I’m having a hard time adjusting to Sunday nights without Breaking Bad. There’s no replacement right now, although I’m sure something good will come along eventually. I never thought I’d find shows to replace The Sopranos or Six Feet Under. I’ll be heartsick when Mad Men ends, too. But that’s the beauty of TV. There will always be some brilliance to cut through the garbage. We just have to wait.
So what did you think of the series finale of Breaking Bad?
I thought it was the most satisfying end of any show I’ve ever watched. Loose ends were tied up. We feel good that Jesse lived and Walt’s family will receive some money in the end. The bad guys died in a brutally violent firestorm that was poetic in its execution. Todd dies by Jesse’s hand, and Lydia by Walt’s. YES!
What I’m most pleased about is that the show never lost its integrity. They ended it before they ruined it, which so many shows cannot bear to do. (Remember almost an entire season of The Sopranos about Vito Spatafore?) While AMC dragged it out to squeeze every last dime possible out of the Sunday night time slot, Vince Gilligan never cheapened the story.
The part of the final episode that I found to be the most poignant was when Walt admitted to Skyler that he enjoyed his reign as Heisenberg. This confession was not only to her, but to himself, and to us. This was a big step for Walt. The simple act of humility turned him back into original Walter White. Just a man.
What made the show so compelling this last season is that our flawed hero became the villain. There was no shortage of deplorable characters, but after killing Gus Fring, Walt became the main force of evil on the show. The transformation was slow to build. So slow, in fact, that we just took it for granted that Walt was a monster. But in his tender moments towards his children and Jesse, we were reminded that he was human.
Jesse’s transformation was just as subtle. He went from a light-hearted, immature kid to a heavily burdened man whose demons were too much to bear. It was through Jesse that we felt pain, remorse, and regret. Where many of the characters appeared to be unfeeling, Jesse was sensitive to everything. That’s why we all have a soft spot for Jesse.
Some might have felt disappointment at Hank’s failure to bring Walt to justice. His devotion to this case was single-minded and his breakthrough was exciting and terrifying. It was sad to see him get so close only to be ruthlessly killed in the end. But, alas, this was not Hank’s story. It was Walt’s.
Walt dying on the floor of a meth lab was the closure he deserved. After all, we did not want to see him taken away by the feds or killed by Lydia or Todd or the Evil Uncles. If Jesse had killed him, it would have been one more soul on his own conscience. Walt died at peace and as happy as the circumstances allowed. It was a good goodbye.