It is 9:00AM, the morning after the grand finale of the beloved AMC drama Breaking Bad and I am at a loss for words, but compelled to say goodbye. Let me preface my review of the finale episode by saying that the fifth season in its entirety was beyond brilliant. The first glimpse of the fifth season told us where we were all headed on our journey with Mr. White, and it wasn’t going to be good.
For 16 episodes in this final season, Breaking Bad doubled down on every explosive revelation and continually paid off handsomely, always leading to another compelling question. As other contemporary series like LOST and Dexter have proven – that is a difficult thing to do in episodic television and frankly, no television series has ever done it better. Walter White continued to manipulate everyone around him as he achieved the apex of his success – to the point he no longer could spend the money he made in a lifetime. The body count of his crimes would eventually catch up to him with Jesse and Hank conspiring to bring him down. The Crystal Blue Empire, along with most of Walt’s fortune was subsequently hijacked by Todd and Uncle Jack’s Neo-Nazi regime leaving Walt on the run and unable to continue his lies – or put his money to any use.
As we kick off the finale, it’s still a mystery as to why Walt would return to Albuquerque. As one of the most wanted felons in the country, it feels like a suicide mission from the very beginning. Are Elliott and Gretchen going to be executed? How would he get his blood soaked money to his children? Who else is surely going to die along with Todd and his crew? Could Walt and Jesse even dream of life after meth? Fortunately for us, series creator Vince Gilligan and crew left nothing of a guess game.
Walt made his peace with Skyler and finally admitted he did this all for himself. He got one last glimpse of Walt Jr. and Holly… but not before cleverly ensuring they receive his hard earned money, at least eventually. Instead of succumbing to cancer or going to jail, Walt triumphantly gained revenge on the Nazis and freed a beaten and broken Jesse from the chains of slavery. In the final seconds of the series, Walt was alone and for one last time, marveled at his craft. He was a selfish father, a bitter teacher, and ultimately a tortured artist destroyed by his finest work. It was a hell of a ride in this sidecar and I’m sure gonna miss it. Fare thee well, Breaking Bad.