The 'Breaking Bad' Finale

Walter White, the infamous "Heisenberg"
Walter White, the infamous "Heisenberg" | Source

“Respect the chemistry.”

Vince Gilligan, the creator and producer of Breaking Bad, understood this concept quite well. On the surface, this series resonates with elements from the modern western gangster genre, but with deep undertones of classic Shakespearean themes. I suspect that this iconic original will be discussed, envied and copied for years.

A virtual tour-de-force of acting and storytelling, Breaking Bad is the perfect confluence of complex character development; meticulous attention to research, detail and continuity; stunning visuals and imagery; creative juxtaposition of humor and tragedy; and striking use of symbolism and metaphor. In other words, a brilliant chemistry.

Watching this superior series has been, for me, a privilege, and a surprising experience as well since I have an aversion to violence portrayed in film. The hostile aggression present in Breaking Bad is far more analogous to scenes from Hamlet and Macbeth. There have been many comparisons between Breaking Bad and the works of William Shakespeare and Herman Melville. During the several years the series aired, Breaking Bad was nominated for 262 industry awards, winning 110.

The story takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The central character, Heisenberg, is born from the gentle, cancer-stricken and over-qualified high school chemistry teacher, Walter White. His transformation into methamphetamine cook and drug kingpin is fueled, in part, by his initial desire to pay for the expensive cancer treatments not covered by his HMO. Money will also be needed for his family when the advanced disease eventually claims his life. A less magnanimous motivation, however, soon takes hold: Walt’s deeply ingrained resentment that his genius and value go unrecognized by his former research partners who have become highly successful.

Walter White (portrayed by Bryan Cranston) teaching high school chemistry.
Walter White (portrayed by Bryan Cranston) teaching high school chemistry. | Source

The Finale titled, “Felina.” [Warning: Spoilers are ahead.]

Felina is meant to represent three elements in this perfect chemistry:

  1. The woman, Felina, from the song, ‘El Paso’
  2. An acronym for the word, finale
  3. Fe=iron, Li=lithium, Na=sodium, or ‘Blood, Meth and Tears’

This hub originated with my annoyance, or rather, my disagreement with some of the reviews. Although they hailed this series as brilliant, a few critics stated that the finale was a “happy ending,” and Walter White had “fully redeemed himself" -- both of which were a disappointment. I disagree. The finale was not representative of a happy closure or White's complete atonement for all of his actions.

I will not use this forum to argue whether or not Heisenberg’s final moments of clarity made up for his past deeds. Nor will I debate the moral illogic of cheering for a gifted yet ruthless man who left so many destroyed lives in his wake.

The purpose of this article is to clear up some of these myths certain reviewers have advocated, including one unrealistic supposition that Walter White froze to death in a car in the New Hampshire winter; the finale was a dream sequence he experienced while in the final throes of death. At minimum, there are two very important details in this closing episode that would have made such a scenario virtually impossible. (Vince Gilligan had to explain this during a brief news conference when these unfounded speculations went viral on the Internet.) In viewing any series, there is looking and there is “seeing."

Walter White...aka Heisenberg, drug kingpin and meth cook.
Walter White...aka Heisenberg, drug kingpin and meth cook. | Source

In the finale, several months have passed since Walt fled Albuquerque for New Hampshire, leaving his family behind.

Before his departure, Walt had relinquished his drug business. In other words, he was “out.” His true identity as Heisenberg was discovered shortly thereafter by his brother-in-law and DEA agent, Hank. A chase ensued into the desert with tragic consequences. Despite Walt's frantic efforts to save Hank, he and another federal agent were murdered by some of White's prior associates – Jack Welker’s White Supremacist gang. Welker appropriated most of Walt’s drug money he had buried deep in the desert sand, while disposing of the two bodies in the same location.

While hiding in New Hampshire, Walt tried to think of a way he could leave what remained of his money to his family before he finally succumbed to cancer. He also learned that someone else was manufacturing his signature product and formula -- the coveted and 99% pure methamphetamine, "Heisenberg Blue."

In the finale, Walt returns to Albuquerque, seeking to avenge Hank's murder and protect his family and legacy. Upon his arrival, Walt surprises his former drug business associates at a cafe: The treacherous Lydia, the European distributor of Heisenberg Blue, and Todd from Jack Welker’s crew. His appearance shocks them. Walter White is all but unrecognizable due to his unkempt hair and grizzled beard, weight loss and creviced features. He walks quietly, slightly bent at the shoulders, with the fading essence of a man who knows he is dying. Nevertheless, Heisenberg is unwilling to go “gentle into that good night.”

