After Breaking Bad finale was over I was left with immediate "That's it?" thought. While I don't necessarily believe the series finale has to be the best episode of the series, it should at least be one of the best finales that series had. Felina had nothing on Face Off or Full Measures. Hell, it wouldn't even be in my top 20 of the best Breaking Bad episodes.
Don't get me wrong. The episode was fine. The ending was fine. But I expected more. There was plenty of things in finale I did enjoy but it went downhill for me after Walt left Gretchen and Elliot's house. Why? Because the first and only time I was surprised during this finale happened when laser pointers were used.
On twitter and imdb I noticed a lot of people using the words "perfect", "brilliant", "greatest ever" in regards to that finale. I couldn't possible disagree more with each of those statements. Six Feet Under finale - that is a great finale. The Sopranos finale - say what you want about that, people still remember that, still analyze it, still find it either thought provoking and brilliant or infuriating.
Breaking Bad finale in addition to being underwhelming was one thing I never though BrBa episode would be - safe.
Before you get really mad and start calling me a cunt - I thought the episode was solid. I loved, LOVED how Walt was hidden in the frame and the camera slowly revealed him multiple times during this episode. Like the Devil that came to collect. I loved the final moment we saw Jesse. I loved the ambiguity of it - Jesse is happy. Who cares what he does, Alaska, adopting Brock, escaping the cops. He is happy.
I gasped twice during the finale and that is always good. First time with the laser pointers scene which was badass. It would have been better if the hit men thing was true and not just a ruse, but still it was amazing. The second time happened when the machine gun started firing. Realism aside, that was a fantastic scene, and the only epic scene in the whole episode.
The whole episode was beautifully shot and the acting was top notch. There were many amazing scenes especially Walt admitting to Skyler he did all of that for himself and Jesse laughing and crying in the car. But still...it felt off. Something was missing. I cry easily, honestly you show me a puppy rolling around gifset - I'll cry for an hour. I wept for 10 minutes after Six Feet Under finale. I even teared up during Lost's final episode and I consider it to be one of the worst finales ever. I spent so many hours watching Breaking Bad and not a single tear fell from my eyes during that finale.
Here are my problems with it:
1. It was predictable. Literally every single thing in this finale went exactly like the fans of the show thought it would. Previous finales were surprising, they were loaded with all those twists and reveals, we were all screaming "holy shit!" when we saw those planes crashing, we saw Lily of the Valley, we saw Jesse holding a gun. Here everything went exactly as people have predicted.
2. The cold open. The best cold openings in the show were intriguing and we didn't know what was going on. Here it was just Walt sitting in the car. Really? I'd love to see flash forward or a flashback, something connected to Walt's wounded pride being the beginning of it all. Something connected to Grey Matter, something we saw before but we didn't know all the details about it. Something that would bring something new to our knowledge of characters and events.
3. Jesse's fantasy. Woodworking. Really? I know he talked about it before and it was to show Jesse escaping in his mind to something simple and nice, but Jesse lost Andrea, he knows what Walt did in regards to Jane and Brock and they expect me to believe this man's fantasy is not killing Todd or Walt but making boxes like a hippie? Please.
4. The ricin. So after years of ricin being the longest used Chekhov's gun in recent TV history it ends up being used up on standard issue bitch character introduced in season 5? No, no.
5. Walt's trunk. So they check his jacket but they don't bother to check his trunk just in case, I don't know, a machine gun is there?
6. Walt being some sort of Ninja. This guy is the most wanted person in town and he is just walking around the neighborhood, sitting in cafes, you know, whatever?
7. Vince Gilligan doesn't understand his own show. It's clear that he doesn't understand the fanbase, with his insane comments about Skyler and Walt, but wow...he doesn't even get the title. I was sure the last few minutes of second to last episode were full on Heisenberg - that Walt's wounded pride finally made him break bad completely. Instead what I saw in finale was some sort of Heisenberg/hobo Walt hybrid. Too merciful for Heisenberg, too detached for Walt. So-so. Just like that finale was. The show titled Breaking Bad ended on redemption tale note. A safe and forgettable route to take.
