*This is a spoiler heavy review of the final episode of Breaking Bad*
It’s done. Finished. Breaking Bad is no more. It has been a massive part of my life this summer and, having timed it pretty well, I jumped on the bandwagon at just the right time. On Sunday (in the US, Monday for UK Netflix viewers) ‘Felina’ finished the fifth and final season of Vince Giligan’s masterpiece, Breaking Bad. After 5 seasons, dating back to its, now famous, white pants/green shirt pilot episode in 2008, the fate of Walter White and co. has been revealed.
Mr White/Heisenberg gets his comeuppance in a satisfying and powerful ending to the series, lying on his back, in the place where he felt most at home, a meth lab. However in comparison to the last 3 episodes leading towards the end, ‘Felina’ is almost quite comfortable to watch, Walt dies, well we assume he dies and Jesse lives happily ever after, or at least gets the escape he deserves. The heart wrenching ‘Ozymandias’ had me in floods of tears as Hank was murdered by Todd and the Nazis. The first scene involving Marie had me in hysterical sobs. One of the best hours of television I’ve ever seen, it affected me so much that I had no words for about 5 minutes after the episode finished, letting the credits roll in silence, wiping away my tears in awe of the shattered world Walt has created.
Now we have Walt checking off his to-do list; all ends get tied up in delightfully satisfying manners (although what about Huell?! Is he still waiting for Hank? Poor Huell). First we have the Schwartz family, Gretchen and Elliot. Scaring them into submission with ‘two of the best hitmen in the world’, who happen to be Badger and Skinny Pete, fair enough, Walt didn’t lie when he said they cost £100,000, he makes sure the two loveable stoners are sorted with a wad of cash each. He goes through the motions and poisons Lydia with the ricin. I had predicted the ricin was for Lydia, secretly satisfied that she will die a slow and painful death.
A far from romantic reunion with Skylar was necessary. That scary phone call in ‘Ozymandias’ could have been their last conversation, but this one meant so much more. Walter White admits that it was all for himself: “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it.” and this is so important, it confirms that all the ‘I’m doing this for my family’ lines were pure bullshit. The imagery in this scene is very symbolic with a pillar physically dividing the two. They couldn’t be further away from the newly weds we see in Walt’s flashbacks in earlier seasons. Visibly drained and scarred Skylar sits there, chain smoking, and as the camera pans we see Walt. A silent goodbye to Walt Jnr and Holly and Walt moves on to tackle the next end that needs tying.
The last 20 minutes of the episode is television brilliance. We have the predicted, and needed, Walt vs Jesse stand off. After Walt saves Jesse from the hail of bullets coming from that machine gun in the boot of Walt’s car, and Jesse brutally giving Todd what he deserves, strangling him with the chain of his cuffs. A cathartic necessity. Having the opportunity to murder Walt, Jesse decides to walk away and get his freedom; he knows Walt is going to die anyway, whether it be the cancer or the more imminent bullet wound, Jesse can be rid of Walt and not witness his death.
‘Baby Blue’ by Badfinger plays as the camera zooms out on a near-death Walter White surrounded by police slowly approaching his body from all angles. The first line ‘I guess I got what I deserve’ lingers over Walt so fittingly. The music in Breaking Bad has been spectacular throughout, but especially on this final scene. A great way to end a fantastic television series. Perhaps not the best of all time, but one that deserves the praise (and the Emmys) it’s getting.