White slides a chair over to their table and sits next to Lydia, who is ordering her favorite chamomile tea. She is unaware that he had previously handled the packet of Stevia she now nervously taps on the table. Walt makes arrangements with Todd to meet Welker at their compound that evening under the pretext of discussing a more cost-effective formula for his producing his blue meth. He then leaves the café to drive into the desert.

A battered structure of what used to be a dwelling opens up into the desert where we see a few stone remnants in the shape of broken pillars. It is surreal in the sense that this is Walter White’s Ozymandias. “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.” (This also reverberates elements in a previous episode. Similar echoes, symbolism and metaphor abound in the finale.) Two empty window frames at the front of this broken facade are the eyes of a torn and embittered soul. What is left in the shadows and splintered wood is a harbinger of the death and destruction that are still to come. The deadly white ricin Walt injected into the Stevia packet now courses through Lydia’s body as he toils in the desert beyond, assembling his M60 killing device in the mid-day sun.

Walt kneels on the desert sand, singing the words to ‘El Paso’ as he completes his final creation. The wedding ring attached to a length of twine around his neck falls forward;it no longer fits due to the weight loss from his cancer. Tucking the ring inside of his shirt, he stares across the barren landscape.

Percy Bysshe Shelley's 'Ozymandias' from 'Breaking Bad' Read by Bryan Cranston as Heisenberg

During Walt's flight from justice, the White home was Rico’d by the feds and their their bank accounts, frozen. His wife, Skyler, and their two children have been forced to live in a small, bleak apartment. In the final afternoon of his life, he slips into the apartment like a shadow, undetected, to bid farewell to his devastated wife. He has no intention of surviving the events he has planned for that evening.

“It’s over. And I needed a proper goodbye,” Walt tells her. He leaves the tearful Skyler with two gifts: Information on the location of Hank’s body and how he was murdered; and finally, the truth as to why he became the notorious Heisenberg. Rather than repeating the false, “I did it for the family,” his admonition provides some measure of relief to Skyler after lying to her for two years: “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really...alive.”

They do not touch in this poignant scene. Skyler remembers the love she had for the man her husband used to be, and grieves for the family they once shared that has been irretrievably desolated.

Walter White...aka Heisenberg, in his final hours.
Walter White...aka Heisenberg, in his final hours. | Source

Before Walt leaves the apartment, his hand tenderly caresses his infant daughter as she sleeps in her crib. His teenage son, Flynn, will spend the rest of his life believing that his father murdered his beloved Uncle Hank. He will bear the psychological scars from this lie – as well as Walt’s infamous deeds as a drug kingpin -- for the rest of his life. So will his beautiful wife and daughter. The awareness of this is deeply etched in Walter’s expression as he stares through a glass window across the apartment courtyard, watching his son for the last time.

Walter managed to covertly maneuver some of his drug money to his son and family – the one goal he sought to achieve before Heisenberg was fully realized. What he does for his family during the last 24 hours of his life – born from whatever humanity that remains in his soul - will never be known to them. He neither asks for, nor receives, recognition or forgiveness.

Jesse Pinkman (portrayed by Aaron Paul); Walt's former meth cook assistant and business partner.
Jesse Pinkman (portrayed by Aaron Paul); Walt's former meth cook assistant and business partner. | Source

During a previous scene, we see Walt’s former meth cook partner and young friend, Jesse, in a fantasy memory. He recalls the beautiful box of Peruvian wood he made while still in high school where Walter White was his chemistry teacher. (Rather than giving the cherished box to his mother, he traded it for drugs.) As Jesse leaves his fugue daydream, he is in a harness and chains, imprisoned in the lab at the Welker compound where he has been forced to create Walt’s perfect creation -- his signature crystal blue meth. This is unknown to Walt as he assumes Jesse is cooking for Jack as a willing partner.

Night falls, and Walt arrives at the compound. The final madness of Heisenberg explodes. The bullets from the M60 tear through the front of the house, killing nearly everyone inside. Repulsed by the the way in which his former partner has been treated by the Welker gang, Walt hurls Jesse to the floor and saves his life. He is released from his chains and Heisenberg’s world, and flees into the night.

