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'Bad' Consequences: Who Will Survive?
September 19, 2013  | By Eric Gould  | 1 comment

Vince Gilligan has gone on record many times saying that he believes all the choices and actions by Breaking Bad characters have consequences. Will Skyler and Jesse face theirs?

Conventional thinking about Walter White (as it has also been here at TVWW) is that Walt will meet an ugly end. It can't be pretty, given that he's off to some sort of showdown, unpacking a military assault weapon from his trunk.

But Bryan Cranston, who stars on Breaking Bad as Waltwe White, said something quite interesting at the Breaking Bad panel at the TimesCenter in New York last July when he was asked by an audience member whether Walt deserved to die. Cranston answered, “I think there’s a good case for that. That maybe that’s the fitful end. But what if the thing he wanted the most, the togetherness of his family, what if he lived and they didn’t? Wouldn’t that be a worse ending?”

After last week's riveting episode, Ozymandias, that got us thinking.

Breaking Bad villains have had no problem with crossing the unwritten line of the gangster code that leaves the families of enemies out of "business." In Season 4, Gus Fring threatened to kill Walt's infant daughter if Walt didn't stop interfering. Walt then poisoned Andrea's young son, Brock, in an attempt to fool Jesse into turning on Gus. And last week, in Ozymandias, Jesse, imprisoned in a meth lab, came face to face with a photo of Andrea and Brock pinned on the wall, and knew full well he'd better comply with Uncle Jack's gang or he was probably placing his beloved Andrea and Brock in mortal danger.

So, why would Skyler and her children be exempt from hostage/target status if Uncle Jack decided to retaliate against Walt?

Given showrunner Vince Gilligan's track record of sudden swerves and left turns, Skyler not seeing the end of the series might make sense. She has been Walt's victim, but also after some turns, his accomplice who looks the other way. And in the September 1 episode, Rabid Dog, as she lay in the well-appointed hotel suite, she suggests Walt put out the hit on Jesse.

In Gilligan's universe of consequences, Skyler seems in line for her day of reckoning. (And Jesse, who's committed murders, looks like he's almost there, too.)

And it would give some explanation for Walt, after disappearing into a new identity, returning with maximum firepower. He's already seen brother-in-law Hank murdered in front of him. Maybe, in the future we've only partly seen as yet,  there's the score of his executed wife to be settled as well.

Of course, we've been so wrong on so many Breaking Bad plot threads, why change now? But still, the striking possibility is there, particularly after Gilligan gave us the sense last week that Skyler was in the clear after Walt gave her plausible cover in a phone call he knew the police were listening to. It seems too pat that she would be instantly in the clear – not only from the police, but from Walt's enemies.

And there's this: if Skyler is eliminated, and Walt does return to avenge her, he could plausibly win that final gun fight with Uncle Jack's gang and walk away. (We know Jack's outlaw gang is coming to no good anyway, as they are some of Gilligan's worst offenders.)

That would leave Walt alone, and most of his loved ones around him dead. That would be Cranston's vision of a true hell on earth, more painful (as he wept last week) than any violent death.

And if that occurs, his remarks at the TimesCenter this summer would be the most outrageous, colossal reveal of all time.

It couldn't possibly be, could it? But it certainly meets Gilligan's criteria of a bittersweet ending, (he's referenced Casablanca in interviews) with the narrative perched between resolution and some kind of enigmatic coupling, in this case, Walt having to live on with the knowledge that he's caused the destruction of the loved ones around him.
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Mike F
Great points EG. You gotta wonder what would cause Walt to come out of deep cover and return to the house with an assault weapon. Is it just revenge for the theft of his money or to avenge an attack on one or more of his family members?

Thanks and have an A1 day.
Sep 22, 2013   |  Reply
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