Breaking Bad: Felina

"I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."

I wasn't sure what I wanted to see in a finale for a show as exceptional as Breaking Bad: something unexpected? one final, awesome twist? Or for Walt to succeed in going out on his own terms like the anti-hero he is?

Fortunately, it wasn't up to me. And it was pretty much perfect. Vince Gilligan decided to let Walt go out on his own terms. It was like Walt had rehearsed everything he had to do before he died in his head while he was marooned in that cabin, and he went through each task calmly and methodically, ticking off the boxes as he completed them.

1. Money for the kids. Walt "taking down" Elliot and Gretchen was just awesome. I'm glad he just scared them but didn't kill them. They'll be awfully nervous for awhile, but after they get the money to Flynn on his 18th birthday, they'll probably relax. And probably move again. And thank you so much for one final scene with Badger and Skinny Pete.

2. Saying goodbye to his family. Walt got to see his kids one last time, and he gave Skyler ammo for the feds as well as closure with that lottery ticket. Walt finally told Skyler the truth, too, that it was always for himself, not for his family. Poor Skyler. She looked thin, and she was smoking the way I did when my sister was dying. Maybe she'll be able to move on now.

(Walt will never be able to make things right with Flynn, though. That had to hurt.)

3. Lydia and the ricin. The thing with the tea and the Stevia had been set up for an entire season, and it was pretty much perfect. I knew it was coming, knew exactly what Walt was doing, and I still savored every moment of it. That woman was freaking nuts.

4. And Jesse.

I had hoped for it, and it was pretty much perfect that Walt's last action in life was destroying the Aryans and freeing Jesse. I'm certain Walt didn't intend to save Jesse; Walt may even have planned to remain standing and go out in that hail of bullets. But when Walt saw Jesse in such dire straits, he couldn't not save him. The look that passed between them moved me to tears. Even at the end, after all that had been done to him, Jesse retained his humanity. Yes, he killed the horrendous Todd, but he couldn't bring himself to kill Walt.

When we first saw Jesse in this episode, we got a flashback to him making that wonderful wooden box that he crafted so lovingly and eventually sold for dope (as mentioned in Kafkaesque). I hope that suggested that Jesse would indeed make something of his life. When he drove away from the compound, he was yelling with exhilaration. Maybe he wants to live again. I certainly hope so.


-- The series began on Walt's 50th birthday and ended on his 52nd. We also got a flashback to the pilot, with Hank saying, "It's easy money. 'Til we catch you." Coincidentally, that was the first quote I used, too.

-- Walt killed Jack exactly the same way that Jack killed Hank, although instead of Walt desperately offering money, Jack was doing it.

-- As noted before, the New Hampshire license plate says "Live Free or Die".

-- In this week's 'dirty water' imagery, the opening scene was Walt scraping snow off a car; and we got Lydia and her poisoned chamomile with soy milk (bleah).

-- We also got a lot of red (blood), white (as in Walter) and blue (meth); the laser pointers, the police lights on the white car in the snow. Walt showed up at the compound in a red car with a red remote. And of course, red, white and blue might stand for something else, too.

-- The Schwartzes looked oddly like siblings. I wonder if that was deliberate?

-- In their new apartment, Skyler hung the caricatures of herself and Flynn, but not the one of Walt.

-- Walt's last moments were set to the tune, "Baby Blue."

And pieces:

-- Walt touched the objects in the Schwartz's house, as if acknowledging one more time that it was the home Walt should have had.

-- Todd's ring tone for Lydia was the ridiculous Marx Brothers song "Lydia the Tattooed Lady". My mother knew every word of that song.

-- Walt left Flynn $9,720,000. A good bit more than $737,000.

-- During the New Hampshire scene, Walt actually prayed. It seemed like his prayer was answered.

-- The meaning of the episode title "Felina" has been debated. My favorite theory is that it stands for the chemical symbols for iron, lithium and sodium, suggesting blood, meth and tears. "Felina" is also an anagram for the word "Finale".


Walt: "Elliot, if we're going to go that way, you'll need a bigger knife."

Marie: "She said he looked exactly like the Unabomber."
He did, too.

This series had a distinct beginning and a distinct ending, and everything in between was exceptional. Some of the episodes in this series were among the best television I've ever seen.

Four out of four totally awesome remote control machine guns,

Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.


Miguel said...

Wow, Billie you got that up super quick!

I pretty much loved it too. It wasn't unexpected, or totally shocking, but it was the ending that stayed true to the story we have watched over the past five years. It was pretty much perfect. The only thing I wanted was more. A little bit more Skylar. A little bit more Marie. And a little bit more Jessie. But that's just selfish of me. It's hard for me to say goodbye.

