- This article is about the episode. For the poem, see Ozymandias (poem).
- "You're the smartest guy I ever met and you're too stupid to see. He made up his mind ten minutes ago."
- ―Hank Schrader
In a flashback from Walter White and Jesse Pinkman's first cook inside the RV in To'hajiilee ("Pilot"), Walt is explaining to Jesse about the reactions during the cooking process as they wait for the batch to cool. Jesse buffs him off and nearly lights a cigarette before Walt warns him to do it on the outside. They exit the RV and Jesse jokes at Walt removing his lab apron, since he is wearing only his underwear beneath it. Walt takes a few steps away from the cook site while Jesse is smoking and calls his wife, Skyler. He deceives her with the excuse that Bogdan Wolynetz is delaying him at the car wash due to problems with some documents, and unaware of his deception, she accepts this but requests that Walt brings pizza for dinner on his way home. Skyler suggests the name "Holly" for their baby, and Walt tries the name on for size a few times before they say their goodbyes. Walt thinks about his unborn daughter and smiles as he powers down his cell phone. Walt, Jesse and the RV images fade to the deserted setting of To'hajiilee.
Nearly 20 months later, at exactly the same place where Walt and Jesse did their first cook, the shootout between Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez of the DEA versus Jack's White Supremacist Gang comes to an abrupt end ("To'hajiilee"). Gomez lies dead in the sand after being shot twice in the chest, and Hank is injured, shot in the leg. With his pistol empty, Hank tries to crawl towards Gomez's shotgun, but Jack approaches and stops him from doing so. Todd Alquist checks Walt's Chrysler 300 for Jesse, but he is nowhere to be found. Jack orders two of his men to search the area for him. Kenny checks Gomez's wallet, only to find his DEA badge. Jack is about to shoot Hank point blank when Walt, still handcuffed inside the SUV, realizes what is going on and screams for Jack not to kill Hank. Walt is brought to Jack, still handcuffed, and he pleads for Hank's life, but Hank refuses to collaborate and threatens Jack by saying that he has backup on the way. Walt reveals that Hank is actually his brother-in-law, and Jack is upset for just finding out that Walt has a relative working for the police. Walt then offers to give Jack his buried $80 million dollars -- only if they let Hank go. Hank still refuses to cooperate, telling Jack to "go fuck [himself]." Walt continues to plead Jack for Hank's life, but Hank tells Walt "You're the smartest guy I ever met, and you're too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago". Hank tells Jack to do what he's going to do, and Jack kills Hank by shooting him in the head. Walt is horrorstruck; he drops to his knees and then falls to the ground on his side, crying.
Now knowing about the buried money's existence, Jack and Kenny again check the GPS coordinates given by Walt and they use a shovel found inside Gomez's SUV to start digging. Soon they find one of the barrels full of money, and all the other white supremacist gang members help Kenny dig up the $80 million. The other two gang members return after failing to find Jesse. Todd watches Walt lying on the sand and feels sorry for him. Meanwhile, Walt notices something beneath his car. The Neo-Nazis load all seven of the barrels of money into their truck and they then drag Hank and Gomez's corpses into the hole where the money barrels were and bury them in it. Todd approaches Jack and convinces him to leave one of the barrels to Walt as a sign of apology for what they've done. Knowing that Todd respects Walter, Jack orders his men to load one of the barrels into Walt's car. They then help him up, take the handcuffs off of him and Jack shakes hands with him, saying that there's no need for bad feelings about what happened.
Walt, still slightly in shock, tells them they still owe him a hit on Jesse. Jack assures that once they find him, they will get the job done -- but Walt reveals that Jesse was hiding under his car the whole time. The gang members drag Jesse out and put him on his knees. Jack points his gun at his head and Walt gives Jack the nod to kill Jesse, but Todd stops his uncle from pulling the trigger, suggesting they interrogate Jesse to find out what the DEA knows. Jack says that once they are done with the interrogation, they will get rid of Jesse, and Walt agrees to the plan without hesitation. While Jesse is escorted to the gang's truck, he is yelling and resisting until Walt stops them and reveals to Jesse that he watched Jane Margolis die, and did nothing to help her as she choked to death on her own vomit while high on heroin ("Phoenix"). A horror-stricken Jesse becomes quiet as he is hauled away. Walt sullenly approaches his car as the white supremacist gang leaves, taking Hank and Gomez's SUV with them. Walt takes a final look at the place where Hank is now buried and then he drives off. In the background, the rock where he stood at the episode's open is seen.
