Breaking Bad Boss Talks Final Season, Walter's Dark Destination and Filling Gus Fring's Shoes

Though he may have seemed on top of the world as Season 4 drew to a close, Breaking Bad‘s Walter White will only get badder as the AMC drama’s final run of 16 episodes gets underway this summer.

Ratings: Breaking Bad Caps Top-Rated Season With Biggest Finale to Date

First, a quick refresher on where things left off: Walt (played by Bryan Cranston) conspired with Tio Salamanca, with whom he shared a common enemy, to draw the “chicken man” out of hiding and to the Casa Tranquila nursing home. But what awaited Gus Fring there was not a mute rat who had just snitched to the DEA, but Tio in a wheelchair wired to explode — and boom it did go, leaving Gus with half a face and then complete death.

“I won,” Walt reported home to wife Skyler. But at what cost? Moments later, the closing scene revealed that it was Walt who used the toxic Lily of the Valley to poison wee Brock, thus forcing cohort Jesse’s hand into allying against Gus anew.

Though some were shocked to see Walt go so far as to jeopardize a kid’s life in the name of his endgame, it was but one example of the antihero “getting worse by the minute,” as series creator Vince Gilligan puts it.

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Heading into the fifth, final and extended 16-episode season later this year, “We are following the same thread that we’ve been following for four seasons now,” Gilligan told TVLine at this weekend’s Writers Guild Awards, where Breaking Bad grabbed two top prizes. “We are essentially taking a good guy protagonist and turning him into a bad guy. Walter White still has a little further to go down that dark path that he’s very willfully put himself on.”

But why stick to such a path at all? Walt has vanquished the superlab boss who oft wished him dead, regained Jesse’s loyalty and long ago established himself as a premiere meth cook. Why not just cut bait, having come thisclose to arrest and/or death, and pursue a life of normalcy?

“That’s a good question,” Gilligan affirms. “Does Walt do what he does for the good of his family, or are there other reasons that he does the things he does? On some level, is it ego and self-aggrandizement? Does he feel good about the things he’s doing? Does he feel powerful? Those are the questions I think one has to ask one’s self when they question whether or not he should cut bait.”

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Another question facing Breaking Bad‘s swan song — which, some speculate, will be split into two batches — is the matter of who or what will replace Gus Fring as a formidable obstacle to Walt getting whatever it is that he wants.

Noting that Gus was a “wonderful character” played by “a wonderful actor” in Giancarlo Esposito, Gilligan acknowledges that the dapper don’s memorable demise “leaves a big void, and hopefully we fill it with Walter White and a few other characters perhaps.

“It’ll be different, but hopefully, just as interesting,” Gilligan adds. “You’re right, though – those are big shoes to fill.”

Are you excited for Breaking Bad‘s final season? Where do you think Walt will end up, when all is said and done? (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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38 Comments
  1. Michelle says:

    Not really Jesse’s son.
    Can’t wait for next season, I hope all episodes are aired within a few months because if they’re split, BB won’t be eligible for one Emmys.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Amended, yes.

    • John says:

      Last year’s batch missed the cutoff, so season 4 will technically be in contention at this year’s Emmy’s. The big question is, will they split it in order to gain eligibility one more year AFTER next year?

      • Michelle says:

        Yep & let’s hope for a sweep but after being off for what, 18 months, magical Mad Men will be eligible so I don’t know. BB is undoubtedly the best drama on TV & the Emmys have had three chances to recognize that yet haven’t.
        It would be ideal for eight episodes to air starting July then the rest early next year, putting the full final season one eligibility period.

        • Dash says:

          Mad Men is the Modern Family of the drama category. An awards darling because it plays it totally safe. If BB doesn’t get an Emmy then they should just shut the emmys down because they reward only mediocre shows.

          • Jan Purple says:

            I totally agree. I watched every episode of MM, but now have lost interest. BB puts me on the edge of my seat and I can’t wait for it to return. One heck of a show.