I am so happy that at least Jessie got to live. And I loved the last shot we left him with, yelling in exhilaration in his car. After the hell he was put through, I think he was excastic to be alive and free! I hope he manages to make something of his life. Even if it's just being a manager at a Cinnabon (maybe him and Saul could work at the same one...). The cynic in me says there's no way Jessie will be ever to live a normal life with all he has gone through, but the series left us with a glimmer of hope. And that's more than I can ask for in such a dark, tragic tale such as this.

The final scene between Jessie and Walter was marvelous. The actor's facial expressions told it all. There really was nothing more left to be said. No more apologies. No confrontations. No more explanations. What's done is done.

The scene between Skylar and Walter was also tremendously satisfying. Skylar, chain-smoking in her depressing muted brown/beige apartment, finally heard Walter admit that he cooked meth for himself. I didn't think that admission would ever come, but it was about damn time. Like Skylar, I don't think I could bear hearing him say again that it was all for the family. It seems in his last moments of living Walter finally stopped believing his lies and faced reality. He broke bad because making drugs, building his "empire", was the first time he felt alive in a long time. Maybe that time isolated in the snow did him some good.

I'm going to miss Breaking Bad tremendously, but I'm glad it went out in top form! It was often uncomfortable to watch, and deeply tragic, but it was immensely powerful and proved that television can be just as cinematic as films.

Thank you Billie for your reviews! As always, they added tremendously to my viewing experience.

Anonymous said...

It's so great to watch a finale of a show that stays true to the characters and the story.

I was prepared to not be surprised by it since that's how it should be. It only shows that we know the characters well and the showrunner and writers deliver to that. Often the writers stray from the way they created their characters only to make a highly talked about final season or finale which often results in a mess (I'm looking at you Dexter).

That's why I am so happy with the BB finale. It was great. It gave closure to the characters and the story in a way that could be expected but the writing, acting and executing was superb and made it outstanding nontheless. Fantastic show with deserving ending that finally makes most of the viewers happy.

Thanks Billie for reviewing BB. Your input was always great and I loved all the bits and pieces that so many overlooked. Congratulations on concluding another show.

Anonymous said...

I can't ever remember a show so straightforwardly giving me everything I wanted in its finale. It's like they read my mind and had a checklist. Jack, Lydia, Todd...dead. Jessie...lives. The only thing that my have made it better would be if Walt had blown himself up in the method lab at the end. Not as mind melting as other episodes, but truly satisfying. Thanks for the memories, Breaking Bad.

Anonymous said...

Love loveee it.

Also, Jesse's last scene is unintentionally very much a hilarious lead-in advertising for Aaron Paul's upcoming Need for Speed.

Jess Lynde said...

Oh boy. I can see this is going to be another Fringe situation --- where everyone loved the finale but me. I'm glad that this finale brought the series to a definitive conclusion, and I'm grateful that several characters got better closure than they did in the previous two episodes. But, on the whole, I'm really bothered by the moral calculus of the closure for Walt's story. And, to be honest, I'm rather bothered to see that so many people thought that it was a perfect and fitting way for Walt to go out. It was completely unsatisfying for me to see Walt essentially win, and it felt thematically inconsistent with the show I've been watching all these years.

After being so uncompromising for so long about showing the consequences of the brutal, horrific choices Walt was making, it felt like the show pulled its punches in this last act. In the past, whenever we've found ourselves sucked into the vicarious thrill of the bad stuff that Walt does, we always get a cold, hard dose of reality at the end to remind us that it's not all fun and games. That the things that Walt has done have a terrible cost. When he beat Gus and Mike, it was at the cost of Jesse's soul as he was forced to kill Gale. The thrilling and outrageous victory over Gus came at the cost of almost killing a little boy. The excitement of the successful train heist came at the cost of young Drew Sharp. The things Walt has done and allowed to happen are truly terrible, and have completely laid waste to his family and to Jesse. How are any of them ever truly going to recover, even with the small bits of closure provided in this episode?

But Walt? Walt doesn't have to go on living with the things he's done. He gets to die. And he gets to leave the money for his family, just like he initially set out to do. In the end, Walt gets exactly what he wanted in the first place. And he gets to go out in a semi blaze of glory doing it. And the cost? The cost is just the lives of everyone he claimed to care about.

That's a [expletive deleted] bleak outcome. Perhaps that makes it truly fitting for this bleak series. It's not what I expected, and I don't really find it satisfying. But there you have it.

All that said, I did love the bit with the wooden box. What a lovely callback to a spectacular Aaron Paul monologue. And I'm very, very glad that Marie, Skyler, and Flynn will be able to properly lay Hank to rest. Skyler's reaction to learning what the coordinates were moved me to tears.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you, Billie. Thank you for helping to suck me into this show and for your commitment (as always).

Such a beautiful series finale. Subdued and perfect.

It might have been fun if Walt went out actually trying his blue. But now the cops will think he was there cooking the whole time. I wonder who they'll think was in the chains.

I always thought creepo Todd would be caught by keeping the spider jar (fingerprints), but Jesse taking him out was much more beautiful.

I wish we saw what happened to the car wash.

