Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Ending. Bad.

No matter what they cook up for this Walter White windup, it's a dreadful break for fans.

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, "Breaking Bad": We hate endings and we´ll hate this one. But just how will it desert us?
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, "Breaking Bad": We hate endings and we'll hate this one. But just how will it desert us?
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, "Breaking Bad": We hate endings and we´ll hate this one. But just how will it desert us? Gallery: Ending. Bad.

Don't take this personally, Vince Gilligan, but we hate you. We're working our way up to it anyway.

Breaking Bad's 75-minute finale, "Felina," which you wrote and directed, won't be shown until Sunday night. But we can tell you already: We're not going to like it.

We live in a culture with a history of breaking bad with our favorite shows. That's just how we roll.

The finale of The Sopranos? Ptooey! The last episode of Lost? Rubbish.

More coverage
  • Everything you need to know about the 'Breaking Bad' finale
  • The point is, we love your methamphetamine opus with wild abandon. Which means we're obligated to despise its swan song.

    A psychiatrist would probably say we're just acting out abandonment issues.

    Whatever.

    Right now we just wonder exactly how you're planning to bitterly disappoint us.

    You've provided us with some tip-offs. Walt (Bryan Cranston) seems determined to go out in a blaze of gory. A guy who demands a gun so big and lethal that even the weapons-dealer has qualms about selling it to him probably isn't planning on holding hands and singing "Amazing Grace."

    And we learned in another flash-forward that Walt returns to the ancestral home, which is fenced off like a hazmat site, to retrieve the vial of ricin he stashed behind the wall plate.

    Poison, a baby bazooka, who knows what else. That's quite an arsenal Walt is assembling.

    But who is the target?

    Well, if he knew that Todd and his goon had broken into Holly's nursery with ski masks to menace Skyler and the baby, he would certainly be stalking Todd. But Walt is unaware of that ugly incident.

    Todd and his neo-Nazi uncle, Jack, still appear to be Walt's likeliest intended prey, because they stole his "life's work" - the mountain of ill-gotten cash.

    That seems like too obvious an outcome for someone as devious as you, Vince. And even if that is the plan, who is the ricin for?

    Could Walt have returned to Albuquerque to exact revenge on the Schwartzes, after watching them repudiate his accomplishments as a chemist on national TV?

    Unlikely, unless he's really come to punish them for their bad taste in choosing The Charlie Rose Show.

    And what happens to Jesse (Aaron Paul)? It would be nice to see Walt rescue Jesse from his degraded state - shackled and caged as Todd's lab peon.

    After the heart-wrenching way he was rejected by his own son, Walt Jr. (R.J. Mitte) - "Why are you still alive? Why won't you just die already?" - at least let Walt finally do right by his surrogate son, Jesse.

    Too sappy?

    Maybe there are clues to be found in the episode's title. "Felina" clearly has cat connotations. It's also an anagram for finale.

    But the more Talmudic students of the show suggest that it's a reference to the heroine in Marty Robbins' classic Tex-Mex ballad "El Paso." (Although it's likely the cantina dancer in Robbins' 1959 hit - a song frequently covered over the years by the Grateful Dead - spelled her name Feleena or Faleena.)

    The narrator of that old story-song, a wanted man, returns to town to see his lady one last time, even though he knows it means almost certain death.

    Does this portend a tragic reunion for Walt and Skyler?

    Gilligan gave a smugly sphinxlike one-word answer when asked on Talking Bad what the finale would be about: "Woodworking." Ponder that all you want. I think that he is, like the show's opening credits, blowing smoke.

    And here's a parting possibility based on Breaking Bad's penchant for tautology: The first words spoken in this engrossing TV saga were Walt's, videotaping a tearful valediction to his family as sirens wail in the background. Could the last scene be a reprise?

    No matter how this turns out, Gilligan, it's all your fault!

     


    Five Great 'Bad' Moments

    In ascending order of badness . . .

    (5) The introduction of Saul Goodman in his office with Badger - in "Better Call Saul," Season 2, Episode 8.

    (4) Todd shoots the boy on the dirt bike - in "Dead Freight," Season 5, Episode 5.

    (3) Danny Trejo's severed head on a tortoise - in "Negro y Azul," Season 2, Episode 7.

    (2) Walt's "I am the danger" speech to Skyler - in "Cornered," Season 4, Episode 6.

    (1) The explosive demise of Gus Fring - in "Face Off," Season 4, Episode 13.


    BREAKING BAD

    Series finale

    9 p.m. Sunday on AMC


    dhiltbrand@phillynews.com

    215-854-4552 @daveondemand_tv

     

    David Hiltbrand Inquirer TV Critic
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