Breaking Bad: The 8 Big Questions We're Still Pondering

Did you wake up today feeling like something was missing from the universe? Was your brain woefully underused last night? Do you feel remarkably well rested because you didn't go to sleep feeling unnerved? These are all symptoms of Breaking Bad withdrawal, which is currently affecting people all over the country like a bad cold or a catchy tune from whatever alterna-folk hipster song is currently playing during smartphone commercials. 

Breaking Bad may be gone, but that doesn't mean we're done thinking about it. In fact, now that we've had a week to let the series finale twirl around in our heads, we have new questions! And since we entered the finale with eight big questions, we figured we'd also exit with eight, just to be fair. 


1. Did Walter White win?

I don't like to use the term "win," but it seems everyone else is, so I'll abide. To me, Walter didn't win. Not even close. Yes, he killed Jack's crew and might have figured out how to get some money to his family, but to determine whether he won, we need to look at the entire game. And he lost the game pretty badly. His family was destroyed and will forever be rained on by the dark cloud of Walter's criminal activity, their reputation as favorable as Enron's. The money he made? Somewhere in a hidden Nazi room, just waiting for a bunch of kids to stumble upon it Goonies-style. And oh yeah, he's also dead. So you take a look at that scorecard and tell me if you think he won. He hit a home run in the ninth inning, but he was already way down in the score. 

BUT! And this is one of the things that makes Breaking Bad so great, there's more to the question than that. From Walter's perspective, there is that side of him who rightfully believes he won. Breaking Bad wasn't just about a chemistry teacher's transformation into a drug kingpin, it was about one man's kickass midlife crisis. He was living the life of a castrated man who got yelled at by a guy with huge eyebrows while working a second job at a car wash, and then he used his talents to become someone new and he grew some gigantic testicles as a result. As Walter laid there dying on the floor, his smirk said, "That was fun." Certainly more fun than teaching a bunch of bored teenagers about ionic compounds for the eighth time in a semester, certainly more fun than letting his wife do all the talking, and certainly more fun than slowly dying from cancer in a budget clinic. Walter was going to die anyway, and cancer may have gotten him much earlier if he hadn't found a new sense of rejuvenation in all the naughty escapades he was involved in. Taking away all the carnage he left in his wake, Walter had a pretty good run for a man with a terminal illness, didn't he?


2. Did Walter White redeem himself?

He redeemed himself as much as one man can in that situation. Given the change that Walter experienced throughout the show's five seasons, and all the despicable acts he committed, he'd dug himself a pretty deep hole. Imagine if Breaking Bad had been told from Jesse's point of view. Would we look at Walter the same way? The guy was a dick—we're talking about a Joffrey-sized jerk here—who selfishly put others at risk in order to save his own skin. So for Walter to completely redeem himself, he'd need to undo a lot. And last time I checked, bringing chicks who choked on their own vomit back to life was pretty hard to do. 

However, he did make an effort to see that Walter Jr. and Holly would be as comfortable as they could be before he left, and he 'fessed up to Skyler and told her truth, revealing that the reason he did everything he did was that he liked the way it made him feel. Is it redemption? No. But is it a step in the right direction? Yes. It was a good way to send Walter out on an upswing, leaving us to remember the man in a more positive light than we otherwise might have. And maybe there's a hint that no matter how bad Heisenberg got, there was a little Walter White in him that would never go away.


3. Two parter: Where did Jesse go? What happened to Skyler?

Here's where we get to have a little fun because we just don't know. Some will say that Jesse drove away to star in a Need For Speed movie, which makes sense given how fast he was truckin' into the desert night when we last saw him. Obviously in a perfect world, he rode that into a crossover with the Fast & Furious movie franchise and is sipping Piña Coladas on a beach with Vin Diesel. But let's face the facts here. Jesse is a sensitive guy with an addictive personality, two things that, when combined together, mean that his life is going to suck. I'm sure he made some effort to help Brock out, but the chances that he and Brock lived happily ever after in the champagne rooms of strip clubs are slim. In all likelihood, Jesse cried a lot and hung out with Wendy where he dated women who were killed, leading him to slowly deteriorate into junkie hell. Sorry, it's the truth! 

As for Skyler, well Walter Jr. won't catch that generous windfall from the Schwartzes for another year or so, so she probably stared out her window smoking cigarettes for several lonely months. In an ironic twist, let's assume she got lung cancer and then BAM! She started cooking meth with Jesse because WHY NOT? Bride of Heisenberg, coming to AMC in 2015. In all seriousness, sheesh, I hope Walter Jr. accepts that money and they live out their lives as best they can. First step, move the hell out of Albuquerque and all the horrible memories. I hear Belize is nice this time of year!


4. Was the finale all Walter White's dying hallucination like some people are saying?

No. No, no, no. But it's not a dumb theory; in fact, two of its biggest proponents—comedian Norm MacDonald and New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum—are very smart people. Basically, those who subscribe to this line of thinking believe that Walter White died in the car outside the New Hampshire bar when he was trying to stay clear of the police. Stuck in a snow-covered car with police lights flashing outside, Walter prayed to someone to help him get home and voila! The keys fell from the front-seat visor, and before we knew it, he was on his way to murder some rednecks. The idea is to poke holes in many of the curiously fortunate circumstances Walter experienced on his road to revenge (MacDonald's Twitter timeline during the finale was basically a play-by-play of un-Breaking Bad "Felina" was). He wasn't spotted by authorities driving across the country despite being the subject of a nationwide manhunt and having his face plastered all over television, he easily walked into the Schwartz's home and Skyler's house despite the latter having a police watch, and he made contact with a gun man, bought a garage-door opener, found Badger and Skinny Pete, and faked being a newspaper man with ease. In fact, everything went about as well as it could have for Walter in that situation. So, dream situation? It kind of sounds like it.

