Back in the prime of my comic book collecting days, one of my favorite series was titled, What If…? The premise was simple: take any pivotal moment in the publisher’s comic universe and speculate what might have happened had the outcome of that moment been somehow different. Considering the enjoyment I derived from reading those alternate storylines, I thought it might be fun to come up with a “What If…?” of my own. So, what if Walter White had never “Broken Bad?”
Walter would be dead by now.
Given Walt’s ego, even in the series’ beginning, he would have stuck to his decision not to accept any money from Elliott and Gretchen despite the consequences. He and Skyler might have found the means for a treatment or two, but they would have exhausted all of their resources soon thereafter. Since the cancer had already metastasized to his lymph nodes by this point in the series, his prognosis without treatment would have been bleak at best.
Skyler would lose the house.
Without Walt’s financial support, there would be no way she could keep up with their current expenses. Homeless, destitute, and hopelessly in debt, she might possibly move in with Hank and Marie until she got back on her feet, and it is likely that she would return to her old accounting job and have the affair with Ted. Out of convenience more than anything else, she and the kids would end up moving in with him. Additionally, Ted would never end up a quadriplegic because the “accident” over Walt’s drug money would never have occurred.
Hank would never have been shot.
We’re led to assume it’s a LoJack trace on Jesse’s car that leads the DEA to Hector’s house. Even if the DEA had tracked Tuco down in the absence of Walt and Jesse, Jesse never would have been there to shoot Tuco in the side, which might have altered his chances of escaping before Hank delivered the fatal shot. Still, even if Tuco had died during the raid, the twins would never have been dispatched since it was assumed the Cartel never targeted police officers; thus, they never would have met with Gus, who gave the surprising go-ahead for Hank’s assassination.
Gus, Gale, and Mike would still be alive.
Without the series of events that led to Gus’ explosive death, Gus would still be alive and working as the meth kingpin in his region. Hank would never have suspected him, and it is likely Hank would have failed in his attempt to pinpoint the source of the local meth distribution circuit. Because Gus wouldn’t have sought Walt’s death, Jesse never would have shot Gale, and Mike obviously would still be alive because Walt would have been there to murder him.
Jane would still be alive.
Assuming Jesse managed to find the income to move into the duplex unit next to Jane’s, it is also safe to assume he would still be on drugs at that time (given someone of his skill and education levels wouldn’t make enough money). Jane would inevitably have relapsed, but she would have returned to rehab (as she had promised her father) instead of dying that fateful night. Because Jane asphyxiated on her own vomit only after Walt’s shaking Jesse rolled her onto her back, that scenario would not have happened. Additionally, 167 more people would still be alive, as Jane’s father never would have gone to work grief-stricken, which resulted in the fatal error.
It is an interesting endeavor to try to imagine just how differently the cast would be living simply because of a change in one person’s decision. What scenarios can you come up with?
Leigh M. Lane is a speculative fiction author whose works span from sci-fi to horror. Her most recent full-length works are The Hidden Valley Horror, Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. For more about her work, go to her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.