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A Farewell to Breaking Bad: Review/Recap of "Felina"

Chandler Kilgore-Parshall ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

After six years, Breaking Bad has finally concluded with its last episode, “Felina”.  With a show that had such monumental and dramatic moments like a mid-air collision, a man’s face blown half off and a train robbery, how would the series end? Breaking Bad concluded on a poignant and rewarding note with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) tying up all loose ends.

Walt returns to Albuquerque with many things left to do.  First order of business—to ensure that Walt’s family get the financial security that he wanted to give them in the first place. The founders of Gray Matter, Elliot (Adam Godley) and Gretchen Schwartz (Jessica Hecht), who took away Walt’s contribution to the company, finally got what they deserved. Walt employs a clever ruse (with help of Skinny Pete and Badger) to threaten his former colleagues into giving his $9.2 million to his children in a trust fund. He forces the very people who stole his life’s work to make things right.

Finally, his ego and the very thing that fuels the flames of his anger and pride have been resolved. But family is extremely important to him. Throughout the course of the show’s run, that motivation dissipated and turned into an empire of greed and power for Walt’s devious alter ego, Heisenberg. But now, with time ticking, Walt tries to make amends with Skyler (Anna Gunn) and his children. It’s a bittersweet moment as all of the lies and deceptions that shrouded this miserable family were cleansed away. But a chance of rebuilding a second life with his wife and kids is impossible. While Walt said his goodbyes, it was tough to witness the final reckoning upon him that his family see him more as a stranger than a loving husband and father. He made amends the best way he could, and hopefully the White family will be able to move on with their lives. Skyler, Marie (Betsy Brandt), Holly and Walt Jr.(RJ Mitte) definitely deserve a second chance at happiness.

Anna Gunn in the series finale of Breaking Bad "Felina." Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.
Anna Gunn in the series finale of Breaking Bad “Felina.” Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.

Finally, Walt gets his revenge upon Uncle Jack (Michael Bowen), Todd and the people who stole his money and power. Everything that defined Heisenberg as manipulative and dangerous returned in its full form, as Walt ingeniously played an all or nothing game of chance. Remember that ricin that he took from his house in the “Blood Money” episode? Walt poisoned Lydia (Laura Fraser) by slipping it into her Stevia sugar packet, and while we didn’t see her croak, watching her panic when she realizes it was equally satisfying.

Show creator Vince Gilligan promised that by the end of Breaking Bad, Walter White would turn from Mr. Chips to Scarface. The confrontation between Heisenberg and the Neo-Nazis signaled the dramatic and bloody conclusion we the viewers have been waiting for. In a behind-the-scenes interview, Gilligan confessed, “We didn’t know how to use the M16, or who it would be used on…We introduced this gun in act one, you damn sure better fire it by the finale.” While we’re all expecting a wild gunfight like in Scarface (“Say hello to my little friend!”), he delivered something innovative, and surprisingly better than our expectations.

Walt’s intention was to not only eradicate Jack and his crew but also Jesse, to kill two birds with one stone. However, the relationship between Walt and Jesse, which evolved drastically over the show’s run, provided to be too much for Heisenberg to kill his former student. With one flip of a switch, a semiautomatic turret popped out of Walt’s trunk and unleashed a furry of bullets. The Neo-Nazi crew was riddled with bullets and Jack and Todd got personally offed by Walt and Jesse respectively. In the heat of the aftermath, Walt asks Jesse to kill him but he decides not to. The two share a silent moment of gratitude and valediction before Jesse speeds away in an El Camino to parts unknown.

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in the series finale of Breaking Bad "Felina." Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.
Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston in the series finale of Breaking Bad “Felina.” Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.

Walt, who was struck by a stray bullet, decides to enjoy his final moments in the meth lab. He succumbs to his wound and dies before the police arrive, and we end Breaking Bad with Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” playing in the background. At long last, Walter White’s journey has finally come to an end.

“Felina” was not just wrapping up remaining plot points; it brought Breaking Bad full circle. We’ve seen Walter White, a simple chemistry teacher who had no drive or aspirations in life, become Heisenberg, the biggest and baddest criminal mastermind and meth cooker in New Mexico. He was victorious when he overcame adversaries and built his own empire. He saw his family and friends turn their backs on him. But at the very end, he used his intelligence and power to make things right- or as right as they can be. The final episode isn’t necessarily about guns a-blazing or even redemption, it’s about impact and leaving behind a sense of legacy.

Breaking Bad delivered a cinematic storytelling experience that can’t be found on television these days. Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul and the cast brought their A-game to their performances of such complex and dynamic characters that have captivated us since the pilot. Vince Gilligan, Rian Johnson, Thomas Schnauz and the genius directors, artists and writers should pride themselves on crafting a beautifully dangerous world, where ambition and power are more addictive than meth itself.

Bryan Cranston in the series finale of Breaking Bad "Felina." Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.
Bryan Cranston in the series finale of Breaking Bad “Felina.” Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC.

Breaking Bad will indefinitely be a classic that has raised the bar of what quality television should be. It was a dark and intense whirlwind that sweeps viewers off their feet, yet kept them glued to their screens to find out what happens next. While many of us are sad that the story has finally ended, we can all agree that Breaking Bad profoundly changed television forever. Its legacy will live on…

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