This season of Breaking Bad has been especially difficult to watch for Friday Night Lights fans. Thanks to Jesse Plemons, we had to watch the endearingly sweet, geeky Landry Clarke become the superficially sweet, sociopathic Todd. It's hard to watch when a character who once spent hours reading Of Mice and Men to Tim Riggins shoot someone in the back of the head while the person who loves them is forced to watch.
What makes it even harder is that one of Todd's neo-Nazi relatives is played by Kevin Rankin, who also played Jason Street's friend and roommate Herc on Friday Night Lights. Oh, and the woman who Todd shot in the back of the head? Yet another FNL alum, Emily Rios who played Epyck for a few episodes. All of the crossover can really mess with your head.
It also doesn't help that if you think about it, Todd and Landry have a few things in common. They're obviously very, very different from each other, but still, I see some similarities between the two — besides the actor who plays them. Let's take a look at the two, side-by-side, and see if it holds any clues as to where Todd is heading in the Breaking Bad series finale.
They're Both Killers
Most Friday Night Lights fans have probably tried to block Season 2 from their memories, but one of its worst plots also gave Landry his biggest similarity to Todd. A man who had previously attacked and tried to rape Landry's friend/crush Tyra began stalking her, and when he tries to attack her again, Landry kills him by hitting him over the head.
We all know what Todd's done, but the first, shocking kill was Drew Sharp, the innocent 10-year-old who stumbled upon Todd, Walt, and Jesse after their big train heist.
There's still a big difference, though. When Landry killed a serial rapist he felt incredibly guilty about it. It was all he could talk about, and he even confesses to the police and tries to convince them to give him a heavy punishment as they clarify that he was acting to protect himself and Tyra.
Todd, however, shoots a kid and basically shrugs it off.
He deserved that one.
But With Very Different Families
Maybe Landry felt guilty about killing and Todd didn't because one was raised by a police officer and the other by neo-Nazis with a lot of prison connections. Just a guess. It is worth mentioning, though, that Landry's dad tried to help him cover up the murder, by burning his car and telling him to keep it a secret. Not quite as bad as having a swastika tattooed on your neck, but still pretty unethical.
And Bad Taste in Women
No, Tyra hasn't ordered a mass killing than forced someone to lead her blindfolded through a maze of bodies so that she doesn't have to look at the results, but she was like, really mean to Landry sometimes.
Todd, for some reason, has a crush on Lydia, the Madrigal executive who helps the company dabble in meth production while drinking very specific tea. They say it's what inside that counts, so Todd must see that they're kindred, sociopathic spirits. Landry pursued Tyra for what felt like years, and she toyed with his poor, non-sociopathic heart.
Hopefully his next pseudo-girlfriend was much nicer, and nothing like Tyra or Lydia.
But What If...
Wait a second. What if this guy...
BECAME this guy...
It's all coming together now. Landry had a tough life in Dillon. His best friend moved to Chicago for college, the girl he liked got into college because of his help and left, his dad helped him cover up a murder, and he had to change schools. It was a lot. He was even bullied, by everyone from temporary teammates to Matt Saracen's grandma.
He couldn't take it anymore. Everyone was mean — Christian speed metal wasn't enough of an outlet anymore. He'd already had a taste of murder, and of how it feels to get away with it. Not being punished for killing the rapist eventually lead to an absolution of guilt — too much of an absolution. He told everyone he was going to college, but really, he went to New Mexico to live with his uncles. His criminal uncles, the ones who inspired his father to become a police offer. If he couldn't stop them, he would stop others.
So Landry joined them. He left Dillon behind and waited until the day he could find the respect he'd never been given before. When the opportunity to cook meth with a legend arose, he jumped on it and thanks to his background as an intelligent student, was able to catch on pretty quickly. He just needed an assistant. Perhaps one close to his age, a stand-in for the best friend who abandoned him.
It all makes sense. On Sunday's season finale, Todd/Landry will come close to committing yet another heinous crime — but will be stopped. His former best friend will have realized what is going on and send help, Coach and Tami Taylor.
Only they will be able to stop Todd/Landry from continuing down the path his uncles have laid for him. They will remind him of his Dillon roots, and all that they had taught him.
I'm on to you, Todd/Landry, you're not fooling me ever again.