The time has come to say farewell to Breaking Bad, for now. A season split in half, and a finale that gave us an almost peaceful ending for Walter White’s story.
The evening started out in full insanity mode, but soon died down to a lull. By the end, it seemed like there wasn’t a thing left that could go wrong for Walter, and then…
But before we get there, we should examine how W.W. goes full Godfather in this episode, almost to preposterous proportions. As some predicted, we did see a “death of the five families” style massacre of the chatty Cathys in prison, but as gruesome as it may have been, it wasn’t exactly a surprise.
There was really no other way that could go down, other than all of them being killed. I wish they spent a touch more time explaining how Walter perfectly orchestrated the plan to all have them killed so quickly (so the others wouldn’t be rushed into protective custody), but that was pretty glossed over with the “figure it out” line.
Todd’s prison connection felt like too much of a MacGuffin here. It was needed to move the plot forward, but the insane coincidence of “thank god this random new guy has an uncle that has the power to pull off the most complex series of prison murders in history” is a bit eye-rolling.
“Why hello magical murder fairy. I get nine wishes, you say?”
That said, the episode got much better after that, once Walt goes into full king mode. After meeting with high-strung caffeine girl, he decides not to kill her (I had to rewatch that scene after the Ricin came out to make sure he hadn’t slipped it to her) and go into business in the Czech Republic where apparently everyone ingests meth like candy.
The scene with the enormous pile of money was a powerful one, and Walt finally got to see what it was like to “win.” What would he do with what, $50- $100M in dirty cash he can’t launder? Or even if he could, how is he going to spend anything close to that much without having a thousand red flags pinned on him? He couldn’t. His victory was hollow, and realized that. Between that realization and Hank’s line about chasing monsters, he realized that he didn’t want to the king any more. He won, and it was time to end the game.
It was nice how he reconciled with Jesse, even if Jesse did think “The One Who Knocks” was likely coming to kill him as yet another loose end. But of course Walt paid him, because what else was he going to do with the money? Bathe in it? And if he didn’t pay him back, that was one more potential enemy he could have had. But really, I just think he wanted his friend back.
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.”
By the end of the episode, it seemed like everything was going to work out just fine for Walter. His dangerous journey might just fade back into a normal life, and really, he had no more enemies out there with his competition out of business, Mike dead and Jesse paid off. Who else was there to upset the apple cart?
It’s easy to forget about Hank, even if he has been the one pursuing Walt for years. You don’t even quite take him seriously as a real threat, but as you can tell, he’s about to become one. He found Walt’s copy of Leaves of Grass given to him by the late Gale Betaker, and put 2 and 2 together. Well, more like he put 45,250 and 23,413 together, as it was a far more complicated equation. The book was Walt’s fly (alluded to in this episode), the one tiny lose end that could ruin the everything.
The obvious question of course is, now what? Hank may have confirmed in his own mind that Walt is Heisenberg, but I don’t think that journal is nearly hard enough evidence to do anything about it. And now with Walt done cooking, how exactly is he going to go about putting together even more pieces? What other loose ends are out there that he could uncover? Walt’s careful, but there have been SO many incidents this past year that could come back to haunt him, it seems like if Hank looks hard enough, he could find more than a few.
What happens in these final eight episodes? We know Hank will likely buckle down to try and paint a clearer picture of Walt as a meth mastermind, but what’s going to happen with Walt, Jesse? We got no more glimpses of the future, and still don’t know what Walt needs that enormous machine gun for.
Whatever happens, it will surely be a final (half) season to remember. With so many shows disappointing in their finales, will Breaking Bad end on a bang or a whimper?