‘Breaking Bad’ season 5: Can Jesse Pinkman be redeemed?

In some of our past debates looking ahead at “Breaking Bad” season 5, we have asked what to us is a key question to the series’ endgame — is there any way that Walter White can get out of this alive? His downward spiral has been one of the most notable in quite possibly the history of scripted television; it has been slow, methodical, and even as Bryan Cranston’s character becomes more and more unlikable you can’t help but be captivated by him.

Perhaps it is the dichotomy that makes Vince Gilligan’s product as stellar a piece of work as it is — on one side, you fall the fall of Walter. On the other, you have the potential rise of Jesse Pinkman. Here you have a guy who does not necessarily seem that interested in running any sort of illegal business anymore, and seems to be somewhat making some progress in his life.

With Walter, the road ahead seems to be one draped in darkness — but for Jesse, there could be one with hope. We’ve always felt that these two characters established a relationship courtesy of being in the right place at the right time, and were they to meet years before or later, it simply wouldn’t work. It it like they are lines traveling at a narrow angle, and they remained close even after they crossed for a time. Now, those lines are starting to slowly drift in different directions.

What is going to be fascinating to watch with Aaron Paul’s character this year is whether or not he operates with a “kill or be killed” mentality. When you are around someone like Walter, you can never really feel safe — and there are effectively only four ways that he can handle it:

1. Kill Walter

2. Risk his own life by trying to work with him

3. Run away and hope for protection

4. Work with the police, and here you’re probably still looking at some hard time

In season 4, the cat-and-mouse game was between Walt and Gus — now, it’s setting up to be one between Walt and Jesse, and after five seasons of the show, this is exactly the way that it should be. Let’s just hope that the lines don’t drift apart so soon that we miss out on some great interaction along the way.

New “Breaking Bad” episodes officially kick off on July 15. If you have not caught the first promo for the season yet, be sure to head on over to this link.

Photo: AMC

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