As Jesse is given another chance at life, Walter's journey ends. Tragically and deservedly, the only peace he will know is amid the equipment in the meth lab from which Jesse is freed. Moments before he succumbs to a gunshot wound, Walt smiles as he wanders the path Jesse was forced to walk for months. He gently strokes a lab boiler with the same tenderness he showed to his daughter only hours before. The cold glass and steel would never recoil from him, nor judge him. He smiles in admiration of the chemistry he created, and the power and money it generated – the only success in his life that made him feel alive.

Walter Hartwell White died on the lab floor, surrounded by his signature product -- his baby, “Blue” – the final, inhuman fix from his drug of choice.

Walt's final moments in 'Breaking Bad' ('Baby Blue' - Badfinger)

Did the finale provide us with a “happy closure,” and did Walter White find “redemption”?

  • Yes
  • Happy, no; but Walt found a little redemption
  • The only redemption Walt found was in his own eyes
  • No
See results without voting

♦ An Editor's Choice Selection

© Copyright by Genna East 2013. All rights reserved.

Comments 51 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

We don't have cable so I've never seen this show but I've certainly heard enough about it. We'll get it on Netflix when it's available. Thanks for the reminder and good review my friend.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

The finest compliment I can give you, Genna, is that your review is as perfect in every way as the 'Breaking Bad' series. Promise!

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Genna. I was late to the Breaking Bad phenomenon and had to do a marathon to catch up though the seasons. It is everything you said it is. And you have expressed it with such elegance. There is a joke here now that we are having withdrawls from the Breaking Bad series.

Your talents as a wordsmith are put to good use here. Vince Gilligan should put you on staff.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

I have totally missed this series. I'm so disenchanted with most TV nowadays, in fact, that I check the news and weather, watch a few talk shows when my time happens to coincide, but I await Season 4 of "Downton Abbey" in January when it comes to this country, (and next summer when it's available on DVD here).

I have collected all the interesting BBC series (and singles, such as "Gosford Park") I can find, including "Berkeley Square" and "The Duchess of Duke Street". I just got and watched (several times) "Upstairs, Downstairs" and - (if you can imagine) - it's almost better than "Downton Abbey"! In the early 1970s, it was the leader in the genre anyway and lasted 5 seasons. I have them all, as well as all of "Downton . . ". I'm still dedicated to Jane Austen, too. I've become a master at switching from live TV programming to DVD! haha.

SO - I'm amazed and surprised to hear how much you like "Breaking Bad"!! Your description is excellent and amazing, making the story jump off the page. I still am trying to refocus my eyes to see you really so into it, though. Maybe I need to try it. Many unlikely shows recommended to me have turned out to be all they were touted to be and are among my favs now. But - well, - it's a departure, somehow. And I'm not a fuddy-duddy. haha.

I applaud your hub & opinion; and I see that others whose taste I respect like your writeup, as well as the series, which says a lot, too. I have to find out! Love you!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Genna,

I am loving following Nellieanna's comment because I feel the exact same way.

Have I been asleep that I have never even heard of Breaking Bad? I am shocked at how into it you are and indeed, it seems like a series I will need to explore...thank you for this excellent review.

Voted UP and UAI. Hugs, Maria

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Dear Genna,

I guess I have been under a rock for I, too, have not heard of Breaking Bad? However, your review is superb and if you recommend it, then it surely must be phenomenal indeed!

I will try to catch it, but we do not much television anymore.

Up and more

Hugs, Faith Reaper

GoForTheJuggler profile image

GoForTheJuggler 3 years ago from Texas

People, people, people! There are PLENTY of fantastic TV shows out there - you just have to do your research, and most importantly, don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. Don't judge these books by their covers, or you will continue to miss out on quality, though-provoking entertainment that transports you to worlds you don't have access to.

That being said, the end of Breaking Bad is PHENOMENAL - I would be hard-pressed to write a better ending. See it as soon as possible!

DnWW 3 years ago

Hello dear lady. This is only one of three series Molly and I ever watch. Well, in past tense with regard to BB. Most of television entertainment is terrible. BB is a stunning morality play with poetry of metaphor that is magnificent. I don’t agree with those critics about the happy ending, and wonder what program they were watching all this time. Too often, some critics don’t “get it” and spend too much time skating on the surface. This is a very well written review, Gen…the Evolution video is perfect.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi everyone …

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review of the finale, and for your wonderful comments. Since some of you haven't seen this series, I thought I would combine my comments into one response.

