That’s it. That is all. The last episode of the incredible series Breaking Bad. Like Walter White this episode had a lot of business to take care of in a short time. To list just a few of the questions hanging over the finale: Will Walt die? Will he be redeemed? Can he make it up to his family? What is the ricin for? The machine gun? What happens to Skyler? Where’s the Todd and Lydia story going? Will Jesse get out alive?
Like the machine gun Walt used to kill Uncle Jack’s crew, Vince Gilligan knocks down all of those questions with auto-fire efficiency. “Felina” ties-up all loose ends. We know Hank’s body will be dug up. Walt got to see Holly one last time. The Neo-Nazis were killed. Jesse was freed (YES!!). Walt died. In the aftermath, Skyler was freed as well, thanks to Walt pointing the DEA directly to the source of the blue meth.
It wasn’t a flashy or even surprising episode, but it never worked against it. What made this finale so effective and satisfying was simply because it stayed true. It was true to the five seasons before it, true to Walter White’s obsessions and pride, and true to what Breaking Bad is at heart: a Western.
But did Walt get redemption? Did he set everything straight and turn himself back into a good man before he went out? He didn’t, and I think he knew he didn’t and didn’t want to at this point. Vince Gilligan’s original pitch for Breaking Bad was to turn Mr. Chips into Scarface and to have him turn back into Mr. Chips in one hour would have been a cheat.
Instead of redemption, Walt ended with something like peace. He knew what he was, and he was done lying, to himself and to others. The key moment probably came when he spoke talk with Skyler: “If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family” she began. “I did it for me,” “I liked it. I was good at it. I was alive.” He confessed.
Walt finally drops his wild delusions. He finally gives Skyler the truth. And actually, he goes further. He also gives her the lie that will allow her, and his children, one day to accept the $9.7 million he left piled on top of the Schwartz coffee table. Walt tells Skyler he has spent all the money.
The final showdown was quick and to the point. When Walt arrived, he thought Jesse partnered up with Uncle Jack. But when Walt saw what Jack and Todd had done to Jesse, he turned back into being Jesse’s father figure. Protecting him one last time by covering Jesse’s body with his own; as bullets rained down and getting himself shot in the process.
My favourite moment had to be Jesse straggling Todd! He killed Todd!! Jesse wrestles Todd with all the endless pain and hatred inside of him, not stopping till we hear Todd’s neck snap. I couldn’t contain myself and let out a “YEAH BITCH!!” Such a satisfying scene.
In the final moments of Uncle Jack, the money really wasn’t the thing that was driving Walt. How beautiful that Jack offered him all of the money back, Walt just said no thank you by pulling the trigger. The blood splatter on the lens was a nice way to drive home the kill.
That left us with the two last men standing. Jesse and Walt. They just stare at each other; they’ve been through so much. Walt slid over the gun “do it -” “you want this” Walt demands. Jesse refuses to let Walt use him one last time, and leaves him alone to die. Before he leaves, the two men share a slight nod of recognition. No matter the feelings they have about each other, they shared something that no one else would understand.
In the last scene, Walt turns to his one true love before he dies; the science. He inspects the meth lab. His smile might reflect a man just happy to die surrounded with what he truly adored, or his smile could mean something more.
Walt started this show as a teacher; he always pushed Jesse to apply himself more, to master his craft. Walt never lost the desire to teach, and as he inspected Jesse’s lab, I think he finally appreciated Jesse’s mastering of the craft. To me, that smile was the smile of a proud teacher.
Breaking Bad was a masterpiece from start to finish. Well done and thank you to Vince Gilligan and everyone involved in bringing us this amazing show. 9.5/10.