The title of the final episode “Felina” was a clever anagram for “finale.” More specifically, though, the chemical elements, “Fe” (iron – blood), Li (lithium – meth), and Na (sodium – tears), spelled out that every man fulfills his life with blood, sweat and tears. This entire series was a celebration of selfishness. The destruction of the White family admonished that selfishness comes with collateral damage, but, ultimately, Heisenberg was a man who lived for his work and the compilation of his achievements.
There were so many loose ends on this show. We expected retribution on Lydia, the Nazis, Jesse and several other demons in Walt's world. Typically, Gilligan gets more mileage per episode out of Chekov's gun than the playwright himself. So with five seasons of one of the most eventful television shows in the past, this finale had some work to do.
There is a decent amount of debate on what the exact moment was when Walter actually "broke bad." A lot of people believe it was when he drove over the gang bangers in his Aztec. Maybe even more think back to the night he watched Jane die. But I like to think it was all the way back in Season One, when we first met Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz. Walt was just thanked profusely for his generous gift of Ramen Noodles at Elliot's birthday party. As a pregnant Skyler watched from afar, Elliot offered Walt a job at Gray Matter technology and enough pay to cover his cancer treatments and the $732,000 Walt calculated he needed to leave his family from the very beginning. At that very moment, Elliot offered a ticket away from all this horror, but Walt couldn't take a ticket draped in charity.
Walt was a man of great pride. He had to earn for his family, not beg. We never really learned the full story behind his disgruntled departure from Gray Matter technologies, but we know it was his galvanizing motivation. During Walt's brief reign atop the New Mexico drug trade, he described Jesse why his six million payout wasn't enough. He sold his shares of Gray Matter for a little more than $5,000, and it was now worth billions. He wasn't in the meth business, he was in the "empire business."
And what good is an empire when nobody is around to bow at its greatness? Last week, Walter had his own son deny his money and his contribution to this Company diminished to half the contribution to the name on a Charlie Rose interview. Only a Dimple Pinch could help him drink to the thought that his life work was ruining his life's work. If he merely died in the snow with the "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" DVD menu playing on a loop, he'd be no better than the mighty desert king Ozymandias, the moniker for his downfall two episodes ago.
The vengeful Heisenberg led us to believe he was capable of murdering Gretchen and Elliot purely out of spite, but in reality, he had no other hope for the survival of his empire than through Gretchen and Elliot. When he told them he had to give them something from his car, I was worried the finale would be blood-stained. But his $9.6MM had to be laundered one more time to reach his family. His ex-partner, Elliot, and perhaps his ex-lover, Gretchen, needed the convincing of the two best hitmen west of the Mississippi. Apparently, Badger and Skinny Pete could be deadly with their laser pointers.
The moment Walter admitted to Jesse that he watched Jane die lifted weight off all of our shoulders. It was something we had been waiting to see revealed, but didn't know how. This week, he finally revealed the lie he had been convinced himself all along. With Skyler now at peace with Hank's resting place on his lottery ticket (which doubled as her ticket for a deal with the prosecutor) Walter had to tell her one more thing. She interrupted him before he could spew more crap about his love for his family before he finally admitted, "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive." Just as we felt relief with Walt's confessions to Jesse, Skyler looked as if she could finally breathe with that truth.
Skyler let him see Holly one last time. Last time we saw Walt with Holly, he was stealing her from her pen, and Skyler saw him for a monster. This time, Skyler seemed to see Walt for the man she married. He caught one last glimpse of Walt Jr returning from school, and he could rest knowing he left his family well.
While his goodbye to his biological son was purely one-sided, he owed Pinkman more than that. Although his family was torn apart, nothing took more abuse than Jesse. He was beat up by Tuco, beat up by Hank, and tortured by Nazis. He lost his parents, he lost his friend, Combo, his girlfriend, Lydia, and second girlfriend, Andrea. Skyler warned him in season one that if he joined with Walter White, he'd be sorry, so Walter White had to apologize.
I mentioned earlier how Gilligan uses Chekhov's gun, but who knew he'd find a use for Chekov's car keys. When the trunk popped open a rotating machine gun, I practically jumped up to cheer. Uncle Jack lay wounded in a chair, willing to trade the $80 million dollars for his life, begging on his deathbed unlike the proud ASAC Schraeder. Walt answered his please with a bullet to the head.
Only Todd remained, fortunately laying on the ground to break up what he thought was a Walter/Jesse wrestling match. This revenge was Jesse's, who wanted justice for Todd ever since Drew Sharp explored the wrong train tracks. While Todd marveled at Mr. White' work one more time, Jesse ripped the life out of him with his cuffs.
Walt needed to confess his selfishness to his secondary family. The father son motif was never more apparent than during Jesse's heartbreaking confrontation with Walt and Saul in the desert. All he wanted to Walt to do was admit he needed a favor. And while Jesse pointed the gun at his head, Walt finally confessed, "I want this." "Then do it yourself," Jesse responded defiantly, finally breaking free of obeying Mr. White's orders. Jesse finally sped away from his Hell en route to some race car dramas.
Lydia Rodarte Quail calls to see if Todd carried out their planned hit. Her ghostly face turned hopeless when she realized what she thought was the flu was actually ricin poisoning. Not to brag, but some people saw that coming.
The villains didn't have peace on their deathbed. They begged (Jack) or realized their failures (Lydia). Walter, though, had his swan song in his lab, the one place where he finally felt alive. His family is free of him and is promised to receive the money in less than a year. His ex-partner is finally free to start anew. After conquering evil in the Cartel, Pollos Hermanos and the Nazis, Walter finally conquered the evil within himself. His life's work was done.
Bravo Breaking Bad.