Sosh and I don’t watch much television at all. When I first heard of “Breaking Bad,” I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in the premise: A former chemistry teacher and his former student dressed up in yellow hazmet suits making crystal meth. Were they serious? Please. In the wake of the critical raves this series was receiving, I tuned in for a few minutes out of mild curiosity -- never thinking I would have any interest beyond five minutes. I was astonished. “What am I watching?” I asked myself.

The culmination of talent I was seeing was truly extraordinary. All of you who have commented, here -- we’re all creative writers. Thus, imagery, visuals, metaphor, characterization, sense memory, all the elements that we utilize to express ourselves, to involve the reader, to pull them into the written word and the expreince, was there.

Sosh and I made a point of catching up with the previous episodes. This series isn’t for everyone; but I’m an omnivorous reader and eclectic writer, and I love original talent such as the work of these writers. As Dana said in his comment, this is “a morality play” that is unique. It is completely unapologetic, poignant, and vivid. There are striking Shakespearean qualities to this epic. My review was in answer to what a few critics didn’t see that we, as creatives, do “see.” (Unfortunately, I become annoyed with this at times.) The symbolism and metaphor used, alone, were too often ignored or taken for granted.

Thank you, again, and hugs. :-)

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


I know what you mean about "Downton Abbey"…I truly love this series, and look forward to its continuation with a new season. “Gosford Park” is splendid. “Upstairs, Downstairs”…is this the original series? The original is magnificent!

Thanks for your comment. Hugs. :-)

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

Hi Genna. You've written a very good breakdown and synopsis of the phenom Breaking Bad. I hardly watch much of anything on TV regularly anymore except maybe Shark Tank but someone got me going on BB about the 4th or 5th episode and I like everyone else was almost immediately enthralled. Haven't seen the new final season till it's out on Hula.

I also happen to be reading a new book by the young visionary New York Times best-seller David Wilcock that explains through his research just why we are so enraptured by this show and others like it. It's really too long to go into detail - so a very condensed version is a formula that practically all Hollywood movies, indeed, many novels, plays etc use over and over, whether it be a drama , comedy, or whatever. Once you realize this, it is quite fascinating to see it in action so to speak. What this formula is if you will, is called the Hero's Journey. It basically consists of three parts and this is it at it's very heart in a nutshell. Set-up, conflict, resolution.

According to David and many others we humans relate to this formula in our very deepest sub-conscious and the big film world knows this so well by now they can tell from a screenplay to a very close degree how much it will gross.

Without stepping on anyone's religious toes, the reason (according to these deep researchers) is because our deep sub-conscious relates to a series like BB which is the Hero's Journey to the nth degree, because it is what we experience in the afterlife or spirit world in a sense. One that is interested enough should check this "Journey" out to make up their own minds and hearts but is like I said earlier fascinating stuff regardless of one's beliefs in that area.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

I've seen the commercials for breaking bad, but i never saw the show, maybe ill go on demand now and watch previous seasons thanks for sharing

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Alastar;

It is so good to see you. Thank you for that very interesting comment. Fascinating. I wasn’t caught up in the hero versus anti-hero aspect; it was how the journey you mentioned was portrayed.

Also, as one critic wrote, the symbolism and metaphor the series writers implemented, either through visuals or action, are what we read in poetry or in the novel. We never see this on the screen.

The tone also changed; it grew more dark and tense as the storyline progressed to reflect Walt’s actions that eventually led him to a point of no return. The development of the characters became more complex and nuanced as time passed. There were also random acts that we couldn’t or didn’t anticipate, and how they impacted the lives of the characters.

Hi Frank

I think you would really enjoy this series, Frank. Thank you for your visit and the comment. It’s always good to see you. :-)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

After reading your wonderful hub I am sorry I missed Breaking Bad. Unlike so many others here, I had heard about it but it was in conflict with some other show I watched so always missed it. Had I known how good it was (I do now after reading this) I surely would have watched it.

This was so well done Genna!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

If I may - thank you, "GoForTheJugular" for your comments and advice. It makes nothing but sense! As it happens, I've been associated with movies & TV movies and shows a LONG time, getting into HBO and other 'top' movie programs in the 1990s. I think my first movie on one of those channels was "The Lover"! So I've stretched my comfort zone appreciably over many years.

