The AMC show Breaking Bad is like the drug it illustrates – heavily addictive. Once you’ve gotten into the habit (!), you just can’t stop watching Walt make calculated (and sometimes impulsive) decisions on account of being diagnosed with cancer. If you haven’t seen it, you really should do start it between now and summer 2013, as that is the beginning of the end of the show. Walter White will, by then, be consumed by his megalomania.
The last season, which is its fifth, has been split into two parts consisting of eight episodes each. The end of the fourth season ended with the notorious Gus Fring being blown up and Walt’s brazen attempts to manipulate Jesse working. From there, Walt declared to Skyler “I won”. What he won was a handful of bigger problems. The finale of its half fifth season revealed that Walter White’s alter-ego, Heisenberg, throws reason and prudence out the window regularly.
Walter and Skyler are on the rocks for most of the season. She fears for the safety of their children and slaps together a plan to keep her kids out of their home. Skyler tells Walt that she hopes the cancer will return in order for the lives of her children to be safe, which is a perfectly logical way to go about things since Walt is disgusted by the idea of stopping his activities. His cancer was alluded to at the beginning of this season when we spotted Walt taking pills in the bathroom on his 52nd birthday, so there is an indication that perhaps her wish will come true.
After the train heist, Jesse is distressed about the kid who dies at the hands of pest-control-Todd. Jesse has always had a soft spot for kids, especially after another kid had already died at the hands of some meth dealers a few seasons ago. When things don’t work out with Jesse because he decides to leave the business behind, Walt picks Todd as his new protégé.
Todd, played by the great Jesse Plemons (formerly as Landry in Friday Night Lights and appearing in The Master), tries hard but he can’t replace Jesse Pinkman in Walt’s heart, or ours. We know almost nothing about Todd’s background, except for the part about his uncle knowing some guys in prison – which turns out to be more dangerous than Mike gave Todd credit for.
Things take a bad turn as the police close in on the illicit activities of the ever stubborn, and pragmatic, Mike. He unfortunately meets an early death at the hands of Walt… and all for nothing! Mike didn’t need to die, as Walt himself says. But, it’s another indication that Walt wants to be the sole figure behind the operations and he can’t risk Mike, or anyone else, talking. If Walt’s aim is to be alone and very rich, he is well on his way to getting there.
Having said that he is finished with the kingpin meth business at the end of this half season, it seems like Walt wants to return to the days of a quiet and humble life – which isn’t necessarily in his nature. Still, the rising tension between Skyler and Walt, which was palpable for most of the season, simmers down once he has declared he is out of the business.
Walt doesn’t seem like he will be content to go back to the life he had before and to me that means that one of them is going to kill the other since he can’t be himself if she is pulling him down. I doubt that many would put it past Walt to kill his own wife, if it was to save his skin.
Of course, Hank’s accidental finding of the Walt Whitman book in the last scene will be the crystal blue sprinkles on a cake that Walt is determined to have and eat.
Vince Gilligan sure knows how to reel people into this complex drama.
Who will escape alive?!