Previously, on Breaking Bad: “Granite State”
After the previous episode caught us back up to Walt’s return to Albuquerque and finally–maybe–saw our anti-hero let go of his life as “Walter White” when his son basically told him to fuck off and die, the series finale of Breaking Bad promised to be 75 minutes of must-see television.
The episode begins with a cold and beardy Walter White climbing into an unlocked and snow-covered car. He searches the glove compartment for keys but only finds a Marty Robbins cassette tape and a screwdriver. After unsuccessfully trying to use the screwdriver to crank the car, he sits back and takes a moment to watch his cold breath. Through the rear window, we see the red and blue lights of a police car slowly passing by. Luckily for Walt, the car’s windows are all covered with snow, so you can barely tell the car has even been touched. If the car had crank immediately, perhaps the police notice him and all is over. Anyway, the cop keeps it moving, and Walt thinks to check the obvious place: atop the visor. He checks, and the keys fall into his lap. When he cranks the car, Marty Robbins’ El Paso begins playing; in that song is the following stanza:
From out of nowhere Felina has found me,
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms that I’ll die for,
One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.
That stanza does not play, but it’s in the song. That’s presumably where the episode got its title. Walt smacks the window to remove the snow and drives off. After driving awhile, we see Walt pull into a gas station where he approaches a payphone and calls “Susan”. Susan seems to be someone (an assistant, maybe?) of Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz. Walt pretends to want to set up a meeting, but he’s actually just finding out when the publicity hound couple will be home.
Next, we see the Schwartzes arrive to their palatial estate. They make their way inside and begin talking about rich people shit like stock prices before we’re then shown that Walt is there waiting for them inside. They don’t initially see him, however; we’re treated to more of their “happy couple” conversation, while Walt coolly looks through some of their photos. Gretchen walks right by Walt on her way to light the fireplace; then she turns around and is startled by the sight of him in all his beardy, scary glory. Elliot runs to her side and sees that it’s Walt. They, of course, want to know what he’s doing there, and he tells them he’s actually there to give them something; something that is in his car on the other side of their big, fancy gate. As you would expect, they are not receptive to this “trip” they’ll need to take to his car, so Elliot points his little butter knife at Walt. To this, Walt scoffs and says, “If we’re going to go that route, you’re going to need a bigger knife.” Elliot drops the knife.
You probably recalled the giant freaking gun Walt has in his trunk, right? I sure did, and I thought maybe that’s the “gift” he had for them. It’s not, however! The gift is actually Walt’s money. It’s not actually a gift for the Schwartzes, though; Walt has brilliantly decided the only way he can get his family to accept his money is if they don’t know it’s coming from him, so it will come from Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz, the philanthropists who have recently decided to throw so much of their money toward fighting the evils of methamphetamine in the Southwest. What greater evil has come from meth than a man who destroyed his family by becoming a drug kingpin? It’s a perfect plan, but can he trust them to carry it through? I mean, his plan is for them to gift the money to Walt Jr. on his 18th birthday, which is 10 whole months away. What’s to stop the Schwartzes from keeping the money, if they don’t just call the police the moment he leaves? Did Walt think of that? Of course he did! After “shaking on it”, Walt begins to leave, but he stops and asks if he can trust them. They say yes, but Walt isn’t convinced, so he gestures through the window, and two red dots appear on the Schwartzes. Walt says he took $200,000 of his money and gave it to the two best sharpshooters west of the Mississippi. No matter what happens to Walt, those hired guns will follow the Schwartzes everywhere they go and kill them if they decide to do anything other than what Walt has told them to do. With that, he leaves them to it.
Outside, Walt pulls his car over, and the two “sharpshooters” jump into his car. They’re actually just Badger and Skinny Pete. Fear is what will keep Gretchen and Elliot in line. In the car, Walt asks them about the blue meth he heard was still being sold on the streets; he asks them who is selling it, and they are surprised to learn that it isn’t Walt who is cooking it and selling it. When Walt angrily assumes it’s Jesse who is cooking the meth, both Badger and Skinny Pete are surprised again (they’re surprised fairly often); they were under the impression that Jesse had moved to Alaska.
Next, we see a truncated version of the opening scene of the season (half-season?); the flash-forward we saw before where Walt was playing with his bacon, loading his trunk, and retrieving the ricin from his boarded-up former home. During that, Walt stops for a moment, and we’re treated to his memory of the first time he asked Hank about the money the DEA had seized (you know, the scene when Hank, all cock-sure, offered to take Walt for a ride-along to get a little excitement in his life; that sure backfired).