(To time-line my movie-watching career, I saw "Wizard of Oz" and GWTW on their first showings in 1939! ;-)

After subscribing to those channels for quite awhile, though, when I looked over the programming offerings and realized that the majority of the ones I really found inviting were either ones I preferred to see in the theaters or had also already added to my extensive DVD collection, it just didn't balance out.

Fortunately, I'm often recommended good ones, such as here and now, by Genna and, now, you, as well as by my kids, grandkids and grown great-grandkids, who all know me as a pretty 'with-it' person who can appreciate good writing and filming in most any genre! It's a bit like music to me, though. It has to BE music, not noise. And a story has to be a story, not noise. So your recommendation of the quality of Breaking Bad" adds to its appeal already engendered by Genna for me, and hopefully to others who might have questioned it, too! It was nice of you to do so!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Thank you, my dear, Genna. That you mention how "Breaking Bad" implements subtleties one associates with poetry and novels really intrigues me! "Tone" and its metamorphosis are also irresistible qualities. Now I know I must see this series! Thank you. It will be a good addition to my collection to be enjoyed on chilly winter evenings! :-)

Yes, "Upstairs, Downstairs" was the first of its genre, with settings around the turn of the 19th-into-the 20th century and early in the 20th, each set in magnificent aristocratic houses with many servants and much tradition in them. The 1970s series is really a masterpiece with a splendid British cast, most of whom I was only previously familiar with one, Leslie-Anne Down, but have come to love them all. It is set in that Edwardian era and in the very posh Belgravia London neighborhood.

Like "Downton Abbey" which would follow later, the 'family' living in the elegant house is comprised of both upstairs and downstairs inhabitants, with each of their own stories equally important, as well as the interaction between people in both areas and between the up and down. Jean Marsh, who plays one of the downstairs servants, also conceived of the story with another actress and is given credit for it as co-creator. Up till then, no one had thought of giving servants in those magnificent houses any kind of equal billing in stories about the British aristocracy, other than to serve, bow and say 'Yes, m'lord and m'lady'. This venture into including their downstairs lives and beyond, was truly breaking ground. I'm now devoted to that series too.

"The Duchess of Duke Street" has 31 episodes, set in London from 1900-1925 and was made in the late 1970s after "Upstairs,Downstairs" had forged the trail. It's based on a true story of one Rosa Lewis, tracing the life and career of that Cockney scullery maid who becomes a cook whose cooking is so splendid that it opens doors for her among the aristocrats, to whom she's regarded as London's best chef and whom she is able to influence dramatically over time, and even achieves a title of her own through one of them. It's quite a story.

"Berkeley Square" was set in the Edwardian era and was made in the late 1990s. It focuses on three young women from varied circumstances and their lives, loves, positions and interactions as nannies for neighboring aristocrats' children in a row of posh homes in a posh area of London, which gives it a somewhat different 'slant'. Of course, the other servants' and the aristocrats' lives are highlighted & intermingled, as well. It was a 1990s attempt to answer to "Upstairs, Downstairs". As such, I prefer to appreciate it for its own merit instead.

I like "Gosford Park" with its twists & complications between upstairs and downstairs lives in a 1932 aristocratic country house setting, as well as for its music, stellar cast and its author, Julian Fellowes (who writes "Downton Abbey"), plus its great director & co-writer, Robert Altman. Fellowes wrote this in 2002, prior to writing "Downton Abbey". He's such a genius. He happens to be a member of the House of Lords himself.

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for the fine reply, Genna. In the Hero's Journey the Hero always redeems him/herself in the end and leaves the world a better place in whatever way, whether they live or die at the end.:)

MollyWW 3 years ago

There is nothing like this anywhere on television. It is strangely literate given its foundation because of the attention to factors that are nonexistent in television. Also because White is a brilliant chemistry teacher who is very real as a character. BB is a blazingly distinctive show. Dana and I found it to be enthralling. You can’t explain it --- you have to experience it Genna. The Ozymandias scene you described in the desert in the finale does call us back to the earlier penultimate episode, Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias.’ If some critics missed this, they are watching waaaay too much television. You wrote a first-rate review of an amazing series and finale.

What are your thoughts on the ‘Walt fantasy theory’ of some viewers? I don’t think it works.

Love you….


