Confession time: I am a recent Breaking Bad bandwagoner. I mean, it’s barely been a year since I started watching. I popped in season one mid-June of 2012 and barreled through the whole thing just in time for the season five (first half) premiere. When the first couple of seasons aired, I had some interest, but not enough to seek out a download link. I think I even vaguely remember being annoyed that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul beat out a few Lost actors at the 2010 Emmys, which seems a little bizarre to me now. I want to go back in time and tell myself, “WATCH IT. You will learn, child.”
So it’s only been a year, but it feels like many more. After the pilot, I knew there was no going back. This show has absolutely consumed me since then. I’ve been nervous for the finale ever since, not due to a lack of faith in Gilligan & Co., but because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to these characters just yet. While “Felina” was utterly nerve-wracking, a fingernail-destroyer of an episode, it did leave us with some solace. When was the last time we thought that about anything on Breaking Bad? It was the perfect end to a perfect show that never dipped or even approached a downhill slope.
The episode title guaranteed us three things: blood (iron, Fe), meth (lithium, Li), and tears (sodium, Na). A simple, straightforward formula that really could be the overarching theme of the show as a whole, but nothing else was needed. Walt’s death was inevitable, so Gilligan got in, got out, and got it done, but not before tying up every remaining loose end. He even gets continuations of almost every flashforward: leaving Denny’s, retrieving the ricin coupled with a particularly painful flashback to Hank prodding Walt to inject a little more excitement into his life from the pilot. Nothing was extravagant, save for a few masterful cinematography moments – the reveal of Walt behind the pillar in Skyler’s kitchen comes to mind.
It turns out Saul’s vacuum cleaner repair guy is, in fact, a vacuum cleaner repair guy. He picked up Walt at the end of last week’s watershed episode. The person who got out of the van at the beginning of “Granite State,” though, was Saul, who decided he needed to get out of Albuquerque, too. The plan is to send Saul to Nebraska, but he and Walt are going to share a bedroom in the vacuum store until things die down. Saul asks how Walt’s been, and the repair guy directs him to a live feed of Walt’s room. He’s pacing back and forth.
After the opening credits, we get a quick Marie update. She’s in an SUV with men who assure her that they’re going to find Hank and Gomez. She doesn’t seem too confident. They pull up to her home, but something’s wrong. Papers are strewn all over the driveway and the door is bashed in. The inside of the house is completely torn up. This was Jack’s work – he wanted Jesse’s confession video. They skip to the part where Jesse fingers Todd as Drew Sharp’s murderer and Jack is not happy. He’s ready to get rid of Jesse. They just inherited a massive fortune. Why do they need to stay in the meth business? If they’re no longer cooking, Jesse’s life is inconsequential. Todd wants to stick with it, though, so he can stay close to Lydia. They still have a massive supply of methylamine, so they might as well finish it off and make a few more millions. “No matter how much you got, how do you turn your back on more?”