Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: “Felina” (Season 5, Episode 16)

Felina Promo 511x360 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

“Skyler. All the things that I did. You need to understand – ” 

“If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family – ” 

“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And…I was…really…I was alive.”

“Felina” may be the most anticipated episode in Breaking Bad history, but it is not necessarily the first ‘series finale’ the show has produced. Both the Season 2 and Season 4 conclusions, “ABQ” and “Face Off,” could easily have served as spectacular send-offs, as each expertly culminated upon everything that had happened up to that point, and brought closure – either literal, thematic, or both – to the story and characters.

“ABQ” saw Jesse’s life utterly destroyed by Walt’s actions after the death of Jane, featured Skyler finally calling Walt on all his bullshit, and ended with Walt’s many sins becoming personified by two planes colliding in midair, right above his house. Had the show ended there, we would have been robbed of three all-time great seasons of television, but there would be no regrets as to the power of the conclusion.

“Face Off,” it goes without saying, was the grand final showdown between Walter White and Gus Fring, and in addition to being the single tensest and most nail-biting hour the show ever produced – climaxing, of course, in the eponymous bit of iconic, shocking violence – it also brought closure to nearly every ongoing story arc, left Jesse at a place of relative peace and stability, and completed Walt’s transition from mild-mannered chemistry teacher into all-powerful drug lord.

Both episodes are, I think, better hours of television than “Felina.” They are more emotionally affecting, more ambitious in scope, and filled with more all-time great moments that will forever stand tall in the TV drama pantheon.

Yet neither, I contend, is anywhere near as good an ending to the show that was Breaking Bad as “Felina.” And while there are many equally valid reasons for this – the general atmosphere of darkness and desolation, the self-reflexive quality of Walt’s final journey, the note-perfect send-offs given to Skyler and especially to Jesse, etc. – the one that matters most to me concerns the core emotion I felt while watching the show’s final minutes unfold. It was not the emotion I expected to feel before the episode began, nor after the majority of it had unrolled. It wasn’t sadness, or distress, or disgust, or fear, or tension, or even visceral exhilaration. I felt all these things and more watching “Felina,” and each, certainly, is a core emotion I will forever associate with the Breaking Bad experience. But the one that hit me hardest, and the one that has lingered with me most in the time since the final credits rolled, was something entirely different, though no less connected to the core of Breaking Bad.

It was laughter. Wild, raucous, all-consuming, uncontrollable laughter.

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BB3 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

As I sat watching the final moments play out, with a bleeding, dying Walter White walking through the Nazi meth lab, the slightest hint of a smile on his face as he spent his dying moments in the one place he ever truly felt alive, I could not help myself – I broke out laughing, and it was the use of the Badfinger song “Baby Blue” that really sent me over the edge. Listening to this immensely cheesy, completely overblown love song play out over Walter White’s dying moments, watching in awe as Vince Gilligan boiled down the entire arc of his all-time great television series into a strange, perverse, utterly pathetic ‘romance’ between a man and his meth, I found myself laughing harder than I have ever laughed at this series. Maybe as hard as I have ever laughed in my life.

Part of my unstoppable laughing spasm stemmed, I think, from the simple ‘release’ that ending provided. “Felina” is a quiet episode, a slow and methodical one that takes its time putting everything in place, but it is also an incredibly tense one, not quite so much as “Face Off,” but similar in how it keeps the viewer wound as tight as possible even when very little is happening on screen.

Is Walt going to kill Gretchen and Elliot? What exactly is Walt doing meeting with Lydia and Todd? Does Walt have something nefarious in mind for Skyler? How is this final standoff with the Nazis really going to pay off? Is Jesse going to kill Walt? What will Walt do now that Jesse has driven away? The viewer watches with gradually mounting pressure as all these moments unfold, right up until Walt steps into that meth lab, “Baby Blue” kicks in, and 62 episodes worth of tension snaps, like a rubber band breaking in one’s face. And I couldn’t stop myself. That sudden lack of tension, and the crazy feeling of whiplash it induced, forced me to burst out laughing.

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breaking bad felina 541x360 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

Yet moreso than that, I laughed because that final scene plays out like a perfectly delivered punch line. “Felina” is, up to and including that point, all about Walter White writing his own ending to his life’s story. It is different than any television finale I can recall, because unlike the characters of most stories, Walter White knows his time is up. He is just as intensely aware as the audience that this is his final hour, and that these are his final actions, and that his legacy will be set in stone by these final choices he makes.

The entire time, he is looking for the perfect ending, just the same as the fans. First, he thinks manipulating Gretchen and Elliot to deliver the last of his money – which still amounts to a pretty massive fortune, over ten times more than his original Season 2 goal of $747,000 – is the right way to cap his journey. Then, upon hearing his beloved blue meth is still in circulation, he chooses to extend his plans, because letting someone take credit for his signature product is patently unacceptable. So he takes out Lydia with ricin, and devises to infiltrate the Nazi base with a hidden machine gun, and says goodbye to Skyler along the way. His strategy works, and with the Nazis dead, he chooses to let Jesse go, and even give Jesse the option to kill him, which seems like a fitting ending. But Jesse declines.

So what does Walter White do with his final moments of life? Where does he decide to go to take his final breathes? Where does he wish to leave his final, blood-stained mark on this Earth?

He goes to the meth lab. And dies with a smile on his face, as these lyrics play:

“Guess I got what I deserved/kept you waiting there too long my love,

All that time without a word/Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget.

Or I’d regret.

Special love I had for you … My baby blue.”

And all I could do was laugh, because that is an absolutely hilarious way to end the series. To all the world, Walt dies the most pathetic death imaginable. A dirty, hideous murderer, lying dead on the floor of a meth lab in a Neo-nazi compound. He dies as nothing more than a common, two-bit criminal, and many of his actions throughout the episode – hijacking a car, hiding in the shadows at Gretchen and Elliot’s, buying a machine gun, poisoning Lydia, gunning down his enemies, etc. – are not those of the great and powerful Heisenberg, Emperor of meth, but of an absolute low-life.

