TV’s best drama it isn’t over. You’re still inside it. Savor this moment.
Until “Breaking Bad” concludes at 10:15 p.m. Sunday, you still get to theorize, synthesize, let Walter White’s bloody chess game play out in your mind.
Imagine you’re watching “The Godfather” for the first time, and you don’t know yet what happens to Vito Corleone. You’re watching “Casablanca” without knowing if Ilsa chooses Rick or Laszlo. Remember that feeling?
That’s how this feels to me.
So for the last time, let’s put our final theories on the table. Very few people not involved with “Breaking Bad” know how it ends. AMC hasn’t sent out preview copies to critics. Vince Gilligan offered to tell a boy who was dying of cancer how it concludes - and that brave, tough kid said no. He planned to live to see it himself.
He didn’t make it. We will. Let’s be grateful for everything we have, including our capacity to imagine. And the gift of watching a great story conclude.
Here’s my theory on how “Breaking Bad” ends. It’s wrong. I’m always wrong. The writers have thought of my idea and a hundred others and thrown them out in favor of whatever brilliant ending we’ll actually see. But here we go. Ready?
Okay. Walt tracks down Lydia. He gets her to take him to Jack’s white supremacist compound, which I’m calling the Nothing’s OK Corral. He acts like he wants to talk about getting back into the business, and they’re curious enough to hear him out. Walt poisons everyone but himself and Lydia with ricin, unknowingly borrowing a page from Gus Fring’s “poison everyone“ playbook. (Did you know ricin will kill if inhaled? No poisoned tequila bottle necessary.) He finishes the job with the M60.
The only survivors are Jesse, safely encased in his underground cage, Todd, who is cagey in a different way, and Lydia, who Todd wants to protect. We end up in a situation where Lydia has the drop on Walt, and Jesse, who’s already shown a proclivity for escape, escapes and kills her first. It’s payback for Todd: Todd killed Jesse’s girl (apologies to Rick Springfield), and now Jesse’s killed his. Todd lives or dies, I don’t know. Since he’s pure evil, his earthly form doesn’t really matter.
It comes down, just as it did at the end of Season 4, to Walt and Jesse. Jesse has a gun on Walt, but instead of telling Jesse to kill him, he says he’ll kill himself. He does it with something involving chemistry. By blowing up the compound’s meth lab, perhaps.
Somewhere in all of this, Walt’s family gets help from Saul, intervening from Nebraska. This is Saul’s Han Solo moment. We thought he was bailing out on the attack on the Death Star and saving himself, but at the last moment he swoops in to help. He’s always liked Skyler and as we saw in the penultimate episode, he’s worried about her. Maybe he has some evidence that gets Skyler off. Maybe he gets her a huge sum of money. Maybe he took out a big life insurance policy on Walt without Walt knowing, as soon as Walt came through his door. That seems like a very Saul thing to do.
Jesse, the only survivor of the shootout at the Not OK Corral, takes a lot of money. He goes and finds Brock and gets him out of New Mexico. The End.
A lot of people expect Walter Jr./Flynn to try meth at some point during the episode. But that would be too on the nose.
Okay, that’s my guess. What’s yours?