Brief spoilers for the "Breaking Bad" finale coming up just as soon as I bake cookies for my open house...
I'll be honest: I watched this episode on Friday morning on a review screener, enjoyed it well enough, and made a mental note to find time to write a blog entry to go up in time for the end of the episode. But one thing led to another, and I got so caught up in all my coverage of "The Wire," that "Breaking Bad" eluded my mind altogether until I saw the finale on my DVR's hard drive.
Which, again is not a knock on the episode. I've just had my brain on 24/7 focus on the end of the best drama series of my lifetime, and so almost anything else would seem somewhat forgettable in comparison. So I'll be quick and then get out of the way to let people with less clouded minds offer up their thoughts on Walt and Jesse's junkyard adventure.
A week or two ago, I talked about how the show was finally finding its footing just as its strike-abbreviated season was coming to an end. The finale definitely felt abrupt, like a middle chapter of the story rather than something to tide us over until the second season comes (if it comes; I have no idea how the ratings have been or what AMC considers the bar for success, post-"Mad Men"). That's not Vince Gilligan's fault -- a number of other scripted shows that got shut down by the strike ended abruptly, whether they'll be continuing ("Pushing Daisies") or not ("Las Vegas"). It happens. It's frustrating, but what can you do?
I liked several moments, notably Walt once again using imminent death to boost his sex life (though wouldn't the treatment at some point impair his libido?) and Walt and Hank's conversation about where to draw the line on drug laws. Hank's been a good comic relief character, but this is the first time he felt like more than a clown.
The real stand-out, though, was Walt on the video at the baby shower. It's an obvious tear-jerker moment -- the dying father recording a message for the daughter he may never get to know -- but the amazing frigging Bryan Cranston plays it so quietly, with such dignity (no way Walt's going to let Skyler's annoying friends see him lose his composure) and with such sincerity that it earned whatever tears it may have jerked.
Walt and Jesse's caper was fun, and yet another reminder that you really don't want to mess with your local chemistry teacher, lest he blow you up real good, but those boys seem beyond screwed with their association with Tuco. (And am I the only one who wonders if Tuco's name is a tribute to the Eli Wallach character from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"?) That man is a sackful of crazy.
What did everybody else think? If the show continues, what would you like to see from season two?