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 convo with Mike about last night’s episode below.
XXL: Let’s talk about Breaking Bad.
Killer Mike: Oh man, that shit was maniacal. I was flying home from Prof Outdoors in Minneapolis, me and El did that—shouts out to Prof—and I got home late, so I tried to stay off social media, and then when I got home, I found out my wife had recorded the wrong Breaking Bad. I couldn’t even taste the food she was making me, I was so goddamn angry. [Laughs] I really felt that Walt/Skyler angst—we talk a lot in this country about the angst of black males, or white teenage angst, but there has to be an angst that comes with making $100,000 a year and being in debt that’s triple that. [Laughs] Tread lightly. But then I saw it was coming on in thirty minutes, so I calmed down, could taste food again, and then got ready for what I knew was gonna be a maniac episode.
The most intriguing part for me always keeps going back to the white trash mafia. When they first appeared, they just were gonna be knockers, they were gonna knock people off. And I look at Lydia, and she’s becoming Walt, she’s in a position where you either gotta grow or you’re gonna get your ass knocked off. So I realize I’m watching another Walt, and she is determined not to die, and much more calculating. So after the first part I knew Walt was going to have to come back to cook, because she needs that dope, that’s gotta be right. The kid cooking for her—he’s like Jesse at the beginning working for Walt, he wants to impress her, but he actually has his shit together. So when he makes that offer to her—do you need my uncle to take care of the buyers?—everybody knows what happens when his uncle gets called. I knew the white trash mafia was gonna play a big part of this. So I’m waiting on the point where they’re meeting up with Jesse, but I know there’s gonna be a trick, this show does not give it to you straight.
Jesse’s relationship with Walt has to be completely over now.
I had underestimated the amount of hatred Jesse has for Walt. I might want to see Jesse die, but it’s much more intriguing to see Jesse live with that hatred for Walt. To see him willing to cooperate with Hank, it’s new to me, but it’s not for any greater good, it’s just evil, maniacal hatred for Walt. In much the same way Walt’s fear just drove him to that extreme, and Hank has driven himself to the extreme where he’s a criminal as well. This isn’t about being a cop anymore, this is about in-law hate. This is he and his wife hating his sister and brother-in-law. You’re dealing with criminals now rather than some grand law enforcement agent—this is about, “you think you’re better than me, your fucking boat is bigger than mine.” This is brother-in-law shit.
This is like a culture study to me. We only see drugs from the perspective of The Wire or The Corner or shit. But this is from a whole nother perspective. This is white, this is middle class, this is evil. [Laughs] This cop is doing evil shit, man! Not even questionable. Even though we know cops do this, they trick.
Most unexpected moments?
That Christ-like scene in the desert—I thought the cancer was going to knock Walt’s ass off right there. I was like, what the fuck, we got three episodes left and Walt’s gonna die in the desert with his phone in his hand and a Chrysler 300 there? But the lead-up to that, the frantic driving, I knew they were following him, but then I realized the writer wanted me to know that. I’m being given this, because something is going to happen that I’m not expecting—but then everything happened as I expected. I called the uncle—Uncle Jack—that he would show up at the end. I was just sitting there with the wife just calling this shit. But this whole episode was just setting up next week, and it was a beautiful setup. If that was the end of Walt, I could have accepted that—three episodes left, Walt’s turned in, Jesse ends up dying, Walt’s gonna do some dramatic three-person prison kill—but we’ve already seen Walt do that, so they’re not gonna bring me back to that. And then, right on time, you see these trucks coming through the desert. And I’m like, Yes! They’re gonna bang these motherfuckers out! And then they get there and I realize, I’m supposed to see this. I see Walt go maniac and I don’t know why he loves Jesse so much, at this point thinking that Walt has become the antithesis of Gus again and he’s just a defeated, middle-aged, white former school teacher who works at a car wash. I was like, this is it.
He’s basically given up Heisenberg at this point—we know that. But when they started banging on those two DEA Agents, we know that whole episode has crossed the line, and we can never go back.
I didn’t think they’d actually start shooting.
I was cheering for them. I was going maniac in my house. ‘Cause now, there can be no sit-downs over the pool. There can be no, “Hey Jesse, let’s sit down and talk about something.” These next few episodes have to be something that TV has never shown us before. There’s either gonna be war for three episodes, famine, torture—this has to be Biblical. And I just pray that God lets me live another 25 days so I can see the end of this. [Laughs] I’m really waiting for what’s next.
How do you think the shootout ends?
Hank’s fate is now in the hands of Uncle Jack. Walt is once again a slave to his own ambition, his own greed, and he’s a disciple to his own fear. Many of his greatest moments have come out of fear. If Gus hadn’t had him so petrified, we might be looking at a different show. Fear and evil are close cousins. In that White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant world, it’s about perception, and he’s working hard to make sure that Skyler still has her perception intact. He was kinda drunk off the power he had, but all that power came from a place of fear—of not dying, of getting money, of dealing with cancer, dealing with Gus and Mike. Now he’s at the top and he’s losing that, so what he’s going to do next is evil. Downright fucking evil. There’s nothing else to say. He can’t be Jesus anymore—he had his moment in the desert. He already agreed to give himself up. He did the redemptive thing already—there’s nothing else to that. He’s a victim of his own fear and greed. He’s cooking meth again—expect to see a fucking lab coat on him next week, and a gas mask. And Jesse may not die, but Jesse may be back on the fucking lam.
It’s real man, and I fully expect something Biblical these next couple episodes.
Assuming Walter lives through this shootout, does Lydia have him killed now?
Yeah, she has to, but I don’t think she has to have him killed in the next two episodes. I think Lydia may be a better Walt. I think Lydia may be the setup for what’s next, or a more intriguing ending. But also I think they may blow her brains out at any moment, because at the end of the day she’s not Walt yet, and Uncle Jack is a fucking psychopath. And if Uncle Jack meets her buyers, she dies. I love this show man, I am sincerely thankful for this show, because it’s finally smart people gangster shit. I could hardly watch those shows about crack and heroin, I’ve seen that shit all my life. This is the most intriguing. [Laughs]