I was excited for fourth grade. I had been assigned the teacher I wanted, Mrs. Domaracki. I had new school clothes. I had all my school supplies in order—folders for math and reading and science and social studies and spelling. Some had covers with graded coloring going from almost white on top to a deep fuchsia pink on the bottom. Others were black with hot pink and yellow squiggles scattered about. They were all packed in my backpack, ready for the new school year. There was only one thing left to do.
WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS if you are not caught up on the first half of Season Five of Breaking Bad. If you did not see the episodes that aired in summer 2012, stop right there, watch them, and then you can come back. If the words “Hank on the pot” mean nothing to you, do not go any further!
You’ve been warned.
Okay, so, last we saw Hank, he was sitting on the toilet, just looking for some reading material while taking a dump. And let’s back up a bit before that. The Whites and the Schraders were having a poolside party. The women were talking about hair (Marie wants a halo) and the men were talking about home-brewing beer (Walt says it’s like chemistry). It was this odd, unexpected happy ending scene. Walt had retired from the meth, err empire, business after making shitloads of money. Walt had even paid Jesse back the five million he had withheld from the buyout. His debts were paid, his children were back home and life was sweet.
But then Hank just had to take a shit, and while on the pot he found Walt’s copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, with the inscription, “To my other favorite W.W., It’s an honour working with you. Fondly, G.B.” Gale Boetticher’s poetic justice from beyond the grave.
It left us all, at that mid-season finale, saying one thing over and over: HANK KNOWS.
Gus got his face half blown off and walked out of the room and straightened his tie. Maybe gilding the lily, maybe a believability stretch. Still a nice touch. It’s a lot like the scene where Gus makes himself throw up after taking the poison in 410 “Salud,” he was alone, no one was watching, and he was still so Gus. Same here, he’s pretty much dead, in shock, and habit takes over. Gus doesn’t just put on a face for the outside world of this meticulous, inscrutable, insanely professional man. Gus is Gus to the core.
RIP, yo. Gus is dead. Walter White has “won” so he says.
But before that, one of my favorite lines ever. “Did you just bring a bomb into a hospital?” Jesse asks Walt. Great callback to “You brought a meth lab to the airport?” from Walt to Jesse in Season Two. So funny how Walt’s bag sticks to the door.
This piece directly follows Warding Off Eclipses with Sex and Music, which chronicles what I thought of as my alt rock music heyday at fourteen.
I was seventeen. Everything had changed. Love Phones went off the air. A country station bought X107. Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys took over all the other radio stations. Even Randyand the neighbors weren’t into music anymore, like music has a switch for some that can be shut off. I wondered if my switch—that feeling I got from music that was like a direct line to the moon and my deeper self—was one of those circular switches for dining room lights, slowly being dimmed.
It was the night of the Battle of the Bands in my high school gym, the one school event that made me feel like I wasn’t an alien. I needed this evening so badly to help crank my light back up.
Because this post is getting so complicated and involved, here’s a little Table of Contents so you can easily jump to any section you are interested in right off the bat. I’m going to keep updating as the season progresses, and promotional pics and teasers come out for each episode, so this will come in handy.
General Pre-Seasons Teasers and Trailers
Episode 509 “Blood Money”
Episode 510 “Buried”
Episode 511 “Confessions”
Episode 512 “Rabid Dog”
Episode 513 “To’hajiilee”
Episode 514 “Ozymandias”
Episode 515 “Granite State”
Episode 516 “Felina”
Overall Season Predictions
Spoilers (mostly relate to the premiere)
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 18: Pics, teaser and updated predictions for episode 515 “Granite State” added to the section below about that episode.
Also, no idea in what episode, but Gretchen will be returning! You can read the article here. It mostly focuses on another upcoming project for actress Jessica Hecht but at the very beginning, it says that she was in Albuquerque filming for an appearance in the final season. What do you make of that? What episode might she appear in? My thought is that Walter’s crimes become public knowledge and Gretchen finds out what she was inadvertently helping to cover up so long ago. I just imagine that finding out the truth about Walt could bring her out of the woodwork. As could Walt’s funeral, but I’m leaning more towards the first guess. Thoughts???
UPDATE AUGUST 29: Pics and video teaser for episode 512 “Rabid Dog” added to the section below about that episode. New cast member listings at IMDB and updated predictions added for “To’hajiilee” and “Granite State”.
UPDATE AUGUST 22: Pics and video teaser for Episode 511 “Confessions” added to the section below about that episode. And a tiny little thing is added to the section for “To’hajiilee”. Betting Bad results added for “Buried”.
UPDATE AUGUST 14: Pics and video teaser for Episode 510 “Buried” added to the section below about that episode.
I’m also going to start posting my Betting Bad results after each episode airs. For others that are playing, please share your updates as well.
UPDATE AUGUST 7: A few more teeny, eensy little spoilers have leaked out about the first episode. Critics got advanced copies of 509 “Blood Money” and wrote reviews and tried not to say anything, but some couldn’t help giving a few things away. Even though these all relate to the first episode, I’m putting them down below in the Spoilers section so people who want to avoid them can, and those who want to know can read on.
UPDATE JULY 27: I did come across some actual spoilers (Comic-Con). The new info raises more questions than in answers, but I’m going to add it at the very bottom to be sensitive to those who don’t want any, even tiny, spoilers (and I’m usually one of those people but BrBa and this long wait is just killing my willpower).
BEGINNING OF ORIGINAL POST: In less than four weeks, the final episodes begin. It’s getting so close but it still feels like an eternity, all this waiting. So what to do in the meantime? Dig, dig, dig up every clue and try to figure out what it means. And there are several clues to find, so let’s put it all together and make some predictions, even though we know that Vince Gilligan and co. will no doubt prove us wrong and surprise us with things we never would’ve thought up. Still, mysteries are fun, so let’s at least try. I have gathered up a LOT of little tidbits for you all.
This is a challenging episode to write about. It’s amazing, but there’s so much I can’t say until the next one without giving too much away.
It’s interesting, the first time I watched this one, I was so caught up in what was happening, and the drama and the suspense of it all. This time around, I paid more attention to some of the small things.
This spring I submitted several pieces of writing to a handful of contests and had almost forgotten about it. But last night I got an email that my essay “Seeing and Not Seeing” won third place in the Willamette Writers Kay Snow Writing Contest for non-fiction!
You can read a description of the essay at the Personal Essay and Memoir page.