Breaking Bad Burning Questions Answered: Walt's Choice, the Cancer and Hank's Next Move

It just may be that Walter White is not snowing us one final time.

In the midseason finale of Breaking Bad‘s fifth and final season, Walt — in the wake of bidding Jesse adieu, really bidding Mike adieu and realizing just how much green he and Skyler had amassed — announced to his wife, “I’m out.” And though we never saw any “break-up” scene between the world’s very best meth cook and Lydia, his international distributor, series boss Vince Gilligan suspects the former chemistry teach was being honest.

“We can either take him at his word or not — he is of course infamous for being one of the world’s greatest liars — but I tend to believe, personally, that he was telling [Skyler] the truth when he told her that,” Gilligan shared with TVLine during a Tuesday press conference call.

That said, we might not have seen Walt’s very final cook. “It’s hard to say,” Gilligan allows. “We’re still working out the final eight episodes [to air next summer on AMC], and my writers and I still don’t know how it’s all going to quite lay out…. But it’s looking like he’s out of the business, for sure.”

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We then invited Gilligan to assure viewers that, despite Jesse’s lessened presence ever since quitting Mr. White’s crew, there is more Aaron Paul goodness ahead in the show’s final eight episodes. “Oh, he’s going to have plenty to do,” Gilligan attested. “It would not be the same show without Jesse Pinkman on it and Aaron’s wonderful contributions…. He’s still got a lot of stuff to do yet.”

Elsewhere during the press call, Gilligan reiterated that while he and his writers “have the broad strokes for the final eight” episodes, “There’s a lot left to figure out.” However he promises “resolution” and his team’s resolve to “swing for the fences” with this final arc of the story. Gilligan shrugged off follow-up movie talk (“None of that is even remotely on my radar”) and instead maintained that Walter’s story will be “contained” within the final eight hours. “We have freedom, carte blanche to … really go for it,” he said, “and that is what we intend to do.”

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Other topics Gilligan addressed during the call:

SHOULD MIKE HAVE BEEN MORE WARY OF WALTER DURING THEIR FINAL MEET-UP? | “For Mike, that was a moment of [realizing], ‘This guy was a little more dangerous than I thought he was,'” Gilligan notes. “Turning his back on Walt was probably a bad idea, but it was born of Mike having a lot on his mind” — including going on the lam and never seeing his beloved granddaughter again. Plus, Gilligan reminds, “Going into that scene, Walt was the person who warned Mike that the cops were coming for him…. so they seemed to be… strange bedfellows, but nonetheless on the same side.”

WHAT WILL HANK DO WITH HIS EPIPHANY THAT WALT IS HEISENBERG? | “That is the big question [and] the subject of great debate amongst the seven writers, myself included,” Gilligan admits. “Does he walk right out and shoot him…? Do you keep your cards close to the vest? Are you able to control the emotions you feel? Are you in a state of shock?” Pointing out that Hank’s brother-in-law is a “man who he loves and has brotherly love and affection for,” Gilligan asks: “How does one take it all in and process it in a mere matter of seconds?” As for having Hank make the discovery while otherwise indisposed on the porcelain throne, Gilligan says, “We like to try to change things up.” Having ended previous seasons with the likes of a drug dealer delivering a brutal beat-down, a plane crash and Jesse shooting someone in the face, “We figured perhaps the most interesting ending would be perhaps, on the face of it, the least dramatic. A guy getting the revelation of his life while seated on the [toilet] felt ballsy in its own way.”

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WHAT WAS WALT’S LATEST CANCER DIAGNOSIS? | One of the midseason finale’s two incredible montages featured Walt going in for a check up, but letting slip nary a clue as to what came of it. On this topic, though, Gilligan revealed almost nil: “The best way to put it is, We try never to have a scene that adds up to nothing.” Circling back to Walt’s career decision, he perhaps offers a hint by saying, “There were probably lots of good reasons for Walt to walk into the kitchen there and say, ‘I’m out.’ … It’s not for nothing that [hospital] scene is in there.”

DOES GILLIGAN FEEL PRESSURE TO DELIVER A ONE-SIZE-PLEASES-ALL SERIES FINALE NEXT SUMMER? | Knowing that acclaimed dramas such as The Sopranos and Lost have seen their legacies tarnished some by critiqued closers, Gilligan knows, “There’s no way to please everybody. In fact, the most dangerous thing is to try to come up with that ending that pleases the widest swath of people.” Still, that makes the writers’ job not a lick easier. “Emotionally speaking, it’s f–king anvils hanging over us!” Gilligan admits with a laugh. “It’s like the idea that the last batter to get struck out is to blame for the team’s entire loss. So yes, the ending will be judged with more scrutiny than any of the 61 episodes that come before it.”

