‘Breaking Bad’ Postmortem: Meta Commentary

Even though it’s only been a short time since the final Breaking Bad episode aired, much has already been discussed and dissected about the way the series ended. (My two cents: mechanical but brilliant, like its lead character.) Whether you loved it, hated it, or were indifferent to it, the finale — and the entire last season — followed the time honored troupe that many shows before it did: present a meta-commentary of the series as a whole.

That commentary could be the main thesis of the show (the reason it’s on the air), lip service for the fans, the pointing out of societal shortcomings, or all three but it’s usually done in a very self-aware way. And it’s a luxury that writer’s rooms have once they know in advance of a show’s end date.

Vince Gilligan and company were quite aware that most of the fans of Breaking Bad were rooting for Walter White to BOTH get away with starting up his meth empire AND to pay for those very crimes. They’re polar opposite ideas that had only one solution, which was hinted at in “Granite State” when Saul advises Walt to give himself up to the police and enter federal prison as the biggest badass of all time. (Think the sequence in Goodfellas when mobsters serve their time by cooking big Italian meals and easily smuggling goods in.) Now, as much as we wanted to see that happen, it would only have confirmed our own personal identification with the lead character. Being in Walt’s shoes, we wouldn’t have wanted to get shot down in a hail of bullets or left alone to contemplate how awful our lives have turned out. No, we want to have our cake and to eat it too.

As the damages caused by Walt, both collaterally and directly, kept piling up in the final season – the deaths of Mike, Hank and Andrea; the enslavement of Jesse; the breakdown of his family – he had no moral right to living his life as the King of Meth Mountain even if it were in prison. Instead, Walt died while in the middle of a multi-tiered plan towards partial redemption. And he did so only after coming to the realization that everything he did over the last five seasons was to satisfy his own ego, something most of us viewers kept turning a blind eye to. He thus then caused his own death both metaphorically and figuratively — by catching a stray bullet from the machine gun he rigged to kill a bunch of Neo-Nazis. That is the ending he, and the show overall, deserved not the ending most of us were craving.

(And speaking of Neo-Nazis, Todd, Uncle Jack and their bloodthirsty friends kept providing their own side quips on the action, like in “Granite State” when they called Jesse a “pussy” for crying while watching his videotaped confession. Their opinions tended to be very much in line with certain hardcore fans who’d been trolling the comments section of various sites. That is pretty much the definition of meta-commentary.)

This mirrors the final episodes of other TV crime dramas like The Sopranos, The Shield, and The Wire. With “The Sopranos”, David Chase and his fellow writers hammered the point time and again in the last season that not only life is messy and that Tony Soprano was a product of that mess, whether he wanted to be or not. His “evilness” was so ingrained in him that he couldn’t escape from its shadow, like guilt weighing him down. No form of punishment would be enough, including the Scarface-like showdown the show seemed to be heading towards with the New Jersey mob vs. New York mob plot – a showdown we, the viewers, were craving. Tony may only see true punishment in the afterlife but even then every bad (and good) thing in our realm will continue “on and on and on and on”. (Sorry for the Journey pun.) It’s a very Roman Catholic way to end a show. And a great way to knock the wind out of our own sails.

The Shield presented the viewers’ dream of crime fighting: attacking fire with fire (or bad guy with bad guy) in the form of Vic Mackey, a highly corrupt but more than competent cop, for six whole seasons before pulling the rug from underneath him in Season 7. The idea was that as long as he got the job done, most folks – and most viewers — would turn a blind eye to the crimes Vic was committing himself. He was like an angry junkyard dog, chasing intruders off the property, but when he became too much for even the Feds to handle, he was put on a leash in form of a desk assignment. He got away with his misdeeds (by not going to jail) but was left alone to contemplate his place in the world. That then put us in the position of contemplating why we were rooting for Vic in the first place.

The Wire possibly has the most famous of all meta-commentary finales in the form of the fifth season plotline that had Jimmy McNulty fake serial murders so that the Baltimore PD could get more funding from government officials so that the police could do its actual job of protecting citizens from drug dealers and other criminals. One of the inadvertent side effects is exposes the media’s need for sensationalism as local papers start to chase down this story instead of covering actual crimes. This was David Simon’s giant middle finger to everyone – viewers, politicians, other TV shows like CSI – everyone who has ignored or belittled the plight of the inner city. And what a way to make that point: by trying to guilt-tripping us all.

What the writers of Breaking Bad have done is give us multiple endings over the course of the last three episodes, each one to satisfy needs certain audience members had, without compromising their story. Those who wanted to watch Walt get away with his crimes but punished by tremendous loneliness got to see it play out in “Ozymandias” and for parts of “Granite State”. Those who wanted to see Walt turn back into badass Hesienberg got to see it happen at the very end of “Granite State” and for most of “Felina”. They were able to please most of the fan base to a certain extent – by saying “here’s your wish” — and then comment on it during the process, all while leading us to the show’s TRUE ending. A great example of this is the Charlie Rose scene at the end of “Granite State” where Gretchen and Elliot got their opportunity to throw in their two cents regarding Walt’s reputation. You like Hesienberg? Well, the rest of the world, including a PBS host, doesn’t.

