Dean Norris Teases ‘Brutal’ ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale: ‘There’s Going to Be an ‘Oh, S***’ Moment.’

ALTUntil last Sunday, Hank Schrader and his team of DEA minions were hot on Mike Ehrmantraut’s (Jonathan Banks) trail. He knew that Mike was Gus Fring’s muscle, and that someone was somehow keeping the men formerly on Gus’ payroll — men that Mike was in touch with — quiet. He knew that there were millions of dollars left to Mike’s granddaughter Kaylee, and that the blue meth had started to reappear despite Heisenberg’s supposed death. But, as always, Hank still didn’t know that the biggest threat was right under his nose. (Those who didn’t see last Sunday’s episode stop here. Spoilers ahead!)

When Walt slipped up by needlessly killing Mike during Breaking Bad‘s penultimate episode last Sunday, viewers were shocked. Mike’s death was beautiful and oddly tragic (if you can overlook his crimes), but there may be a silver lining for those who want to see Walt pay for everything he’s done — it was his first major sign of slipping. Mike didn’t need to die, and cleaning up the death of a man who is being trailed by the DEA might not be as easy as, say, cleaning up the death of a 14-year-old boy on a bike. And since Hank is razor-sharp (and Breaking Bad only has 8 more episodes), we figured that Sunday’s finale would be the perfect setting for Hank to finally catch up with Walt.

Dean Norris couldn’t confirm or deny our theory when we spoke to him on Thursday, but he did make it clear that the writers have been preparing him for a Walt/Hank showdown for quite some time. “It became clear to me mid-to-late through the series that [a Hank vs. Walt, good vs. evil battle] was what [the show] was going to set up,” he said. “I didn’t know the specifics of it, but [I knew] that that was the arc of the show — this confrontation between good and evil. And I think we’re getting to that.”

Well, after Mike’s senseless murder, the boy’s death, and the continual Skyler-abuse, it’s hard to picture Walt getting any more evil than he already is — the bad guy has already been established. That leaves creator Vince Gilligan and co. with eight more episodes worth of story to tell, and Norris claims that after tonight, the direction of the story’s final chapter will be made clear to fans. “There’s going to be an ‘oh, s***’ moment, but in a completely different way [than last year’s finale],” he said. “I think it’s going to be kind of funny — there’s a funny element to it. The whole episode itself is a devastating episode. It’s a brutal episode.”
A brutal episode for who — Walt? The fans? One of the numerous poor souls Heisenberg has left ruined in his wake? Norris couldn’t tell, but he did say that tonight is his personal “best episode of the season,” and that “as soon as [Hank] finds out about Walter White, it’s the beginning of the end. It’s not the end, because there’s some really interesting story to be told after [Hank] finds out. But it’s certainly the beginning of the end. We’ve had to keep [Hank] out of the mix here for the first part [of the final season], but I think that’s going to change for the last eight.”
Team Hank fans, rejoice! But, of course, Hank finding out would open up a gnarly can of worms — and it would probably be a huge blow for the man’s ego. We’ve seen a deflated Hank before, and it wasn’t pretty. “He’s back on the minerals!” Norris joked, when asked how Hank would respond to the news. “I don’t know [how Hank will respond] — I think it’s going to be interesting to find out. The shock will be unbelievable. But they say that you fight as you train, so I think on the day [he discovers Walt’s identity] he will go back to his basic training in terms of what he does, and depend on that. He will put the humiliation of this being right under his nose aside, and do his job. I think that’s what Hank will do.” And if “doing his job” meant killing Walt — would Hank be capable of pulling the trigger? “Yes,” Norris said without pause. “Absolutely. It would be tough, but he could be capable of it. Yes.” During our conversation, it certainly sounded like Norris wouldn’t be too sad to see his beloved on-screen brother-in-law go down — in fact, he doesn’t understand why (Cranston performance aside) the man still has any fans. “It’s going to be interesting, the next few episodes,” he said. “When they start finding out the extent of what [Walt] has done — even Skyler doesn’t really know the extent of his depravity. Having adults killing kids is a pretty big step in any television show. He’s responsible directly, almost, for one [child’s death]. People who are apologists for Walter White think that he somehow controlled the ricin amount so he couldn’t kill the ten-year old-kid last year. People can’t break up with him! It’s like getting out of a bad, co-dependent relationship. I’ve seen his apologists say, ‘He didn’t really mean it!’ How many times can this guy tell you he’s an asshole killer, and you still think you can change him? It’s ridiculous. It’s like, ‘No, he’s really a bad guy.’ People can’t accept it. But it’s fun to watch.”