By Will Ashton
And with that, it’s gone. We now live in a world where there will no longer be a new episode of Breaking Bad. Unless you count those episodes of Better Call Saul coming up. In the title, they promised blood, meth and tears. And, indeed, it lived up to its promise. But did it live up to them too much?
I should start by saying that this Sunday’s episode was an immensely entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the series. But, in getting what we all wanted, per se, were we cheating the show of the ending that it really needed? I know that The Playlist made a similar point in their review of the final episode, but I feel the need to elaborate on it as well.
Ultimately, in a world where, somehow, polled audience members largely felt that Walt was going to live before he would die, we got to see Walt find his small sense of redemption. There is, of course, no way that Walt could completely forgive all those that he hurt. The main reason being that most of them are now either dead or far from his grasp. But, in connecting to (most) of his family and those around them that pretty much play the part in his mindset, he was able to try to bring closure and forgive to anyone he possibly could.
He scared the dickens out of Gretchen and Elliott, in hopes that they would give his son the rest of his money on his 18th birthday. He was able to make what peace he could to his wife, he got to see his baby daughter one last time, and he was able to, from a distance, see his son through the window of a nearby home. But, most importantly, he saved Jessie from the hell in which he lives in.
There are moments of pure brilliance in this week’s episode. In particular, watching Jessie flashback of him making that wooden box, what now, it appears, is his purest moment, with a hard cut to him in the meth lab at this lowest, and the very last scene of the show. With Walt surrounding himself with the one thing he was able to gain love and respect in, making meth, lying dead in his kingdom all by himself.
Will this finale go down as the best episode of the series? Nope. It’s not even the best episode of this season or half-season. But it was a satisfying, engaging finale that tied up (most) of the loose ends and left everything where they needed it to go. Should Walt have been redeemed though? That’s the question that continues to linger. But, for now, all we can do is look back and marvel at this wonderful and compellingly brilliant show.
So, to Vince Gilligan and everyone involved with the show, thanks for making such great television. It’s been a lot of fun. Thanks, too, for anyone who read these now or at any time. It means a lot. Now I guess I have to find a new show to watch. Louie doesn’t come back until spring, hopefully, and Girls isn’t around until January. Maybe I’ll finally get around to watching Boardwalk Empire or Homeland. I hear a lot of good things about this new Hannibal show too. I could also finish watching Mad Men. There are many options, but none of them will likely be as rich and satisfying as Breaking Bad.