The End of Breaking Bad

Mon Sep 2, 2013

I wrote a couple of Breaking Bad commentaries last year after the end of the first part of the fifth season. There are now only four episodes left, and I’m not entirely sure if we’ll see anything else about Gustavo Fring’s past. I can see how the Lydia-plot could have a flashback with Fring, but I don’t see how it could get all the way back to Chile. And that’s a shame if true, because I think there’s some really useful political comparisons to be made between Walter White’s and Fring’s respective formative circumstances and economic policies.

Predicting the plot of a show that relies so strongly on flouting the probable is foolish, I suppose, but I would guess that the final four episodes will show Jesse attempting to lure White back into the meth production business. From the flash-forwards, we can see that his identity is known to the community at large, and that he also presumably availed himself of the esoteric vacuum-repairman’s new identity. I would guess that Hank allows Jesse to start cooking, or at least pretend, to cook Walter’s recipe again. Walter’s pride tempts him into an incriminating response, and he narrowly escapes arrest.

The problem with this scenario is that it doesn’t address the Todd & his family and Lydia dynamic. Walter’s already solicited their help in what is strongly hinted as Jesse’s murder, but he doesn’t yet know about the industrial unrest caused by Declan’s sub-par production facilities and staff (who reminded me unpleasantly of Don Henley, but I’m aware that may be a wholly personal and private issue). Todd’s white supremacist relatives seem to want to establish a meth empire of their own, and Todd would seem to welcome Jesse, who knows Walter’s process much better than Todd was able to learn, as a capable and diligent partner.

Normally I wouldn’t imagine that Hank would go along with such a plan, especially that Gomez now knows about everything, but it’s clear to me that the early episodes have positioned him as an increasingly desperate figure willing to do anything to get revenge against Walter. So, to summarize, Hank allows Jesse to contact Todd. Jesse learns of the fortuitous slaughter and offers his services. The gang neglects to kill Jesse after seeing his newfound value. Walter dislikes Jesse’s initiative and attempts to intervene. Something happens, and Walter is forced into exile without being arrested or murdered. Perhaps Hank or Marie then talks to the media, and Walter eventually comes back for revenge (most likely against the meth-operation in some form or another).

The only issue that I can’t quite resolve here is Lydia’s motivation. She was willing to murder all of Mike’s staff last season, but only because they were a threat to her. She’s now motivated by greed alone, it would seem, which is perhaps unlikely for someone with her nervous disposition (and obvious accumulated wealth). Perhaps the next episode will explain her circumstances in greater detail. (Maybe Gomez was on Fring’s—and now Lydia’s—payroll the whole time, as I recall many people proposing…)