‘Breaking Bad’: The Questions ‘Granite State’ Answered About The Finale

The penultimate episode answered a number of our most burning questions.

“Granite State,” last’s night episode of “Breaking Bad,” closed the chronological loop opened by the flash forwards throughout season five. We know exactly what happened in New Hampshire to Mr. Lambert before he arrived in New Mexico on his 52nd birthday, but it all came with a price. We watched in agony as Jesse attempted to escape from captivity at the hands of Todd and the neo-Nazis, only to witness Andrea killed on her doorstep. (Someone needs to kill Todd now!)

As we looked ahead to last night’s episode, we posited a few questions that would have to be answered before the finale next week, and “Breaking Bad” delivered on almost every single one. So let’s take a look back at the things we learned from “Granite State.”

What Does Walter Do In New Hampshire?
In our preview of “Granite State,” we predicted that Walter wouldn’t be great at lying slow since “sedentary life doesn’t suit him.” While we were half right, a lot of what defined Walter’s time in New Hampshire was how little he did. With his cancer back with a vengeance, the walk from his shack to the front gate — never mind the eight-mile walk to town — proved too much for Walter for at least a couple months. But once his plan to clandestinely send money to his family came together, nothing could keep Walter from doing what it was he set out to do in the first place, provide for Skylar, Walter Jr., and Holly.

What Happens To The Whites in The “Ozymandias” Fallout?
Speaking of which, they’re not doing well. Skylar has taken a job in taxi dispatch and hired a public defender, who doesn’t seem to be up to the challenge of defending Heisenberg’s queen. If that wasn’t bad enough, Flynn won’t even accept the $10,000 (or however much cash fits in an Ensure box) from his disgraced daddy. Without Walter there to take the fall, the weight of the law if falling squarely on his family, something Saul wisely predicted.

What Is Jesse’s Situation, Months Down The Road?
Things went from horrible to unspeakable for Jesse Pinkman. As if being a meth slave wasn’t bad enough, Jesse has managed to sink even lower. Walter watched Jane die? That’s pretty bad. Oh, now he’s being forced to cook meth on the threat that Todd will hurt Brock and Andrea? This is getting pretty dark. Oh my God, Todd killed Andrea!? This is perhaps as bleak as the show has ever gone. It was pouring salt on an already salted wound. Is Jesse past the point of a redemptive happy(ish) ending? If Vince Gilligan is feeling merciful, he’ll let Jesse live and give him Brock as a way to rebuild a life for the two of them.

What Brings Walter Back To New Mexico?
Damn you, Charlie Rose! Of all the things that could set Walter off on his thirty hour drive back to New Mexico, did anyone guess that it would be Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, Walter’s former Gray Matter partners? It does make sense thematically, however. The Gray Matter debacle has always been a sticking point for Walter, bringing it up as recently as the first half of season five. If his Heisenberg persona was a violent reaction to the powerlessness of his cancer diagnosis, the origin of that inferiority can be traced all the way back to college with his business partner and the woman he loved.

Who Is Returning To New Mexico, Walter Or Heisenberg?
Whether you think the ricin is meant for Gretchen and Elliott or it will be a Stevia replacement for Lydia ultimately depends on whether you think there’s any good left in Walt. Elliott and Gretchen made their personal theories clear on “Charlie Rose.” They do not believe that Walter White exists anymore; there is only Heisenberg, an ironic moment considering their role in his creation. Gilligan and company have set up this question as the ultimate reveal for the show. Who lives and who dies will certainly shock us all, but now that Walter has lost it all, what he chooses for his final act on “Breaking Bad” will dictate who Walter White really is. Was the empire building a gambit to reclaim his stolen power, or was it all, as he’s insisted over and over again, for his family?

Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.
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