Driving back to Albuquerque, Walt's car runs out of gas in the middle of the desert -- a bullet from the shootout has pierced his gas tank. He decides to roll the barrel full of money through the desert until he arrives at a Navajo man's house and buys the man's truck with $10,000 cash. At the A1A Car Wash, Skyler leaves Walt a message, worried about the way he left the place hours ago. A happy Marie Schrader, unaware of the drastic change in events, arrives and tells Skyler they need to talk in her office. When the two sisters are in private, Marie reveals that Hank has arrested Walt "dead to rights." She explains that Hank, along with Gomez, has been working with Jesse to secure enough evidence to put Walt behind bars. She also tells her sister that she still believes there is good in her and to redeem herself she must give up all copies of the slanderous video Walt filmed. Skyler agrees. Then she asks Skyler to come 100% clean to Walter Jr. Skyler refuses, but Marie warns her 'You tell him or I will'.
Jesse wakes up in the bottom of a concrete cellar at the White Supremacist Compound, his face beaten to a pulp. Todd drops a ladder down and Jesse pleads that he has told them everything already — that Hank and Gomez were working alone and his video confession is still at the Schrader Residence. Todd kindly takes him up the ladder into a warehouse and tethers him to a hanging wire on a rail in the white supremacist's meth lab. Todd walks off, Jesse notices a strange photo on a steel bar on the other side of the lab, he walks to see it while dragging his tether with him: It's a picture of Andrea Cantillo and her son, Brock Cantillo. Todd reappears in his yellow hazmat suit and says casually to Jesse, "Let's cook."
Walt Jr., incredulous and disheartened, curses at his mother and aunt, calling them liars. They both stress that what Skyler is telling him is true -- that his father is a dangerous drug dealer. Jr. decides to try calling his father, his aunt tells him that there is no way he can reach him nor his uncle Hank at the moment, but he will be able to get more details about it soon. Jr. walks off furious as Skyler starts to cry in sorrow, Marie tells her to get her kids home in the meantime, since it's better for them to regroup as a family at the moment.
Walt screeches into his driveway in his newly acquired truck and runs inside the house, frantically packing suitcases for his family, knowing that once Marie figures out Hank is dead, she'll go straight to the DEA. Skyler, Jr., and Holly arrive wondering about the strange truck parked in the driveway. Walt comes out of the house throwing his bags inside the truck, telling Jr. and Skyler to immediately pack up their clothes because they need to leave. The family enters the house as Jr. insists to know about what is going on, Walt screams at his son, ordering him to just do as he says, pack what's important and get in the truck. Jr. tries to get the truth about his mother's accusations but falls quiet when Skyler demands to know how Walt is free when Hank had him in custody. Walt tells them he made a deal and everything will be all right if they trust him. Face to face, Skyler realizes that there is only one way that Walt could be free: Hank is dead. She coldly tells Walt "you killed Hank." Walt, in desperation, denies that he killed Hank, and tells her he tried to save him and stresses they must leave immediately if they wish to be safe, Jr. is totally distraught at the idea of Hank being dead. Walt repeats his demand that they pack their things, he rushes Jr. into the bedroom.
Meanwhile, Skyler crosses to the kitchen and grabs a knife from the counter, the death of Hank being the last straw. Walt passes by her when returning from the bedroom and she shields Jr. behind herself. With the knife pointed at Walt, she tells him to leave and never to come back. Walt tries to reason with her and asks her to put down the knife, he approaches her and she slashes at him, cutting his right hand. A shocked Walt approaches her again, more quickly this time, stopping her from slashing him again with the knife, but Skyler tries to fight back. Husband and wife tumble into the living room, wrestling for the knife, Jr. screams at them to stop as the struggle escalates, Walter forcefully takes the knife from Skyler, but Jr. tackles Walter off of his mother and shields her from the man he now sees as a maniac. Walt yells at Skyler, asking her what she thinks she's doing, they are supposed to be a family, Walt's expression then changes to regret as he realizes that his whole family is now openly against him. Jr. calls 911 and reports that his father attacked his mother with a knife, and that he might have murdered someone. Walt acts quickly, grabbing Holly from the crib and taking off in his truck. Skyler, in a daze, realizes what he has done and runs out of the house, screaming for Holly as Walt drives away. Walt changes Holly in a restroom and takes care to do it properly, despite his bloodied hand wrapped in duct tape. A blood-stained diaper lies on the sink before Walt throws it in the trash. Walt hugs Holly and she utters one of her first words: "Mama."