GoForTheJuggler profile image

GoForTheJuggler 3 years ago from Texas

MollyWW - There are plenty of thought-provoking shows out there - sure, they aren't exactly like Breaking Bad, but they exist. If you want to experience another mind-blowing journey into a world you will never experience, watch HBO's The Wire. You will learn more than you ever wanted to know about a world few people want to acknowledge.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

First of all, very special congratulations to the 2013 Hubbie Award Winners:

Billybuc (Billy); Mcbirdbks(Mike); Nellieanna; Tillsontitan(Mary); Drbj; FaithReaper(Faith)

I am so pleased, and honored, to see you all here. :-)

@Mckbirdbks & Drbj

Thank you for those very nice comments. Mike, I didn’t watch the marathon they showed leading up to the finale, but I can appreciate the “withdrawal” you referred to.

@Marcojour and Faith Reaper

Hi Maria and Faith. There are always surprises – even on television, I am finding. Suffice it to say that “Breaking Bad” has raised the bar. Thank goodness. Hugs to you both.


I watch some documentaries, and biographies, which I love. And PBS…the British series are wonderful. Nellieanna has talked about this in her comments. I also watch Mad Men, and The Newsroom. I don't have a lot of time, which makes a difference as well. And I agree with you that the finale was “phenomenal.’ Thanks so much for your visit.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Hi, Mary, and thank you! This hub was fun and interesting to create. The credit goes to the series writers, cast and crew. The creators also did a superb job with these videos. I think you will find this program very different and compelling if you have the opportunity to see it. I truly appreciate your visit, your comments, and votes. Have a great weekend. :-)


Hello, my friend. I so agree with your comments about “Downton.” It is VERY similar to “Upstairs, Downstairs,” for the British aristocracy, and those who “live to serve.” And isn’t “Gosford Park” marvelous? I didn’t realize that Bob Altman (RIP) was the co-writer and director for this film. Come to think of it, I can see some of his signature natural style. I think “Downton” was originally planned as a spinoff of “Gosford”; of course, “Downton” is set in a different time.

Do give “Breaking Bad” a peek, when you can. The tone that you mentioned in your comment and the growing tension can be seen in a swift kaleidoscope manner in the video above, “The Evolution of Breaking Bad.” It is rushed, and we can’t see the many brilliant elements of the series.

Have a wonderful weekend.:-)

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Alastar Packer;

Hi, Alastar. Thank you for that comment. Interesting. I didn’t view Walt as a hero, or that this was a hero’s journey. I understand that some viewers considered him to be the classic anti-hero for whom the audience cheered. I viewed him as a caring, brilliant individual, and one who was also very depressed in the beginning. His journey is that of a man we watched move toward the abyss whereupon he begins to lose his soul. I think the only person he redeemed himself to, and only in part, was Walter White. The real tragedy involves Flynn. It’s a fascinating discussion, Alastar – isn’t it? And there is no “right answer.” People will be talking about this series for some time.


Molly!! Hugs, my dear. Thank you for this visit. :-) I loved your comment, “if some critics missed this, they are watching waaaay too much television.” Lol. Perhaps this is the “Catch -22”.

The best analogy I can give, aside from what Alastar and others have written above, is that when one attempts to adapt a novel to the screen, it loses many elements. This does not happen in “Breaking Bad.” We are watching words on a page. I was fascinated with how the writers accomplished this.

I can’t ascribe to that theory either (“Walt’s dream-fantasy”) because it’s counter-intuitive. Walt didn’t know what that lab looked liked, or that Jesse was in chained servitude; nor was he aware of the “three men that came to the house” to threaten Skyler about Lydia. The continuity and imagery were more finite.

Thank you, Moll. :-)

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

Genna, voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared on Facebook. I must admit, I've only see the show a time or two, never seem to catch it on where I live. You certainly are a big fan though, great detail on this hub Genna. I'll have to give it another try. I always hear people talking about how great the show is. I can appreciate your passion Genna.

Awesome detail and love your opinion on everything "Breaking Bad."

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Thank you, Genna, for your congratulations; and please forgive me for interjecting my appreciation of those other series like into your comment thread. That was impolite. I was carried away by my resistance to the idea of 'BB', perhaps, though I wanted not to be. Not my nature to behave that way!

I seriously went looking for the "Breaking Bad" DVDs just now, and see that the complete set on BluRay won't be released for over a month, though it can be preordered; but I'm not sure yet that I want to own it. There are individual episode DVDs & complete sets available, but I'm ambivalent.