It’s a matter of opinion whether or not Breaking Bad was successful in making its meta-commentary, or even if it rivaled the commentary others shows made. It’ll be an interesting debate among TV watchers.

Other shows to incorporate meta-commentary in its final episodes:

Lost – famously angering many fans by having major characters point out certain plot points – many of which have been played out across its six season – weren’t important after all (like the magic cave with the energy hole). The characters’ experiences in developing a community was suppose to be the most important journey of all. Now, was it successful? That’s still up for debate.

Seinfeld – Larry David returned to write the final episode were Jerry and the gang are sent to prison for being bad people, with a bunch of side characters popping out of the woodwork to testify against their awful behavior, a massive “FU” to fans who enjoyed the antics of the comedian and his friends.

30 Rock – the show’s entire run was colored by meta-commentary so it’s to no one’s surprise that its shortened last season was nothing but callbacks and winks to the audience, including one throwaway joke were Alec Baldwin’s Jack fulfills his dream of dating TWO gorgeous guest stars at the same time and another acknowledging that certain stretches of episodes weren’t up to snuff.

A show that could have used some form of commentary in its final season:

Dexter – a show that wore out its welcome somewhere in Season 5, its eighth and final season was marred by a complete lack of care by the showrunner and writers. The finale, where the title character is treated like a saint and gets to live his life as – of all things — a lumberjack after committing countless of murders, including some in front of seemingly incompetent Miami police force, will go down as one of the worst ever (somewhere between the Roseanne and Battlestar Galactica finales).

The End of ‘Breaking Bad': Walter White & Jesse Pinkman get a Proper Send Off – Top Moments

felina walt volvo

We are at the end of an era. The very last episode of Breaking Bad played to the heartstrings of millions of fans Sunday night and gave many of true sense of satisfaction. Often times, the best TV series don’t run long enough before being cancelled and ones that do run past three seasons start to stink like a rotting corpse on Walking Dead. Whether you were a fan of Dexter, Seinfeld, Lost or The Sopranos, disappointment gets even the best of them–but not Breaking Bad. There was no ambiguity, no room for interpretation, no loose dangling threads twisting in the wind.

Thankfully creator Vince Gilligan, cast and crew gave us a worthwhile and memorable finale, proper closure to accompany all the mental scarring along the way. Regardless if you were in Team Walt, Team Jesse, Team Hank, or Team Gus, there was no way one could refuse to stand up and applaud the Walter White (Bryan Cranston). There was no hubris left, no arrogance present, but there was intimidation. Heisenberg was still alive. He did not surrender and he did not commit suicide. Walter White went out on his own terms. It was not the most spine-chilling episode or the most suspenseful; there are so many to choose to fit those and many other superlatives. But “Felina” could probably be best categorized as Walter’s most honest episode, and the send off that was needed to finish off the series.

Lucky Walter

To disregard Walter’s good fortune would be ignoring a huge element of his success. This season seemed to show that his luck was running out, that everything was coming to a head, but the forces of nature, science or whatever you believe was watching Walter’s back these five seasons intervened again. Needing a getaway car, Walter found the keys to a old white Volvo in the visor.

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

Walter sucks up his pride

felina gray matters

In an unexpected turn, the Schwartzs were spared and instead of the Charlie Rose appearance motivating Walt to act out all of his anger, he swallowed his pride and tricks Elliott (Adam Godley) and Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) to create an irrevocable trust for Flynn (R.J. Mitte) instead. He needed the assistance of Badger (Matt L. Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) to make sure the job was done; he orchestrated a grand way to get them involved in his plan and showed at the same time that he was still a bad ass. I had completely discounted Jesse’s (Aaron Paul) friends to make a final appearance and assist; I couldn’t come up with a plausible string to connect Walter’s assault on the Schwartzs to Uncle Jack (Michael Bowen) but this was such a smart way to do it.

I was disappointed not learn more about their history as business partners. Why did he become the teacher and give up the chance to be a part of a business, and doing what he liked to do the most, working in chemistry? Was it just as simple as love? It could have provided us with just that extra bit of information to understand Walter’s motivations. The opportunity was certainly there, but for whatever reason it was not a part of the final tale.

felina badger skinny pete

Walter’s Watch and Redemption

He was so proud to get the watch as a gift, but he realized that his friendship with Jesse was over. Perhaps he realized everything he had done to Jesse was evil, or how he spent more time with Jesse than his own son. Maybe he realized that his friendship with Jesse was meaningless as was the money, since it cost him his family and Hank’s life. There was no use looking at the clock when you know there’s no escaping death. He went after Jesse with the intent to kill him for continuing to use his formula to cook meth, but upon discovering him shackled and beaten, he knew he had to save him and do right.

