I feel like we are spiraling a drain. We know the end is near. A feeling of dread comes upon me as we march, episode by episode, towards the end. I choose my words carefully, for this will be no finale. In a series finale, all is wrapped up. Lost came to a (somewhat) coherent conclusion. Seinfeld returned to the status quo in a sense. Even the Sopranos ended as they predicted, when it was stated that one doesn’t feel death, it all just goes black. These series and many more spent their remaining episodes tying up the knots, finishing the bow and giving history a nice little package of what the show offered. But Breaking Bad is different. Breaking Bad started as a nice, cohesive unit but has spent the past five seasons rapidly unraveling in an unnerving fashion. Chaos reins as we avalanche towards the end, more momentum builds as anarchy seeps through the cracks. It is a violent and tumultuous fall. And thus the show wont give us a nice, neat finale. It will simply end. The evil wrought about by the characters, namely and primarily Mr. Walter White, have led us to this point. It was a long time ago indeed when certain steps could take him back to redemption, could end this all and save these characters, the ones he loved. But those days are far behind us. Now, the inevitable must happen. The show must end. Mr. White must end.
At the season 5 premier we see a bearded Walter “celebrating” his 52’nd birthday in a diner. His family was no where to be seen and he was using a fake name. He buys an M60 from his old gun dealer and that’s the last we hear of this flash-forward. A few episodes later we are able to pinpoint the “current” time in the show as being his 51’st birthday, exactly one year until the events of the flash-forward take place. It is within this timeline that we currently exist, left ever wondering how we get from point A to point B. Since that time, we’ve seen Hank move ever closer to discovering Walt’s true identity. This show, always heavy on the foreshadowing, albeit subtle, presents us with many images of Mike demanding an exit from the jail, Lydia pictured underneath the grated table as if behind prison bars, Hank’s shocked face when presented with the idea that his target may be under his nose, etc. The frays are coming lose in Walt’s life, for sure, but at the same time they twist together tighter and tighter, they are the metaphorical noose around his neck.
During an in depth discussion between myself and Jimmy Paperboy, we debated Mr. White’s motivations. At first they were clear, he was doing everything for his family. He thought he was dying, so he would leave money to his family. He was in danger, so he did everything he could to protect his family. But at a certain point things changed. Walter White’s main focus now, his main goal, is the protection of himself. At some point his ego ballooned and crowded out any concerns he may have for his children and wife, turning his sole motivation into the preservation of his power and his control. No longer do we see a man hell bent on being the provider and protector of his family. He is now their main threat, in a sense. Skyler is clearly terrified of him, and for good reason, and his actions have driven his children from his home. He isn’t there to protect that family. Heisenberg has crowded out any humanity Walter White had left. We now see him playing power moves against his own wife; bribing Walter Jr. with a car and those movie nights, forcibly and without question moving back into his own home, and even being domineering and threatening against Skyler in what will go down as one of the show’s greatest monologues. I said before Walt had changed, but looking back through the seasons, Walt is no more. Heisenberg has taken over, and he can no longer compartmentalize his duality of behaviors. His ego, his arrogance, his blinding hubris will be his downfall. Walter White is our Icarus, and despite the obvious reasons to quit and get out, he trudges forward closer and closer to the sun.
So what will happen? How will this show end? Numerous theories abound. Will Hank arrest Walt? Will Walt kill Hank? Will Walt kill Jesse? Will Walt, with his M60, go full on Rambo 2 and kill everyone (including that meddling small town sheriff?) Will Walter’s family be harmed? Who knows. That’s the best part of the series. We know the end is near, but predictability is something that eludes us, and always has. I’m interested to see where this goes, especially after we saw Todd shoot the kid. There was no rhyme or reason to it at all. The child was young enough that they could have easily pretended to be railway workers, and no one would have thought to question it. But now they are in deeper than ever. Mike once said “I’ve been around long enough to know there are two kinds of robberies: the ones that get away with it and the ones that leave witnesses.” Well, they surely didn’t leave witnesses, but I doubt that will help their cause. A dead kid brings the vultures around, and with Hank closing in, things are going to get very tense indeed. Too bad we’ve got a damn midseason break to keep us guessing.
Thoughts, comments, theories? Please discuss in the comments below!