Your video overviews of it give it more appeal for me than most I looked at on general clips. Yours show the human drama and evolution of the hero's dilemma and solution. I guess I just find it difficult to truly admire the actual activity of it, though I can understand how the man became almost thrust into it, then lost himself in it. It's a major drama, for sure. But heroizing it bothers me, still. I'm drawn to see it, just not sure I want to own it in my DVD shelves. I'm not sure I want to like it and be addicted to it. ;-) Thinking about it,though.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Thank you, Lyric! I have a passion for original creativity that is done well. Joyce Carol Oates wrote: “Walter White joins pantheon of American mythic types: Deerslayer, Ahab, Huck Finn, the Virginian, Gatsby, Scarlett O’Hara, Willy Loman.”

This hub originated with my annoyance, or rather disagreement, with some critics that viewed the finale as a “happy ending,” or that Walter White had “fully redeemed himself, which was a disappointment.” (It is rather akin to my annoyance with poetry critics who disparage rhyming poetry.)

Good to see you as always.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Nellieanna;

I am very pleased that you brought up series such as “Downton.” I eagerly await the new season, so I guess I am a tad bit“ hooked,” so to speak, on this brilliant program.

I agree with you about the above video. It is an onslaught to the senses that does hide many of the brilliant elements in between. I and other viewers never considered White a hero. Vince was very clever is showing us a morality play in which we are able to see what happens when one chooses the wrong path, especially with drugs. But it goes beyond this. Walt is the quintessential “Ahab” in a way. Jesse was eventually able to see, first hand, what this meth drug can do to people and their families, once addicted. Walt did not; he kept this at arm’s length. The irony was the devastation his obsession with the power and wealth from his creation brought about…this was his drug of choice. In any event, all things pass; this series is now at an end, and it’s time to move on. :-)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Nellieanna. It’s always such a pleasure to see you, my friend.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

I don't think its on freeview which is the network that I get, but I have heard about it before, and can't wait for it to hit the stations that I get to see, what a great review! nell

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Thank you, Genna. I appreciate your kind words. I guess my problem with the "hero" aspect of it is mostly about how it somehow glorifies all that already appeals to young folks about, not only drugs, but rejection of all that should have been learned from history's mistakes. But perhaps, that is how history works.

Anyway - as you say - it's over. I'd not even have known about it, had not I come to your hub. I probably would not have even looked into anyone else's hub about it! Thankfully, you give it a probing dissection which I wish everyone could read if they see or intend to see the series!

Meanwhile, life is good and goes on! Hope your weekend is good, as well, dear friend.

GoForTheJuggler profile image

GoForTheJuggler 3 years ago from Texas

Nellie - Young (and stupid) people may glorify what they see and fantasize about emulating it, but the show's creators are clearly not trying to send the message that we should all buck authority and start selling and using drugs. They are always highlighting the consequences of the terrible (and even positive) decisions that are made throughout the life of the show.

For example, [SPOILER ALERT] in the pilot episode, Walt and Jesse murder some rival drug dealers in self-defense. I used the word murder, because even though they were defending themselves, they were in that situation because of the illegal and immoral decisions they made that got them to that point. Yes, a young (or stupid) person might think that it was cool, but anyone with a modicum of common sense sees it for what it is.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@GoForThe Juggler

I agree. Walt does struggle with his conscience, and stops “cooking” his blue meth on a few occasions. While he and Jesse were in Gus’ lab, the soliloquy Walt delivers (a la Shakespeare) illustrates this, and was one of the most powerful scenes in the series.

He also kept the copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” Gale gave to him, the other “WW” he so admired. The poem, “Song of Myself,” exemplifies the connection between Whitman’s poetry and Walt’s life and journey. Nevertheless, Walt does not walk away for his drug empire and “Heisenberg” until he has earned 80 million dollars, and his wife implores him to end his activities for the sake of the family. Of course, by then, it’s too late.

Regardless if some viewers saw Walt as the hero or anti-hero, “Heisenberg Blue” was a highly addictive drug that was destroying lives. This is inescapable.

Nellieanna also has a valid point in that some audience members viewed Walt as a hero or anti-hero they cheered for to a certain degree, regardless of Vince's intent.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Hi Nell. Thank you for the visit and the comment. It’s one of the most compelling series I’ve ever seen. I hope you are enjoying your Sunday. :-)


Thank you. And good wishes to you on this lovely Sunday. :-)

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Sorry for the typo. I meant to type in the above comment, "Songs of Myself."

