‘Breaking Bad’ Series Finale Review: “Felina”
‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 cooks up its eighth and final episode of the season and series, “Felina,” as Walter returns to New Mexico to make things right with Skyler, Jesse, Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz, Lydia, Todd, Jack and his men, before finally ending the journey where it all began.
Last week’s ‘Breaking Bad’ episode, “Granite State,” saw Walter settling into his new isolated existence in New Hampshire, while Jesse’s desperate attempts to escape captivity had deadly consequences for Brock and Andrea, so how does “Felina” finally close out the series? Now that Walter has made his final stand, how does it all end for ‘Breaking Bad’?
Read on for your in-depth recap and review of everything you need to know about ‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 episode 16, series finale “Felina”!
Walter enters a snow-covered car, rifling through the glove box for a screwdriver to hotwire the vehicle. Nearby police sirens drive Walter to be still, muttering to “just get me home, I’ll do the rest,” before the lights finally disappear. Walter is astonished to find the vehicle’s keys above the visor, as he turns on the car and begins removing the snow.
Back in New Mexico, Walter arrives to a gas station to fill up, taking his pills while he waits. Posing as a New York Times journalist, Walt phones Gretchen and Elliott’s office to get their new address under the guise of taking a photo for the article, before leaving behind his watch atop the payphone. Later that night, Elliott and Gretchen return to their home, unaware of Walter casually waiting outside, before Walter follows them inside. When Gretchen finally sees Walt, he admits to admiring the house, and having seen them on Charlie Rose. Walt motions for the two to follow him to his car for something to give them, but when Elliott raises a knife, Walter insists he’d need a bigger one to harm him.
A short while later, Gretchen and Elliott stack the remains of Walt’s $9 million on their table, as Walter asks them to set up a trust to be given to Walter Jr. on his 18th birthday, the only way Walt believes his family would ever accept the money he’d earned for them. Elliott and Gretchen reluctantly accept, shaking hands with Walt, before two sniper dots appear on their chests. Walter threatens that he hired two top hitmen to surveil them, making sure the money reaches its destination, lest the hitmen kill them. Minutes later, the hitmen join Walt in his car, unmasking themselves to be Badger and Skinny Pete with laser pointers. Walt inquires about blue meth still being on the market, which they had believed to be his doing, as Walter realizes Jesse to be the source, and drives off.
Jesse imagines himself to lovingly craft a wooden box for himself, before his dog run chain snaps him back to reality, and we see a bearded and bruised Jesse still in his personal hell. Meanwhile, Walter makes his bacon “52” in the Denny's, retrieves his ricin from the former White residence, and pauses to remember Hank first inviting him on the ride-along. Elsewhere, Lydia and Todd meet for tea, before Walter pulls up to join them, knowing them to be short on methylamine. Walter poses that he has a means to produce the drug without methylamine, and will give it to them for the sum of $1 million, something Lydia convinces Todd to take to Jack. Walter leaves, as Lydia insists to Todd they won’t do business with him, given his state, before pouring some suspicious looking Stevia in her tea. Ruh-roh.
Out in the desert, Walt puts together a contraption operated by a car battery, likely to operate the machine gun by the remote on his keys. Elsewhere, Marie calls Skyler to reveal that Walt has been spotted in town, while several sources have phoned in tips to place him at different locations, likely a diversionary tactics. Skyler accepts that while they’re all under surveillance, Walt might come for her regardless, before hanging up and revealing Walt already in the kitchen.
Walt asks only for a proper goodbye, and hands over the lottery ticket from his wallet, for her to call the DEA upon his exit, and finally exhume the bodies of Hank and Gomez. Walt promises to deal with the men who murdered them and took the money, but just as he goes to assure Skyler of his reasons for turning to crime, Walt surprises her by admitting he did it all for himself, as a way to feel alive. Skyler allows Walt to see Holly one last time before he goes, and Walter Jr. returns a short while later, unaware of Walt watching from a distance.