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  1. ScrubsGuy says:

    The audience needs to trust the writers in delivering what they feel is the most appropriate ending, even though it might not be the most satisfying to the audience. The hype is going to create unrealistic expectations, and with only 8 episodes to go, there’s no time they can hit all of them. The best way to enjoy the rest of the series is to sit back and enjoy the ride!

  2. Pat D. says:

    Its sad that this series continues to get better with every season, and then will end. I might be in the minority, but I felt the early seasons were overrated, and it stinks that it will all be over while apparently still on the rise. Although I guess this would be better than beating it to death like a certain NBC thursday comedy that has gotten so bad that it ruins its early genius.

  3. Pat D. says:

    Oh, and Vince—look the The Shield for a way to do a finale right, if you are looking for inspiration.

    • dxr says:

      Or six feet under.

      • Pat D. says:

        I agree on SFU—- although I am one of those people who thought the series as a whole was extremely overrated—but the ending was brilliantly done.

        • Ben says:

          I didn’t think so… I thought most of SFU was pretty groundbreaking, to be honest. It may have been “overrated” in the sense that it wasn’t overcomplicated and convoluted by useless side stories and a lack of character development that gets filled with explosions and violence, but it was certainly the only series I’ve ever seen that was even slightly realistic in terms of the values and ideals it presented. Six Feet Under was the only show I’ve ever seen that portrayed PEOPLE as a whole in a somewhat believable way (most of the time).

          • Pat D. says:

            My problem with the series was that it seemed like it was people whining for 5 seasons nonstop, and honestly I wasnt particularly enthralled by any particular actor, despite the stellar cast (on paper). But I know this is a highly polarizing series, with almost nobody falling in the middle, so there are apparently “those who get SFU” and “those who don’t”.

      • Erica says:

        I agree! Best series finale I have ever seen.

    • giant midget says:

      I think they will top that, but I love the resolution of The Shield as well as the rest of it. Season 4 of BB reminded me of season 5 of the shield, everything after was on the fast decent towards hell. I have confidence that Vince will create an appropriate hell.

    • Robert Cazzoli says:

      Or the first finale of Scrubs

  4. David S says:

    Hey Matt,
    Next time you have a Q&A with Vince Gilligan run this scenario ending by him:

    Hank resigns in disgrace. Skylar has killed herself over the death of Walt Jr (Loss of Walt’s Innocence). Marie ends up with sole custody of Holly. Walt goes to war with Declan and Lydia, kills them, but is arrested. Dying in a hospital bed, he’s visited by Jesse who has been his sole sympathizer. But Walt’s in pain and tries to goad Jesse into kill him, telling him about Mike, Jesse’s gf from season 2, and his poisoning of Brock. Instead of killing Walt, Jesse leaves him to die alone and in pain.

    And yes Matt, before you ask: I am a time traveler. And no, you can’t have the winning lottery numbers. Those are for me.

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      Don’t quit your day job.

    • Andrew says:

      Why on Earth would Walter Jr. die (and how)? Apart from Holly, he’s probably one of the most innocent, unassuming characters on the show. I don’t think Skylar would kill herself because her son simply found out about everything they’ve done. It just sounds silly. Walter Jr. will find out, and I can’t wait to see his reaction (as well as Hank’s next move).

      • tripoli says:

        Not to mention she wouldn’t leave her infant daughter motherless.

      • David S says:

        Car Crash. Attempting Donuts. I meant it as Walt Jr’s death representing the loss of Walt’s innocence as that was what he was initially presented as. Plus grief over the loss of your first born child can drive you to pretty crazy extremes. And I’m betting Skylar is dead at the “52” benchmark. Something about Walt’s demeanor implies great personal loss.

      • cmac1 says:

        I am going to bet that Walt Jr is either a user of the blue, or a dealer. That kid is always running around with his friends that we never meet and is a slave to his cellphone. He is angry, and moody and now a product of a dysfunctional home. I say he is a product of his fathers product,

    • stephen says:

      “Walt goes to war with Declan and Lydia, kills them, but is arrested. Dying in a hospital bed, he’s visited by Jesse who has been his sole sympathizer. But Walt’s in pain and tries to goad Jesse into kill him, telling him about Mike, Jesse’s gf from season 2, and his poisoning of Brock. Instead of killing Walt, Jesse leaves him to die alone and in pain.”

      Seems an unlikely ending due to the scene where he buys the machine gun in the opening scene for season 5. I think it’s going to be more of a going down in a blaze of glory kind of ending. They do need for Jesse to find out about the Mike/GF/Brock secrets though.

    • Marina says:

      WOW Doctor?! Is that you? LOL If the show ends like you said, David I will be very happy but Aaron let slip in one of his interviews that Jesse dies :( plus Walt has hair again for his 52nd birthday so unfortunately that ending is out :( But I’d prefer it over any other

    • ann says:

      love the part about the wnning lottery tix! Loved that for the GPS coordinates!

