After re-watching Breaking Bad for the second time ever, not only did I enjoy it all over again for the intense atmosphere, hilarious moments and such clever writing that you never know what is going to happen next; I also discovered a new found love for the ending. In this article I’ll show you 13 reasons why it’s perfect and how other TV Shows should take note.
In TV shows specifically, the ending of a series can sometimes leave a little to be desired; and the reason why, is often down to the fact that the writers have a show planned with a Pilot and a premise and then need to work season after season negotiating budgets and renewal opportunities. Generally speaking they never really have the stability required to plan it out properly beginning to end and if they do, there’s a hell of a lot of crappy filler in between. The biggest offender in my TV show watching days is Dexter, terrible. Dexter is one of my favourite shows of all time, up until season 5 where it completely lost its way. It then went on due to its popularity for another 4 seasons before coming to its end. Don’t worry, no spoilers, but sorry to say, the ending is utterly horrific.
The Walking Dead is another show which I’m afraid seems to be going on that direction. A show which due to popularity is milking it as much as it possibly can before it inevitably comes to its awful demise. Of course producers of Dexter and TWD in particular won’t be complaining, as let’s face it, they’ve had an amazing run and made a lot of money. But for me, this is at the detriment of the viewer. I don’t blame TV show producers/writers and I’m sure there’s more reasons than I could possibly know, as to why this happens a lot, but it’s extremely disappointing when it does.
**Breaking Bad Spoilers Ahead**
This is where Breaking Bad prevails. Considered one of the greatest TV Shows of all time, which I do agree with, it’s the ending that really impressed me most in my second watch through. Breaking Bad manged to tie up all its loose ends and really hit you in the feels while doing so. You don’t come away from Breaking Bad feeling something was missing, it’s a very fulfilling well thought out ending to a great show. And here’s 13 reasons why!
1. Jack’s Death.
If you remember, Jack was one of the evil scum bags who steals Walt’s money and kills Hank. He’s also responsible for the death of Jesse’s girlfriend Andrea when sending a message to Jesse for trying to escape. Jack is nothing but a Nazi douche who uses other people, is blinded by greed and doesn’t care who he hurts. At the end it’s Walt who kills him pointblank with a gun, but it’s the way he does it which is perfect. Jack uses Walt’s greed to plead for his life but by the end of the show Walt doesn’t care about his stolen money any more. Walt cuts off his sentence and kills him, exactly the same way that Jack kills Hank. It’s poetic and a really satisfying moment.
2. Skyler’s get out of jail free card.
I’ll probably write a different article on my feelings on Skyler as I had a completely different opinion of her second time round. Whilst Skyler’s ending is grim, losing her husband and brother in-law Hank, Walt gives Skyler the location of Hank’s body, thus giving her something to make a deal with the DEA on. Hank and Steve Gomes (killed by Jack) are high end DEA Agents and would make a very, very impressive deal for the person who gave them the opportunity to bury their own, rather than leave them in the dessert to rot. It’s safe to assume this is what Skyler did and I like to think this was the best parting consolation Walt could have left her.
3. Marie’s grief.
On the subject of Hank’s body, let’s also remember the grief and horror poor Marie has to endure following the death of her beloved husband Hank. In giving Skyler the location of his body, Marie gets the closure she needs and whilst it’s probably not the closure she wants, I like to think this allows her to move on with her life. It would have been nice to have some official confirmation from the writers about what happened with Marie, as for me she was one of the biggest victims of Walt’s drug empire.
4. Jesse’s Escape.
Jesse is used by practically every single person he meets throughout the entire series and nobody more than Walt himself. Nearly every bad thing that happens to Jesse is Walt’s fault. The manipulation and horror he endures due to his partner is seriously messed up and for Walt to ever so slightly make it up to Jesse by freeing him, makes for a fulfilling ending. After being locked up as a slave for months, for Walt to do what he does (albeit having his own motives too) killing Jack and his cronies, is a satisfying end as we see Jesse driving away screaming in relief.
5. Badger & Skinny Pete.
It would have been easy to forget about Jesse’s two comrades during the epicness of the final few episodes but Badger and Skinny are important parts of the entire plot of Breaking Bad. They help setup the drug empire to begin with and are a hilarious background relief to the series as a whole. In Walt’s blackmail of Gretchen and Elliott, he pays Badger and Skinny handsomely to scare his ex-partners into giving his money to Walt-Jnr in the future. They don’t seem to really understand what they’ve just done, which kind of sums the pair up, but you feel like they’ve been part of something good in the end and hope they go on to at the very least not get themselves into serious trouble in the future.
6. Elliott and Gretchen’s blackmail.
The writers would be forgiven for glossing over Elliott and Gretchen, mainly because they were only ever in the series to help paint the picture of Walt being a family man who never quite fulfilled his potentially. The couple are what Walt “could have been” had he applied himself like he is forever suggesting Jesse doesn’t do. We’re given a final scene with Elliott and Gretchen, which whilst it was satisfying in terms of Walt-Jnr’s future pay out, felt a little harsh on the two. It wasn’t Walt’s finest moment but kept with the narrative of his greed and obsession with using his well earned drug money to be the one which pays out in the future. Admittedly Elliott and Gretchen did slander Walt on TV (which was his defining lightbulb moment to go after them) but who wouldn’t when your businesses reputation is as risk due to the actions of a very distance ex-partner.
