I have so much to say about the series finale of Breaking Bad I don’t even know where to begin. I have a lump in my throat as I write this because I keep replaying the scenes in my head. It was brilliant. It came full circle and most importantly I feel closure. That’s everything a finale should be about.
This has to be one of the most impressive shows in TV history. Aside from its unique plot and style, it has all the makings of great television. The story was always consistent and well written. Wait, I lie, it got better which each episode. The characters are complex and developed. The symbolism and the cinematography is always amazing at telling you parts of the story that the dialogue couldn’t, and so well you probably didn’t even notice. The lines between good and evil are so blurred you end every episode questioning the direction of your own moral compass. Add in the perfectly balanced ratio of drama and comedy and all of this comes together as a recipe for the most delicious television ever. I remember watching the pilot almost six years ago and being immediately invested in this meth cooking odd couple. I remember painstakingly waiting days and months between episodes and now it’s all over. I’m envious of all the Netflix newcomers and their ability to binge watch all the seasons back to back, but don’t you think for a second that I won’t be watching it all again soon in the same way.
Now back to the final episode. Redemption, regret, relationships, and self-realization. I haven’t read anything else yet, but here’s my recap and personal observations:
The episode begins with Walt’s anger being sparked by seeing Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz on Charlie Rose discrediting his involvement in Grey Matter. Just like it all began! Full circle. His feelings of defeat are changed and he’s motivated to seek redemption and revenge. “Just get me home. Just get me home. I’ll do the rest.” When he starts the car the Marty Robbins song ‘Felina’ is on the radio (the title of the episode) and the lyrics foretell the end that’s about to unfold:
“I saddled up and away I did go,
Riding alone in the dark.
A bullet may find me.
Tonight nothing’s worse than this
Pain in my heart.”
He leaves the icy cold isolation of New Hampshire and goes back to the desert where it all began. Don’t even get me started on the symbolism of the snow versus the desert. “Live free or die”, New Hampshire’s license plate fills our screens, further giving us a glimpse of what’s next. TOO GOOD UGH.
After Walt cleverly finds out where and when Gretchen and Elliot will be home, he surprises them by showing up in their lavish new home. There he forces them, in a very Walter White way, to cooperate with his plan to get his money to his children. Problem solved. Check it off the list.
The ‘hitmen’ are revealed to be none other than good old Badger and Skinny Pete. I knew it! I’m so glad these two made it into the last episode. They give Walt the gossip and point to where Jesse is, as per usual. Walt sets out thinking Jesse partnered up with Todd (MethDamon as Michael Rappaport brilliantly calls him) and Uncle Jack.
Cut to this beautiful scene of Jesse making the wooden box he talked about in season 3 at his substance abuse meeting. The only thing he ever worked harder to perfect than their famous blue meth. It was what he could have been doing, and wanted to be doing, and should have been doing. Then the dark reality of his life kicks in. That box monologue still breaks my heart. Oh Jesse…
By the way, it’s Walter’s 52nd birthday, 2 years after when the pilot takes place. Walt returns to his former home and flashes back to when dearly departed Hank teased him about not having excitement in his life. Look at him now.
Let’s talk about the Ricin in Lydia’s stupid stevia real quick. Helloooo, perfection. Jvee called it as soon as she picked up the one lonesome packet. So Walter. So perfect. Fuck you Lydia and your dumb tea and soy milk. You get to die the slow way. Check it off the list.
In the desert while working on a contraption, Walt is still humming the Marty Robbins tune, sees his wedding ring and thinks of Skyler. Cut to Skyler getting a phone call from Marie. Same, perfectly frantic, Marie. Bless her. Skyler, one last time, puts on her lying pants for Walt.
This brings us to one of my favorite scenes in this episode. Walter is revealed to be in Skyler’s apartment where he gives her a heartbreaking apology, admittance of truths, and a proper goodbye.
Even after all of that, there is still a wall between them. But after his final admittance of selfishness, Skyler gets closure and understands him as only a wife could. Walt stands as an outsider looking in and truly realizes what he has done to them. Check it off the list.
Oh here go hell come. Walt sets out to lay the smack down on MethDamon and family. The stress I felt during this part of the episode gave me diarrhea cramps for like 3 hours afterward. When Walt saw Jesse, and Jack kept saying “Take a look at him” and repeating the word “partner”, my heart broke for both of them because at that moment they both knew their own partnership wasn’t really much different. Jesse became Walt’s slave in chains. Walt tackles Jesse to the ground and then ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. Instead of YEAH MAGNETS we’re all “YEAH BULLETS, BITCH!!!”
Then Jesse gets the sweetest revenge on that creep MethDamon. Walt has one last moment of redemption when for the first time, he ignores his greed, turns down a promise of money and kills Jack by shooting him in the head the way he shot Hank. Walt gives Jesse the chance for revenge, which of course Jesse doesn’t take because enough is enough. Walt finally lets Jesse go, for real this time. He’s free from it all. We don’t know what happens to Jesse but now we can only imagine the best for him.
Now we see how Walter White’s story ends. It’s not from the cancer, not by enemies or cops, but by a bullet from his own gun. A ricochet bullet. DO YOU SEE WHAT THAT MEANS? It all came back around to get him. He was his own demise. He put a bullet in his own side. Really guys. Really. Walt makes it to his happy place. The lab. He looks fondly around the place where he always felt like boss. Baby Blue by Badfinger begins with the lyrics “Guess I got what I deserved….” He collapses and dies before the cops get to him.
The song continues,
“Kept you waiting there too long, my love
All that time without a word
Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget or I’d regret
The special love I had for you, my baby blue
All the days became so long
Did you really think, I’d do you wrong?
Dixie, when I let you go
Thought you’d realize that I would know
I would show the special love I have for you, my baby blue”
AND I CRY. THE END.