*** Contains spoilers. Do not read unless you've seen Season 5, Episode 14 of "Breaking Bad" ***
The latest "Breaking Bad" episode is certainly provoking some questions, and not just in terms of plot or development.
What, or who, is Ozymandias? And why is that the episode title?
To start, "Ozymandias" is a sonnet written by Percy Bysshe Shelley, which was published in 1818:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Aside from the desert and wasteland imagery, which is obviously applicable to the scene(s) in the desert with Walt and Jesse, there is clear reference in this poem to a fallen and disgraced leader, and the crumbling of a once-powerful empire.
In Season 5, Episode 14 of "Breaking Bad," Walt collapses into the desert sand, mouth agape, much like the disintegrating statue described in the sonnet. "Ozymandias" is a Greek transliteration of the name Ramesses II (also: Ramses II), who was the third Egyptian pharoah. He had one of the longest reigns of any pharoah, and was key to ancient Egyptian infrastructure, military and influence. At about 150 years after Ramesses' death, the Egyptian empire fell.
So even the mightiest leaders fall, and we're witnessing the horrifying decline of Walt on "Breaking Bad."
After the saga of Heisenberg comes to a close, Hank Schrader retires from the DEA and opens 'Hank's Crystal Hut,' an emporium selling crystals, minerals and exotic stones (please don't call them rocks). A few yards down in the same strip mall, you can find Violet Tendencies, a shop run by Hank's wife Marie. It sells all the purple blouses and throw pillows you could ever want.
'Breakfast at Junior's'
Leaving his incredibly messed up family behind, Walt Jr. opens a breakfast cafe, where every kind of cereal and egg preparation is on the menu 24 hours a day. House specialty: Your age in bacon.
'Love for Lydia'
In which Lydia Rodarte Quayle and Todd pursue the awkwardest romance of all time. He keeps her favorite tea in stock and always makes it just right, and she appreciates how considerate he is when leading her through fields of dead bodies. Still, he's a sociopath and she's very tightly wound: Can their relationship ever work?
'Pick Your Poison'
Tired of her life in Albuquerque, Marie starts poisoning people who have ticked her off and never gets caught. Eventually she starts working as a crime-scene tech for the Miami police department and taking down those who violate the Schrader Code.
Tired of a life of crime, Jesse turns to his true passion: The periodic table of the elements, magnets, harmless but educatational chemistry and so forth. He eventually hosts a reality show on Spike TV about cool lab experiments, and his catchphrase, "Yeah, bitch! Science!" takes the nation by storm.
Sci-fi nerd Badger heads to L.A. to try to make it as a TV writer, and reviving 'Star Trek' or 'Babylon 5' on the small screen is his ultimate dream. Twitter user @NuclearBdgr suggested a 'Breaking Bad'/'Battlestar Galactica' crossover, in which the wrong Saul is called (Tigh, not Goodman), and I think that should be the first script Badger shops around Hollywood.
In a prequel series, Mike Ehrmentraut sighs a lot and has to clean up after idiots and morons who make criminally stupid mistakes. (Hold that thought: Wouldn't 'Better Call Saul' have room for Mike -- and Gus Fring -- to return? Giancarlo Esposito is fairly busy over on 'Revolution,' but some visits from the Chicken Man and Mike would probably be the best things ever.)
Twenty years after the end of the events in 'Breaking Bad,' Holly White, the heiress to a mysterious fortune found in the desert, opens a chain of fast-food restaurants called Pollos de la Hija. Once the money starts rolling in, she branches into drug distribution and, well, you know the rest. All this has happened before, and will happen again...
'Huell on Wheels'
Full credit for the title to this spinoff goes to Josef Adalian (a.k.a. @TVMoJoe on Twitter). In this show, Huell finally breaks free of his mercurial employer, Saul Goodman, and pursues a career in high-stakes car theft. It's a 'Gone in 60 Seconds' (or, given that Huell doesn't move all that fast, 'Gone in 60 Minutes') adventure hour that car freaks will enjoy.
How's this for a prequel? Though he was involved in the drug trade, Tio Salamanca's first love was judging talent contests. Oh, how people enjoyed it when he rang his bell to indicate he didn't like what he saw. 'The Gong Show' had nothing on Tio's 'ding ding ding'!
Another prequel, and this one is a light-hearted travelogue. Before he ever got involved in the doings at the Superlab, Gale Boetticher flitted all over the world, doing bad karaoke, learning to appreciate other cultures, writing and reading poetry and developing his fondness for perfectly prepared coffee. Experience the full Gale-ness of Gale in all its delightfully sincere glory, when his life was so much simpler and Heisenberg was only a name he knew from chemistry books.
'Big Sky Country'
Once she breaks free of her controlling husband, Skyler White packs up the family and heads for the wide open spaces of Montana, where she establishes a commune for the unfairly maligned spouses of criminal masterminds.
'Brock and a Hard Place'
Driven by unexplained feelings of persecution that arose in childhood, Brock grows up to be a man driven to take vengeance on anyone who would dare to hurt children. He's like Batman, if Batman were really freaked out by the sight of Lily of the Valley flowers.