Ozymandias spoilers. I’m going to try to keep this brief.
In the wake of the third to last episode of Breaking Bad, there’s been a lot of discussion about Walt’s phone call to Skyler, what it meant, and how it made us feel. When I first watched the scene, I’ll admit my own biases clouded my understanding a bit. I was so ready for Walt to be his usual evil, selfish self that I took his words to Skyler at face value. I soon realized my mistake.
In response to the discussion around the episode, several viewers have voiced their opinions on “Walt defenders.” One of the most vocal is Matt Zoller Seitz, who is the editor-in-chief of rogerebert.com, and a writer for Vulture and AV Club. Seitz wrote this article that has been making the rounds on twitter and tumblr: http://www.vulture.com/2013/09/seitz-breaking-bad-walter-white-apologists-phone-call.html
In it, Seitz makes a case against the people who think the phone call to Skyler is “just one thing.” He writes that by interpreting that scene as simply Walt pretending to be Heisenberg to exonerate Skyler, these Walt apologists are “turning a smart show into a stupid one” and “watching the show wrong.”
I don’t know what to make of this. I have never been an “apologist” for Walter White. My thoughts on this are well documented: His actions through the first 4 and a half seasons were more motivated by selfish ego than any other factor. I have defended Skyler at every turn. And yet, I watch the phone call between Walt and Skyler and see “one thing.” Walt made that phone call to absolve Skyler in the eyes of the police.