If Walter White is the king, then Jesse Pinkman is his queen. (Think in chess terms, Jesse, and you won’t be so offended.) These two diametrically opposed characters have always been at the heart of “Breaking Bad,” cooking up that irresistible “blue stuff” in the back of an RV, or in the secret drug factory beneath a laundromat, or any other number of locations.
Now, with their chief rival Gustavo Fring out of the way, the path is seemingly clear for White and Pinkman to take their operation to the next level — and they’ll do exactly that in season five of the AMC drug drama, premiering on July 15. It’s certainly a far cry from where these two men were just a few episodes ago, as series lead Bryan Cranston pointed out in a recent interview with MTV News.
“They have always had this oil and water relationship, because they’re so different,” the Emmy-winning actor told us. “Through it all, they’ve been through a tremendous ordeal in this past year. It’s only been a year in storytelling time. They have to endure. They have to get along. They have to figure it out — and they did.”
Figuring it out was not easy, of course: Gus, recognizing the threat posed by Walt, kept the one-time chemistry teacher and his deadbeat partner separated through much of season four, in an effort to foster some trust between himself and Pinkman. The plan almost worked, too, until Walt convinced Jesse that Gus had poisoned his girlfriend’s son — a dastardly act that was, in actuality, a ruse carried out by Walt himself. Jesse does not know this, of course, keeping his relationship with Walt stable … for now.
“Now, we’re together. We’re cohesive. We’re working it out,” said Cranston. “And we’re starting a new endeavor.”
What kind of new endeavor, you ask? Cranston explained: “We start cooking again. Walt figures out a very clever way to disguise it. Obviously we don’t have the means or wherewithal to make another super lab, but we do it like a poor man’s super lab … and in so doing, we need to expand our partnership.”
Expansion of the partnership means expansion of the “Breaking Bad” cast, including a role for newcomer Jesse Plemons. Best known for playing unwitting killer of rapists Landry Clarke on “Friday Night Lights,” Plemons joins Walt and Jesse’s crew as Todd, described by Cranston as “a wild card.”
“There’s some friction when he joins the group,” the actor teased of Plemons’ character. “We think we know him, and then it’s like, ’What just happened? What did he do?’ It’s fun for [Plemons] to play because it keeps him guessing, and it keeps [Walt and Jesse] as a partnership guessing, too.”
Even if the criminal occasionally known as Heisenberg is left scratching his bald head over Todd’s actions, Cranston himself is very certain about Plemons’ contributions to “Breaking Bad.”
“He’s a great kid with a good attitude,” said Cranston. “A really good actor. He’s a nice addition. There’s an interesting quality to him: he seems older than he is. There’s a presence and a weight to him that makes him seem more advanced in age than his true age. He still has some innocence to him, too.”
As for Walt’s other new recruits, Cranston stayed appropriately cryptic: “There’s someone else who comes into play [with the partnership] too, who you’ll be familiar with.” So place your bets now, “Breaking Bad” fans — which familiar face is about to join Walter White and the Jesses on the dark side?
Tell us what you think of the “Breaking Bad” news in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!