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Let's Totally Overanalyze 'Breaking GOD'


After what felt like forever, Breaking Bad finally, finally came back. What a treat! And based on its teasing reveals, it gives viewers an opportunity to bust out some theories about where the show's final episodes are heading. Who will live? Who will die? And how much ricin does one guy need? In the wake of last night's season premiere, a few new theories have presented themselves.

So where will this season of Breaking Bad take us? There have been many wild theories circulating the Internet. Here are the best of the bunch.

Theory 1: Walt faked his own death

In the flash-forward opening segment, we see Walt return to his destroyed home. (Destroyed by whom? Someone not savvy enough to strip outlet covers. Surely the DEA would know to do that, no?) Someone has spray-painted Heisenberg on the wall, indicating that Walt's secret identity is not so secret in the future; this makes it hard to picture him as a free man, wandering the nation eating at Denny's and buying machine guns that come with instruction manuals. Walt's tried to escape before, with the help of the vacuum repair man, and maybe this time he really went for it, convincingly faking his own death so he doesn't have to look over his shoulder the rest of his life. When neighbor Carol drops her bag of oranges, it's not just from fear of her neighbor the murderer — maybe she's seeing someone she thought was dead. No one will believe her, so Walt has nothing to fear.

Theory 2: Walt kills Skyler

This theory first circulated on Reddit, and was reposted on a Straight Dope message board:

“In Breaking Bad, Walt has a habit of taking on some little traits of the people he has killed. When Walt killed Crazy 8, he started cutting off the crusts of his sandwiches—just as Crazy 8 had done. Gus drives a Volvo. After Walt kills Gus, at the beginning of Season 5 (at the Denny's), Walt is driving a Volvo (w/ NH plates). When Mike and Walt meet at a bar in an earlier season, Walt orders his drink neat while Mike has his on the rocks. After Mike is killed, and Hank offers Walt a drink in his office - he asks for it on the rocks. At that same scene at Denny's, Walt arranges his bacon into his new age. Someone else used to do that. On top of that, he's using Skyler's maiden name on his fake ID. Based on his history of picking up traits from his victims—I believe Walt is going to murder Skyler before the series is over, and it probably had already happened before he showed up at the Denny's in the Season 5 cold open.

Theory 3: Holly will die

Vince Gilligan has gone on record on numerous occasions about the importance of color in Breaking Bad, and how it’s used to foreshadow certain events. The color pink is important on the show because it tends to be associated with death. There’s the charred pink teddy bear, which served as a motif during much of the show—you know, the one that fell out of the 737 plane and landed in Walt’s swimming pool, losing an eye. Then, when Walt witnesses the plane crash, he’s wearing a hot pink V-neck sweater. And, after Jesse’s squeeze Jane dies, he finds a cigarette she left in his car covered in her pick lipstick. The most memorable image of Walt’s daughter Holly, meanwhile, is of her sitting in her stroller in what looks like a pink bear costume. Let’s hope she doesn’t experience the same fate as that poor stuffed animal.

Theory 4: Jesse is going to kill himself

Jesse's been on and off suicide watch since pretty early in the series, and we've seen him sit on the floor and sob many times, just as he was catatonic this week. Let's pair that with another recurring symbol that popped up last night: bugs. Last night a totally demoralized, puffy-eyed Jesse watched a massive cockroach skitter across his coffee table. (Thereby rejecting Hank's life theory that everyone kills roaches. "I mean, you don’t think about it, you stomp them down," he said in season two's "Breakage.") It's a call-back to season two's "Peekaboo," where Jesse spots a beetle on the sidewalk and gingerly picks it up and gazes at. By "Blood Money," he's totally disengaged. In "Peekaboo," Jesse spent time at a squalid junkie den, where he tried to rescue a neglected kid from its filthy circumstances. This week, he's completely haunted by the boy's death he couldn't and didn't prevent. He's not present; he's not observant; he's barely alive as it is. His life is meaningless to him, and in between "Peekaboo" and now, he's had some practice killing some actual bugs. There was the fly in the meth lab, and lest we forget, Jesse and Walt hid among exterminators so they could set up mobile cook-houses. The next time Jesse sees a bug, he is gonna smash it.

P.S. He's the bug.

Theory 5: The ricin cures Walt's cancer

Okay, not really, but it has been used in experimental cancer treatments— and used effectively. Walt has cancer and he has ricin; all that's left is a way to put them together, right?

