A wise man with a gun for a hand once said, "There ain't no getting off of this train we're on." If Walter White had even a shred of that same man's sense, he would completely ignore his advice and hop off the train now.
The fifth season of "Breaking Bad" continued on Sunday (August 5) with its fourth episode, "Fifty-One," set one year after the series premiere and, subsequently, one year ahead of the game-changing flash-forward glimpsed in the season five premiere, "Live Free or Die." The shape of Walter's ultimate demise is starting to come into focus, and there are several parties in play that could bring him down, from his own wife Skyler (who finally took a bold stand against the drug kingpin, but at what cost?) to a force no less formidable than the DEA.
Here are the five biggest questions we're still asking the morning after "Fifty-One."
How Will Skyler Stop Walt?
It's all out on the table now: uber-depressed Skyler will do anything and everything in her power to keep Walter Junior and Holly away from their increasingly dangerous father. But Walt has a point. What's she going to do to keep him away from the kids? What can she do without exposing their secret, short of killing him? Is that a route she's willing to explore? I certainly can't be the only one who thought their confrontation might end with Skyler trying to knife the artist occasionally known as Heisenberg, right?
How Will Walt Stop Skyler?
On the other side of the coin, Mr. White wants to stop Mrs. White from keeping the kids away. How does he do that without provoking her into spilling the beans on their illicit operation, short of killing her? Is that a route that he's willing to explore? We've seen Walt do terrible, horrible things over the course of "Breaking Bad." We know that it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better, based on where he is on his 52nd birthday. Walt entered the meth business to make something for his family. But he's also said on numerous occasions that if it's a question of him going down or someone else going down, he'll always choose someone else. Is Skyler's place in Walt's family still a shield she can use against this growing monster? Or has she become "someone else"? Is Walt now at the point where he'll pick himself over his increasingly dangerous wife?
Will The Cancer Return?
The answer seems to be a pretty clear yes. In the flash-forward seen in the season premiere, Walt's health appears to be at a low; he's popping pills in the bathroom, coughing uncontrollably. Don't let that full head of hair fool you: Mr. White isn't well. Whether or not it's the cancer that kills him in the end is another story entirely, but it's just a matter of when, not if, the terminal diagnosis comes in.
Is Madrigal Really Being Monitored?
Did Lydia really try to fool Jesse into thinking her methylamine is being tracked? Or are her fears genuinely well-founded? Mike is so convinced it's the former that he's willing to put a bullet in her brain once and for all. But both Jesse and Walt, whether or not they believe her, aren't willing to let Mike pull the trigger. So Walt has proposed some kind of plan one that we don't know the details of yet that will keep the methylamine flowing. But his plan aside, it doesn't answer the burning question: is Madrigal being watched?
What Stops This Train?
Walt says nothing will get in the way of his operation. He's very, very wrong about that. We don't know the details yet, but there is most assuredly a storm coming, one that's going to force Walt to get a new identity and a big honking machine gun that'll never leave town. We've seen Walt's ego blow up bigger than Hector Salamanca in the past few episodes. Is that what's going to bring him down in the end? Or are the forces behind Madrigal conspiring to take Walt down? Or will it be Skyler who gets the upper hand? No matter who pulls the proverbial trigger, a bullet is headed directly for Walter White's life and we can't wait to analyze the blood spatter.
How do you think Walter White will get taken down? Tell us in the comments section below or theorize with me on Twitter @roundhoward!