The highly anticipated fifth and final Season of this great drama got started several weeks ago, and already there are big changes from the previous fantastic seasons. We have previously discussed this show at length, and I won’t try to link to all those discussions, but suffice it to say that this season is living up to the high standards set by the foregoing episodes.
This season begins pretty much exactly where season four left off, which means that Walt is now in undisputed control of the meth production and distribution in his corner of the world. We all know, however, that nature (and drug dealers) abhor a vacuum, so it’s obvious that Walt has to move fast if he wants to consolidate his hold on the business. Walt seems to have found new confidence after prevailing in his epic battle with the previous kingpin Gustavo Fring (played with exquisite perfection by the incomparable Giancarlo Esposito, whom it is really sad to see leave the show) and with his new confidence comes a new ruthlessness. He appears determined to continue to build his empire, at whatever cost to himself or his family.
We have previously discussed the downward spiral of Walt from a mild mannered, if intense and unfulfilled, high school chemistry teacher to potentially the meth lord of the southwest, and this season continues that progression. We have also discussed the issue of whether Walt is still a sympathetic or relatable character, or at what point he loses that quality where viewers can sympathize or relate to him. It seems to me that Walt probably crossed that line some time ago, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care what happens to him or don’t at least want to see what it is he will do next.
In the latest episode, we find out more about Walt’s past in a company called Grey Matter that Walt started with his friends Gretchen and Elliot after college. Walt finally tells the story of selling his share of the company for $5,000 back when the company was still very young. The company is now worth over two billion dollars. That story seems to drive Walt more than any other thing, and seems to fuel a resolve in him never to make the same mistake again. He will not lose out on the potential of great success ever again. That kind of resolve can be a very good thing, I suppose, but in this case it seems to be driving Walt down a road that may have very dire consequences indeed.
Are you watching this season? What are your thoughts on it so far? Have most of your questions from last season been answered? What are your predictions about where this season is headed?