Breaking Bad Season 5 Review “Felina”

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 16 Felina (1)

“Just get me home. Just get me home, and I’ll do the rest”.

So…we can say it, right? I mean, now that we’ve seen every episode of the Breaking Bad, surely we can just go ahead and say it out loud. Now that this great series has aired it’s last episode, and we’ve seen the conclusion of Walter White’s incredible story, allow me to be one of the first ones to declare it officially:

Breaking Bad is the greatest show of all time.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s discuss the events of the finale episode “Felina”. This final episode was written and directed by the series creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan, so it was great for him to come back and write/direct for only the third time in this series. We started out with the wonderful misdirect about the Schwartzes. Many fans, including myself, assumed that Walt was going to come back to kill them after the ending of last week’s episode. Sure, he was going to try to kill Jack and his men as well, but I was positive he was going to kill Eliot and Gretchen as well. His idea to have them give his family the money was a smart one, but I was a little surprised by Badger and Skinny Pete’s inclusion in this plan. My feeling was that Gilligan just wanted to have some way to fit these two comic reliefs into the final episode, but it didn’t really make a whole lot of sense for their characters.

Walt’s last meeting with Skyler was appropriately heartbreaking, and it was made even more sad that he couldn’t say a true goodbye to his son. The last conversation they would ever have together would involve his son telling him to die. While it was good to see Flynn one more time, I do wish that we got to hear him at least say something. I guess they really wanted the last things that character to say to be his angry words on the phone from last week, but it’s just such a melancholy note for an overall amiable character to end on.

Walt finally admitting that he did all of this for him, and that he liked it, was absolutely superb. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is really the first time that Walt has ever admitted that he wasn’t just doing this for his family. While I do believe that his original motivation was to provide for his family back when he started, and that might have remained as one of his driving forces over the past few seasons, it’s stopped being a motivation a long time ago. He’s in the empire business, now. He’s just finally admitting it to his family.

While I have loved just about everything in this season, and the characters on Breaking Bad are second to none, I continued to be a little annoyed by Uncle Jack tonight. I said back when I reviewed “Ozymandias” that I didn’t quite buy that he would leave Walt alive. Even if he did respect his nephew enough to want to allow Walt to live, he went the extra mile and gives him a car and a barrel of money! Plenty of money to, oh I don’t know…run away and plan an elaborate revenge involving an expensive heavy machine gun? Not only did he make that bonehead mistake, but now he refrains from killing Walt just because Walt accused him of being a liar. Um, really? You’re a killer neo-Nazi and you’re cooking bulk amounts of meth, but you’re scared of some guy besmirching your dignity right before you kill him? People will say anything to keep from being shot in the head! So you give him time to stall and you go and grab Jesse just to do…what? Prove to Walt that your precious honor shouldn’t be questioned? While I did love everything else about this episode, this whole sequence just smacked of Gilligan saying “Ok, how do I get Walt, Jesse, and all of the neo-Nazis in the same room together?”

Well, Jack’s easily damaged ego got the better of him tonight, as he goes out with the rest of his men at the hands of Walt’s awesome garage door machine gun weapon. When Walt was building this contraption in the desert, I could tell right away how he planned for it to work. Well, it ended up working a little too well. It was pretty darn convenient that every single one of the bad guys were all clumped together, and even Kenny poked his head up from the massage chair long enough to take one in the forehead, but I didn’t really care. This scene was visceral and gruesome enough for me to excuse the convenience of it all, so I loved every second of it.

Not quite as satisfying, on the other hand, was Lydia’s anti-climactic demise. It was telegraphed a little too much that she was being poisoned by her Stevia. They zoomed in on her taking the packet out of the holder, opening the baggy, pouring it into her coffee, and then stirring it. Then, just to drive it all home, she asks the dude for more Stevia just to get the name in our heads. I didn’t really care too much about her character, though, so I kind of liked how Walt casually said goodbye to her before throwing Todd’s phone to the side. If he doesn’t really care about her, then I don’t really have to care about her either!

Todd’s death was much more satisfying for me. Even though he was the guy to save Jesse’s life back in “Ozymandias”, and he gave Jesse some delicious Americone Dream ice cream, he did kill Andrea right in front of him. That’s definitely gonna earn you a one way ticket to Chokesville. Good for Jesse for getting his hands dirty and taking yet another life. Jesse doesn’t have a very high body count on this show, so when he does go through with killing someone, it makes it all the more meaningful.

The series really couldn’t have ended in a more appropriate manner. Jesse is free of Walter White and the meth game forever, driving off as fast as possible as he laughs hysterically. On the other hand, Walt succumbs to his wounds in a meth lab, in the only place where he’s ever really been happy. The only place where he really felt like he was worth something. He even died with a hint of a smile on his face, as the police finally closed in. Walt did keep his promise to Hank after all. He’d be dead before the police ever actually catch him.

There’s so much more I could discuss, with the flashbacks to the pilot episode and the great music being especially on point tonight, but I think I’m just going to wrap up my Breaking Bad review for the last time. Sigh.

Regardless of what happened tonight, and how you might have felt about it, I think we can all agree that we’re really going to miss Breaking Bad. Over 5 seasons and 62 episodes, I can’t think of a single show that has kept us as captivated as this one. Breaking Bad may very well go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest television series of all time. And Walter White, now having made the full transformation that creator Vince Gilligan promised of going from Mr. Chips to Scarface, will be remembered as being one of the greatest character arcs that we’ve ever seen on television. If you told me before this series began that the main character would go from a mild mannered high school chemistry teacher to a cold blooded drug dealer, and that I would actually believe every step of that transformation, then I wouldn’t believe you. Vince Gilligan, all of the great writers and directors that he’s brought in to this great series, and the wonderful Emmy award-winning cast truly need to be commended. This is a masterwork in television. I don’t know if any TV show will ever recapture the magic that Breaking Bad has treated us to over these last six years, but I do know one thing for certain. My life has been changed forever thanks to Walter Hartwell White.

What did you think of this finale episode? And how do you feel about the series in general? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– Did anybody else see the Breaking Bad themed episode of Conan? It was a really fun episode where Conan got to geek out about his favorite show with the entire cast, but the funniest part was seeing Charles Baker (Skinny Pete) as part of the band. Apparently he’s a great musician, so he was jamming on the piano along with the rest of the guys. Pretty cool!

– In an episode absolutely packed to the brim with great visual moments, I think that Kenny’s dead body slowly rocking back and forth on the massage chair was my favorite.

– Out of all of the goofy possible endings that people came up with over the last week, my favorite was this: After being interrogated about his dad’s activities as a meth dealer, Flynn leaves the police station and starts walking down the street. After he leaves, the investigating detective realizes that it was actually Flynn who was behind the meth dealing all along, and then Flynn throws down his crutches and confidently walks down the street a la Kaiser Soze in The Usual Suspects.