I’ve noted a few times before that I’m a really picky television watcher. Of the very few shows I follow closely, Breaking Bad is at the top. The fact that we fans are left to know that the series ends after next summer is both very sad and extremely awesome at the same time. While our beloved show will be no longer, the writers have been given ample time to bring the series to the epic conclusion it deserves. This season has proven that we’ve been given the top of what Vince Gilligan and company are able to dish out, and it can only make one giddy in anticipation for what’s to come.
When I interviewed the cast of Breaking Bad at the San Diego Comic-Con in July, it was stated very matter-of-factly that it was simply inevitable that Hank would find out about Walt’s secret. Though that was said, I did not see it coming until next season. With only one season worth of episodes left, it only makes sense that Hank be aware of Walt’s escapades going into next summer, because it’s simply not a story point one can waste on, say, two or three final episodes; this one has to draw on a bit, to be sure. Placing it at this moment was perfect timing, though I’ll admit it was a bit cliche. The calm before the storm, to to speak; I’m sure every one of us was staring intently at the screen, wondering what sort of disaster was going to befall what otherwise looked like a perfect day for the families. I’d say Hank was shitting himself, but, well … y’know.
So let’s run down the likely progression of the remaining episodes.
Hank is obviously unlikely to come right out and confront Walt. In fact, it’s a good possibility Hank does nothing at all for a bit, then picks up his own on-the-side investigation of sorts, making sure he’s not going completely bonkers. Once he gets the evidence against Walt — and we all know he will — Hank’s clearly going to go insane. He has to decide whether he wants to arrest his brother-in-law and stand up to the ridicule — and likely firing — it will gain him, or simply sit idly by. It’s a tough guess to make. However, if Walt’s truly “out” of the game, Hank’s going to have his work cut out for him in finding Walt anything but squeaky clean.
There are a couple of other possibile outcomes, though they’re unlikely. One would be that Hank basically joins in on Walt’s side business — or, at least, he blackmails him into giving him a big chuck of that cash pile. The other is that Hank confronts Walt and kills him. Could the final show-down of the series be between Hank and Walter?
One factor Walt didn’t seem to address in this episode was the disappointment of his new distribution team, as well as the off-the-rails helper Todd. How are they all feeling now that Walt’s out of the game? He can’t simply “retire” and expect a going away party and cake from these guys.
And did Walter really simply see that pile of cash and decide the game was up, or is this part of a much more brilliant plan of his? Did he really go through the time and expense to take out Mike and a bunch of prison-bound goons just to sit back and not make this “empire” of his that he wanted? No. In fact, I would not put it past Walter to have hidden something very damning in that cash he handed Jesse, on order to have some sort of scapegoat. There really is no end to what Walter would do to get his way, and throwing Jesse under the bus, in the end … he’d do it.
A fantastic season that has shown quite definitively why Breaking Bad not only deserves the many Emmy nominations it received, but will win a good many of them. Get your friends and family to watch this show if you haven’t already, because the final season next year is going to make catching up very worth it.