  5. Eliza says:

    Excited for what’s to come. Though it will be sad to say goodbye to this show. It’s going to go down as one of my most beloved shows ever.

    Happy that there will still be a lot of Jesse Pinkman/Aaron Paul since he’s my favorite :)

  6. Horace Ward says:

    Hank makes a deal with Walt. Hank gets half the money. Hank retires. Walt retires. They all live happily after. …………..Or do they?

    • giant midget says:

      Everyone on this show has “broken bad” in one way or another (ok… not Holly) but Marie did pretty much when Walt did, even Hank did with those Cubans, and Skyler did first with Ted (business and pleasure) I’m thinking Hank os the last, not fully but maybe some sort of reduced sentence or lead time to skip town hence the whole “Sual Goodman Multivac escape place” intro

  7. Jo says:

    That was interesting. For some reason I thought they had all 16 in the can and were just holding off on airing them.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      me too! I’m a little bummed out hearing they don’t have a set plan yet for what will happen. I was kind of hoping they had everything mapped out for the final season before they started filming part one and that it would all flow together really well, right up to the end. I’m a little worried now.

      • lucaltair815 says:

        That’s how they’ve ALWAYS done thing since season 1 (with the exception of season 2 flashforward). Let’s give them some credit, they won’t disappoint.

        • stephen says:

          “That’s how they’ve ALWAYS done thing since season 1 (with the exception of season 2 flashforward). Let’s give them some credit, they won’t disappoint.”

          They have flash forwards in every season i think. They flash forward to something which is going to happen at the end of the season. For example the teddy in the swimming pool or Walt buying a machine gun from guy in the toilet.

          • lucaltair815 says:

            The first one happened in Season 2 (which I mentioned), the second one in Season 5 which Vince mentioned.

    • rachelleet says:

      I thought they already had all 16 done too…and I kind of wish they had? I actually don’t like the ending of the 8th episode now that I know there isn’t a definite plan for what happened.

  8. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    I think Walt was telling the truth when he said he was done. The only problem is the people who were doing his distributing aren’t the kind of people that will just let him quit, not without him telling them how to cook ultra pure meth anyway. I think the end has to be Walt dying from cancer and these guys have his family held hostage or maybe killed them. He is going to take a last stand with that machine gun. He tells the guy it isn’t leaving town and I don’t think he plans to be leaving either. Hank won’t arrest him because he is dying.

    • paul hamer says:

      It will all end with walter going down in a blaze of
      bullitts…..think ! Walt has a machine gun and scarface amd there is the ending…perfect way to go out i think.

  9. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I think Walt Jr. needs to start smoking meth, in particular, Walt’s special brand of blue crystal, and he ought to die from it or at least get seriously sick so that Walt can have the effect of his life’s actions really hit home. This series needs to end with some kind of poetic justice “you reap what you sow” message.

  10. Lyndsey says:

    All I want is for Jesse to emerge from the coming crap-storm unscathed and able to prove he’s a better man than Walt!

    • pinoquio says:

      if i were on the writing team, the last 8 episodes would simultaneously tell two stories, one of Walt’s inevitable destruction and another of Pinkman’s gradual rehabilitation into normal, lawful society, ironically, becoming a science teacher :p. Maybe that wouldn’t be that interesting at all but however it happens, jesse has to come out a hero in this, he’s the best

  11. Jake says:

    You know I just into this show before the start of this season, watching over two weeks the entire four seasons. It is only this season that I am starting to regret it– I don’t like the direction the show is taking– the killing of mike and the legacy group pushed me to lose any love I had for Walter. Anna gunn was absolutely amazing this year

  12. frankenstien says:

    If you read interviews with Gilligan from earlier seasons he says contrary things like they knew all along how this would end and he actually says it vaguely here with we’ve got the broad strokes down. This has always been a novel with an ending in mind vs shows like Dexter or Heroes that start strong and then just ride the wave of watchers till its cancelled (Dexter is already set to end – 4 seasons too late). — I started rewatching the show again from the beginning. In the very first episode Walt tells his class that chemistry is amazing because we see how things change “first growth, then decay, and finally the transformation”. This last season was the decay, I feel, and now we will see his ultimate transformation. All you fans that are worried about them making a wrong decision should relax… this whole story has been planned out and I’m sure no one will be disappointed… as long as I find out who called Hank before the brothers attacked him in One Minute (was it really Gus?) and the relevance of the eyeball that we saw floating in the pool in season 2 and then saved in a drawer in s.3

    • jimmy george jones junior says:

      Wasn’t the eyeball from that pink teddy bear?

    • stephen says:

      “as long as I find out who called Hank before the brothers attacked him in One Minute (was it really Gus?) and the relevance of the eyeball that we saw floating in the pool in season 2 and then saved in a drawer in s.3”

      It was Gus who warned him.