Now we check in on Jesse; he’s actually doing a little woodworking. He’s sanding and staining and… dreaming. This scene is actually a memory Jesse is experiencing about that time when he made a box in Mr. Pike’s class. That’s maybe the only thing he’s ever been really good at. Well, other than cooking meth, which is what he’s actually doing when we snap out of his dreamworld and back into reality. He’s still on his little tether at the Uncles of Anarchy’s compound.
Then we see Lydia meeting with Todd, at her favorite meeting spot. This time, she lets Todd sit at her table, so they’re apparently growing their relationship. That’s when Walt sneaks over to the counter behind them (does something?) then turns around and pulls a chair up to Todd and Lydia’s table. He convinces them to sit there and listen to him for two minutes. He says he has spent all of his money, and he wants to come cook with them again. He claims to have a new method to teach Todd that doesn’t require methylamine. Lydia pretends to be interested, but she’s not. She thinks she’s tricking Walt, but we know he’s really the one playing them. After Walt leaves, we see Lydia open a packet of her favorite Stevia shit and dump it into her tea. The camera makes a point to focus heavily on this act because we’re to assume Walt (while at the counter?) replaced her packet of Stevia with a packet of Stevia-labeled ricin, bitch! It would make sense that her habits were her downfall, since that’s also how Walt says he was able to find them: she always met him in this same cafe, at this same time, on the same day.
Next, we see Walt is out in the desert assembling something that looks like another of his fancy-schmancy science experiments. While he’s doing this, the string around his neck–the one with his wedding ring on it–slips out from underneath his shirt. He puts it back down his collar and continues his work. It seems maybe this contraption will somehow automatically fire the big-ass gun? We’ll see.
In town, we drop in on Skyler, as we first hear her phone ring a few times before an answering machine picks up; it’s Marie calling to tell her about something she heard about Walt. Skyler picks up the phone and listens to Marie tell her about how Walt has been seen back in town. I guess it’s been long enough that Marie has gone back to her old self… a gossip. Skyler says she hasn’t seen Walt, and blah blah blah. They talk for a moment, and Marie finally lets Skyler off the line; that’s when the camera, which has remained still this whole time, finally changes positions and shows that Walt is there with Skyler. She tells him he has five minutes. That’s all he’ll need because this conversation seems to just be a final goodbye. The two biggest things to come out of this conversation are 1. Walt finally admits to Skyler that he didn’t do it all for “family”; he says, “I did it for me. I was good at it… and I was… alive.” 2. Walt pulls out his wallet (which prompts Skyler to be all “We don’t want you money”; to which Walt lies and says he spent it all); what he’s giving her is the lottery ticket with the GPS coordinates on it. He tells her it’s where the bodies of Hank and Gomez are (the hilarious moment is when Walt tells her this; he’s like “Hank… oh, and Gomez”, like Gomez was an afterthought; poor Gomey).
He FINALLY explains that he did not kill Hank (or Gomez), but that it was the same men who stole the money. Now he’s going to pay them back. Skyler is adult enough to sit there and listen to the truth. It’s a great final moment between the two of them. Before he leaves, Walt asks to see Holly; the two of them go into her room where she’s sleeping in her crib. She has gotten huge! You know… because time.. Walt leaves before Walt Jr. can come home and bitchfit all over everything. We do see him, though, because Walt waits all creeper-like to see Junior get off his school bus. We also see that there are still some cops watching their apartment, so it looks like Walt is still inexplicably able to sneak into places that are being watched.
Now it’s time for Walt to meet with Jack and “come back to work”, or so they think he thinks. Walt pulls up to their fence, and Kenny gets into the car with Walt. They open the gate, and Walt’s pulls his car right on up to the front door. However, he makes sure to park parallel to the building, as opposed to perpendicular. I wonder why he did that? No I don’t! I know exactly why he did that shit! They walk inside, and Jack is there waiting. At first, Walt plays up his “I’m here because I want to introduce you to this amazing new cooking method!” scheme, and all of Jack’s guys play right into it. Jack’s all, “I don’t need you. I have Lydia.” Walt even turns to Todd and tells him to talk some sense into Jack, but Todd is all “You really shouldn’t have come back, Mr. White.” At that moment, Kenny pulls a gun out and points it at the back of Walt’s head; he asks Jack “Where do you want it?” to which Jack replies, “Anywhere but right in my fucking living room! Take him outside!” Before Kenny can comply, Walt tells Jack “You owe me!” Walt says Jack owes him because they said they would kill Jesse, but they didn’t; instead, they’ve partnered with him. Jack’s all “Bullshit! I’ll show you!” Jack tells Todd to go get Jesse, but Todd hesitates because Jesse is in the middle of a cook; Todd doesn’t say why he doesn’t want to interrupt Jesse, but we know it’s because Todd knows you have to pay attention to the cook at all times. Jack doesn’t give a shit because Walt just called him a liar! Jack is a simple man with simple pride.
