"We knew we needed to dot all the i's and cross all the t's," "Breaking Bad" creator said Sunday night, in the AMC post-show "Talking Bad."
"It's a story that starts at A and ends at Z," he said. (Quote corrected from earlier version.)
(If you're actually reading this before seeing the 75-minute finale, please stop reading now. Because I'm not going to be listening to any whining after this.)
"He has accomplished the thing he set out to accomplish," Gilligan said of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who, by the time the finale was over had arranged for his family to get the money he'd earned cooking methamphetamine in a way that would keep the government away from it.
What's more, he'd owned up to the person he truly was, in a searing scene with his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn):
"If I have to hear one more time, that you did this for the family -- " she said, wearily.
"I did it for me. I liked it. And I was good at it. And I was really -- I was alive."
Not so alive at the end of last night's episode: Walt, who, whether he'd planned to or not, essentially gave his life to save his cooking partner Jesse (Aaron Paul). Also dead: those guys who'd been holding Jesse prisoner, most especially Todd (Jesse Plemons). Plemons, like Cranston, managed to reinvent himself in a truly chilling way in this show and the next time I rewatch "Friday Night Lights" I'm going to be looking at that second season hide-the-body plot disaster in a whole new way.
On her way out: Lydia (Laura Fraser), whose death-by-ricin-laced-stevia was spotted on Twitter long, long before Walt told her what he'd done. (I can't believe that AMC, which sold a ton of commercials for the finale, didn't reach out to Splenda and other artificial sweetener makers.)
Alive but scared silly: Gretchen (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott (Adam Godley), Walt's former partners (who got a big callback in last week's episode with their appearance on "Charlie Rose"). Those two will presumably be following to the letter Walt's instructions about the disbursement of his money to a trust for Walt Jr./Flynn (RJ MItte).
Even if that part seemed a little too much like wish-fulfillment (because I enjoyed every damn minute of it and that made me feel guilty), it was worth it for the quote (one of my favorite of the series):
"Cheer up, beautiful people. This is where you get to make it right."
In the coming days and weeks, I expect to hear from any number of people who'll object to one aspect or another of the "Breaking Bad" finale, since tearing this stuff apart is pretty much what the Internet exists for. And maybe I'll think myself of some stuff that could have been done differently (though since I've long since stop believing that the series was about turning Mr. Chips into Scarface, it won't be an objection to Walt having freed Jesse).
But this is Gilligan's show and this is Gilligan's ending. He didn't leave it up to you or me to decide how it all ended: He took responsibility for his story, and as far as I'm concerned, he stuck the landing.