      The eyeball was from the teddy bear which belonged to a child who had died in the plane crash. That should be super obvious. The reason he holds onto it is less obvious. Maybe to remind him of the destruction he caused or that whatever happens in the future it can’t be any worse than that.

  13. Adrian says:

    What about that flash forward at the beginning of the season with Walt at a desolate diner somewhere? No questions about that?

  14. AJ says:

    I can’t believe we gotta wait another year for the final episodes.

    I swear they drag it out like the Sopranos.

    I think that’s brilliant how they had Hank find out on the toilet LOL!

    I wonder if any of the actors have any input in the writing.

    It should be interesting to see how they tie all the loose ends.

    • Will says:

      They don’t drag it out. It’s just that it takes time to make a quality show. Why do you think they can just pump em out and still make the audience satisfied.

  15. will says:

    I thought that was the end of the show and was satisfied with leaving it up to the audience to imagine what happens next. To say the least I am impressed with the show and satisfied. This show is far above and beyond any other show I have ever seen, and I was thoroughly entertained for the whole ride. Thanks!!

    Its interesting when I think about how Walt and the Writers are in similar shoes, they both created something so great and now at there apex, will struggle to get out of it.

  16. houifgyif says:

    Wait until 2013 for the rest of it? Lame!!!! I pray someone on the inside leaks. Come on bad apple your out there somewhere.

  17. redpanda says:

    The scene with Hank can be excused
    Walt could say he bought the book somewhere which is why he was able to remember who WW could be

    • Will says:

      I think hank would still be extremely suspicious, and he would start putting all the pices togeather, to name few, all that extra money they suddenly have. The black jack stores won’t really hold up now.

      • cmac1 says:

        Its about damn time Hank finally puts it all together. Here is the evidence 1. Walter’s know association with Jesse (Jesse knows to deal blue) 2. The large some of money Walt suddenly has (which is being used to pay Hank’s rehab) the bling, cars etc.. 3. In 2 episodes Hank smells Walt’s clothing suspiciously 3. The artist sketch of Heisenberg 4. Walt’s chemistry background.

        I say when Hank finds out, he lets Walt walk away. Hank is to tied to Walt. If he turns Walt in, he goes down too. Try explaining to the DEA that you were watching Walts kids while he was cooking. Also try explaining that you received thousands of dollars in medical treatment from Walt’s drug money. Skyler goes down too. Not sure is that is the best move for Hank to turn Walt in.

    • Kunal Aggarwal says:

      My friend had this theory that the book was given to Walt by his ex-girlfriend, Grection because apparently her initials were GB as well.

  18. GG says:

    “There’s the elephant. He’s happy with his balloon.
    Oh no! It’s gone!
    Where is it?
    It’s not behind the rhino.
    Look in the alligator’s mouth.
    It’s not there either!!!
    Ohhhh… the monkey’s got it in the tree!
    He brings it back. They all drink lemonade. The end.”

    I am so looking forward to the last half of the last series….
    and I hope it doesn’t end like this.

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  20. Desii says:

    That opening scene of season 5 where walt had hair and was in that diner for breakfast and it was his birthday. He had a deal which got him an lmg and somehow he found the stash of guns that mike had hidden. The waitress also called him by a different name, this leads me to assume that he took up saul on that getaway offer and is on the run perhaps? What do you guys think?

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  22. colin says:

    At the diner it is one year later, the first four seasons cover one year and this makes it obvious the last eight episodes will cover at least a year. I just don’t see walt going on the run, he never ran before. Skyler dies and walt kills her. I hate typing on a nook.

  23. Antony says:

    It will end with skylar and Walt jr watching the video he recorded in the first episode!

  24. birdman_36 says:

    Walter will off Hank. Or attempt to kill him but Skyler or Flynn will shoot him right before that happens.

  25. BETTER CALL SAUL says:

    Hank won’t be able to handle the revelation that Walt is Heisenberg and will blow his own brains out. It is foreshadowed in the episode where Walt is crying in his office. Hank holds his hand (like a gun) to his head when closing the door to his office with a sobbing Walt inside.

  26. gaul soodman says:

    By far the best show of all time. i’m getting so anxious from that season opener where walt buys the gun. i can’t imagine walt and hank killing eachother…. i really hope they don’t. i keep thinking its going to involve todd though or even todd’s uncle and his crew oh and btw walt nice job getting involved with nazi’s!

  27. ju says:

    Walt and Jr was watching scar face and Walt said everyone dies on this movie or did he say show? Just a thought

  28. julia says:

    I like the idea of Walt Jr doing the blue meth. This has to come back to Walt and really hit the home he claimed to be doing this all for.

    Can’t see pinkman as a professor, but like the idea of Walt provoking him and Jesse walking away.

    Great show, yes, but if you think it is the best ever than you probably haven’t watched the Wire.