Breaking Bad Finale: Very Satisfying Conclusion to An Amazing Series

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DO I REALLY HAVE TO SAY IT? IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE FINAL EPISODE OF “BREAKING BAD,’ AND YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, DON’T READ ON.

About an hour before last night’s season finale of “Breaking Bad,” the Husband and I decided to write down our predictions of what would happen. Here’s what I wrote:

  • Walt rescues Jesse
  • Jesse kills Todd
  • Walt uses Ricin on Lydia
  • Marie kills Walt

What can I say? Three out of four isn’t bad, right?

The episode, entitled “Felina,” which is not only an anagram of the word “finale,” but also the name of a Marty Robbins’ song, opens with Walter White brushing the snow off a stolen car, and saying to himself “Just get me home.” Why is he so desperate to get home? At the end of the penultimate episode, he saw his former business partners, Gretchen and Elliott, of Grey Matter, on “The Charlie Rose Show,” talking about all their anti-meth charitable donations, and dismissing Walter’s contribution to the company they built together. Many thought this comment enraged Walt’s inner narcissist, and assumed that he would return to seek vengeance, maybe by killing them. I didn’t think that, but I knew that they would appear in the finale somewhere. It turns out that after Walt tricks their assistant into telling him their address, he sneaks into their home and tells them that he has something for them. Uh oh–what could that be? Flashback to Saul’s spelling it out for Walt in their last conversation before Saul went into hiding. The feds will confiscate all of Walter’s ill-gotten gains as the proceeds of drug crime, his family will get zero, and all his hard work will be for nothing. That is the one thing Walter cannot stand. He comes home, and goes to Gretchen and Elliott to make sure it doesn’t. What he has for them is $9 million in the trunk of the stolen car. He tells them that they must see that Walter, Jr. gets it in an irrevocable trust on his 18th birthday. To seal the deal, he tells them that he has hired two crackerjack hit men who will come after them if they don’t make good, and he proves it with a wave of his hand, which–presto!–makes red laser dots appear on their bodies from somewhere in the darkness. It turns out that it was just Jesse’s old friends Badger and Skinny Pete with a couple of $2.99 laser pointers. (When they came out of the bushes to jump in the car, and I said to the Husband, “Badger and Skinny Pete!” he was surprised, and I got a “good call!”)

Two of my favorite scenes, in descending order, were the one in which Walt stops by the cafè where Lydia and Todd are hanging out, and the scene in which Lydia calls Todd’s phone, triggering the ringtone “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” only to have Walt answer and explain to her why she feels so lousy. Goodbye, Lydia.

My favorite of all, though, was the scene in which Walter stealthily appeared in Skylar’s depressing hovel. After she told him that she did not want to have to hear anymore baloney about how everything he had done was for his family, Walter admitted the truth. “I did it for me. “I liked it. I was good at it…I was alive.” The truth will set you free, Walter. Well, sort of. I had originally thought that maybe Skylar would use Lydia as leverage with the DEA. Recall that in the previous week’s episode, Todd and his fellow thugs broke into Skylar’s home and terrorized her by mentioning the time Lydia visited the car wash to complain to Walt about the reduced quality in the “product” after Walt stopped cooking. No, instead what happened was that Walter gave Sky the lottery ticket with the coordinates to the location of Hank and Gomie’s bodies. She can use that, and the staged phone call that Walt made when he knew the cops were listening to stay out of prison.

Of course, Jesse had to kill Todd. ‘Nuff said there. The interesting part of that scene, in addition to the way that Jesse offed the character that the writers called “Ricky Hitler,” was the fact that originally Walt, having resisted the idea for some time, had decided to have Jesse killed. He was planning to confront the Nazis about using Jesse to continue to make his product, instead of killing him as they had promised. Once Walt realized that Jesse was not a voluntary participant, but a slave in chains, he decided to rescue him. Vince Gilligan has said that this ending is much like the ending in one of the greatest Westerns of all time, John Ford’s “The Searchers,” in which John Wayne plays Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards. Edwards is searching for his niece abducted by Comanches, and he has decided that he’d rather kill her than let her live with Indians. At one point, he even tries to kill her, but ultimately, he rescues her and takes her home. So it was with Walt and Jesse. Brilliant. I think we were all thrilled to see Jesse get away. He was a good-hearted soul who got caught up in something through a series of bad choices he made. We can only hope that the DEA decides to let him go.

Walt’s DIY remote control operated machine gun killed the Nazis pretty effectively. Walt got the satisfaction of delivering the coups de grace to an already mortally wounded Uncle Jack, who tried to delay the inevitable by reminding Walt that without Uncle Jack, Walt wouldn’t know where they put the money they stole from him. Sorry, my tattooed, evil friend. Bang bang. Walter didn’t hesitate to finish him off. As far as the money goes, as Walt sees it, his work is done now that he’s provided for his kids.

Walt took a bullet, too, from his killing machine, and gut shot, in a perfect conclusion, he went down to the meth lab to bleed out to the strains of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue.” The blue meth was his baby, his ultimate triumph. Could there be any better ending than to have him die on the floor of a meth lab after touching the shiny sterile vessel he used to make  his perfect creation? No, there couldn’t.
Thanks, Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, the other terrific actors and all the many talented people who gave us this amazing show! I know I’ll be watching it again. How about you?

The Teri O'Brien Show

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