Funny that Walt took Lydia out with the ricin in the exact spot he almost took her out with the ricin before.

I'm so glad Jesse found the will to live again. I wanted him to take some of the money to help him get started, but I can see why he doesn't want it. But he has no ID, no money, and whatever gas is in the tank. Not the best start. :\

It was nice they showed Hank. Hearing his voice was startling.

Poor Huell is still hiding in a makeshift safe house.

Jess Lynde said...

You know, the more I think on it, the more I realize that it is Walt getting to leave the money for his family that really bothers me about all this. If Walt had just come back, admitted the truth to Skyler and himself, given his family the peace of finding Hank, and freed Jesse (with Jesse claiming psychological freedom by refusing to do what Walt wanted), then I think I would have found it much more satisfying. In that case, it would seem like he had more sincerely atoned for all he'd done wrong and had paid an appropriate cost. Getting to leave $9 million for Flynn and Holly seems like a karmic reward that vindicates all he did in the first place, and that's a resolution that really, really bothers me.

Billie Doux said...

For me, this finale was about Walt making amends the best way that he could. He destroyed the meth business that he had created, took out a lot of killers, including the man who killed Hank, and he saved the life of his former partner in the process. He told Skyler the truth, gave her the location of Hank's body, and got her off the hook with the feds. He managed to leave a small percentage of his empire to his totally blameless children, and showed no interest in the rest of the money when Jack tried to bribe him with it. For all we know, Walt's next move might have been to give himself up when the cops arrived, if he hadn't caught a bullet.

I knew you'd find fault with it, Jess, but I don't think Walt got away with anything. He'll never have the expensive house and privileged life he longed for. He died, and his empire fell. No more blue.

Vince Gilligan may have been tempted to do something outrageous and shocking, and I think part of me wanted that. Instead he chose to tie up every loose string and give the fans the ending they wanted. The response to the finale has been very positive, so I think he did his job.

Jess Lynde said...

Yes, yes. I appear to be largely alone in my reaction. Ah, well. It isn't the first time. :)

I've read many thoughtful reactions to finale, discussing just why it wasn't Walt winning and why it was fitting. Most focusing on how he didn't really get away with anything, because he died alone without family and no one else really got a happy ending either.

But I can't help feeling like this started in a place where he was staring down a death sentence and he wanted to make sure he left his family financially secure. It evolved after that, and became about the power and his ego. His legacy. His name. And in the end, he died alone without the loving embrace of family, but still leaving his family financially secure, and his legend will live on forever. But he doesn't ultimately have to deal with any of the fallout, and his supposed loved ones do.

I guess that is the series I was watching all this time. Walt inevitably finds a way to get what he wants and doesn't really have to deal with the consequences, but everyone else does. I just thought we were leading to a different moral reckoning. A final rebuke for his selfish, monstrous choices. But, I got a bit of what I wanted on that score in 'Ozymandias' and 'Granite State,' so that will have to suffice. I certainly don't regret watching the series. This just wasn't a satisfying closing note for me. Maybe, in time, I'll come to feel differently.

Anonymous said...

billie- "and showed no interest in the rest of the money when Jack tried to bribe him with it." I thought it was brilliant that Jack tried to bribe Walt with the same money that Walt tried to bribe Jack with.

jess- "his legend will live on forever"... plus don't forget according to skinny pete and badger, the street thinks that not only is heisenberg still cooking, that during his fugitive status, his blue is the best it's ever been.

Anonymous said...

I will say, though. Between:
1. Ordering his death
2. Ratting out his location to the Nazis
3. Telling him he (more or less) killed Jane

Walt and Jesse went a long way from the last time they saw each other to slate-clearing head nods.

sunbunny said...

I agree with what everyone (but Jess - sorry, Jess) has been saying. It was the perfect ending.

I like that Jesse's fate is open to interpretation. The realists can choose to believe he goes back to old patterns or whatever, but I choose to believe he gets his happy ending.

Your Modest Guru said...

Everyone's said what needs saying so far, so I'll just state what interested me in particular.

First of all, Badger and Skinny Pete as Walt's last minions, and being played off as the two of the country's best hitmen, was enough to make me love the whole episode before it was over.

I love the haunting opening of Walt stealing a car, freezing, hiding from the police and praying to god to help him get home. And how the appropriate music plays into the opening theme: "Maybe tomorrow a bullet will find me/Nothing's worse than this pain in my heart/And at last here I am on the hill overlooking-BREAKING BAD"

While I somewhat agree with Jess Lynde that Walt gets off a little easy in the end, I think I would have felt worse if everything Walt went through over the course of the series had been for nothing, which is what it would have been if he hadn't been able to get his family the money.

There's also the fact that Walt was living alone in New Hampshire for nearly a year. As smart as he is, and as many lessons as he has learned at this point, it's not unreasonable to think he would be able to get away with everything outside of escaping his own death.

