The 'Breaking Bad' Dead Pool Results
Greetings, once again to all of you: the would-be knockers, the Walt apologists, the Walt despisers, the Skyler haters, the Skyler defenders, the Jesse Pinkman fans, the Saul Goodman devotees, the Vince Gilligan disciples, the lovers of that zesty chicken from Los Pollos Hermanos, the quaffers of Schraderbrau, the collectors of minerals, the folks that know what truly went down in Chile, the Cult of the Charred Pink Bear, the Steven Gomez Memorial Brigade, the Blueberry-Pie-Eating Star Trek Crew, the Flynn Breakfast Club, Gale’s Wednesday Night Karaoke Singers, Hector’s Bell Ringers, the members of the Robert Forster Relocation Program, the Apology Girl Appreciation Society, Marie’s kleptomania therapy group, Tuco’s grill polishers, and of course those amazing folks that can spell Mike’s last name without looking it up (E-H-R-M-A-N-T-R-A-U-T).
Sorry — I’m not going to offer the same warm welcome to anyone associated with Jack, Todd, their Nazi cohorts, or the axe-wielding cousins. I must draw the line for the moral relativism of the Breaking Bad universe somewhere.
I trust that in the last couple days you’ve had a moment to breathe easily and reflect on the conclusion to the epic story of Walter White and his crystal “Baby Blue.” I hope that you enjoyed the final episodes. I myself was very satisfied if not surprised by the finale itself. As you know, we have some business to resolve involving the final death toll.
Obviously, there are big spoilers that follow if you have not watched Breaking Bad in its entirety.
First, a summary of who lived and died in the final five episodes:
1) Walter White (DEAD, episode 8 - possible 11 points): As many predicted, Walt shuffled off this mortal coil in the final episode “Felina” in the comforting embrace of meth manufacturing machinery. I did briefly consider the possible ambiguity of his final moments technically occurring after the cut to black, but his expression, the camera, the music, and the cops’ reaction to his unmoving form leave no doubt in my mind that he had expired for the purposes of this contest.
2) Jesse Pinkman (ALIVE - 10 points): It was a happy ending for Jesse, or as “happy” as he could receive after the horrible events of this season. Your work isn’t done, though, Jesse. Perhaps you can be a positive mentor to Brock, Kaylee, Kiira (that’s Lydia’s daughter), and maybe even your own little brother Jake that I had almost forgotten before watching old episodes again last week.
3) Skyler White (ALIVE - 7 points): She dodged a grisly fate threatened by both Todd and Lydia, and the scene with Walt’s admission of selfishness to her was my favorite of the finale.
4) Hank Schrader (DEAD, episode 6 - possible 8 points): The loss of Hank in “Ozymandias” despite Walt’s pleas for Jack to spare his life was arguably the toughest casualty to bear throughout the series, and it set in motion all the events that followed.
5) Flynn White (ALIVE - 5 points): Flynn rightfully turned on his father quickly and fiercely. I can’t help but speculating over what will happen when he receives the money on his eighteenth birthday. Would he be suspicious of its source in spite of any assurances by Gretchen and Elliott? If so, would he simply give it to charity out of disgust? Will time cool his anger? Using it to take care of Holly and Skyler for the rest of their lives would be very tempting.
6) Holly White (ALIVE - 5 points): Yeah, several of you incorrectly predicted we’d have some very heavy scenes with the death of Holly, and Todd and the gang also had her in their threatened sights. Ultimately, she overcame the ominous shadow of the charred pink bear despite that pink-eared hoodie she wore. Yes, Holly is safe with her entire life ahead of her …
7) Todd Alquist (DEAD, episode 8 - possible 5 points): The murdering sociopath certainly had it coming, and Jesse strangled the life out of him with those chains.
8) Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (ALIVE - 4 points): I reluctantly am counting her as alive under the rules that I established for this game. I’d love to count her as dead, because she certainly will be imminently by way of the ricin that Walt slipped her in that tea. A possibly relevant question follows: should Walt have tipped his hand, or should he have let her die in ignorance?
No, I must count her as alive, for who am I to shortchange the time Lydia has left and what sort of value she might extract from it, even though she’s not going to be feeling up to doing much with that deadly poison working its way through her body? Time is all relative, after all, and ideally we all should live each day as if it’s our last, right? Will she find the strength to maximize her last hours by spending quality time with her daughter? Will she turn in everyone in her meth network out of spite for what all this has wrought upon her? Will she savor a bucket of chicken from one of Los Pollos Hermanos’ remaining competitors with more of that tea to wash it down? Will she attempt to track down Skyler and murder baby Holly as vengeance? We just don’t know, do we?
9) Marie Schrader (ALIVE - 3 points): There would have been danger had Marie been home when the Nazis ransacked the Schrader home for Hank’s evidence, but Marie escaped alive. Of the characters still with us, I think I’m most sad for her, as I liked her relationship with Hank. I hope that she finds happiness equivalent to as many legitimately acquired tiaras as she could ever want.
10) Saul Goodman (ALIVE - 3 points): Killing Saul would have just been tonally wrong in my opinion. It was nice to see him offer Walt final wise counsel as they were both shipped to parts unknown with identities erased, and I’m happy to know that he’s probably managing that Cinnabon somewhere in Omaha. I’m happier still to see him back in Albuquerque for the prequel.
11) Steven Gomez (DEAD, episode 6 - possible 3 points): Losing Gomie was a bummer, because he was such a good friend to Hank throughout the story, even going outside the rules with him a bit to try to bust Heisenberg once and for all at the end. I don’t know about you, but - like I said - I don’t like Nazis much.
12) Skinny Pete (ALIVE - 1 point): The whole thing felt shady morality-wise to Skinny Pete, but with one last payoff from Heisenberg for a job well done with a menacing laser pointer, he’s off to see where life will take him.
13) Badger (ALIVE - 1 point): He’s come a long way from wearing that giant dollar costume at the realty company. Well, perhaps he hasn’t come that far, but he’s alive and ready to dazzle you with more unrealized Star Trek episode pitches.
So, with four deaths, that’s 66 possible points that could be scored in our game.
The contest was a close one with 13 entries scoring 50 or more and only one point separating our top three competitors. With a score of 57 points and only missing out on alive-but-soon-to-be-dead Lydia and Gomie, our winner is E Robb! Congratulations to E Robb, and thank you to everyone for playing.
I hope to return to Pajiba soon with more diversions such as this one, and I’ll most definitely miss Breaking Bad, an epic tragedy that will go down in the television annals as one of the all-time greats.
In the wake of the series finale during a debate about sympathies, psychopathy, evil, and redemption, C. Robert Dimitri was referred to as a “Walter White explainer” as opposed to a “Walter White apologist.” He’ll happily accept the distinction of that label.