The morals of the “Breaking Bad” finale

Alexander Brodsky

Seeing Walter White kick so much ass in the finale almost makes you forget how seriously has taken the “anti-hero” label throughout the series. Just two or three episodes prior, if you were anything like me, you were rooting for Hank and Jesse to bring him to justice. To make him pay for ruining the lives of everyone he has ever known.

 

In the final scene when Jesse and Walt silently stare each other down like two grizzled GIs reuniting after the end of World War II, you almost want them to embrace and reminisce. You almost want them to shoot the breeze about scenic New Hampshire or life as a meth slave. Almost. Only, of course they aren’t going to do that. Because despite the elaborate caper in the finale that recalls a more sympathetic Walt from seasons past, Jesse hasn’t forgotten anything.

 

The finale manages to nearly make you forget about all of Walt’s transgressions. He finds a way to get Junior the money, effectively redeems himself in Skyler’s eyes as she allows him to see Holly and he admits to Skyler he was in the wrong all along. Finally, he uses his ingenuity to gun down a room full of comically evil Nazis who, even given Walt’s immeasurable fortune, still decide they need to enslave Jesse (in fact, the Nazi’s lives seem relatively unchanged with the influx of 70-odd million dollars, save for a massage chair and possibly Todd’s fresh duds.) If you need someone for a hero to murder, look no further than Nazis. It’s worked wonders for Captain America.

 

I’m sure looking back on the series years from now, Walter White will be remembered as the horrible, baby-poisoning monster he really was. He does end up dying, after all. He doesn’t escape to a life of lumberjacking like the similarly anti-hero-centric show that just ended, Dexter. Both feature an objectively immoral protagonist who fanbases can’t help but root for. Dexter’s finale was universally panned as too lenient on it’s titular character. In the end, the show says nothing about Dexter’s years as a serial killer, he merely rides off into the sunset. Breaking Bad’s ending may not be much different, just more tactful.

 

My only concern is that the finale could have fueled the rabid anti-Skyler community that exists in dark corners of the Internet. If Walt isn’t such a bad guy after all, doesn’t that make Skyler a thorn in his side?

 

It’s not that I’m advocating a 1950’s style morality code where every criminal needs to get their comeuppance; it’s that the finale has cast Walt in an entirely new light. Not only does Walt not have to confront any of his crimes, the audience doesn’t have to, either. The finale gave Walt a hero’s death.

 

At least we can all rejoice that Badger finally has the cash e needed to produce that Star Trek script he wrote.