If I had to predict which down-to-the-wire drama had more Americans watching enthralled; the looming government shutdown or the last episode of Breaking Bad, I like my odds of the last adventure of Walter White coming out on top.
As far as finales go, my heart will always be with the “Family Meeting” closer of The Shield. All debts were settled, our hero/anti-hero received a punishment that was the cruelest, yet most fitting of fates and he was left with nothing. It was the most satisfying end of any television show I have seen. I’m a fan of Breaking Bad but I was a fanatic for The Shield. That doesn’t stop me from totally understanding why the whole damn country seems to have gone nuts for Breaking Bad (or at least the 10 million who watched the conclusion).
But if you’re going to be second-best, “Ferlisa”comes as close to perfection as it gets. Vic Mackey and Tony Soprano were two bad men whom viewers watch only get badder. Walter White evolved from a good man forced to do bad things to a bad man who enjoyed doing bad things. I think I know what’s going to be on the top of my Xmas list as I can’t wait for the complete box set so I can compulsively watch it all over again
We have evolved as audiences to expect our heroes to be milk drinkers devoid of flaws and imperfections and the villains to cackle with gleeful malice as they rub their hands with sadistic pleasure over their next act of depravity. Walt is a tragic figure and Jesse Pinkman a pathetic one and both get what’s coming to them. They set their feet on this road and they have to travel it all the way to the bitter conclusion. Gilligan wrote and directed “Ferlisa” so if you love or hate it, he gets all the credit or all the blame. I’m confident when we look back fondly on Breaking Bad in five years more fans than not will find the way things played out to have worked well, if a bit too tidy in some ways.
When you give an actor a role like they’ve never had before and may never have again, the time to develop that character and are blessed with superb writing, dialogue, stories, direction and other actors to work with as Bryan Cranston was you have to know you have hit the lottery. Cranston will never be thought of again as the goofy dad of Malcolm In the Middle and Aaron Paul has been no less of a revelation. Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, and Bob Odenkirk are among the many actors who deserve shout-out for their performances.
I won’t say anything about the episode until everyone has had an opportunity to watch it if they recorded on their DVR for later. There’s no shortage of great summations of the end episode if you watched it live. Either way I hope you share my enjoyment of the show despite coming late to the party.
You’re going to be waiting quite a while to find something as great as Breaking Bad was.
- ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale Reviews: Just Perfect? Or Too Perfect? (thewrap.com)
- Critics praise Breaking Bad finale (bbc.co.uk)
- Did ‘Team Walt’ win? (trentonian.com)