The White Knight

bat walt

We know that Gilligan is a fan of Westerns, and he’s gone on record to say that he was inspired by John Wayne in “The Searchers” for the fate of Jesse and Walt. In Walter’s final run he hid and lurked in the shadows at the Schwartz’s home undetected and in his visit to Skyler. The remote control rig for the M60 was “McGuyver-esque” and the way he pretended to be David Linn of the New York Times surprised me. Let’s not forget jumping on Jesse and protecting him one more time and taking a bullet. He went out a hero, but he did take a long time to come around. Forget about Scarface, Walter turned into the goddamn Batman.

Walter Wins Again

No, he didn’t get the warm embrace from his family, and no, he and Jesse never got to race go-carts together. Walter never got his full $80 million, but he did get more than enough to set up his two children and wife with enough for college or whatever. He did it with drug money. Blood money. And ultimately did it living a lifestyle that was the antithesis to Hank. We don’t know what Flynn’s reaction is going to be, but given his loving nature towards his sister and mother, he’ll probably use it as Walter intended it. Providing his family with enough money to take away most worries wasn’t enough in the end to be considered a father or husband, but in Walt’s mind it was. He never did this for them, but knowing the medical bills of fighting cancer on top the cost of living ruins families everyday.

It’s a harsh truth of living in this country, and it’s why Breaking Bad speaks to so many middle class Americans. The dream in America is no longer to live in a house with a white picket fence, get married and 2.5 kids. It’s living without debt. It’s living while exercising passion. And it’s living an entire life without experiencing cancer or some other tragic disease. Walter got an extension in life–two years– by doing the work that he loved; he left a legacy, no matter what you think of it morally, and he still set his family up. He lived out his version of the dream, no matter how twisted a path it was. Those who were looking for Walter to get his just desserts will have to deal with that ending.

Color at Work

felina lydia

It’s always fun looking at the wardrobe of each character and finding out what other messages they say or reinforce. The white Volvo, covered in snow, provided him the temporary cover needed to avoid the police that he brought on with his desperate phone call into the lead investigator of his case. The color of the car along with the snow, kept Walter’s color theme of white in the last half of the season as his disguise in plain sight. Meanwhile he wore a black parka to symbolize the cancer taking over him, covered in death. He switched to a lighter green jacket as he drove west, to eat at Denny’s, to get the ricin from his destroyed home and to drop in on Lydia (who is wearing the “cornflower” blue blouse), Todd and the Schwartzs. In Lydia’s final scene, she is seen gripping an orange pillow–that color has always been the color of caution, murder, or death.

Walter changed into beige khakis and coat once he got back to Albuquerque; he put a buttoned green shirt for Skyler, symbolizing envy. No longer caring about money or power, his envy is for her and his son’s love, which he’ll never get again. He wants to be able to be with his family, but cannot. He is there to say his final goodbye.

And an interesting switch in color schemes, Marie’s prominent color was beige to match he sister, even though she did wear a dark purple skirt, it was almost black, still grieving for Hank. It was Jack though who wore the royal color of purple and didn’t see his demise coming.

Todd, Uncle Jack and Lydia’s; plus the Breaking Bad orphanage

felina jesse todd

Jesse got the definitive “f*ck yeah!” moment of the finale – a gratifying death if there ever was one. If nothing more than to get justice for Drew Sharp. We can all agree that Andrea getting drawn into the body count was just crushing, but Sharp probably saw nothing outside of three men high-fiving each other. Uncle Jack was asking to be killed from the first moment we met him.

I don’t agree with how Jack took on the role of the series’ villain when it seemed too me that the greatest villain was Walter White. Todd and his uncle watered that down some and if there was a big problem with the final season that would have been it. Gilligan left room for redemption and it made for a great ending, but this series has taken darker turns and admittedly, it could have been a lot more grim.

Lydia’s fate did come down as many surmised, as the recipient of the ricin. I couldn’t connect Walt’s jump from the Schwartzs to the Arians, but that’s why Badger and Skinny Pete were such a pleasant surprise. Lydia died a slow and painful death, cursing her love for Stevia.

Lydia’s death though leaves an unsettling trail of orphans or parental figures taken away from young children, as her daughter will soon find her mother dead in a more graceful way than what Mike had planned for her. Going back to “Peekaboo” and the child of Spooge’s (David Ury) girlfriend (Dale Dickey) we’ve seen children be left to fend for themselves. There’s Brock (Ian Posada), then there’s Mike’s granddaughter Kaylee (Kaija Roze Bales) but we can assume she still has her mother, but Mike was a big part of her life. Not to mention there’s Holly White, who will undoubtedly need therapy some day when she finds out the truth about her father.

