When I wrote up Breaking Bad at the end of season one, what resonated with me most was the way the show is about how all the little choices we make have ripple effects on our lives. The show seemed very much about middle-aged regret.
I’m happy AMC’s Breaking Bad returned to its character-driven writing for a solid final episode. In a way, although some people might want to tut-tut at it, Walter White was a dead-man-walking *before* he got lung cancer. Maybe it would have been better if he had stayed with Gretchen and they and Elliot had built Gray Matter. But, as the Heisenberg of blue meth, Walt got a sense of accomplishment and was treated with the respect which had eluded him in his supposedly decent prior life. Todd still calls him “Mr. White” when he is about to be party to his murder. Jack is about to have Walt killed, but he still cares about his opinion and respect. I liked that Walt got a speech with Skyler where he was able to express that finally getting to do something he was really really really good at made him feel alive.
It was a very elegant bit of writing to have Marie Schrader talking about how Walt thinks he is some kind of “criminal mastermind” but that “arrogant asshole” is going to get what is coming to him. Walt gets what he intends and Marie, while she might speak for haters on the internet … Marie is gravely mistaken in suggesting that Walt would be arrogant to think he is a criminal mastermind. That would just be a correct assessment. I’ve been genuinely perturbed that so many people posting online are such haters that they are pissy about the short-term success of a fictional character. Walt has spent 50 years doing what everyone else needs and now he has spent 2 years partially for himself. Wow, what a jerk he is for being all intelligent and stuff.
I also especially liked the elegant bit of writing where the White Power gang member sees Walt’s stolen 1970’s vehicle and wants to talk classic cars. Walt has it because he needed a sheet steel monster to hide the machine gun. I like big cars like those and select my rides based on what late model cars are most similar. I don’t know what I’m going to do if Lincoln doesn’t come out with an electric Town Car. (I’m kidding; I’ll probably just buy a Cadillac.) Alas, I lack Walter White’s engineering know-how, so I’ll probably never kill an entire gang of dickbags with a firearm triggered by my key fob.
I digress. Things I could have wished for but feel okay about:
(1) I wish Gretchen had found out the truth about why Walt left her for a blonde waitress with a lower IQ.
(2) It’s great that Walt got his way, in terms of having his dough go to his family, but, wow, are Skyler and Flynn amazingly undeserving.
(3) I sort of wanted more hints about how the spin-off show with Saul and Badger and Skinny Pete and Huell etc. is going to take form.
Pretty darn excellent scorecard. I admit I was dreading the Breaking Bad finale tonight. The last few episodes have been such a sloppy departure from the brilliant character-driven writing in the rest of the show. The way they were having characters behave completely absurdly was ruining how much I had loved the show. I was pleasantly surprised that the show tidied up most of the story lines very neatly tonight. The only parts which were really left sort of open, after having gone off the rails, had to do with Saul Goodman and I’m looking forward to Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad spin-off show Better Call Saul in 2014.