Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Breaking Bad Finale - Recap

Breaking Bad is one of the greatest TV shows I have ever seen. Sadly, after a turbulent 5 years everything has come to an end... Here is the basics of the last episode

His attempts to talk his son, Walter Jr (RJ Mitte), into accepting a parcel of money had led to a final breach. “Why can’t you just die?” his son had screamed. Walt’s gasp of “It can’t all be for nothing” was the sound of a man staring into the abyss. Perhaps the series should have ended there…

But, in an unlikely turn of events, Walt caught a TV bulletin in which his former business partners, Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz, who had grown rich on the profits of his early research, disowned his influence on their company, and White’s despair was replaced by anger. There can’t have been a Breaking Bad fan out there who didn’t cheer at the prospect of the imminent return of Walt’s inhumanly calculating alter-ego Heisenberg. It was like the moment in a western when the put-upon hero turns round to face his tormentors in a bar. The difference was that White’s accusers were putting $28 million into drug treatment charities. Those flippin’ Schwartzes, they had it coming.
They were Walt’s first call in the finale, and the first hint that his revenge strategies might work, but that Gilligan’s elaborate plans were too perfect, too neat. Walt tricked them into agreeing to a scheme to get his money to his son after his death, with the help of two of the “best hit men west of the Mississippi”, who turned out to be Badger and Skinny Pete, the reprobate buddies of his former meth-cook partner Jesse (Aaron Paul). From them, he worked out that Jesse was still alive, and almost certainly a prisoner of those damn, dirty Nazis who had stolen the greater part of his money and killed his brother-in-law.
Jesse was not only alive but in a golden reverie, in which he was lovingly crafting a wooden box, surely to contain the ashes of those he had loved who had died in the series. In reality, he was chained up in a meth lab, where the Aryan brotherhood gang of Todd (Jesse Plemons) and Uncle Jack (Michael Bowen) forced him to cook the drug under threat of murdering Brock, the child whom Walt had once poisoned simply to manipulate Jesse.
Back at the start of season three, Jesse had returned from rehab after the death of his girlfriend, with a lesson to impart to Walt. “You either run from things or you face ’em, Mr White. It’s all about accepting who you are. I accept who I am.”
“And who are you?” Walt had asked.
Jesse’s answer had been stark. “I’m the bad guy.”
It had taken Walt an awfully long time to reach the same conclusion. But here, in a snatched conversation with his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), he finally met himself. “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it.”
This was followed by the most powerful scene in the episode. Walt, without trying to make contact, watched unseen as Walt Jr got off the school bus and went inside. It was short and wordless.
The final scene, played out at length, was the showdown from that western, involving a high-powered machine gun, the killing of Walt’s enemies and the freeing of Jesse. Oh and the vial of ricin, over which there had been so much speculation, turned out to be for Lydia, and was beautifully administered. But Jesse and Walt’s final nod to one another, of having lived through this together, before the police closed in and Walt lay dying in the meth lab from a gunshot wound, felt shallow and unconvincing. Jesse, the heart of the series, played a bit part in the finale, which simply didn’t reach the heights of what had gone before. Breaking Bad has been utterly electrifying television, weird, funny, emotionally rich and endlessly surprising. but in the end, the finale of this great American series turned out to be one of its lesser episodes.