AMC's riveting drama Breaking Bad returns this Sunday with the first of its final batch of episodes. When we last left, Albuquerque, DEA agent Hank Schrader had finally figured out that his brother-in-law Walter White is the master crystal meth cook he's been doggedly pursuing, and now we have eight hours left to see what how things will wrap up. I couldn't be more excited for it, and I'm happy to announce I'll be writing about each episode here at PolicyMic. But for now, there's only anticipation, and with that in mind, I'll lay out a few plot questions I can't wait to see answered starting Sunday night:
1) What the hell does Hank do now? Hank's been endlessly manipulated by Walt. He's briefly lost his career (think beating up Jesse) and nearly lost his life (think the parking lot shootout) thanks to the actions of either Walt himself, or people acting on his behalf. Hank has to be both horrified and pissed, and the way he handles his revelation will shape the way this ending plays out. Will he be so angry that he tries to kill Walt? Speaking of that...
2) Does Walt actually die? In the eyes of most fans, this isn't a question so much as a foregone conclusion. But maybe that's just what Breaking Bad creator/showrunner Vince Gilligan & Co. want us to think. Would death, whether it's at the hands of one of the many people he's wronged, cancer (more on that in a bit), falling piano or anything else, be too predictable? I still wouldn't bet on Walt surviving, but the possibility he does is worth considering.
3) What's the machine gun for? You know, this one:
Walt bought it in the Season 5 premiere flash forward. It's going to turn up again. And whatever the reason Walt bought it, it had to be because there was something pretty damn dangerous around the corner. Speaking of yet-unused weapons...
4) What happens with the ricin? The vial's still hiding behind that electrical outlet cover. Is there any doubt it's going to come back into play before the end of the series? Not from me (and *SPOILER ALERT*: even less so if you read this, which, again, contains spoilers). All that's left to see is who Walt wants to be on the receiving end.
5) Does Jesse find out about Jane and/or Brock, and how? Jesse still doesn't know that Walt let his girlfriend Jane die, or that he was the one who poisoned his ex-girlfriend Andrea's son Brock, but I can't imagine Breaking Bad will reach the end without Walt facing the consequences for one or both of those actions. Jesse seems more likely to discover the Brock plot, since Saul has at least a vague knowledge of it. If he does? Things will get very ugly, very quickly.
6) Who or what are Walt and Skyler burying in that photo? Included in the batch of promotional photos released by AMC that made the rounds recently was this:
One could argue this is just a generic "people doing evil-looking things" photo to get everyone excited for the mayhem that awaits, but I can't imagine there's not a related payoff in the actual show. Oh, and also the episode after the premiere is titled "Buried."
7) Who's Lester? Until recently, the cast lists on the IMDB pages for several of the remaining episodes listed a heretofore-unseen character named Lester, played by the actor/stuntman/former MMA fighter/all-around badass-looking guy Tait Fletcher. Now, though, there's no Lester to be found. Was it all a mistake? Well, probably not, considering this interview with Fletcher specifically mentions he's on Breaking Bad. In what capacity, we can only guess, except to say that his character will probably present a sizeable threat to someone.
8) How did Walt get out of the business? Some viewers were caught off guard by how quickly and easily Walt (seemingly) extricated himself from meth-making after Skyler showed him his money pile. While I think the fact that Walt simply found his meth empire to be endless drudgery explains why he got out, the how is much more up in the air. Maybe we're to believe that apprentice Todd, after a couple months on the job, was able to cook like Walt. But to drop everything with no pushback? Here's guessing at least someone wasn't too happy Heisenberg decided to hang up his porkpie hat.
9) What's the meaning behind the last episode title, "Felina"? Maybe the fact that "felina" is an anagram for "finale" is all there is to it ... but Breaking Bad does the whole "episode titles with multiple meanings" thing pretty well – think "Face Off" – so I doubt the anagram angle is the end of the story. Will one of the theories floated by Slate's Forrest Wickman the other day come to pass (if so, hopefully the Pokemon one)? Only time will tell.
10) What happens with the cancer? Cancer is the driving force behind everything that's happened on Breaking Bad, so it would feel wrong if the subject never came up again. And unfortunately for Walt, his cough/pill intake from the Season 5 premiere flash forward strongly suggest we'll be heading back down that road. When it first struck, cancer wound up being not Walt's physical but moral death. Will it finish the job this time around? I can't wait to see, write about it ... and, before then, to hear from you about what you're most looking forward to. Have at it in the comments.