It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: If you’re a “Breaking Bad” viewer and haven’t yet seen last Sunday’s episode, then you may want to just skip to the next post, because there are serious spoilers ahead.
Are they gone? Yeah? Good.
Chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-kingpin Walter White has done some sketchy things in his day, but facing imminent death with no financial safety net for his family, it wasn’t too difficult to give him a pass. But over the course of the second season, this has changed. Walter’s cancer is in remission, and he’s scheduled for a surgery that could cure him completely. But instead of winding down his life of crime, he insists on expanding it. Part of the problem is that he’s realized how boring his life is without it. His marriage is teetering on the edge of disaster, and producing meth is the one thing in his life that he has mastered.
In last week’s episode, “Mandala,” Walter chose to make a huge transaction (~$1.2 million) instead of rushing to the hospital to be with his wife as she gave birth. But in Walter’s mind, it was no choice at all. If he didn’t make the deal, he would miss out on any future opportunities with one of the biggest (and most careful) drug runners in the Southwest. You see, for Walter, it’s no longer about the money or providing security for his family. It’s more about his being a success, despite what his friends and family think.
This week’s episode — “Phoenix” — Walter made a decision that will no doubt come back to haunt him. After a random meeting at a bar with the father of Jesse’s girlfriend, Walter went back to Jesse’s house (out of guilt and affection for the boy) to try to keep him from continuing down the road of drug abuse. High on heroin, Jesse and Jane were laying on their sides, so as to not choke on their own vomit in their sleep. Walter tried to rouse Jesse, and as he shook him, Jane was pushed over onto her back. She started to vomit and choke, and after starting to help her, Walter made the decision to let her die. Jane was pretty nasty to Walter, and he never knew her when she was sober. So, to him, she was the one leading Jesse to his demise. He thought that by letting her die, he was helping Jesse. Maybe this will in fact be the best thing for young Mr. Pinkman, but it doesn’t matter — Walter effectively killed Jane. Had he never showed up at the house, Jane wouldn’t have been on her back and she wouldn’t have died in her sleep.
Sure, we must suspend disbelief when thinking about the randomness of the meeting between Walter and Jane’s father in the bar. It was the father’s words that ultimately led to his daughter’s death. He convinced Walter (however indirectly) to go back to Jesse’s house. If only he knew.
Throughout the entire season, we’ve been treated with shots of the White home after some sort of explosion. There are men in chemical suits collecting evidence. With one episode left, I have no earthly idea how we get from point Y to point Z. Jesse will wake up to find Jane dead and won’t know that Walter had anything to do with it. Walter’s new business partner is probably happy with his product and shouldn’t have any reason to destroy his house. Walter doesn’t have any chemicals on site, so my only theory is that the work he did a few weeks ago underneath the house turns out to be faulty and causes the explosion. It will be a little bit of a letdown if those scary scenes have nothing to do with Walter’s side business, but since the show has already been renewed for a third season, it’s doubtful that anyone in his personal life will find out about his hobby anytime soon.