"Breaking Bad," which is likely to go down as either the best show ever on television or close to it, delivering strong episodes week after week, aired its series finale, "Felina," Sunday, Sept. 29, but who lived? Who died? How did they die?
As the "Breaking Bad" series finale began, Walt coughed as he tried to start a snow-covered car, only to sit, frozen, as a police car passed. "Just get me home," he muttered, and then came a glimmer of hope: the police car passed and he found keys in the visor. Nothing happened quite yet. But it was just the beginning, the beginning of the end.
Walt stopped for gas, took his pills with gasoline, and used a pay phone to place a call as a writer from The New York Times for an interview with Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz, and once he had their new address, he was off, his watch left behind. Gretchen and Elliot were so busy arguing about pizza and Thai food that they didn't even notice Walt sitting on a bench inside the first entrance to their incredibly fancy new house. In fact, he was able to close the first set of doors and make it all the way inside to the living room, tinkering with their photos and such, before Gretchen even noticed him. "I really like your new house," he told them. He was there to give him something, and it was in his car, outside the gate. Elliot pointed a regular old kitchen knife at him, as if that would mean anything. "Elliot, if we're going to go that way, you're going to need a bigger knife," Walt said. He had them stack the cash on their coffee table, explaining they were to give it to Flynn on his 18th birthday as a trust to do what he wanted, hopefully as a college fund and to help the family. "My children are blameless victims of their monstrous father, a man you once knew quite well," he told them. As they thought they were free of him, two red dots appeared on their chests. Walt explained he paid off the two best hit men to make sure the money got to his children. Whatever happened to him the next day, they'd still be there. "Cheer up, beautiful people, this is where you get to make it right," he explained.
After he left, he pulled over on the side of the road, and his two hit men got in the car: Badger and Skinny Pete. The red dots were just laser pointers, and they felt a bit shady about what they did…until he paid them off. Then they were feeling better. However, they were confused when he asked about the blue meth still being out there. They thought he was cooking because it was so good, and he realized it was Jesse. "Couldn't he at least throw a brother a bone?" Badger complained.
Jesse was into woodworking, making a pretty nice box…or was he? As he turned around, he was back in the meth lab, chained up, not in a nice woodworking shop. What followed were flashes of what we already saw earlier this season: Walt writing out 52 with the bacon in the diner, the machine gun in the trunk, and Walt retrieving the ricin from the house. Then, as he stood in what once was his living room, there was a flashback of Hank offering to take Walt on a ride along, back before this began, before Walt left what used to be his house.
Lydia had her bags packed as she stopped at The Grove for her chamomile tea, Todd joining her and awkwardly complimenting her shirt. Walt hid his face as he grabbed a chair and joined them, begging them to hear him out for two minutes, asking "please." He was offering up a new method to keep them in business, one he could teach to Todd. How did he know they'd be there? He reminded Lydia that they used to meet there, commenting that she was schedule-oriented. They looked away awkwardly as he began coughing again, and he claimed he needed the money because he spent almost all of his staying one step ahead of the police. Lydia thought Jack should hear about it, while Todd protested, but once Walt was gone, Lydia explained they weren't doing business with him. It was just to lure him out there. She poured her Stevia into her tea and stirred.
Walt set up a nifty robotic device in the desert, using his car key remote. Marie called Skyler to warn her that Walt was in town and people were calling in with threats about blowing up City Hall. Was it Walt? It was stretching the police thin, and Marie said there were three places Walt would go: Skyler, Marie, and Flynn. Well, she was right, because after Skyler hung up, she told Walt he had five minutes. Why was he there? "It's over," he said. "And I needed a proper goodbye." Was he going to the police? "They'll be coming to me," he explained. What about the people who came to the house? "They're not coming back, not after tonight," he reassured her. He had one last thing to give her: the lottery ticket with the GPS coordinates to where Hank and Steve Gomez were buried. She was to call the DEA once he left and say he forced his way in. He wanted her to use the ticket to trade for a deal with the prosecutor and save herself. "All the things that I did, you need to understand—" he began. "If I have to hear, one more time that you did this for the family…" she warned him. "I did it for me. I liked it," Walt admitted. "I was good at it, and I was really—I was alive." Before he left, he had the chance to see Holly one last time. But all he could do when it came to Flynn was watch from afar as he got off the school bus and went into the house.
And then it was time for the big finale—and what a finale it was. Walt was escorted to the "clubhouse" to meet Jack, his car keys—yes, those car keys—and wallet taken away for the time being. "We're not really in the market," Jack told him when Walt tried to talk business after a few comments about the hair. "You really shouldn't have come back, Mr. White," Todd told him, but as Jack tried to have his men take him out back for his execution, Walt yelled about him partnering up with Jesse, something Jack had to defend. "Him being alive is not him and me being partners," he explained. "I'm going to show you just how wrong you are, then I'm putting that bullet in your head myself." As Todd brought in Jesse, Walt managed to get his hands on his car keys and fiddled with them as he approached his former partner. He tackled him to the ground, Jack and the others thinking nothing of it, and that was when Walt hit the remote button. The car trunk opened—there was a reason he parked the car the way he did—and the machine gun began firing. Walt kept Jesse down until it was over, and once Todd was up checking outside, Jesse got the chains around his wrist around his neck and began squeezing. Once Todd was dead, Jesse got the keys to his cuffs and began unlocking them while Walt took a gun off the floor and approached Jack, who was pretty much almost dead already. Jack brought up his money, but Walt just pulled the trigger. Jack was dead.
Then Walt slid the gun over to Jesse. "Do it," he told him. "You want this." But first, Jesse needed something from him: "Say the words! Say you want this! Nothing happens until I hear you say it." "I want this." However, once Jesse saw that Walt had already been shot, he dropped the gun. "Then do it yourself." Todd's phone rang, and Walt answered it. "They're all gone," he told her, knowing exactly how she was feeling. "That would be the ricin I gave you. I slipped it into that Stevia crap you're always putting in your tea." Jesse and Walt faced off for the last time before Jesse got in a car and sped off, going through probably every single emotion a person could go through as he broke through the gate.
Walt walked through the lab in his final moments. "Guess I got what I deserved," was the first, fitting lyric of the final song of the series. As the police arrived, Walt collapsed, leaving a bloody handprint behind. Yes, Walter White was dead. Quite a fitting end, don't you think?
All in all, the "Breaking Bad" series finale was as satisfying as it could have been. We got a flashback to the very beginning. Everyone who needed to be killed was killed--and by the right people too. Jesse needed to kill Todd after everything. Jesse needed to finally have something good happen in his life, even if that good was just getting away from Walt and the brotherhood for now. Walter had to kill Jack. There had to be something about Lydia's tea. Walt had to have the goodbyes he did with his family. It was a finale that had you on the edge of your seat, dreading the minutes that ticked away as it ended, and, like the rest of the series, it was as close to perfect as you can get.
What did you think of the "Breaking Bad" series finale?