My Utter Disappointment With The Breaking Bad Finale

In response to Inevitable Backlash Blog: Breaking Bad’s Finale Fizzles:

Ezra, completely agree … after all the brilliance over 5 years, it ended in such a neat, tidy, dare-I-say corny… way?

There is one common trait all great shows have in common — the lack of predictability. Breaking Bad always excelled in this regard, with episode after episode shocking us and re-inventing the wheel.

Which is precisely why everyone laughed when taking a guess at what would happen in the finale — because, heck, the most predictable conclusions would be those that Vince Gilligan would avoid, such as:

Jesse lives (of course — he’s been the minor hero of this whole saga, the guy who deserves to be set free, both literally and figuratively);

Skyler, Walt Jr, and Holly live — for all the talk of what a ‘dark’ show BB is… they were never going to go that far;

Walt gets to say goodbye one last time to Skyler (as per usual Hollywood formula) and explain he didn’t kill Hank;

Lydia gets the ricin — we all knew this. She had to go and the ‘tea’ set up had been obvious all season;

Walt would storm the Uncle Jack/Todd compound in a blaze of glory and rescue Jesse –this seemed the most ‘Hollywood action film’ of the possibilities and thus, of course, for an intelligent show like Breaking Bad… unlikely;

Uncle Jack and his crew of neo-Nazis are killed;

Walt dies.

Those were all the obvious predictions, were this your run-of-the-mill show. But this is Breaking Bad!

Guess what, though? All those happened.

Then there were the mundane ‘checklist’ items: Walt gets to say goodbye to Skyler!; Walt gets the money to his kids!; Hank and Gomez will get a proper burial!; Walt makes peace with what the Schwartz’s did to him!… It was all painfully obvious. Hey, let’s even throw in that Hollywood-standard scene of Jesse driving away at the end, half crying, half laughing with joy. Haven’t we seen this dozens of times before in a slew of films?

Then there was the M-60 plot. My problem with it isn’t that it wasn’t foolproof: after all, Walt probably knew it might not work (for instance, if they’d insisted that he park his car elsewhere) but was OK with that. At worst, he’d end up dead and without revenge on Jack & Co., which would be less than desirable but an acceptable outcome. What vexed me was the ridiculousness of it. Really? An M-60 that takes out everyone in the room by shooting through the cement walls? I guess it works but… just seemed rather silly, for a show that has never delved even an inch into ‘silly.’

When you love a show for its unconventional nature, for its wildly unpredictable turns — what happens when its finale ends on a terribly trite and pedestrian ‘TV sitcom’ note?