Friday 23 February 2018

How will Breaking Bad end? Seven ridiculous theories about 'Felina'

Spoiler alert: Seven ways Breaking Bad might end... but probably won't

It's all come down to this. Five-and-a-half years after Walter White first careened a Winnebago through the New Mexico desert in a stained pair of Y-fronts, Breaking Bad is finally coming to an end.

How it will end, though, is the real question. We've seen the indecently satisfying rise of Heisenberg, revelling in an increasingly murderous rampage across the southern United States, and now we've also seen the fall of the house of White, an explicitly Shakespearian take on a terribly modern subject matter.

Most of this last season has been a painstaking episode of teasing all the show's ducks into neat rows, before gleefully detonating them all at once. The penultimate episode, 'Granite State', then allowed itself to pick up Albuquerque's remaining pieces, leaving us on an unbearable cliffhanger. Nobody but the cast and crew has even a scintilla of an idea of how things will actually end, but that hasn't stopped people from speculating, including us. So here are seven theories on how matters might play out in "Felina", Breaking Bad's 62nd and final show, shown in the US last night, and available on Netflix here from this morning. 

Say hello to my little friend


Walter is up against it all: a family who loathes him, the entire might of the United States' legal system, and a savage paramilitary cabal of white supremacists. He's armed only with an insatiable lust for revenge and an M60 machine gun - a weapon usually operated by a crew of three. At this point, most people are rooting for him to crack some heads, rescue Jesse and go out in an armour-piercing blaze of glory. Wishful thinking of course; he's an emaciated cancer patient, not Scarface.

Life's a bitch and then you die


Jesse dies in indentured meth servitude; Skylar is indicted, has her kids taken from her and is thrown in jail; Walt attempts his blaze of glory but comes up short in a fit of hacking coughs just before he can pull his trigger; Uncle Jack shoots him in the head; Todd and Lydia fall in love and get married; the lucrative blue meth game funds the Aryan Nation for decades to come. It's a real concern amongst fans of the show that the writers will thwart every single aspect of Walt's revenge and serve us up the most depressing outcome possible, just to prove a point.

You're not my father


Despite the mastery with which this show is constructed, consensus is that Walter Jr has perhaps not had as satisfying a story arc as the rest of the cast. He's always been there in the background, eating cereal, but it wasn't really until the fateful phone call with his father in 'Granite State' that he really had anything too dramatic to do. Perhaps this has all been a ruse, a build-up to some huge final reckoning between father and son, giving the lie once and for all to Walt's idea that he had been providing for his family. One kills the other, either in a final, somewhat Oedipal, triumph of good over evil or evil over good, depending. Again, meanwhile, the Nazis win.


Business as usual


Somehow - don't ask me how - Walt manages to tie up all his loose ends and gets back to the serious business of meth barony. Perhaps his course of ghetto-chemo in the New Hampshire backwoods actually puts him into remission, and he'll use the resistance he's built up to poison the punch at a drinks party he throws by way of apology at neo-Nazi HQ, in a larger-scale version of the way in which Gus poisoned the cartel bosses at the end of last season?


Walter in the middle


At the last minute, parked outside the compound, draped in bullet belts, locked, loaded and ready to go, Walt has a moment of clarity and realises he's not cut out for all this. He drives off, and keeps driving. In a montage, we witness him change his name to Hal, set up home in an unspecified state in New England, find a new wife and make a wacky new life for himself with her, past crimes forgotten. 15 years later, the events documented in Malcolm in the Middle come to pass.


JR lives


The final minutes: bullet-riddled corpses are strewn everywhere. Not a single named character still breathes; even poor Huell is propped up against a derrick somewhere, his guts akimbo. Credits roll. Most people reach for their remotes, but for those still watching in mute horror, there's a sneaky post-credit scene. Walt is sat in his doctor's office, receiving bad news. He shakes his head clear. It was all a dream.


'Made in America'


Walt and Skyler are sat in a typical American diner in an unknown midwestern location, smiling at each other, after an entire episode's worth of tentative rapprochement. They've decided to take the money and make a new life for themselves elsewhere. Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is playing on the jukebox. The camera lingers just too long on a shifty-looking man sitting at the counter, but the elation in our heroes' faces is too strong for us to notice. The man gets up, the music swells - and everything fades to black.


To be clear, none of this is going to happen. The show is too surprising, too subtle and too well-crafted for anything so neat. And for the Britons reading this, let's just say you'll want to avoid the Internet for most of Monday. Twitter will be lousy with breathless morons aghast that Walter Jr has been left trapped in the Black Lodge, or whatever...

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