'Breaking Bad' finale answers the big question

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:42 PM ET

Fans of Breaking Bad are aching bad.

For the first time since the show debuted on Jan. 20, 2008, there are no new episodes on the way. Nothing to look forward to, nothing more to dissect.

Arguably the most acclaimed series in the history of television, Breaking Bad aired its final episode Sunday on AMC. The big question, of course, is what happened to Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston.

Consider this a SPOILER ALERT if you don't want to know. Plot details follow immediately.

Walter White is dead. He collapsed at the end, shot by his own booby-trap, just as the cops arrived. He asked his former partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to finish him off, but Jesse didn't do it, seeing Walt already was wounded.

Jesse survived, freed from servitude by Walt.

The people who were holding Jesse hostage to cook meth, including creepy Todd and his evil Uncle Jack? All dead, mostly by the machine-gun booby-trap in the trunk of Walt's car, but Jesse personally killed Todd, and Walt finished off Uncle Jack.

And oh yes, Lydia is dying. Poisoned by Walt, with the vial he retrieved from his abandoned house.

The episode began with Walt breaking into a frozen, snow-covered car. “Just get me home,” he mutters – prays? – before the keys miraculously emerge, falling from the sun visor.

He gets home, all right. He first goes to see the Schwartzes, Walt's former business partners who dissed and distanced themselves from Walt in a TV interview during the penultimate episode. He gives them more than $9 million and asks them - with a threat - to give it to his son on his 18th birthday.

Walt goes to the diner and meets with his old business associates Lydia and Todd, saying he has a new method of producing meth. Lydia wants nothing to do with Walt. But maybe Todd has a soft spot for Walt, as the man who taught him so much?

Walt's wife Skyler gets a call from her sister Marie, saying that people have spotted Walt back in town. But Walt is there with Skyler already. He gives her the lottery ticket that includes the GPS co-ordinates where Hank Schrader and Steve Gomez are buried.

He admits to her, “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really ... I was alive.” Then Walt visits with his baby daughter for a minute, watches his son from a distance, and leaves.

Then came the final confrontation.

Finales never can please everyone, of course. But if you've been watching a series for years, your one desire is that the ending makes sense within the framework of the show. You might not like the way a creator ends a series – it's not a democracy – but you don't want the tone to take a sharp turn to accommodate a conclusion that feels tacked on or artificial.

Sometimes people stop caring about a series before it ends, and therefore no one expects much as it ends (i.e., last week's Dexter finale). But Breaking Bad was under incredible scrutiny. It did not have the luxury of sucking.

It didn't.


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