But an ambiguous ending with a sneaky dream ending is exactly the sort of thing Breaking Bad never would've aimed for. Breaking Bad respected Walter's science so much that the facts bled into the show itself. The series was never as mysterious as internet fandom claimed it was, and Vince Gilligan repeatedly expressed bewilderment with all the theories that sprung up. Great television doubles as art, and art is always open to interpretation. "Felina" left some wiggle room in that sense, but the intentions of Gilligan and crew were never to pull one over on the audience. Aside from one soaking wet, one-eyed pink teddy bear, Breaking Bad has always been much more straightforward than many people have thought. To change gears and make the series' most important hour completely different would be preposterous, don't ya think?


5. Where does "Felina" rank among other great series finales?

So many series have ended! So don't expect a concrete number here. But "Felina" definitely deserves a spot in the upper echelon, along with Six Feet Under, Friday Night Lights, St. Elsewhere, Newhart, and The Shield. Every series finale is met with heaps of scrutiny, and "Felina" definitely has its critics. But the outpouring of praise has overshadowed the boos, putting "Felina" well ahead of a pair of contemporary season enders that were closer to an even split: The Sopranos and Lost. I'm putting Breaking Bad's "Felina" in the 90th percentile of series finales—a remarkable achievement, especially in this age of anonymous hatred that dominates the internet. It was really good, but it wasn't the best.


6. How should we rank Breaking Bad's seasons, from best to worst?


Throwing this list out there is like wearing a huge target at a festival that celebrates extra-ripe tomatoes and that's populated by fastball-throwing hecklers, but here we go anyway:

1) Season 3

2) Season 2

3) Season 5b

4) Season 1

5) Season 4

6) Season 5A

Now, before you slam your fingers on the keyboard in rage and start yelling about how dumb I am, you try ranking them. You'll see for yourself that one of the seasons has to carry the misnomer of "worst season of Breaking Bad." They were all great, but some were better than others. And if you're interested in knowing, my all-time favorite episode of Breaking Bad is Season 3's 12th episode, "Half Measures." How about you?


7. Where does Breaking Bad fall in the list of the greatest television shows of all time?

This is all personal opinion, of course. And my personal opinion is the only correct answer, of course. Breaking Bad is the best television show ever. Yeah, I said it! It's usurped The Wire to become my favorite show of all time, edging out the HBO series because it embraced every aspect of television production. The Wire had oodles and oodles of wonderfully depressing things to say about society, and we're all better for it, but Breaking Bad evolved the medium with some of the best cinematography, acting, and directing of anything to ever run on any screen. Your opinion may differ, but mine is quite clear: Breaking Bad is best. The Wire is second best. But Dog With a Blog is still running, so this list is subject to change.


8. What do I watch now that Breaking Bad is over? 


Oh sure, the web blew up with the usual boring recommendations covering shows both old and new: The Sopranos, The WireJustified, and The Shield, all of which are great and all of which you should have seen all the way through six times already. But those are obvious because of the shared subject matter of morality and the law and cops and shooting people, and a little too simple when you think about how great a show Breaking Bad was from every angle. So I've got two more recommendations that feature the same complete package—acting, writing, cinematography, direction—as Breaking Bad. They may not feature train heists or Pontiac Azteks running over drug dealers or Star Trek fan fiction, but they can impress in a multitude of ways. 

First up is Sundance Channel's Rectify, which aired its shortened first season earlier this year. (You know what other show had a shortened first season? Breaking Bad!) Rectify was often promoted as "from the producers of Breaking Bad," and the connection is evident in the details. The series follows one man's release from Death Row after DNA evidence clears him of a murder charge, 19 years after the crime took place. It's mostly deliberate and cautious, lacking the adrenaline charge of Breaking Bad, but the careful examination of characters under stress, stellar acting, tension between events, surprising humor, and beautiful cinematography are all there. Rectify is going to be my methadone while shaking my Breaking Bad addiction. 

This next one is going to be a bit tricky, but I'm going to try anyway. HBO's Enlightened. How does a half-hour "comedy" starring Laura Dern enter the same conversation as Breaking Bad? They're both about character change. I've even joked that Enlightened should be called Breaking Good (surprise, no one laughed) because it's Breaking Bad backward. When we first meet protagonist Amy Jellicoe, she's hit a personal low and is having a mental breakdown at work. After a quick trip to have her mind reworked at a new-age treatment facility, Amy spends the rest of the series trying to do good, while often ruining the lives of the people around her because of her inability to live within the lines of acceptable behavior. And just like Walter White, viewers aren't quite sure whether or not to root for her because she's written with remarkable consistency as a flawed character who just doesn't know when to stop. Plus, if you're a nerd for Breaking Bad cinematographer Michael Slovis's keen eye, you'll love the lens of Xavier Pérez Grobet, who contrasts the color and comfort of the natural world with the monotony and monochromatic prison of the workplace. I'll even say this: Enlightened rivals Breaking Bad for the title of the best-looking show on television. Thematically and creatively, Breaking Bad and Enlightened are more similar than people think.

Thanks for reading my reviews over the last several years! I'll miss your comments as much as I will miss Breaking Bad!


What questions do you have now that Breaking Bad is over?