Yet in his own head, Walt dies happy, exactly where he wants and needs to be – with all his enemies decimated, his family taken care of, and surrounded by the beautiful meth equipment that gave him purpose in life. It is, as I said, the punch line to the entire series, with the entirety of this complex, sweeping, harrowing six-year tale summarized as a corny teen ‘romance’ between Walter White and his meth.

And I could not love that ending any more if I tried.

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breakingbad0516 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

I write these reviews in a vacuum, without looking at anybody else’s reactions to the episode in question, so I have no idea whether or not any other viewers found the conclusion as side-splittingly funny as I did. Doesn’t matter. I laughed uncontrollably at that final scene, and it could not have felt more fitting to me as a longtime viewer of the show. Because while Breaking Bad is many, many things, it has always had a darkly comic core, and though there has hardly been any humor in these last eight episodes – understandably so, given that the power of this final season came from seeing Walter White’s crimes taken to their natural, horrific endpoint – it felt unspeakably right for that humor to return in the show’s final minutes.

This is especially true when one considers exactly how humor functioned over the life of the series. Breaking Bad was often compared, in its early years, to the works of the Coen Brothers, and that is an apt comparison, because this story, like many told by the Coens, is rooted in the notion of crime as something ‘absurd.’ And many crimes are absurd, when you get right down to it, even as they are also terrible and disturbing and life-destroying. Walter White’s sins hurt many, many people, including those he loved the most, but to properly study the scope of his transgressions, we must also be willing to admit that there is something inherently funny about what he did. A middle-aged Chemistry teacher, stricken with cancer, choosing to cook meth to earn a living for his family? That’s funny, as are many of the actions he and Jesse took after making that fateful decision. And while Breaking Bad could alternate brilliantly between soul-crushing darkness and riotous black comedy, those two tonal realms never existed separately. They are two sides of the same coin, and Vince Gilligan is a great writer in large part because of his ability to analyze a criminal life such as this holistically, never pulling a single punch in the tale’s darkest moments, but also allowing the brevity to surface when the absurdity rose naturally to a fever pitch.

This is why I love that final scene so much. On one level, it is very dark, and I can easily understand someone walking away feeling disturbed, rather than laughing like a maniac. Trust me, even as I did the latter, I absolutely felt elements of the former. But that humorous side does exist, and it is intentional, and it is just as organic a part of the Breaking Bad story as the incredibly dark material immediately preceding it. Because by allowing us to laugh at Walter White, to see him for the pathetic, insular man he truly was and find humor in his lonely, deluded death, we take away his power, just as laughing at the absurdity of crime helps to reduce the sway those crimes hold over us – and, by extension, understand it better. If the series ended with Walt getting murdered, or going out in a blaze of glory, or any number of the other ‘serious’ ways it could have ended, Walt would have retained at least a modicum of his power. But because he dies smiling in a meth lab, accompanied by the sounds of a corny love ballad, he is exposed for what he truly is: Sad, pathetic, and, yes, funny. Not on his terms, but on ours.

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Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkma 010 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

But enough about Walt, for the time being. I have no regrets whatsoever in devoting 2000 words to the final scene, but “Felina” was excellent throughout, and there are plenty of other topics to touch upon before saying goodbye to this great, great show.

As noted before, this was a highly reflexive ending, with Walt’s knowledge of his own impending demise coloring not only every aspect of the hour, but the specific ways in which supporting characters were sent off. Nearly every major (surviving) character earned some form of ‘poetic justice,’ and while that could easily come across as a tad too contrived or tidy, I feel it all stems naturally from Walt’s self-aggrandizing desire to end the story on his terms. So when it comes to Gretchen and Elliot, for example, Walt does not kill them, but forces them to carry out his will, not only using them as a means to an end – whether Walt Jr. wants it or not, he will have that fortune soon enough – but making them submissive and cowering in the process. Whatever they say about Walter White in public, Gretchen and Elliot will now be forced to do his bidding in private, and live in fear of him for the foreseeable future (even though they will likely hear of Walt’s death on the news, I assume that encounter will keep the two shaken for a long time to come).

For Lydia, Walt uses his knowledge of her obsessive-compulsive habits to poison her with the ricin, and for Uncle Jack and the Nazis, Walt unleashes the same heavy-weapon hellfire they directed towards Hank – and in the process, wipes out everyone who had been peddling his precious blue meth.

For Skyler, Walt just wants to say goodbye, and to help in some small way to clean up the mess he left her with. It is one of my favorite scenes in the history of the series, operating on several different levels – Walt’s legitimate guilt versus his drive to end this relationship on his terms, Skyler’s hatred for this man mixed with the grief over the love she has lost, etc. – and building to the absolutely devastating exchange – “I did it for me” – quoted above. This is most likely something Walter White has been thinking for some time – ever since Hank’s death, with plenty of time to mull it over in the cabin – but for Skyler, it is a revelation, not because she can’t see Walt’s selfishness on her own, but because hearing him say it does allow for some small measure of closure. Skyler will always be scarred by what her husband did, and probably never fully recover from the horror of these past two years, but she is an immensely strong person, and especially after hearing Walt finally give a straight explanation for why he did what he did, I do believe that she will be okay in time.

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Breaking Bad11 540x360 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

As for Jesse, the future is far less clear – few people have endured the sheer number of horrors he has – but where I firmly believed, a week ago, that Jesse could never survive this finale, I am now amazed at the emotionally uplifting note Gilligan and company chose to end his story on.

Earlier today, in preparation for the finale, I was watching the show’s all-time best episode, “One Minute,” in which, among many other eventful happenings, Jesse is hospitalized after taking a beating from Hank, and finally, near the episode’s conclusion, confronts Walt on what a poison he has been from the beginning. It is a defining scene for Jesse, because for the first time, he is full cognizant of just how manipulative Mr. White has been, and just how much he has suffered as a result of their partnership. Jesse is truly strong in that scene, stronger than ever before, but ultimately, he is too weak to walk away, too weak to fully extricate himself from Walt’s toxic orbit.

And that, in a nutshell, is Jesse’s arc – I believe he is a good person deep down, but he is not completely a victim in everything that has happened. He knew, at least from that scene in Season 3, what a destructive force his partner was. And he could have walked away there, or any other number of times before and after. But Jesse was too weak to walk away, too weak to reject his surrogate father, and in the end, too weak to stop horrible things from happening to those he loved the most.

