Breaking Bad finale review: Felina

The series finale is rarely the best episode of a show. The finale never ends the way you want it to; and after the hour finishes, there are no more minutes left to make it right.

For the past year, really, we've been tweeting and chatting and speculating about all the ways Breaking Bad could go out. Who'd live and who'd die? Would Walt ride off into the sunset or would he wind up in prison? Would Holly grow up to rule her own meth empire (I guess we'll never know the answer to that one)?

We knew going into this episode that our theories would be proven right or wrong. Some of us (me) had built up little fantasies about how things would go. I latched on to the hope that Marie would be knocked up with Hank's baby. That didn't happen. I dropped my notion that Lydia would get the ricin poison via her Stevia addiction in favor of Lydia ending up as a character in Season Two of Orange Is The New Black. I should've stuck with my initial thought. (How many of you are going to start thinking really hard before you pour a packet of Stevia into your tea or coffee from now on?)

As far as finales go, I thought this one was pretty satisfying. It ticked all the boxes. Walt figured out a way to get his money to his kids (via a trust set up by the Schwartzes, his ex-business partners whom he threatened with "death" via Badger and Skinny Pete and a couple of laser pointers). He had a chance to say goodbye to Skyler and Holly (and he got a glimpse of Junior...er...Flynn). Jack and Todd got dead. Jesse got freed. And Walt finally admitted to himself and Skyler and the world that he didn't do the whole Heisenberg meth empire thing for the good of his family. He did it because he liked it and because he was good at it and because it made him feel alive.

The title of the episode really set things up: Fe (iron, i.e. blood), Li (lithium, i.e. meth), and Na (salt, i.e. tears). We got a little bit of all of it. Walt cried, he bled, and he took a moment to dance with the one who brung him -- the precious meth lab -- before lying down on the floor and expiring from a gun shot wound.

It was a fitting end for Walt. I think we all knew he'd die. That cough was a dead giveaway. No one coughs like that and makes it out alive. That's something Moulin Rouge taught me. I pictured Walt going out into the desert, where he cooked with Jesse for the first time and where his money used to be and where Hank is now buried, and taking his own life, the police finding him after Skyler's tip. But Walt dying on the floor of the meth lab was just as powerful. He died as Walter White, the scientist. It was kind of a beautiful thing.

If I'm ranking "Felina" against all of the other episodes of Breaking Bad, this was not one of my favorites. For one thing (and this is not the fault of the Breaking Bad people, just AMC, those Low Winter Sun pushers), there were too many commercial breaks. It took me out of the episode a little bit. This should've been aired in one big block, sponsored by Stevia, perhaps, and Volvo. For another thing, this show has never been about taking the easy way out, the short cuts that lesser shows employ. Things were a little too convenient for Walt in his last days. The keys were under the visor of the car he was stealing. Uncle Jack made a big show of bringing Jesse into the room instead of just killing Walt on the spot. And, as a result, Walt was able to grab his key fob without anybody noticing, thus putting his machine gun plan into action.

Those are nit picky things, I know it. And I definitely think this show ended solidly. I don't think people will be complaining tomorrow like they did after The Sopranos and Seinfeld ended, but I also don't think people will be talking about the events of this finale for years to come. And I think that's perfectly fine. Breaking Bad has always been more about the journey than the destination.

I do still wish Todd had gotten a chance to make that skin suit out of Lydia, though. Perhaps in the afterlife.

Other Stuff:

  • The music in this episode was spot on, as always. I love that Todd has a special ringer for Lydia. I also loved that Walter White expired to a tune called "Baby Blue," about a man who has stayed away from his love for too long.
  • I thought we were done with Badger and Skinny Pete a few episodes ago, so it was fun and surprising to see them drop by one more time.
  • I'm really disappointed that Marie is not pregnant. How much timed passed between when Hank was killed and when Walt came back to Albuquerque? I'm going to pretend it was enough time for her to have gestated a baby Hank and that her baby was just in the other room sleeping while Marie was on the phone with Skyler.
  • What do you think will become of Walt's money now that Jack and Todd and everyone are dead? Will the police find it? Will someone else find it? Will NO ONE find it?
  • What do you think Junior will do with the trust fund money? Will he spend it wisely or will he pull a Jesse Pinkman and trick out his house with video games and stereo systems?
  • Speaking of Jesse, what does he do now? Does he take up woodworking? Does he find Brock and raise him as his own? Does he go to Alaska? Does he end up just staying in town talking about Star Trek with Badger and Skinny Pete?

What did you think of the finale? Were you not entertained?

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Filed under: TV, TV Recaps, Uncategorized

Tags: Breaking Bad

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