October 3, 2013

Breaking Bad - Felina

I tend to have problems with the ending of shows. I get so invested into the story line that my expectations of the themes and characters can never be satisfied by the actual outcomes. To a certain extent, this was true with Breaking Bad. I really enjoyed the last episode, but I can’t help but feel like we should have gotten something more. Considering the themes of the show and the “lessons” we are supposed to take away from it, I perceived some inconsistency. Whether we are supposed to believe in karma or not, the tide changed for Walt, as shown by his prayer at the beginning and the appearance of the car keys in the visor. For some reason, things started going his way again… up to a point.

I watched seasons 1–4 all crammed together. One season spilled into the next. I couldn’t stop. Season 5a was the first time I had watched the show week to week. Not surprisingly, the pacing of the show seemed to completely change for me. Season 5(a&b) seemed the most uneven and oddly paced. I’m guessing I didn’t notice that in the other seasons because I was able to power right on to the exciting episode right after a slow episode and it all evened out. However, these last few episodes felt like they were all over the place. “Granite State” dragged only to be thrown into the chopped up and rushed feeling “Felina”. I didn’t understand why it had to be that way.

The final episode gave us plenty to like. Some might even argue that it contained too much fan service. Here are a few of my favorite moments…

  • The slow break-in to the Schwartz’s and the laser pointer scare.
  • Walt’s confession that it was all about him.
  • Walt’s goodbye to Holly… along with his almost identical goodbye to a meth cook-tank.
  • Todd’s demise & Jesse’s catharsis.

One of my largest gripes about the final season was the flash-forward plot device. I always thought we would spend the last 2, or maybe even 3, episodes in flash-forward land. That didn’t happen. It was all in the finale. I do feel like it was handled well, and integrated seamlessly. I’m still not sure the flash-forwards added more than they took away. We might have been better off without them. They generated excitement and anticipation, but ultimately didn’t follow-through on the collective expectations the flash-forwards created.

Overall, Breaking Bad is probably the best television series I’ve ever watched. It will be difficult to top. The ending was good, but not exactly what I expected from the show. And by "not what I expected", I mean it was less unexpected, which makes no sense. I’m sad it is all over, but it was nice to see a show go out while it was still on top.

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