“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really … I was alive.” – Walter White
Series finale’s are always tricky. People always go into them with big expectations, wanting to achieve some kind of closure. Whether that closure is an emotional one or one that ties up all the loose ends. Whichever way you slice it, people foolishly decide their opinion of an entire series based on the series finale. However, Breaking Bad gave us a perfectly executed finale, that may not have been the best episode Breaking Bad has done but it will surely satisfy many viewers and leave a few slightly disappointed.
Like creator Vince Gilligan said on Talking Bad, “…this show needed the ending that was perfect for it. This show was intended all along to be very finite. It’s a story that starts at A and ends at Z, as it were. It’s a very closed-ended thing.” So, that is what we got. An ending that tied everything up in neat little package but also had enough satisfying moments for viewers, while passing down its final punishment upon its anti-hero Walter White.
Breaking Bad has always felt like an expertly planned show, even when things were going out of control, you could tell there was a mysterious hand guiding all of this chaos with great finesse. The beginning of season 5 and the midseason premiere told us everything we needed to know about how Breaking Bad would end and the things it never explicitly showed, we could have guessed. The only moment that was surprising was Walt taking a stray bullet to the gut and succumbing from his wound. Why? Because it always felt like Jesse would be the one to end Walter’s life, especially given how cancerous (excuse the pun) Walter has been to him. Jesse had the chance to kill Walter but wouldn’t give in to him, after years of following Walter’s orders, he finally said no, thus freeing him from his former teacher, partner, friend, and enemy.
Seeing Jesse finally free of everything and making it out alive was not the only satisfying moment of the series finale. We got to see Skinny Pete and Badger again through a fun reveal, Walter finally admitted to doing everything under guise of “family,” and Jesse viscerally choking the life out Todd, were a few of the standout moments.
Walter White was never the hero. While the finale was playing out, you never once forgot that Walter White was a dying man. You knew it wasn’t going to end well for Walter. The fact is that the entire finale played out as if the universe or some kind of entity, be it God or whatever, was allowing Walter to right all the wrongs he had committed. To leave the people still left alive with the best closure he could give them. He set up a way to give his kids the drug money he collected, he admitted to Skyler that everything he did was for his own selfish reasons, he gave her the location of Hank’s and Gomez’s bodies to trade with the cops, he got revenge on the neo-nazis and Lydia, and saved Jesse one final time. After all of that, he received his peace but it came at the expense of his name, for no one would remember the name of Walter White, the good man. Instead, they would know the name of Heisenberg, the great drug kingpin of Albuquerque and his blue meth. Like the song, “Baby Blue,” by Badfinger said, “I guess I got what I deserve…,” Walter got what he deserved, but did he deserve an even worse fate? Apparently not.
If I had one gripe, it would be that finale was too tidy. In Breaking Bad things always went wrong for Walter. But in the finale, after Walter, a man of science, turns to prayer in an act of desperation and just like that the car keys fall into his lap. You kind of knew nothing was going to derail him from his path. Like I mentioned before, something out there wanted him to fix all the wrongs he committed. Nonetheless, I am more forgiving about how neatly everything played out.
“Felina” and the penultimate episode, “Granite Sands,” feel more like epilogues to the true finale which was, “Ozymandias.” Where we saw Hank die and saw all of Walt’s secrets revealed, it felt more like a big final episode that the second half of season five was building up too. It destroyed Walt more than the finale did, he lost his family and he lost his meth empire. The final two episode, on the other hand, felt more like completing all the final paperwork, a checklist of sorts, to make sure that everything was tied up.
Breaking Bad has been nothing short of perfection, from the moment it opened to its close. Through its sophisticated storytelling, complex cinematography, memorable dialogue and the delivery of edge of your seat tension, that made Breaking Bad such a phenomenon. It was the show that quietly knocked and then stormed right on through. It took us through the crawl space and into the sun bathed deserts of New Mexico. We witnessed Mr. Chips truly become Scarface. What we saw on Breaking Bad is the real power of television as a medium and what TV is truly capable off.
After winning the Emmy for outstanding drama series, creator Vince Gilligan, called this generation the golden age of television and I don’t think anyone would disagree, when you consider shows like, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, or Homeland. But Breaking Bad will go down as one of the greatest shows of our lifetime. It will be what other shows are measured up too. That is the legacy Breaking Bad is leaving behind. It ended on a much bigger note than it ever started (10.3 million viewers tuned in for the finale), it’s a show that didn’t overstay its welcome. It ended when it had too. Greatest show of all-time, maybe, you decide.
It isn’t my favourite episode of Breaking Bad, nor is it my favourite series finale of all time but I for one, am more glad to have experienced it live and look forward to revisiting the world of Breaking Bad, in the near future. The past six years, the journey of Breaking Bad is what I’ll take away from it. The memories and great moments are too many to name but they have all helped to define a show that just got better with every passing season. Goodbye Breaking Bad you will be missed.
“Felina:” Fe – Li – Na = Iron – Lithium – Sodium — > Blood – Meth – Tears
Other Bad thoughts:
- Still having a debate over Thai food and pizza.
- How did Walt get the ricin into that Stevia packet?
- Breaking Bad’s only dream sequence, was of Jesse building his perfect box. The sequence was a callback to the season three episode, “Kafkaesque,” where Jesse tells his drug support about a similar box he built and traded for weed, even though he loved it dearly.
- How perfect was that song at the end, combining Walt’s love for his blue crystal meth and talking about a man who got what was coming to him.
- Wasn’t the best episode of Breaking Bad, mainly because of how well everything feel into place
- …although a lot of ludicrous things have fallen into place rather well.
- Gave him a much happier ending than I expected.
- My favourite scene of the finale was the one with Skyler, where Walter finally admits his biggest lie that it was all for his family.