'Breaking Bad' Goes Out with a Bang
Monday, June 14, 2010
A week ago I compiled a list of the best dramas of the TV season and Breaking
Bad came in a very close second to Dexter. But after the
amazing season 3 finale of Breaking Bad, it's now a tie.
Breaking Bad ended with a gripping and tense finale that focused
entirely on Walter and Jesse's dire predicament. After Walter mowed
down a pair of drug dealers in his car, his drug kingpin employer Gus
decided to take the ultimate full measure and plan for Walter's
execution. But he learned the hard way: never underestimate a high
school chemistry teacher and his ex-junkie associate.
In the end, it all came down to Gale, Walter's over-eager meth cooking apprentice, who was being groomed to take over the business after Walter's death. Backed into a corner, Walter had no choice but to kill Gale to save himself and Jesse.
While Walter has spent the majority of this season channeling his inner dark side, involving his wife in the business and killing drug dealers, he was captured and it was up to Jesse to do the dirty work. As great as the writing is on Breaking Bad, it's the acting that sends it to the next level.
The look in Aaron Paul's eyes during the final scene, filling with tears as he struggled to pull the trigger and end the life of a rather innocent bystander, was gut-wrenching. Jesse has tried to do good, tried to stay clean, but circumstances forced him into doing the one thing he never wanted to do.
There are plenty of open questions for season 4 dealing with Skyler's involvement, Hank's recovery and what happens to the meth business now, but for now fans are left with conflicting emotions.
While Jesse's fate is truly sad and depressing, it was preceded by Walter's moment of infinite triumph. The confidence in his voice when he revealed to Gus' hitman that Jesse was at Gale's house was his "kick-ass" moment of the year. In a way, that makes Walter an even more terrifying figure.
Walter no longer seems burdened by moral ambivalence. In the last two episodes, Walter was told that half measures were no longer acceptable, and he seems to have taken that lesson to heart. Walter doesn't squirm at the sight of blood, he didn't flinch in his showdown with Gus and he announced the death of the innocent Gale with a detached calm that would be better suited for an evil dictator or a cold-blooded assassin.
In a strange turn of events, the season 3 finale of Breaking Bad showed that the high school chemistry teacher and father of two is the man without morals while the loser ex-junkie is the hero. We'll have to wait until season 4 to see just how far Walter will take this.
(Image courtesy of AMC)