So you’ve never seen “Breaking Bad,” but you’re planning to watch the finale Sunday. Welcome aboard! As a longtime fan, I’m here to bring you up to speed on everything you need to know.
1. You Are Making a Huge Mistake.
Do you read the last page of a mystery first? Watch the end of a movie? No? Then what are you doing? Cheating yourself. “Breaking Bad” is an intricately plotted story that gives the most pleasure to those who pay the most attention. Small details from Season 1 might suddenly pop up years later – like a guest appearance this past Sunday, at the end of the penultimate episode.
Seriously: I would pay $1,000 to be in the position you’re in now — having never seen “Breaking Bad” — just so I could experience its jittery pleasures for the first time. So don’t do this. Click over to Netflix, and watch the pilot. Then watch the next 60 episodes. Then watch the finale. Worried about missing out on “the conversation”? Don’t worry. The conversation will be going on for years.
But OK. You’re going to do this. Will you please at least watch the first episode, though? It lays out what the whole show is about. Show creator Vince Gilligan has described it as “Mr. Chips turns into Scarface.” Humble chemistry teacher Walter White, an underemployed genius who has an expectant wife, Skyler, and a son with cerebral palsy, Walter Jr., decides to start manufacturing meth with his former student, Jesse Pinkman, after visiting a drug bust with his DEA brother-in-law, Hank Schrader.
Also read: ‘Breaking Bad’: Can Walter White Be Saved?
3. All of the Previously Mentioned People, Except Vince Gilligan, are Either Dead or Hate Walt Now.
Making meth has led Walt to kill people and lie to everyone around him. Hank caught him, but a white supremacist gang Walt hired to do his dirty work then immediately killed Hank. The gang also stole millions from Walt, leaving him a mere $11 million of his meth fortune. Walt thinks it’s all kind of Jesse’s fault, because Hank finally caught Walt by getting Jesse to rat him out. Walt had it coming, though. Walt let one of Jesse’s girlfriends, Jane, die of a heroin overdose. He then poisoned Brock, the son of another of Jesse’s girlfriends, Andrea. Walt framed someone else, and Jesse then assisted Walt in killing that person in the coolest way anyone on any TV show has ever died. Jesse is now enslaved by the gang. To punish him for trying to escape, one guy in the gang killed Andrea last week. That guy’s name is Todd, and though he seems nice, he’s killed at least one child and last week threatened to kill Walt and Skyler’s infant daughter. So it’s kind of implied that he’d be down to kill Brock, too. Basically, saving Brock is Jesse’s only reason for living at this point. Todd, by the way, has a crush on a woman named Lydia who deals meth to clients in Europe and used to be in cahoots with Walt. Todd is keeping Jesse around because Jesse’s meth is second only to Walt’s.
4. Jesus, What a Huge Mistake You’re Making.
I just whittled down five seasons of TV into one barely coherent paragraph. Do you think you got more joy out of that paragraph than you would have gotten from watching the episodes themselves, gorgeously guided by Gilligan, written by brilliant writers like Peter Gould and Moira Walley-Beckett, shot by the masterful Michael Slovis and performed by Emmy winners Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn? It’s not to late to stop reading and watch the show. Or at least the pilot, the season 4 finale, and the last three episodes.
5. There is Some Ricin.
Walt has recovered some ricin he incorporated into his scheme to poison Brock, and is going to use it to kill someone else, probably the gang, but maybe his old business partners from before he became a teacher. Your guess is as good as mine.