Lamberts’ Truce

felina skyler smoke

The phone conversation between Skyler and Marie did give hope for Skyler fans that they’ll be there to survive this. I knew that Marie couldn’t stay away and be angry forever, she loves her sister, nephew and niece too much. But it’s so bittersweet knowing that Hank is still on her mind, she’s still (understandably) harboring anger but still has no idea just how smart Walter was, which brings us to…

The last goodbyes

felina walt skyler

Walter appearing right after Marie told Skyler he’ll never get to her was both funny and indicative of Walter’s ability to surprise. Gilligan was still able to make us laugh at Marie’s expense. But as much as we expected this to be a memorable scene, this one may have been one of the best scenes of the entire series. First, seeing Skyler’s reflection in the microwave was such a lovely way to enter that scene since her back was turned to the viewer; it was the result of a happy accident according to Gilligan on Talking Bad. Everything that happened right after the scene was phenomenal. From Walter’s reveal of the lotto ticket coordinates to the burial site, to Skyler’s reaction that Hank and Steve’s murder is a full reality. She held so much in for so long and there was such a range of emotions that came pouring out. Then came the admission we’ve all been waiting for:

Skyler: If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family
Walter: I did it for myself. I liked it. I was good at it. And… I was… I was alive.

felina walt window

Seeing him say goodbye to Holly and watch Flynn walk home through the windows of the laundry room added to the sadness, but it made sense. Nothing Walter would have said in person would have mattered to his son, who hasn’t experienced the grays of life yet. Walter didn’t deserve another opportunity to earn the trust of his son back, but as a parent, to watch Walt seeing his son for the last time, followed with an empty turn and walk away was hard. But there was a sense of pride in the choices his son made by himself.

I did take issue that no one wished Walter Happy Birthday. It’s understandable that Jesse wouldn’t remember since he was on and off drugs over the five seasons, but I expected a quick mention by Skyler, even after Walter offered it as a part of the story he wanted to tell the prosecutors.

Partners No More

felina jesse

Walter went out in a blaze of glory but as we mentioned above, he redeemed himself by saving Jesse, which brings us to the final confrontation between former partners. I’m proud that Jesse asked him to say that he wanted to be shot, but upon seeing he took a bullet for him, he put the gun down and told him to do it himself. He was done taking orders from him (“Rabid Dog”) and outside of Todd, Jesse was never a killer. Shooting Gayle still haunts him. He fired guns at Don Eladio’s pad out of self-preservation. To take Walter White’s life, would have only multiplied his nightmares and take away what little humanity he had left in him.

There’s a moment though when he jumps in that car when you think he might run Walter over. Instead, a simple nod shared between them was a final acknowledgement of their journey, but it was time for the divorce to be finalized. There’s a great moment as Walter takes in what Todd and Jack did to Jesse, Jack mocks the idea that he’d partner up with a rat, but everything he said was the truth, seen through Walt’s eyes.

Jack: Sure, he’s my partner. Hard working, good partner. 50/50 partner.

Jesse had his difficulties. As a fan of the show I wanted to strangle him in Seasons 1 and 2, but he was loyal, and eventually was just as good as Walt making crystal blue. He was his best student. Jesse’s delusion of creating a wooden box was a call back to his 12-step program, something he needed to get through Todd’s torture, but there’s so much potential still left in him and with all of the pain he’s caused, I have no doubt he will remain sober.

felina walt dead

Certainly the British pop band Badfinger’s 1972 song, “Baby Blue” will undoubtedly get a surge downloads at iTunes, but Walter’s final walk through the lab that he created and designed with Jesse put him back in his element. A scientist died surrounded by his life’s greatest achievement, something he was proud to have created–despite its effect on the end users–and it shouldn’t have been any other way. He was with the one thing he loved the most, the one thing that renewed his life and made him feel alive when he was sentenced to death by cancer. He was already living a dead life, and the cancer woke him up. He probably would have performed one last cook if he could have mustered it. But as the cops arrived, all we can hope for is for Jesse to have escaped and find Brock. Walter lived life as he wanted but never planned for, not on the timetable of his sickness, but by his actions; he lost his family along the way, but “Felina” marks the final good deeds by a chemistry teacher who broke bad.

