Now that that's out of the way, let's get to "Felina." Spoilers after the break!!!
So Breaking Bad is no more. Six years of passionate debate, conjecture, and sometimes demented fandom have lead to "Felina," and I have to say, I'm kinda disappointed. (Go ahead and rant and rave and threaten to show up at my house with a trunk-mounted M60. I'll wait until you're done. Better? Good.)
I'm with it when Walt takes revenge on Elliott and Gretchen. It's right in line with his petty pride. And for everyone celebrating his revenge out there, remember that it was Walt who threw a hissy-fit way back when and who asked to be bought out of the fledgling company. Gretchen and Elliott didn't con Walt out of anything. It was his stupid pride, even then. Check out the conversation between he and Gretchen in 2.06 "Peekaboo" if you don't believe me. So yeah, his scam on them is right in line with the Walt we've come to know and loathe.
Now, a big chunk of my problem with "Felina" is my own desire to see Walt punished, I know that, and that it's my own weird fan-boy thing. Fine. But I really, really don't like the fact that Walt wins in the end. He ties up every single loose end in one final multiple murder, and chooses the time of his own death, leaving the world with a fond smile. "Felina" is anticlimactic to say the least, and it just doesn't satisfy. At least he finally admitted that he did all of this for himself, to feed his ego and pride, and he goes on feeding them until the very end. Still, this episode was like topping of the finest, gourmet, multi-course meal in history with a dessert of Pop Rocks. Breaking Bad really should have ended with "Ozymandias," but it couldn't, because of the previous appearances of Walt52. It wasn't a rushed ending, and that may have been the problem. I think maybe Gilligan & Co. had a little too much time to think about this one. In trying for perfection, they achieved a mundane episode of Breaking Bad, which still makes it the best thing on TV in the past week.
So much for my personal irks with the show. Take 'em or leave 'em, but there were some real problems with the episode as well. First and foremost: the Nazis didn't check the trunk of Walt's car? Seriously?!? Kenny checks the interior, they search Walt thoroughly, even taking his wallet and keys but they conveniently forget to check the enormous trunk of that land-yacht he was driving? Also, every Nazi in the compound was in that one room, and only Todd managed to get low enough to avoid getting shot, so that he could be killed by a righteously vengeful Jesse? Sure it was proper, but it was also a bit too contrived. Finally, the appearances of Marie, Badger, and Skinny Pete were forced, coming off like cameos rather than being intrinsic elements of the story.
I did like the cold open showing the young Jesse crafting the exquisite wooden box he mentioned in 4.07 "Problem Dog." This was the one truly perfect moment of the episode: the transition between an act of loving creation at a time in Jesse's life when so many possibilities were open to him, to an act of forced creation by a scarred and enslaved man who's every possibility has been ripped away, was just brilliant - and heartbreaking. That scene aside, though, I think this was my least favorite episode of the series, and I kinda hate that.
So that's it for this week's Meth Monday, and for the last ever look at a new episode of Breaking Bad. Despite my problems with the finale, I am going to miss this show, and its absence will create something of a hole in my life. Television, particularly good television, requires making a commitment of five, six, ten, or more years as you go on a journey into an unfolding story. Television like Breaking Bad is every bit as satisfying as the most brilliant of novels, but novels take time, man, and when you finish a great one, there's a period of casting about as you pick up this and that and then discard them because they pale in comparison to what you just read. I suspect it will be the same with Breaking Bad for me. I keep a list of TV series recommended (not to say pushed on) to me, but I don't know - this will take some time. Breaking Bad really was the best show that's ever aired, Readers Mine, and how do you follow that?
Yet this will not be the end of Meth Monday. We're now officially on the last push on the final parts of Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Guide to Breaking Bad, so look for updates on that, as well as info on book signings, tours, etc. in the future. (I might even be persuaded to go to Ontario Provence. Maybe.) In the meantime, give me a follow on the various social networks linked to at the top right of this page for all the Breaking Bad stuff that crosses my screen, and be sure to head over to Dale's blog later in the week for Walter White Wednesday. It'll be worth it: her opinion of "Felina" diverges from mine. Until next time, Readers Mine, be well.