By the time you read this, the kickoff of Breaking Bad’s fifth and final season will be less than two weeks away. Since AMC went ahead and revealed the promo art for the premiere, there’s pretty much nothing else on my mind television wise. After zooming through the first three seasons on DVD, I watched season 4 in real time last year, and the week-long wait in between episodes was excruciating. It is nothing, however, compared to the debilitating anticipation I’m currently experiencing. Beyond depicting the drug’s moral and physical toll, the show itself is a statement against meth: Who wants to do a substance that actually makes the time between new Breaking Bad episodes seem longer?
Anyway, it’s hard for me to focus on much else right now, so I might as well discuss my expectations for the upcoming season. It might help get some of this crushing impatience off my chest. For a few days, at least. (I understand there are a lot of spoiler-sensitive folks out there avoiding any and all talk of the show before getting caught up, so here’s your fair warning: If you fit that description, you might want to avert your eyes right now.)
It is a bit foolish to try and predict anything regarding a show like Breaking Bad. Unpredictability is sort of its thing. I mean, did anyone call Gus Fring’s undoing coming from a wheelchair bomb, even seconds before it happened? I don’t think so. With this being the last season, however, there are a few things we know for certain. Firstly, Hank is definitely going to realize that Heisenberg has been standing right in front of him this whole time. Secondly, Jesse is definitely going to figure out the depths to which Walter sank to manipulate him and save his own ass. And finally, someone is definitely going to die.
I wouldn’t attempt to guess how those things come to fruition. One thing I will go on record about is to say I don’t think there will be the introduction of another big heavy à la Gus. With all the cartel stuff out of the way, I believe the show’s dramatic focus is going to end where it began. There is a hint of this in the new promo poster, with Walt sitting alone in a warehouse, in his yellow hazmat suit, surrounded by stacks of money and blue meth underneath the tagline “ALL HAIL THE KING.” He doesn’t look happy. Last season saw the subtle return of the death cough, a sign that Walt’s cancer has come back. Maybe that’s how it all ends for Walt, not in a glorious hail of gunfire, but him by himself, succumbing to the disease that started him down his road to hell. It’d be the pathetic, ironic denouement he deserves.
Is it July 15 yet?
I Need Media is a biweekly media column. Matthew Singer watches everything from PBS documentaries to Community and Showtime’s Gigolos, but mostly he’s just filling the void until Breaking Bad starts again. Follow him on Twitter @mpsinger.