Breaking Bad: 5 Ways the Show Might End

Warning: This post contains spoilers both real and imagined.

It's the beginning of the end.

The second half of Breaking Bad's fifth and final season starts Sunday, August 11. The eight-episode run will conclude Vince Gilligan's award-winning crime drama about chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-lord Walter "I Am the One Who Knocks" White, his family, partners, and enemies. Based on what the show's actors and Gilligan have said, viewers are in for a bloodbath.

See also: 5 Essential Ingredients for Your Breaking Bad Party

As fans parse the interviews, teaser videos, and recaps of the last installation of episodes, the million-dollar question is: How will Breaking Bad end? A few scenarios come to mind. Some we're hopeful about, and others we shudder to imagine. Through the remaining episodes we'll continue mulling over the cable masterpiece and how its characters' stories will be resolved -- or not. Of course, the current mulling does yield interesting results. Here are a few theories we've cooked up.

Hank Prevails If there is any justice in blue-meth-addled Albuquerque, Walt's brother-in-law Hank, who serves as the show's moral compass, will reveal that the former chemistry teacher is a murderer and all-around despicable human. At the end of the last string of episodes, Hank realized that his nerdy, cancer-afflicted relative and Heisenberg, he of porkpie hats and manipulation, are one and the same. Here's hoping he can use his position as a DEA agent to bring down the kingpin and get Jesse on board to take down Heisenberg.

Walt Survives, Is Evil Forever We genuinely hope this isn't how ish goes down. But we can't help but consider Walt winning as a possible outcome. The goateed one knows no remorse. He wants power -- and anything that gets in his way is worth crushing, poisoning, running over, belittling, and/or generally annihilating. Unless he makes a major mistake (which we think Jesse Plemons' character Todd might qualify as), his desire to preside ruthlessly over his druggy kingdom could conquer all.

Walt Dies of Cancer Twist! Instead of finishing the season as a major force of evil, Walter White will be confined to a hospital bed. This one doesn't seem super-likely, but he would be able to easily foot his medical bills this time around.

Jesse Becomes Kingpin It would be a sad way to close out the show because Jesse so badly wants out of the drug game, but if Walt dies (highly likely) then Jesse could assume the methy throne and run things his way. Having someone with a conscience and a knack for cooking run the operation would make it more stable. And we really want to see things turn out all right for our favorite troubled addict with a heart of gold. Bitch.

Sole Survivor Saul Goodman Spins Off Slippery Saul Goodman serves as legal counsel for Walt's operation, and since he can wriggle himself and clients out of sticky situations like nobody's business, there's a fair chance he'll escape this season unharmed. This coupled with Gilligan's admitted desire to create a spin-off show for the hilarious slimeball means that the show's smooth-talking crim-in-al lawyer has a future beyond Walter White's storyline. If everyone else on the show gets killed just so Bob Odenkirk can play Saul for a few more years, we're totally okay with it.

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