By Margaret Lyons
“Breaking Bad” comes back on Sunday. Maybe you’ve heard? As we gear up for the show’s final eight episodes, let’s refresh our memories on where we left the main characters at the end of last season.
Hank (Dean Norris): Hank was mid-crap and searching for reading material when he found Walt’s copy of “Leaves of Grass” — a copy with an inscription from the deceased Gale (David Costabile). You could practically see the wheels turning in Hank’s head; he’d pored over Gale’s notebooks, and even wondered aloud what W.W. stood for, other than Walt Whitman. What we don’t know is how quickly Hank’s going to piece everything together — or how Walt’s going to dodge Hank’s inquiries. (Walt’s been pretty good at hiding in plain sight so far.) Will Hank be able to make his case against Walt faster than Walt can come up with a way to kill Hank?
Marie (Betsy Brandt): She wore a yellow shirt! This could mean that she’s pregnant, it could mean mostly nothing, or it could be a reminder that even predictable people can surprise you — and Walter White doesn’t deal that well with surprises. Hank and Marie had been taking care of baby Holly and Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte), but Marie was starting to think that it was time the kids went back to live with their parents …
Skyler (Anna Gunn): … which scares Skyler, who’s still terrified of her husband, terrified of what their lives have become, and terrified that Walt’s actions have endangered their children. (And they have! Gus Fring can’t be the only person who’s thought “I will kill your infant daughter.”) She’s been heading up the money-laundering aspect of Walt’s drug business, thanks to the car wash, and she’s been stashing bricks of cash in a storage unit. It’s more money than they could spend in “10 lifetimes,” she tells Walt. She wants out. She’s always wanted out, really.
Jesse (Aaron Paul): Speaking of always wanting out, Jesse is done too. (Famous last words, though; he’s tried to quit before.) Now that his mentor Mike (Jonathan Banks) is dead — at the hands of Walt, lest we forget, even if Jesse is still in the dark — Jesse has even less of a reason to stay in the criminal game. On last season’s finale, Walt dropped $5 million off at Jesse’s house, which seemed like a gesture of goodwill, but that’s how lots of Walt’s actions seem. They just never are. Jesse’s still troubled by the fact that Todd shot and killed a child, and even though there’s a lot of other blood on his hands, Jesse’s the kind of guy who can really fixate, and he’s fixated on this.
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Walt (Bryan Cranston): Walt killed Mike (out of spite, sort of; he didn’t need to), orchestrated the simultaneous murders of nine prisoners who knew his identity, and then negotiated with Lydia from Madrigal to sell his meth to people in the Czech Republic — which made him a ton, ton, ton of money. He told Skyler he was “out,” but everything we know about Walt makes that seem not true and not possible. He’s a liar, a master manipulator, and he loves the perverse power and prestige that come with being a drug lord. Might he try to convince Skyler that he’s no longer Heisenberg? Sure. But there’s no way he’s hanging up the hat. Oh, and he got another CAT scan. Maybe Skyler’s prayers have been answered and his cancer is back.
Saul (Bob Odenkirk): Last we saw Saul, he was trying to keep the DEA from “harassing” Mike. But since there’s still a potential Saul spinoff in the works, perhaps we’ll see some more of his lawyering in the next few weeks.
The ricin: There’s still ricin! Walt had it with him when he met with Madrigal exec and jitterer-in-chief Lydia (Laura Fraser), but he didn’t kill her … yet.