 

Comments (177)
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Jul 22, 2017
DEA agents who found out about Walter are not to be found. There's no money. There's no Jesse. Then how does DEA find out. Isn't it Marie's word against Walters? Wasn't money the only proof they had?
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Jan 06, 2017
What happened to Beneke? Why was he in hospital. Missed that.
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Jan 10, 2017
Saul sent 2 of his goons to Beneke's house at the request of Skylar. She was mad that he had not paid his back taxes of $617,000 or thereabout with the money she gave him from Walt's stash of meth proceeds. She was afraid if he didn't pay that the IRS would start investigating him and eventually get around to investigating her too which would lead to the carwash being found out as being a money laundering tool for Walt's meth income and him being outed as Heisenberg. She asks Saul for help in getting Beneke to write the check. She doesn't want him harmed in any way, she just wants them to convince him to write the check. So, when Saul's goons got to his house they instructed him to write out the check to the IRS and mail it and then they would stay at his house with him for a few days until the check cleared so he wouldn't be able to call the bank and put a stop payment on the check. He writes the check but then takes it back from them and takes off running and ends up tripping on a rug that was on the floor which causes him to dive head first into the wall which we find out later caused him to become paralyzed from the neck down. A few days later Skylar finds out through Saul what happened and rushes to the hospital to visit an awful looking Beneke and apologizes for what happened.
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Feb 08, 2016
Watch "Better Call Saul"
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Oct 04, 2015
This was too opinionated and so childishly written, I didn't even finish. Sad, I was hoping I found something good.
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Sep 17, 2015
Yes. Half measures is my fave too .Never befor or after( until maybe Felina) did Walt do anything like that where one could root for him as when he saved Jesse's life.

One thing tho, Jeese is not going to be hanging w Wendy as Wendy is dead. She was seen fairly regularly until, Half measures, where she tried to poison those two gang bangers who killed that kid in t same episode. After thst she was never seen again. What do you think happened to her?
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Jan 10, 2017
She moved to another area but still turning tricks.
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Jan 12, 2015
Him being dead doesn't mean he didn't. That's like saying everyone who died lost or something, we're all gonna die, are you saying we all lose? Also, no one killed him but himself. It's not about how long you live, it's about the quality of your life, when are some idiots gonna learn that? Walt had a hell of an amazing last 2 years before he died. That's how he won, plus he got more than enough money to his family than he intended at first. And I don't know what you mean by the "dark cloud" of his criminal activity, unless you're talking about from the Feds. Because in social situations they will always be known as the family of the almighty king Heisenberg, which is awesome.
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Apr 08, 2015
Not awesome for the family, it f**** them up
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May 29, 2014
Actually he did kill Jane, cause he pushed Jesse which touched with Jane forcing her to roll over go watch it back ;)
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May 22, 2014
Walt didn't kill jane. Jesse did, the net he reintroduced her to drugs. Even if Walt hadn't gone back she was going to die.
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May 22, 2014
Walter did win. He a accomplished pretty much exactly what he set out to do right from the moment was diagnosed with cancer. Was Walter a bad man? Yes and No.
All of the people he killed, were bad people. Worse than him.
Gus, bad. He needed killing.
Mike, bad.
88. Bad.
Tuco. Bad.
Lydia. Bad.
The Nazi white power guys. Bad.
Jane he didn't kill. She was destined to die. If he hadn't been there, she would have died regardless. Now I'm not condoning what he did. But he had no reason to save her. She was a very bad influence. And yes she probably would have gotten Jesse killed anyway.
Gale wasn't bad, per se. But Walt didn't pull the trigger. Jesse did. Despite his "code".
Hank I'm afraid was a loose canon. And his behavior should have been punished more harshly; early on when he beat up Jesse. He'd still be alive. Because he would have lost his job. In retrospect, that's what Walt should have let happen, to get him out of the picture. Heck he wouldn't have been shot.
At the end of the day his family was safe.
Did Walt win?
"You're goddamn right".
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Sep 17, 2015
I am a drug addict. So I was very inclined to makmost of these same excuses for Wa myself, until he had Gale killed. Imo, that he had Jeese do it only made it worse as it had t affect of ruining two lifes Gale's and Jeese's. Tho Walt would have done it himself probably if only Victor hadn't kidnapped him. Regardless, Gale was innocent and did not deserve what he got. Nor did Jeese.

Also by season four I was rooting for Jeese and Gus.
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Jan 12, 2015
Yeah, Gus had to die like he Walt said because he was going to kill them but we all know Gus was awesome and so was Mike.
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May 11, 2014
I too am struggling with BB withdrawals. BB remains my favorite series ever, over The Sopranos and Lost. Will be watching it all over again with my friend who has not seen it (I am totally jealous!).

#1. Walter won if his goal was to succeed as a drug lord. Otherwise, he failed at taking care of his family, money or no money. He was responsible for the death of Hank, wrecking havoc on his family and everyone that was associated with him.

#2 He redeemed his ego and his pride. He did not redeem himself in the eyes of those he cared about most.

#3 Jesse and Skylar will most likely end up in a psychiatric ward recovering from PTSD.

#4 I wish... I was secretly hoping that it would be a dream sequence during a chemo session and the finale would be Walt waking up before making the choice to cook meth. That way, a spin-off with the entire cast could be created all over again ;-)

#5 I loved Felina but it left me with a hole in my heart...fictionally speaking.

#6 All of the seasons were my favorite, probably the last season ranked at the bottom for me because both Hank and Walt died and of course, the end of BB.

#7 BEST SHOW EVER.

