erik lundegaard

Monday September 30, 2013

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.

Posted at 07:22 AM on Monday September 30, 2013 in category TV  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard