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'Breaking Bad' finale was perfect

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) after he abducted his

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) after he abducted his daughter Holly in a scene from season five of "Breaking Bad." Credit: AP

A TV classic has wrapped leaving nothing to doubt - no questions, no ambiguity, no fade to black. "Breaking Bad's" finale was all about closure - emphatic, operatic closure - for characters as well as fans, which was why this hugely dramatic and satisfying end was also just a touch melancholic too.

To recap, and spoilers be damned: Walter White (Bryan Cranston), one of TV's great protagonists/antagonists, died in "Breaking Bad's" closing minutes - by the bullet (in all probability) fired by the Rube-Golbergian contraption which involved a jerry-rigged M60 which leveled Uncle Jack's (Michael Bowen) gang, and gave Walter the revenge he has sought for about half of this final season. Jesse (Aaron Paul)?

He garroted his tormentor and captor, the malevolent Todd (Jesse Plemons) who met a demise that about eight million fans had actively, fervently sought.

There were other major pieces of closure also neatly tied: Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), the meth queen-pin, met her gruesome end via a ricin tablet that Walter substituted for her beloved Stevia (a creature of habit, Lydia always put it in here Chamomile.)

And of course, this last piece of business: Walter created a fund for his family, to be distributed by his former girlfriend, Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott (Adam Godley), the principals of a major firm Walter had helped to create years earlier, Gray Matters Technology.

The finale, which ran about 70-plus minutes, ended with the track of the old Badfinger song, "Baby Blue."

But the greatest moment of this great finale had to be this quiet exchange, when Skyler (Anna Gunn), Walter's wife, asked him why he became a meth lord in the first place. Said Walter: "I did it for me. I was good at it, and...I was really alive."

 The truth sets you free, Walter. And Skyler too. 

 Did I love this finale? Completely: It was a cathartic, rich and satisfying wrap to a show that needed one, deserved one.   You could pick just about anything from this to savor - say, that ridiculous stunt where Badger and Skinny Pete train cheap little lasers that they picked up from some CVS (do they have CVSs in New Mexico) on the chests of Elliott and Gretchen. Why would Ell and Gretch fall for this? Why not?    

Lydia's ringtone? (Lydia oh Lydia...Lydia the Tatooooed lady...) Sky's depleted life - dragging on a cigarette, waiting for Walter Jr. to come home, and there's dad, in the shadows... Walter clearing away the frozen crust from those windows in his getaway car - a coffin from which was proffered one last prayer: "Just get me home. I'll do the rest..."

  There were endless such touches, but one of the joys of this finale was in its ability to confound everyone's expectations while completely fulfilling them. Of course, fans expected a shootout. Fans did not expect that shootout. Of course, Gretchen and Elliott would be involved. No one foretold that level of involvement. The great ricin mystery? Perfect resolution to that as well.

  This one worked, and worked beautifully.


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