The Breaking Bad phenomenon hit critical mass this week with the release of the final episode of the series. Not only did Aaron Paul show up for three sketches on Saturday Night Live, the entire cast was on Conan, and it was the thing no one could shut up about. It seems that buzz paid off as the last episode had the highest ratings of the entire run with more than ten million viewers.
Last night’s Breaking Bad had 10.3 million viewers and a 6.7 rating in the 18-49 demo. For comparison, this weekend’s new SNL had a 4.7 rating. This is the most watched live episode of Breaking Bad ever, as last week set the show’s previous record with 6.6 million viewers. Which means either 3 million people got caught up last week, or some viewers knew that there was no way not to be spoiled, so they just gave in and watched it live.
(Writer’s Note: I had a screening last night at 7pm, so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get home and watch it without hearing something. Other than a reference to Stevia, I found that if you stop looking at Twitter/Facebook/etc. it’s not that hard).
To help say goodbye, it’s worth watching this video from the table read for the final episode, where you can see Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul dig in for the last time:
As for the final episode, it was good, but in some ways the show delivered its biggest gut punches a couple episodes back. This wrapped things up, but episodes like this need to settle into the context of the season and the whole arc to be fully appreciated. But it is fair to say that The Wire is about to get some real competition for “the best show ever”
How did the Breaking Bad finale treat you?