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A wonderful review Genna and voted up for sure.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Eddy. :-)

GoForTheJuggler profile image

GoForTheJuggler 3 years ago from Texas

@Genna - You and Nellie are absolutely correct. My point was simply this - don't let the fact that some may glorify his behavior talk oneself out of experiencing it, because it is truly one of the great TV masterpieces of all time.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Thank you, Genna. GoForTheJugular, I give your comments consideration. Thank you for them.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Nellieanna and GoForTheJuggler.

Anthony Hopkins sent Bryan Cranston an e-mail letter, congratulating him on his performance as Walter White/Heisenberg. He asked that Cranston convey his praise to the rest of the cast, writers, and crew. Excerpts follow:

“Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen - ever.”

“I have never watched anything like it [“Breaking Bad”]. Brilliant! It was like a great Jacobean, Shakespearean or Greek tragedy. “

“Thank you. This kind of work/artistry is rare, and when, once in a while it occurs, as in this epic work, it restores confidence.”

Take care. :-)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

Oops- my reply posted twice. This one needs to go.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

OH, my! That is, indeed, high praise from a most worthy actor's most worthy opinion, one who is a real actor's actor! I'm impressed!! Thank you for sharing it, Genna!

(I'm sure that Hannibal Lector's portrayal by Anthony Hopkins didn't spawn a generation of cannibals.)

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Nellieanna.

I just noticed that this hub received an Editor's Choice selection. No one is more surprised than I. :-) Have a great week.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I have heard so much about this show, but have not watched it. Thanks for the information so that I at least am aware of what it is about.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you for the visit, teaches, and your interest.

rushmaster 2 years ago

I love this show and its ending. This is what I thought about it

crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 2 years ago from Washington MI

My mom and I watched the show on Netflix and we found it entertaining and grew to love and hate the characters. I wasn't thrilled with the ending at all. But loved Bryan Cranston's intense portrayal of Walter White. Whether we hated him or loved him, he pulled off a great performance through the entire series. Enjoyed reading your review.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you! I agree that Cranston's performance was simply amazing. I appreciate your visit and comments. :-)

PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 2 years ago from USA

This is the best review of Breaking Bad I have read. You did it justice in the same way or style as the show itself. I think the show was brilliant, especially compared to any or all shows on TV.

One of my favorite lines from the movie was when Saul Goodman was talking about Jesse with Walt-

Saul Goodman:

In that scenario, then what? You have a suggestion? We were wondering if maybe this isn't an "Old Yeller" type situation.

"Old Yeller"? Yeah, Old Yeller was the best, most loyal dog there ever was.I mean, everybody loved that mutt, but one day he showed up rabid, and Little Timmy, for Old Yeller's own sake, had to, uh Oh, you... you saw the movie.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Phoenix. Thank you for that kind and thoughtful comment. I wrote this hub when I became annoyed with those who criticized the finale simply because they didn't understand it. There is much beneath the surface in this series that was lost to certain viewers. I only hope I was able to do it justice, and the writers and actors who made this series an iconic and complex work of art.

Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 11 months ago from Cape Cod

Another great article on one of the most unusual programs ever to lift television from a medium to a good! Thanks for this. I am sorry for being tardy to this re-viewing party, but actually I would rather cone late than on time; for this piece, like the other by you on Downton that I just read, reminds me of how good the series is. I have the first three seasons on DVD and I will start the re-watch tonight. I like to brag that I do not watch TV but will avidly view programs such as Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad. I also loved Fargo the series with Billy Bob and I enjoy Better Call Saul.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 11 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Bill. They certainly raised the bar with Breaking Bad. You and I are alike in that we do not watch much television, and we also like the same programs. Downton, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul; and more recently, Fargo. I didn't watch the first season but am viewing the current anthology with Ted Danson and Kirsten Dunst. Jean Smart described season 2 as a kind of Greek tragedy, and I agree. Great writing and acting abound in Fargo as it pulls us away from the familiar and mundane that characterize so much boring TV. Good to see you, and thank you for your thoughtful comment.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 4 months ago from sunny Florida

You critiqued this show very well...if that is the term you would use.

I call it the show I loved to hate. There was so much happening that I have an aversion for but I HAD to keep watching. I got hooked and had to keep watching.

Angels are on the way to you, Genna. ps


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you. BB was definitely addictive, and so unique in its depth. Sending angels to you as well. :-)

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