#8 Go on BB message boards to try and cope, haha...
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Jan 10, 2017
Wouldn't it have been funny if at the end they reveal all this was a dream of Walt's and nothing really happened? Just like the season of Dallas years ago when Bobby Ewing died and then the next season they show him in the shower alive in the first episode and reveal that the whole season was a dream, Bobby hadn't died at all
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Dec 19, 2015
I actually sawan alternate ending sequence where Walter woke up in bed next to his wife ad then proceeded to explain his "nightmare" it looked like a piss take to me but it just shows what ppl were thinking
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Jan 12, 2015
No, if it ended the way you said in number 4, it would've sucked hard just stop.
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Mar 25, 2014
I think that she story of Breaking Bad perfectly runs parallel with the idea of classic Greek tragedy - a person in a OK-high status (in this case, a smart, well-respected man with a loving family) who has a harmatia, or fatal flaw (in Walt's case, its the classic case of hubris or pride), and endures some form off downfall. Then at the end, it gives the audience the sense of catharsis; the last few moments of Walt's life show the true sense of his character.
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Mar 09, 2014
I'm really struggling from Breaking bad withdrawal.There is no show that even comes close to it.Especially on Netflix.I was not happy with the ending.I don't think that hank should have died.I always saw Walt and Jesse going to prison.I could defiantly see Walt breaking out of prison. You know he could have macgyverd his way out.I was left with more questions than answers. I really think the show should have gone for at least another couple years.
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Feb 19, 2014
Where does Breaking Bad fall in the list of the greatest television shows of all time? G.O.A.T. Though, True Detective may be close on its heels.

What do I watch now that Breaking Bad is over? True Detective, Banshee, Viking, Banshee, Justified.
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Feb 14, 2014
I want to say something.."""Mr. White messed up things by killing Gus and saving Hank(white could have warned hank by warning anonymously )""".


And stupidest thing he did is killing Mike. Mike's last words was damn correct..


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May 22, 2014
Mike failed hard. He was gonna end up in prison. Because the DEA caught his lawyer. And his lawyer was gonna talk. And so were all the other guys in prison.
Walt killed him, to close up all he loose ends. And warning Hank anonymously? He barely survived last time. Gus would have planned it to the T. Just like he killed off the cartel.
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Nov 20, 2013
What do I watch now?
I asked the same question.

Then I caught an episode of Sons of Anarchy.

Its not the same, but its pretty fucking good.

Watched seasons 1-5 on netflix, now I wait for Tuesday night.
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Nov 15, 2013
Could we see a "Grey Matter" prequel???

Mr White, mentioned about something happening, this is what i basically believe was the start his downward spiral. This is what planted the seed for the man he became.

yeah i'm posting a little late. watched the final show last night after a three month marathon of all the seasons....best show ever!!! bar None wow.

IF he did die?? (referring to a tweet made by Bryan, stating did he?? in reference to Walt's passing)
yeah i think he won......he went out on his terms!! his way.......planned right down to the final piece of the jigsaw.

yes i am already missing it, so this could be me just wishing hard for this not to be the 'end'

*walks off to start watching it again*
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Nov 03, 2013
The question I have is: what country? You talk about "all over the country" but don't state anywhere where you're from.
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Oct 27, 2013
1. Walter did win. He revenged Hank's death, liberated Jessy from Jack and Co and did leave a substantial amount of money for his family.

2. Tough question. Walter was never happy as far as we know as a school teacher. He was meant for greater things (Grey matter etc.) but we never know why he became a school teacher and not an entrepreneur or a respected scientist. Deep inside Walter knew he had the potential to be someone. When he was diagnosed with cancer, the opportunity came to become someone. Things got really bad and I don't know if he regret any of them. Skyler must have seen Walt's potential and eventually she will understand why he did it.

3. Jesse will probably brought in for questioning by the ABQ police-DEA (thanks to Mary) He will probably spend some time in jail and be re-united with his family and little brother who will support him in coming clean with his past. He will move to Alaska and start a business in carpenting.
Skyler will probably move away from New Mexico and start a new life as an accountant and be a mother for Holly and Walter Jr (who is now a wealthy man)

4. No. Breaking bad was never about hallucinations (maybe for some junkies). It was about a man who broke bad and had to face the consequences.

5. I have seen better finales but it is still the best drama show ever. Felina was too slow for me (for a finale). The cabin time was too much and the dialogues were too short. I expected a longer conversation between Jessy and Walt in the end but I think they both forgave each other.

6. 1)Season 4
2)Season 3
3)Season 5b
4)Season 1
5)Season 5a
6)Season 2

They were all good. I liked the episode where Walter and Jesse drove into the desert and after their cook the RV wouldn't start anymore. Great and funny episode !

7) For me BB is the best I have seen. An exotic location (although it was cold in ABQ during winter filming time :-)), great characters and each episode an art of entertainment. I also loved the action combined with the family time (and yes I did like Skyler what I can't say from her sister :-))

8) Better call Saul ?
Where is Saul anyway? Being a lawyer in Nebraska?

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Mar 09, 2014
He can't be the hero and the villain. Walter is evil. There is nothing that he could do to redeem himself.When he told Jesse that he watched Jane die that he could have saved her but he let her die the hair on my arm stood up.His one and only redeeming quality was that he loved his family.He started making meth so he could provide for them OK well as we found out he did it all for himself and they were just an afterthought. In the end he probably saved Skyler from going to prison that was the only kind thing that i saw him do besides leaving his kids some money. He made meth,He murdered people,He poisoned children because he was board.I still can't wrap my head around that.There are so many story lines that had me scratching my head. I thought all my questions would be answered in the end but i now have more questions than ever and i'm left still wanting more.
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May 22, 2014
He didn't poison the kid Brock for fun. It was a scheme. He knew exactly what he was doing. It was lily of the valley. Kids sometimes eat it and become sick. The doctor said so. Gus was going to use and kill both Walter and Jesse sooner or later.
As per Jane. She was dead regardless. Even if he wasn't there, she was dead. Letting her die was probably a mercy. It was bound to happen. He did not cause her death.
Walt said that to hurt Jesse, for betraying him. Walt was all about family and loyalty. And he had an enormous ego. And was arrogant to boot. But, he had the talent to back it up. He murdered very bad people. Like Gus. I think Gus was a genocidal maniac. Way worse than ten Walter Whites. Don't tell me if someone threatened your life and family you wouldn't stop them by any means necessary.
My feeling about Walt was that he was born in the wrong time and place. If he had been born to, say a Sicilian crime family. He would have been a ok.
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Mar 25, 2014
Be careful with the "for his family" bit - remember what he said to Skyler in the end? All he did, he did for himself - he never felt so alive when he was in the meth business.
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Oct 10, 2013
This is a MUST DO!
Anyone looking for answers (8 or more) listen to Terry Gross interview to Breaking Bad writers here
http://www.npr.org/2013/10/03/228813142/breaking-bad-writers-this-is-it-theres-no-more
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Oct 10, 2013
Hopefully skyler used the info Walt gave her and cut a deal with the DA. And then on Walt Jr.’s 18th birthday they got a hell of a surprise when Jr ended up getting all that money. And imo, deepdown Sky knew that money was from Walt and she was actually kind of proud of him for being so clever on how to get it to them
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Oct 09, 2013
1) Yes he did. He wanted to provide for his family, and he did. He was going to die anyways so it didnt matter who the money was coming from anyway.

2) Yes, He killed all the naziz and the annoying little lady, and by saving his wife from jail...and living them $10m

3) Jesse Im sure as hell he became a junkie, and died within days by overdose. Skyler I think she started money laundering since she found it to be so easy and she did it for 2 clients already

4) Dumb questions

5) whats the name of better than #1 ....w/e that is BB has that title

6) All of them were good, some had good times others had awesome times!

7) for answer go to #5

8) Re watch the entire show again... or play GTA 5
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Oct 09, 2013
Expected much bigger questions, Tim; these can be answered even by "Holly (White)":

1. Did Walter White win?

Walt answered this himself, at the end of Season 4, "I Won."


2. Did Walter White redeem himself?

Yes, of course. If he couldn't, then we will.

3. Two parter: Where did Jesse go? What happened to Skyler?

Jesse is missing Walt more than anyone and started cooking Meth (at 34°59’20N, 106°36’52W in an RV) in his fond memory (and, of course, making a living out of it. Yo Bitch!)

Skyler is financially broke and struggling to raise her kids. But, don't worry, she WILL get 10 million dollars in 10 months from now.

4. Was the finale all Walter White's dying hallucination like some people are saying?

No, I would say that "some people" are hallucinating.


5. Where does "Felina" rank among other great series finales?

This is no-brainer, "No. 1"
.

6. How should we rank Breaking Bad's seasons, from best to worst?

There is no worst, ALL are BEST.


7. Where does Breaking Bad fall in the list of the greatest television shows of all time?

This is no-brainer again, "No. 1".

8. What do I watch now that Breaking Bad is over?

"Breaking Bad" again. What else?

P.S.: Take all the above in a lighter vein ;).
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Oct 09, 2013
1) Walt won. In the end, he was able to leave money for his family, which was the very reason we had this show. This is why I'm a bit iffy with the ending.

2) Walt didn't redeem himself . That's just not possible.

Season Ranking

4
5B
3
2
1
5A
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Oct 09, 2013
For everybody who wants to know what happened to Huell - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5v5_tUDxh8
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Oct 08, 2013
Great article. I would only add the question, Did Walt find God before he died? The series included a subtle spiritual moment in the frozen car when Walt prayed out loud and right afterward the keys fell into his hands from the visor. I only mention this because it was implied in Season 1 that Walt and Gretchen potentially had some philosophical/spiritual differences, which could have led to their break up. Season 1 had a flashback in which Walt and Gretchen are determining the chemical composition of the human body and when Walt said he felt something was missing, Gretchen mused that maybe it was the soul. Walt then said "there's nothing but chemistry here." I'm not religious or particularly spiritual myself so I'm not searching for some religious undertone to the show, but it seemed to me to be a small but important element in Walt's personal evolution.
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Oct 08, 2013
Excellent article. Few things. 1. Would never scoff at someone else's idea of Best Ranked Seasons or episodes as I believe my OWN personal faves would change. Nearly impossible task. Having said that, I tend to favor Season 1-2 watched in binge session because I so love the developing relationship between Walt and Jesse. 2. The Norm MacDonald train of thought-Anyone who has, HYPOTHETICALLY of course, listened to HOURS of interviews and podcasts by Vince Gilligan would know, without a doubt, a "hallucinatory/last dying dream" in frozen car scenario in Felina is not possible and not accurate. End of discussion. 3. I am not keen on idea of watching a drama since the BB ending, nothing measures up, it seems like a freakin' JOKE, am I right?? Guys?. However, I did watch the first four episodes of Southland on Netflix and have to say I am extremely engaged, excellent storytelling, acting and characters. Cinematography not comparable in ANY way-don't get me wrong, but I care enough to watch DISC 2, which is ALL I can hope for, IMO, so soon to the ending of BB. Pro: It is old which means all the seasons are available. Con: Has to be mailed, not on instant watch yet.
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Oct 08, 2013
From best to worst:
1. Season 4
2. Season 5b
3. Season 3
4. Season 2
5. Season 1
6. Season 5a
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Oct 08, 2013
Best show ever in my opinion. When you go 62/62 on solid episodes it is awfully hard to rank the seasons. All of them were good. I'd say Walt won, sort of, he did provide for his family and he was going to die anyway, but the fallout was a big loss, especially Hank getting killed, Jr. hating him etc..
As for redemption? Walt did the best he could under his circumstances, he did take out the really bads and he did set Jesse free, he also got to die on his terms. Unlike some shows BB realized the circumstances they had created and always kept the characters in those parameters. You knew it wasn't going to be all cake and cookies in the end or that Walt would sneak off to a Lumber mill...
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Oct 08, 2013
I don't think Walt did anything to redeem himself really, except that he did finally admit the truth, that he did it all for himself because it made him feel good, and he did rescue Jesse.

