Breaking Bad Series Finale Open Thread (Spoilers)

My basic position as soon as it ended was satisfaction, which is probably the best compliment one can deploy for a series finale, especially for a series such as this that was clearly aiming to tell a complete story from the get-go.  While the dramatic zenith of the season was Ozymandias, two episodes prior, Felina settled all the issues that remained dangling.  I cannot think of a major plot thread (or even a minor one) that was not sufficiently addressed.  The last eight episodes of the series taken as a whole are a perfect concluding set of chapters to a truly brilliant story.

Observations

  • I loved the Marty Robbins reference.  That song was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the title of the concluding episode (Felina).  I had seen references to the title been an anagram of finale as well as referring to blood, meth, and tears (Fe, Li, Na).  However, I had not seen a reference to Marty Robbins’ classic ballad about El Paso.  Given the show’s western motif and creative use of music, I expected it would fit in somehow, especially since the last words of the the song are “Felina, good bye.”  I love that Walt was humming it as he built his gun rig—because it is a song that definitely gets stuck in your head. (And, like the DVDs of Mr. Magorium in Granite State, I think that was the only tape in the stolen Volvo. I suspect he listened to it a number of times).
  • While on the one hand, it is still blood money, I like the plan to use Gretchen and Eliot to funnel the money to the kids.  It can’t make up for the mess that Walt created, but at least it should mean that they do not suffer all the consequences of Walt’s crimes. 
  • In general it was satisfying (there’s that word again) to see Eliot and Gretchen again.
  • Loved seeing Badger and Skinny Pete one last time.
  • The dominant predictions (the gun was for Jack’s crew and the ricin was for Lydia) came to pass.
  • I guess all that time in the cabin contained some time for introspection after all:  “I did it for me.”
  • How about that look of sheer joy on Jesse’s face as he drives off?
  • Although poor Jesse:  what will do now?  He is penniless and has to have the PTSD beyond measure at this point (not to mention a lot of guilt).
  • Of course, the show did not wrap up all the justice issues (not that it should have tried).  Skyler and Jesse are both criminals, but given all that they have suffered as a result of their association with Walt, it is easy to want to escape without formal punishment (and in the case of Jesse in particular, it is hard to say that he hasn’t been punished).    A lot more could be written about this topic than can contained in a bullet point on a list (and I am sure it will be), but it was worth noting at least.

Nitpicks

  • I am not sure that the coordinates for Hank and Steve’s bodies will be enough to get a deal for Skyler, but maybe.
  • I would have liked a bit more dialog between Walt, Gretchen, and Eliot over the past.  What really did happen at Gray Matter?  OF course, that may have been too much exposition.
  • Likewise, I felt like there were a few more words to be had between Walt and Jesse, but again, perhaps parsimony was best.
  • It was a tad convenient that all of Uncle Jack’s crew were in the club house.  Although I suppose that they would have all wanted to there to see the great Heisenberg get his.
  • How did the police know to come?  Did Walt tip them off somehow?  If so, the timing was impeccable.  The compound seems too remote for the gunfire to have roused suspicions (although it was quite a bit of firepower).

Thoughts?

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, Quick Takes
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Rafer Janders says:

    I cannot think of a major plot thread (or even a minor one) that was not sufficiently addressed.

    Who killed El Sapo, was Deb being drugged and why and by whom, and what the hell happened to those jewels?…No, wait, sorry, that was one of Dexter’s many plot threads…..

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    While on the one hand, it is still blood money, I like the plan to use Gretchen and Eliot to funnel the money to the kids. It can’t make up for the mess that Walt created, but at least it should mean that they do not suffer all the consequences of Walt’s crimes.

    It was a genius plan. As soon as Walt was explaining it to them, I thought ah, of course!, and yet I hadn’t come up with the same plan on my own (and I’ve spent more than some time this last week thinking about how I’d get the money to Holly and Flynn).

  3. roger says:

    Pity we’ll never get to know the full Gray Matter backstory but we have a BB fan to thank for bringing Gretchen and Eliot back:

    —–
    SOURCE

    Last year, Vince Gilligan was contacted by the parents of 16-year-old Kevin Cordasco, who was terminally ill with an aggressive form of cancer and adored the show more than most.

    “There was something about the Walter White character,” explained his father. “The way he took control of his illness, and his life, that really resonated with Kevin.” Gilligan and the cast visited Kevin at home and in hospital, and during one of these visits he was asked by Gilligan what he felt was missing from the show.

    “He said, ‘You know what, I want to know more about Gretchen and Elliott,’ Gilligan said recently.

    “I want to know more about Walt’s backstory with them. I want to know what happened.’” This is how Walter’s former Gray Matter business partners ended up with a pivotal role in the final series.

    Gilligan even offered to tell him how the show would end; Kevin declined, saying he’d rather find out along with the rest of the world. Kevin Cordasco died soon after, and the ninth episode of season five is dedicated to him.
    —–

    Last we saw, poor Huell was left in the safehouse and no one has come to retrieve him.

  4. dazedandconfused says:

    I liked the dialogue with Gretchen and Eliot. All he had to do is mention the Charlie Rose interview because everybody there knew both what he had really contributed to the start-up of Grey Matter and what had been said to Rose. The writers restraint from writing extra dialog to inform the audience was the right choice, IMO.

    The laser pointers were unnecessary, but is part of the black humor that made the series great. In the two previous episodes that humor has been missing. For very good reasons, of course, but Breaking Bad doesn’t “work” without it. Watching Walt and Jesse do nothing but lose, and lose big, without a trace of….as Stan Hardy like to put it….”And a find mess this is!” was no fun.