Breaking Down The BREAKING BAD Survival Odds

With the first half of the show’s final season wrapped up, (I’m officially calling it season 5A, which I got courtesy of Twitter.) Breaking Bad has left several characters in interesting positions. Jesse is out of the game, but a drug addict with five million and a big secret is never a good mix. Hank just had his Keyser Soze moment. Walt claims that he’s out of the game now that he realizes he has a pallet of money sitting in a storage unit. Saul has been driven to drinking by all of his dealing with Heisenberg.

How the series plays out will no doubt be the subject of endless speculation for the next 10 months (thanks, AMC). One of the largest arguments will be who makes it to the final bell. In a series full of death and mayhem, the “who makes it” question is always discussed as a series comes to its close. While it’s a common question, Breaking Bad is a very uncommon series. Any or all of the particulars could go within the series’ final eight episodes. It’s easy to speculate, but it’s far more fun to create a convoluted odds system that has no base in reality.* That being said, feel free to create a Breaking Bad pool with your friends. If you do, please at least mention the gambling addicted interested blogger who bore the idea.

*For the record, the odds are based on how LIKELY people are to survive. Thus, if the odds are high (ex. 50-1), then I don’t believe that the character is likely to survive.

Skyler White

Breaking Bad Buyout (Season 5 Episode 6)

The ricin bottle still sits behind an outlet cover in the White family bedroom. While Walt and Skyler may have come to an uneasy truce, it could all be undone by some probing by Hank. Skyler has mentioned before that she is weak. If her weakness stands to put Heisenberg in jail, would Walt hesitate to use the ricin on her? Also, it’s not hard to conceive of a scenario where Skyler chooses a quick and painless exit as the pieces crumble around her. She is one of two characters (Jesse is the other) who could go in a ton of directions over the final eight episodes. Thus, I’m middling her odds and hoping for action on either side.

Odds of Survival: 4-1

Hank Schrader

Now that Hank knows who Keyser Soze is, what does he plan to do with that information? How he proceeds will likely play heavily into his odds for survival. By now, Vince Gilligan has established Hank to be an exceedingly competent DEA agent. As a result, we know he’ll probably play the long game with this one and wait until he’s absolutely sure he can make his move. Still, Walter White has proven to be a capable foe for many different antagonists. Can Hank play this information in a way to keep his suspicion out of sight of his brother-in-law? Only time will tell. Given his place in the show, you are going to have to pay some juice if you want action on Hank.

Odds for Survival: 1-3

Saul Goodman

Saul seems like a safe bet to survive, but there is now a 54 episode history of colleagues of Walter White dying rather unceremoniously. As the situation begins to unravel, Saul will be on the list of people Hank wants to interview. In that scenario, it’s likely that Saul will be loyal to himself first. If Walter White feels like he can no longer trust you, then all bets are off. There’s a ten man prison killing spree that I can use as evidence to support that point. However, given the way they’ve minimized Saul’s impact this season, it’s difficult to imagine Walt seeing Saul as worth a good kill plan.

Odds for Survival: 1-4


Todd’s going to screw something up, and then he will be dead. It’s not a difficult scenario to imagine.

Odds for Survival: Off the board

Jesse Pinkman

Breaking Bad Fifty-One (Season 5 Episode 4)

Jesse is a mostly blank canvas heading into season 5B. With his five million and freedom, Jesse becomes a potential power broker in the Brother vs. Brother showdown that’s coming. Will he come to Walter White’s defense or will he be his undoing? Questions abound about the role Jesse will play over the final eight episodes. Over the course of the past few seasons, he’s become what amounts to the moral center on this show. With Walter White receding deeper and deeper into his Heisenberg persona, Jesse became a rooting interest for a lot of the audience. We want Jesse to get away, but if he tangles with Walt, we know he won’t win.

Still, the potential for a showdown between the two former partners looms. Will the final eight episodes be about Walt vs. Hank or Walt vs. Jesse? If it’s Walt vs. Hank, Jesse may scoot away as long as he doesn’t ask Walt to bring him his Go Bag.

Odds for Survival: Even

Walter White

At this point, it seems like we have built to a point where Walter White has to die. However, it’s important to remember the opening scene of this season. Walt’s alive, clearly not well, but alive. Is the giant gun only going to serve as a final, Scarface-esque stand or does it have another purpose? That scene from the beginning of the season has now come into much clearer focus after Sunday’s bathroom revelation. While Walt may make it out of New Mexico, men who buy guns like the one in the trunk of that car probably don’t have the best survival rate.

Odds for Survival: 12-1

The end of Breaking Bad is coming. We all should think about going to Denny’s and buying a really large gun just in case.