Breaking Bad finale: did it live up to the hype? (no spoilers)
US critics hail 'perfect finale', but some were not entirely satisfied with Walter White's final act
THE final episode of Breaking Bad has been widely praised in America, but some critics are complaining that it did not tie up all the loose ends. The long-awaited episode aired in the United States last night and will be released on Netflix today, allowing British viewers to discover at last the fate of Walter White, the cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who turned himself into a drug kingpin.
The series won its first best drama Emmy last week – but did its finale live up to the hype?
It may be "the first recorded (and distinctly over-tweeted) perfect finale in television history", says Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times. "Not only did Vince Gilligan's five-season, hyper-violent prose poem to midlife male frustration tie up virtually every loose end in sight, it contained the Holy Grail of all storytelling: an Actual Moment of Truth."
There was a lot of business to take care of in a short time, says James Poniewozik in Time magazine. Will Walt die? Will he be redeemed? Can he make it up to his family?
The final episode of this "magnificent" series was "a kind of machine gun of narrative, knocking down all of those questions with auto-fire efficiency. (Well, almost all)," says Poniewozik. "It was true to the five seasons that preceded it, true to Walter White's obsessions and pride, and true to what Breaking Bad is at heart: a Western."
But in Slate, Willa Paskin says some parts were "not quite so satisfying". She says: "After everything, after five seasons in which the writers were clocking Walt's every misdeed, at the very end, they turned out to be Team Walt."
In the Washington Post, Hank Stuever puts his dissatisfaction down to the fact that there was "too much left to do in this one episode". Stuever insists there "is not a weak season of Breaking Bad", but says the last episode "didn't quite leave itself enough runway to satisfactorily end some of its better story lines".
But perhaps the best thing about the finale of Breaking Bad is that it actually ended, says Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times. Shows such as The Sopranos and Lost have "gone dark without anything approaching finality", she says. "Here, the writers were so determined to not leave unfinished business that the last episode was called 'Felina', an anagram of finale. And almost every loose end was tied." ·