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Fring and Mike are both dead. Jesse’s out and Walt promises Skylar he’s done making meth. And Hank has finally found a clue linking Walt to Heisenberg. What now?
The final eight episodes of Breaking Bad are still a year away. While we impatiently wait to see how Vince Gilligan resolves (heals? punishes?) the bad that’s been broken in the previous four and a half seasons, we look at some possible scenarios.
How do you expect/hope the impending showdowns will play out?
Walter v. Skylar
1. Recognizing that Hank may be on the Walt, Skylar privately confronts Hank and pleads for the protection of her family. Hank refuses to cooperate and Skylar ends up killing him. Walt destroys the evidence and goes back to his job teaching chemistry. The White family takes Marie into their home and everything goes back to normal.
2. Unable to take the fear, pressure, and anxiety of Walt’s drug activity (and after some leading cues from Marie), Skylar accidentally finds the ricin and, despite not really knowing what it is, she pours it into the coffee she serves Walt for breakfast one day.
3. Skylar discovers that Walter, Jr. has started dealing drugs. Blaming Walt for his negative influence, she takes the kids and disappears just as the DEA arrives to arrest Walt.
Walter v. Jesse
1. When they realize Hank is on to them, Walt tries to pin the entire thing on Jesse. Jesse ends up killing Walt, and after realizing he is now completely alone, he kills himself.
2. Skylar figures out that Hank is closing in on the case. On her own accord she kills Jesse and tries to convince Walt to blame Jesse for the whole thing. Walt must decide if he is going to protect the reputation of his partner or risk his own innocence.
3. The DEA brings Jesse in for questioning and Hank reveals that Walt is responsible for Jane’s death and Brock’s poisoning. Jesse negotiates with the DEA and the series ends with Jesse visiting Walt in jail, the ricin in his pocket.
Walter v. Hank
1. Hank confronts Walt right away and after a series of threatening and angry interactions, Walt convinces Hank he really is out of the drug business (and has, in fact, helped to stop it by killing Fring). Instead of turning him in, Hank agrees to help Walt launder more of the money in order to provide for both their families. Everybody wins.
2. Hank secretly retraces Walt’s steps throughout the last year, collecting all the evidence of his wrongdoings. Walt quickly realizes he is faced with the choice between getting rid of Hank (and the evidence) or facing conviction and serious jail time. When Hank refuses to negotiate with him, Walt sees no choice but to kill him and bury Heisenberg’s identity once and for all…or so he thinks…
3. Walt learns his cancer has returned. He goes to Hank’s office to confide in him and finds the evidence Hank has against him. In a confrontation gone wrong Hank kills Walt, in what he says was be self-protection. Skylar freaks out and disappears with her kids and a big suitcase full of the money from the storage unit. No one ever learns Walt’s cancer had returned.
Let us know what you think is going to happen as Breaking Bad comes to a close. Comment from the options above, or create your own ending.
Post by Patheos intern, Samantha Curley.
I am officially putty in Vince Gilligan’s hand.
I had finally given up on Walter White (Bryan Cranston). I had accepted the fact that I was witnessing the unraveling of a man’s humanity; the defraying of his soul. I had given up on redemption and wholeness and settled in to watch evil become evil. On some level, I had started to lose interest. The nuance and tension was dissipating as Walt became more and more of a monster. But I was also too bought into the story to really give it up.
Then he spoke the two words I’d been waiting for, hoping for, yet – after four and half seasons – had given up on hearing: “I’m out.”
“Gliding Over All,” the 8th episode of season 5, was brilliantly written. It contained the best montage clip Breaking Bad has yet to display: a month’s worth of making meth comprised into mere moments of seamless transitions. Beautifully synchronized scenes. Business as usual. “Crystal Blue Persuasion.”
At the end of it? We enter a storage unit with a huge stockpile of money. More money than anyone could spend in ten lifetimes, let alone launder in one. And with Skylar (Anna Gunn), we ask ourselves: Walt, why are you still doing this? Please tell me how much is enough?
Apparently enough came as soon as the problem solving stopped. As soon as mastery, control, and routine had begun. As soon as Jesse (Aaron Paul) isn’t around to question him. (Remember Todd’s (Jesse Plemons) response when Walt says he doesn’t want to talk about Mike’s death? “OK,” Todd says. That’s it.) Enough is as soon as Mike (Jonathan Banks) isn’t around to challenge him and as soon as Walt is able to pick up right where Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) had left off.
It’s as soon as Walt attains the smooth stability of his meth-making empire that he steps out. It was the quest, not the destination that he was after. The challenge and thrill of adventure, risk, and creative problem solving. The collaboration of working with a team. The sense of purpose and of worth that comes from living into your potential. Am I really that different? Aren’t these the same things that I want? That I live my life striving for?
All of a sudden, I’m back to rooting for Walt. I believe he’s finished making meth. He’s out and he means it. The story doesn’t make sense otherwise. Walt, as a human being, doesn’t make sense otherwise. And I don’t think we make sense if a large part of us doesn’t want to jump on board as soon as the current starts to shift towards good.
Yet, does that justify, excuse, or negate the consequences of the last year? Can Walt just sidestep the full impact and weight of his actions? Can he “dust himself off and start all over again?”
An object in motion remains in motion (and an object at rest remains at rest) until acted on by an outside force. This is the scientific definition of inertia. It’s also why Walt says he and Jesse hung on to their old, beat-up RV.
What’s kept Walt going? What force will it take to stop him? And what will that sort of collision look like when it happens?
We’ll have to wait until next summer to see how creator, Vince Gilligan, addresses these questions to conclude the Breaking Bad series. There are only eight episodes left for Hank (Dean Norris) to catch up to whatever remnants of his trail Walt has left behind. How many degrees separate Walt (Jesse, Skylar, and Saul) from Gale’s death? Fring’s death? Jane’s? From the ricin? Or the little boy on the bike? What about Mike? And Tuco?
A lot of questions remain. The tactical questions of inquiry, discovery, and punishment. But also those moral questions that once again hang in the balance: Who is to blame for what? When did the line of bad get crossed? Can repentance outweigh consequences? Should we get another chance?
It’s easy to punish what we deem as truly bad. But what if we don’t know? Or, more likely, when we aren’t totally sure? What happens and who decides then?
I’m glad Breaking Bad isn’t quite finished. I’m also nervous to see what new kinds of bad get broken as we uncover our answers to these questions. Something tells me the second half of season 5 may be more painful to watch – a different, more self-implicating, kind of pain – than what we’ve been exposed to thus far.