8 Final Expectations of the ‘Breaking Bad’ Series Finale: ‘Felina’

We’re just hours away from the series finale of Breaking Bad, titled “Felina” and we are still in the dark about the fates of many of our characters. No one should expect a happy, warm-hearted send off, but we’ve got our own theories and expectations of what could happen tonight. If you’re not caught up, then please click on one of our other articles because everything else is for those who just want to see how it all ends. Consider this your final warning, and remember Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is the one who knocks. (Breaking Bad art by Bill Sienkiewicz)

Jesse breaking bad finale

I’m Glad I’m not Jesse’s Boy

Most viewers believe that Brock (Ian Posada) is still alive so he can be used as leverage to force Jesse (Aaron Paul) to work. In the penultimate episode, Uncle Jack (Michael Bowen) turned to Todd (Jesse Plemons) in the back seat and we are left with the unsettling words, “Hey, don’t forget about the kid,” setting up one of three possible scenarios:

1) If Todd didn’t go back to kill Brock, we’ll assume that Brock finds his mother dead on the porch, calls the cops and is whisked away into police custody and put into foster care. We are then pulled into not knowing the fate of an ancillary character. Todd shows Jesse that they are watching him and Jesse becomes a meth-cooking zombie for the rest of his life. This would continue the partnership of Lydia (Laura Fraser) and Todd, keep crystal blue meth very much alive and extend the legacy of Heisenberg through the outreach of the drug.

2) Brock is brought into the fold and taken hostage and is used as leverage to force Jesse to work. This seems like the more plausible way to tie Brock in, and it initiates a need for Jesse to think of an escape and a way to save the two of them, or sacrifice himself for Brock. Jesse could even destroy the lab in the process and taking Todd, Lydia, and Uncle Jack with him. We think this is the best combination of all of the possibilities and don’t be surprised to see Jesse use Todd’s affection towards Lydia against him.

3) In the unlikely (and unpopular) scenario, Brock is killed and we just didn’t see it. I doubt anyone wants to see Todd kill another kid, but Uncle Jack’s suggestion about not forgetting about Brock could have meant to go back and kill him. This gives Jesse no reason to work for Todd and leaves him a wreck, going back on drugs and we never know what his final fate is. But what it does is initiate a confrontation between Jesse and Todd. Remember, we only have one episode left. Something needs to come to a head.

lydia breaking bad

About a Girl

This is one of the more interesting final threads of the show. Walter’s beef should lie with himself in regards to crystal meth. He can be angry at what Todd’s Uncle Jack did to Hank, and taking over 86% of his $80 million. Walter can also be angry at Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, which we’ll get to by the end of this article. But what grudge could he possibly have with Lydia? If anything, she helped facilitate the international deal, she got him the overseas notoriety in getting a partnership going. The only thing she tried to do is get Walter to come back and make more meth out of pure greed (and to satisfy angry customers beating down the door for 92+% purity). She walked into A1 Car Wash asking for Walt’s return and she sent Todd to el casa de Heisenberg to threaten Skyler to keep shut during the police investigation and court hearings. But only Todd knows that Lydia put her up to it.

Which brings us to Lydia’s role moving forward and the popular theory that the ricin Walt went back to retrieve is meant for her. Sure, he can put it in her tea, but that doesn’t make any sense. What would he gain by killing her except for the threat against Skyler. If anything, Lydia has been brought back into the picture, solely by Todd, because he likes her, and they can make money together. If in fact she is to perish, it would be because she happened to be with Todd to pick up more product, and Jesse uses that distraction to his advantage in his next escape plan/ sacrifice as we mentioned above.

There is an extremely tragic ending to this thread, which is very possible and more realistic. Jesse fails in saving either Brock or himself and Todd and Lydia continue making crystal blue. Todd shows his affection towards Lydia, she refuses, but they agree to keep their working relationship going.

marie breaking bad finale

 

Marie’s Denouement

As Betsy Brandt told us, Hank (Dean Norris) was her entire world. As a victim in all of this tragedy, she deserves some closure, whether it’s finding his body or being able to spit in Walt’s face. To not give her some satisfaction leaves us with only her empty look as our last visage of Marie, while under the protection of law enforcement. As far as her relationship with her sister, it will be hard to break that bond. Brandt and Anna Gunn imagined that their characters’ upbringing were a difficult, and they survived it by sticking together. There’s no way she can forgive Skyler or understand her actions, but Marie may be all Skyler has left in her corner. She’s understandably close to Flynn (R.J. Mitte) and Holly so she’ll be there for them. Otherwise she has no family or life to look forward to and there’s the slim chance she could be hunted down by Uncle Jack. If Walt has a slow crawl to death, Marie deserves to be there to watch it when it happens.

<

skyler breaking bad finale

Skyler’s Denouement

Could we see one last intimate scene between husband and wife, or perhaps a simple thank you for the phone call that exonerated her? They had their differences, there was Ted Beneke, they could have had an arcade but instead went with a car wash. There are so many times these two butted heads. Through it all, they still cared for each other. Flashbacks showed a passion shared between them. Skyler felt like there was no reason to simply give Walter up, all the way to the end. Will we see Walter share with Skyler his real motivations? Or will he lie to her all the way to the end and say it he did it all for them? No matter what Walter plans to do in the finale, we know we have to see at least one last scene shared by the Whites, and it promises to be a powerful one.

flynn breaking bad finale

And Junior?