The brilliance of “Felina’s” climactic scene, then, is how it tests Jesse’s strength point blank. Walt drops his gun. Jesse picks it up. “Do it,” Walt urges. “You want this.” Like always, Walt is tempting the boy – giving Jesse the option to do further evil for his own selfish benefits. And after all he has been through, Jesse can finally understand this. “Say the words. Say you want this. Nothing happens until I hear you say it.” Jesse cries. He probably wants to kill Mr. White more than anything in the world, but he knows that if he does so on Walt’s terms, then he will forever be Heisenberg’s prisoner.

“I want this.” Walt admits. And that is all Jesse needs to hear. However hard it is to walk away, he knows he cannot give in to Walt anymore, not even to get revenge. So he drops the gun, and drives away, laughing and crying hysterically while he does so (a similar emotional ‘release’ to what I felt watching the subsequent final scene). Whatever happens next, Jesse is finally ‘free,’ in more ways than one, because he finally said ‘No,’ to Walt, finally refused to do Mr. White’s dirty work, and finally proved himself the bigger, better man by rejecting the opportunity for revenge. I think many will read Walt’s actions in that scene as guilty or apologetic, giving Jesse the chance to kill him as a way of setting things right, but I strongly feel that what Walt did was purely sadistic. Like telling Jesse point-blank about Jane’s death, it is a way of sticking the knife in further; Walt will get the death he wants, and Jesse will be destroyed even further in the process, caught indelibly in a circle of violence.

But Jesse rises above that violence, something he always had the potential to do, and while the chances of him having a normal, healthy life after this are extremely slim, Jesse does have a future. He is free, for the first time since the pilot. What happens next is a mystery, but that Jesse’s future is no longer set in stone is, in and of itself, a minor miracle. He does not have to be shackled by the horrors of his past. He can move on, if he is able and so chooses, and he can have a life outside of Walter White. It is not where I predicted we would leave this character, but I could not be more satisfied by the resolution he received.

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breaking bad season 6 poster feature 666 Breaking Bad Series Finale Review: Felina (Season 5, Episode 16)

And so it goes for Breaking Bad as a whole, which ended about as perfectly, to my mind, as it possibly could have. This was a reflexive episode for a reflexive series, a story about a man who, from the very first episode, wanted to forge his legacy on his own terms, cooking crystal meth and committing increasingly unspeakable crimes in an effort to be the arbiter of his own fate. In the end, Walter White ultimately got what he wanted – an ending he dictated himself – and yet as “Felina” makes clear, through its own reflexive structure and beautifully comic ending, the image Walt built for himself, and the story he tried so hard to construct, was never as grand as the one he had in his head.

This show could have ended in so many ways, and at so many points – including this season – but I am overjoyed it ended here, on a complex note that encapsulates, to me, everything that Breaking Bad was about: The mixture of darkness and absurdity in everyday life; the distance between self-perception and outward image; the self-fulfilling drive of criminal actions; the weight of consequence, and how we react when we feel it settle in; and perhaps most interestingly to me, the nature of storytelling as something we all engage in to justify our own failings and transgressions, and how the narrative webs we weave for ourselves (and all the characters, not just Walt, try weaving for themselves at one point or another over the life of the series) are as delusional and destructive as they are inescapable.

And on a production level, “Felina” was a fabulous tribute to the amazing performances and craftsmanship that built this wonderful show. Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Aaron Paul each delivered some of their very best work to date. Dave Porter’s original music was hauntingly beautiful throughout. Michael Slovis’ cinematography was, as always, immaculate. Vince Gilligan’s direction was precise, controlled, tense, and effective, his writing sparse and powerful.

In short, Breaking Bad left the television landscape reminding us why it left such a big impression in the first place. This was bold, zany, audacious, intelligent, emotional, and exhilarating television, one of the finest programs ever to air on TV, and one of the great pieces of modern American fiction. “Felina” did not need to be as good as it was to ensure that legacy. But Breaking Bad nearly always went the extra mile, and here, at the very end, I might even say that legacy was heightened for me. For in making me laugh, unexpectedly and uncontrollably, “Felina” reinforced what an endlessly rich piece of fiction this was, putting Walter White’s story in perspective even as it guaranteed this tale as one I will never forget.

Be sure to check out our companion piece to this review: 6 Outstanding Moments From The Breaking Bad Finale. And thanks to JoBlo for creating the excellent tribute video shown above.

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  • umberto

    horrible review. i doubt anyone else laughed raucously at the end.

    • superultraboy

      I was thinking the samething.

    • mrsalty

      I did…not just at the end, but through the whole thing. As well as cried, bit my nails, and shouted at the TV…the end WAS hilarious, and fitting.

    • Maniac Therapist

      except for Jesse Pinkman

    • ThatOneGuyWho…

      I watched it with about 5 friends and we all laughed. I guess you just didn’t get it.

      • ArumBouyed

        I absolutely hate the phrase “get it”. It’s like saying only you and your select little group of mental giants have the intelligence and depth to understand a T.V. show. Lol. Everyone who disagrees just doesn’t “get it”. I “got it” and I chuckled a bit as well, but if someone saw the ending as just plain sad, tragic, with no inclination to laugh hysterically, I’m not so arrogant to assume they just “didn’t get it”.

        • Gotu Pet

          As soon as the guy said “horrible” he sort of revealed that he didn’t actually “get it.”

        • word

          wurd to big burd

    • CarbonaNotGlue

      This was one of the funniest series ever .. how do you not get it? Sopranos is not at heart a dark comedy (despite Stevie Van Zandt) .. Breaking Bad is so.

      • Paul Johnson

        Sopranos was coated in dark comedy..

      • Necka Rashevsky

        Breaking Bad was highly entertaining in Breaking Bad, an obviously adult dark comedy. Is that not Bryan Cranston’s M.O though? Just look at Malcolm in the Middle. That’s a hilariously dark, verging on sad, homage to sitcoms.

    • Man

      Review poster was high on cheap crack and rancid wine when he watched the series, and when he wrote this… And overall…

      …Explains a whole lot does it not?

    • mikal

      Nobody did. Unless they were a psycho.