Jesse killing Todd and Walter killing Jack might have been the two most satisfying deaths I've seen on this show.

This episode had one of the most striking transitions (aside from the one when Walt stood in what used to be his living room) from innocent Jesse making a nice box out of his own passion to enslaved Jesse reluctantly making the purest meth in America out of fear. Was anyone else getting a slight Jesus vibe from Jesse in this episode?

Freedom seemed the running theme throughout this episode, the "Live Free Or Die" license plate for instance. Walt admits that he stayed in the criminal game to escape the mundanity and depression of his normal life. There's also a lot of emphasis on things being unlocked: the first thing we see is Walt staring through the car door and seeing it is unlocked; the keys that unlock the trunk and slaughter the nazis. The nazis are associated with chains, since they represent the evolution of Walt's criminal empire. Killing them releases Walt, but more so Jesse, who even strangles Todd (his dark opposite) with his chains before taking them off and breaking through their gate. I guess crime always does lead to prison.

Breaking Bad was top notch filmmaking and storytelling. It was probably the most riveting and unpredictable show I've seen. I praise the actors, writers, directors and everyone who made it possible, especially Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston.

Again, you did an excellent job reviewing this show.

Jess Lynde said...

Why is it, do you think, that so many viewers took satisfaction in this idea that Walt was redeemed or attempted to redeem himself? I'm surprised that so many were happy to see him making amends, even though we've pretty consistently been given a portrait of this guy as the villain of the piece (at least for the last season or so). Why does Walt making a few small gestures to show he understands he's a monster or to possibly make some things right, balance the ledger for those of you who found it satisfying? Is there something more appealing about a very, very bad man being able to find a shred of redemption as opposed to a very, very bad man having to truly pay for his sins? Was there something about the satisfaction of once again seeing Walt get one over on the Bigger Bad? (And let's face it, Gilligan really stacked the deck there. Nazis?! That enslaved Jesse! How does even shockingly evil Walt not look good against that?)

I'm honestly curious. Because it was this final turn around on the general tone towards Walt and consequences that soured me on the finale (initially, at any rate).

Of course, the more I think about it, the more I realize that most of what Walt does in this finale is NOT redemptive. The three closest things are (1) to finally acknowledge to Skyler that it wasn't done for the family (and who knows how entirely honest he was being there --- I'll give him the benefit of the doubt), (2) to give the family the means to find Hank's and Gomez's bodies so they can be laid to rest, and (3) saving Jesse's life after he sees the situation he's in.

As for the rest, it was more of Heisenberg making sure to punish those he thinks have wronged him, to preserve his legacy, and to assert his will. He didn't go after Lydia and Jack's crew to avenge Hank. That was all about stopping them from continuing to make, sell, and profit off his signature product (not because meth is bad, but because that's his legacy) and to punish them for stealing his money. And even forcing Gretchen and Elliot to give the drug money to Flynn was about punishing them for perceived slights of the past. And that act totally disrespected Flynn's and Skyler's very clear wishes. They did not want his ill-gotten gains, and this last scheme once more overrides their agency to feed his own need to provide and to feel that this wasn't all for nothing. As with the meth cooking, it's not about family, it's about him.

As I write all this, I'm coming to terms with the notion that Gilligan was more true to Walt's ongoing characterization than I initially thought. He's not really being redeemed here. He just thinks he is. And when he goes down with the shadow of a smile on his face, it is more of a hollow victory, than an actual one. Gilligan said on Talking Bad that the end showed us Walt with his "Precious," Gollum-like. I'm starting to find the notion of Walt leaving this world, grasping at his perceived victories (preserving his family and his legacy) like Gollum clutching that ring and deliriously screaming about having won as he sinks to his death, a more satisfying conclusion than I initially thought. He's still a monster, and even though he claimed his prize, he's not victorious. Not really. It's just such a shame that so many others had to pay the price for his greed and selfishness, and will continue to pay every day going forward.

My "happy future" fantasy: Flynn completely sees through the gift from Gretchen and Elliot and chooses not to take the money. Or decides to put all of it into their foundation for helping drug addicts.

Thanks all for bearing with me as I process this finale!

Anonymous said...

All good Jess. However;

"My "happy future" fantasy: Flynn completely sees through the gift from Gretchen and Elliot and chooses not to take the money. Or decides to put all of it into their foundation for helping drug addicts."


Really? Your happy fantasy is for Walt Jr. to turn down 10 million dollars? However he gained it, whatever blood was spilled, Flynn/Walt Jr. is not responsible in the slightest for those horrors. To have him suffer for Walt's sins feels wrong in every conceivable way. Walt didn't really succeed. He never got the empire he wanted. His ego and arrogance destroyed him, and the family he said he was doing it for. There was no victory, except for the one person who was truly not to blame for any of the series events.