God knows though that he went there to kill him along with the rest of them, and I have to say that it was pretty much Heisenburg who STILL wanted the 'glory' or whatever it was that Walt thought he would be getting by he HIMSELF and no one else BUT him getting money to his 'family'.

Remember when he threatens the grey matter couple with DEATH (oh, what a nice guy!) he insists, Heisenburg like, that they use ABSOLUTELY none of their money to help his family.

Gee, you know, if it WAS about helping his family, he could have easily made them give another few million. He could have even justified it in his own mind by thinking the somehow 'owed' it to them.

Did they really owe him any money? That, we will never know. WE only have his side of the story, and we all know the way that Walt alternately is passive and says nothing, and then explodes with rage and jealosy.

I think he payed for him crimes with his time at the cabin. Talk about solitary confinement. And he was lacking the support and care of his formerly loved ones-now lost to him.


But the scene with Skyler was good. Sad though. And he died not thinking of family but of his 'precious'.




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Oct 08, 2013
Your list of other "Great" shows is totally lame. The Sopranos has correctly been called one of the great examples of american art in the past many years.
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Oct 09, 2013
His" list" consisted of one show that in his opinion was the best,how you could you be so lame as to complain about someone's opinion on something as subjective as a tv show.We have reached a new low if The Sopranos is a great example of American art,read a book or go to a museum you moron.
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Oct 08, 2013
From best to worst:
1) Season 3
2) Season 1
3) Season 2
4) Season 4
5) Season 5
Did WW win? I don´t know if win/ lose is the right way to define the end. Walter White change the fate of his life, took control of it and became the King of his empire by transforming into Heisenberg. I see it in a way that Heisenberg won, because he created the blue meth, which became a legend. But Walter White lost alt: his family, credibility, even his name. The people killed in Walter White´s trajectory to became Heisenberg on his rise to the top and on his fall to isolation and loneliness would always be present for all those still alive. His name is marked by blood and dead.
So NO, he did not redeem himself.
I don´t want to go into Jesse and Skyler because there are to many options, but I think one thin is certain, both of them would never be happy people again.
If seaso 5 would have been shown in one part (not 5A and 5B) it could have been the best TV show ever, but the long break and some bad episodes in 5A does not let med call it the best ever. I lost track of the story after such a long break of a not so strong half season, I did not re-watch 5A and I did not manage to find the same strong interest and passion I had before for almost 5 seasons. I mean 5A was for me the weakest season and by the time 5B came, I just didn´t have the same interest and the story did not seem so strong. Yes, there were many good episodes, great writing and acting in 5B, but the best ever? no. And I feel the last episode was kind of slow, not great acting. A bit like rushing for the end. To little Jesse. To much cabin. To little reflection, drama and to little dialogue. What did I enjoy most in Breaking Bad? all those things that were missing. I did not get much of it in Felina (finale).
I have to mention one ep which stays for ever in my mind and it happen to be one of the 10 best ep for Brian Cranston:
Season 2/Episode 9: “4 Days Out” is the episode that had all what I liked about the show: the dialogue, drama, paced action and reflection about the Walter White and Jesse have done so far with their lives: Breaking Bad.
We will see new shows that will make us forget about Breaking Bad. I agree with Tim about RECTIFY, it was a great first season, something original and new. Together with The Americans it was for me the best I have seen for the last year. I look forward for season two for both series.
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Oct 08, 2013
And I forgot to mention that is a joy to watch Jeff Daniels play Will Mcavoy who made me forget Breaking Bad and other shows.
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Oct 08, 2013
Thanks for recommending Rectify. It seems like a great show.
For people who compare GoT with BB, GoT doesn't even come close. Due to the show trying to cover like 10 storyline in one episode, there is no nail biting suspense like in BB episodes.
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Oct 08, 2013
Maybe I missed something, but I've been wondering for a while now why Jesse seemed to think that Walt poisoned the kid with the cigarette after all – Jesse had been told it wasn't ricin but lily of the valley that made the boy sick, didn't he?!
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Nov 09, 2014
This story line always confused me. Thanks for mentioning it.
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Oct 08, 2013
True, but he realized that Huell had stolen his marajani, wasn't it? Or did he switch it for regular cigarette?

Anyway it all clicked and he knew that the same thing happened with the ricin cigarette. This does not mean that walt used the ricin to poison Brock, but it DOES mean that the entire time he tricked Jesse into believing that Gus had done so, and that the entire thing was a set up designed by Walt to get Jesse to come back to his side and away from Gus.

