Possibly the greatest TV show ever made, Breaking Bad, very rarely had its low moments. Typically, a TV show gets off to a good start, reaches its peak, and then lowers in quality until finally fizzling out- Breaking Bad remained exceptional until its final seconds. The season five episode ‘Ozymandias’ is often considered the show’s best episode (and might be the best episode in the history of television).
Despite the persistent quality of the show, ‘The Fly’ is known as the one moment of weakness in Breaking Bad. We’ve weighed up five reasons why ‘Ozymandias’ remains the strong point, and ‘The Fly’ is the weak point.
‘OZYMANDIAS’ IS THE BEST: Walt Revealed That He Was There When Jane Died
By this point in season five, Walter White has become a brutal, ruthless killer who has gone was beyond the cancer-stricken old man he once was.
Despite Jesse being his constant partner over the course of many years, Walt feels such resentment towards him that he delivers the harshest line of dialogue in Breaking Bad, where he tells Jesse that he could have saved Jane.
‘THE FLY’ IS THE WORST: It’s Slow
Episodes of TV shows driven by dialogue are often very good. Take the Family Guy episode ‘Brian & Stewie’: the two are simply stuck in a bank vault having a conversation and it’s fantastic. In Breaking Bad, though, a lot of very dramatic and intense stuff is happening at all times.
It sort of feels like the audience doesn’t have the time to be sitting back and watching two half-friends having a chat. Surely there’s something else the show could be getting on with here?
‘OZYMANDIAS’ IS THE BEST: It Was Hank’s Final Episode
Hank had been a consistent source of humor throughout the entirety of Breaking Bad. He was known to love his entire family, but don his serious cap when necessary; and as soon as he found out who Walt was, he lost all of his familial kindness and set his mind to bringing Heisenberg down.
His heart-breaking death in this episode is one of the most impactful moments in the show, with Hank sticking to his guns until his last second.
‘THE FLY’ IS THE WORST: Nothing Happens
In terms of plot, pretty much nothing whatsoever happens in the episode. It’s quite literally about Jesse and Walt’s hunt for the fly, which is annoying Walt in their meth lab.
We see a lot of development in the relationship between the main characters, but in terms of storyline progression, we get basically nothing.
‘OZYMANDIAS’ IS THE BEST: It Was Award-Winning
The episode was about as award-winning as a single episode of television can be.
Moria Walley-Beckett (a prolific writer on the show and the writer of this episode) won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series, while Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn each took home Emmys for Lead Actor and Supporting Actress roles.
‘THE FLY’ IS THE WORST: It’s Frustrating
Imagine trying to catch a fly at home, in real life. Frustrating, right? ‘The Fly’ introduces the audience to that exact problem but forces everyone into a situation where they can’t do anything about it.
Not only is the audience frustrated that nothing has happened in the episode yet, but everyone just wants Walt to catch the annoying fly.
‘OZYMANDIAS’ IS THE BEST: Its Title Is Genius
‘Ozymandias’ is a Percy Bysshe Shelley poem that depicts the fall of greatness. On its most overt level, this is exactly what the episode is about. However, looking deeper into Shelley’s words and mind shows even more brilliant connections between the poem and the episode.
For example, some lines in the poem read “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert” (Hank and Gomez’s bodies in the sand), and “Half sunk, a shattered visage lies” (Walt laying on the floor during).
‘THE FLY’ IS THE WORST: It Was Made Because Of Budgetary Restrictions
One of the incredible things about Breaking Bad that allowed it to sit apart from many other American shows is that it never assaulted the audience with filler episodes. Everything was there for a reason.
‘The Fly’, however, was only made because the show was over-budget and couldn’t afford to move production trucks elsewhere. That’s a little disappointing.
‘OZYMANDIAS’ IS THE BEST: It’s Directed by Rian Johnson
Rian Johnson is known to be one of the finest directors active at the moment.
He has delivered a number of brilliant films that take fantastic characters and provide them with insightful dialogue, all while retaining visual beauty and moments that twist expectations massively. Everything comes together perfectly in ‘Ozymandias’.
‘THE FLY’ IS THE WORST: It’s Directed by Rian Johnson
The problem with Rian Johnson is that he is often a very hit or miss director. While many of his films have been incredibly well-received, he has also found huge controversy- his take on the Star Wars franchise, for example, has become seen as a huge misfire.
As such, ‘The Fly’ seems a little like a moment of artistic expression trying to bring a new angle to the show, but it just comes off as boring.