How is that not a good thing. Does it matter if Walt got some of what he wanted? He's dead. That legacy is just pride, which doesn't matter a lick in the long run. That money will change their lives. It will enable them to do so many good things. That's the final balance in the ledger, and has nothing to do with Walt's supposed redemption. It is the small glimmer of potential hope at the end of a very dark and twisted road.

Or at least that's how I see it.

Jess Lynde said...

I totally get what you are saying. And I absolutely understand why Flynn and Holly shouldn't have to suffer for the sins of their father. But they are. And they always will. And the money won't change that.

Flynn made it perfectly clear to Walt that he doesn't want Walt's blood money. He doesn't want anything to do with the money earned at the cost of Hank's life and so much suffering. He told Walt that and Skyler reinforced it, but Walt is completely trying to end run them by funneling the money through Gretchen and Elliot. I would like to see Flynn's and Skyler's wishes on this matter respected.

If Flynn chooses to accept the money, then I would hope he does so with clear eyes about where it is coming from and isn't just a victim of Walt's manipulations once more. And isn't choosing to put the money into a foundation to help those that suffered because of his dad's product doing good things with it?

Again, I understand why some want to see the family getting the money as a sign of hope. And I get why some viewers desperately want to see that as proof that this horrible path and downward spiral wasn't all not for nothing. But to me, that outcome has the effect of justifying all the horrible choices Walt made. An "ends justify the means" situation, and that just doesn't sit well with me.

Jess Lynde said...

Again, my apologies for all the long posts! My husband refuses to watch this show, so this is one of the few places I have to discuss the show with civil people that actually watch and enjoy it. The show has always given us so much to ponder and process, and it's left me with a lot to say and to want to discuss! Especially since I wanted to like the finale so much more than I did. It's given me even more incentive to discuss and try to understand why it worked for so many others. Thanks for humoring me.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like logic, that Walt didn't respect Flynn's wishes. Except Flynn was basing is decision on semi-faulty information. He rejected the money because he thought Walt directly killed Hank. Which we know is not that case. Walt would've died before letting Hank fall for his crimes. Walt was bad, about as bad as it gets, perhaps even evil to an extent. However, that money isn't Walt's anymore. It's belongs to no one. If Flynn realizes where it came from, he would very likely reject it and tell the authorities where it came from. Implicating Elliot and Gretchen in the process. The DEA would seize the funds, tear down Grey Matter, and very likely arrest those two for being manipulated by Walt.

Whether the money goes to their education, or to some charity, the point is it should be used for good. For anything other than what created it.

Jess Lynde said...

What can I say, I'm a logical girl. And I would counter that your reasoning that Walt didn't directly kill Hank is also "logic" at work. :)

Walt is responsible for killing Hank, whether he pulled the trigger or not. Hank's own choices also put him into that situation, but Walt doesn't get to play the "I tried to save him" card on this one. That may technically be true, but his innumerable crimes are the reason that Hank was pursuing him. Walt is the reason that Jack and company were there. Walt believing he could run a meth empire and get away with it is responsible for Hank's death. It is blood money. I don't think Flynn is harboring illusions on that front based on faulty information.

We're just going to have to agree to disagree, I think. :) I'm never going to feel that Walt getting to leave that money to his family or them getting to benefit from his ill-gotten gains is a victory or a sign of hope. The family still ending up with the money they explicitly rejected (their own attempt to make peace with all that's happened and to attain some measure of grace) does not feel like hope to me. It feels like vindication or justification for unspeakable horrors. And Walt trying to still force it on them feels like one last selfish manipulation.

Anonymous said...

Oh it was totally a manipulation. Walt's final manipulation. He lied to Skyler's face about it too. I'm just saying that there is no reason Flynn and baby Holly shouldn't get something positive out of this mess. To say otherwise is pride. Who cares where the money came from, it's there. That's like turning down a million dollars without strings, just because it was earned through some criminal organization. Does that change the fact that the money exists... no. The money will still be there, but it won't get used. Better for it to have a purpose, and a good one at that.

Anonymous said...

Jess Lynde, you obviously feel strongly about this and I get your point, but u are buzzkilling my Breaking bad finale high!

Jess Lynde said...

Sorry to harsh everyone's buzz. I'm kind of having the same reaction in the opposite direction. They gave me a finale that didn't fit with the show I thought I we were watching (at least based on the direction the series had been headed, of late) and the overwhelmingly positive response is baffling to me, so I've been trying to make sense of it.

But I will cease and desist. I am very glad that most people got more enjoyment out of it than I did, because it was a great show and it deserves to be celebrated. I really loved the last two episodes (painful though they were), and the series as a whole has been one of my very favorites for years.

I'm sorry that my attempt to discuss and come to terms with the finale, is ruining the experience for others. Truly.

Billie Doux said...

Thank you, Badger, for posting your opinion. :) Dude!

Jess, you have every right to post your opinion, too. You are obviously very dissatisfied with the finale, and I had just decided to stop trying to debate it with you because I'm just repeating what I've already said. I'm sorry it didn't please you. I truly am.