    • thatguy

      Good review, I laughed at the end.

      Opinions Opinions Opinions, always remember that, Opinions.

  • mike

    i agree, worst review ever

  • Tim

    I was smiling, as I agree that the release of the tension made the endorphins run amok, but laughing? That I don’t understand.

  • Pete Nicolosi

    This was an exhaustive review that really broke it down completely and from many viewpoints. I agree the ending could not have been better. I chuckled at the way he dies with a smile with his “baby”, but after the read and reconsideration of what was outlined, I easily have changed my chuckle to a maniacal laugh. Great review!

    • David Fuller

      Agreed! A lot of trolls out there. Very well written and accurate review. Clearly, you have a keen understanding of Vince Gilligan’s vision for the series (and finale.)

      Don’t let the haters bring you down. Obviously, you are a true fan of the show and a talented writer. I agree with nearly (but not all ;) ) points that you made.

      It’s unbelievable how nasty people get from the anonymity of a computer. Remember, everybody will take the time out to criticize, but few will “waste” their time paying a compliment.

      Good review!

  • John Wayne

    This reviewer is an idiot

  • Lack hack

    comically terrible review

  • Heisenburger

    Great review, glad to have read all your reviews throughout the final season. They acted as a brilliant companion to the show and gave many good insights. Thanks again!

  • Name Withheld

    I just wanted to thank you for this brilliant piece; I now appreciate the finale in a completely different, and deeper, way. I was blown away by your analysis and regret that I hadn’t discovered you sooner.

  • Maniac Therapist

    Should have stopped reading after the 4th paragraph when you claimed season two’s finale was a better hour of television than this. You obviously hate Walter White so much that you used this piece (of crap) to call him a ‘two-bit criminal’ and take away from the brilliant, immensely simplistic plan that Walter aka Vince Gilligan devised. Poor taste.

  • Deflowerher

    Dude you suck. Very few others will agree with your review.

  • Heisenberg

    The ending was very satisfying. Jessie killing Todd, Walt finally using the ricin on someone (Lydia), Walt devising a way to kill Todd’s family that was so over-the-top that they never saw it coming.

    Part of me wishes that they had found the money, and Jesse drove away with a big bag full of cash. But, then again, money never made Jesse happy.

    • Damon

      The last bag full of cash Jessie had in the show, was emptied in the streets by him.

  • Guest

    As Valentina Michael Smith once said, “They laugh because it hurts so much…”

  • Ricardo Alves Junqueira Pentea

    As Valentine Michael Smith once said, “They laugh because it hurts so much…”

  • Brendan

    If you really laughed as hard as you ever have at the final scene then you are weird.

  • kato1964

    “Baby Blue” is a “immensely cheesy completely overblown love song”? I think the 6,000,000 plus people who have viewed the video on YouTube of Badfinger’s performance of this classic on the Kenny Rogers Show, back in ’72, would completely disagree with you. And if that ending made you laugh, you obviously missed the point of both the ending and the choice of that song to overplay Walt’s death scene.

    • CarbonaNotGlue

      One of the cheesiest songs ever. It was made even sillier when set against the operatic “El Paso”.

      • Jonas Miseh


      • Yes.

        Douchebag, you know nothing

      • frank

        The only people who say stuff like that are people who have lived dull lives or are just too young to have experienced much of life.

  • fsdfdasasdf

    Walter White died like a rockstar, you asshole.

  • dfameBITCH!

    Wow, they are harsh on here. While I didn’t laugh, and thought it was strange you did, I appreciate your review. It gave me some new things to question, like wether Walt was being sadistic at the end when he asked Jesse to kill him. I had assumed that it was a form of retribution, but I’m always surprised, so it doesn’t *surprise” me! HA. Science YO!

  • 80887

    You write these reviews in a VACCUUM? Wow…

  • Nick

    Vince Gilligan reveled in humor throughout the show, and talked quite a bit about the absurd nature of the song choice specifically.

    There is no breaking bad without a sick sense of humor. Whether it’s Saul’s bulletproof vest under his sweater, or Badger shooting an arrow at the back of the RV. Raspberry slushies made Jesse uncomfortable in his house.

    It was funny, and with the build up of emotion, there’s no question that a broad emotional outpouring is reasonable.

    As for hating Walt, you’d be crazy not to. He’s a maniacal lunatic who has ruined countless lives and blamed it all on doing it for his family. The list of lives he has ruined goes on longer than a phone book. He was a genius, he did some amazingly impressive things, but so did many evil people.

  • James

    i have to disagree on some points about what happened at the end with Jesse. Walt went with intentions to kill the Naza’s AND Jesse as he thought jesse had partnered with them. Seeing that he was captured, tortured, and through all that STILL did not disrespect Walt or his product, Walt dived on top of him, to get cover from the bullets, and ultimately got shot protecting him. Walt didnt have to do that, he coulda ducked and the bullets could have mowed Jeese down too…..I think in a way, Walt was giving Jeese what he could never have..a way out. Also, the look that Jesse gives Walt after hearing that he poisioned lydia, seemed like a ‘thank you’ like he was finally free, not just of Walt, but of everything connected to the meth buisness, i think thats part of the reason he begins to laugh while driving away..

    • peytusk

      yeah, weird that the author didn’t mention about this, Walt showed his most human side in this last episode than any of the other prior to this, still using his list and manipulating skills… I will miss Breaking Bad… ah why did it have to end!!

    • Nyxiz

      wo. walter didnt think jesse was partners with him. that was the plan for the nazis to prove they werent working with him so they show him to walter. then boom. What made me laugh though was that todd didnt even give a fuck at first that everyone around him died. he was more concerned about looking out the window and says “Mr. white” in a somewhat confused tone.

  • disqus_4YBfjD8lPC

    Your review is absolutely terrible. Your continual reminders of how hard you laughed and that Walt died a low life really steals so much from the overall experience of the episode. I think a lot of fans felt completely different emotions and your drivel of a review only serves to tarnish our memory. Thanks for nothing dick wipe.

    • Nathan Ludwig

      It’s staggering how utterly stupid you are. You should practice some reading comprehension before typing things in public.

