Spoiler Alert: The End of “Breaking Bad”

Jesse strangling Todd with his chains was the perfect ending for that particular plot thread. Todd survived the machine-gun assault so he could die in more righteous fashion, at the hands of the show’s good(ish) guy. Certainly Jesse was the character we rooted for hardest, right? He raced away from Walt at the end, laughing and crying at the same time. Yes.

I’m so glad “Breaking Bad” is over. A story well told, beginning to middle to end. Was the last episode the show’s greatest? Maybe. Or “Fly,” maybe, or when Walt watched Jane die. “Face Off.” The third-to-last episode, “Ozymandias,” gave us Hank’s death, and Walt’s family knifing him and calling the police, and that heartbreaking phone call for everyone to listen in on. That might be the best episode, too.

It was nice watching Walt watch his son there after the final conversation with Skyler. You didn’t want them talking, or I didn’t, but it was good he got to see him. Hopefully Skyler stops smoking.

“The Shield’s” ending was my favorite, but here’s the difference. “The Shield” has this insane catharsis directly referencing all the evil that’s occurred in seasons previous. Vic Mackey says out loud all the terrible stuff he’s done. Then there’s the very last shot of the show—Vic dashing away with a gun and a grin. Still alive, it’s worth noting.

It kills finales (“X-Files,” “Seinfeld”) when they try to be about everything that’s already happened. It means they’re caught up in the show itself much more than telling a story. “The Shield,” brilliantly, managed to make the rehash an important element within the actual story and all its dramatic reckoning.

(“The Wire” finale, for me, was all about Marlo taking that corner. It was no big event.)

“Breaking Bad” didn’t rehash. It turned in the final chapter. Walt used his scientific know-how (classic) to make exactly the weapon he needed to kill a dozen armed Nazis. He improvised on-the-spot (classic) to save Jesse. The poison was for Liddia. I didn’t see that coming, but loved it. Why leave her out? Poisoning is also classic Walt.

Instead of lying to Skyler, he told her he liked being Heisenberg because he was good at it. Being bad made him feel alive. And she got it. She nodded and looked up at him and it wasn’t hate in her eyes. They’re family.

The last shot of Walt is him dead in a lab. Through all the events of this show the cops never came close. Even Hank, when he finally figured it out at the end, couldn’t get official law enforcement involved. When the red and blue flashing lights finally found Walt, it happened because he had no reason to run. They never took him alive.

You want a big theme for “Breaking Bad”? Wanna know what it’s really about? The last episode tells us in its send-off for the beloved druggie duo of Badger and Skinny Pete. They’ve just helped Walt threaten death on old business partners. . . .

Badger: “You know, I don’t exactly know how to feel about all this.”

Skinny Pete: “For real, yo. The whole thing felt kinda shady. You know, like, morality-wise?”

Walt holds up a bundle of cash for each of them. “How do you feel now?” he asks. They’re over it immediately, because money makes breaking bad feel fine.



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