The hilarious misadventures of cancer-afflicted chemistry genius Walter White and his high-school dropout partner Jesse Pinkman will come to an end this year, much to the dismay of millions of their fans. But hey, all good things must come to an end, right? So buckle up your seat-belts for one last ride into the world where every problem can be dissolved away with a barrel of Hydrofluoric acid. Yeah, Science!
The Story So Far
Technically, this is the second half of the fifth season, but seeing as it is airing a year after the last episode, I am going to treat it as a separate season.
What started as a morally ambiguous black comedy with a sympathetic lead character in 2008 has gotten progressively darker with each season, pushing its protagonist into doing one terrible thing after another, making the audience question their allegiance at every step.
In the beginning of the series Walter White is an underachieving, emasculated middle-aged chemistry teacher, who has settled into the monotone of suburban American life, with his wife and only son, who has cerebral palsy. When he finds out he has terminal lung cancer, he decides to team up with his former student Jesse Pinkman to sell meth, and save up enough money for his family before his inevitable death. Together, the unlikely duo set out to start their own drug business, but things turn out to be much harder than they anticipated, with problems piling onto them at every step. Making things even more complicated is Walt’s brother-in-law Hank, who is a DEA agent.
First they have to deal with the appropriately named Krazy-8
Killing him is the first step in Walt’s journey towards the dark side. They get rid of his body in true Breaking Bad style: dissolving him in acid. Walt finds himself with his back against the wall at every step, and channels his inner Lex Luthor to come up with ingenious plots to get out of the dangerous situations he keeps finding himself in. Next in his long series of troubles is the chaotic psychopath Tuco Salamanca,
who is followed by assassin twins from the cartel who are so scary they make the Terminator shit his pants.
But the most memorable antagonist so far has been the cold, calculating drug kingpin Gus Fring. Played masterfully by Giancarlo Esposito, the only thing more beloved than his mind games with Walt over season 4 is the epic sendoff he got.
Walt’s downward moral spiral reached a new scary, unprecedented low last year, after he covered up the murder of an innocent little boy by — no prizes for guessing — dissolving him in acid,
staged multiple brutal prison killings to save his own ass,
and killed Mike!
Last season ended with Hank finding out about Walt’s evilness while taking a poo in his toilet. Will Hank rise up from the commode to bring Walt to justice? Or is it a bit too late for him? Will Walt find redemption or go full Scarface? You only have a few months to find out.
The show comes back on AMC from August 11 this year.
Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston. Walt has done some despicable things in the previous seasons, and I doubt many people are rooting for him after he killed Mike. It’s very likely that he’ll be the antagonist this year and the audience will root for Jesse and Hank instead.
Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul. He started as a directionless slacker, but has gradually become the conscience of the show. While I can think of some obvious directions to go with Walt’s arc, I don’t know what they’ll do with Jesse. Him finding out about Hank and going against Walt seems likely, but the writers have a knack for improvising and taking the story into unexpected places.
Skyler White, played by Anna Gunn. Walt’s disapproving, passive-aggressive wife isn’t exactly a fan favorite. After every episode there’s a tirade of whine on the internet about how annoying and “bitchy” she is. She doesn’t seem as obnoxious to me, but I can agree that sometimes it can be a chore to watch her when you’re waiting to see the more exciting characters.
Hank Schrader, played by Dean Norris. I love Hank and want him to survive, but there’s a high chance that he’ll get Heisenberged this season. While he is a badass, it makes more dramatic sense to have Walt taken down by Jesse, or Skyler, or even Walt Jr. Let’s hope he at least gives Walt a good fight.
Marie Schrader, played by Betsy Brandt. I have seen characters similar to her in other shows, and hated them, but Brandt somehow makes Marie work. I find her hilarious and adorable and hope she lives to give Hank many more handjobs.
Walter White Jr., played by RJ Mitte. I liked him in the beginning but over the years he has become kind of annoying. It’s mostly because he hasn’t had anything to do with the main plot, and is always mean to his mother. I love his breakfast scenes though, this season better have more bacon and eggs in store for him.
Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk. There have been reports about a Saul Goodman spinoff being planned, so I guess he’ll survive the season? Anyway, I want a Saul vs. Hank verbal sparring match again, because their first encounter was glorious.
Creator Vince Gilligan has promised a shocking and satisfying end to the series. Talking to EW, he said:
As the movie title goes, there will be blood
You mean people will die? Holy sh–okay we already knew that. Gilligan continues:
We worked long and hard to ensure that these final eight — and, in fact, the very last episode — would satisfy an audience. I am guardedly optimistic that we have achieved just that. And furthermore, trying to be as coy as possible, trying to give away as little as possible, I feel like this ending represents on some level, however small, something of a victory for Walter White. Read into that what you will. And try to be as open-minded as possible when you watch this episode, because it may not indeed feel like a victory. Or maybe it will. … I feel good about where it all ended up, and I can’t wait for people to see it.
Recap of previous seasons:
What’s good about it
Everything. No, seriously. Every single frame, every musical cue, every expression of the actors, everything about the show is goddamned perfect, and you better fucking agree with me. Or else.
That was my inner Heisenberg speaking. What I mean is: this is one of the best shows on TV, and arguably one of the greatest shows ever made. I think Samuel L. Jackson would agree.
What’s Bad About it?
The one thing I didn’t like in the show was the season 2 finale. That was something pulled straight out of Lost. I think the writers had written themselves into a corner there, and the series finale better not pull shit like that.
Our Incredibly Clever Prediction
The ending will be awesome, Bryan Cranston will win all the Emmys, Jon Hamm and other potential Best Actor nominees will do the Dance of Joy after the show’s end. Television will pioneer the art of original storytelling while Hollywood will be busy planning the ninety seventh Superman reboot.