  • Goof Troop

    Wow, did no one actually read the review? So many people stopped after ‘I laughed’ and immediately jumped down his throat. This review is glowingly positive, ending by calling it an “endlessly rich piece of fiction” and claiming the finale couldn’t have been better. If you kept reading you might have seen that. I love Breaking Bad as much as anyone, but wow this fanbase is rapidly turning sour. God forbid someone say something even seemingly negative about it. You realize that kind of behavior might scare away people who would have otherwise watched and enjoyed the show? Grow up and learn that not everyone enjoys things exactly the same way you do.

    • Yes.

      Doesn’t erase the pompous grotesqueries that proceeded it. This guy is not gonna say it sucks!

  • Carlo

    i dont agree about walt sadistically manipulating jesse in order to kill him.
    He just saved him from the rain of bullets. He figures out he still has love for him when he sees him in that awful miserable condition. It’s Gilligan’s last attempt to show Walter’s human side.
    I never hated walter in effect, probably I almost always rooted for him..he did a lot of evil things but since the beginning he always showed a human, fragile, miserable side that never made me view him as total emotionless evil like most of viewers tend to

  • John Bossi

    I loved BB but come on, The Sopranos was the all-time greatest show in the history of TV.

    • Randy Walton

      JB, I caught the first season of The Sopranos, and it didn’t grab me enough to continue. I thought The Wire, even with it weaker final season is still the best, simply because it dealt with BIG PICTURE stuff. the Shield was also quite good, but not at the same overall level. Apples and oranges, I guess.
      BrBa was still an excellent series with great acting and an outstanding finale. I didn’t laugh, but I sure left satisfied.

    • frank

      The Sopranos was the same-old, same-old: Guy grows up in Mafia family, has trials and tribulations etc..It was already done several times in the movies: Godfather 1 and 2, Goodfellas..Again, nothing really new in the Sopranos. BB was something different, and to my mind a much more interesting story.

  • John Smith

    the review is wrong on so many levels.
    1) He dies as nothing more than a common, two-bit criminal.

    He died saving Jesse. He died while using a garage door opener to lay waste to a hardcore group of psychopathic gangsters. He would forever be known as the MacGyver of the criminal world for that feat alone, to say nothing of the blue meth that died the same time Walt does.

    2)but for Skyler, it is a revelation, not because she can’t see Walt’s selfishness on her own, but because hearing him say it does allow for some small measure of closure.

    Walt says this for the same reason he made the phone call after Skyler flipped out and cut him with the knife, for Skyler’s sake. Walt knows it would give her closure, and acted accordingly.

    3) Like always, Walt is tempting the boy – giving Jesse the option to do further evil for his own selfish benefits.

    Again, here Walter is trying to give someone he cares about what he thinks they need. Jesse killing Heisenberg would have been cathartic and empowering.

    • stellabystarlite

      That’s one interpretation. I listened to the podcast, and Vince Gilligan said he mean that to convey that Walt wanted to make one final gesture of amends toward Jesse by giving him the option of killing him if he wanted to, hence passing him the gun. There was clearly a bit of water under the bridge there, and Jesse truly hated Walt at that point. I certainly think it’s true to character that Jesse opted not to take another life as that would be one more crime on his conscience, as well as one more act of doing what Walt was coercing him to do. He finally had his freedom to make his own choices, so he just left.

    • Say my name

      I agree with your assessment, Walter White started everything he did to provide for his family once he was gone. Did he enjoy some of it, the power, the sense of being known and revered worldwide by some… absolutely. In the end he,
      1) allowed his child to be returned to Skyler because he loves his family,

      2) he makes a point of saying things on the phone to clear Skyler.

      3) he blackmails people into giving his money to his family because he loves them

      4) he poisons Lydia to protect his family and Jessie

      5) he kills all the skinheads to:
      a) save Jessie because he loved him
      b) avenge the murder of Hank because he was family
      c) protect his family, and
      d) because they stole HIS legacy by cooking the Blue meth

      6) he saves Jessie while giving him the option to kill him because he thinks it will give Jessie closure

      Then to recap, he blackmailed the 2 people using laser pointers… he managed to talk face to face w/ Skyler even when in theory she had FBI and DEA surveillance, he played Lydia so well she never knew until she was almost dead that he poisoned her, and only then because he told her, then he killed an entire group of skinheads using a garage door opener a car battery and a car remote.

      Walter White did everything for the people he loved… then he did what he had to to protect them, and met his death on his own terms.

      I agree, there is nothing sad, or pathetic about it… in its own way its the most honorable thing he could do, to save everyone he loved and end his life from injuries he suffered saving Jessie instead of alone and with his body ravaged by cancer.

      • Jason

        Great points! I like it. :)
        I get all the different view points and respect them all. What show has made so many people think through all this stuff? It’s like psych class.
        Breaking Bad = G.O.A.T.
        Long live Walter White!

      • Adam Watkins

        You are an amazing reviewer. I love your analysis. Wow, perfect.

  • mrnoetol

    You people are too in love with the show. It is my favorite series behind Oz but this review is keeping it real. The season 4 ender was DEFINITELY better than this. The series closer was good but come on, it wasn’t perfect.

    You people probably love and praise Dexter too even though that show got old after Trinity. “OMG, he dissed breaking bad”… Stop being so brainless, the reviewer here has good points.

    • Nyxiz

      I was thinking the same thing. they didn’t go the extra mile or anything like the did in the past. not an up stage to previous endings what-so-ever.

  • mrnoetol

    And as much as I love, let’s be honest, if Walter White actually existed he would be a scum bag. The things he put his family through, the fact that he watched a girl choke on her own vomit and die, the way he saw a kid get murdered and it didn’t even phase him.

    You praise this character and defend him so much but you wouldn’t like him if he were real. Get over yourselves, the end was hilarious.

    • Spike

      I think that this is what makes the show so intriguing. On the first viewing, when people called him a monster and such, I was like “Oh, come on, give the man a break”. But after some second thoughts, I only thought like that because I get to see him vulnurable, hurt, sentimental and overally, human. We never saw Tucco like that, and we only wanted him to die, and we liked Gus more because we saw him like that. The only reason that in our minds he had to die, was that he was a threat to our protagonist and his world. Now, we didn’t feel like that for Walter, because we see most of the show through him. But the things he did and the lives he destroyed, that’s what really counts. Jessie had the worst ending to me. He can never become a functional human being again. I mean, how do you come back from all he’s been through? And he is very young, early to mid twenties. He was entirely broken in the end.