Flynn had his chance to tell his father off on the phone, so we don’t expect another repeat of what transpired. It broke Walter, crushed him to the point of giving himself up until he watched television in the bar. There doesn’t seem to be any redemption good enough for Walt Jr. to forgive his father and his role in Hank’s death. But if Walter makes an effort to see Skyler, then he has to try and make peace with Walt Jr. too, right?

 

gray matter

It’s What Matters Most

This transformation was never about family. If you believed that, then you were just as blind as Walter was as he lied to himself. This was about his pride. This was about Gray Matters or more importantly, Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott Schwartz (Adam Goodley). Recall that Walter used to date Gretchen but something happened that hasn’t been explained yet, and he left her and his research behind. Gretchen went on to marry Elliot and they created Gray Matters with Walter’s help. They were nominated for a Nobel Prize, and Walt sold his share of of the company for $5,000. Since he left, Gray Matters is worth billions.

Upon hearing Walter’s health problems, Elliott offered Walter a job and even offered to pay for his treatment, to which Walter responded to Gretchen with a resounding “fuck you.” In last year’s half of Season 5, Walter tells Jesse this and that there is no money amount big enough to satisfy him, uttering the now famous line, “I’m in the empire business.” Walter was ready to turn himself over to the authorities before seeing The Schwartzs on the Charlie Rose show and further minimizing Walter’s role in the start up of Gray Matters–to further distance themselves from the meth cooking Heisenberg.

With his family turning his back on him, the only thing Walter has left is his legacy. Recall when Jesse first made his own batch of blue that Gus bought and sold. Walter took offense that Jesse would make his recipe and that Gus would exchange money for Jesse’s cook. The last thing Walter wants to be is reduced to something or someone insignificant. He provoked Hank to investigate further when he believed the trail ended with Gayle’s death. No one takes credit for Walter’s work. This sets up for a major confrontation between Walter, Elliot and Gretchen. Surely he can’t be using his giant guns on them, but he could destroy their life’s work, their industries, maybe more. The two of them trash talking Walter got him to rise from his grief and make one last fight, the most personal one to him and become his last act of vengeance. Which brings us to…

walter white breaking bad finale

 

The fate of Walter White

It makes sense that Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz would be the targets of the ricin, perhaps Walter sets up a last supper between scientists, and taking his own life in his hands, while getting his former partners to admit his brilliance was the key thing to their success. He’s already lost his family, and killing Uncle Jack, Todd and their crew doesn’t do anything to satisfy Walter. He already knows the money is meaningless to his family. He can’t bring back Hank from the dead. He’s on a personal crusade to extinguish Gray Matters and take down those who stand in his way. Remember, he has terminal cancer so he can sit and die, but he originally did not want chemotherapy treatment. He wanted to live on his own terms and not wither sadly in a hospital bed. Ironically, Marie supported him in this philosophy, but in the end Walter got treatment and prolonged his life. It would be Walter’s wishes to die on his terms, to do one last great act of maniacal revenge before going out, but there’s just one thing that stands in that way…

 

breaking bad jesse walt

 

Walter vs. Jesse

Where we see Walter crossing paths with Uncle Jack and his crew is to bring Walter and Jesse face-to-face with each other, one last time. While Gray Matters is the real motivation, so much of the show hinged on Walter and Jesse working together, so to end on that note would be poetic. Walter could save Jesse or Jesse could get revenge on Walter for ruining his life and manipulating him again and again. If anyone deserves to take Walter’s life, it’s Jesse. From watching Jane die to poisoning Brock, and then ratting him out to Jack’s crew hiding underneath the car, leading to Andrea’s murder. Somewhere along the line of talking with his family, and going after Gray Matters, a confrontation between Walter and Jesse would leave fans with a chilling ending where Walter either wins and the legacy of his crystal blue lives on past his death through what Todd and Lydia do, or Jesse wins by killing Walter and Todd–an incredible evolution from the young man who reluctantly killed Gayle. Either way it’s going to be tragic, and it’s going to be a finale we’ll be sad to see through the end

‘Mad Men’ Steals a Page from ‘Breaking Bad’ Stretching Final Season

Remember how upset you were when you saw the last episode of Breaking Bad in 2012?

Then, you had to wait a full year for the purported “second half” of the final season. All the while you wondered, why didn’t AMC just call it two separate seasons?

Well, if you’re a fan of AMC’s less gritty drama Mad Men, you’ll be crying out once again. AMC is stretching out the final season of Mad Men into two halves. The fourteen episode “final season” will air seven episodes in 2014 and seven episodes in spring 2015. AMC stated that they wanted the chance to tell a “more elaborate story.”

But we know the real reason. It’s called: Dollar…Dollar…Bill, yo.

