What You Didn’t Notice About BREAKING BAD
But in these cases
We still have judgement here, that but we teach
Bloody instructions which, being taught, return
To plague th’inventor
We love finding Easter eggs here at Screen Invasion, and in Breaking Bad, there a lot of them. However, it’s always more fun to find them yourself. So we’re not going to tell you the fun small things like how Walt, who previously took his scotch neat, now wants ice in his drink as an homage to Mike, Belize’s newest citizen. Instead, in these weeks leading up to the series finale, “Felina” (Hello Kitty, “felon,” anagram of ‘finale’…you get the picture), we want to focus on pieces of TV’s greatest creation that will have a direct influence on how it will end; such as how Vince Gilligan is a big fan of poetry.
Some viewers want Walt to “keep getting away with it,” while others want Hank to prevail. Not to mention the uncertainty surrounding Jesse, Skyler, Walt Jr., Jack, and Saul, there are infinite ways the show could end, but with the right pieces to the puzzle, we might be able to see the probable path that it will take. Of course, mine is only one opinion and the ability to view Breaking Bad through multiple lenses is what makes the show so spectacular—so we encourage you all to chime in with your own easter eggs, philosophical insight, and analysis of previous episodes that you think will be important to keep in mind as Breaking Bad comes to an end. Let’s start with just one of many small clues from previous seasons that, looking back, contains a much greater significance.
In this shot from the Season 3 premiere episode “No Mas,” we learn the White house had just been the victim of the mid-air plane collision overhead, as Walt desperately tried to convince himself by convincing Jesse that he was not responsible for it. He says, “Air routes in this country are routinely overcrowded, the whole system runs on antiquated, 1960s technology — really, I blame the government!” Anyway, this is but one example of how not only shots as early as Season 3 (hell, Season 1 probably) foreshadow things to come in Season 5. The cold open of the Season 5b opener, “Blood Money,” shows the White house again blocked off with police tape.
“Jack shit” = “Jack’s hit.”
Walt Jr. says the phrase “Jack shit” twice in the series, once in the same Season 3 episode “No Mas”–he gets on the phone with Walt–“Nobody tells me jack-shit around here!” And again in the Season 5a episode “Dead Freight”–he’s mad at Walt and Skyler for kicking him out of the house without a good reason–“You haven’t explained Jack shit.” What’s perfect about this is that it’s grounded in the “teenagers say the darndest things” category, but we all know nothing is by accident on Breaking Bad, and when Walt Jr. finally gets what he asked for, it’s going to end badly.
Official prediction: Jack kills Walt Jr.
Honorable Mention: In the very next Season 3 episode, “Caballo sin Nombre,” Skyler says, “Let me out of here before I throw up.” She’s not out. She’s very much in. Does ricin make one vomit?
Pink = Death
This is actually a relatively well-known theory among Breaking Bad enthusiasts. But the real question is exactly how the use of the color pink indicates the fate of all who can be tied to the ominous color. Holly has almost always appeared in pink, except for the very first shot of her in the White house–she was in white. Every time we see her after that, she is in pink. Again, there’s nothing inherently suspicious about a baby girl in pink, but we should keep it in mind by the time “Felina” rolls out.
The stuffed animal that falls into Walt’s pool, that came to symbolize and foreshadow Gus’ death (“Face-Off”), was pink. And we’ve seen Holly in outfits that all but turn her into a walking pink bear. I’ve been a major proponent for a while that Walt will be responsible for the death of his entire family, and that’s going to include his infant daughter.
Official prediction: Walt is going to break the “one more cook” deal with Jack because of Hank’s death (more on that later), and Jack will adopt Jesse’s objective to hit Walt “where he really lives.”
In this shot from last Sunday’s episode, “To’hajiilee,” Saul showing up in a pink shirt is like two teenagers having sex in the first 10 minutes of a horror movie. At this point, it seems like Vince is having a little fun with what we should expect out of the color pink. He knows we know, so he slaps us in the face with it and then makes us regret wanting all of this. In “Buried,” Walt made the off-hand remark to Saul, “I’ll send you to Belize.” I took this as a silver-platter spoiler as to just one tiny piece of the finale. What would make Walt want to kill Saul? Already, he’s pissed at him for letting Jesse find out about Brock. Maybe he’s also a little tired of him coming around his family. But I think what finally does Saul in will be something we haven’t seen yet, perhaps something we’ll see in Ozymandias.
A Season 5 teaser, featuring Bryan Cranston reading the poem Ozymandias:
Death, many deaths I’ll sing.