      • Random

        I would not say Jesse was broken, but rather that he had been isolated from the world because of the nazi`s that he finally learned to appreciate what he has, life and freedom, thus his “insane laugh” at the end, he never wanted the money, he never appreciated what he had, until the meth nazis took it away from him, until Walter gave it back, after all it was Walter who took things away from Jesse.

    • matt murdock

      Yes, I agree that watching a human being choke on her own vomit is disgusting but remember Jane was a POS, too. She had become manipulative and domineering over Jesse. She also threatened to go to the media and cops spilling the beans on the chemistry teacher turned meth cook.
      I wish Walt could have gotten his other millions back from the Nazi gang, and made Gretchen and Elliot suffer more. Gretchen was a real bitch. I wanted more back story on their relationship from grad school, too. I really believe like Walt said that they made millions off all his hard work. I loved that he put that stuck-up, bitch Lydia in her place, too. She and her tea.
      The Walt character was such great character to watch over a course of five years. Smart, intelligent, witty, diabolical, wicked, callous, devilish, vindictive, cold and calculating, and yet tender and warm when dealing with Holly and Walt, Jr. Cranston was superb in this role.
      That is why I always loved the Gus- Walt dynamic. Gus was intelligent, wicked, and ruthless. Yet he could see that Walt, too was just a mirror image of himself. Gus was afraid of Walt because Walt was so intelligent but yet he could see how dangerous he was because he could manipulate Jesse the way he did.
      Felina was finally a last episode that did not disappoint. I will miss this show. Thank God for DVDs.

  • 10thBaam

    ” To all the world, Walt dies the most pathetic death imaginable… He dies as nothing more than a common, two-bit criminal, and many of his actions throughout the episode – hijacking a car, hiding in the shadows at Gretchen and Elliot’s, buying a machine gun, poisoning Lydia, gunning down his enemies, etc. – are not those of the great and powerful Heisenberg, Emperor of meth, but of an absolute low-life.”

    Did the author check this when he wrote this article? He kinda contradicts himself. I hardly call rigging a car with an m60 machine gun turret to go off with a car remote common. And he made the ricin. And he saved Jesse. And found a way to get money to his family. Yeah… could not disagree more with this author. Thought the series ended perfectly because it showed all the qualities that made Walt a good character to watch.

  • Dheep’

    Nice Review. I understand ,but why Would you need to see anyone else’s reaction before giving yours ? (“without looking at anybody else’s reactions to the episode”).

  • Mark Arthur

    This is a terrible review, if that’s how you really felt about the ending, then you need to rethink your interest in this amazing and unforgettable series. There is usually some form of relation between the reader and the reviewer, but I’m starting to think you were drunk when watching this.

  • tonayhee

    i would have rather read about the sport of cricket for 3 minutes than this awful editorial on my favorite show of all time. this show is obviously funny at times and absoultely draws parallels to coen bros. but i really dont care that you wasted so many paragraphs describing how hard you laughed. it was a great ending. that is all.

  • BeachBum

    Hey didn’t smile because of the meth IMO he smiled because it was chemistry that he loved and he felt alive in any lab not just meth.

    • rogerscorpion

      BeachBum–I saw it that way, too. Walt loved chemistry labs. I loved that Walt went there, with the intention of killing Jesse, because Jesse was partnered with the skinheads, but, upon seeing Jesse in captivity, protected Jesse. I love the fact that it was Jesse who killed Todd (A total sociopeth, in my opinion). I love the fact that Walt finished Lydia, the way he did. I love the fact that Walt admitted the truth to Skyler. I loved the title, ‘Felina’. When I heard Marty Robbins on the auto radio, it started falling in place. I didn’t laugh, but I did smile with appreciation.

  • tim

    This reviewer is an idiot.

  • Yes.

    What the fuck is wrong with you? You basically described a mental break. You are telling us you went into spastic gales of laughter? Maybe harder then you have ever laughed? You sound like an idiot.

  • grenadeh

    All the people saying the season 4 ending was better apparently fail to understand story. The season 4 ending was great, yes, but it was necessary as build up for the real ending.

    Felina was perfect. It was completely predictable, but it was perfect.

  • Boo

    God awful review for a pretty limp ending.

  • John Fitzpatrick

    I thought the ending of Breaking Bad was pretty good. The way I saw it, Walt went out on his own terms.

    • rsomrhausr

      He did…and although he did not commit suicide, he did kill himself. Sometimes laughter is a way of releasing tension. I don’t fault the guy for laughing, because there is a bit to laugh about in the ending. It was so beautifully poetic and final and tragic and heroic and karmic, that laughing through tears is a reasonable response. My first response was a laugh and a bit of tears, and the realization that it was a perfect ending to the story. My first thoughts were, “Vince Gilligan, hats off to you you magnificent bastard. You pulled of the perfect end to a story. Not an easy trick.”

  • Brad Hallston

    This article is probably really awesome in your head. I am thankful I wasn’t watching with you.. laughing would have annoyed the hell out of me.

  • Freddyfenderbender

    I’m pretty sure the reviewer didn’t laugh. If he had, he’d have missed all the elements he wrote about. I call shenanigans.

  • jacques

    lol I think this review was fine. It’s just opinion. And it’s reasoned well.

    but did you really laugh that much? … was it really THAT funny? …

  • hellifeyeno

    what really happend is walters death was faked and he got put into witpro, and he beacome hal from malcom in the middle

  • Mr Lack, lacks a brain

    wow, you are a complete idiot. worst review ever.
    your review – I laughed, walter is a pathetic lowlife… I laughed, walter is a pathetic lowlife.
    you’re lost.
    maybe you should’ve read other reviews before writing this crap. hope you get fired and have to turn to meth dealing to make ends meet.

    • David Fuller

      Nice comment, D-Bag! You’ll be the one buying meth from him!

