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The cards are dealt, the die is cast, the end is nigh. Walter White is dead, long live Heisenberg. The “Cough Theory” advanced by Andrew Romano over at the Daily Beast feasibly depicted the death of W.W. in three stages. First, his money will never reach his family. Saul explained that Walt would never be able to get his family any of the funds he worked so hard to secure for them, the way Mike couldn’t before he was unceremoniously sent off to Belize, not that the Whites would necessarily want it. Walt Jr. made that clear in his request that his father “just die already.” Next, he’s sequestered Osama bin Laden-style at a fenced in compound cut-off from the empire that would allow him to plot the revenge he so desperately seeks. Lastly his wedding ring slips off his finger signaling the demise of his marriage which ended one episode earlier in a knife fight and kidnapping. Poor Skylar who Walt sought to protect then co-opt is finally suffering death by a thousand cuts at the hands of the Feds who’ll make sure that she personally pays for all of Walt’s sins in his absence. With Heisenberg ascendant there are a few things we can count on.

Breaking Bad’s strict adherence to the Chekov’s Gun principle means that we will see an epic firefight between Heisenberg and the Nazis for Walt’s remaining $69 million and control of the meth operation. With his M60 at the ready, Walt will have to assume the higher ground and lure the Nazis out onto the open plain, not unlike Jack’s crew did to Declan, in order to even the odds. Jesse ironically will leverage the chemistry education he received at the hands of Mr. White to poison Todd in revenge for what he did to Andrea, and it will be very personal. As the main product distributor, Lydia will remain alive to ensure supply chain continuity. With his finances secure and the operation intact, Walt will orchestrate the ricin-assisted demise of Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz while making millions off the well-timed collapse of his former company Gray Matter.

With his return, the criminal investigation of his family will cease and Skylar, Flynn and Holly White along with Marie Schrader can return to therapy and hashing out a post-Walter White existence. It won’t matter to Heisenberg. Heisenberg doesn’t have family. Heisenberg doesn’t need family. Walt and Walt’s cancer will both go into remission. This leaves Jesse Pinkman.

The ever insightful Matt Seitz at Vulture had one of the best predictions for a “Jesse survives” scenario but this has never been a show about Jesse winning. Like in the eminently memorable “…and the Bag’s in the River” from Season 1 where Walt cut off the bread crusts for Krazy-8 and had to know him as a person before he was able to dispatch him, Walt will find out Jesse is still alive and he’ll decisively cross the line that he’s avoided so many times before. In a final call back to the “Box Cutter” episode in Season 4, Walt will extinguish his weaker half for “taking liberties that weren’t his to take.” In the process, Walt will take his last steps toward becoming The Cook, The Man Who Killed Gus Fring. Say his name.

© AMC's Breaking Bad courtesy of, 2013

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