While Todd is fetching Jesse, Walt makes his way over to the pool table where his keys and wallet have carelessly been laid. Walt slyly picks up his keys, right as Todd brings a shackled Jesse hopping into the room. Jack says, “See? Does he look like my ‘partner’?” This was clearly not part of Walt’s plan; he didn’t realize Jesse was being forced to cook for Jack. Walt and Jesse look each other up and down; two men who have been through hell and look every bit of it. Suddenly, Walt leaps onto Jesse. While the two of them are on the ground, Walt extends his hand into the air holding his key fob! Then he dramatically presses the trunk release. This triggers the trunk to open, which raises the big-ass gun, and it begins to fire wildly into the building. Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science! Bitch!
Kenny? Fucking dead. All the other nameless nazi bastards? Fucking dead. The only people left alive are Walt, Jesse, Todd, and Jack; though Jack has been severely wounded. That was such a rewarding moment.
It gets better, though! Todd is completely unharmed. He crawls over to the window to look out and see who the hell is shooting up the place, but he sees that it’s actually just Walt’s ingenious, automated system. Todd is impressed; after everything, Todd is still genuinely impressed with the way Walt was able to kill his entire family. Todd begins to address Walt with “Mr. White–” when Jesse interrupts him by jumping him from behind and choking him with the very chains Todd put on him.
As Jesse is writhing around on the ground choking the life out of Todd, I couldn’t help but remember when Todd killed Andrea; he said it wasn’t personal. Jesse shows him just how fucking personal it is, and Todd fully understands for the roughly 30 seconds he lives. After Jesse finally snaps Todd’s neck, he grabs Todd’s keys and begins unlocking himself.
While Jesse does that, Walt is circling Jack, who is lying on the floor and bleeding right there int he middle of his living room. Walt picks up Kenny’s gun and points it at Jack’s head, but Jack gestures for him to wait. Jack picks up his cigarette and puts it in his mouth; this is when Jack begins to barter. He appeals to Walt’s greedy side by saying, “You want the rest of your money, right?” Walt lets him continue, “Well, you’ll never get it if you pull that–” Walt pulls the trigger and kills Jack, just like Jack had killed Hank in the middle of his sentence. Walt doesn’t give a fuck about the rest of the money; his family is going to get millions from the Schwartzes, and Walt finally says that’s enough.
Now Walt turns to face Jesse. Walt leans down and slides the gun across the floor to Jesse’s feet. As Jesse picks it up and points it at Walt, Walt says, “Do it. You want this.” Jesse doesn’t do it, though. He replies, “You say it. You say you want this; nothing happens until I hear you say it.” Without hesitation, Walt says he wants it. Jesse contemplates for a moment–while noticing that one of the bullets from Walt’s big-ass gun already hit Walt in the gut–and he puts the gun down. “Then do it yourself.” With that, Jesse walks away.
After Jesse walks outside, Walt hears Todd’s phone ringing. It’s Lydia calling. Walt answers, and Lydia asks, “Is it done? Is he gone?” Walt replies that yes, it is done, and he is gone; they’re all gone. Lydia still hasn’t realized it’s Walt; she’s all “Todd?” But Walt keeps talking; he tells her that he knows she’s probably feeling a little under the weather, and that’s because he slipped some ricin into her precious Stevia. She’s dying, and she’s dying slowly. She may have gotten the worst punishment of anyone.
Walt hangs up and tosses the phone, as he walks outside. We see Jesse is getting into Todd’s car; he and Walt share a glance before he gets in, backs out, and goes speeding through the gate of the compound. Jesse is laughing like a madman the entire way. This is the last we see of him… bitch.
Walt meanders his way over to their lab. He seems impressed with how they’ve followed his lead. This is his legacy, and it is intact. He admires just how clean the equipment is… and then leaves some bloody hand prints on everything. The final shot of the series is a smiling Walt laying on the floor of this lab that he had nothing to do with (and everything to do with); he dies, as the police come tepidly approaching his body, and we hear Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” play over the camera’s pan out and fade to black. In the end, Walter White and Heisenberg become a single entity, and now he will get the credit/blame for having been cooking the blue meth all this time, and it will die with him.
100% satisfaction with this finale. Everyone was revisited one last time. It was so, so good.