So here’s my recap of the finale, I’ll also be doing one last blog on BrBa to wrap up my final thoughts on the series, because let’s face it, it was an amazing series, and last night was a quality finale.
So, without further rambling, here’s the recap.
Breaking Bad, Season 5 Episode 16: Felina.
The episode opened with Walt getting into an old Volvo. He sets down the box of money he’d intended to send to Jr. He realizes there aren’t keys in the ignition, as he begins to search the glove compartment he tosses out a Marty Robbins cassette tape case. Now to digress for a moment, there was a great deal of speculation regarding the title, so the tape will be addressed at the bottom of this blog. As he finds a screwdriver he tries to start the car with it, and then, reflected in the frosted windshield and in Walter’s glasses we see the the lights of a police car, alternating through red and blue. Walt freezes, not moving, he looks up saying “just get me home, just get me home”. The lights pass, and as he continues looking up he uses the screwdriver to lower the visor, and providentially, down falls the key to the Volvo.
We catch up with him after the commercial break stopping for gas. He then uses a payphone calling as if he’s from the New York Times, he’s apparently getting a fix on where Gretchen and Elliot Swartz are, and when they’ll be home from their appearance on the Charlie Rose show in the previous episode. To be completely honest, I was stunned he was even that interested in the Swartz’s, and was certain his plan was to eliminate them.
We then see the Swartz’s returning home, talking as they walk in their front door. They don’t notice Walt sitting on a bench in a shadow. They walk into the house and Gretchen turns off the alarm. At this point Walt gets up, closes their outer doors, and walks right into their front door. His very calm and collected demeanor as he walks through their front hall observing their home, as we hear Elliot and Gretchen’s voices echo (highlighting their luxurious and expansive home), is unnerving, especially as one of the camera angles is of Walt around the corner from Gretchen and Elliott in their kitchen, still completely oblivious.
Gretchen steps into the living room to turn on the fireplace, and as she turns to go back she sees Walt and lets out a small scream. Walt (still on a level of Gus Fring calmness) says: “Hello Gretchen, Elliot, I really like your new house”. Gretchen asks what he’s doing there he asks them to go down to his car with him (as he couldn’t bring it in through their gate, again highlighting their privilege and distance). Elliot holds a paring knife, standing between Walt and Gretchen. Walt just sighs and (almost channeling Mike) says: “Elliot, if we’re gonna go that way, you’ll need a bigger knife”.
When we see them back in the house they’re piling up the remainder of Walt’s money, which comes to 9,720,000.00. He tells them that it’s all to go to his son, in the form of a trust when he turns 18. They ask him why they would instead of him. He tells them that his family wouldn’t take it from him, and even if they would anything he would give them would be seized. He adds though that from them a couple that’s wealthy, charitable and knew Walt once long ago. He also tells them that any taxes that have to be paid must be paid out of his money, and that nothing his family gets comes from them.
When Elliott then asks “What happens next?” Walt replies “I guess we shake on it, and I leave”. Elliott shakes and as Walt reaches for Gretchen’s hand Elliott has to nudge it forward, she seems to be searching for the man she once knew. After she shakes though, Walt then turns to their large window, signals, and two sniper’s lasers are trained on Elliott and Gretchen.
Walt then tells them that out there are the two best hitmen west of the Mississippi, and that “What ever happens to me tomorrow, they’ll still be out there… and if for any reason my children don’t get this money…” it may not happen right away, but as soon as they don’t have a care in the world they’ll hear something and “before you can even turn around darkness, cheer up beautiful people, this is where you get to make it right.” and then he leaves
We then see him stop his Volvo on the side of the road and he flashes his lights. Two figures, all in black with masks run out of the brush, across the road and into the car. The masks come off and it’s Badger and Skinny Pete! I loved seeing that it was them! They mention feeling a bit bad about what they did, that it was kinda “shady” he hands them ten grand each and asks “how about now?” and Badger, adding a bit of comic relief (which Saul usually provided) says “better”.
He asks them what they know about the blue meth, if it’s still being produced. They tell him that it is, but that they thought it was still him running things. He mentions Jesse, and they’re shocked because they thought that Jesse had left town.
