By Tim Molloy
[Spoiler Alert, in case you haven’t yet watched Sunday’s series finale of “Breaking Bad.”]
The “Breaking Bad” finale was the best I’ve ever seen.
I’m biased. It’s my favorite show. But the ending felt perfect. The tone felt different from every other “Breaking Bad” episode, yet it paid off an astonishing number of setups: Lydia and that Stevia crap. The box Jesse talked about in group therapy. The Schwartzes. Badger and Skinny Pete. Hank inviting Walt on a ride-along, two very long years ago.
Somehow, Walter White’s family is even going to be OK.
It was only possible because he finally owned everything he had done. As he told Skyler in their final scene together: “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And … I was alive.”
At one point, it looked like Walt’s old Grey Matter partners were doomed. But Vince Gilligan and his six brilliant writers closed their circle perfectly. And it was shockingly funny.
That was just one great conclusion. Todd got his comeuppance in a masterful way. His decision to keep Jesse alive, chained up like a dog, proved to be a very bad move.
The machine gun in the trunk will go down as the stuff of TV legend. Walt has been a “Scarface” fan forever, and he found a completely different way to introduce the Nazis to his little friend.
The finale required us to accept a few things, but not too much suspension of disbelief. We had to accept that Walt could skate around Albuquerque unfettered, but Marie’s call explained how he did it. We also had to believe the Nazis were dumb enough to search Walt, but not his car. But it’s not like the show didn’t set up their stupidity.
There was a panic moment about 45 minutes in, when it seemed impossible the show could tie up all its threads. AMC did its best to ruin the show with an endless slew of $400,000 ads. But they deserve to reap big rewards for keeping the show going after it average a mere million or so viewers in its first season. The network’s patience paid off in 62 episodes of thrilling TV.
We knew from the beginning the episode would be brilliant when it allowed itself a very long teaser, unrelated to the plot. What confidence. And what an unexpectedly funny payoff. Pure “Breaking Bad.”
I’m really surprised by how I feel about the finale. I expected to be sad. But I’m giddy — thrilled that the best drama in television history didn’t blow it at the end.