It's the morning after the "Breaking Bad" series finale, and our final verdict is that it was a finale so satisfying, it only sealed "Breaking Bad's" place as one of the greatest series in TV history.
Still, after one mostly sleepless night spent mulling over the finale's events and how they tied back to the rest of the series, we do have questions. Like a lot of "BB" devotees, we're wondering what happened to Huell (Lavell Crawford)? Was he arrested? Was he just sent on his way after Hank and Steve Gomez never returned? He can't still be sitting in that motel room on the government's dime, can he?
And what about Jesse? The fact that series creator Vince Gilligan and the writers allowed him to survive the finale was a gift to fans; we all really wanted Jesse to survive, even though there was concern he would be so broken that it would amount to nothing more than merely surviving. But the way he zoomed, full speed ahead, out of that compound? Jesse is off to a new start, hopefully a peaceful one, but where? To Alaska, where Saul's fixer was going to send him before he figured out Walt's poisoning of Brock? And what about Brock? We know he had a grandmother, but would Jesse try to connect with the now-motherless boy before going off to… wherever he was going?
Watch the final scene from last night's "Breaking Bad" finale right here:
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Aaron Paul, the Emmy-winning (and deserving of another for Season 5, Part 2) actor who played Jesse, told Entertainment Weekly he thinks Jesse gets a happy ending. "In my mind, he gets the hell out of Dodge," he said. "He’s like, ‘Oh my God.’ I think he probably goes and says bye to Brock, if he can, or at least just sees him from a distance and then he leaves. Maybe Alaska, maybe New Zealand. Becomes a bush pilot. It’s all part of the story.”
Added Gilligan, "All these terrible things he’s witnessed are going to scar him as well, but the romantic in me wants to believe that he gets away with it and moves to Alaska and has a peaceful life communing with nature.” Us, too.
Other questions we may never get answers to:
The Gray Matter Matter
What was the real reason Walter severed his partnership with Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott (Adam Godley), his Gray Matter partners? It was one of the finale's most clever twists that he used them as a way to (potentially) get what was left of his ill-gotten millions into his family's hands, but what happened to make him split with them so many years ago?
There were hints along the way of a Gretchen/Walt romance. In Season 2's "Peekaboo," Gretchen and Walt had a tense conversation in which he accuses her and Elliott of cutting him out of the company. "My hard work, my research, and you and Elliott made millions off of it," he says, adding that she was a rich girl just adding to her wealth. She, meanwhile, brought up a July 4th holiday from long ago, when she and Walt were visiting her family, and Walt packed his bags and left with no explanation.
We also know that Gray Matter's success — he checks its stock price every week, he tells Jesse, and it's now worth billions — is one of Walt's driving forces. He is embittered by the company's success, and specifically, its success without him, and while, again, it was satisfying to see him find a way to make the Schwartzes part of his end game to take care of his family, we still wonder what, exactly, happened all those years ago.
Walt's plan, and intentions, were good, and that it also gave us the chance to see Badger (Matt Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) one more time was most excellent, but would the plan actually work? Skyler and Walt Jr. made it clear to Walt they did not want his drug money. If they were unwilling to take $100,000 — or however much he had stuffed into that Ensure box — would they really be fooled by, and accept, a $9 million gift from Gretchen and Elliott? After all, they've long been aware that it was not the Schwartzes who paid for Walt's initial round of cancer treatment, and the marrieds have not been a part of their lives since. In fact, in the "Charlie Rose" clip from "Granite State," they publicly denigrated Walt's role as a Gray Matter co-founder. Are Skyler and Junior, then, going to accept what they will certainly see as charity from the Schwartzes? Doesn't seem likely.
The Other Money
Where did Uncle Jack stash the barrels of cash he stole from Walt? Does Jesse know, maybe from overhearing them plotting in his time as a meth lab prisoner? Doesn't it make you a little giddy to imagine the possibility that he did, and on his way out of town, he picks up the cash, drops some of it off for Brock and his grandma, before heading off to… wherever he ends up?
Marie was not the most stable, emotionally, of "Breaking Bad" characters, but she seemed not only to have adjusted fairly well to life without Hank in the few months that passed between his death and the events of the series finale, but to have been willing to forgive, or at least somewhat reconcile with, Skyler. Was Marie stronger than we thought all along?
Or was she still holding on to hope that Hank might be alive? When Walt gave Skyler the lottery ticket with the numbers that were also the GPS coordinates to where Hank and Gomey are buried, he provided her with a bargaining chip to deal with the authorities, but also closure for the family in the form of getting the chance to properly bury Hank. How will that knowledge, and that finality, affect Marie?
We aren't one hundred percent certain she's dead. We know she was poisoned; we knew that from that shot in the café that zoomed in on her stirring the stevia into her tea. The phone call where Walt informs her she was poisoned was just the stevia-sweetened icing on the cake. But is there some way she might have gotten herself to an ER before the ricin did fatal damage?
And then there are the topics we might get more info on someday, via that "Better Call Saul" spinoff with Bob Odenkirk. We know it's a prequel, but we don't know where in Saul's past it will begin. His law school days? The beginnings of his "Better Call Saul"-type legal maneuverings? That means we could see characters like Gus Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, and Huell Babineux again.
And "Better Call Saul" might include updates on what Saul's doing now. Maybe he really is on the retail management track — complete with a uniform that includes Dockers — at a Cinnabon in Nebraska.
"Breaking Bad" Bits, our last round-up of things we loved from the series:
* The series finale broke the ratings record for the show, delivering 10.3 million viewers (6.7 million in the 18-49 demo), and a 300 percent increase over the ratings for the season finale for the first half of Season 5.
* Bryan Cranston's tweet thanking viewers for their loyalty has been retweeted more than 53,000 times, and favorite more than 36,000 times:
* The title of the final episode, "Felina," was not only an anagram of the word "finale," but also the name of the woman in "El Paso," the Marty Robbins cowboy love song on the tape Walt found in his stolen car, and the song he later hummed while concocting the "MacGyver"-style automatic firing system for his M60.
By the way, the Marty Robbins song is a classic, but for an amazing cover of his signature tune, check out The Mavericks lead singer Raul Malo's version. Saw him perform once in concert, and it elicited tears and a standing ovation from the audience.
* Jesse's bat-out-of-hell drive from Uncle Jack's compound was extra fitting since the trailer for Aaron Paul's upcoming "Need for Speed" movie aired during the finale. Was Jesse's high-speed departure, then, an intentional nod to his big movie role? Either way, it was a fun way to see him go.
* We learned Todd's updated ringtone for Lydia was the Groucho Marx "At the Circus" classic "Lydia the Tattooed Lady." Was it a fitting song for Lydia? No… would you guess the super-uptight meth distributor had multiple tattoos? But it was very fitting for Todd to have assigned her that ringtone; remember, previously, we learned "You Blinded Me With Science" was one of his ringtones. A very literal dude, that one. So we're imagining he simply went into iTunes, searched for a song with "Lydia" in the title, and made that his tune for when his beloved freakshow called him up.
* The "Breaking Bad" Complete Series Blu-ray and DVD box sets, out on November 26, will include a three-minute alternate ending "of how 'Breaking Bad' could have ended." Any guesses? Does Walt live in the alt ending? Does Jesse shoot him?
Tell us, "Breaking Bad" fans: What questions are lingering in your minds the day after the series finale? Whose backstory, or future, do you want to know more about? How do you think Marie reacts when Hank's body is found? Where do you think Jesse ends up? And do Skyler and Junior accept the $9 million from Gretchen and Elliott?
- Gray Matter