Aside from the opening scene of Breaking Bad‘s season 5 premiere, the series has felt more like it is getting back to business as usual than preparing for a definitive ending. The only clue we have is Walter’s purchase of a really big gun and a lot of bullets. Is he going to storm a jail and break Jessie out? Is he going to bust through the front door of Madrigal’s US headquarters and exact revenge for some as-yet uncommitted act of vengeance for his killing of Gus Fring? Will Mike have wrested the business away from Walt by this point, sparing his life at the behest of Jessie and forcing Walt underground; only to have Walt’s inner-Heisenberg emerge to teach them all a lesson? Was it resignation, desperation, or simple despondency we saw in Mr. White’s eyes when he evaluated himself in that Denny’s bathroom mirror? We’re going to have to wait until 2013 to know for sure, but so far Breaking Bad has laid out a few key potential clues to where things might be going.
1. It Smells Like Band-Aids
I was surprised in discussing the opening scene of “Live Free or Die” how many people missed the call out to the pilot episode that started it all. In the pilot Skylar arranges Walt’s ‘veggie bacon’ in the number 50, in “Live Free or Die” Walt repeats this custom for himself. How important this wormhole to simpler times really is remains to be seen, but it does raise some questions about Walt’s state of mind as he returns from his exile, machine gun in hand. Is he pondering the loss of Skylar? Or simply revisiting the pivotal moment in his life when everything went wrong? Perhaps one clue was the appearance of Scarface. When fiction appears within fiction, it is usually for a purpose and when Tony Montana appears with his ‘little friend’ it is definitely a reminder that Tony, and his fictional archetype, are a sort of cartoon character. While the scene served to illustrate Skylar’s fear of what Walter had become, it also�possibly�showed us what Walt will never be. Walter’s reasons have always been divided between the hatch-ling of his inner bad guy, and his devotion to family.