Breaking Bad returns for the first of its final eight episodes this weekend, and while other fans of the show have been outside in the sunshine and kissing attractive people for the past year, I’ve been locked in my room constructing a serial-killer-esque wall of notes and theories and giant red circles to figure out what exactly is coming up for Walt and Jesse.
I would give a spoiler alert here, but if you’re not caught up with Breaking Bad yet, you have bigger issues to confront, such as your deplorable personality and inability to prioritize the important things in your life.
The most recent episode left us as Hank, Walt’s brother-in-law and a DEA agent, came to the realization that Walter White is Heisenberg (while taking what is now a year-long poop). Most of what we know for certain about the end of the series comes from the opening sequence of the first episode of season 5, which is a four-minute flash-forward in which Walt meets up with his old arms dealer in a Denny’s and picks up a car that conveniently has an M60 machine gun in the trunk. The scene isn’t available online, but here are the facts we can take away from it:
- He turns his bacon into the number 52 and reveals it’s his birthday; his 51st birthday was season 5, episode 4. The show averages about a week per episode, so this scene takes place approximately 10 months after the most recent episode of season 5.
- His ID gives a fake state (New Hampshire) and fake name (Mr. Lambert) but real birthday (he didn’t want to hand his ID over to the waitress for a free breakfast initially, so the birthday meal wasn’t just an act).
- When the waitress asked how long the drive was from New Hampshire, he said 30 hours – Google Maps puts the drive from New Hampshire to Albuquerque at 33 hours. This means that A) he’s almost certainly back in Albuquerque for this scene, and B) he probably did actually drive from New Hampshire to New Mexico, since he knew how long the drive was. Based on this and the previous point, we can deduce that he’s gone into hiding and is now living in New Hampshire full time under an assumed identity.
- He enters the bathroom to meet up with his old arms dealer, where they exchange Walt’s wad of cash for the dealer’s keys. The dealer makes Walt promise this “won’t cross the border;” Walt replies that it won’t even leave the city.
- Walt then begins coughing and pops a pill from a prescription bottle.
- He leaves a $100 tip for his waitress on top of his free meal as he leaves.
- He goes into the parking lot, where he finds the car his new keys belong to, complete with an M60 machine gun, four boxes of ammo, and a user’s manual in the trunk.
This leaves us with three major questions:
- Why has he gone into hiding, and did he go with or without his family?
- What does he need a machine gun for?
- Where is this all heading?
Let’s break those down one by one…