With the hype surrounding Breaking Bad’s finale, and the incredibly dark and depressing preceding episodes – it seemed like Vince Gilligan had set himself an impossible task delivering a satisfactory ending to this incredible series. But satisfy, it did.
Without relying upon the non-sensical and mystical as did Lost, nor the ambiguity of the Sopranos or the X Files – Breaking Bad finishes the job it started.
Although it had always been much more about the journey than the result, show creator Vince Gilligan manages to find redemption in the abyss of this crystal meth-induced hell that Walter White has created.
This is not a cheesy happy ending – far from it. But this is a good ending. No crime is left unpunished, no stone left unturned as Walt finally pulls victory from the jaws of defeat.
It seemed impossible just an episode ago that Skyler, Flynn and Holly would ever get the money Walt intended for them – but through manipulating the people that had stolen his business, and giving Skyler the lotto ticket, Walter finds a way.
His final admission that “I did it for me” to Skyler, begins the end game of redemption in this story. From that moment on, Walt knows that he is finished, he admits he is finished – but he also knows he is clever and manipulative enough to still pull this off.
We must forgive the rather fantastical way in which he uses his engineering skills to off Uncle Jack and the Nazis – but every step of the way, Breaking Bad has trodden a fine line between brutal reality and hyper reality… this was no different.
As Lydia lay dying of ricin poisoning, the final person who could spoil Walt’s plans was dead. And then the moment we all needed to see, Jesse driving through the gates of the compound to freedom – finally, surely, this is his chance to be truly free.
In a lesser show, this moment could have felt too much – but the fact that we expected no hope made this glimmer of light even stronger, sending a tingle down our spines.
We end looking down on Walt dead in a crystal meth lab. His bloody finger prints staining the clean steel cook equipment, just like they have stained the lives of so many.
This was one of the great finales, pitched perfectly and with just the right amount of questions answered. Did crime really pay? Well, we’ll never know if Skyler, Holly and Flynn – no matter how rich – will ever get through this. Nor do we know if Jesse will be dead of an overdose within the week. But what we never expected, is there is still some hope.