The Color Xerox Theory (and the “147 Kirks” Theory of Star Trek)

When the scene begins, Badger and Skinny Pete are having an argument about the nature of the transporter technology used throughout the Trek universe. Badger prefers the conventional wisdom that the transporter is, well, a transporter, beaming human beings (and other species) from one place to another. Skinny Pete, however, has a more insidious theory. “The transporters are breakin’ you apart, man! Down to your molecules and bones! They’re makin’a copy! The dude comin’ out on the other side? That dude isn’t you. It’s a color Xerox.” Badger responds, stupefied: “So you’re tellin’ me that every time Kirk went into the transporter, he was killing himself? So over the whole series, there was 147 Kirks?” Essentially, Skinny Pete is putting forward the idea that every episode of Star Trek featured Kirk’s death and rebirth — and that, with each rebirth, Kirk became a xerox copy of yet another xerox copy, moving further and further away from the original Ur-Kirk.

Now, Breaking Bad as a series is built on the central foundation of one character transforming into a different one — “Mr Chips” to “Scarface,” the protagonist becoming the antagonist. But this Color Xerox theory foregrounds another perspective on the show — that Walter White, in attempting to live two concurrent lives (Mr. White the suburban dad chemistry teacher and Heisenberg the meth-cooking drug lord) has actually lived dozens of lives over the course of the show, each of them a pale imitation of the man he used to be. And every time Walt “transported” — which, in this metaphor, means “became Heisenberg” — he lost a little bit more of himself.

Earlier in the episode, we saw flash-forward Walt, a ruin of a man who appears to be living out of his car; his house is an empty wreck. In a sense, this explains why Walt has become simultaneously more monstrous and less complicated during the show: His actual personality has become shorn away. It’s telling that this analogy popped up in the episode where Hank took out the Heisenberg drawing and finally recognized his brother-in-law: Morally, Walt has become a two-dimensional xerox of his former self. This also underlines the show’s obsession with baldness: The loss of hair is a visual representation of each character’s loss of their own personality.

The Pie Eating Contest, Part One: Walt is Spock

Badger’s pie-eating contest is a metaphor for the show’s characters. Although we probably won’t understand exactly which character is which until the series finale. The contest ultimately comes down to three characters: Spock, Kirk, and Chekov. Skinny Pete expresses surprise that Spock could ever beat Kirk; after all, Kirk’s got “room to spare,” and is also the more conventional hero. But Spock always beats Kirk — and sure enough, Kirk winds up vomiting. You could argue that Kirk is supposed to be Gus Fring, who by all rights should have defeated Walt in the extended Three-Dimensional Chess Match of Death that was Breaking Bad Season 4. (Gus vomited out the poison tequila back in “Salud.”) You could also argue that Kirk is supposed to be Hank Schrader, who is a more conventional protagonist for a TV show — he’s a detective, basically — but who doesn’t have the stomach for the dirty work Walt engages in regularly.

Chekov thinks he can beat Spock, though. He has a special system: Scotty is transporting all the pie Chekov eats out into space. Essentially, Chekov is attempting to imitate Spock. It works out terribly for him: Scotty makes a mistake, Chekov’s guts explode, and he winds up coughing up blood.

Theory #1: Chekov is Jesse, and this story implies that this season will culminate in a showdown between Walt and his former protégé, wherein Jesse will attempt to beat Walt at his own game. It won’t go well for him.

Theory #2: Chekov is Todd, Walt’s new protégé and the replacement-Jesse. We can assume that Walt left Todd in charge of the meth business after he retired — and from what Lydia said on last night’s episode, the new meth isn’t holding up to the high standard of Walt’s product. (Todd is attempting to pass his own meth off as Walt’s meth, like the imitation-Blue Sky that used to pop up on the street.) Chekov’s death implies that, without Walt, the meth business is going to collapse.

Theory #3: This whole pie-eating contest is actually a retelling of the Walt-Jesse-Jane triangle from season 2. Jesse and Jane thought they could defeat Walt, blackmailing him into giving them cash so they could run away together. But Jesse/Kirk collapsed, and Jane/Chekov, the lead architect in the anti-Walt gambit, wound up vomiting/spraying blood out of her/his mouth.) (This reading is helped along by the brief aside about Uhura and Scotty, who are really just other versions of Jesse and Jane: From Walt’s perspective, Jesse was distracted by Jane, much like how Scotty is distracted by Uhura.) This implies that the truth about Jane will emerge at some point in Breaking Bad‘s final season.

The Pie Eating Contest, Part Two: Walt is Chekov

Badger’s whole pitch revolves around an intriguing use of the transporter: Using it to beam something out of a person, rather than beaming a person somewhere. Later in last night’s episode, we saw Walter White doing something similar: He’s back in chemotherapy, attempting to purge the bad cells out of his body. In a sense, Walt is also attempting to purge his past as a drug dealer — to eradicate the part of his life that was Heisenberg and the blue meth. (What is Chekov removing from his body? Blueberry pie.) We already know this isn’t going to go well — Flash-forward Walt is on the run, and his old life appears pretty much destroyed. Theories abound about what led Walt to that place; the most likely culprit at this point is the Phoenix Guys who made a deal with Walt last season. But this implies that something Walt does to keep his identity a secret will directly lead to his downfall.


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