          • Mike says:

            It’s really tough to discount Mad Men’s accomplishments. It’s an excellent show and meant to be enjoyed in a totally different way than Breaking Bad. It has deserved its 4 years of rewards even if there were other shows I would have liked to see get some recognition for their own amazing accomplishments. (i.e. LOST. At least it got Best Drama for season 1)
            That being said, it’s going to be tough to top BB’s perfect 4th season. If anyone has a chance to do it, it would be the well rested Mad Men team. But I’ll be pulling for BB as well.

  2. Dani says:

    Really can’t wait for this. Over the seasons my sympathy has shifted from Walter to Jesse, but I’m guessing that’s kind of what Gilligan wants.
    Most people seem to think there’ll be a big showdown between Jesse and Walt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Skylar or Hank end up being responsible for his demise. Gus will be missed though.

    • sheri inman says:

      I feel the same way about Jesse, he really isn’t a bad guy, he just wants to be accepted and cared about. I think Walt really hurt his feelings. He looks to him like a father figure. But if he finds out Walt poisoned that kid , he will never forgive him.

  3. adam says:

    What was gus right hand man called?..mike?…they havent tied up his loose end and if he puts together what walter did throughout the season that could be the eventual showdown

  4. ScrubsGuy says:

    I don’t think it’s going to be one big thing which takes Walter down. It’ll be a lot of little things and the final little straw that breaks the camel’s back. The greatest price which Walter could pay is the loss of his legacy, i.e. his children, and that will probably figure into the endgame some how.
    It’ll definitely be tragic though.

  5. Rodimus9 says:

    I think he’s going to be up against his b in law Hank. Hanks gonna find out Walter is the guy he’s been looking for, but have no real proof.

    • Michael says:

      Yes, this. How is this not glaringly obvious? This is the one plot point that has been driving conflict since the pilot episode. And watching it go down will be so, SO sweet.

  6. Pam says:

    I cannot wait! I find it a hard show to watch sometimes as it went from darkly amusing to just plain dark but it is still one of the best things out there.

  7. Bailey says:

    Can’t wait for this show to come back! I marathoned all of it last summer and have been dying for it to return since. I’ve always maintained that the premise of the show is that Walt’s going to die, but it won’t be from cancer, like we originally thought. He’ll go down in some sort of blaze of glory, and I am so glad they’re able to write this show exactly how they want to. I’ll definitely be buying the box set at Christmas, for sure.

  8. Singid says:

    all this seems like a lot of smoke blowing. if the show is good then take it to where it should logically end, not where the creator wanted to go 5 freaking years ago before 4 seasons of something that has developed a life of its own, nor where the audience ‘always knew’ it would end up.
    i have a feeling ill be pretending season 5 never happened, like past once-great tv shows, movies with sequels, et al.

  9. matt says:

    LOVE this show. Last season was great, but my only complaint was the way the Brock thing unfolded. It was just too far fetched and too diabolical. It was like something out a Bond movie and I just didn’t feel like it fit the essense of the show, if that makes sense.
    It’s just stupid to think that Walt could have manipulated that outcome in anyway like what happened. But whatevs. I’m sure the team behind the show will ruin my health with the next 16 episodes.

  10. Aimee says:

    It could just be me…but I thought that I saw Walter coughing a lot more at the end of last season. Maybe the series will end how it began…with his cancer diagnosis??
    Just speculating. BB is my favorite all-time favorite show and I cannot wait for it to return!

    • Pash says:

      I always thought it would end with him succumbing to his cancer, most likely in the desert with a gun in his hand trying to prove he’s the big man. If there is anything I’ve learned about BB though, it’s that I don’t want to spend much time speculating, it will be awesome regardless.

  11. Peter says:

    All of the video footage of walt and Jesse cooking and whatnot is more than likely stored in gus’s computer in his office at el pollo loco. Hank was already positive Gus was the drug dealer he has been looking for and now that he is dead, I’m sure Hank will go through his office. Therefore, walt and Jesse are F$&@ed.

    • Laurel says:

      That’s a good point.
      However that maybe how Mike gets the upper hand on Walt.
      When we last saw Mike he was recuperating from a gunshot wound in Mexico after helping Gus & Jessie escape the Don’s house.
      I think Mike maybe the next big bad.He was quite the bad*ss and he may want to avenge the death of his boss,Gus.