Suzanne said...

First of all, great review, Billie. Thanks for letting me see the finale in a different light.

Jess, you shouldn't feel badly about expressing your opinion. I, for one, enjoyed reading it since it helped to understand why I felt slightly disappointed last night after watching it, too. I loved certain aspects like Badger and Skinny Pete's role (which I guessed as we saw figures running towards the car). I also liked that Jessie survived and seemed to have some small bit of hope at the end.

However, I, too, am bothered that Walt was able to end on his own terms even if those terms were not in any way ideal. I like your second explanation for it, Jess, and I am glad you felt comfortable working through it here since I really enjoyed reading yours and other people's analysis through debate.

Great series and very good ending! I can't call it the best, though, as many people have, because of my reservations. I felt better about Vic Mackey's fate at the end of The Shield.

Henrik Bennetter said...

This is the end, beautiful friend, the end.

Billie, thankyou for all your reviews. As so many have said before me, and myself too on occasion, we always got more out of the show thanks to your insightful reviews.

And what a finale this was. I mostly agree with everyone, actually, including you Jess. It all felt bittersweet.

It was so good to see everyone, Skylar, Flynn, Holly, Marie, Hank, Badger and Skinny Pete.
And Walts final acts of vengeance were just perfect. And that actually bothers me, just a bit. It was maybe too perfect.
Maybe it's a script-thing, but having the nazis take away Walts car-keys and then let him sneak them back into is hand felt just a teeeeny bit sloppy on the writers part. It also wasn't entirely like Walt to not have a backup-plan.
I would have liked seeing the car-keys being thrown away into the darkness, Walt apparently despairing over this only to have a great reveal that the thingamajig was also on a timer.

Walt dying also felt to easy on him. After all he's done I wanted him to suffer, end his days in agony but still be happy - somehow - since he got the money to his kids after all.
And yes, I think his kids deserve the money although I don't see how on earth Flynn can't NOT see through the whole scheme when the time comes.

Then again, had Walt lived then the series wouldn't have ended. The ONLY way for Vince Gilligan to go was having Walt go.

Anyway, it felt like we got to say goodbye to everyone. Walts goodbye to his daughter was heart-wrenching. I knew exactly what he was feeling and thinking as he gently caressed his sleeping daughters cheek. It really got to me. The horrors he'd done and the innocence she represented.

I do believe Walt finally realized what he'd done. He stopped lying to himself and therefor everyone around him. He redeemed himself, to an extent, but being the monster he shouldn't have gotten of the hook that easily.

Anyway, love how he blew Jacks brains out in mid-sentence, mirroring what Jack did to Hank. Hank that'll now get a proper burial.

Just like Breaking Bad.

I'll miss it, but cherish it's memory forever. Just like a loved one gone.

Peace out everyone!

Anonymous said...

The finale in my opinion was perfect.. The last couple of minutes was completely worth the whole 5 seasons.. Walt walking around a meth lab reminiscing about the 'good times'.. The song baby blue seemed like it was written for that exact moment..(thanks for the name of the song Billie).. I sat watching those final moments with a big smile on my face.. Walt had finally accepted that he liked what he did and his body was found in the meth lab so he would die as Heisenberg.. Awesome !


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Jess: I felt Walt should have been punished more. Jane, Gale, Mike, Gomie…Hank. And he tried to kill Jesse as well. Walt was a monster, and he never accepted true responsibility for Hank and Gomie’s death. They were good men, better than most. I didn’t want Jesse to kill Walt, but I wanted Walt to show true penance by giving himself in like Saul suggested. His wistful smile of nostalgia as he walked around the lab at the end disgusted me. After everything, does he really regret his horrific actions? Would he take it all back if he could? Would he save Hank if it meant he wouldn’t be able to say, ‘I’m Heisenberg. I killed Gus Fring. I rule an empire. I am a King’? If he had turned himself in, I would actually be okay with him having some kind of happy ending. He could teach classes in prison.
For my own piece of mind, here’s my headcanon.
Jesse escapes, changes his identity and moves to a new town where he works as a rehab counsellor who makes some money on the side with carpentry. He sends his carpentry money to Kaylee Ehrmantraut and Brock on a monthly basis. It isn’t much, but it’s something.
Badger and Skinny Pete end up somehow working for Saul in a cinnabon.
Skyler raises Holly well. Maybe she never has a perfect life, but she has a relatively decent job, keeps on smoking and gets to see Flynn and Holly grow into functional, strong adults she can be proud of. She can know that she protected her family from the man who protected her family.
Ted becomes a minor celebrity by being the first paralyzed man to become an extreme skateboarder.
Marie, who we needed more of in the finale, grieves Hank and moves on. Maybe she re-marries, has children. She achieves happiness.
Doctors say Jack and Todd may be dead for some time.
Lydia survives the ricin and becomes my lover.
Kuby and Huell marry in Vegas.

Annie said...

