Close of business: how will Breaking Bad end?

The theories about the final episode of Breaking Bad are coming thick and fast. We take a look at how one of TV's most popular shows could end.

Walter White, as played by Bryan Cranston, in Breaking Bad. Ursula Coyote / AMC
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Has there ever been a show whose final episode has been as hotly debated as Breaking Bad's? On tomorrow's third episode of the second half of this final season, we get one step closer to seeing how it all ends for Walt and co, and theories are flying around the internet, with everything from characters' clothes to the subtext of rants about Star Trek being scrutinised for clues. Some of the analyses are a little out there, but as BB's creator Vince Gilligan told GQ last week: "I obsess a great deal more than I should over those details. I sweat the small stuff."

1. The Sin-Eater: Walt kills Skyler

One ingenious fan has suggested that Walt takes on the traits of people whom he murders, like "sin-eaters" who ritually take on the guilt of the dead. He cuts the crusts off his sandwiches after killing Krazy-8; starts taking his drinks "on the rocks" after killing Mike; and starts driving a Volvo and folding a towel to kneel on when he's sick, just like Gus, after blowing him up in the nursing home. In the midseason premiere's flash-forward sequence, we saw Walt arranging his bacon into his age on his birthday, just like Skyler did for him at the beginning of the show, and using her maiden name as his alias. He's also wearing a baggy, army-style jacket, like Jesse. Does this mean bad news for both of them?

Plausibility 1/5. It's a great theory, but Walt has always said that family comes first.


The Grateful Dead:

Walt risks everything to protect Skyler

The name of the last-ever episode is


, and while this is obviously an anagram of "finale", some fans have pointed out that it could also be a reference to a Grateful Dead song called

El Paso

, which tells the story of a cowboy who kills another man over a woman, called Felina, and goes into hiding. But he can't forget her and eventually returns to find her, even though he knows he'll be killed. Will Walt return from New Hampshire to save Skyler, only to be killed by Lydia and Todd's group of meth cooks and dealers?

Plausibility 3/5. This would explain why Walt returns to the scene of his crimes.


Star Trek:

Walt and Jesse face off

According to this theory, Badger's idea for a

Star Trek

script has parallels in the world of

Breaking Bad

: Kirk is Hank, the conventional hero; Walt is Spock, the superbrain; and Jesse is Chekhov, who tries to outsmart Spock. His plan ends up backfiring on him and he's killed when his assistant slips up. Is Jesse going to try to play Walt at his own game and fail?

Plausibility 2/5. Gilligan's style is more about subtle visual cues, not wholesale allegories - although Jesse does have a big target on his back right now.


Reservoir Dogs:

Jesse gets away

Another bizarre theory connects Jesse (last name: Pinkman) and Walter (last name: White) to Mr Pink and Mr White from Quentin Tarantino's

Reservoir Dogs

. If so, Hank (Mr Orange, due to the fact he's a wounded cop) and Walt will find themselves in a Mexican standoff and Jesse will run off with the loot.

Plausibility 0/5. Although it would be pretty interesting if Gilligan created an entire five-season series just to pay homage to a 20-year-old film.



Everybody dies

Gilligan has often said that the premise of Breaking Bad was to take the sweet-natured schoolteacher Mr Chips and turn him into Scarface, Pacino's drug kingpin who, in the film of that name, ends up losing his family and his life. Walt and his son watch Scarface in season five, episode nine, and Walt Jr points out: "Everyone dies in this movie, don't they?" If this isn't foreshadowing, it's definitely an intentional red herring. Plus, we know Walter returns to town a year later with a capsule of ricin and an M60: is he planning to go down in a blaze of glory?

Plausibility 4/5. This show's writers aren't shy about killing characters - and it would give the finale the gravitas of a classical tragedy such as Hamlet, to which Breaking Bad has been compared.

Breaking Bad

can be seen at 11pm on Tuesdays, on OSN First HD

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