Monday, September 30, 2013


Annnnnd - That's a Wrap
The premise, from the very beginning, was that Walt was going to die. His death, ultimately felt not only inevitable, but natural.  There was no other way for it to end for Walt.  The question that needed to be answered was how would Walt die - not so much in the mechanistic terms of the proximate cause of his demise, but rather what path he would take to his death, and what would he leave behind.  There was always a certain tension as you watched him build his empire and become the brutal, murderous Heisenberg, wondering whether he would live long enough to die from the cancer that riddled his body. But mainly, it was about how the man and the quest interacted in the process, and how a plan to leave his family with enough money to live after his death became a plunge into madness and brutality that left everyone around him dead or damaged.

It's interesting that such a dark series had such a 'happy' ending, at least in Breaking Bad terms.  There was no fixing the damage Walt had caused, or regaining the love of his family.  Hank was dead, his son and wife hated him, Jesse was gone, and Todd was running the meth business as only a good-natured psychopath could. But there were things Walt could do, a short term bucket list if you will, things that would settle matters and tie up loose ends for him.  The choices that remained for him were to act against the people who represented a threat to his family, the ones who had killed Hank, taken Jesse and brought about Walt's complete debasement.  THEY were the remains of Walt's to do list in which the last item was 'lay down and die'.

Terrorizing the Schwartzes into laundering the White family fortune was a perfect example of Walt's combination of brilliance and brutality.  In checking the first box on the bucket list, he corrupts them, making them in some way complicit in his crimes in a way they can never quite escape.  Walt knows that as time goes by his plan will become their plan, and accomplishing it will be a kind of success.

Item number two was that pesky ricin. It's been in play for years, and now it comes out.  A brief five minute meeting with Lydia in a coffee shop, followed a day later by a triumphant phone call to let her know that even though she's not dead yet, he had murdered her.  Brutal, as the final admission to Skyler: "I did it for me" was brutal honesty.

Then, in an almost cartoonish climax, the old machine gun in the trunk trick wiped out Jack, Todd and the Nazis.  But it had to be - Jack shot Hank in front of Walt, and Walt was never going to let that stand, no matter how weak and helpless he appeared to be in that cabin in New Hampshire.  But it was key to the actual denouement - the final confrontation with Jesse.  And when Walt implores Jesse to shoot him, and Jesse tosses him the gun saying "do it yourself", we are witnessing the true end of Breaking Bad.  Jesse walks out, free and something approximating whole, and it remains only for Walt to lay down next to the meth lab he built and die.


  1. a couple of quibbles.

    Skylar may hate walt, but when she watched him caressing their daughter, her face said she still loved him, too. And he certainly still loved her; that's why he coiuldn't leave that phone conversation for the DEA's benefit as their last communication. It was even a bit shocking to see Heisenberg retreat for the tenderness of Old walt in that scene.

    And the Old Machine Gun In The Trunk trick didn't kill Todd (evil Opie). That was Jesse's pleasure. One reviewer said they included a neck breaking sound, but I didn't catch it in first watching.

    I did love when Eliot threatened walt with a paring knife held in a shaking hand, and Walt just looked scornful. "you're going to need a bigger knife, Eliot".

    1. You're right about Skyler, but the point was more that there was never going to be a relationship there, even setting aside the cops and the cancer. And you're right about Todd - that was a pretty awesome scene and I totally glossed over it. Crap...

  2. Replies
    1. Meh. The company is at a show in Vegas. I see no reason to go sit alone in the office when I can just sit alone in my living room, and there's the whole trousers issue. So for particularly small values of 'working', yes, I suppose I should. At least until PTI, Rangers-Rays and Miami-New Orleans.

      And Sailor Jerry's...

  3. All in all, a splendid series finale for a groundbreaking series. I thought the end of the Shield was pretty great, but this.... everbody dead. except Jesse.

    And the cameo by Badger and Skinny Pete was tremendous.

    1. Yeah, but are people really as frightened of laser dots as teevee would have you believe?

      Y'know, real operators would NEVER use a laser sight. That dot on your chest means 1.) the sniper is giving away his position and 2.) you can know if you're in or out of the target radius.

      Not to mention that everybody knows there are fifty dollar laser pointers out there.

      The right way to do that is to put a suppressed 7.65 round downrange, either past their ear of at their feet.

      I'd laugh at you if you tried to intimidate me with a laser dot. What, are you trying to blind me?

    2. the Schwartzes a nice people, mikey. They don't have your working knowledge of weapons and mayhem. And they are terrified of Walt. Not thinking clearly.

      Walt would never try that with you. But then, you don't have anything he wants, either.

  4. Yeah, but are people really as frightened of laser dots as teevee would have you believe?

    You go ahead and get back to me when they stop showing elevators plummeting to the bottom of the shaft.

    And DON'T get me started about Hollywood's inability to understand how building sprinklers work.