Back at the White residence, a police officer calls in an Amber Alert for Holly while Skyler, Marie and Jr. are sitting on the couch. Marie is in disbelief about what has transpired, as Hank had had Walter handcuffed and in custody. The phone rings and is answered by the answering machine: it's Walt demanding Skyler to pick up. The police officers in the house instruct her to answer normally, pretending they aren't there as they start tracking where Walt is calling from and recording at the same time. Walt asks Skyler if she is alone or if the police are with her, she follows the policeman's instructions, saying she is alone. Walt, knowing she is lying, pretends that he does not know the police are listening in and proceeds to tell her that he "warned her not to cross him." He also tells her that she should never have told Walt Jr. about his drug business and that she had no idea of the extent of his crimes. He chastises her cruelly for never being grateful for what he's done for the family and calls her a "stupid bitch." Slowly, Skyler begins to realize her husband is deliberately giving her an alibi, and merely responds with an "I'm sorry." He tells her that if she makes one more wrong move, she'll end up just like Hank. She asks about what happened to Hank, Walt starts crying on the other line, but soon recomposes himself, saying that "they are never going to see Hank again, and that he crossed me," horrifying Marie. She breaks down, finally realizing that Hank is truly dead, and is comforted by an equally horrified and heartbroken Walt Jr. Skyler asks Walt to give Holly back. Fighting back tears, Walt responds that he "still has things left to do." At an Albuquerque fire station, a fireman is alerted when he sees a firetruck's lights flashing in the garage. A young fireman enters the truck's cab to shut off the lights and sees a crying Holly in the passenger seat with the White residence address pinned to her. The next day, Walt waits with his luggage and barrel of $11 million for the extractor. The car arrives, Walt packs his things in and they drive off to a supposed start to a new life for Walter.
- This episode has for a long time had the rare rating of a perfect 10/10 on IMDb.
- It now has the outstanding score of 9.9/10 on IMDb. This is the highest rated episode of the series, tied with the last episode "Felina", and in front of the finale of season 4 "Face Off" with 9.8/10. With ~91,000 votes as of November 25, 2017, this is also the most rated episode of Breaking Bad.
- This episode was the series' most-watched episode at the time of its airing with 6.37 million viewers, but was later passed by "Granite State", which had 6.58 million.
- On August 25th, 2014, Moira Walley-Beckett won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for her writing on this episode.
- In a September 13th interview with TV Fanatic Vince Gilligan called the episode "Ozymandias" "the best episode we ever have had or ever will have."
- Guillermo del Toro desperately wanted to direct this episode. When he expressed this desire to the episode's eventual director, Rian Johnson, Johnson responded "Yeah, sorry, I'm the one who gets to fuck the prom queen"
- The episode is named after the 1818 poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley about the inevitable fall of kings and empires. In addition, Bryan Cranston read the poem in a short promo prior to the episode.
- Hank Schrader is the third main character to die.
- His death may have been foreshadowed in the episode "One Minute", where he received injuries similar to that of which he got in this episode.
- His death scene was shot in one take.
- This is the final episode to feature all of the show's original cast in new footage, marking the final appearance of Hank who only appears in the series finale during a brief flashback to the pilot episode.
- The posture Walter falls into after Hank's death is similar to Gus's posture after Max Arciniega's death. Walt and Hank are also brothers-in-law, just like Gus and Max were brothers in some form or another. This is also reminiscent of a picture portrayal of the poem "Ozymandias".
- The pair of pants Walt passes while rolling his barrel are the same pants he lost while driving the RV, at the beginning of the "Pilot".
- When Walt enters his car after watching Jesse drive away, he gazes at his reflection in the rear-view mirror, then turns the mirror away towards the desert. This symbolized that Walt is so ashamed and full of regret, he can no longer even look at himself.
- The final shot is a stray dog crossing the street after Walt goes into hiding. This is the third of three major "dog" references in the show. The first is in "Problem Dog", where Gale Boetticher is described as such, albeit in metaphor, by Jesse to his therapy group. The second is "Rabid Dog", which describes Jesse as a dog that may have to be killed before he attacks. This final one, the "Stray Dog", is an obvious reference to Walt, who is now homeless and without his family.
- The actor who plays the firefighter that discovers Holly is Noah Segan, who has had starring roles in two of Rian Johnson's films, Brick (2005) and Looper (2012).
- Walt abducts Holly just like Marie tried to do a few episodes before.
- The Koala Kare changing station logo seen when Walt is changing Holly can also be seen in episode 501, "Live Free or Die", when Walt is purchasing the M60 from Lawson.
- In an interview, director Rian Johnson revealed that Holly's crying "Mama" in the bathroom scene was unscripted. The baby's mother was standing behind Bryan Cranston on set, and the baby locked eyes with her and started saying "mama" over and over again. Cranston simply went with it and the shot ended up in the episode.
- During the game of chess between the firemen, the WHITE king is cornered, but not checkmated or even in check. The king is simply going behind another pawn, buying time, but not advancing the game. The only remaining White pieces are a Knight (not a Queen) and two pawns.
- When Walter looks at the bullet holes in his car, the reflection of him in the metal puts a hole in his forehead.
- The flashback at the beginning of the episode is full of symbols echoing the terrifying end of it:
- Skyler packs and ships away a white statue of a clown crying blood belonging to Walt, that she's been able to sell for more dollars than Walt bought it, and that they both find now ugly. This symbolizes the end of the episode, when Walter White, sad clown with bloodied hands, is sent away by Skyler with his money, and everyone being disgusted by him.
- They discuss the name of their upcoming child that Walt will abduct at the end of the episode.
- The knives that Skyler will later use against Walt are conveniently set on the table, their handles offered in her direction.
- Walt suggests a short break for the family the next weekend, like he will "suggest" they all pack up and leave for no return at the end.
- Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman) and Laura Fraser (Lydia Rodarte-Quayle) do not appear in this episode.
- In a possible continuity error, the phone number for the White residence's land line in this episode differs from that shown on Skyler's divorce application papers in "Más".
- Continuity error: The extractor's van picks up Walt at John B. Robert Dam in Northeast Albuquerque. When the van arrives, a long shot reveals that it is on Juan Tabo Boulevard, a 4 lane road, and is driving north. Walt enters the van, and when it starts moving, it is suddenly on a 2 lane road driving west, where Juan Tabo travels north and south.
- Unusually, the cast and crew credits do not appear onscreen until after the second commercial break, to avoid interfering with the intensity of the first act.
- While Walt argues that he tried to save Hank, he indirectly did in fact kill him as it was he who called Jack and his crew to come and save him (although he did not know Hank was with Jesse when he made the call) and failed to give Jack a proper warning in not coming to save him by telling him that police were on the scene.
- Walt wrote down the coordinates of his stash - which became the location of Hank and Gomez's bodies - to the second (as in degrees, minutes, seconds). But plus-or-minus half a second of latitude and longitude describes a rectangle about 100x80 feet. The DEA would find the grave eventually, but the neo-Nazis were lucky to hit pay dirt so quickly.
- Rodger Larance as Diner Patron
- Noah Segan as Fireman
- Moira Walley-Beckett as Car Wash Customer
- The firestation Walt leaves Holly at is 5 miles north of the actual location of the White residence.
- "Times are Getting Hard (aka Take My True Love by the Hand)" by The Limeliters (as Walt rolls his barrel of money across Tohajiilee)
- "Floating Away" by David Fennell (as Marie enters the carwash)
- "Chained Dog" by Dave Porter (as Jesse is taken from his pit to cook)
- "Higher Law" by B.D. Lenz (Marie makes Skyler confess everything to Walt, Jr.)
- "We're a Family" by Dave Porter (as Walt leaves with Holly)
- Jack: "How about it, Hank? Should I let you go?"
- Hank: " My name is ASAC Schrader. And you can go f___ yourself."
- Walter: "Hank listen to me. You got to tell him. You got to tell him now that we can work this out. Please. Please."
- Hank: "What? You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met. And you’re too stupid to see he made up his mind ten minutes ago. Do what you’re going to do."
- — Jack, Hank and Walter before Jack kills Hank in the desert near To'hajiilee.
- "I watched Jane die. I was there. And I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her. But I didn't."
- ―Walt revealing to Jesse that he watched Jane die.
- "What the hell is wrong with you?! We're a family! We’re a family..."
- ―Walter, after Skyler attacked him with a knife and Walter Jr. intervened in favor of his mother.
- "Maybe now you’ll listen. Maybe now you’ll use your damn head. You know, you never believed in me. You were never grateful for anything I did for this family. “Oh, no. Walt, Walt, you have to stop. You have to stop this. It’s immoral. It’s illegal. Someone might get hurt.” You’re always whining and complaining about how I make my money, just dragging me down while I do everything. And now–now you tell my son what I do after I’ve told you and told you to keep your damn mouth shut. You stupid bitch! How dare you?"
- ―Walt orchestrating his phone call as a ploy to release all possible charges and suspicions against Skyler.