Walt pulls up to the Nazi compound, as Kenny escorts him inside, annoyed by Walter’s ignoring his parking suggestions. The men frisk Walter, taking his keys and wallet, before bringing him inside to Jack. Jack very quickly refutes Walter’s intent to do business however, believing that Lydia can continue to supply them with methylamine, and even Todd suggests that Walter shouldn’t have come back. The men begin dragging Walter outside to kill him, though when Walt points out that Jack made Jesse a partner rather than kill him, Jack instructs Todd to bring Jesse to them.
By the time Todd brings a chained Jesse inside, Walt manages to reclaim his keys from the pool table, and moves in close to Jesse. Walt tackles Jesse to the ground, and as the men gather to watch the fight, Walt presses the button on his keys, opening his trunk and activating the M60 on a swivel inside. The bullets rip through all of Jack’s men from outside the building, while Walt holds Jesse to the ground. By the end of the magazine, only Todd has survived unscathed, at least until Jesse takes the opportunity to strangle Todd to death with his chains, Jabba the Hutt-style. A wounded Jack crawls to share one last drag of a cigarette, assuring Walt that he’ll never find his money if he kills him, before Walt coldly shoots him regardless.
Jesse and Walt face each other, as Walt lowers his gun and slides it over. Jesse picks it up and raises it to Walt, who beckons Jesse to finally take what he wants. Jesse sees blood already oozing from Walt’s midsection, before dropping the gun and insisting he do it himself. As Jesse exits, Walt answers Todd’s ringing phone to find a sickly Lydia on the other end inquiring if the deed has been done. Walt instead reveals that Todd and the others have been killed, as well as the ricin he slipped into her tea earlier, before hanging up. Walt shares one last nod with Jesse, before Jesse jubilantly speeds off into the night, sobbing over his freedom.
Still bleeding, Walt walks over to Todd's lab and admires the chemistry of it all, before finally collapsing on the ground as police storm the compound to the tune of Badfinger’s “Baby Blue.” So endeth Walter White, and ‘Breaking Bad’ with him.
Man. Where to even begin? So very elegant in its simplicity, surprising in its cheerful outcome, and triumphant on the note of a redeemed, and very much departed Walter White. Who'd have thought?
Unlike certain other series with murderous antiheroes at the core wrapping up in a hilariously inept fashion, it will take a bit of time to process exactly how well "Felina" wraps up the saga of 'Breaking Bad.' There were no unexpected deaths, save for the tension permeating the entire hour (good lord, Bryan Cranston terrifies in his scenes with Gretchen and Elliott), and no real divisive twists to be spoken of. Walter did what he could to make things right with his family and friends, at least in his own way, before executing an altogether perfect and ingenious plan to take down Lydia, Jack and his men. No real complications, no bitter showdown with Jesse, or unexpected horrors. Walter White won, and went out admiring something he'd come to love even more than himself: chemistry. A transformation to admire one last time before drifting off.
It's a strange feeling, to find 'Breaking Bad's ostensibly happy ending so very unexpected, but we can likely all agree that "Felina" would have still proven a magnificent cap to a magnificent series, had it been an hour and fifteen minutes of blue static. Save for Saul and any lines for Walter Jr., just about every 'Breaking Bad' character got their due as well, including Badger and Skinny Pete, and even Hank in flashback. 'Breaking Bad' deserves the celebration of itself, and the happy ending to boot, after all it's taken us through in the last few years.
We'll certainly have more thoughts in the days to come, as well as more from the cast and creators on Walter White's ultimate end, but for now, bravo 'Breaking Bad.' Even in a slower hour, with relatively inert material, you still know just how to elicit tremendous reaction from your audience. We'll miss you so.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fix of ‘Breaking Bad’ badassery? What did you think about tonight’s "Felina" finale? Stay tuned for more from the cast and creators, and tell us what you thought of ‘Breaking Bad’'s ultimate end in the comments!!