Breaking Bad: Season 5 Episode 16: “Felina” Series Finale Recap

Felina

All bad things must come to an end. And what a terrific, immensely satisfying conclusion it is! If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad series finale yet the full episode can be streamed on AMC.

Continue reading only after watching Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 16 “Felina”.

Heading into the finale I was trepidatious because of the small unlikelihood of Breaking Bad faltering in its final hour. I had confidence in the writers who never stumbled during the series, but still there is a lingering apprehension in the back of my mind. A disastrous ending can kill a great story and taint what is an incredible run of final episodes.

The relatively quieter ‘Granite State’ left a lot of ground to cover in the finale. Which meant ‘Felina’ is tasked with some heavy lifting before the climatic confrontation. Amazingly, ‘Felina’ did not feel too burdened by its narrative structure. After all is said and done, I feel gratified, relieved and a little sad there’ll be no more new episodes. It’s over, yo!

By design, ‘Felina’ is not as emotionally harrowing as ‘Ozymandias’, the episode that culminated Heisenberg’s downfall. It functioned more like an epilogue to pay off the flash forwards, resolve loose ends and provide closure to many characters. That’s not to say, the finale didn’t tug at the heart-strings or have magnificent moments because it did.

After watching the Schwartz’s television interview I was secretly hoping Walt would exact some murderous vengeance if only for dismissing Walt’s contribution to the company. Instead, Walt saw a brilliant way to get the money to Junior through Gray Matter which is what Mike Ehrmantraut failed to do for his grand-daughter.

Bringing back Badger and Pete as the unseen fake hit men is a fantastic suprise. Skinny Pete got in a funny self-referential line about the show, “Whole thing felt kinda shady, like, morality-wise.” I’m unsure why Walt would pick the friends of someone he sentenced to death to assist him but I guess he could trust them and introducing new characters at this point would not make sense.

Returning to his abandoned home represented how empty his life has become. There’s a difference between being alive and living your life. Since his cancer diagnosis, Walt got his second chance at life. He lived it on the edge; fulfilling his true potential albeit as a criminal mastermind. In a way, many of us wish we could escape our mundane existence and feel truly alive. It took 62 episodes but finally Walt admitted the truth to Skyler and to himself: “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really, I was alive.”

Structurally, ‘Felina’ is Walt awakening out of his cold hibernation for a final counter strike at his enemies and as best as he can, make amends to the lives he destroyed. Junior will inherit a trust fund, Marie can properly bury Hank’s remains (RIP Hank), Skyler gets leverage to bargain with the prosecution and Jesse is inadvertently rescued from the neo-Nazis.

The character flaws of Walt’s enemies proved to be their demise. Lydia’s penchant for regimented order made it easy for Walt to find her and slip the ricin in her stevia. How sweet is revenge? Uncle Jack could have immediately killed Walt but his prideful arrogance in proving he wasn’t Jesse’s partner gave Walt the opportunity to grab the key fob.

ustv-breaking-bad-s05-e16-finale-11

The writers perfectly executed all the beats in the last act to give most viewers the ending they wanted. On the food chain hierarchy, Heisenberg is like an apex predator without peer. His return is a violent reckoning. The M60 mounted in the trunk, pumping rounds into the neo-Nazis is just deserts for what they did to Hank. Then Walt puts a bullet in Uncle Jack, not caring about the location of his stolen money. And Jesse strangling Todd is one death that’s not going to torment his conscience.

Walt and Jesse is the relationship most fans were invested in throughout the series. With only one scene to wrap up everything that happened between them is a huge undertaking especially since only three episodes ago Walter ordered Jesse’s execution, but the writers did a commendable job.

Beneath the anger, Walt’s natural instinct is to protect Jesse and he ultimately he took a bullet for his “second son”. Walt told Jesse to kill him. However, in a way, Walt gave Jesse the choice on how to resolve their differences. In the end, Jesse made the opposite decision that Walt made in ‘Ozymandias’.

Walt freed Jesse from the neo-Nazis but Jesse set himself free from Walt. “Do it yourself” is basically saying, I’m nobody’s bitch. The most exhilarating moment in the finale is Jesse blasting through the gate in the runaway car. Hell yeah!

In his final moments, Walt is without his family at his side. He touches the metal cylinder in the meth lab as if he’s made peace with himself. Did Walt actions in “Felina’ earn his redemption? Was this ending too affirming for all the lies and crimes Walt committed? Based on fan reaction, the ending was overwhelmingly well-received.

The writers delivered a swift resolution in the sprint to the finish line which I don’t personally consider as a fault though I can understand why some may feel that way. It’s a great feat for a serialized television show to end on top form and address almost all of the loose ends. If anything, the finale is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail that makes this show so great and cements Breaking Bad’s legacy as an instant classic in the golden age of television.

More Posts You Might Like:

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 15 “Granite State” Review

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 14 “Ozymandias” Review

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 13 “To’hajiilee” Review

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 12 “Rabid Dog” Review

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on October 1, 2013, in Breaking Bad, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I don’t feel as strongly about the finale as you do, but it was a good enough end to an excellent series for me still. My favorite parts were the ending for Jesse and Walt admitting he did it for himself to Skylar.

    Overall I think it just went too well for Walt. It’s not like he ended the show the perfect way he’d like to have, “Ozymandias” already made that ship sail. But just looking at the finale he pretty much does everything he wanted with no obstacles slowing him up in this episode. I’m not calling out the show for a lack of realism, it has never been all that realistic. But it was the writer’s choice to make it smooth sailing despite all the things that could have went wrong. And given my view of Walt (which I know differs greatly from yours), this doesn’t really sit well for me.

