Breaking Bad has been ridiculous this season. Not only has it broadcast an episode with, arguably, the best final minute on television (the episode "One Minute"), but it's answered every question, has not introduced any red herring plot lines and has gone above and beyond other shows because of the quality of its writing and the nuanced performances of its actors.
If Jonathan Banks doesn't win an Emmy for his performance as Mike, then the terrorists have already won.
I've watched the penultimate episode, "Half Measures," twice since its premiere on Sunday and have some theories about the show and what may happen in next week's season finale. There be spoilers (but also obviously brilliant insights) after the jump...
1) I've said since episode three that Jesse would be dead by the end of the season. My tumultuous relationship with the most recent season of Damages has taught me that main characters are indeed disposable. I was about to scream I TOLD YOU SO during the last 90 seconds of the episode until Walt and his Aztec barged in and turned those drug dealers into road kill. Jesse's got nine lives, but only because Walt is his guarding angel.
2) Walter's finally on par with Esposito. It wasn't a mistake that they sat on the same side of the table when confronting Jesse. It's small details like this that make this show one of the best on television.
3) I really enjoyed Dustin's review of last week's episode over at Pajiba. He posits that an innocent will bear the brunt of Walt's actions... Walt Jr. in particular. I ran this theory by my friends and they lamented the very real possibility that one of their favorite supporting characters might die. It's a sad reality, both that innocents pay the price of the drug game and that five grown men almost cried at the notion of a fictional person's death.
4) Okay... I understand the father/son dynamic, but why the fuck does Walt care about Jesse so much? I mean, Jesse is entirely selfish, fucks things up at every turn and buys into his own shit. Yes, he's done some smart things (like fuck over his parents and getting the house back), but it's always at the expense of others. Maybe his humanity died when Jane did, and arguably that was Walt's fault because he failed to act when he saw her choking. My guess is that Walt's guilt makes him dedicated to Jesse, as well as some sense of fatherly responsibility. Jesse is also Walt's id – the impulsive and emotional element that the mild mannered, straight-laced father never could bring himself to be.
Regardless of which way this series goes next week, we're not going to be disappointed. Unlike Lost, I think writers know where this is going and there's a definite end in sight. My friend Jon thinks that the series will end when Walt dies of cancer. I agree; I don't think he'll overtake Esposito as the head of the American cartel or anything insane. I'm counting on Vince Gilligan and the writers to not jump the shark on this one – the plot lines and character development they have now are far too good for any stunts. I'm also certain that we'll see the death of an innocent next week. I also think Hank's going to walk. And maybe Skylar will stop being such a bitch. Whatever they have in store for us, it's going to be an intense 62 minutes.