Warning: Spoilers ahead. Seriously, just go watch “Felina” if you haven’t already, and then come back.
If you’re like us, you spent Sunday night in the thrall of Breaking Bad’s final hour of television, as the long and hazardous road of Walter White, former chemistry teacher turned cancer patient turned meth kingpin, came to its inevitable end. It was a perfect final episode for the show, highlighting the morality tale basis that has always served as the bedrock for the stylish, intelligent series.
And while some carped that the last act of Walt’s journey was too neat and clean—a ghostly sweep through Albuquerque in which Walt more or less guarantees his $9 million will go to his family, says goodbye to his wife and daughter, admits his culpability (“I did it for me”), wipes out all his enemies, and improvises a last-minute rescue of Jesse from slavery—they are forgetting that, like every season finale since season four’s “Face Off,” Walt’s plans almost always work out this way…but only for Walt.
As always, a 747-sized heap of collateral damage and emotional detritus has been left in his wake—Skyler White is left a widowed mother of two who will spend the rest of her life asking why she went along with Walt for so long, Flynn will hate his father and feel the loss of his beloved uncle for years, Holly has no father, Marie has been widowed, Brock is now an orphan, and Jesse… Jesse will likely bear the physical and emotional scars of his partnership with Walter White, a.k.a. Heisenberg, a.k.a., Mr. White, for the rest of his guilt-ridden life. So to be so reductive as to call “Felina” “too neat” is to miss the point of the episode and series as a whole—this is a morality tale in which a man gets away with murder (several times over) but at the cost of his life, his family, his friends, and his soul.
OK, enough soapboxing for now. You’d like to see what series creator Vince Gilligan had to say about the series finale on Talking Bad, no? Well, here you go:
On tying up loose ends
We went through a lot of false starts and endings that went nowhere, but we knew we needed to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts … In some cases unanswered questions are good, but in this case, in a finite and closed-ended show, we needed resolution. The Sopranos ending I thought was great, I thought it was perfect for that show. This story was finite all along. It’s a story that starts at A and ends at Z. It’s a very closed-ended thing.
On whether Walt was victorious in the end
I think in that last scene, [Walt] is with his “precious”, in Lord of the Rings terms. He’s with that meth lab that he and Jesse designed, his baby so to speak, and the lyrics to the song, Baby Blue by Badfinger, back that up. And I think he is at peace with himself. He has screwed up his life tremendously and I think he knows that, but he has accomplished the thing he has set out to accomplish.
On Walt not killing Jesse
The writers and I were thinking of the wonderful western The Searchers. All throughout The Searchers, John Wayne is looking for Natalie Wood’s character, who has been taken by the Apaches. He’s going to kill her when he finds her. At the end of the movie, when he lays eyes on her, he can’t do it. He sweeps her up in his arms instead and saves her … We were thinking [Walt] is gonna kill Jesse the whole time, we think that’s his intent, then he sees him and sees what terrible shape he’s in, and instinct takes over; that fondness he’s felt for him – although he hasn’t shown it very well over the years, I have to admit.
On Breaking Bad’s legacy
You want your work to be remembered. You want it to outlive you. My favourite show ever was The Twilight Zone and I think about Rod Serling, [who] started that show 54 years ago this year. It long outlived him – he passed away in 1975 – but there’s kids who haven’t been born yet who will know the phrase ‘the twilight zone’, and hopefully will be watching those wonderful episodes. I can’t say that’s what will happen [with Breaking Bad], but you wanna have that kind of immortality through your work. That would be wonderful. I’d feel very blessed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the next few hours huddled in a corner, pretending the show isn’t over.
What did you think of “Felina”?
Source: The Guardian