The next scene, is of Jesse working with wood. He’s showing care and enjoys making this box. When he goes to turn with it though, he realizes he’s caught, and we see that it was just a daydream, he’s still chained in the lab, and instead of holding the box, he’s holding some aluminum.
We then cut to the diner scene, which had been at the beginning of this season, then the view of the gun in the trunk, followed by the scene of him taking the ricin out of the outlet, and as he steps into his destroyed living room, and remembers his birthday there, with everyone, and Hank talking about the meth bust on the TV. Everything is coming full circle.
Cut to Lydia, rolling a suitcase into a diner, she sits places her order for tea, and rummages for a stevia packet. Todd sits down with her, and compliments her on her shirt. Before she can really say anything, Walt sits down (he’d been waiting seated at the counter). Lydia asks how he knew they’d be there. He reminds her that every Tuesday at 10 am would be when they always met, and that she’s so schedule oriented. He asks her to just hear him out, he says they must be running out of the methylamine, Walt says he has new method without it, and offers to train Todd on it. He’s asking for a million to do it since he’s run out of money. Lydia tells him they’re not interested, and dismisses him as the waiter brings her tea. After he leaves Lydia tells Todd she’d prefer to have him handled the way she likes most of her problems handled, and that in killing him they’d be “doing him a favor”. The camera then focuses on Lydia’s “stevia” as she pours and then stirs it into her tea.
the next scene we see is Walter out in the desert, it’s the middle of nowhere near a rundown house. He’s tinkering, and building. We see the machine gun from the trunk, a car battery, and what looks like the parts from a garage door opener. All of this harkens back to the episode “Four days out”. I felt sad that Jesse wasn’t there to cheer him on, but reminded that when he puts his mind to it, Walter White can do just about anything.
We cut to Skyler’s place. The phone rings, and goes to voicemail. It’s Marie. We hear her ask Skyler for a truce, saying she has something to tell her about Walt. Sklyer picks up and Marie tells her that a car stolen from New Hampshire showed up in town, and that people have been calling in saying that they’re Walt (though that’s just spreading the police and agencies thin… which may have been planned) and that there have been a few sitings in town, including the one by Walt’s neighbor “Betty or Carol”, Skyler corrects her, that it was Carol. Marie is very concerned for her sister, and lets her know that they’re watching Walt Jr’s high school, and they’ll be watching Skyler’s place to make sure that they’re safe. After they hang up, Skyler says “Five minutes”, the camera angle changes, and we see that Walt’s been there for the entire phone call. He replies “Five minutes”. Skyler asks him if he hurt anyone getting back. And he tells her no, that he “didn’t have to”. She tells him he looks terrible, and wants to know why he’s there. He tells her that “It’s over and I needed a proper goodbye… not like our last phone call”. When Skyler asks about if he’s turning himself in, he tells her that the police will be coming for him. Skyler’s concerned that his coming back will bring another visit from the men who came before and threatened her, who asked her not to talk about the lady that came to the car wash (Lydia). Walt assures her that they won’t be “coming back, not after tonight”. Walt then takes out his wallet and when she says that she doesn’t want any money, he tells her he doesn’t have any left to give, and then pulls out and gives her the lotto ticket. He explains that the numbers are GPS coordinates and when she asks what for, he tells her that Hank is buried there, and that he wants her to use this to get a deal with the prosecutor. She tearfully accepts.
Walt then begins to tell her why he did everything, and when she interrupts him angrily saying “If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family – ” But Walt cuts her off, and in the most honest moment of the show, and perhaps the series says “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really… I was alive”
Skyler reminds him that Flynn’ll be home soon, and he asks before he leaves if he can see Holly one last time. He touches her head, and I’ll admit I teared up during this scene as he says goodbye to the little girl that will never know her father, and at least for a long, long time will only know of him as a criminal and a monster. Walt turns and he and Skyler look at each other one last time, and (here’s a moment where the cinematography is spectacular) as he leaves the shadow he casts on her leaves with him.
Walt then watches from afar, through a laundry room as his son gets off of the school bus and walks into his home. You really see the pain on Walt’s face, in a way that wasn’t there for Holly, because while Holly doesn’t know him, Walt Jr. hates him, and so Walt must live with the fact that this is as close as he’ll ever get to his son again.