Great review Billie, and loving the comments from both viewpoints. Personally I loved the end and now can say with confidence that this is a series that I will revisit at some point.

My general take on the outcome and Walt is this - What could have punished Walt more than what he had already lost, that would not have punished the viewer more? I would really have hated for anything worse to happen to his family, or for the Nazis to survive, or for Jesse to lose his life. Also I don't think Walt surviving to be arrested would have made much difference to his outlook, there were things he regretted (Hank in particular) but I can't imagine that he would ever have had an epiphany about what a bad guy he was and regret it more than he already did (which deep down was probably not that much, and certainly not enough). Succumbing to the cancer was another possibility, but I'm pretty sure Walt could have found a way to end his life before then, he had a way of making things happen, so for me that would have been hard to swallow in the context of the series and very anticlimactic.

I never interpreted Walt's actions in the finale as redemptive, but it was cathartic to watch the downfall of those baddies that were much badder than Walt had ever been. With Hank gone and Jesse in chains Walt was the only one that could set these events in motion.

As for the money, I do want Flynn to have the support he needs, because he really is going to need it, so this gives him a better chance to have a better life, get some therapy, go to college and move on. Without it they would be struggling.

I love that we get to imagine (choose) what will happen to Jesse. Logic might point towards continuing downward spiral, but he seems so elated we can imagine that he might just turn his life around. I interpreted his not shooting Walt as him breaking away from manipulation more than anything else, he knew Walt was going to die anyway. I wonder though if he would have let him live if Walt was not shot and terminally ill.

Sorry for rambling on :)

Jess Lynde said...

I've continued thinking on it, and I've realized that I'm apparently a far less forgiving person than most. At least when it comes to fictional villains. :)

I think what would have felt like "just" punishment to me would have been for Walt to lose his control, his power, and his ability to "provide" like a "man" does, because those are the things that were most important to him. He was going to lose his life anyway, so dying doesn't seem like just punishment. And, ultimately, his family wasn't really the most important thing to him (or he never would have gone as far with all of this as he did), so losing them didn't feel like the right punishment. For it to feel like dramatic justice to me, he would have had to lose the control, his sense of power, and his ability to provide (which is where my hang ups with the money come in). All of which he got to keep in the end. The BB universe and Vince Gilligan just didn't want to punish Walt as harshly as I did. Sigh.

BUT ... I've realized that if Walt was such an unredeemable monster in my mind, and that the damage and suffering he caused was the thing that really concerned me, that I should take some comfort in a resolution that gives what little solace, peace, and freedom to Walt's victims is possible. So Skyler getting his admission of why he did it, Marie getting to bury her husband, Jesse getting to escape and break the chains of Walt's psychological control, and Flynn not having to worry about his financial future are good things. And no one else was going to be able to give them those resolutions except Walt. (Although that last one will always grate a little, because of the way it elides Flynn's desire to not take the blood money.)

So I'm making peace with all of it. I still largely preferred the one-two punch of 'Ozymandias' and 'Granite State,' but I can take some satisfaction from the finale. :)

Henrik Bennetter said...

Just wanted to share what a friend said on her blog (

"The feeling I leave Walter White with boils down to one single scene. The one where he, hidden behind a building, awaits his son only to see the back of his body for a short while. For a few seconds Junior walks from the bus to the door, opens it and walks inside. His usual handling of the crutches, his hair hanging down over his eyes. A mundane, everyday, action in a low-key scene completely drenched in agonizing sorrow.
Sure, everything went Walters way that day. He humiliated his old businesspartners, ensured his kids economic safety, got to say goodbye to Holly and have a resemblance of making up with Skylar. He avenged Hank, slaughtered his enemies and saved Jesse. And, perhaps his biggest victory of all, he got to die on his own terms.
But with Junior there was nothing he could do. The son that bears his name, the person who's been the most important to him for sixteen years which he now looked at from an unbridgable distance. There was no making up, no redemption, not even a goodbye. Sure, Junior will get his money but at what cost. His family is torn, broken, dead. He will live the rest of his life with the hole of his father hanging over him. The hole of the monster. He will never understand, never be able to forgive.
It's the look on Juniors back that tells me more about how this story ended for Walt."

Annie said...

On Walt and control - While he has controlled and manipulated his way through 5 seasons it has always been within the context of him having lost control (terminal cancer). Because of this his victories of manipulation and control always seemed so hollow, because in the long run there was nothing that could save him.

Anonymous said...

In the Gretchen scene, what the heck alarm code does she have? That was like 16 digits long!

Also, did you notice Walt kept his right hand inside his jacket the entire time he was at her house? I presume to imply he had a gun?

sancho said...

Thanks for the reviews Billie! Another great one. I thought this was the finale we "needed" but not necessarily the finale I wanted mostly because of the points Jess Lynde has made.

I recommend reading this article if you want a different perspective on the finale:

sancho said...


Henrik Bennetter said...

