I got on the Breaking Bad bandwagon six years too late. I regret it. It’s such an amazing show and I only started to watch it when the final 8 episodes started to air. I had five years’ worth of TV to catch up to, and it meant two months of marathoning the saga of Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, and Albuquerque’s beloved blue meth. Worth it.
Anyway, if you haven’t seen it yet, spoilers for Felina – and Breaking Bad in general – to follow.
Walter White, the brilliant chemist-turned-schoolteacher-turned meth lord left New Hampshire. He is haggard, unkempt, and cancer in an advanced state. He doesn’t let a small thing like dying and being the most-wanted criminal in America stop him though. He is out to exact revenge on Jack and his jolly band of Neo Nazis for keeping Jesse alive, and for stealing the formula for his signature blue meth. He hides from the police in an unlocked, snow-covered, car. He utters a prayer that he needs to get back to New Mexico and that he’ll take it from there. Like magic, keys fall from the sun visor into his hands.
What follows next is Walter ending up in New Mexico, going about his business unnoticed until he makes himself known. He first shows up at Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz, where he scares the couple into making a 9 million dollar trust fund for Walt Jr. Then he goes to Lydia and Todd’s meetup and acts his way into trading his new formula for money. Finally, he goes to Skyler and they make up – or whatever’s close to it, considering the circumstances – and Walt gives her the lottery ticket containing the coordinates for Hank and Gomie’s grave. Skyler lets him see Holly one last time; he sneaks a peek at Walt Jr before he sets off to finish his business.
And Walt’s aforementioned business: putting an M60 on a moving mount inside the trunk of a car, strategically parking the car to kill all of the Nazis in one go. He was planning to kill Jesse too, but after seeing that he’s been turned into a meth-cooking slave, decides to save the kid’s life instead.
Seriously, this finale was amazing. I was expecting all-out explosions and screams and twists, but here the show gives us a curveball by not throwing out a last-minute twist. Every single moment in the show was the logical – and earned – resolution of plot points past. And instead of a loud and explosive finale, we get a quiet, definitive conclusion by neatly ending most plot points in an almost methodological manner. And seeing the entire neo-Nazi gang get slaughtered – except for Todd – in less than two minutes with that M60 very, very, quietly was better than bombs or a prolonged gun fight. Walter White was never good at the gang side of the drug trade. He is – at his very core – a thinker, and using his brains to finish off his enemies was true to who he was.
The last moments between Jesse and Walt felt thin. Jesse was the heart of Breaking Bad, and went through more horrific things than Walt – mostly as a result of Walt’s manipulations to begin with – he deserved to be more than missing the first half of the finale and deserved to tell Walt so much more. But then, if you were either of them and you both went through those harrowing two years where you ended up hating each other to your very core, I don’t think you’d have much to say once you get a moment of uneasy peace. Besides, the moment Jesse refused to kill Walt was the moment he was free from anybody’s machinations at last.
Now people would say that Walt was lucky – too lucky – and that it was sloppy writing. The creators weren’t really after telling a realistic tale at this point. Hell, a couple of seasons back we had a guy walk down a nursing home with half his face blown away and he had time to fix his tie before he died. Felina (or Breaking Bad in general) was a full-blown Shakespearean tragedy, where deus ex machina and lucky (or unlucky) coincidences push the plot forward. It always has been that way for the last five seasons. Jesse even pointed out to Hank before how lucky Walt was. The moment the car keys fell, it was going to go Walt’s way a hundred percent.
Another way I look at it is that this was the first time ever that Walt was honest to himself and others. No pretenses about him being a good guy doing the wrong things for the right reason. He just fully accepted who he became at that point and he was able to accomplish his final acts – saving his family, saving his estranged son, and securing his legacy as the legendary Heisenberg. His legacy, of course, the most important one. That’s what pushed him in this journey in the first place.
- Jesse needs to slow down before a cop catches him for speeding. And he’d be locked up again.
- The moment he sped out of the gate, I prepared myself for a slew of terrible Need For Speed jokes on Reddit. And I was right.
- I cheered when Lydia realized that she’s now dying of ricin poisoning.
- Camomile tea with soy milk is disgusting, Lydia. No wonder Walt poisoned you.
- Seriously, Walt is a ninja. A Cancer Ninja.
- WHAT ABOUT HUELL GODDAMN IT
- I sure hope Saul is happy selling cinnabons in Ottawa or wherever the hell it was he was spirited off to.
- The scene where Jesse strangled Todd was well-earned. I made a fistpump when it happened. Then it played out a little longer than I would be comfortable watching. While Walt just looked at his protégé strangling the everloving fuck out of Meth Damon. Then I didn’t know if I wanted Todd dead any more.
- Not one “Bitch!” in this episode. And I’m fine with it.
- No way Jesse is ever going to see Brock again. This makes me sad.
- Fucking Meth Damon. His family gets killed in front of him and the next thing he does is to admire Walt’s little death contraption.
- Oh, Badger and Skinny Pete. You two are awesome.
- I really, really, wish I started watching Breaking Bad a few years earlier.
- Are Breaking Bad fans really going overboard with the Walt-Heisenberg dichotomy like he has multiple personalities? I’ve seen posts where they go “oh look at him switching between Walt and Heisenberg like crazy.” Isn’t it glaringly obvious that there’s no secondary personality and Heisenberg is just a fucking pseudonym?
- … okay, yep.
So, what did you think of Felina? Was it a fitting end or was it a huge pile of shit? Tell me about it in the comments!