I thought he had to kill the whole family. I felt like with how the new season opened up with him going back into the old house and sees the neighbor, I’m like, they have to die here, and Walt escapes. I’m still thinking about the escape route. But when I see that, I had no idea what was going to happen next. For me? They would’ve got deaded right there. It would’ve been a wrap. Don’t get the government involved in our life—you do that, I’ma beat your head in. So for me, he doesn’t even have a family anymore. [Laughs] He should’ve deaded ‘em!
We’ll see next week, but I just don’t know what’s going to happen next. Jesse’s about to do more cooking than Martha Stewart. He’s gonna die. And as malicious as the white mafia is with Uncle Jack now, they’re principled enough to say, for whatever reason, I’m going to give you an eighth of this. We’re taking the other $70 million, but you get to go. So who knows, but I’m really enjoying not knowing what’s going on. We’re going on tour Friday, me and Big [Boi], I’m going to buy every season I can just to re-watch them while I’m waiting for the last two episodes. We just gotta pray that God grants us another 20 or 24 days. [Laughs]
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