All good things (or in this case, bad things, as the promos for part 2 of season 5 said) must come to an end. And thus, Breaking Bad finished its run with a bang, a few tears, and an act 3 full of ricin.
“Felina” is jam-packed with almost everything a Bad fan could want. (Though we don’t know if Huell is still waiting for Hank.) Walt outsmarts everyone, gets the money to his family, kills Lydia and the Nazis, and saves Jesse – who gets away. Then, Walt dies in the one place he feels at home – a meth lab.
The hour begins with Walt stealing a snow-covered car. He digs around for the keys, and a Marty Robbins tape pops out of the glove compartment. When he’s finally able to start the car – after a tense scene where police lights flash outside – Robbins’ song “El Paso” begins to play, before the opening credits roll.
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.
Night-time would find me in Rosa’s cantina;
Music would play and Felina would whirl.
The song speaks of a man obsessed with a girl named Felina. In Walt’s case, however, it’s his meth that represents his true love.
The hour ends with Walt lying dead on the floor of the Nazi’s meth lab, as Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” plays.
Guess I got what I deserve
Kept you waiting there, too long my love
All that time, without a word
Didn’t know you’d think, that I’d forget, or I’d regret
The special love I have for you
My baby blue
These two songs perfectly bookend a masterful finale. Meth is where it started. It seduced him, and changed him. And meth is where it ended; Walt got what he deserved.
From the beginning, Walt always insisted he did everything for his family. And yes, he was a family man. No one could deny that. But he finally admitted what Skyler, Jesse, and more astute members of the audience already knew – deep down, Walt was really cooking for himself. Meth was his redemption. His business. His empire. The blue rock literally and figuratively kept him alive.
When Walt finds Skyler for one last goodbye, he gives her the lottery ticket with the coordinates of where Hank and Gomez are buried. He tells her to give it to the DEA in exchange for immunity. Before he leaves, he says that he wants to tell her what everything was all for. She stops him. She doesn’t want to hear him say he did it all for the family again. But he surprises her.
“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really, I was alive,” he says.
After Walt takes his revenge on the Nazis, he walks over to Todd and Jesse’s lab, picks up the gas mask, and strokes it lovingly. He falls to the ground, police lights in the background, and dies where he really belongs. Walter White has come full circle.
Walt’s death isn’t the only gratifying denouement in the Bad world. Vince Gilligan and company constructed a truly satisfying ending for everyone – although perhaps it could have used a little more Jesse. If there was a happier final hour for Breaking Bad, it would only involve Jane, Andrea, and Hank coming back to life.
Let’s break the rest of it down.
First, Walt figures out how to get the money to his family. Posing as a New York Times reporter, Walt tracks down Gretchen and Elliott’s address. He sneaks into their house, while they obliviously talk of their rich people night, and what they plan to do with all their rich people money.
NEXT: Walt gets Gretchen and Elliott to work for him