The next scene is after night has fallen, and Walt is pulling up to a chain link fence out side of the neo-nazi compound. Jack’s right hand man, Kenny is there to greet him, and while he tries to make small talk about Walt’s car Walt isn’t saying much and so Kenny gets in, and they drive over to the “clubhouse” where Jack and the other guys are. Walt pulls up parallel to the clubhouse, and before he goes in they check to make sure he’s not armed, or wearing a wire. All they find is his wallet, and the keys (which have a bright orange keychain for automatic locks and a garage door).
When they go in, and Walt offers his new method, Jack isn’t interested, and when Walt asks Todd to explain what his method would mean, all Todd can say is “You really shouldn’tve come here Mr. White”. Kenny puts a gun to Walt’s head and Jack asks them to do it outside, when Walt starts shouting about how low it is that Jack never did right by his deal to off Jesse, and instead partnered with him. Jack, offended at Walt’s insinuation that he’d partner with a “rat” like Pinkman insists that Todd go and get Jesse, so that Walt can be clear on what’s been going on.
We see Jesse, in chains brought in, and he and Walt share eye contact for the first time in about two months. Jack says “this look like a partner to you?”
Walt then tackle’s Jesse and pushes the button on the keychain. (which he’d retrieved while Jesse was being brought in) For what seems like an eternity, Jack and the boys laugh as they tell Todd to separate them, and then the trunk to his car flips open, the mechanism he’d built in the desert begins working, and bullets start flying from the machine gun rigged up in the trunk.
The bullets go flying, and everyone, except for Todd, who was down on the ground, trying to get Walt off Jesse is hit. At one point we even see Walt gasp and wince, as we know he took a bullet.
When it ends Todd sits up, and peeks out the window. He softly says “Mr. White?”, and Jesse who looked up with an intensity after it ended is suddenly behind Todd strangling him with his chains. Walt simply watches for a moment as Jesse gets his revenge, (his sweet, sweet revenge), and then he turns to Uncle Jack who though hit in the stomach and chest is still living. Jack puts a cigarette in his mouth, and tries to bargain for his life (as Hank never did) offering to tell Walt where his money is, but his words are cut short by the bullet Walt sends through his brain. When Walt turns back to Jesse (who successfully snapped Todd’s neck, and used the key to get out of his chains) is standing. Jesse seems about to run, and then Walt passes him the gun on the floor.
Jesse picks it up and points it at Walt, who tells him softly, “Do it, you want this”. Jesse shouts back at him “Say the words! YOU WANT THIS! Nothing happens until you say it!”, Walt quietly replies “I want this”. Jesse looks at him, he sees the blood from the shot spreading on his shirt, and in a final act of defiance drops the gun and tells Walt to do it himself.
Then as Jesse is walking out, Walt hears a phone ring in Todd’s pocket. It’s Lydia, when Walt answers she asks if he’s “dead”, Walt tells her “they’re all dead”, when she asks who she’s speaking to Walt tells her, and then he asks how she’s feeling, perhaps “a little under the weather?”, before she can respond he lets her know that it’s the ricin that he slipped into her stevia packet, and that it’s killing her. Our last shot of her is of shock and fear. Walt ends the call by simply saying “Goodbye Lydia” and hanging up.
By now Walt has also stepped outside, and before Jesse gets into a car, they exchange the slightest of nods. It’s the last time they’ll ever see each other. We see Jesse drive off, breaking through the chain link fence and down the road, as fast as that car will take him, letting out a yell of emotion and release as he realizes he’s completely free.
Walt, now all alone, walks over to the lab where Jesse had been cooking. the song Baby Blue starts to be played. He picks up a mask, and takes a few moments touching and admiring the equipment. He pauses, and literally (or as literally as possible) stops to look at himself, seeing that he was reflected in his own work. From one of the camera angles we see police lights on cruisers driving in . The police arrive and Walt’s now bled out lying on the ground, mask at his side, where he felt most alive.
And that’s it.
For my thoughts on the finale (including the title, which this blog got too long for), and the quality of the series over all I’ll be posting a link to a separate blog here.
Thanks for reading!