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Catching up with Breaking Bad

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Catchingup

With the hotly anticipated second half of Breaking Bad's final season less than a month away, we thought it was high time to reacquaint ourselves with the show's characters and plot. As a somewhat convoluted show, jumping back into Breaking Bad after some time away from it is pretty jarring. This guide is meant to minimize the motion sickness by bringing fans, both new and old, back up to speed.

As the half-season's tagline bluntly proclaims, "All Bad Things Must Come to An End" -- so while we're not sure what exactly is going to happen to Walter White, we know the "bad" part of him is probably going to cease to exist. Whether that means the writers will kill him off or otherwise remains to be seen (maybe Hank will give him an intervention? Complete with tears and brotherly love? And minerals?), but we have good reason to believe something big is going to happen. This is Breaking Bad, after all, and things tend to blow up (figuratively and literally). A lot.

Breaking bad buyout


Where did we leave off? Walt spent the majority of the latest season tying up the loose ends that accompanied blowing up a drug kingpin with a bomb strapped to a stroke-riddled mute Mexican crime boss. Having both created an enormous, crater-sized vacuum in New Mexico's Meth market (and Gus's Head), ol' Heisenberg has doubled down on his involvement in the drug trade by fashioning a deal with Lydia, Gus Fring's former (remember, he's super dead) associate and Madrigal Electromotive colleague, that will allow him to sell his Blue Sky meth in the Czech Republic.

Walt also did something about Gus' (former) employees after learning that paying them off was a substantial risk: he murdered all 10 of them simultaneously. It was brutal -- kind of like the final murder-montage in The Godfather, if it was soaked in prison, meth, and Heisenberg's ever-ballooning ego. Oh, and Walt killed Mike, too (unfortunately for us.)

Skyler humbled Walt (or at least tapered his ego off a bit), by showing him an enormous pile of cash in a storage unit. There's more cash than she knows what to do with. She can't embezzle it fast enough. Walt's achieved more than he set out to, I'd say -- things have changed rather dramatically since Walt and Jesse's "modest" days in the RV. For the first time, it seems Heisenberg is feeling a bit in over his pork-pied hat-covered head.

Breakingbad skylerwaltmoney


Oh, and then there's Todd. Remember him? He's the weirdo with the convict uncle who shot a kid for no reason. He's oddly committed to Walter (committed enough to shoot a kid without question), morally dubious, and his presence remains something of a mystery. He's been working with Walt in their new Meth cooking set-up (tented houses during mock fumigations) en lieu of Jesse Pinkman. I'm guessing we're going to learn more about Weirdo Todd during the second half of the season. He'll probably play a principal role in the half-season (and be a huge weirdo.)

Speaking of Jesse -- the last we saw him, he was crying over a couple of duffel bags full of cash and clicking on the safety of a gun he was most likely going to shoot Walter with. He's out of the game and mostly sick of Walt's nonsense. I'm guessing he spends the second half of the season crying all the time and playing Xbox. Seriously though, it'll be interesting to see what's in store for Jesse "All Cleaned Up" Pinkman. The poor guy sure has been through a lot, what with his girlfriend dying, his new girlfriend's son almost dying, watching Weirdo Todd shoot an innocent kid, having to deal with Skinny Pete's demeanor and Badger's voice -- the list goes on.

Hank continues to recover after his heroic run in with the cousins from hell and he's very much so back on the case. So much so back on the case, in fact, that the last thing viewers saw was Hank on the White's toilet happening across a note in a copy of Whitman's Leaves of Grass written by our (now very dead) libertarian pal Gale that reads: "To my other favorite W.W. It's an honour working with you. Fondly, G.B."-- and, of course, Inspector Hank puts two and two together. Just look at his face:

BB1


That's the face of a man who KNOWS. You know he knows. I know he knows. Walter, however, doesn't know he knows and continues to obliviously stuff his face with Skyler's cooking in the backyard.

That brings us more or less up to speed on what's happening in Breaking Bad. For further information, check out the character and episode links below.

What do you expect from the series' concluding episodes? How do you think things will pan out between Walt and Hank? What role will characters like Jesse and Walt Jr. play in helping resolve the narrative? How does Walt go from eating dinner with his family to buying an m60 while on the lamb in Albuquerque (as we saw in that great bit of foreshadowing from the season's opening)?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Episodes


Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5
  1. Pilot
  2. The Cat's In The Bag...
  3. ...And the Bag's in the River
  4. Cancer Man
  5. Gray Matter
  6. Crazy Handful of Nothin'
  7. A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal
  1. Seven Thirty-Seven
  2. Grilled
  3. Bit by a Dead Bee
  4. Down
  5. Breakage
  6. Peekaboo
  7. Negro y Azul
  8. Better Call Saul
  9. 4 Days Out
  10. Over
  11. Mandala
  12. Phoenix
  13. ABQ
  1. No Mas
  2. Caballo Sin Nombre
  3. I.F.T.
  4. Green Light
  5. Mas
  6. Sunset
  7. One Minute
  8. I See You
  9. Kafkaesque
  10. Fly
  11. Abiquiu
  12. Half Measures
  13. Full Measure
  1. Box Cutter
  2. Thirty-Eight Snub
  3. Open House
  4. Bullet Points
  5. Shotgun
  6. Cornered
  7. Problem Dog
  8. Hermanos
  9. Bug
  10. Salud
  11. Crawl Space
  12. End Times
  13. Face Off
  1. Live Free or Die
  2. Madrigal
  3. Hazard Pay
  4. "Fifty-One"
  5. "Dead Freight"
  6. "Buyout"
  7. "Say My Name"
  8. "Gliding Over All"
  9. "Episode 509"
  10. "Episode 510"
  11. "Episode 511"
  12. "Episode 512"
  13. "Episode 513"
  14. "Episode 514"
  15. "Episode 515"
  16. "Episode 516"
Characters


WaltS5 JesseS5 SkylerS5 HankS5
Walter White Jesse Pinkman Skyler White Hank Schrader
MarieS5 WaltJrS5 SaulS5 MikeS5
Marie Schrader Walter White Jr. Saul Goodman Mike Ehrmantraut



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