As the amazing BREAKING BAD draws to a close, I have some theories on where the last three episodes are going. These aren’t “spoilers” necessarily, unless I turn out to be right. Also, I have had ZERO interaction with anyone associated with the series in the past year, so if I turn out to be right on some of these, it’s from deductive reasoning and understanding of screenwriting. If I’m wrong (which I fully expect to be) then I’ll be thrilled because it means the amazing writing staff on BB is several steps ahead of traditional screenwriting choices.
Predictive spoilers ahead…Stop reading or keep going at your own risk. (You know you want to!)
THIRD TO LAST EPISODE
At the end of “To’hajiilee” Hank and Jesse set up Walt to believe his buried money has been discovered. What’s waiting for him instead is Hank, Jesse, and Gomez. Walt calls off Todd’s assassination crew and accepts being arrested by Hank, who not only has put cuffs on his brother in law, but also knows his fortune is buried within several yards of where they’re standing. Hanks calls his wife Marie to announce he’s put Walt in handcuffs and says goodbye. Game over, right? Nope, Todd’s white supremacist uncle and buddies show up anyway with massive firepower. They can’t let Walt get arrested–they need him to correct their meth cooking techniques. So we’re left with a huge shootout (where we don’t see anyone get shot, but we will find out who got hit when the action picks up in the 3rd to last episode. So what’s the fallout?
My prediction: Whether Walt protests or not, Hank and Gomez are goners (remember, Hank said goodbye to Marie). Todd’s crew can’t allow them to survive, they’ve already tried to kill federal officers with automatic weapons, plus they still need Walt. Hank and Gomez need to be buried and that way we can have a hysterical Marie trying to figure out what the fuck is happening when Hank doesn’t show up for dinner. A quick call to Skylar (or more dramatically, a visit to the house) will tell Marie everything she needs to know–just by seeing Walt at the dinner table pretending like nothing’s wrong.
As for Jesse? He survives the shootout. Walt put out a hit on Jesse, but we know he really wants Jesse alive. By dumb luck or Walt’s specific instruction, Jesse makes it into the next episode.
SECOND TO LAST EPISODE
This is where it gets ugly. The filmmakers of BREAKING BAD all agree that Walt has become a bad, bad man. Even though the audience loves him, the writers/actors accept that Walt is evil. So that needs to be punished, right? In old movies, evil characters had to die. But that wouldn’t be punishment for Walt. Instead, Walt’s punishment comes by taking everything away that he cares about–his family. Watch for Walt to doublecross Lydia or Todd’s crew and for Walt’s family to pay the price. I don’t know if it will be some or all, but whoever dies is going to do so in a very gruesome way in a very iconic location. (My guess is the pool).
And what about Jesse? Walt wants Jesse alive, Jesse has already given away his fortune, and spoken the most telling lines of the entire series when he explained to Hank that Walt is “a magician” and when magic fails, he gets incredibly “lucky” anyway. Walt surviving the shootout proves that to the audience (Jesse didn’t see Walt call off the team that showed up anyway to save him) and now Jesse has no way to take Walt down. And he’s not the type to bring violence upon Walt’s family–he is already wracked with guilt over the little kid’s death during the meth heist. Jesse strikes back at Walt by killing himself. And he does it in this episode to wrap up the present day storyline, so we can jump ahead to the following year when Walt returns to town for revenge.
Based on the opening segments of Season 5’s episodes 1 and 9, we know whatever chaos ensues up until now leaves Walt celebrating his fifty-second birthday alone, shattered, and with a full head of hair. His identity as the local science teacher has been replaced by public knowledge that he is the mysterious Heisenberg (as evidenced by the spray paint on his living room wall). And he returns to the house (whatever bloodbath happened there must’ve made it difficult to sell) to obtain the ricin hidden in the bedroom wall outlet. But who is it for?
It’s gotta be for Lydia. Every season has set Walt up against adversaries more powerful than himself. What makes Lydia so interesting is that she’s flown under the radar as a character, but she’s still kicking around the storyline. And what makes her so dangerous is that she’s an amateur whose first instinct is to have people killed–remember how she fumbled through an attempt to put a hit on all of Mike’s guys behind bars? She just used Todd’s crew to execute a bloodbath on her supplier’s organization (and memorably kept her eyes closed so she didn’t have to view the gruesome aftermath.) Lydia is the same strain of villain that we saw in Tilda Swinton’s Oscar-winning role in MICHAEL CLAYTON–An amateur being paid millions to do unethical work who is not street tough, has never seen the inside of a prison cell or even been in a hand to hand fight. She’s not “hard” but she’s in the game nevertheless. Her fear is what makes her a wildcard.
HOW does he kill Lydia? Nearly everytime we’ve seen Lydia, she has been drinking tea. Remember the awkward interaction in the diner with Mike and how long it took her to order? And we recently saw Todd bring her a cup of tea and ask if it was strong enough…Walt puts the ricin in Lydia’s tea. (Incidentally, “T” is a street name for Meth).
I don’t know if Walt keeps his money or not….But it would probably be more painful to have the character keep all that money and know what he traded away in order to get it. So much of the question at the end of a show with a morally dubious hero is–do they live? I think Walt lives. To kill him would be too simple (and look at the flack David Chase got for trying to be coy and creative on this front with his ambiguous SOPRANOS conclusion). But while he walks away with his life and probably freedom too, Walt will live the rest of his days as a ghost of his former identity (possibly not even getting to keep his name and living under an alias.)
I could be wrong–after all, I have no idea if anything becomes of Marie’s internet search of untraceable poisons (remember she told her shrink about that?)
These are just my thoughts. What are yours? Leave a comment below!