–from “Gliding Over All” by Walt Whitman
Vince Gilligan, according to a Charlie Rose interview, first began his fascination with Walt Whitman in high school, when he came across the poem “When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer.” Click HERE for the full text. This just happens to be the same poem that Gale Boetticher, of shot-below-the-eye-by-Jesse fame, recites to Walt when they first cook meth (and make excellent coffee together). It illustrates how it’s best to learn through hands-on experience, rather than sitting in a classroom studying under a “learned” teacher. This not only allows us a quick education on the character of Gale, but it also encapsulates the character of Jesse quite well; he was a lousy student in Walter’s chemistry class and yet, he became the second best meth cook in the United States (“Say My Name”) by working with Walt.
Fast forward to “Ozymandias,” tonight’s episode, and Mr. Gilligan’s love of poetry lets us in on what we might expect out of the third to last hour of Breaking Bad. Dammit, if they didn’t perfectly orchestrate the last time Hank and Marie would speak to each other. Let’s break it down: “Hank, why is there what looks like brains in our garbage can?” Well Marie, that’s because intelligence is as valuable right now as that plastic that sealed the meat in which those “brains” were packaged in. The smart guy is not going to win. Hank and Jesse’s brilliant plan to out-Heisenberg Heisenberg backfires; and they are going to pay for it. Next, he says “It’s going to be a little rough for the next couple of weeks, but it will get better.” That can mean something different. Also, “It may be a while before I get home.” Come on!
This phone call is the peak of Hank’s hubris, which has always been a reliable gage of where the characters are headed. For example, one of the principle reasons that Gus Fring kept visiting Tio Salamanca in the hospital was to taunt him and parade his success in front of him–ding ding ding. Hank’s hubris at this point might as well be larger than Gus’; he already showed arrogance by not getting the DEA involved–he wanted to take down Heisenberg himself, followed by the commanding nature by which he is controlling Jesse. And the way that Hank relished the chance to Mirandize Walter, and wave to him for Marie, is something he might regret sooner rather than later. He ignored Walter’s advice to “tread lightly.”
Official prediction: Hank is a victim of the shoot-out in-progress between Jack’s crew and Hank/Gomez. Perhaps he takes one in the forehead when he comes up from reloading–the way he killed Tuco Salamanca.
I don’t even know what this is behind Jesse in “Confessions,” just before he realizes Huell swiped his pot–indicating that he also stole his ricin cigarette and that Walter poisoned Brock. But I do know what it looks like.
The second to last episode of Season 5b is called “Granite State,” the nickname of New Hampshire where we see Walt coming back from on his 52nd birthday. It can also refer to a cemetery. I haven’t really noticed any blatant pieces of foreshadowing of Jesse’s death other than this one; he is one of very few characters that I believe has a chance of living by series end. Oh–except for one other thing–what’s his last name again?
Blue Is Back
Draped in neutral colors throughout Season 5, Skyler is finally showing signs that she’s Walt’s Lady Macbeth. Behind a hellish background in the hotel room, she encourages Walt to kill Jesse. “What’s one more?”, she says, an argument later echoed by Walt to Jack referring to cooking meth again. But she hangs up her all beige ensemble that she wore to the “Confessions” guacamole dinner with Hank and Marie for something that would really pop. Note her blue under-shirt. And is the brand of “Have an A-1 day!” (that she insists Walt Jr. reinforce) being so exclusively blue too obvious an indication that her brand is still blue meth? I don’t think so! It’s just obvious enough.
There are two big scenes in “Rabid Dog,” that shouted “Walt is coming out of retirement!” to me–and after searching what could have been all of the internet (Google…) for someone who shares this realization–these might be less obvious puzzle pieces than I thought. First, Walt sits in front of the crystal blue hotel pool when Walt Jr. joins him. He says, “Should’ve brought our suits, huh?” Would Walter White the father have enjoyed a late-night swim with his son, who is obviously very worried about his father? Absolutely. But it shows us what he’s really thinking about.
Later in the same episode, when Walt goes to the town plaza to hopefully meet a level-minded Jesse, who might just be interested in a “nuanced discussion about the virtues of child poisoning,” he sits “All Hail The King Style” on the blue plaza bench. With a low-angle shot to emphasize the power Walter still has (or perhaps, more accurately, is fighting to get back), coming out of retirement sure seems like a good possibility. But what Walter doesn’t realize is that he is no longer Heisenberg. Heisenberg would not have been arrested by the DEA, and he certainly wouldn’t have given them admissible evidence by shouting over the phone that he murdered Krazy-8 and Emilio.
In the same “Blood Money” cold open that shows the White house behind police tape once again, we also see skateboarders taking advantage of an empty pool, and “Heisenberg” spray-painted on the wall. It is a fitting In Memoriam. Now, Heisenberg is only a shadow–what Walter White looks like sure does remind himself of Heisenberg, but it’s only a silhouette. Last week’s episode, “To’hajiilee,” symbolized exactly this with a shot of W.W. in Hank’s truck with a shadow projected onto Walter’s forehead that looked awfully similar to his signature pork-pie hat. Very soon, everyone will know who Heisenberg was, and his crystal blue pool will be completely dry.
Oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence