The past seven days

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad series finale review - "Felina"

In the series finale of Breaking Bad, Walter White returns to New Mexico to close the chapter of his life which made him a national fugitive and sent him into exile. It also serves as the perfect opportunity for him to carry out his final plans and wishes.

I just want to warn you, although it should go without saying, if you have not watched "Felina" yet you should not be reading this. There are spoilers.

So get out now.

 Last chance.

You can't say you weren't warned.

First of all we need to state the basics just to remind ourselves that it actually happened:

1. Walt is dead and wanted to be killed.
2. Jesse is free. He had been held prisoner by Jack and forced to cook the blue meth.
3. Walt seriously stuck it to just about everyone that ever got on his bad side. Lydia, Uncle Jack & the Gang, Todd, Elliott, and Gretchen all had a visit from Heisenberg himself. In a way he even stuck it to Jesse.
4. Skyler is alive and still under investigation... and is still a bitch.
5. Skinny Pete and Badger will do just about anything for money. 
6. Walt tells Skylar the location of where he originally buried his money and disclosed that is where they will find the bodies of Hank and Gomez.

I would also add that Walt is a damn ninja, but that isn't the important thing here.

Now that we have established everything, I would like to say that I wasn't a huge fan of this episode as a finale. Was it a bad episode? No. Was it a good finale for the show? No.
I personally think "Ozymandias" or "Granite State" would have been better finales, especially "Granite State." To begin with, the episode was still too short for me even though it was 75min. I think they should have at least brought it up to 90min. Second, it was too slow. They gave us 50min of slow pace and then suddenly made the last 15min crazy and anxious. I understand why they put bits of this episode in different episodes and it was to give some backstory to how it ends and let you know something is coming, but at the same time I think they should have left it alone and had one big, final episode.
What they did is they took the classy road for Walt. They didn't have him come barging back into Albuquerque and murder everyone in his path in cold blood. The first example being the fact that he doesn't kill Elliott and Gretchen, but he sure leaves an impact in a way that only Walt can. He approaches them with his $9 million and tells them they will give it to Walter Jr. in the form of a trust fund when he is 18. He doesn't ask, he tells them. As his personal insurance, he leaves the impression to them that if they choose to not use the money for Walter Jr. or go to the police they will be hunted down and murdered by hitmen. The hitmen pointing the laser sights at them for the price of $200,000? Skinny Pete and Badger with basic laser pointers. This move was effective because it did show that Walt had bigger fish to fry and he realized that. He knew that without Elliott and Gretchen his money would not only never see the light of day, but it would never make it to his children.I think everyone, including myself, figured that Elliott and Gretchen were screwed after Walt saw them publicly deny Walt had anything to do with the founding of their company. The truth of it was he saw the two of them as pawns that he could put wherever he wanted.
The second example of this being the Ricin in the Stevia. Walt surprises Lydia and Todd during their weekly tea party and he sneakingly replaced Lydia's Stevia sweetener with Ricin and she unknowingly adds it to her tea. Walt could have easily taken out both Lydia and Todd another way, but he chose to slowly stick it to Lydia and tell her he poisoned her when she comes down with severe flu-like symptoms.
The third example, and most important, is Jesse. Walt went to Jack's with the armored car fully intending to kill everyone including Jesse. However, when he saw that Jesse was basically a slave he made a different call. Instead of killing his former partner because he assumed the blue meth was willingly being cooked by Jesse, Walt took the high road and saved Jesse's life and gave him the choice of killing him or going free. Jesse decided to leave Walt to deal with death his own way and drove Todd's car to freedom. In reality, the only person Walt killed face to face in this episode was Jack.

What is so unsatisfying about this? For me, it felt too... calm. I think I was just expecting more than we got. I had predicted and assumed Walt would die but I didn't think he would die of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen while covering Jesse from gunfire. He just staggered around and bled to death in the meth lab. It is symbolic and I get it, but I don't think it was the best way to have Walt go. Sorry.
As for Jesse going free I am a bit torn. I have been rooting for Jesse through this whole thing, but I had kind of hoped that either Jesse would die or wind up in jail. As Walt said, he was always more of a danger to himself than anyone else. You know and I know now that Jesse is free he is probably well on his way back to using to forget the pain and will wind up dead anyway. And the scenario everyone has of him running to save and/or raise Brock is bullshit and I will get to that in a little bit.

Another issue I am having is the loose ends. Fanboy it all you want people, but the finale did not wrap everything up in a nice little package.

1. The main loose end is Brock. Most people don't see him as an issue, but I do. He was a big part of Jesse's priorities and when Todd killed Andrea that threw a lot of things into the air. At this point we have no idea if Brock is even alive. Todd got back into the car, but it was brought up that they still had the kid to deal with. Did Todd go back and kill Brock or did they take off and leave him alive?
Like I mentioned a second ago, Jesse going free to get to Brock isn't feasible. If Brock is even alive he would have nothing to do with Jesse. He would have gone to Andrea's grandmother. Jesse would never legally get Brock or have any claim over him.

2. What happens with Skyler? Sure, Walt gave her the information so she could make a deal with her prosecutors but does it work? Does Skyler go to jail or does she get off? Not only that, but with all of the legal attention on her does the illegal activity at Beneke ever come back up?

3. What ever came of Huell being tricked by Hank?

4. What became of Jesse? Did he come back to his house and just reappear or did he take off and go to Alaska? Was the vision of him making a wood box a jump to the future showing that Jesse does eventually find peace or was it just a dream?

5. Who wrote "Heisenberg" in Walt's house? It obviously wasn't Jesse seeing that he was being held prisoner. Was it Jack? Was it Todd? Was it Lydia? Was it one of the random skate punks?

6. What happens to Lydia's daughter? She is now motherless and will no doubt learn at some point that her mother was in the meth business. 

It might just be me, but I like finales that wrap everything up. I think the issue is the way I witnessed Six Feet Under end. That show by far has the best finale I have ever seen and I love how it ended everything. It showed you what happened to the characters and you got to see how their lives played out after the events of the final episode. For a show like Breaking Bad it would have been great to have that for an additional 10-15min. We could have seen where Jesse went or what happened with Skyler. It wasn't terrible it was just bland.

But there were good moments!

1. The laser pointers on Elliott and Gretchen. Genius!
2. "I did all of this for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."
3. Todd's creepy ringtone for Lydia was hilarious.
4. Jesse finally letting go of his rage and leaving Walt to deal with death on his own.
5. Walt's ninja skills with the tea meeting, breaking into Elliott and Gretchen's house, and breaking into Skyler's apartment.
6. Walt telling Lydia that he poisoned her and then hanging up on her. I clapped. 
7. "It's over and I needed a proper goodbye."

Any thoughts from you guys on the finale? Did you like it? Did you not like it?
Any favorite Breaking Bad moments?

It's been fun.

#GoodbyeBreakingBad #BreakingBad

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