The Long Review/Preview, Breaking Bad Season 5(Part 1)
Once Walter the Grey, a weak and minor motorhome Meth wizard, then became Walter the Blue, the purest, most respected and greatest Meth wizard in all of Middle Methworld, has finally become Walter the White, the most powerful, recklessly ambitious and stubborn wizard of them all; the top of the food chain, the top of the most wanted list.
At least, that’s my summary of the Breaking Bad as we know it. The final half of the fifth and final season is due to end next year in what I can only hope will be a battle of epic proportions. No matter what we expect or want to happen to Walt and co though, I’m sure we won’t be disappointed with what Vince Gilligan will give us.
But what do we expect and what do we want to see in the final half of season five?
Well, first we must address what has happened previously, so if you have never watched it, then don’t read it unless you want it to be partially ruined with spoilers.
Previously on Breaking Bad…
1.Walt was diagnosed with cancer, resulting in the new Walter White that has gradually become the Walter White we now know today. We first saw him creating Meth for the ‘greater good’ of his family for when he died, but the cancer went into remission in two senses – in Walt’s body and in the series. The focus became on all things Meth from there onwards, over ambitious plans and the big questions as to how much is enough and when will the cancer come back.
Looking down at the pile of cash he has amassed and looking at himself in the mirror of the hospital toilets, these questions are raised in the most obvious way. As Vince Gilligan said himself, the scene wouldn’t have been put there if there wasn’t a reason. So has the cancer returned?
Walts’ alter-ego as Heisenberg has been in full flow this season, becoming the completely self-assured and malevolent man he never was at the start of the series. With Skylar made to keep his secrets and Jesse made to follow whatever he says, Walt begins to cause more fractures in these relationships.
Slowly, those around him become ever more cautious of him. No wonder, his nasty streak is at its worst – killing Mike and ordering the jail murders. Skylar insists on Walt stopping once more and this time, he complies. Why? The cancer? His conscience catching up on him? – nah, surely not.
And so can we believe him? The focus on Hanks comment of “Who am I to fly in the face of public demand?” about brewing a batch of beer after the table of guests unanimously votes in favour suggests that there is more Meth on the way, or at least, he won’t be giving up just yet.
2. But then there is Hank himself, always chasing the mysterious Heisenberg’s Blue Meth, who is always a couple of steps ahead. Never has he stopped in his pursuit that you could call fanatical and obsessive, but often he is on the ball unlike those around him who appear miles behind. But gradually, he seems to get ever closer to Heisenberg where finally, he uncovers the note in Walt’s bathroom, realising the haunting truth that will unravel it all. The question here is what will he do with this information and what situation will it create? Will he hold it back, analyse and watch Walt, allowing him to get away? This one is difficult, given his relation to Walt and the state of things.
3. Which brings me on to Jesse. We’ve followed Jesse’s addiction, his tears and his pupilage with Walt from the very beginning of the ever present teacher/pupil type relationship that never really passes. Working in a motorhome, then for Gus and then as their own bosses, Jesse eventually quits the business after things began to get messy. In the final episode of this half-season, we watch as Jesse and Walt reminisce on the good times past, yo, the moments we all shared and enjoyed. Nostalgic to say the least, but it’s clear their partnership has suffered a final breaking fracture, with Jesse completely untrusting of Walt as shown by the gun in his belt, and if only he knew more of the secrets (Lilly of the Valley). The relationship is irreparable, and Jesse’s lack of trust could well lead to some interesting revelations. So just what will Jesse be up to in the final bout of episodes? What will he be saying if he is taken in by Hank in Walt’s possible getaway, or will they getaway together?
4. We’ve watched as Skylar was kept in the dark, suspecting Walt of many a thing, as well as having an affair before opting to help launder the money via their new business together after being somewhat forced to comply with Walt. Eventually, she goes a little more crazy and we see more and more of Skylar’s other side as she for a walk in the swimming pool and decides to offload her kids to Hank and Marie’s in an attempt to get out, or for Walt to stop. Now, more than ever, she wants her life back. But what will she do to get her life back? How close is she to breaking point with Walt? If he starts up again, the little trust that remains will surely be gone?
The Opening Scene of Season 5
I figure this scene gives us the insight we need to help partially answer these questions. First of all, he is 52, time has moved on and he is both alive and not in prison. He’s taken up a new identity (well, he’s taken up giving Skylar’s maiden name as his), is doing business, securing himself a machine gun and plenty of ammunition. We can assume things have come out, he’s a wanted man, not Heisenberg, but Walter White is, and is in the process of doing some meaningful business. He lets out a little cough in the process… suggesting the cancer is back and his biggest challenege now is fighting the cancer again.
What comes next, we will have to wait and see. But we can try and predict, hope and scream for certain things. The main thing though, is that of an edge of your seat, intense and thrilling ending sequence.
How will it end?
The truth is, I don’t want to know. I don’t really want to predict either, but I can’t help myself.
He’s the anti-hero we all love, but do we want him to get away with it or do we want a big bust up in the wider sense of the phrase with Walt ultimately not walking away? Well personally, I like the idea of both. If done right, Gilligan could get away with either, or anything else.
But I personally like the idea of a battle of epic proportions best. I believe many other things, though, such as that of his cancer being his ultimate demise in the midst of a cat and mouse chase.
In those 4 points above, I was trying to convey that Walt’s relationships have fallen down through a lack of trust. Skylar, Jesse and now Hank do not and can not trust Walter anymore. But what about Walter White? Can Walter White trust himself?
Or perhaps the question should be, can the invincible, indestructible Heisenberg trust and overcome his own worst enemy, Walter White and the cancer that plagues him? He’s stubborn and surely won’t let someone else punish him except himself.
What will come of our Walt in the final episodes, with the opening scene of season 5 suggesting something interesting, something a little way into the future, something with guns, something big, something final.
The Walt Whitworth references are shown throughout the series and perhaps more are in order to end the series. I’ve read other things were people have highlighted such incidents and it made me wonder and look, so take what you want from this extract from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – the book Hank holds in the mid season finale. Take a look at the whole thing, if you want – it’s so interesting when reading it in context to Breaking Bad, and I cant help but make assumptions on this.
To be, in any form—what is that?
(Round and round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither;)
If nothing lay more develop’d, the quahaug in its callous shell were enough.
Mine is no callous shell;
I have instant conductors all over me, whether I pass or stop;
They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me.
I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy;
To touch my person to some one else’s is about as much as I can stand.
Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new identity,
Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,
Treacherous tip of me reaching and crowding to help them,
My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself;
On all sides prurient provokers stiffening my limbs
Straining the udder of my heart for its withheld drip,
Behaving licentious toward me, taking no denial,
Depriving me of my best, as for a purpose,
Unbuttoning my clothes, holding me by the bare waist,
Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture-fields,
Immodestly sliding the fellow-senses away,
They bribed to swap off with touch, and go and graze at the edges of me;
No consideration, no regard for my draining strength or my anger;
Fetching the rest of the herd around to enjoy them a while,
Then all uniting to stand on a headland and worry me.
The sentries desert every other part of me;
They have left me helpless to a red marauder;
They all come to the headland, to witness and assist against me.
I am given up by traitors;
I talk wildly—I have lost my wits—I and nobody else am the greatest traitor;
I went myself first to the headland—my own hands carried me there.
You villian touch! what are you doing? My breath is tight in its throat;
Unclench your floodgates! you are too much for me.
Images from: Breaking Bad, (2012), [ONLINE]. Available at: here and here