EDITOR’S PICK: The Walking Dead gets its Doctor Who Companion

By stretching out Breaking Bad‘s final season, the cable network was able to give potential fans who were lagging behind to catch up on the show as well as offering new fans a chance to hop on the bandwagon. The split helped Breaking Bad to earn double the viewers during the second half of the season. I have to admit, I utilized that extra year to beg and plea for people to tune into Breaking Bad – if only to see Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring.

The additional year will also give AMC the chance to earn more “bank” off of blu-ray sales. Needless to say, there will be a Mad Men Season 7 Part 1 Blu-ray/DVD on sale in 2015 just before the actual final seven episodes air that spring. Then, AMC can double dip and sell the Mad Men Season 7 Complete Season as well as the Mad Men Complete Series box sets. I may not buy it, but I definitely will be all over the Breaking Bad double dip.

Blast Off #25: Unofficial Anniversary with Breaking Bad and some Jesse Pinkman Chatter

breaking Bad

It’s the 25th Team Focus Blast Off and it totally slipped my mind that this is something of an unofficial anniversary – or perhaps milestone – for our podcast. It would have been nice to gather up some of the past guests we’ve chatted with over the course of our inter-galactic-podcasting existence, from Nerdy Secrets guests Ben Schwartz (House of Lies) and Rich Sommer (Mad Men) to mythical legends like Mo Fathelbab and Sean Bell.

But, that’s not the case and you’ll just have to stay tuned for the big Blast Off gala. For now, we’re talking about Breaking Bad and focusing on the tumultuous ups and downs of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).

This podcast contains spoilers from Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 12, “Rabid Dog.” You have been warned.

Click play below to Listen to the Blast Off:
[podcast]http://www.buzzfocus.com/blastoff/Blast-off-25.mp3[/podcast]

Tune in bi-weekly for more discussion by Subscribing to the Team Focus Blast Off on iTunes.

Be sure to Follow hosts Bags Hooper and Ernie Estrella on Twitter for more.

Man of Steel 2 Gets its first Pseudo Trailer and it’s Awesome: Features Bryan Cranston & Ben Affleck

If you’re still moaning about Warner Bros and Zach Snyder’s decision to cast Ben Affleck in the Man of Steel sequel, then this trailer may just change your mind.

The trailer features both Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston and Affleck alongside Henry Cavill. It’s mostly awesome because of Cranston; the editor chose the right villainous clips from Cranston’s Breaking Bad performance as Walter White. While some Smallville lovers are adamantly lobbying to see Michael Rosenbaum reprise his role as Lex Luthor, many BB fans are anxious to see Cranston take on the role.

By the way, this video is fan made, but the quality and thought that went into this trailer gives you a taste of what Man of Steel 2 could be. I especially did my touchdown dance when Cranston says, “Maybe he flew too close to the sun.” Perfect.

Check out the video below:

Blast Off #24: Holy Heisenberg! Transforming Breaking Bad with a Special Guest

Pandemonium has broken loose. In a very special Team Focus Blast Off, Sean Bell steps in to the ring to make his long anticipated Blast Off debut. This is one for the history books, filled with Transformers talk, random songs, bad singing and of course the topic of the day… Breaking Bad.

After taking a brief pause to reflect on Transformers G1 and all the papier mâché problems of Omega Supreme, we dive into the legend of Lord Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) and Walter White’s ensuing war with his brother-in-law, Hank (Dean Norris). Also, we explore the enigma of Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) million-dollar, cash toss.

This podcast contains full spoilers from Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 9, “Blood Money.” Tread Lightly.

Listen to the podcast below:
[podcast]http://www.buzzfocus.com/blastoff/Blast-off-24.mp3[/podcast]

breaking bad

Tune in weekly for more discussion by Subscribing to the Team Focus Blast Off on iTunes.

Be sure to Follow hosts Bags Hooper and Sean Bell on Twitter for more.

Breaking Bad: Walter White and Hank get their ‘Heat’ on

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 9: Blood Money

If you’re head is still reeling from that part 2 premiere of Breaking Bad Season 5, you’re not alone.

The seemingly mundane opening to “Blood Money” featured a group of skateboarders taking pictures in a backyard. But we all know that in Breaking Bad, there’s no such thing as mundane. Everything is a product of showrunner Vince Gilligan’s diabolical mind.

Walter White showed up next, in a yellow-stained shirt and entered his house – or rather former house. The name “Heisenberg” was spray painted on the wall in yellow. His former suburban home has become the den of meth addicts and was quite possibly raided by the police. The brief opener also suggested that Walter’s legacy isn’t his family, but rather the corruption of the youth.

The truth is out. Heisenberg is Walter White… Walter White is Heisenberg. Nothing said it better than when Walter said, “Hello Carol” to his neighbor, who looked at him with shock, fear and disgust. The same hello was later echoed when we flashed back to present time to see Walter happily retired from the drug game.

Unfortunately, happiness is only temporary for Walter. Hank knows the truth. And Walter knows that Hank knows the truth.