7. Todd’s demise.
Oh Todd, you absolutely weirdo. Todd was one of my favourite characters due to his bizarre unpredictability and cruel, yet respectful ways of treating people. Even towards the end when he knows Jack is going to kill Walt, he still addresses him as Mr White. Todd if you remember was responsible for the death of Drew Sharp (the kid on the motorbike who witnesses the train robbery) and also poor Andrea’s demise, who innocently takes a bullet in the back of the head after Jesse tries to escape Jack’s camp. Todd is cruel, dumb and cold, which ultimately leads to his demise. After Walt shoots up the club house with his homemade gun holster, Jesse kills Todd using the chains he locked him in. It’s a very befitting end to a horrible character, who had it coming more than most in the entire series.
8. Lydia killed by Camomile tea.
Similar to Todd, Lydia is a cold killer but unlike Todd, she’s smart and very panicky. You realise this when she first meets Mike and tries to have him and his men killed. She’s impulsive but has a smart head on her shoulders, always careful and always trying to stay one step ahead. Finally after seasons of waiting, Walt finally uses the ricin and uses it in a brilliant way by slipping it into Lydia’s tea before she even knows it. It sends her down with flu-esc symptoms as Walt predicts and as she’s calls Todd to confirm that he’s disposed of Walt, it’s actually Walt who answers. He ends the call is a very Mike fashion by saying “Goodbye Lydia” which feels like a nod to Mike, a hit he should have taken out when he had the chance.
9. Goodbye Walt-Jnr and Holly.
Walt gets his chance to say goodbye to Holly. Quite how he manages to get past the cops and into the halfway house that Skyler is staying in, is a different story, but the details are less important here as we see him handover Hank’s body location and get to say goodbye to Holly who he’ll never see again. As he leaves he also sees Walt-Jnr arrive home and despite the selfishness of wanting to reach out, lets him pass by. Walt-Jnr will never know how much his Dad loved him and it’s a sad moment as Walt realises that his believed son will always hate him and never know that the money was from Walt and not Gretchen and Elliott, on his 18th birthday.
10. Saul’s new life.
Saul Goodman is basically the best character in Breaking Bad and that’s the reason he has his own spin-off show. Actually my second watch through of Breaking Bad made me appreciate Better Call Saul even more. The idea that Jimmy rebranded his life to Saul and then at the end of the Breaking Bad Saul rebrands himself again is very fitting. You almost feel like there could be another spin-off never seen about Saul starting a new life and building a new career for himself. He leaves grabbing a new identity having been involved so heavily in building Walt’s business.
11. Walt’s own bullet kills him.
Beautifully written, it’s actually Walt’s gun/car contraption which he sets up to take down Jack and his gang that kills him. During the clubhouse shootout, Walt dives on Jesse to protect him and takes a bullet in the process. This was something Walt didn’t plan, as he clearly had Jesse earmarked to finish him off, but when Jesse finally refuses to be used any longer and leaves, Walt slowly dies and bleeds out in a Meth lab just before the police arrive.
12. Walt admits it was all for him.
During his final confrontation with Skyler, the pair finally have a moment of honesty for the first time in years. When Walt tries to explain why he did it all, Skyler interrupts him and mentions that if she has to hear him say it was “for the family” one more time… but he stops her in her tracks and says “I did it for me”. This is the first time we’ve actually heard Walt say this. It’s a big deal because throughout the entire 5 seasons, Walt has always justified his actions by admitting he won’t be around forever and wants to leave money and security to his family. Of course Walt’s empire may well have started this way, but as he grew into the role, it became much more. Walt, in the end, is doing it for himself.
For example, after Gus Fring is killed, Walt still refuses to back down from the business, despite everybody around him explaining that he’s made enough money to last multiple lifetimes. His obsession and selfishness drives him to continue cooking and he even decides to work with the insane Todd, just so he can carry on. At this point it’s not about money, it’s about what he wants to do, what “he’s good at”. It’s nice to see him finally admit this to Skyler and I think it’s what she needs for closure.
13. The final song choice.
As we watch Walt die from his own bullet in Jack’s lab, we zoom out on his face as the police storm in to find him there. We hear possibly the perfect song in a finale to go with it, Badfinger – Baby Blue. It takes a while to zoom out and the credits to role and during the whole time you’re left sitting there to reflect on the 5 seasons you’ve watched and realise “this is finally it, this wonderful TV show is finished forever”. No Walt, no party. Walt is the architect of his own downfall and despite our “hero” dying in front of us, we have a mutual respect for one-another as one of the greatest TV series of all time ends.
Have a watch of the below, re-live the moment and of course, let me know your thoughts in the comments or on social.