  • Fallon Ray

    No matter which parts you interpreted correctly in line with the director’s vision, and which parts weren’t in line, this is a well-thought-out and well-written review. Thanks for it. I didn’t laugh, but I did smile. I felt Walter’s triumph right along with him. Even though he’s a monster, more or less, the series does a great job of having you empathize with him. He’s good at manipulating us, alongside Jesse and so many others. And it’s obvious that at least several others, even if the minority, shared your emotional response and general interpretation. One thing that we all seem to agree on is our appreciation and respect for this wonderfully-enthralling series.

  • Twangs

    I stopped reading this at “immensely cheesy, completely overblown love song”.

  • Allison Johnson

    You should find a new career. You completely suck at reviewing.

  • yabbi

    He’s not really dead.

  • stpetersburg


  • ABQblue

    The misuse of “decimated” was the cherry on the top of this idiotic review.

    • fyggs

      …because you know the fairly well-know bit of trivia about it having the meaning of “dividing into ten pieces” rather than its perfectly acceptable contemporary meaning of “to utterly destroy”?

      Consider your cherry decimated. Whichever meaning; the result’s the same.

  • walter white


  • Yah

    Breaking Bad Ending sucked so hard. All that bitching about his blue meth he did and he lets the 1 guy drive away that knows how to make it? Crapness!

  • HelpmeIvefallen

    BTW, how far does Pinkman actually get way to? I mean, he did murder 2 people, was complicit in the murder of others, drives away broke right before the police arrive, driving a decrepit hunk of junk. And he has a ton of evidence pointing to him from various crime scenes. So the real ending to the show, not seen, is probably Jessie rotting away in a maximum prison jail cell.

  • the pope

    jesus.. you fucking suck dude

  • William Burke

    Did you get paid by the word? How else to explain why this monstrosity wobbled on for about 65% too long?

    And I always am amazed: yet another writer who doesn’t know the difference between “breaths” and “breathes”! SERIOUSLY?

    • Bob Saget

      With ya on the ‘breaths’ and ‘breathes’ thing. At the Seattle Science Museum, one of the displays uses it incorrectly as well. IN A MUSEUM — drives me nuts.

  • Galaharty

    This is the worst review ever! And plus I believe that Walt’s actions throughout the episode were absolutely brilliant! Way too elaborate to be that of a “low life criminal”

  • Snidely Whiplash

    Baby Blue” used as the finale song was pure genius. Walter was hugging his “baby blue” machine when he went down.

  • fyggs

    Heh. It’s a shame that so many people called you names and said your were a bad reviewer. I wouldn’t take it badly, since every one of them so far–without exception–betrayed an emotional bias whilst doing so, and invalidated their own remarks.

    I don’t agree with everything you’ve said in this review, but you’re clearly very good at analysis of characterization, thematics, story-telling, etc. I think a lot of the negative reaction you received was because you chose to predicate the entire review on your own personal reaction to the wrap-up of the series. That’s not a big criticism, its a small one, even though it did loom large in your review; most people who didn’t laugh at the demise of Walter White just decided to spit venom. Oops.

    Still, there was disagreement coming from the well-thought-outs and the knee-jerkers, and when people are saying it’s a good review, but…, and it’s a bad review because…, share some of the same reasoning, you should probably pay attention.

    I’m being incredibly patronizing, and probably unnecessarily, because I think the thought put in, and the spot-on analysis in your review shows that you probably already know all of this and can brush aside bilious criticisms.

    Having said that, I’ll go ahead and join in, saying that White was neither the petty and selfish two-bit thug, in the end, that you seem to be saying he was, but neither was he the ultimate anti-hero and the wonderful human specimen that some people here want to make him out to be. Always the truth lies somewhere in-between, but I think rarely as much–nor to such varying degrees of interpretation–as here. You have fans of the show both saying he was great and saying he was scum, and everything between the two. That’s great, and that’s writing skill, and acting skill, and just general skillfulness of production, and a boon to the genre of television, saying television is not only a legitimate medium to tell a story, but a unique and exquisite one.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your review.

  • Frank

    LOL, how can you call “Face Off” the tensest episode ever over “Crawl Space” ? Bad review.

  • your conscience

    you have no life and you reviews suck and I would be surprised if people clicked through all of your shit,I stopped reading your rant at page 4 or 5, not gonna bother to browse back up for that bs

  • Cream Bean

    “Corny Love Ballad” Baby Blue by Badfinger is one of the greatest pop songs of all time. I remember watching the finale for the first time and getting so excited when that song played. One of my favorite songs. Far from corny. You make it sound like fucking winger started playing or something. You do not know music.

  • simply_not_nuts

    Key detail somehow omitted from this lengthy summary: Jesse didn’t just drop the gun and drive away, he said “Do it yourself!” Thus leaving the horror of suicide as Walt’s only option.

  • Andrey Nikaplease

    I too doubt that the person who wrote this review laughed like they said they did. Maybe a little bit, maybe smiled or chuckled but to say that they laughed like Jesse did as he drove away would clearly leave you with some sort of mental condition. That is the only thing that I can deduce. I think that it was smart to compare your laughter or whatever it was to Jesse’s in the end because like him, you were present for the entire story as well. I am sure that you feel his sense of relief and since you see everything from all angles and the characters do not you see the absurdity of Walt’s death as well. Yes while it is funny and playful…the way the reviewer presented themSELVES was unreal, as real as their thoughts about the show were. Poor review.

  • JV

    I like to think of Breaking Bad as having 3 different endings. The first ending being the end of Season 4. EPIC, edge of your seat entertainment, and emotionally satisfying. Originally this would have been the end if Breaking Bad had not been renewed for another season.

    The second ending (and my personal fav), the end of the episode of Ozymandias, everything comes to a halt at this point and Walt finally gets his comeuppance as he loses everything. Poetic justice. It’s definitely the climax of the series and the best episode.

    Finally, I see Granite State and Felina as being the Breaking Bad film everyone always wanted. In this we reach the conclusion of the story as it wraps up the loose ends from the fallout in Ozymandias.

  • Matthew Ryan Kyle

    I realize these comments are backdated pretty far but still interesting to read threads about what I think is one of the greatest shows ever produced. I guess I am not sure if suppose to be a joke that the reviewer thought it was funny,but I smiled at the ending, it was a perfect send a way for Walts character in my opinion.