EDITOR’S PICK: Dean Norris Says ‘Hank is the Final Foil For Walt’

I love that Breaking Bad didn’t waste any time in bringing about the Heat confrontation between the two. Seeing Walt confront Hank at the end of “Blood Money” was an utter shock. It was like watching Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) have a drink together in Heat. Nobody needed to die. Walt didn’t even need to return any of Hank’s punches. We all know that Walt loses in those fist fights – he also lost to Jesse. But Walt’s strength has never been physical. Walt is a chess player and a thug, plain and simple.

After Walt discovered that his “Leaves of Grass” book was missing, he immediately suspected Hank. Then, he discovered the GPS tracker on his car. The next day, Walt walked into Hank’s garage to present the GPS. Truth be told, Walt was seeking a confrontation. He misses the confrontation and the rush he got from besting his enemies. Walt has become Gus, the chicken man, whether he intended to or not.

Walt to Hank: “You all right, gotta say I don’t like the way you’re looking at me right now.”

Walt, being the clever chess player that he is, offered Hank an out – or at least what Walt considered to be an out. He told Hank that he was dying of cancer and in six months Hank wouldn’t even have someone to prosecute. It was a smart play in Walt’s warped mind. Then, he played the family card.

Hank replied, “I don’t give a shit about family… rot you son of a bitch.”

Hank has gone through so much with the drug cartel. His injuries are a direct result of Walt’s actions. Why would Walt think that Hank would be able to forget so easily?

It’s almost as if Walt wanted one last challenge, one last enemy to beat before death, so that he can die a happy man. Has his life become so thin in such a short time?

It would seem so.

Hank isn’t the only one who knows that Walt’s been hiding a secret. Jesse knows a secret as well. He’s realized that Walt killed Mike. There was a time when Jesse was a surrogate son to Walt. Heisenberg even helped Jesse to rehabilitate himself. But the whole situation with the ricin poison changed that. At the end of the day, Walt was only out for himself. Unlike Mike who actually developed a familial connection to Jesse, Walt has perverted their relationship. Now Jesse is a broken man, who can’t stand to hold onto the money that led to so many deaths. We can only hope that Jesse somehow finds redemption.

Lydia is also back in the mix. She needs a batch that’s closer to 98% pure, but what she has is a batch that is closer to 68% pure. We saw that Jesse can cook a batch with almost as much purity as Heisenberg. I could assume that Lydia would go to Jesse next for help. But given Jesse’s fragile mental state, that doesn’t seem likely.

In Walt’s final days, we saw that he is on the run, separated from family and friends. What became of his wife and children remain? Has Walt already dealt with Hank, or did he grab the ricin to finish off his brother-in-law? Is Walt arming up for a war with the police or with Lydia (I really hate her)? And where the heck is Jesse in this future?

Only seven more episodes to go. This may truly be the best show of all time. Nuff said.

Blast Off #23: Awkward Moments in Superhero, Comic Con Parties, Fall TV & NextGen Consoles

The Team Focus Blast Off podcast is back. Now that the typical lineup of broadcast TV series are on hiatus (can’t wait for more Arrow and Person of Interest in the Fall), it’s time to switch our attention over to Summer TV, San Diego Comic Con and of course the series finales of Dexter and Breaking Bad.

Now that E3 is behind us (our heads still reeling from the Xbox One vs Sony PS4 rivalry), we gear up for Comic Con, while reflecting on some of our favorite superhero flicks.

With superhero on the mind, we dip into Warner Bros’ latest comic book film, Man of Steel. Did this film set the right tone for a Justice League movie? What other DC Comics heroes or teams deserve a solo flick?

We also chat about cool villains, Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and fun parties from Comic Con’s past.

Listen to the podcast below:
[podcast]http://www.buzzfocus.com/blastoff/Blast-off-23.mp3[/podcast]

Tune in weekly for more discussion by Subscribing to the Team Focus Blast Off on iTunes.

Be sure to Follow hosts Bags Hooper and Ernie Estrella on Twitter for more.

Breaking Bad Collectable Walter White Hazmat Digs in Pollos Hermanos Packaging

What better way to watch the final season of Breaking Bad than with a collectable Walter White toy?

This summer, Mezco is releasing a deluxe Walter White figure, complete with portable meth containers. He’s dressed in his yellow Hazmat outfit and even has a fly swatter (scale size) and removable glasses.

These things may not be much to the average toy shopper, but to us Breaking Bad aficionado this is collector gold.

The case also comes with a Pollos Hermanos slipcover to make it extra glass case worthy. Be warned, Mezco is only releasing 1,500 of these exclusives. Although they ship after Comic Con (end of July), they are on sale now. So, you’ll have to break bad early if you want to hold the coveted fly swatter.

EDITOR’S PICK: The Breaking Bad Series Finale is the Most Anticipated of the Year

The final season of Breaking Bad will debut August 11 on AMC.