Season 5, Episode 16 “Felina”
SPOILERS. I can’t stress that enough.
Perfect. Pure and simple. I can go on and on about why I feel that way, but perfect is the only way that I can describe just how Vince Gilligan put and end to his masterpiece. He did it perfectly.
A lot of times, when people complain about a series finale, it’s usually because it didn’t leave the viewer satisfied. Recently, this example was the series finale of Dexter, as many people found the ending to be untrue to the rest of the series and, dare I say, a cop out. Going further back, Lost left a lot of its own fans scratching their heads with questions still left unanswered. As far as the finale hour and fifteen minutes of Breaking Bad, all I can say is that I was completely satisfied.
This is what happens when you allow creative control to a single mastermind. There is no one that knew how it needed to end exactly like Vince Gilligan and he did not disappoint. As we got closer and closer to the end, truths were coming to the surface on basically what needed to happen in order for us as viewers to be satisfied. Some people needed to live (Jesse) while other people desperately needed to die (Fucking Todd), but for Walter White, it could’ve went either way and in the end, he went out the exact way he should have.
There are so many great moments in this final episode that if I went into full detail with every single scene, this will be the longest article I’ve ever posted. It’s truly amazing how Gilligan was able to tie up loose ends with not only the main action, but also with side characters that we may have forgotten about. The scene at the Schwartz household is a fantastic scene, brilliantly paced and full of tension. It not only became the perfect answer for getting Walt’s family the money, but it also gave us the opportunity to see Badger and Skinny Pete one last time. I totally called it, by the way, but only because I saw Matt Jones’ name in the opening credits.
I can’t help but gush over this final episode because each scene plays out so perfectly. We have no idea that some of Walt’s machinations ever come to fruition. Gretchen and Elliott could conceivably call Walt’s bluff or the feds might not be interested in Skyler a deal for the burial site location, but that isn’t the point. The point is more of the fact that Walt, when the chips are down, can still be a force to be reckoned with.
I never really thought the Scarface-type ending would ever fit into the way the rest of the series has gone, but they managed to make it work and, in case you haven’t notice the trend, worked perfectly. Each decision Gilligan made on how to wrap up the show delivered to us the very ending we wanted, even if we didn’t know we wanted.
If you look back at my previous episode reviews, you’ll see the one thing I was concerned about was whether or not Jesse got his redemption, and boy does he ever. This is arguably the strongest point of the last episode and definitely gives us one of the most satisfying moments of the finale: the death of Todd. While the rest of the Aryan crew was wiped out by Walt’s trunk gun, Todd was left standing, only to be strangled to death by Jesse by the very chains Todd put him in. I have never talked back to the television while watching a drama until I screamed out “Yeah! Kill him!” Sorry, Landry, but you had to go.
The second part of Jesse’s redemption involved his relationship with Walt and I always thought it would end differently. I thought Jesse would wind up killing Walt, possibly mirroring the time he killed Gale (possibly “You don’t have to do this” being Walt’s final words), but this ending rang so true that I cannot be disappointed. The fact that Jesse had the opportunity to kill Walt and turned it down truly redeems the Jesse character and completes their relationship, which was essentially the core of the show for all these years.
Breaking Bad is about as good as television could possibly be and to be a part of it, if only from a spectator view, is something of a special feeling. It’s a bittersweet feeling, no doubt, but it’s a feeling similar to when you finally finish a great book. You take a moment and sit in your chair, letting everything sink in. You might go back and read the last couple of paragraphs again. There’s electricity that runs through your body, a feeling of excitement. You hate to leave the world you’ve just immersed yourself in for hundreds of pages (or 62 episodes) and while you can’t help but wish there was more to experience, you know deep down the ending was just… perfect.