When we spoke with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan earlier this summer, he told us that he hoped fans would be "electrified with anticipation" at the end of the first eight episodes of Season 5. Last night, the eighth and final episode of the summer aired, and sure enough, we're left with one very excellent cliffhanger. We have months to ponder the events of "Gliding Over All," and while there's definitely at least one big issue to wonder about, we came up with a few other "loose ends" that may be tied up next summer.
Spoilers if you aren't caught up with the first half of Season 5 of Breaking Bad!
Most of last night's episode felt more like a finale than a mid-season finale. Walt had a good cook. He got rid of Gus' snitches (revealed in a prison-murder montage gory enough to rival some of the darkest content on Oz) The money piled up (literally). Walt decided he'd had enough. And the White family was back together. But with Hank's poetic toilet-set revelation, we know this story is far from over. So let's look at some of the loose ends left over at the end of last night's episode, which could prove to play a factor in the plot of the second half of the final season of this excellent series.
I like to think that it was just a matter of seeing the right thing when his mind was in the right place that allowed Hank to finally make the connection between Walt and Heisenberg. The Walt Whitman book, Gale's initials and the memory of discussing W.W. with Walt came together and we were left with the sight of Hank knowing. How long before Walt finds out Hank knows? That's one of the big questions. And then, of course, there's the inevitable confrontation between Walt and Hank, an anticipated moment that has the potential to be something truly epic (and that's not a word I throw around lightly.) Seeing how Hank will proceed - will connect all of the dots? Or will he return back to the pattern of coming close but hitting dead ends one after another - is one of the things fans will likely spend months wondering about.
At the White house.
On the surface, Walt's family situation seems resolved. In "Gliding Over All," the White family was seen back together, living at home and enjoying a backyard barbecue. Walt Jr. was playing with the baby. Everyone was happy. But something tells me the situation isn't resolved. Maybe it'll be the issue of Hank's investigation that will upset the peace. Or maybe the peace was never meant to be permanent. Will Walt really be content not to be cooking? Will Skylar honestly be able to move past this whole situation? And is it possible that this series will end before Walt Jr. discovers his father is a meth cook and a murderer? I'm thinking no, no and no. The White family may have left off in a good place, but there are still issues to be resolved there.
Season 5 introduced two new players into the game and both of them were still in play as of the end of last night. First, we have Todd, who not only shot a little kid without hesitation (unless you count his wave as hesitation, but I think that was just manners), but also seemed indifferent toward Mike's death. Todd's weird. (And I love Jesse Plemons all the more for it). And while he's proven to be a helpful meth cooking assistant, his creepiness seems like something that should be addressed at some point, especially if it costs Walt something major. And then there's Lydia, who has proven to be capable and sharp. But she's also constantly on edge. If someone doesn't off her, she may give herself an aneurism from anxiety (if that's even possible). She's a new player in the game, and one that has proven to be useful. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of her either. And considering how close she's come to death, I'd actually sort of like to see her walk away from all of this. But I wouldn't be surprised at all if she doesn't.
Jesse is a friend...
Of everyone's story, Jesse's seems to be the most wrapped up. He and Walt had a little chat. Walt gave Jesse his money. Things were sort of good. If Jesse were to disappear from the series entirely after Episode 8, I wouldn't complain. Of course, I'd really miss Aaron Paul on the show, but Jesse getting a happily-ever-after wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, would it? Let's face it, Breaking Bad has never been set up as a happily-ever-after kind of series, and I really can't imagine Paul not returning for the second half of the final season. While I will still hold out hope that Jesse will be able to walk away from all of this, I don't think his story's over. Despite what Jesse says about not coming back, I think he'll be back. Maybe Hank's investigation will draw him back into the story. Or maybe Walt will drag him back. (Maybe both).
Walt's health. Walt's pride. Walt.
Walt saying he's out is not enough to convince me he's really out. Maybe he meant it when he said it, but this story isn't over. Is he done cooking? I'm going to say probably for the most part. I like to think he has one last cook in him before this series wraps up, but if not, his final score was a big enough one that I could see him not returning to the lab again. But I can't imagine he's out for good. Not yet. I can't picture him content to "retire" and abandon the power he'd acquired. And then there's the matter of his health. "Gliding Over All" had him returning to the doctors office. We never saw the results, though the focus of that scene seemed to be on him noticing the paper towel holder he once punched. But is he still in remission? Will he stay that way? His health is a major factor in the series and one I'm sure will be addressed in the second half of the season.
And finally, we're still left to wonder what he was doing in that diner. The flash-forward from the start of Season 5 is an obvious loose end, but it had to be mentioned. We have a long time to wait to see how all of this wraps up!