The finale of “Breaking Bad” was viscerally pleasing for a variety of reasons.
Sure, maybe it wrapped everything up a little too neatly. As far as the big television moments in my life are concerned, however, it beat the hell out of the non-ending of “The Sopranos” when the screen just cut to black, finally bringing season six to a merciful close. Seriously, l I was forced to sit through an entire season-and-a-half of narrative wheel spinning to get to a Journey song.
The “Breaking Bad” had real closure. I compare it favorably to the climax of “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Walter White brings his own Arc of the Covenant in the form of a car with a machine gun in the trunk and unleashes his own personal Fury of God.
Sure, it was a safe ending. Who doesn’t like to watch Nazis die? It’s the same reason the end of “Inglourious Basterds” is so satisfying. It was a relief to see Hitler not get away with it for once.
I wasn’t the first person to say it, but the final moments of “Breaking Bad” also referenced “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as Walter White ran his hands over his “Precious,” a sophisticated methamphetamine laboratory as opposed to the “One Ring,” before dropping dead.
Side note before I get to the point: I went to see “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” at the Alamo Drafthouse on Saturday Night. I don’t know if they do this as a matter of course, but the 1980s-era anti-crack ads that played before the feature were wonderful. I’m old enough to remember Clint Eastwood and PeeWee Herman imploring me not to take up crack cocaine smoking and still confused knowing they can’t both be right.
Anyway, the finale of “Breaking Bad” was satisfying because of it’s finality. Walter wiped out a bunch of Nazis and freed the long, long-suffering Jesse Pinkman. It didn’t really matter what happened to Jesse when he burst through the gate of the Nazi compound in a stolen El Camino and drove speeding off into the night crying and laughing. His arc had ended.
And, pleased as though I was to see this “El Camino” on the big screen, the continuing adventures of Jesse Pinkman was an unnecessary jaunt down memory lane. Vince Gilligan takes too much time on extended flashbacks to pour over things we already knew — like the Nazis torturing poor Jesse — and not enough telling us how he went about his flight from Albuquerque.
The only excitement to be had was in the forward narrative and unfortunately, it was sparse. Instead, the viewer gets more proof that Todd is creepy and long list of cameos, some of which did little to take us anywhere new. It’s like a sequel to “Fight Club” but half of the movie is about how Edward Norton hated his job at the car company. Who cares?
If its unneeded continuations of classic narratives you need, watch 2017s “ T2 Trainspotting” instead. It references the original frequently, but doesn’t get bogged down by it. And, yes, I would love to see Fight Club 2. We just don’t need an extended Meat Loaf cameo.