The Fate of Breaking Bad's Jesse Pinkman

Jesse Pinkman played by Aaron Paul

SPOILER ALERT: This post includes spoiler-y type material on the fourth season of “Breaking Bad.” Any suggestions about the future of Jesse Pinkman are mere guesses, not representative of any inside knowledge about the show.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been saying Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) will get killed in Season Four. The nonstop party lifestyle he has lived since killing superchemist Gail Boettinger will ultimately be his demise. Or, at least, it seems that way.

My roommates disagree. They say Pinkman is the moral center of the show. Sure, he’s a drug user and pusher, but he’s got a decent heart and his interactions with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) make him essential to the show’s continuation, they argue.

For about 15 minutes in this Sunday’s fourth episode I thought my prediction was about to come true. It appeared the show’s creator Vince Gilligan had decided to off his second most important character — either at the hands of one of his party guests or Gus’ enforcer, Mike (Jonathan Banks). It turned out to be nothing more than a suspenseful tease, which left me feverishly anticipating this Sunday’s fifth episode titled “Shotgun.”

Either of the aforementioned Pinkman scenarios happening in the fourth (!) episode of this season would have been shocking, in the framework of the television show.

When Walt’s repeated phone calls to Jesse yielded nothing, I thought this is it for Pinkman. In retrospect, I might have jumped the proverbial gun a bit.

Pinkman has survived quite a few situations where his life appeared in jeopardy. Not to mention he has gone to jail and rehab. He is the show’s whipping boy. (At least from Walt’s perspective he has his Heisenberg alter-ego. Jesse has no such thing.)

So how will Jesse get whipped in the fifth episode? Will Mike kill him in the desert? Will Mike bring him back to rehab, like some have suggested? Or will something else happen?

I’m going to side with my roommate @ben_lundin, who believes Jesse will be forced to kill the man who robbed him of his money inside his aunt’s house. That sounds like an explosive, edge of your seat episode. It sounds like something Gilligan would do.

First: I can’t imagine Gilligan, the show’s creator, killing Jesse in this episode. I would have understood if he had killed him last episode. It would have been a HOLY SHIT! moment for the ages and created a ton of chatter about the show.

This week?

Not so much. If Mike killed Jesse in episode five, it would lack the “I didn’t see that coming” value it would have had in episode four. I just don’t think Gilligan will play it that way. Too predictable when viewed alongside the fourth episode.

There is still the lingering question of what happened to the robber who stole Jesse’s $78,000. Yes, Mike could have killed him off-screen at some random location. But it seems more likely that Mike will force Jesse to pull the trigger.

More than likely, the robber is bound and gagged in the trunk of Mike’s car. Jesse will be forced to kill him then be dropped off in the desert. He will be without his cell phone, which remained at his aunt’s house.

I have some doubt about this plotline happening because of how unconcerned Jesse seems about his own life. Will he be willing to take another life to save his own? He seems like he would rather have Mike kill him … to put him out of his miserable existence.

(NOTE: Whatever way Gilligan chooses to kill Walt or Jesse I am sure will be shocking regardless of the events or episode(s) that come before it.)

The rehab angle seems possible, but not probable. Jesse has already been to rehab. It worked for a while, then he fell off the wagon. He will fall off the wagon in the future. I don’t think that’s the way Gilligan will go this time simply because it’s been done.

One other possible scenario: Mike gives Jesse a choice — death or disappearance. Jesse chooses to disappear, at least for an episode or two, while the police heat around him grows. This would be an ironic twist, since Walt’s lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), offered him the same possibility in Sunday’s episode. It would make sense for Jesse because he regards the blue meth operation as his personal hell. Then again, how long will Jesse stay away from the game? It’s all he knows.

(NOTE: Watching the Hank scene from Episode 5 currently playing on AMC’s site suggests Jesse will at some point face questioning for Gail’s death. Will he talk? Will Badger talk? More likely Mike kills Badger. Possibly Jesse too.)

I don’t believe Jesse would disappear. If the character is alive, he will appear in each week’s episode. At least you would have to think that would be the case. Aaron Paul is so good in this role why would Gilligan not utilize him?

I still think Jesse will get killed in Season Four. I’m betting his demise will happen in the season finale. This would force Walt to go on without his partner in Season Five, which would present him with new challenges and make for compelling television.

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