Well that was something. The finale should have been a couple of hours. It felt a bit rushed. But, when things happened they exploded, sometimes literally. There were so many penultimate moments tying in the past episodes that it’s hard to know where to begin. So I’ll take a look at what I thought didn’t work about the episode. Lydia. My question about that is why? She was certainly no angel. Mike made that clear early in the season when he reluctantly reconsidered taking her out himself. But if Walt was finally going to use that ricin after five years, why not utilize that for a big player that really deserved it? I’m not sure Lydia’s actions merited her end, at least not in the way it did. She could have had Walt’s family bumped off. She hinted at it, and admonished psycho Todd for not having done so. But she never truly insisted and never looked at some other way of getting that done. She was a distributor of the product put together by her nazi pals and the imprisoned Jesse. I’m just kind of unsure about that, other than I suppose it was necessary for Vince Gilligan to wrap up the long running ricin thing. I think Chekov (not the Starfleet officer, the other Russian guy) wrote that if you introduce a gun in scene one that you must use it by scene three. And let’s face it, there weren’t too many players left by scene three!
Jessie didn’t mention the whole Jane thing to Walt when he was holding a gun on him. I can understand the reasons he couldn’t or wouldn’t shoot Walt in the end. But I don’t understand why he didn’t interrogate Walt about it or just ask him why. If Walt truly felt Jessie was a surrogate son then how could have let the woman he loved just die in front of him? Also, Jane was a smokin’ hottie, so perhaps I’m a little biased.
But what this got right about Walt is that like the collateral damage emanating from Walt’s compulsion to put his being in the “empire business”, the prospect of losing his partner and having to compromise his selfish ambition was too much for him to bear. Jane was just another obstacle to Walt’s narcissistic self-actualization. Ultimately, Walt sacrificed his own family, the respect of his son and his very freedom for the same reason. So having let Jane go was probably just a blip on his radar. In my mind, the biggest loser of the entire show was Jessie. At first he was a happy go lucky, ignorant meth head and dealer. By the end he lost two girlfriends, all his money, his freedom for months, his self-respect and sense of innocence. The same innocence that Walt had also cost his actual son.
I think that the best scene, possibly of the entire final season, was Walt sitting in the New Hampshire Bar listening to Gretchen and her husband diss Heisenberg! The look on his face and then the music kicks on. Just glorious. And the slaughter of the evil nazis with Walt’s machine gun trunk contraption was simply priceless. I’ll never look at an adjustable recliner the same way. Or a sugar packet for that matter. Or Bablyon 5 for that matter. Thanks Skinny Pete!
And while it came off as a bit too contrived, it was nicely poetic that Walt got to off the head nazi the same way that he so callously killed off Hank. Todd’s demise was also nicely done and a much more realistic ending for him. Todd was one creepy bastard. He was so polite and well-mannered, yet utterly devoid of compassion for others unless he cared for them himself. In some ways, Todd was the anti-Jessie. Much the opposite, Jessie was an ill-mannered, hilariously obnoxious slob, but he also had a heart of gold. Come to think of it, Jessie, Walt, Jr. and Todd were each different aspects of Walt’s vision of a perfect son. In the end, they were either irretrievably alienated from Walt or in Todd’s case, thankfully deceased. There’s just too much to cover. But I guess the lesson from one of the best shows ever on television is “know thyself.” Otherwise, “Better Call Saul!”