Television finales have never been the same since “The Sopranos” startled audiences by cutting to black in the middle of its scene. Before that cut finales had been there just to wrap up loose ends in as tidy a way as possible. After that though finales have been poured over and scrutinized in every which way possible, and the option for an open ended finale has become viable. Thankfully “Breaking Bad” creator and showrunnner Vince Gilligan, who wrote and directed this episode, knows what sort of series finale “Breaking Bad” needs. Some critics view the messier “Ozymandias” as a true series finale, and “Granite Slate” and “FeLiNa” as extended epilogues, but I feel that neater and tidier “FeLiNa” is the true series finale.
First and foremost, I must give kudos to Vince Gilligan for his direction. His directing style has always been confident, favoring warm and scenic medium shots with minimal unnecessary cutting, but this episode is absolutely gorgeous. For my money the best shots of the episode are the ones where everyone is in the background, such as Walt watching Flynn come home from school as he hides across the street. The man is amazing at everything he does, and I do hope his newest show achieves the same heights as “Breaking Bad.”
“He’s here, he’s there, apparently he’s going to blow up city hall.”
“FeLiNa” is almost completely Walt’s episode. Jesse Pinkman, who can always be counted on for a “bitch” and some serious sadness, only meaningfully appears as the end. Even if a scene doesn’t appear to have Walt in it he will materialize out of the background where he is always hovering. This is no longer the man who wanted everyone to see him triumph. Those who once feared him now look away in shame as he hacks up a lung. After rubbing our faces in how terrible of a person Walt can be, this episode managed to garner Walt some significant sympathy as he embarks on his suicide mission. If that was the only thing “FeLiNa” managed it would be a great series finale.
“Cheer up, beautiful people.”
Thankfully “FeLiNa” does so much more. It’s one of those episodes where I has no idea what was going to happen, but once everything did it felt right, and I was instantly satisfied. Everything is very neat about this episode, which I found fitting since it is about the demise of the man who caused the most chaos. What is best about this episode is that even though the main plot has been wrapped up, you still get the sense that everyone is still going to go on with their life, and that their stories don’t have to end just because Walt is lying on the floor with his arms spread.
This especially holds true of Jesse, who gets the happy ending that I had really hoped he would. His few triumphant bursts of exhilaration and joy as he speeds away from the man that had ruined his life made up for the sometimes rote misery he had been through before. Unfortunately that happy ending comes at the expense of psychopath Todd, who is brutally strangled by Jesse after Walt kills pretty much everyone he wanted to. I really hoped Todd would survive. He was a total psychopath, but actor Jesse Plemons did such a good job showing us all of the weird facets of Todd that I couldn’t help but root for him.
Though I was sad to see Todd go, I was incredibly thrilled to see how everyone else was eliminated. Ever since that M60 was introduced in “Live Free or Die” it has been the plot device I have been most curious about, and Walt’s automatic firing apparatus was absolutely badass. Though Walt’s evisceration of the Neo-Nazi’s wasn’t as flashy as when he blew off half of Gus Fring’s face, it was still as dramatic a death that carefully straddled the line between pulp and serious dramatic leanings. Walt shooting Uncle Jack in the middle of his plea about the money was absolutely wicked and felt like a major win for both Walt and us.
“I did it for me.”
There is plenty more to be said about “Breaking Bad,” and the internet will be full of people over the next year who will gladly oblige. I myself will undoubtedly be contributing to that flood of articles in coming weeks. For right now however, I will simply say that “FeLiNa” is exactly the series finale that “Breaking Bad” deserved, and everything about it felt right. “Breaking Bad” will be considered one of the best dramas of all time, and “FeLiNa” will always be remembered as one of the best series finales of all time.
My Rating: 9.5/10