Warning: spoilers may be found ahead, proceed at your own risk. The finale of the hit AMC series Breaking Bad was astounding. Not only in the size of its viewership — over 10 million — but also with the generally positive response it has garnered from fans. That’s not to mention that its creative team showed more reserve and brevity than any other showrunners in the past decade by choosing to end the show while at the height of its popularity.
Not unlike Games of Thrones’ Red Wedding, Breaking Bad’s real climax of action and plot happened not at the end, but just before it. Unlike Game Of Thrones, the writers of Breaking Bad still gave you a reason to care about the finale of the season.
The episode “Ozymandias” saw the veritable crumbling of Heisenberg’s empire and Walt’s life, killing off an important character, sending Jesse even further into a pit of despair and having Walt give up and leave. Following it, “Granite Slate” showed the fallout of Walt’s failed machinations, with Walt slowly withering away in a hideout, paying $10, 000 an hour for company while Jesse and his family suffer the consequences of his actions. Its only at the end of the penultimate episode, when Walt decides to take the mantle of Heisenberg one more time to get his affairs in order (i.e. revenge).
“Felina” gave nearly complete closure to the series. Walt achieves what he sets out to do (financially support his family) and gets revenge on all those who wronged him. He and Jesse seemingly come to terms, and then he dies “in the arms” of his one last love, the meth lab (set, perfectly, to Badfinger’s “Baby Blue”).
Instead of trying to shock or confound the audience at their last chance (see the baffling finale of Dexter), Breaking Bad finishes cleanly and poetically, maintaining the extremely tight writing that the show has been known for.
While this ending has been deemed too neat by some (who claim that it must be a dying fantasy of Walt’s) this finale will preserve the show’s legacy as carefully written and beautifully executed series fans knew it be.