Breaking Bad ended its wildly successful run last Sunday. The show’s finale broke records for both ratings and piracy. The song playing during Walt’s death has enjoyed a resurrection: a 3000% increase in sales since Sunday. [oh yeah, spoilers – wtf it’s been four days get over it] Of course plenty of reactions have been published and tweeted online.
I discussed some theories about the Breaking Bad finale in my penultimate post about the show. Let’s review my hits and misses, then a bit of a digression, then finish up with links to Breaking Bad content on the web.
Predictions: hits and misses
Here is what I got wrong:
If Heisenberg is captured during the shoot-out is the ricin for him and Jesse – or is the ricin for the couple who forced WW out of Gray Matter (see link below)?
In my defense, [the ricin is for Lydia, because that’s what you get for putting soy milk and Stevia in chamomile, eww] thought did occur to me on Saturday, but I didn’t get it posted. I’m so glad it happened. [yeah dude! for me that and Todd’s strangulation were the highlights]
As for what Heisenberg did do with the Gray Matter folks, I didn’t see that coming. Not even a little.
Here is what I got right:
(5) Wow, it’s just way too convenient that right here at the end we meet a group of villains so vile, so twisted, and so cold-blooded that we would end up rooting for Heisenberg as the (relative) good guy.
That one was pretty easy. This one I think was a bit more of a catch, especially considering the events of Episodes 5 and 6:
Prediction: Walter White is dead, but the family man narrative is not. Heisenberg is a family man too and Jesse is his only family. I believe he’s going back for Jesse just as much as he is going back to get rid of those Nazis, the only remaining lethal threat to his former family.
Using the time honored Meatloaf Metric, getting 2 out of 3 predictions right ain’t bad.
Digression: WW/Heisenberg as the archetypal modern man
As for all the rest of what happened in the finale, I think my favorite moment was Skyler White getting all revved up to call bullshit on Walter for his “I do it for the family” schtick, but then Walter says this:
“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really… …I was alive.”
Hell yes! You can’t watch the show for long and not realize how much this man is enthralled by what he is doing, despite the amassing body count and ever-increasing danger to his family. It’s got to take really remarkable discipline by the writers to not let that key piece of character development slip for five whole seasons! Kudos.
Walter White is the modern man made archetypal: He is incredibly smart, incredibly dedicated, incredibly stupid, and incredibly short-sighted – all at the same time! Walt’s love for his family – and his desperate need to feel wildly alive before dying – are the only things that animate him in a shitty world where his best case scenario is an early, painful death. Breaking Bad is a fantastic character study of man at his best and worst, savagely wild and conformingly domesticated.
“I haven’t seen a movie for something like fifteen years, and I can’t speak from my own experience or judgment, but I think that the movie is the perfect medium for mythological messages. The medium is so plastic and pliable and magic things can happen. And then the combination, you know, of fantastic landscape and possible modes of action and voyaging that we can hardly conceive of in good solid terms … That’s a mythological realm, and movies could handle this kind of thing.”
Breaking Bad is an example of television achieving this same status as a mythological realm. Just like in films, this development is a combination of improvements in both technology and technique. Nothing represents the mythopoetic quality of Breaking Bad as well, I think, as this promotional video for the final episodes: [dude you love any excuse to post/watch this video!]
The Breaking Bad Link Love Finale
First off, I meant to post this week’s ago. A great story about baby Holly’s performance in Ozymandias. Spoiler: it was unscripted and Cranston just ran with it. Bravo!
In addition to the links at the top of this post, there are reviews from Vulture, Slate’s TV Club, and audio of Vince Gilligan discussing the finale and more (h/t Slate).
Speaking of Vince Gilligan, he appeared on Conan last week to break the news of his next project:
That’s all the BB Link Love I’ve got for you today. This is my ultimate Breaking Bad post and one of the final posts on this blog, which is shutting down soon. Stay tuned for the final good news and quote/digression posts in the next few days.
[ahem, gratitude?] Oh, and a big thanks to all the Breaking Bad fans who came to see previous BB posts on the Doggery here, here, here, and here. You folks gave me my best pageview days and I won’t lie, that feels good when it happens. Thank you.
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