Ever since we saw Walter White retrieve it in the brief flash-forward that opened the second half of the final season of Breaking Bad, one of the most significant questions as the following episodes played out has been who, exactly, will be ingesting the ricin that remained hidden in the White home as it fell into disrepair. Someone’s getting it, that much we know for sure. Probably. I mean, generally speaking, a man who is apparently on the run after changing his name and appearance does not acquire a giant murdergun in a Denny’s parking lot and return to collect poison from a place that has his felonious pseudonym emblazoned on the living room wall in bright yellow paint unless he has designs on using them. That’s all I’m saying here.
Now, there are a number of people who could be on the receiving end of the poison, as Walt has (a) made some enemies who are capable of putting him in a very difficult position, and (b) made some “friends” who have swastikas tattooed in plain sight above their shirt collars, and have proven to be a touch trigger-happy with automatic weapons. And those are just the obvious targets. Vince Gilligan and company could throw us a curveball. We’ve seen that before.
Anyway, point being, I’m sure you have some questions and theories about all this, as do I, so I thought it might be fun to talk it out. Please, fire away.
Who do you think will get poisoned with the ricin?
Well, I suppose where we are right at this very moment (mid-arrest, mid-gunfight), I’d probably go with Todd’s neo-Nazi associates. Say what you will about Walt’s strained relationships with Hank and Jesse, his pre-bullet storm reaction while he was handcuffed in Hank’s car seems to indicate that he doesn’t want them killed. So either the Nazis are going to kill one or more of them and incur Walt’s wrath, or, if they do survive, Walt may realize who he’s getting into bed with here and lash out to protect his family. I don’t think I’d put it past the Nazis to threaten Skyler and the kids to try to force Walt to keep cooking for them. And we all know how Walt reacts when he’s threatened. R.I.P. half of Gus Fring’s face (and the rest of him, too, I suppose).
That seems pretty reasonable.
I thought so.
What if he gives it to Carol?
You know, Carol. From “Hello, Carol”?
Yes, of course I know Carol. But why would Walt use the ricin on her?
Well, as you can see in that GIF, when Carol drops her groceries, a bunch of oranges come rolling out. And oranges, as we all know, signify death. Ergo, Carol has taken over the New Mexico meth racket and is now planning to murder Walt and the remaining members of the White family, who she has taken hostage. (There are no visible breakfast items items in her bag, so I think it’s safe to assume that Walt, Jr. is already dead.)
That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Is it, though?
Yes, it is.
Okay, fine. How ’bout this one: Saul Goodman.
What about him?
What if Walt poisons Saul with the ricin?
Why would Walt want to poison his own lawyer, and one of the few people on his side right now?
Dude, did you see Saul’s hair last week? That is not the look of a man who is handling stress in a healthy manner. What if he hears about the gunfight in the desert and goes all the way off the rails and tries to steal Walt’s money and flee to Belize — like, really go to Belize, not “go to Belize” — to escape danger and potential prosecution.
And that’s why Walt poisons him? Because he’s trying to escape to South America with seven giant barrels of money that he doesn’t even know the location of?
And you’re basing all of this on his hair from the two minutes he was on screen last week?
You do remember that ricin takes a few days to run its course, right? So, and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here, even if Walt hurries back and gets Saul to ingest it before he gets on the plane, Saul will still be in South America with the money before it finishes him off.
Oh, right… Hey, how many people can you kill with one vial of ricin?
I don’t know. And I’m definitely not going to Google that. We’ve already seen one innocent, Prince-loving man get arrested on trumped-up ricin-related charges. No need to make it two.
Fair enough. But it’s definitely not enough to, like, poison the whole city’s water supply, right?
Why in the holy hell would Walter White want to poison the entire water supply for the Albuquerque metro area?
Maybe he’s a supervillain now?
What?! It could happen!
Listen. Do you have any theories based on anything resembling real, actual evidence? If not, I’m leaving.
Okay. Okayokayokay. Try this one on for size: What if Walt uses the ricin on himself?
I’m listening. But you’re on thin ice here…
Yeah, like, what if his family is all dead by then and he doses himself with the ricin right before heading into the firefight with whoever, so that even if he’s arrested or captured before he kills everyone he can’t be locked away in jail forever or forced to cook meth in a dungeon until the cancer kills him. And if he survives the battle, and therefore “settles all family business,” then he can just drive out to the desert and wait for the sweet release of death. Go out on his own terms and so on.
Huh. That’s not all that unreasonable, actua-…
Or what if ZOMBIE TUCO IS BACK AND HELLBENT ON REVENGE?!