Breaking Bad Finale Review: “Face Off”

Well I came back from my weekend trip to find that my thirteen month old PC is more or less completely dead. Even after a reformatting (which caused me to lose every single thing on it), it still won’t boot, and I’m scrambling to try and resolve the situation so I can get back to writing.

As such, I was only able to snag a computer for about an hour today, and I thought that time was best spent on getting out my final thoughts on Breaking Bad, as last night was the season finale and a culmination of three months of reviews.

Spoilers follow below obviously, so if you don’t want to know which, if any players met their demise, go watch it for yourself before joining this conversation.

The war between Walt and Gus had its final showdown, and there was a very, very decisive winner. Walt cobbled together a plan out of nowhere that went off without a hitch, and eliminated every threat out there to him, Jesse and his family, with Gustavo Fring the roasted man of the hour.

Face..Off.. Get it?

Once Salamanca was brought up, it seemed pretty obvious how things would progress. They’d figure out a way to lure Gus to him, and then BANG, game over, which is exactly what ended up happening. Breaking Bad is known for its tense moments, but honestly it really felt like we knew what was coming for about twenty minutes before it all went down. Not that it wasn’t a good plan, but I wouldn’t quite call this an exceptionally “thrilling” conclusion either.

I’m torn on the decision to make Gus’s final moments on the goofy side, with him walking out of the explosion to straighten his tie one last time before it was revealed that he’d gone all Two-Face and his entire right side was skeletal form the blast. On one hand, it did make you think for a second that “oh my God, he actually cheated death AGAIN” and also it played into the show’s black comedy vibe that often gets lost. On the other, it was kind of something out of a Will-E Coyote cartoon, and might have been a little TOO goofy for the show.

For a season that portrayed him as largely paranoid, whimpering and pathetic, this finale was all Walt. From the bomb plan (which eliminated a bonus enemy, Salamenca, in the process), to his Rambo rescue of Jesse, to his spine-chilling “I won” line to Skyler on the phone, this might have been his most shining moment.

Victory!

As it turns out, you guys were mostly right about his involvement with the kid’s poisoning. Yes, he did set up the whole thing to get Jesse on his side, but no, he didn’t REALLY poison the kid, at least not with Ricin. I don’t know exactly what those berries can do, but presumably they’re far less deadly than Ricin, and there was probably a lot less risk to the kid. What I want to know is how he managed to get the kid to randomly eat those berries? Eagle eye sleuths out there, was there a moment in a previous episode that implied this that we may have missed at the time? I can’t think of one offhand.

I liked the finale, but I can’t help but think Breaking Bad plays it safe sometimes. Yes, the plan was cool to watch unfold, but ALL the bad guys died with NO repercussions to Walt, Jesse or anyone? In four years it seems crazy that NO main characters have been killed off who haven’t been the duo’s enemies.

The surprisingly happy end leads to even more questions than a tragic one. With Gus dead, his team in tatters, the meth lab blown up, the cartel massacred, what the hell happens now? Do Walt and Jesse keep cooking despite all this, just to earn cash? Do they try to get out of the game for good, which would be the obviously smart play? This seemed almost like a SERIES finale, as pretty much every loose end was wrapped up. And with I believe only one more season of the show on deck, they’re essentially going to have to start from scratch with an entire new plotline as all the players from previous seasons are dead.

Who’s next?

Anyway, Breaking Bad is always enjoyable, even if it’s not perfect. I maintain that this season took WAY too long to spool up, but when the action kicked into gear, it certainly made for some memorable moments.

It’s been fun discussing the show with you all, and when it comes back, I’ll be here to review it once more. Until then, we have Dexter as our new weekly focus, and join me every Tuesday to discuss all that mayhem.

 


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