Gaah! Sancho! My brain is melting! My brain is meltiiiiiiiing!

Anonymous said...

I loved it. I've been very frustrated this half season that Walt has acted less like the criminal mastermind he is, but he came roaring back in the finale and did everything I've been hoping for him to do.

Some people are upset that Walt pretty much "won" in the end, that he got most of what he wanted, except of course for Hank's death, but I don't know, I can understand them feeling that way but I don't, I wanted him to win, I wanted him to come back and beat everyone and he went out in style and on top. it's been a wonderful show.

Ren said...

That.was.perfect. Heartbreaking as usual, but so *right*. I'm going to miss this show so much.
At least we have something to look forward to next summer/fall?

Thank you SO much for your reviews! You caught so much I missed, it really added to the experience.

Miche said...


Thank you so much for reviewing this show =)

I loved this show, and this is why. I think some people put Walt as "evil" and Jesse as "good" ... but to me it was always about choices. Both of them made some good choices and some bad choices.

Jesse is no saint, he was an addict and a drug dealer who made many decisions that hurt other people. A couple episodes back, he could have left for a new life, but he came back for revenge and hate .. and ended up paying for it. I believe why everyone cheered for him and not for Walt is that he started showing remorse and regret for what he was doing ... while Walt became more and more cold and calculating. The main thing that swung me back for Walt, was his show of regret when he watched Hank die and he made a phone call to protect Skyler ... and saw his relationship with Walt Jr destroyed. There was still human in him, unlike the flat and completely evil back drop of the Nazi's.
In the end, everyone paid for their decisions. If Hank had spent more time coming up with a plan that could protect Jesse rather than sending him in unprotected, Jesse wouldn't have come up with his own plan that ended up killing Hank (yes, even Hank made some cold choices)
Skyler lost what was motivating her, the money and was living in a small place. She got to keep her children because she would never sacrifice them for her selfish desires, but she lost everything else.
There were, of course, the innocent, but most of our main characters (except Walt Jr and Holly) were not innocent. And notice how Walt Jr will get the money but not Skyler?
And Walt lost his family, because the lust for power was stronger than his desire to be with them, he wasn't just not able to spend his money on the things his rich friends had, but his greed lost his family too.
I believe that it was okay that he was able to leave the monety to his son ... as that desire to provide for his family was not evil in itself -- that was not the source, that was good in him. The desire and greed and lack of remorse was evil and lead to his lonely and empty death.

TJ said...

I don't know why I never saw this when it aired, been marathoning all five seasons this last two weeks.

It's been an exceptional ride, and the finale was more than I hoped it would be. And I'm emotionally drained and exhausted.

I liked the fact that Walt finally acknowledged the narcissist in him. He was doing it all for himself the whole time. And I LOVED that Jesse didn't fall for Walt's final manipulation to finish him off. In a way, for me, that meant that Walt had to take responsibility for his own death. He died because of his own actions, no one else pulled the trigger, and Walt lost in the end. (Although I feel a little disappointed that he managed to get the money to Flynn).
Jesse, on the other hand, made the right decision and turned away from the temptation of retribution, and hopefully moved to Alaska and started a new life.

I don't think I will ever rewatch this show. Although brilliant, I hated Walt too much at the end. I don't want to see him ever again.

It's been wonderful to have been able to read every review directly after I've seen the episodes. Many thanks, Billie:)

Steve S. said...

I just want to say that while Walt was screwing around trying to hotwire the car, I said immediately that the keys were in the visor. I have witnesses.

I don't think I've ever hung on every word as I did in the final Walk-Skylar scene. Wow.

Jess, I understand your dissatisfaction with the ending. But for me, worked because this is what drug kingpins do -- they murder one another until everyone is dead and new people take over. So I wouldn't call it satisfying, but I'd echo other people who expressed that it was consistent with the show. Also, Walt doesn't get redeemed. He just continues to act in a consistent way all the way to his death. He loved the power, the success, the action, and he was just being himself (and protecting his brand). Nothing more or less.

In the flashback scene, Hank says, "Put a little excitement in your life." Um, be careful what you ask for...

I was so happy when Jesse killed Todd, and even happier when Walt killed Lydia. The ending begs for a spinoff of Jesse attempting to live a life, but I guess no one wants to take that on.

I don't understand why people are so disappointed Walt didn't "pay more for his crimes." Let's recap: he's 52, spent the last couple of years on chemo and suffering from lung cancer (very painful and uncomfortable), and now he's dead. At 52. What do you want? He's not going to change his spots. He loved being a narco honcho, and that's who he is. And he's dead. He's never see his children again, and never see them as adults. He died alone, with no one to love him. Seems right.

A big shout out to Billie for awesome reviews -- they significantly improved my enjoyment and appreciation of this show. I would not have noticed so many things (e.g. repeating themes, foreshadowing and back references) without your help. I'm also appreciative of the community for insightful comments. Thank you all. Now I have to decide what to binge watch next...