The Uncertainty Principle: Breaking Down the Last Two Episodes of “Breaking Bad”

 

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read this if you’re not caught up, or if you don’t want to speculate on what might happen.

keep calm

 

TWO EPISODES TO GO in one of the best television shows of all time. Hank and Gomie dead. Walt on the run. Jesse in bondage, the neo-Nazis in the money. The pieces are all on the table, the Chekhovian guns that have not yet gone off locked and loaded. We are headed for what those in the know have promised will be a whale of an ending.

Here are my thoughts on what we might expect in the last two installments:

~

Walter White will have his revenge.

WWWWD? What will Walter White do? Here’s a bit of chemistry: take a clump of Walter White’s mad genius, add $11 million and ample free time, stir in a desire for vengeance that makes Edmond Dantès look like a chump, and shit’s gonna blow up. Because that’s how Walt exacts his revenge. He blew up that guy in the camper in S1. He blew up Tuco’s office in S2. He blew up Gus Fring and half a nursing home in S4. Notice how the explosions got progressively bigger and more deadly? I’m not saying he blew up his own living room, but it sure did look like a bomb went off in there. Put it this way: I can read the writing on the wall, and it says HEISENBERG in yellow spray paint.

As to whether Walt lives or dies, winds up in jail or in Bali with Gretchen, loses his fortune or wins it back, I’m prepared to accept anything. If he truly is a Shakespearean character, as our own Tom Gualtieri suggests, the Stratford-upon-Avon ending is this: he keeps his money, but loses his family. Skylar, Junior, Holly, all dead, and White, the horror of what he’s wraught finally hitting him, offs himself with lily-of-the-valley concentrate. Marie survives to give the final speech, perhaps stealing something from Skylar’s pocketbook for old times’ sake.

It may not go down that way. I don’t care. Let Walter be drawn and quartered by four Pontiac Aztecs or get gunned down by Brock. Makes no difference. I’ll be fine either way, as long as…

 

Jesse Pinkman lives, bitch.

Word on the street is, the end of Breaking Bad will be enormously satisfying. There is no scenario in which that happens and Jesse is dead. If he’s not writing Star Trek spec scripts with Badger and Skinny Pete when the credits roll, I will react like Marie did when she learns that Hank is not coming back.

Jesse’s own genius has been underrated by everyone around him. Magnets, bitch. Todd will make the same mistake. Is the reason they showed that flashback last week to events that happened in S1, when Walt made his first explosion, to foreshadow the way that Jesse will finally turn into the chemistry honors student no one ever dreamed he could be and gas that motherfucker to death in the meth lab? The one cinch of the last two episodes is that…

 

Todd, Uncle Jack, and the rest of the Hitler apologists will die painful, horrible deaths.

To be honest, the fact that hideous men with swaztika tattoos occupy such a prominent place in the show bothers me. It’s almost too obvious. We sympathize with every other villain on the show—Walt, of course; Gus Fring and his murdered lover and flavorful sea bass recipes; heck, even Tuco took care of his infirm uncle, and he was way more DSM than Jack—but these guys are beyond the pale. Aside from Todd’s borderline-unbelievable manners, there is nothing to like about them at all. So why are they here? Wherefore this easy choice? Is there some larger, more subtle significance to them being neo-Nazis? And to those neo-Nazis holding as their meth-cooking slave a former addict with a vaguely Jewish last name?1 They’re evil, no doubt, but they’ve not been especially White Supremacist-y. Maybe that will change.

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Lydia’s fate could be highly unpleasant.

Her Manolo Blahniks 2will click-clack their way into the action. She will be there when the shit goes down. As ruthless and evil as she is, she’s so damned vulnerable. What happens when she shows up to again grouse about the not-even-almost-blue meth-tone, and the neo-Nazis, who no longer need her money, decide she has more value in other areas? I really really really hope that doesn’t happen, but those fancy shoes really do accentuate the curve of her legs, Uncle Jack would insist she was asking for it, and Todd, for all his politeness, may not be the sort of suitor who accepts that no means no.

Again, I hope that doesn’t happen—although the hallmark of this show, especially last week’s installment, is that nothing is off limits—but if it does, perhaps Jesse or Walt or even Todd will take out the Nazis before things go too far.

 

Huell will eventually leave the motel room.

But maybe not, because hey, free motel room. On second thought, I think Huell’s work might be done here. I look forward to seeing him on Better Call Saul.

 

Someone who’s not supposed to see Jesse’s confession will see Jesse’s confession. Someone who’s not supposed to see Walt’s confession will see Walt’s confession.

Both still exist: the tape Jesse begs Todd to retrieve, and the “obscenity” Walt recorded to nail Hank. They have to factor in somehow. But the cops are finished with the story. We didn’t even register the faces of the Albuquerque police officers in the White living room; the crying clown statue will apprehend Walt before they do. The DEA had their man, and unlike the Canadian Mounties, they didn’t get him. The rest of the pieces will fall into place beyond the purview of the law.

 

Walt Jr….err, Flynn…will come out.

Eighty-four minutes is not enough time for this little twist to develop, although I’ve been predicting a Flynn/Louis prom for awhile now. Too bad—it would have given RJ Mitte more to do, and it would have been fun to see how Walt Sr. reacted.

One of my few qualms about the show is that it seems too often to ignore Walt’s sexual impulses. I read somewhere that Bryan Cranston wanted Heisenberg to turn into a lustful sex fiend, with buxom blondes attached to his arm. And that’s coming from the actor who inhabits the role. Instead, White is the opposite: a faithful cuckold who hasn’t had sex with his wife in, what, over a year. How can a man ruled that much by his darker passions rein it in, when he otherwise feels like the king of the world? After he has Jack whack all of Mike’s guys, doesn’t he at least contemplate putting the moves on Lydia? Is it the cancer? Or is fidelity one of the last tethers that keeps Heisenberg from sailing away completely?

I loved Junior in the last episode, by the way. Loved that he stood up for himself and his mother, loved that he didn’t hesitate. If Walt dies, will it be by the hands of his own (crippled) son? That, too, would be Shakespearean.

 

No one will have an A-1 day.

Every single person will suffer. Many people will die. Skylar will probably die. Junior might die. Walt should die. Jesse will survive, and so will Marie, because someone has to take care of Holly. Even Vince Gilligan isn’t diabolical enough to off a baby girl he named after his girlfriend.

But then, I think of Gilligan as Jesse does Walter White. He’s smarter than me, he’s luckier than me, and whatever you think is supposed to happen, the exact reverse opposite of that is gonna happen.

 

 

 

  1. White and Pinkman are actually Tarantino names. Mr. White and Mr. Pink, Reservoir Dogs. But in Vince Gilligan’s version, they are good tippers. Am I the only one who detects the Tarantino influence here?
  2. Actually Louboutins, but I spelled Manolo Blahnik correctly, and I ain’t changing it
Greg Olear

About Greg Olear

Greg Olear (@gregolear) is a founding editor of The Weeklings and the author of the novels Totally Killer and Fathermucker, an L.A. Times bestseller. He lives in New Paltz, N.Y.
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2 Responses to The Uncertainty Principle: Breaking Down the Last Two Episodes of “Breaking Bad”

  1. Chelsea says:

    something tells me Vince wouldn’t pull a Nazi gangbang out on Lydia… that’s for shows like American Horror Story and Bates Motel that rely on shock value. BrBa knows it doesn’t need forced sex scenes to surprise or horrify us.

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