Best weekly reviews: Breaking Bad, Ep. 5.07: “Say My Name” prompts speculation about the show’s endgame
Breaking Bad, Season 5, Episode 7: “Say My Name”
Written by Thomas Schnauz
Directed by Thomas Schnauz
Airs Sundays at 10pm ET on AMC
Death, and endings: let’s talk about them.
Even before we see the gun in Mike’s getaway bag, it seems inevitable: Mr. Ehrmantraut is not much longer for this world. Mike spends the first half of “Say My Name” tidying up his affairs and divesting himself of any ties to Walter White, and doing it in his usual, scrupulous fashion; but it’s not enough. One last snag turns out to be enough to send him on the run, and in need of assistance from a man he despises. At the very least, Mike gets what’s probably the closest thing Breaking Bad has to a dignified death: after getting in one last “shut the fuck up” at Walter’s expense, Mike takes in the sun-dappled lake for a few more moments, and then keels over. Look at it this way, Mike: at least you still have an entire face.
With Mike gone, and one episode left in the half-season, we’re reminded that, as a high-stakes crime drama with only a few important players, Breaking Bad can be broken down into a set of binary story and character possibilities: Walter White lives or dies. Jesse gets out and away from Walt’s influence or loses himself for good. Skyler saves her family or perishes trying. Hank discovers Walt in time or gives up just short of the finish line. Walt Jr. has scrambled eggs or waffles. Etc. With Mike, it always felt like he only had one ending: Walt was going to kill him. No other death on Breaking Bad has felt so preordained, save for Gus, whose Apparat-assisted death march nonetheless managed to be spine-tingling in spite of its predictability.