Walter White died a few seasons ago. Not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. Heisenberg died in the desert with poor Hank Schrader. It was Mr. Lambert, he of hair and beard, wearing the same green shirt and khaki slacks as Walt did in the pilot, who died in the Nazi meth lab while BadFinger’s “Baby Blue” played on. In typical Breaking Bad fashion every I was dotted and every T was crossed before his demise. He even got to say goodbye to Holly and gave Skyler a sense of closure.
I’ve seen some say the finale felt too exact. That wrapping up every thread was somehow unsatisfying. If the series had ended with Ozymandias or Granite State that would have been fine. They were great episodes. This series was the story of one man, beginning to end. His life and his death. “Felina” was the finale this wonderful show deserved. I wish I could take credit for this line, but I have to give credit to my lovely girlfriend who beautifully summed up the final scene, saying “Walt died in the only place he ever felt alive.”[jump]
Over the last few weeks we’ve been keeping track of the loose ends that needed to be tied up before the finale. Let’s take a look at how Gilligan and company did just that.
Strong-arming Gretchen and Elliot into giving Walter JR his remaining millions was a brilliant ploy by Walt, with assists from Bader and Skinny Pete. There’s no two people in the world he resents more. He even makes a point of telling them that any legal expenses that come from them setting up the trust for Walter Jr will be paid out of his money, not theirs. If he was too proud to let them pay for his cancer treatment he’s damn sure too proud to let them help his family.
Lydia Rodart-Quail, such an interesting character. I’d love to know her backstory. How did she get involved with Gus Fring and the meth trade? It was clear the ricin was always meant for her. She was a loose end that had to be tied up and never did it seem she’d face a bullet. She poised the least amount of threat to Walt, but nothing could be left to chance. Walt, knowing how routine based she is, got to the coffee shop before her and somehow laced a packet of Stevia with ricin. That requires a leap in logic from the audience which is nothing new seeing as the show never explained exactly how Walt was able to poison Brock.
The Machine Gun
This was no surprise. It only made sense that a machine gun capable of such destruction would be used to wipe out a Nazi compound. They murdered Hank against Walt’s wishes and stole $70 million of his life’s work. Again, there was some too-good fortune with Walt parking his car in the exact right position and all of the Nazis besides Todd and Uncle Jack being laid to waste immediately, leaving Jesse and Walt to exact their vengeance individually. The scene where he buys the gun from Jim Beaver in the beginning of “Life Free or Die” was paid off and that’s all we asked.
Aaron Paul wasn’t given much to do this half-season as Jesse. He spent most of the episodes saying very little or not speaking at all. It likely wasn’t the best use of such a fine actor, but he made the most of the scenes he was in. The show’s most tortured soul figured out his one-time partner poisoned a 10-year-old boy he cared deeply for, was forced to watch a woman he loved be executed at point blank range, and was tortured and enslaved to cook meth. All of that happened in the span of a few episodes. No one does a primal scream face better than Aaron Paul. In the end he’s freed from the compound by Walt, who wanted him dead until he saw the situation he was in. He may be happy to be free from the Nazis, but he has no money or resources and is surely wanted by the authorities. That El-Camino isn’t taking you to Alaska, Pinkman.