Thursday, August 16, 2012
Creator Vince Gilligan always described the show as taking Mr. Chips and turning him into Scarface. At first it was hard to imagine him pulling it off, especially with the mild-mannered Walter White played by Bryan Cranston who was best known for the bumbling dad on Malcolm in the Middle.
Yet here we are, five episodes into the final season and the Scarface persona looms large in Walter. The season even opens with him acquiring a large gun, not unlike the one that Tony Montana wields in his final moments.
Could we actually get an epic shootout like in the movie? Did Gilligan actually really mean it when he referenced Scarface?
If so, who will be the one to assume the role of the assassin to shoot White in the back? At this point, it could be any one of the supporting cast and it would be perfectly apt. Will it be Pinkman, his manipulated partner? Or Skyler, the estranged wife? Or Hank, the DEA agent and brother-in-law? Hell, I even see Walter Jr pulling the trigger and feeling that it would make sense.
What everyone seems to be eagerly anticipating is what ultimately happens to Walter White by the finale.
But what happens to Jesse Pinkman?
Jesse's evolution in the series has been quite remarkable. We first view him as the bad guy who allows Walt into this horrible world. But over the seasons, our sympathies have shifted away from Walt and towards Jesse who really is a compassionate, innocent guy. He's had to do horrible things, but he's also suffered greatly because of them, which is something that Walt doesn't seem to feel.
This season's premiere had Jesse come up with the Magnet Plan to solve their momentary problem. Then came the great train heist which was also Jesse's idea. At this point, he's still trying to do things without hurting or killing anyone. But in the end, someone... an innocent boy, gets killed.
The scene of him coming up with the train idea reminded me of the scene in The Godfather when the brothers are arguing what to do about the rival mobster and crooked cop. Michael is mocked at first but then the camera pulls in closer as he describes his plan. I saw the same effect in Breaking Bad.
The creators have been transparent about White becoming Scarface. But are they also setting up Pinkman to be Michael Corleone? A good natured man who inevitably gets pulled into a dirty business. Will he end up losing everything and everyone he loves and wind up doing horrible things? It would be a tragic turn for a good person, which is what made The Godfather so compelling.
This season's promotions show Walt and the line "All Hail the King." I wouldn't be surprised if somehow Walt gets offed Sonny or Scarface style and the king turns out to be Jesse, the reluctant Godfather. However it turns out, I can't wait to see what happens.