    When it is all said and done, I’m not sure he gets punished adequately for his actions in the series. It’s not an ending that surprised me because I suspected Gilligan might go this way. But its still not the ideal ending in my mind. I’m still wrestling with it ito be honest though. It may grow on me. Anyway, loved reading your reviews this season. Still need to start up the Marvel show. Will you be writing Arrow reviews again too?

    • For me this was a really good finale but I don’t think I conveyed in my recap how I truly felt. This was not the best episode of Breaking Bad, it wasn’t even the best episode of the season. As finales go, I liked the Spartacus one better; it was emotionally heavy and had incredible memorable moments – it ended with its best episode. I appreciate your feedback because I hope to get better at expressing myself in the recaps.

      The scene in the car where he finds the keys and then the snow on the side window perfectly comes off after one hit is basically saying it’s going to go Walt’s way from here on out. However, I think it is a fair and valid criticism it went too smooth for Walt. I personally did not mind because I wanted him to take out Lydia and the neo-Nazis and they only had one episode to do it.

      However, the idea that he can wipe the slate clean or partially clean (if that’s what he did) doesn’t sit well with me either because of all his evil deeds. He did suffer a lot in Ozymandias and Granite State but for me he didn’t pay his karmic debt in full, even after taking a bullet for Jesse. So when the music cued ,”he deserved what he got,” that didn’t quite ring true for me.

      But it doesn’t bother me as much as you because I still liked Walt. He realized his wrongs, tried to make things rights but still died alone with his son rightly believing he’s a monster. But I can see where you are coming from, especially given how you feel about Walt. Based on some of the fan reaction, I’m a little surprised more are not wrestling with the ending like you are. Maybe it’s a herd mentality where if someone admits the ending is not ideal for them, they feel ostracized.

      I hope to write some Arrow reviews next season. The thing is, I’m a very slow writer and writing into the night with only a few views might not be worth the time when I could be doing other stuff. I know it should be about enjoying the process of writing but it’s also nice to know I’m connecting with fans of the show. Of course, I’m grateful for those that do support my blog. Great discussing with you as always! Let me know what you think of S.H.I.E.L.D. when you get the chance. 🙂

  2. Hello there, firstly can I say wonderful recap and secondly I pretty much agree with you on every point.

    I thought this episode was executed nicely with most loose end tied up and some wonderful moments of drama, humour and pure awesomeness. So many cool moments from Walt slipping into Gretchen and Elliot’s house to the point when he had then at sniper point to the point when Jesse strangled Todd to death to Walt’s confession about how he truly felt about doing all the crazy stuff that he did.

    I fee like there was a lot of smart choices made like: giving Jesse not only the energy to leave, but to also free himself of Walt and escape in that car. So liberating! I was also glad to see the Neo Nazis bite it, there needed their just deserts. And Walt for all his flaws I do feel like he did enough to rectify some of his mistakes from the past, sure he’s still a monster but he went out in a way which felt right for me.

    The show’s finale for me ended in the right way which didn’t cheap, illogical or made me feel cheated. Man Breaking Bad has truly been one of the best and consistent shows I’ve seen in years, can’t believe its over. It will be missed.

    P.S. Only thing I have to ask is… WHAT HAPPENED TO HUEL? Poor guy got left in the room and was scared to death by Hank ages ago, is anyone coming back for him? Is he still stuck there? I feel for him yo. 😛

    • I totally agree, so many loose ends were wrapped up with a lot of skill and amazing moments. I also loved the visit to the Schwartz’s house … I didn’t know where that scene was going.

      Jesse strangling Todd to death is so satisfying. Maybe he got an adrenaline boost because as soon as he got the chance, Jesse pounced on Todd like a crazed tiger. I’m still thinking what will happen to Jesse. Will he find Brock? Go to Alaska or somewhere else?

      Yeah, I believe Walt is one of the greatest characters on TV. If someone lowly like Todd, Jack or Lydia (oh god no) was the one that bested him, it would be terrible. So in that way I liked that Walt went out on his own terms. Hank was the only one to beat Walt or at least come close … poor Hank.

      I also liked the confrontation between Walt and Jesse at the end. If the writers didn’t have that moment, I would have felt cheated. The writers are too good to have left that out. I also think the writers knew what the fans wanted and they went all out to satisfy them. I can’t believe its over! I’ll watch Better Call Saul, but I think it’s going to be a different kind of show.

      Haha, Huel! He must be very hungry 🙂 And will someone find the rest of the stolen money?

  3. Great as always!

    I’m exhausted so will come back to say more, but just wanted to address why Walt would enlist Badger and Skinny Pete: I think it was two-fold. First of all, there aren’t a lot of people Walt could’ve talked to, esp with crimes going all national news, and in the circle of people he knows who might be willing, who he doesn’t plan to kill, I can’t think of anyone else.

    But second, I think he wanted the info about the blue meth from them. That wasn’t an afterthought. He needed to know what was going on with that. He definitely reacted to that news during the Charlie Rose interview.

    ~EJ

    • Hi Emilia, thanks for sharing that! That’s right, Walt did need confirmation that the blue meth wasn’t just a knockoff but the real deal Heisenberg quality. Such a funny moment when Pete attested to the quality of the meth. These two need their own comedy spin off haha. Sunday is coming around and I’m gonna feel something is missing. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Breaking Bad Episode 516 “Felina” – The Series Finale | Emilia Jordan

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