There are (with commercials) only 150 minutes of "Breaking Bad" left before it's all over. That might seem like a lot or too little depending on how you look at it, but no matter how you slice it, Vince Gilligan and company have a number of questions to answer before the countdown clock hits zero.
As we turn to tonight's episode, "Granite State," we're left wondering what events transpire to bring us to Walter White's 52nd birthday, the day each half-season's opener has previewed in short teases. We still have a little ways to go before a bearded Walter arrives in Albuquerque, and this is what we're hoping to find out before he gets there.
What does Walter do in New Hampshire?
Was he watching the leaves change color? Sampling maple syrup? Or was he just checking out that great science museum that they have in Boston? It's possible that all Walter does during his stay in New Hampshire is lie low with his barrel of cash, but we get the feeling that the sedentary life doesn't suit him. He spends enough time up there to grow a beard and get his hair back, so how does he pass the time?
What happens to the White family in the fall-out from "Ozymandias"?
Walter may have been trying to clear Skylar of any blame with his overly aggressive phone call, but could any amount of yelling completely free her from the legal ramifications of her part in Heisenberg's antics? Marie may not have known the whole story when she told Skylar that things would be difficult, but the sentiment remains true. Walter Jr. had his world torn apart, and Skylar has to find a way to keep what remains of her family together. Things aren't getting an easy now that Walt is gone.
What is Jesse's situation, months down the road?
Jesse is in a bad way when Walter takes off for New Hampshire. It's hard to think of a worse existence than being forced to cook with Todd on the threat that something awful will happen to Andrea and Brock if he doesn't comply. It seems that the real reason Todd suggested Uncle Jack spare Jesse's life was so that they could get the quality of the meth back up to Heisenberg's standards, so once Jesse has demonstrated how to make the stuff blue, how much longer does he have to live? He could be in a very different situation by the time Walter shows up with his M60. Speaking of which...
What brings Walter back to New Mexico?
A related question would also be "Who is the M60 for?" but the last two episodes have made a compelling argument for the answer: "Todd, Uncle Jack and the white supremacists." That makes sense since Walter will need all of the fire power can he get his hands on to combat their arsenal. The more tantalizing question is, "Who is the ricin for?" Regardless of the intended target, something forces Walter to drive those 30 hours from the Granite State to New Mexico (if you only stop for gas), whether it's his family or Jesse or the other six barrels of money.
Who is returning to New Mexico: Walter or Heisenberg?
Without getting into an argument over whether the two are separate at all, Walter has given no indication of whether he has left his ruthless days behind him. His phone call to Skylar in "Ozymandias" remains a sticking point for fans unsure of how to interpret the tears that ran down Walter's face as he said the most awful things to his wife. Has good guy Walter from season one finally returned? Or is he truly lost? No amount of crying can erase the horrors he has acted out for five seasons of television, but will Walter's return trip to Albuquerque be a last-ditch attempt at redemption or the final step in his transformation from man to monster?