erik lundegaard

That's All, Bitch

That's All, Bitch: Jesse Pinkman and the Breaking Bad finale

OK, that was a pretty good finale. If it has a fault, it lies in the old U2 lyric: I gave you everything you ever wanted/ Wasn't what you wanted.

“Felina,” meaning “finale,” and maybe the old Marty Robbins/New Mexico song “Faleena,” which we hear as Walt cuts out of New Hampshire, gave us everything we wanted. Was it what we wanted?

Here's what it gave us. It's ordered by how much I wanted it:

  1. Jesse choking Todd to death. Yeah, bitch! I think I might watch this scene a couple more times to get it out of my system. It fulfilled my hashtag request from yesterday: #FreeJessePinkman
  2. Walt laying waste to Uncle Jack and his crew.  If there's anything more satisfying than watching Nazis die on screen, it's watching American Nazis die on screen. Seriously. It's 2013 and they're still bowing down to the swastika? Fuckers are useless.
  3. The big reveal with Gray Matter's founders Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz. This might have been the best part of the episode becuase it was both satisfying and smart. Did anyone see this coming? Yet once it came, it seemed so obvious, so perfect. Of course! Launder the drug money through them. Use them to channel it to his children once he's gone. Plus scare the shit out of them in the process. It's win-win-win. Plus—bonus!—the reappearance of Badger and Skinny Pete! Patricia called this last one. She figured it was them outside.
  4. The death of Lydia through ricin poisoning. Apparently we all know what ricin is now.
  5. The final conversation with Skyler and owning up to the fact that he'd done it all for himself.

Walt made everything work in this final episode. The problem is that Walt never makes everything work. Normally he stumbles his way ahead. Here he was the terminator. Maybe it helped that he was finally, irrevocably terminal. Maybe he was thinking clearly, rather than frantically, for the first time. (Emily Nussbaum has a good take on the New Yorker site: “The Closure-Happy 'Breaking Bad' Finale.”)

Question: Did he beat cancer the first time because he became Heisenberg? Because he found something to live for? Something he thrived at? It returned once he stopped. That's a little awkward.

And whither Jesse? He's last man standing. His digital confession is still in the Nazi hideout—although maybe it got riddled into oblivion by the MacGyver-esque machine-gun contraption Walt built. Even so: What becomes of him? Does he, as last man standing, go to jail, since they can't put anyone else there? Who knows? I like to think of him, eventually, as a drug counselor, doing carpentry on the side. If he sees the path. He'd be good at it.

But he's free. That's what matters. So is Walt: first free of his lies, then of his life. Most importantly, we're free now, too. Carry on.

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Posted at 07:22 AM on Mon. Sep 30, 2013 in category TV  


Felina de la Cantina wrote:

Faleena is a song by Marty Robbins, but it has nothing to do with the Robbins song in this episode, El Paso, in which there is a character named Felina. Some of the themes and events in this episode track loosely with some of the lyrics of El Paso. Yet another nice music choice by Gilligan, who has become known for that over the course of the series.

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.
Night-time would find me in Rosa's cantina;
Music would play and Felina would whirl.

Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina,
Wicked and evil while casting a spell.
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden;
I was in love but in vain, I could tell.

One night a wild young cowboy came in,
Wild as the West Texas wind.
Dashing and daring,
A drink he was sharing
With wicked Felina,
The girl that I loved.

So in anger I

Challenged his right for the love of this maiden.
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore.
My challenge was answered in less than a heart-beat;
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor.

Just for a moment I stood there in silence,
Shocked by the FOUL EVIL deed I had done.
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there;
I had but one chance and that was to run.

Out through the back door of Rosa's I ran,
Out where the horses were tied.
I caught a good one.
It looked like it could run.
Up on its back
And away I did ride,

Just as fast as I

Could from the West Texas town of El Paso
Out to the bad-lands of New Mexico.

Back in El Paso my life would be worthless.
Everything's gone in life; nothing is left.
It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden
My love is stronger than my fear of death.

I saddled up and away I did go,
Riding alone in the dark.
Maybe tomorrow
A bullet may find me.
Tonight nothing's worse than this
Pain in my heart.

And at last here I

Am on the hill overlooking El Paso;
I can see Rosa's cantina below.
My love is strong and it pushes me onward.
Down off the hill to Felina I go.

Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys;
Off to my left ride a dozen or more.
Shouting and shooting I can't let them catch me.
I have to make it to Rosa's back door.

Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
A deep burning pain in my side.
Though I am trying
To stay in the saddle,
I'm getting weary,
Unable to ride.

But my love for

Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen,
Though I am weary I can't stop to rest.
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle.
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.

From out of nowhere Felina has found me,
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for,
One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.

Comment posted on Mon. Sep 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Felina de le Etcetera wrote:

...“nothing to do with...”
Actually it appears to be a sequel to El Paso. Who knew? Still not the classic though.

Comment posted on Mon. Sep 30, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Erik wrote:

Right. Thanks, Felina!

Comment posted on Mon. Sep 30, 2013 at 02:32 PM

Joe wrote:

Re: What becomes of Jesse

I'm hoping he enrolls in a community college with Badger and Skinny Pete as a sitcom following Better Call Saul!

Comment posted on Mon. Sep 30, 2013 at 04:31 PM
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