FULL CIRCLE #3: In the Homestretch
Mandala indications don’t just revolve around death, in fact “ABQ” marks one of the major occasions when the show hits the reset button for Walt and Jesse as they find themselves hopeless in having to start all over again, and that’s the meth business aside. “It’s the cycle… “ (1.01) No matter what tragedy, Walt and Jesse always seem to pick themselves up…or you could say they’re just bound to relieve the misery all over again in different shapes and forms.
Continuing from earlier, the pool of reflections mostly seems to mark turning points in Walt’s journey, as he sits down and contemplates on impossible decisions or merely to let the course of events sink in. Notable examples are his first pool moment in the pilot, the one in 5.08 where the cancer comes back, followed by the decision to quit the meth business, in 5.12 as he sits to decide on the Jesse problem one last time and perhaps the best remembered of all which is split between “ABQ” and “No Mas” following Skyler leaving him just around the time the planes hit. Fitting the rehab phase, Jesse also gets a pool moment of sorts here.
“I think I may just keep this.” After the surgery with revival in sight, Heisenberg walks into a new phase, complete with a goatee to compliment the badass, authoritative look, solidifying the surface transformation. As mentioned earlier, the transformation transitions are mostly signaled in bathrooms (see 2.09 or 5.04), where Walt’s left spiritually bare before our eyes. The weaker the cancer, it seems the stronger Heisenberg grows. Now in remission, Walt needs to embrace the new identity to deal with the consequences of his actions; there’s no easy way out. Fittingly enough as the cancer returns, Heisenberg grows weaker until fading away in exile (see 5.15).
“Lingering on things doesn’t help, believe me. Just try and focus on getting better…” Contrasting Walt’s transformation segments, with him each time morphing into a more cunning and powerful version of himself, Jesse’s moral milestones involve him drowning deeper in self-reflection and guilt, “What you said in the desert. I get it, what you meant.”, only so he could emerge as a better, or rather more solid human being. “You and I working together, having each other’s backs, it’s what saved our lives.” (5.02) The revival cycle goes through Walt and Jesse’s respective journeys, as we witnessed in 2.09 when they worked together to find a way out of the desert and as they’ll continue doing so in the following seasons, despite all the lies and betrayals.