Therefore, Walt must have poisoned Brock.
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Oct 10, 2013
he DID poison Broke with lilly of the valley- remember the scene with him putting the plant in the back of his car to get rid of it ??? They even play the song illy of the valley in that episode..... the cig confused me too (risen)...I STILL don't know why Jesse became enraged about the fact that it was in the roomba (that PROVED walt didn't use it ?) but I guess it also proved, as stated above, that GUS didn't poison brock and once again Jesse was used by Walt ..... I am so sympathetic to the Jesse character but I really was rooting for Walt all the way (NOT Hank.......I could not stand Hank, Skyler or Marie! or Walt Jr for that matter.....) I have never been so wrapped up in a series, lol....or movie for that matter. BB was just amazing.. I agree that No Half Measures is the BEST .... they are ALL amazing but that one is just beyond. I guess the actors agree b/c Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul both got tattoos that say no half measures! lol... I happen to see that in an interview!
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Oct 10, 2013
*Brock not Broke.... lol. At least Brock is alive...... Jane was just COLD.... I didn't like Jane at ALL and thought she would be bad for Jesse - she turned him onto H and all......but I guess Jesse was happy and that was important. ..I just don't know....
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Oct 08, 2013
Rectify had a wonderful 1st season. If it gives a few more, it would also be one of the best TV series ever. I enjoyed Enlightened very much but it is cancelled now. The main protagonist Amy Jellicole is harder to root for unlike Walter White who started off very like-able. Amy Jellicole is often very annoying. I sit through all of it and was rewarded but I doubt many people would endure it. Thus the ratings suffered and it was cancelled.

For the record, I also considered Breaking BAD the best TV series EVER. For shows still running, I would rate The Good Wife and House of cards 2 of the best.
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Oct 08, 2013
I wasn't aware of this hallucination/ dream theory, so it kind of amazes me. Honestly, I think it is what it is; I don't understand why people rack their brains reading more into things than what they are. The fact that we all knew that Jesse was a slave to the Nazis and it continued after Andrea was shot dead is enough proof to me (a fact that Walter didn't know about). Also, I wonder how much time has passed between Walter calling the police at the bar and setting out to sort things out: when Walter arrives at the Nazi place, Jesse is all hairy and beardy.

I don't think Walter really won, but he somehow made up for (or at least tried to fix) a few things in those final acts. And he died more like Walter than Heisenberg (like many people have pointed out, his clothes were definitely more like Walter's). Many people think that his letting Jesse go is a bit of a stretch but spending months isolated in a cabin could make him see that he had gone too far, many times. And most of the bad things that happened to him were a reaction to other bad things he'd done.

I briefly wondered what will happen to the other characters but frankly, I don't care. Things were wrapped up nicely, that's enough to me.

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Oct 08, 2013
@Timspot Enlightened. Lol. No.
I'd recommend "The Fall" (streaming on Netflix!) or Shameless (Showtime)
My favorite ep from BB will always be "One Minute" (s3e7)

Walter died as Mr. White and not as Heisenberg, so I do believe he won. Especially when we all knew he had an end date. To have secured some sort of future for his family was always his intention.
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Oct 08, 2013
right shameless is just urban grunge enough well done enough to give us a least a
spot of relief from no new always #1 breaking bad
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Oct 08, 2013
Top shows. 1. Breaking Bad. 2. Game of Thrones. 3. Spartacus. 4. Rome. 5. Damages. 6. Justified. 7. The Wire. 8. Chapelle show. 9. The Shield. 10. Futurama.
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Oct 08, 2013
Tim ......righteous recap. And yer right.....ranking the seasons of BB is a gigantically thankless task. All I know is....seasons 2,3, and 4 were excellent. And season 5 was fantastic. And season 1 set the hook nicely. As for what do I watch now......nada. I'm taking a time out. One that is well deserved. I don't want any show messing with my BB afterglow. "Guess I got what I deserved....." Masterful stuff.

My prediction....in a year, AMC out and out BEGS Vince for the script to "What happened to Jesse?"
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Oct 08, 2013
What ever happened to Lidia's daughter?
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Oct 08, 2013
She is being raised by her nanny we saw when Mike broke in who likely spent more time with her and knew her better than Lydia, since Lydia was always working and walking around in stilettos to power meetings with white supremacists. She is also super rich and will never have to worry about a thing or work.
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Oct 08, 2013
Who cares. She was barely even a character. This show was about walt. It started with him and ended with him. Everybody else was along for the ride
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Oct 08, 2013
@husleyclint..LOL you're right. Someone should have given the Dexter writing team that memo...
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Oct 08, 2013
Thanks! Now I think I'll try Rectify, even though I'll probably miss the Star Trek fan fiction...
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Oct 08, 2013
I thought Enlightened was cancelled? That is a pretty good show.

Yes, Breaking Bad IS the best TV show EVER. Period. The writing is genius, always focused, and seemingly well planned. Long live Heisenberg!
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Oct 08, 2013
I should add.. the people that don't like BB simply are at odds with their own morals. Because they find the idea of a family man turning into a drug kingpin and leaving a trail of destruction behind him morally reprehensible, they can't accept the show. They mistake their personal feelings as some reflection of the quality of the show.

Just like I find a group of high-schoolers making over-the-top productions overty implausible, I could never watch or enjoy Glee... but honestly, I have no idea if Glee is a great show or a crappy one... I just know I don't care and won't bother.
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Oct 08, 2013
Couldn't agree more. I loved BB. I also never stopped rooting for Walt. I also thought Todd &Gus were two of the best villains ever. I rooted for them as well. Guess Im just as sociopath. But idk. It was great tv!
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Oct 08, 2013
Nussbaum and Mcdonald are both jack asses the only Hallucination was them thinking they can write. It was not a dream or a hallucination
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Oct 08, 2013
Tim, thanks for all the extra joy you gave us in reviewing the episodes. The reviews gave me extra input every time.

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Oct 08, 2013
Breaking Bad was one of the best written and acted tv shows i ever watched. Its very entertaining. But sometimes i think its a little bit overhyped. Like here in europe its not that poppular. For me its not THE best show ever... For example Game of Thrones is the most watched show in the world and IMHO THE best show i ever watched (and i watched a lot)...
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Oct 08, 2013
Game of thrones is a close 2nd for me. As is Spartacus and Rome. GoT usually doesn't enter most peoples mind since it is a fantasy piece and most people treat that as nerdish. I don't believe BB is overhyped though. It earned its place as the number 1 show.
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Oct 08, 2013
yeah i just wanna say that BB is in my top 5 shows ever... But the great thing about GoT is, its not just for nerds, it has a great story, and everybody is talking about it the next day. Dont get me wrong BB is a masterpiece too, just not THE best IMO...
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Oct 08, 2013
'These are all symptoms of Breaking Bad withdrawal, which is currently affecting people all over the country '.

