With the final episode of Breaking Bad looming on the far side of this coming weekend, the team at Highly Relevant eagerly awaits the conclusion to the twisted and riveting tale of the final days of Walter White. Recent Monday morning greetings have been punctuated with the inevitable question, “Did you catch Breaking Bad?” This, of course, is followed by the necessary public shaming of all those people who are waiting to watch with their significant others, a punishment I have been subjected to on at least one occasion.
Spoiler Alert: If you aren’t caught up with the final season, you may want to stop reading, go home, and start binge-watching before you continue.
GREATEST OF ALL TIME?
Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad is certainly one of the best shows on television, if not THE best. To say that the words “greatest television drama of all time” have been thrown around would be an understatement. And who exactly could argue with that? What television show better presents a diverse, complex cast of characters with ever-evolving perspectives and motivations? What show better toys with an audience’s expectations in ways that add depth to the narrative? What show has more often left you speechless the moment the credits role? What show better reflects the bittersweet reality of not black and white, but dark, murky gray?
These are difficult questions for anyone to answer, and we haven’t even seen the finale yet. That alone warrants involvement in the GOAT conversation.
The show has already cemented itself into popular culture and television history with the moral ambiguity (and often depravity) displayed by its characters along with the inexplicable way in which the audience finds itself empathizing with those very same characters. Was it not crushing to hear Walt Jr. completely lay into his father, who could only respond with the pathetically hollow justifications that he has been telling himself? He has done utterly deplorable things before this point, and Walt Jr. has every reason in the world to feel the way he feels. Yet we find ourselves feeling sorry for him, as we know every facet of Walt’s journey to New Hampshire. I certainly found myself identifying a little more with Gus Fring after his partner and assumed lover Max was shot and killed in front of him.
However, not every character is as relatable as that (a certain red-haired character and his uncle come to mind) and, unlike many other television dramas that present “purely evil” characters, that makes them anything but flat. The contrast between Todd’s equally cavalier and terrifying execution of Andrea on her doorstep and his almost pathetic affection for Lidia is interesting, unsettling, and completely convincing.
HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING?
As the final episode of Breaking Bad fast approaches, it seems most viewers are doing their best to rack their brains and deduce how this twisted tale will end. Along with that, many more worry that the final episode will be in some way disappointing. But I can confidently urge you that the end of Walter White could be in no better hands than those of Vince Gilligan. He has masterfully led us through this world of betrayal, murder, and methamphetamine without disappointment. I expect that to apply to the finale.
Breaking Bad is not like any of its contemporaries. The finale of Breaking Bad will in no way resemble that of the once-lauded and just-ended Dexter, which was on a very lengthy and very downward spiral to its disaster eraser-job of a finale. Breaking Bad will end just the way it needs to, just as every other aspect of the show has operated like a perfect cog in a mysterious and magnificent machine. Does it make sense to expect an otherwise perfect machine to break down just before it crosses the finish line? And don’t worry, this won’t be a non-ending like that of The Sopranos either.
No, this one will be just right.
I can’t wait until Monday.
Nathan Taylor is the SEO Manager at Highly Relevant. When he isn’t hard at work building links and optimizing websites, he enjoys casually strolling through Westwood with his wife and dogs (and watching Breaking Bad, of course). In 2008, he was voted to have the 5th Best Broadcasting Voice in Kentucky.