I never get to say this. Ever. I didn't know Bruce Willis was dead, I didn't know that chick was a dude, and I didn't know Norman was really his own mother. So please, just let me have this one.
Oh my God I knew it. I'm just gonna put this riiiiiiiiiight here:
Back in El Paso my life would be worthless.
Everything's gone in life; nothing is left.
It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden
My love is stronger than my fear of death.
Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
A deep burning pain in my side.
Though I am trying
To stay in the saddle,
I'm getting weary,
Unable to ride.
Between the lyrics and the shirts and a throw away line in a recent episode, this entire episode was laid out and prophesized for the observant viewer. Which, incidentally, I am not completely claiming to be - I thought the blue shirts were incredibly obvious, but up until about 9:30 tonight, I still had no idea who would be getting that ricin. But still. I knew it.
Vince Gilligan and the rest of the cast stated in numerous forums that the fans would be completely satisfied with the finale. I'm sure That Guy has something to complain about, but I would imagine that the rest of us are, indeed, completely satisfied. And just FYI - here's where the all out spoilers begin. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that Jesse would escape this episode alive. Truth be told, I didn't even think he'd make it to the final episode. I thought he would die as part of Walter's punishment and that the show was so bleak that to let him walk would be fanservice. But it wasn't, and neither was his vengeance. How many of you cheered when the handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor? How many of you felt bad for cheering? I know with every fiber of my being and good upbringing that I should not celebrate the death of a human by the hand of another angry human, but - for the eight millionth time - therein lies the beauty of the show. This moral ambiguity lets me cheer the death of monsters while partially acknowledging that that, in fact, pretty much makes me one as well.
The death of monsters. Did any of us expect him to walk? For Heisenberg to succumb to handcuffs and swallow that carcinogenic pride that got him in all this trouble in the first place? It was never going to happen. There was always only one end to Walter's story, but the happy ending (and let's be real about this - this was as fairy tale an ending as this show could ever hope for) is a direct result of his confession. Walter, and it was in fact Walter and not Heisenberg as I have been debating, finally told his last and most important truth to Skylar when he conceded his reason to get into the empire building business. He liked it. He was good at it. And with that truth came a wave of understanding and firm grasp on the reason Walter's slow transformation was such a vicarious thrill, so cathartic even when we were hoping for failure. As I've mentioned, I haven't "rooted" for Walter in many a season, but I did always hope for an epiphany and atonement. Why did I invest? Why was that wish always in the back of my mind?
Because that's really all any of us want. One of the big needs, anyway. We want a shelter of sorts, we want to be loved, and not only do we want to be good at something, we want the recognition and praise of others for our accomplishments on whatever scale they might be. Speaking as someone who is mediocre to capable in many venues but doesn't really excel in any of them, I can now make a confession of my own and tell you that now, finally, I sympathize with Walter White. And that sympathy is what sets this episode and series above all others.
The show is over and the plots are tied. But yet I sit here at my laptop and continue to question these reactions. Would I admit to this sympathy, or would I have even realized it's there, had Walter lived? I don't know that I'll ever have the fortitude for a series re-watch, but I can tell you that I will come back to that question for a very long time.