  12. Diane says:

    The show ending with Walt’s cancer returning would be an interesting way to end but I was just sitting here thinking – how about his brother-in-law figuring everything out and arresting him and off to jail he goes………….

  13. mike says:

    I believe we are moving toward Walt being the new Gus next season. Become his own bad guy, if you will.

  14. rob says:

    Wonder if Walt’s final moments will somehow involve him staring down a gun barrel in the middle of a road, as the sound of police sirens get closer. Pants on this time though. ;D

  15. Dr Zen says:

    Absolutely looking forward to this and anyway it goes, I’m sure it will be epic.
    My own ideal fantasy on how this ends is with Hank, Jesse, and Walt in a Mexican standoff in the middle of a desert a la the climatic scene in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Each with enough reason to want either of the other two dead ;-)

  16. Sarabi says:

    Best show on TV right now!

  17. Know-l says:

    Walt will die, my guess based on what Gilligan states. The villain will be Walt, the protagonist will be either Hank and/or Jesse. I like the idea of a Good/Bad/Ugly showdown. I think Skylar will continue the legacy or the operation much in the same way Gus had planned, maybe using Jesse. I’m not sure why but the I think the meth will continue to be distributed, things will go on but the players change, the game stays the same. Just a thought.

  18. Alex K says:

    I would guess that Walt will continue on his path of “breaking bad,” becoming the main antagonist of season 5. On the other hand, I believe that Jesse will continue on his path of “breaking good,” ultimately deciding that his new family (Brock and the boy’s mom) are more important than his life cooking meth. I also foresee Hank pursuing Walt over the course of the season, but how that plays out is anyones guess. Perhaps Hank will discover Walt’s sordid past, and then Walt will kill Hank. Ultimately though, I see Walt dying of his cancer, alone and feeble in a hospital bed, hated by everyone.

  19. lance says:

    The next season is so bitter sweet! The absolute best show on tv ever!!!! I can’t wait to see what happens next. At the same time I don’t want the season ever to start. 1. I don’t want it to end. 2. If it never starts Gilligan can’t do something that can’t be undone! I know sounds ridiculous, I just love this so much.

  20. helga hayward says:

    I didn’t like the show at first, but it grew on me quickly. It doesn’t feel like the usual studio crap we’re forced to watch. The creativity has been left intact. They knocked the show back so I hope this is a lesson for them about what their audiences really want. Thank you amc for picking it up. Whatever goes down in season 5 I’m sure its creator will keep us on the edge of our seats.

  21. confused man says:

    Ok that makes no sense lol, the show will.end perfectly.

  22. Roberto says:

    Best show in the history of television… hands down. Now the one thing I am surprised I’ve not seen mentioned is the fact that the old folks home is going to crawling with cops and DEA agents. Remember, Skylar telling Walt “The DEA don’t know what to make of this…” which means they are already aware, and I’ll bet aren’t going to give up on it that easily. There has got to be surveillance camera footage, or some witness that can put Walter there before the blast. I just can’t imagine that after causing that explosion and burning down the laundry that Walter doesn’t end up being a person of interest.

    With that said, the best part about all of this speculation is that we all know where this is going… Walter HAS to die (which is going to be very hard to watch). It’s just a matter of how they draw the line between points A and B.

  23. beau says:

    No ones talking about the death of skylers boss. That was left loose. I could see skyler facing some allegations to start the season

  24. Bux says:

    Did any1 else realize that the don elario was manny from scarface?

  25. joe says:

    I am interested to see how the aftermath of the explosion will pan out. Lets not forget that we have a bonafide witness folks… the old lady with the horn rimmed glasses laying in bed next door to Mr. Salamanca will undoubtedly say she saw a bald headed man wearing glasses- with a white strip on his nose- lurking outside of her window, right before the explosion. I can see the composite sketch already. And this talk of Walt going further down a dark path…. i wouldnt be surprised to see Walt being forced to kill off Hank- and quite possibly Marie- for knowing too much. I really look forward to seeing what unravels…

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