SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the series finale ("Felina") of "Breaking Bad" contains storyline and character spoilers.
"Breaking Bad" fans expected no less than a satisfying end to the journey of high school chemistry teacher-turned-meth-cooking drug kingpin Walter White, and they got that in Sunday's series finale… and then some.
The quick hits: Walt's dead; Todd and Uncle Jack and their whole crew are dead; and uptight, tea-sipping Madrigal exec/drug trafficker Lydia was on the receiving end of Walt's vial of ricin (i.e. death is imminent).
Still alive and kicking: Skyler, Marie, Walt Jr., and Holly. Oh, and maybe Huell… and he may even (still) be sitting in that hotel room, waiting for Hank and Gomey to come back and get him.
But that was one of the few loose ends left in a tightly-plotted, 75-minute episode that allowed Walter White to accomplish nearly everything he'd set out to in the series pilot (minus surviving).
Walt's pile of cash, a little more than $9 million, will end up in the hands of his family. He couldn't give it to them directly — they didn't want his ill-gotten gains, and the police would have confiscated it as crime money — so Walt tracked down his Gray Matter partners Elliott and Gretchen, unloaded the cash into their living room, and made them promise they'd use their net worth and philanthropic reputation to get the money to Walt Jr. under the guise of a trust.
And no, of course he didn't simply trust that they'd do it; he hired two "hit men" — which turned out to be clueless Skinny Pete and Badger in hoods — to make the Schwartzes think they'd be killed if they didn't find a way to get Junior to take the cast from them.
And Walt's satisfying final words to former cohorts Elliott and Gretchen, who it had been hinted throughout the series had not had clean hands in the dissolution of their partnership with Walt: "Cheer up, beautiful people… this is where you get to make it right."
Once he made his way back to Albuquerque from New Hampshire — thanks to a stolen car — Walt got a new car, bought that M60 gun, and paid a visit to Skyler. He gave her his lottery ticket, the one with the coordinates to his money hideaway in To'hajiilee, which not only would allow her to lead the authorities to Hank and Gomey's bodies, but provide her a bargaining chip to get the police off her back.
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He bid adieu to Holly, he watched Junior get home from school, and he gave Skyler something she valued more than all his millions. He finally admitted what had become clear to everyone, even himself, throughout his years of cookin' and killin': He wasn't doing it all for the family.
"I did it for me," he told Skyler. "I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."
Walt, capitalizing on the meticulous habits of Lydia, staked her out at her Tuesday-morning-at-10AM spot: the café where she had met him so many times, drinking her tea with stevia. He surprised her, and Todd, when he pulled up a chair and sat at their table, ostensibly to pitch them on his new idea of how to make high-quality meth without the methylamine. Only at the end of the episode, when Walt answered a cell call Lydia was making to Todd, did we get confirmation of what Walt was really up to at the café: He had replaced the stevia in her sweetener packet with ricin. And those flu symptoms she was feeling? Nope, those would be the effects of the deadly ricin, working its way through her system.
And then there's Todd. That M60 was connected to an automatic door-opener system Walt had configured to oscillate, while the automatic weapon unloaded its ammo. And after worming his way into Todd and Uncle Jack's compound — and making them think he was there because he was angry they'd never killed Jesse — he gathered all of them (plus Jesse) into one room, used his car lock remote to launch the weapon, and took Jack's minions out while he dove on top of Jesse on the floor.
By the time the gun was out of bullets, Walt and Jesse were still alive (though Walt had been badly wounded by the gun), Uncle Jack was dying (which Walt finished off with a shot to the head), and Todd was looking out the window… which is when a shackled Jesse wrapped his chains and cuffs around Todd's neck and strangled him, finally snapping his neck as retribution for the deaths of Drew Sharp and Andrea.
And then, Walt. He passed a gun to Jesse, giving his former mentee and partner the chance to kill him. Jesse declined, and ended his association with Walt by driving off, as fast as he could, out of the compound.
Walt made his way into the compound's meth lab, and lovingly looked at the lab supplies, as sirens blared and cop cars made their way towards the scene. Walt placed a bloody hand on a cooker and dropped to the ground, as police entered the lab and surrounded him. But Heisenberg went out on his own terms: in a lab, surrounded by his beloved tools of chemistry, and by his own hand (or handiwork).
It's as perfect, and perfectly satisfying, an ending as we could have imagined. But tell us, "Bad" fans: Did you love it? Did it surprise you? Did it make you cry? Did Walt get what he deserved?
Go inside the series finale of "Breaking Bad" right here:
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