WARNING: This article contains spoilers regarding Season 5 of AMC's Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad, one of television's most gripping series, is nearing its fifth season and the fate of its riveting characters will be sealed once and for all. Breaking Bad Season 5 might not premiere until next month, but certain tidbits hint at Walter White's destiny.
Four simple words -- All Hail The King -- pack a powerful punch in the new Breaking Bad Season 5 poster, released Monday. The photo features antihero Walter White, played by actor Bryan Cranston, seated on a lawn chair in a vacant warehouse, surrounding by stacks of money and containers of infamous blue methamphetamine.
The official description accompanying the poster reads: No longer under the thumb of a mastermind criminal, Walt now assumes the role of one himself, as he and Jesse (Aaron Paul) look to build their own empire. Meanwhile, Skyler (Anna Gunn) struggles with the reality of her husband's new role and Hank (Dean Norris) works to wrap up his investigation of Gus' business.
The posters for Breaking Bad Seasons 1 through 4 have much less commanding imagery. The Season 1 poster featured Walter White standing pantsless in the desert, gun in hand, with the caption Change the Equation. Posters for Seasons 2 and 3 showed Walt and fellow cook Jesse Pinkman dressed in hazmat gear in the desert. And the Season 4 poster featured an up-close shot of Walter alongside the cautionary label Warning: Extremely Volatile.
The Breaking Bad Season 5 poster is both formidable and intense. It is the first time the actual meth is included in the photograph, the first time Walt's body language is noticeably aggressive and the first time more detail than a simple portrait is given.
What does this mean for Walt's fate? It certainly paints a powerful portrait of what is to come in the final season. Walt is clearly in some sort of position of control, but that does not mean he is invincible. As we all know, the seemingly unshakable Gus was blown away at the end of Season 4, tricked by the men he once controlled.
In the past, actor Bryan Cranston himself has even offered his two cents on the final demise of the series' desperado.
In 2010, Cranston spoke with Jeanne Wolf before Season 4 began filming, and said: I don't know where it's going, but I'm pretty damn sure that he'll die at the end of this show. At the end of this show, Walter White will die. How he will he die? I really, honestly don't know - and I've never asked [Vince Gilligan].
It's been such a journey for me and for this character that it didn't make sense for me to know too far ahead, because Walt has no idea what's ahead for him, even an hour, said the 56-year-old actor. So I don't ask [Gilligan], and I don't read my scripts too far in advance. I think Walt's going to a place where he truly enjoys the empowerment that his situation has given him. And even though he knows he's going out in a year, from lung cancer, he's going to go out big. He's going out big.
Surely, the final season will offer up some major shocks and revelations, whether Walt lives or dies. The most important question is not of his mortality, but of his persona. Who has Walter White become?
The final shot of the finale episode of Breaking Bad Season 4 shows Walt sitting in his backyard. The camera zooms in on a plant next to him. The label reads Lily of the Valley, revealing that Walter was the one who poisoned Jesse's girlfriend's child in order to frame Gus and get Jesse in on the plan to kill the kingpin.
The history of 'Breaking Bad' is a series of ethical lines crossed; there's a reason the show is called what it is, wrote TIME Magazine's James Poniewozik. Walt began as a meek, resigned-if resentful-chemistry teacher. Then he started cooking meth. Then he killed, in self-defense. He let a young woman die. He indirectly, through his callousness, caused an air disaster. He killed again. He indirectly got his brother-in-law shot, and excused Gus for allowing it. He had another meth cooker, who did nothing to him, murdered so he could live. Always with the rationalization that he was a decent man, that he would not harm the truly innocent, that he would never willingly endanger a child...Then he willingly endangered a child.
That leaves Walt in a very tangled position come Season 5.
Now he has a brother-in-law who is very close to exposing his secrets (if Hank has not in fact, as some have theorized, already put some pieces together), continued Poniewozik. He has Skyler horrified by the realization that she is not simply partnered with a man in a lab coat making drugs for bad guy, but to a man who murders people in a retirement home. He has a business partner with at least two valid reasons to kill him (Jane and Brock) should he ever learn the truth about either.
Spoilers regarding Season 5 are hard to come by, and many involve philosophical theorizing. However, some tidbits have leaked, which you can read below.
- Season 5, Episode 1 Script Leaked?: A posting available via Red Shark Interactive purports as the entire leaked script of Episode 1 of Season 5 of Breaking Bad. If this is, in fact, the legitimate script, then the first scene alone is enough to have you hooked.
- New Character: In early-May, TV Line reported that Jesse Plemons of Friday Night Lights scored a major recurring role on the fifth season of Breaking Bad. Plemons played Landry Clarke, the boy who pined after vixen Tyra, played by Adrianna Palicki. According to TV Line, his Breaking Bad character is named Todd, a dependable, innocuous, working-class guy ... However, his character may not be what he appears to be.
- Episode Titles: The first three supposed episode titles of Season 5 were released by Spoiler TV on Wednesday. Episode 1 is said to be titled Live Free or Die, also the name of a popular Sopranos episode, as one keen Reddit commenter noted. Episode 2 is reportedly titled Madrigal, the company that owns and supplied the former superlab. It is also the parent company of Los Pollos Hermanos. Episode 3 is reportedly titled Hazard Play.
Season 5 of the AMC hit series begins Sunday, July 15, at 10 p.m. Breaking Bad is one of AMC's most popular series. The Vince Gilligan-produced drama premiered in 2008, starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. AMC announced in August that the fifth season of Breaking Bad will be its last. The fifth season will consist of 16 episodes, split into two parts of eight episodes each, airing in 2012 and 2013.
What are your predictions for the final season of Breaking Bad? Leave your feedback in the comments section below.