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Breaking Bad: Season Finale, “Full Measure”

This is the only official spoiler warning.  If you have not yet watched the season finale of Breaking Bad–or if you’re so behind the curve you even haven’t started the season yet–do NOT click ahead.  If you’ve never watched the show, well, go ahead.  You won’t know who I’m talking about anyway.

I feel stupid, all right, because I thought that it was Gus‘s murder that Walt was plotting, right up until the last couple seconds before it was revealed that it was in fact Gale who was about to get blasted away.  I think this was an intentional misdirect by the show–but then I think it couldn’t have been, because finding out the address of the target was a big deal in the episode and didn’t Walt have dinner at Gus’s house?  I’m glad that was the plan, though; Gale just makes so much more sense.  Get rid of the only other guy who can do your job and they can’t get rid of you.  (Although I do sometimes question if there aren’t any other chemists with loose morals running around Albuquerque.  You’d think a businessman like Gus with have a whole rolodex full of disgruntled chemists.)

I don’t know what Jesse ended up doing–he shot the gun, obviously, but he also definitely shifted it away from Gale before it happened.  I almost felt like he was shooting at something that was going to explode, like the tea kettle Gale was putzing around with.  Although I don’t think that would cause any mortal damage.  Anyway, that we’ve got to wait until next season to see.  (My personal belief: Jesse is the only character on this show who still has any kind of moral code left.  I hope he didn’t, but I kind of think he did.)  I was sort of surprised the show ended on that split second of action, which isn’t really this show’s style.

What I thought was going to happen?  Jesse kept trying to get Walt to turn himself in–to the DEA or the cops.  I laughed the first time he said it, and said, “Couple seasons late on that, aren’t you?” but he kept pushing it throughout the episode, and it occurred to me that that would be an utterly shocking finale: Walt enters the DEA headquarters, hands raised. “I’m Walt White.  You know me as Heisenberg.”  Screen fades to black.  Also, Breaking Bad is one of the few shows that could actually spin amazing stories out the fallout of that.  The trial, the deals and the legal strategizing, and there would still be suspense because Walt would be just as imperiled as a cartel whistleblower as he is as a “cook.”  You think he’d keep Saul on as his legal representation?

Finally, I loved the opening sequence with Walt and Skyler in the early days of their marriage, touring the empty house they are fated to buy.  Walt calls it a “starter house” and says they can do better; but he hasn’t yet been reduced to using his PhD to educate a bunch of teenage slackers.  His life is absolutely not going to turn out like he planned, just like his career as a criminal won’t turn out like he planned, and his assassination plot won’t turn out like he planned, and… Walt, just quit planning things.  This is why chemist-criminal is not a standard hyphenate.

By the way, did anyone watch that show Rubicon that came on afterwards?  I hate letting the networks win by falling for their ploys, but I watched it anyway.  Slow like molasses.  Kind of reminded me of Damages, without a Glenn Close figure to make it worthwhile.  Also, I want to call for a moratorium on TV characters who are emotionally traumatized because their entire family was killed in 9/11.  This device has officially lost its impact.  TV writers, take note: people still have car accidents; if you want to wipe out some character’s wife and child before the story begins, please dispose of them in a 4-door sedan in a snowstorm or something.  Thank you.

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