Now, it’s entirely possible that Hank and Steve, badly outmanned and outgunned, somehow survive this apparent slaughter and escape with their prisoners intact. I would tend to doubt it, though. (Hank beating the Cousins with a little advance warning was stretch enough; this would make him Batman.) This was us getting to watch Hank enjoy his triumph right before it and his life are snatched away, at the hands of some of the more loathsome characters in the history of the series. Not that the Cousins were good guys, but they had a kind of larger-than-life grandeur; Hank’s death at their hands would have felt tragic, but not stomach-churning. (And if Tuco Salamanca had killed him, it would have been at a point where we didn’t care about Hank the way we do now.) Uncle Jack and his crew aren’t outsized like the Cousins, or Gus. They aren’t cool and almost superhumanly competent like Mike. They’re just brutal sleazeballs who take advantage of what’s been put in front of them, and I suspect that by the end of next week’s episode, they’ll be in possession of Walt, possibly Jesse, and definitely Walt’s money, the existence of which either Walt or Jesse will alert them to as a bad negotiating tactic. And I feel sick about this, and want to yell at both Walt and Hank as much as I’ve wanted to yell at any fictional characters since “The Wire” for allowing this to happen: Walt, you do not give the Nazis the GPS coordinates of your money, even if you don’t tell them the money is there! Hank, you get your damaged hip in that car with Walt and you drive the hell out of there to book him! But like on “The Wire,” where I turn certain events over and over in my head, trying to figure out a way that things could have gone differently for characters I cared for, I realize that this is simply how it was meant to be. Walt is under too much pressure, and he frequently makes bad decisions on deadline, just as Hank has too much of his pride, and his marriage, wrapped up in the pursuit of Walt. These were the decisions they were always going to make in these circumstances. You can’t fight fate, and neither can Walter White and Hank Schrader.
My friend and I visited Albuquerque in November. We visited a lot of the Breaking Bad filming locations, but nothing came close to To'Hajiilee. There is silence all around, and your voice echoes through the imposing rock formations. No wonder they chose this spot for Ozymandias. It’s suitably dramatic and merciless.