Emily and Matt,
It’s an understatement to say that I’m looking forward to the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad. I feel the same way as I did as a kid on Christmas Eve—I’ll soon know what’s been kept under wraps for so long. Only instead of gifts and lovely grub, this reveal will surely involve sadness, horror, and bloodshed. Still, like those long-ago Christmases, the anticipation has me goofily excited and, I admit, a little worried that after all that buildup, I’ll wind up disappointed.
At the end of the first half of the final season, Walt had mopped up the remnants of Gus Fring’s organization by slaughtering his men, and he had shifted from ruling the Albuquerque meth biz to conquering a whole new continent, thanks to Lydia’s business connections in the Czech Republic. He told Skyler, “I’m out,” and he seemed to mean it. And then Hank used the bathroom, read the inscription inside Leaves of Grass, and realized that his brother-in-law, Walter White, was the drug kingpin he’s chasing.
My guess is that in the coming episodes we’ll move from Walt Whitman to another 19th-century writer, Herman Melville. Hank is Capt. Ahab, and Heisenberg is the white whale he needs to land. (Heisenberg even took away his legs—though in Hank’s case, it was a temporary loss.)
After Episode 408, we talked about all the things that could go wrong with Hank’s pursuit—after all, it really doesn’t look good for a senior DEA agent to be so closely linked to an international drug kingpin. My concerns were alleviated when I interviewed Vince Gilligan shortly after that episode aired. When I asked him to describe Hank in a few words, he said, “Truth at all costs.” That doesn’t sound like a guy who’ll allow family ties to derail justice.
It’s time to sharpen your harpoon, Hank.