  • Kent Karlson

    Here’s my take, and I haven’t seen any others that agree. Walt started out with a undeserved death sentence, and his one and only goal was to provide for his family. At the end, after destroying countless innocent lives, he succeeded. Oh yeah, he still died, as he had been originally sentenced. Heinous crime in his case paid, and paid well.

  • Guy

    Why do I have to click nine pages to read the review? Also: why am I reading it now. This happened a million years ago. I don’t even like this site or the bullshit lists it advertises and churns out. What am I doing here? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I SHOULD START USING METH OK I HAVE STARTED LOOKS LIKE THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE

  • James

    Most contrived piece of writing I’ve ever read. Maybe you fantasise that VG will come knocking at your door with a job offer because you are so incitefull. Laughing harder at the end than you have ever laughed in your life is like being able to see the emperors new clothes. Total wanker.

  • caseyst

    Nobody laughed but you. How did you even get this job? If you laughed, then you are truly heartless. And, for your information, “Baby Blue” rocks. You don’t.

  • Ed Banks

    He dies in the car in Vermont. The whole episode is to satisfy all the nitwits. Walt wasnt as smart as people think. That was the point. It satisfies both camps.

  • Man

    The real reason Walter died at a meth lab, was so Jesse could be truly free, it was Walter`s manipulation that took that away, so when Walter was dying he went into the lab, so people would blame his alter ego “Heisenberg” and thus stay away from Jesse which was the one that was making the “uber meth”. Even so Walter cant help but smile before he dies, as he loves chemistry, thus the site being a fitting final resting place.

    Either that, or he read this pathetic review and died of the wounds reading this whole piece of crap gives.

  • Man

    The jerk that wrote the article below simply does not like the fact that a series is dissing his meth.

  • Jason

    Initially, I didn’t like the review… but I read the ENTIRE review, and I LOVED IT.
    Admitting later that the laughing AND tears that Jesse had as he drove off was similar to how Mr Lack felt… perfect.
    I get this aching in my stomach every time I read about, think about anything Breaking Bad. I miss it so much.
    The craziness of WW combined with the seemingly innocent down to earth person that Cranston portrayed as this dying school teacher.
    It was sooo dark but also so engrossing…. all that combined with the writing, cinematography, incredible acting… sounds pathetic but there’s a hole in my life since I’ve finished watching this.
    Cranston will forever be one of my favorite actors due to the special place in my heart I’ll always have for WW.
    …………. we DID see WW dying on the floor as the police showed up… but it’s not COMPLETELY out of the question to consider that he still might have lived.
    I think about this often when I get mad at the fact that the most perfect, mind blowing TV show I’ve ever seen lasted only 5 seasons.
    Wishful thinking I’m sure but it keeps the fire alive… or dimly lit :)

  • mikal


    737. It’s even the name of the episode. And… the amount he left for his family was just under 10 million. That’s quite a bit more than 10x $737k.

  • David M. Brown

    “Self-reflexive”? The word wanted is “self-reflective.” Downhill from there.

  • W.W.

    Walter didn’t return to the laboratory to die as a sign of his love for meth; but rather as a sign of his love for chemistry.

  • bigrey

    well you entitled to your opinion even if you are wrong …. on all points

  • J Man

    Blah blah… Blah. Really, people. Art. Interesting to see so many diff emotions expressed by viewers. You “get it” if you enjoyed it. Great show! Great finale. Miss it!

    • Farnham Bailey

      I believe you didn’t understand the show.

  • Erin Conn-Bauer

    It ended like it was supposed to. Drugs ruin your life…You lose your home, your wife/kids and your life.

  • Mark Alan

    Absolutely spot on review my friend. I, too laughed my ass off at the end of the series. I was a late convert to Breaking Bad, having watched none of the show while it aired on TV. I discovered it a short while ago and binge watched it all in less than a month. There were nights that I got to sleep too late because i just couldn’t go to bed without finding out what happened in the next episode. It would have been excruciating for me to watch a series like this having to wait a week in between each episode. I think you’ve perfectly, though wordily, captured what the episode was all about so thanks for your exuberance and insight. Enjoyed reading your review quite a bit. Have a very nice day.

  • vincent

    i respectfully disagree with your point about if the show ended at season 2, it would be okay. season 4, okay, maybe. and as far as your last point about laughing…not me. guess we’re all weird in our own ways.

    and the heck, i clicked a link with the title “Here’s What Really Happened on the Breaking Bad Finale”. Made it sound like there was more, not a link to a review.

  • Rick

    a. the amount from season 2 was $737,000, not $747, 000 and b. I didn’t see anyone declare Walter dead.

  • Blurgle

    Thank you for an excellent review. I fully appreciate and share your point of view. I believe you did justice to quite possibly the best television show ever.

  • Nags

    Glad I stumbled on this. Great writing!

    I don’t agree with everything you said but so what? A lot of people are acting like ignorant a-holes in this comment section.

  • Heimrik

    If you laughed at the events in the final episode… You should have yourself committed to a mental institution…

    The events should trigger disturbing emotions of disgust and shock. NOT humorous enjoyment…

    In behavioral psychology, one of the major flaws that have been found in serial killers brains was that their brains failed to react to emotional trauma that should be produced from shocking stimuli such as murder, rape, or death.

    So yeah… Seek help immediately….

  • James Bettinson

    I have to say i think this reviewer was just a bit desperate to come up with an original angle to cover this episode, I think if they really did just end up laughing at it they really have missed the point, and the tagline of saying what really happened in breaking bad is incredibly misleading, as it would seem the conclusion drawn is that of only themselves.

  • Golero

    My fave moment of the whole series was when Walt was pleading with Jesse not to cook for Gus, telling him that Gus was going to kill him.

    Human fragility at its greatest!

    Also for me the series should have ended with Walt’s conversation w his son

  • Polly


  • Jim

    This guy is an idiot. He doesn’t get it. He shouldn’t be writing about it, he should be reading things written by people who understood it.

  • Farnham Bailey

    Dear Sir, the term is “self-reflective” not the “self-reflexive” that you have used.

  • Arnold Vere Ward

    We did not see Walt actually die – there is a chance there is more to come given his record for cheating death.