In line with what we’ve come to expect from Walter White, it’s clearly not over yet. He may have won this round, but the opening scene of the Season 5 premiere (of a tired, downtrodden, and no-longer-bald Walt) continues to refuse our desire for resolution; for a return to his “normal” life of teaching, fatherhood, and family. The choices and consequences of the last four seasons cannot be undone, the past cannot be unwritten. And even if a happy ending were possible (which it’s clearly not), the question remains: would Walt really have won?
Is winning even possible at this point in the game? Walt persists in acting like it is. Like he can (and will) emerge as the hero, the king. We see this in his smug interactions with Mike and Jessie: “How do we know? Because I say so.” His hubris toward Saul: “We’re done when I say we’re done.” His resentment over Hank continuing to receive credit (especially from his son Walt, Jr.) for Walt’s own perceived victories. And in his confusion when Skyler doesn’t glamorize and fawn over his self-declared win: “I’m scared of you.” That’s not even to go into the appalling final words Walt speaks to the wife he has dragged through the ringer with deceit, danger, and drug-lording: “I forgive you.” What has happened to the pre-fall, high school Chemistry teacher we pitied and rooted for in Season 1?
While beyond rich, the opening scene highlights that Walt is anything but free. Behind the obvious questions surrounding the episode “Live Free or Die,” maybe (hopefully? finally?) Vince Gilligan will be taking us through a journey of forgiveness this season. If we know anything about Breaking Bad, though, forgiveness won’t come easy or peacefully. Gear up for more violence, more death, more lies, and more decisions that will leave you cringing with a confused and righteous outrage.
The audacity of Walt’s words, his complete lack of understanding (let alone remorse) for the tangled web he has woven for every one of his relationships, has turned him into a monster whose ego has become seemingly too big for anyone (or any roadblock) to stop. The math isn’t adding up, though, which means something is about to go terribly wrong.
Join us each week as we blog through the epic final season of Breaking Bad:
Episode 1: Is Redemption Possible for Walter White?
Episode 2: Madrigal, Money, and Metanoia
Episode 3: Breaking Bad Made Whole?