All over the world, don't forget us Europeans!
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Oct 08, 2013
Thank you for this excellent piece, particularly putting Walt's winning into context. He tried to set things right in the world, which is pure Shakespeare. It's like throwing a touchdown pass with 30 seconds in the game and behind 42-7. He did what he could do. It could have ended with every effort being rejected: Skyler calling for the cops, Elliot and Gretchen calling him out on his bluff, and the Nazi's finishing him off before he got to them.

#2, spot on. #3, good question. Jesse has no money, unless he can get it from the Albequerque PD. He faces intense interrogation as Marie has let the DEA know Hank was questioning him. Does he do confession 2.0? And will he be as stupid as he was beforehand, not getting any deal? What about the first confession SD?: Does it still exist? If found, he really is in a load of hurt. Brock? Really. Grandma has custody, and we know what her impressions of Jesse are. And what does he say to him? Look bitch, you were poisoned because of my actions, and your mom shot and killed because I can think past the next moment. I like Jesse, but he consistently was unable to comprehend repercussions.

#4 Dream thing better if Walt freezes to death naked near the gate of the cabin. Just reviewed info on hypothermia and there is the paradoxical undressing and struggle in the later stages of hypothermia. Tough to do in a car, but Walt's nude body in the snow...harkens back to the fugue state.

#5 I rank it with MASH. The setup was the end of, "Granite State" when we were left to ponder exactly who was returning. Walt, Heisenberg, or a hybrid? Heisenberg died in the basement cell with Saul. What emerged in the finale was what Walt could have been had he gone the route of Gray Matter, a very pragmatic, driven individual who would push the boundaries but stay within the walls of propriety.

#6 too tough to do.

#7 In my book, one of the best.

#8 Walking Dead, but like Jesse, frustrated with the group's inability to look towards the future. The post-walker world is doable, but they need a plan. All they are doing is surviving.


Questions that bug me: where is the Nazi compound located? They arrived fairly quickly at the money pit, and the cops arrived quickly at their compound. Walt said he didn't want to drive 50 miles into the desert to cook, and the money pit was located near their first cook site. So they had to be near there. So how did so many cops respond so quickly? Machine gun fire? A common occurrence out West. Called? By Walt ahead of time? Maybe Skinny Pete and Badger?
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Oct 08, 2013
I'm assuming Jesse just disappears into the night. He won't reunite with Brock, as Brock has a Grandma no doubt caring for him. Maybe he resurfaces on Better call Saul...well never mind, that's supposed to be a prequel so Jesse as pre-Cpt. Cook is about the best we could hope to see..
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Oct 08, 2013
Great article. I'd only switch out season 3 and 2 in your ranking. I liked Gus Fring as well but just didn't 'ship him as much as the internets. Season 2 was a masterpiece, from the Teddy bear to Jane.
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Oct 08, 2013
1. Did Walter White win?
He did what he set out to do, ensure that his family was financially secure. Remember, he initially wanted less than a million dollars and ended up leaving them 10 times that amount, no matter that he lost a huge sum, and he disposed of most of his loose ends.
Conclusion: Yes he won.

2. Did Walter White redeem himself?
He wasn't after redemption, just respect and understanding from his wife.
In the end, he would never gain her respect for doing what he did, but I think she would eventually come to understand why he did what he did, even though it was immoral and led to disaster.
Conclusion: Ambiguous

3. Two parter: Where did Jesse go? What happened to Skyler?
Jesse is doomed, no matter how you look at it. I would guess he would eventually overdose or die in a car accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Skyler is a strong woman. As soon as the trust kicked in she would move the family away from New Mexico and try to leave the past behind her.

4. Was the finale all Walter White's dying hallucination like some people are saying?
Not likely, as there were too many things happening that Walter wasn't aware of, such as Jesse being held captive to cook.
Conclusion: No

5. Where does "Felina" rank among other great series finales?
It provided a satisfying conclusion to a great series and left little to no unanswered questions, and left me happy that I had watched the show, which is all you can ask of a tv series.
Conclusion: One of the best finales
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Oct 08, 2013
For the record, while I think it's dumb to even worry about if a TV show "really happened", there are some good logical reasons why the episode would fly as a "it was all a dream" cop-out. Most notably, Walter is in possession of information that is accurate but he didn't know at the time he got stuck in the car.

He could be making up many things in his mind, but everything surrounding Jesse we knew before the fact. It's a bit weird that Walter, who up until he's told about the blue meth being out there gives him for dead, not only death-dreams that he's alive, but also that he's being used as a slave meth-cook by a bunch of redneck nazis. That's... one damn lucky guess.

But again, it doesn't matter. He died metaphorically. He made a deal with God, or the writers or whoever: "get me there, I'll wrap up and then I can die", which is a big deal, because terminally ill or not, Walter always fought for survival at all costs. As a clever metaphor, it's just fine to see Walter as a dead man walking, turned into an avenging angel from there on out. It doesn't need to be literal to make sense, that's the whole point of fiction.
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Oct 08, 2013
no no no THE BIGGEST QUESTION for me is: IS HUELL STILL IN THAT ROOM WAITING???
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Oct 09, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5v5_tUDxh8 - The queston is answered here!
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Oct 08, 2013
Yes he is!
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