I haven’t been this psyched for a new season of a TV series since The A-Team peaked in Season 3. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been pretty pumped for a few shows between 1985 and 2013, just not like this. Breaking Bad returns this Sunday (8/11) for the second half of its final season (5), and it doesn’t get much better than this. Normally I’d be annoyed if a show didn’t just call it Season 6, being as how it’s been about a year between the first half and second half, but when it’s Breaking Bad, I could care less. They can call it Season Blue for all I care, just give me more of it.
This is one of the most highly anticipated returns of a TV series in recent time. People clamored for more of The Office, but that was going downhill by the time it went off the air. Rescue Me, The Sopranos, all had highly anticipated finales but they had peaked before getting to the end of the line. Breaking Bad is the rarity that will be ending the story while still very much at the top of its game.
[Spoiler alerts for Season 5 Part 1]
The final scene of Part 1 of Season 5 told us all we had to know. Walter White and DEA brother-in-law Hank Schrader will be going toe to toe and I can’t wait to see who is left standing. During Season 5, Walter has fully converted into badass drug kingpin that has no care for consequences. He originally went into the meth biz to provide a means to an end to be able to financially support his family if he were to die. Now, he has no family left. The drug trade is his means, only without an end. He is reckless, self-aggrandizing, and downright scary. The writers let us know early and often during those 8 episodes that Walter White was THE Man. From his watching and referencing Scarface, to the international drug ring he’s now running, the bossing around of other badass druglords, and orchestrating mafia-style mass prison-hits, it was the least subtle way of telling us that Walter is now Tony Montana. In case that wasn’t enough, he tells a random drug lord who could easily shoot him dead on the spot to “say my name”. Want to make a scary badass drug man your bitch? Walter White just did.
Hank has also been carefully portrayed as a street-smart up and comer in the DEA ranks. While he’s an ogre-ish goofball at times, he’s always been cunning and two-steps ahead of his other well-trained counterparts. Now, we get to see the former High School science teacher turned notorious and lethal Meth kingpin square off against the one guy who has the balls and guile to actually go after his supposed science-nerd of a brother-in-law. When the first 8 episodes ended with Hank’s sudden eureka moment putting the pieces together when seeing the book in Walter’s bathroom signed by Gail (we all assume it was him despite rampant internet conspiracy theories attesting to other far-fetched ideas), I got goose bumps. This thing is about to go down, and go down hard.
Who will prevail is the biggest question that needs to be answered. Other interesting story lines to watch include seeing Jesse goes down in flames with Walt or stays away for good, and finding out if Skylar abandons Walt once and for all and takes the kids with her. It might be easier to do now once Hank truly suspects Walt as Heisenberg. We know this will drive Walt to square off with Hank to “get back his family”, but in reality it’s just another power-play for Walt to win. The battle of good vs. evil, criminal vs. the law, family vs. family, is all that’s left to sort out. Walt told Skylar he was “out” before Hank made that discovery, but it won’t last for long. Walt needs to be in the king’s throne as the battle of his life is about to go down.
I strongly suggest you get a refresher on the prior seasons before this Sunday. Instead of trying to sit through 4 ½ seasons straight, which with this show is entirely possible to do in one stretch of comatose sleepless viewing, try the cliff notes version. This 9-minute recap done in a frantic pace is a hilarious take on the entire series up through this point:
So who’s it going to be…Walter or Hank? Walter conquered Tuco, Gus Fring, Mike, 9 rats in prison, and proved he could succeed without his protege Jesse. Will Hank be his achilles heel, or will he be just another bump in Walter’s road to his Empire?