Walter White is dead.
Now, I’m not talking about the events that occur in the superb finale of “Breaking Bad”, entitled “Felina”. I’m talking about that very last scene of the previous episode, “Granite State”. Walt watches with confusion and anger at his old business partners as they attempt to distance them from the former meth kingpin. Walt missed out at success with Grey Matter the first time around. To see his Heisenberg legacy tainted is the ultimate insult.
But it’s that this time that Walt finally realizes that he is “dead”. Walter White, the kind chemistry teacher who did side work at a car wash to make ends meet. The man who dressed as Santa at Christmas and was loved by his family. He’s dead. Only Heisenberg remains.
Walt makes a point to leave New Hampshire, where he was on the verge of giving himself up, and decides to trek back to Albuquerque to finish things on his own terms.
Visited first: The Schwartz, Elliot and Gretchen. Walt leaves his money with them to create a trust for Walt Jr. Coming from them as millionaires, no one would suspect it’s Walt’s drug money. Here Walt even lists the help of Badger and Skinny Pete to trick the Schwartz into thinking Walt’s hired two gunmen to track them if they neg on his deal. (It works.)
Here we are giving glimpses of the two flash-forward scenes from this season: Walt getting breakfast, the car and the gun at Denny’s, and the visit to the old Casa White to get the ricin capsule.
Walt pays a visit to Lydia and Todd during one of their meth business meetings at the cafe. He is rebuked, obviously, but not before his presence is felt — and the ricin is placed into Lydia’s tea. Again, trying to tie up the loose ends.
Walt visits Skyler. He gives her the GPS coordinates on the lottery ticket. He tells her to use this location, which is where Hank and Gomez are buried, as leverage into a deal with the prosecutor. Before he leaves, he pays a final heart-breaking visit to his daughter Holly.
With the gun rigged, Walt pays a final visit to Jack and the Nazis. He spills the same fake deal he tried to make with Lydia regarding a new source of methylamine. In order to buy time, he pokes at Jack’s pride over the fact that Jesse is still alive and practically his meth “partner”. Jack pulls Jesse out of the lab to show how broken down he’s gone; Jesse isn’t Jack’s “partner”, he’s Jack’s slave. This buys enough time for Walt to get the keys and launch the gun out of the trunk. The carnage decimates pretty much all of the Nazis scum.
Jesse and a wounded Walt scurry as Todd gets up to see what caused the damage. Jesse pounces on him, strangling him with the same chain used to handcuff. Walt walks over to a dying Jack, who defiantly tells Walt that he’ll never see his money if he kills him. And Walt, no longer concerned about the remaining money, puts a bullet in him.
This leaves Walt and Jesse in a mini-standoff. Walt tells Jesse to just shoot him because it’s what he wants. Jesse, seeing Walt’s gunshot wound and knowing that his time is running out, simply doesn’t. “Do it yourself” he says. Jesse takes off in a panicked state, finally free from all the men who brought him down.
Walt takes a step into the lab, admiring the job that he once had. “I did it for me,” he confesses to Skyler. “And I was good at it.” Walter White died a long time ago. Heisenberg is on his way out. But as he stands there looking at the lab, he reflects on all the power and the money he once held. It may all be over but at least he can feel a bit nostalgic about it all. In the end, it wasn’t cancer that ultimately ended Walter White. It was that gunshot wound.
You see, “Breaking Bad” was never about doing it all for your family. (Walt was deluded for the most part.) It was never about the destructive power of meth and/or the drug trade. (It dabbled a bit into that.) Instead, “Breaking Bad’ was about power and pride. Grey Matter was the nucleus that started it all for Walter. The Heisenberg bit was too influential on him. Too powerful. Too good. He didn’t really care how many people he hurt or pulled down with him. It was all about the money and the power. What he missed out with Grey Matter was simply earned through more nefarious ways. It made him feel equal. It made him feel alive.
So as he lies there dying on the lab floor, surrounded by numerous police officers, Walt can at least be satisfied on his own terms. Like the series itself, it may have all been destructive. But it was a hell of ride.
Breaking Baddest: Walt obviously, who goes scorched earth on everyone’s ass.
Now We’re Cookin’… With Clever Mechanisms: Walt’s trunk-gun was a thing of Nazi-murderin’ genius.
Adios: As “Breaking Bad” ends, these recaps end. I hope you all enjoyed this run through the fifth season of arguably the greatest show of all time. Stay frosty.