8. And if Gilligan claims Walt is such a monster that is one hell of a send off - he gets to secure his family's future, he gets to explain himself to Sky, he even gets to be a hero like it was some sort of western. Really? As nice as that ending shot was, I read fan ideas that were 100x better than that.
You know why? Because they weren't safe. They were bold and ballsy. That finale wasn't. Walt becoming new Gus, Walt being a destroyed man without anything in prison, Walt going insane like in The Pledge ending - that would have been a send off for a "monster".
9. Let's talk a little before we shoot you. Walt owning people was always about him being few steps ahead and that was what made the show so thrilling. Here he was lucky- they didn't take a look in the trunk, they didn't put his keys somewhere where he couldn't have reached them and they took time to get Jesse instead of shooting him right away. Walter White's genius shouldn't require luck for things to go according to his plan.
10. Carol/Becky lines in conversation. Why? WHY?
11. The unnecessary scenes. Just showing Lydia drink the tea would have been enough. Showing sugar dissolve in the tea was enough to make everyone guess it was ricin. The phone call scene was overkill. I wish that situation was handled more like Lily of the Valley reveal.
12. Jesse's smile. As much as I did like the final moment with Walt and Jesse it was the biggest leap of logic I had to take during finale. Jesse smiling at Walt. What? Yes, Jesse is happy to be free. Yes, Jesse is happy because he killed Todd. If Jesse just knew about Brock poisoning I would have bought him smiling at Walt instead of looking at him like he was (and he was) a guy who killed, manipulated and lied. Walt explained to Jesse that he knew Brock will be fine. BUT what about Jane? Walt told Jesse he let her die. Jesse loved this girl. So you have Jesse knowing about Brock, Jane and being a slave for these guys because of Walt and he SMILES AT HIM? Please.
13. Walt didn't become the King. My biggest gripe with season 5 is that all came crushing down too fast. It was rushed. What that series needed is something between 5A and 5B where Walt really did take Gus's place (like the poster for the season suggested) and he rules the methamphetamine empire as Heisenberg. I would love to see that. For me that final season was so rushed mostly because they just couldn't decide what to do with Walt. At the beginning of 5A he is this incredibly confident guy and in 5B he is either losing it or he is still ahead of everyone. They just couldn't decide. Back and forth, back and forth. And in Granite State the final scene suggested they settled on Heisenberg. And then we are back to ill, weak Walt. All over the place.
14. Todd. I found him to be weak villain to begin with but he reached new levels of stupid here. By all means look at the window and turn your back to the people who want to kill you.
15. The ending. I would have liked to glimpse at Walt's brilliance one last time. A montage of him putting ricin in the packet, Lydia dead on the bed, Jesse's happiness as he drives off, Gretchen and Elliot writing a check, cops finding Jesse's confession which would be a proof he did help Hank and in case he is ever caught giving people hope he will still be fine. Only then show Walt before his end.
Honestly, I think that my perception of the finale was sabotaged by those final minutes of Granite State. I expected something completely different. Even if I predicted what will go down, I was expecting it to go down in much more epic fashion. I didn't think I'll see Walt giving up. I thought he will fight till the very end, pissed off, driven not defeated. I thought that they didn't portray the switch that occurred convincingly - Walt's ambition and pride died too easily. He let it go too fast. At least from what I've seen in this show. The finale would have worked for me if there was several episodes more in this season, or if there was season 6 and that would be its finale. The way things are now I only see it as a tidy conclusion to the great show.
Breaking Bad - Felina - 70/100
Breaking Bad, season 5B - 85/100
Breaking Bad, series, overall - 95/100
I almost never agree with the reviews on The Playlist but I found this one to be top notch.