Breaking Bad: ‘Felina’ – I wouldn’t change a thing.

NOTES:

  • There have been a couple of nice nods to the thriller/horror genre in some recent episodes. The shot with the knife block and the phone in the foreground in Oxymandias. The knife fight in Oxymandias. In this finale, the shot with Walt theatrically closing the front doors in the background while Elliott and Gretchen are in the other room completely oblivious. I half expected to see Jack Nicholson when he turned around, and then he delivered this line: “Elliott, if we’re going to go that way, you’ll need a bigger knife.”
  • It was great to see Badger and Skinny Pete!! And to have them discuss being concerned with the ethics of what they had just done was hilarious. I could listen to those two talk for hours.
  • When Lydia sat down in that same cafe again and Walt retrieved his ricin in a separate scene, I knew we were in for a treat. Well, those of us who despise Lydia. So, I sat there and enjoyed it as Walt came in to the background while Todd awkwardly tried to compliment Lydia. Walt stating that Lydia is always there at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays was hilarious because Lydia prides herself on being so stealthy. I was hopeful as she stirred her Stevia into her tea that she was the lucky beneficiary of the ricin since she avoided it last time.
  • The scene when Marie called Skyler was great filmmaking. I knew something was off, but I had no idea it was that Walt was actually in the room.

When Skyler says please if I have to hear one more time that you did it for the family and Walt says,
“I did it for me. I was good at it. And I was really …. I was alive.” That is when his character achieved redemption for me. That scene made me cry. Because it was cathartic. It was cathartic for Skyler’s character, and it was cathartic for me as a viewer watching this man that I actively rooted for in the beginning and have hated but still felt sympathy for at the end. I’m just so grateful for that scene because it brought me full circle on my feelings for Walt. I didn’t expect it at all, but it was a declaration of the self-awareness that Walt achieved after that endless time spent in isolation in New Hampshire. And it means that I interpreted the final scene of the last episode incorrectly. It wasn’t that Elliott and Gretchen brought Heisenberg back at all. It was that Walt upon seeing them finally came up with a scheme to get the money to his family that has a good chance of success because his motivations are finally sound.

I hope that Jesse’s final revenge on old dead-eyed Opie, Todd, won’t be a murder that weighs on him. I’m glad he survived. His character deserved to make it through after all the torment and pain he had suffered. And Walt saving him and giving him the chance to kill him was a nice touch. I certainly wasn’t surprised to see Jesse and Walt face off. Though I’ve been advocating for a Walt and Jesse showdown, I’m so glad it didn’t go down the way I had predicted. Jesse wouldn’t have been able to handle killing Walt under those terms. It ended with Jesse and Walt exactly as it should have. And Walt got his final revenge on Jack and Lydia. The nod Walt gave Jesse before Jesse drove off was subtle and fantastic. Walt: I’ve taken care of it all. (This scene, for me, was a little bit of a call back to Half Measures. I have no idea why. The tenor of the finale was nothing like that episode.) Jesse, go and live free. Walt’s got the “or die” part covered.

I was just so damn pleased when it was over. I found myself alternating between tearing up and smiling. Feeling giddy and feeling crazy-ass sad because I don’t know if I’ll be this excited about a show again for a long while. But mostly I was so very proud (yeah, I was that invested – weird) that Vince nailed that series finale. It was flawless.

Ed. Note: OK, I had one quibble. I thought Walt should have to face the music with the cops. However, when I saw the closing shot with him lying there I was immediately willing to go with this instead. It was a great closing shot. I’ll freely admit that I’m willing to sacrifice the stronger statement for a better closing shot. It was that close, and I still say: flawless.

2 thoughts on “Breaking Bad: ‘Felina’ – I wouldn’t change a thing.

  1. The only thing I had hoped for was some kind of forgiveness from Junior. Walt “made his peace” with everyone, and, sure, millions of dollars coming to Junior when he turns 18 should cheer the boy up, but I felt sorry for him as he crutched it to the door of his sad little apartment. Maybe someday Skyler could tell Junior how Walt sacrificed everything for them.

    As I was watching the gun spray picking off all those Nazis (and hoping Jack wouldn’t pop up and fire back) I figured Walt wanted them dead so they would never come back and harm his family. Later it occurred to me that, once again, Walt’s ego could have been at least part of the desire to kill them, as they were making and pushing HIS precious blue meth.

    I never thought that ricin would be for Lydia! I was leaning toward Elliott, or even Jesse. I hope Stevia stock doesn’t suffer.

    I admit, I cried at the end. Because it was over, because I finally started to like Walt again and now he’s dead, because, like you said, there probably won’t ever be such a wonderful show on television again. I’m very glad Vince Gilligan and the writers opted not to show Walt actually collapsing on the floor; seeing his bloody handprint as he patted the tank, then seeing his body in repose at last on the floor, was perfect.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if Badger and Skinny Pete got their own show? Maybe they’ll appear on this proposed Saul spin-off.

    By the way, did you know Vince Gilligan is a fellow Virginian? I believe he grew up on the Southside.

    1. I think you’ve got it right here. Junior’s forgiveness will come later. Skyler will tell him what really transpired at the end, and Junior will be able to forgive. I agree with you that it’s sad that Walt didn’t get at least a small moment of peace with Junior before he died.
      I definitely came full circle on Walt. I really did come to hate him. Or maybe hate isn’t the right word. I didn’t have that much of a visceral reaction to him. I just knew that he was a broken man who’d lost his moral compass. He caused pain and suffering to all his loved ones and needed to die to save them all. But this finale was just so great because it allowed me to feel ok about caring about him again. I’m guessing it would take a long time to unpack everything I’m saying about that character. It’s probably best that I don’t because I’m not sure it says good things about me.
      As usual, I agree with everything you say. EXCEPT FOR YOUR TODD FLING. 🙂 I know. Your crush for him was over after he killed Andrea. And as you say, I agree that Walt had to get rid of Jack and the rest of the Nazis because they were producing his blue meth, and I think when Badger and Skinny Pete said “at least as good” it hit him particularly hard.
      As for crying, I cried the most during that scene with Skyler. There was definitely crying at the end, too. But that scene with Skyler. Wow, it really was the one for me that did me in.
      I didn’t know until just recently that Vince Gilligan is a fellow Virginian. Very cool! I’ve been a fan since he did some of the X-Files episodes.
      I’m watching Homeland again, and it’s providing a softer landing than I expected particularly since I just read books for a week after the finale. But there is a huge void now that Breaking Bad is over. It sounds pretty ridiculous, I know, but I don’t expect anything will come along to fill it.

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