Alternate Final Episodes of “Breaking Bad”

I’m back in St. Paul. It’s weird, and to cope with the weirdness, I have been cleaning out my junk drawer. But I don’t own a junk drawer anymore, not after moving apartments five times in the past year and a half – all my physical junk has been de-drawered, un-junked, Real Simple would be proud – and so the closest I’ve got to it is a hard drive.

So here, in St. Paul, tucked up in my brother’s former bedroom, now my mom’s office, now my just-for-the-month bedroom, I’ve spent the night clicking on the past two years’ randomly-strewn-about documents and being surprised at their contents. I don’t even remember writing or reading or correcting half of these things. Looking back on it, I’ve given a lot of people some very bad advice on resumes and cover letters. My workshop letters are full of swears. And why are there so many half-finished stories?

However, there are some (a few) treasures too. Diamonds in the shit heap, I guess. For instance, when I opened the document called “IDEA”, I expected at least a few sentences of plot, but instead all I got was a simple, very assertive fragment: “A herd of super-sentient deer.” (I’m keeping that, by the way. It’s mine. Or someone’s, on my computer.)

And then there was this.

Remember, if you will, late September of last year. Nobody had invaded Ukraine yet. The trees were pretty, probably. And the Internet was jumping up and down about the penultimate episode of “Breaking Bad.” I was, too, but in a kind of ironic and distanced way (I thought) that manifested itself in a near-constant urge to parody the show. “Wouldn’t it be funny if it ended this way?” my friend and I kept laughing. “Oh, man, no, but what about…” Finally, I couldn’t take it any more. I spent a feverish hour one morning writing all of them down, all our alternate endings, a few of my own added, and I sent it to McSweeneys, convinced this was it, I would become a breakout Internet genius.

McSweeneys, of course, denied me two days later. I was, of course, not as original as I imagined myself to be. Their email said something to the tune of, “Nah, we just took a Breaking Bad piece last weekend. Tough luck, kid. Betta luck next time.”  Their email came soon, but not soon enough – the finale was in five days. No next time. Ah, well. My ship had sailed. Better consign it to the junk heap.

… But dammit, I just found it again, and I still think it’s funny. So here: why not. Some possible Breaking Bad episode synopses for you, Internet. May I feed your endless maw with my outdated clickbait.


What Might Happen In the Final Episode of Breaking Bad

  • Things heat up as the stakes raise, with unintended consequences for every person involved.
  • Walter Jr. adopts a puppy. The entire episode is shown through the puppy’s eyes. Several things might be clues, but aren’t. “This is bullshit!” says Walter Jr. several times. “You crapped on the rug?!” It ends with a two-minute heartwarming hug between boy and dog as a voiceover monotone recites how everything happened in the end. Even with subtitles it is unintelligible.
  • Skyler just can’t take it anymore. She screams at top volume for 75 minutes. Tone and pitch remain surprisingly constant.
  • Devastated by Hank’s death, Marie gathers three of her closest gal-pals and flies to Cancun for martinis and beachfront conversation. While there, she spots a bellboy who seems oddly familiar despite his shiny toupee and affected Mexican accent. Plunged into such strange circumstances, she is drawn to him. Her friends urge her to go for it. As she and Saul Goodman make love in her hotel room, a faint voice barks, “Jesus Christ, Marie!”
  • There are no more bullets in Albuquerque. Hijinks ensue.
  • The Aryan Brotherhood is this close to finishing their hotly awaited ragtime album, “Prison Neck Tattoo Blues”, when they are interrupted by fire from a bazooka. Todd does not take kindly to having his mandolin solo truncated. He sobs. The filmmakers who have been living with them are confused by the bazooka fire, but delighted to get a chance to capture such a human moment for the documentary.
  • Walter White realizes that Heisenberg is no longer a sustainable persona. He tries on several other hats and is about to leave the hat shop in a beret, but Jesse, who has somehow escaped from his cage of death, convinces him it would be a bad idea. Jesse looks horrible, but Walt doesn’t notice. He squints in the mirror and applies a fez. The episode ends.

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