Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Felina" Fantasy: One Fan's Crazy, Epic Prediction For How the Breaking Bad Series Finale Ends


by Mike Ladue

I say “Felina,” you say "finale", let’s call the whole thing right now: No matter what happens in Sunday’s Breaking Bad series-ender, Vince Gilligan’s tragic tale of a man consumed by pride will rank among the greatest dramas of all time. There’s a lot of pressure on these final 75 minutes, snowballing as rabid fans continue to catch up via marathon Netflix/AMC sessions, harboring extreme feelings on the fates of Walt, Skyler, Jesse and the rest of Albuquerque’s dark and twistiest. But lets be real: it’ll be perfect.
That is, of course, if Gilligan and co. somehow came up with the same final episode as I did. On the Dual Redundancy podcast for "Granite State," my co-host Dave and I shared ours and listeners' predictions for the finale, mysteriously titled "Felina." You can listen to those here, but why bother -- the answers to all your questions (Does Walt die, and if so, how? What's the significance behind Marie and the color purple? Who's on the receiving end of Walt's ricin?) are laid out below.
Note for those treading lightly: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FOR THE FINALE. Hell, it's mostly half-baked, hair-brained ideas that would probably never crack 75 pages of script, and it's written in an outline-ish form with little-to-no dialogue. But it satisfies many of the outstanding anxieties I have going into the finale and pays off some integral themes/motifs/character arcs from the past five seasons.
So here's my prediction, written in the name of family, or science, or getting screwed out of Gray Matter, or finally finishing that Star Trek spec. But mostly out of love and respect for the most brilliant show I've ever seen. 
Without further ado:

Todd jams to an ‘80s classic (“The Final Countdown”, maybe?) as he pulls into the Nazi compound. It's dark, so he doesn’t notice – or at least doesn’t acknowledge – the car tailing him. Inside is Walter Lambert (formerly White), face frozen in hate, plotting his revenge. He takes inventory of his belongings – M60, ricin, big black barrel. Perfect.
We see a montage of Jesse cooking meth, going through the same old motions. He looks like a zombie, his eyes dead, his actions sluggish. The picture of Andrea and Brock has been torn, leaving only Brock’s half. Todd enters and watches over Jesse from afar, smiling. He brushes his hand along the glass jar that holds his (formerly Drew Sharp’s) tarantula. The glass keeps him from any intimacy with the bug, a visual representation of Todd’s sociopathic tendencies.
Todd praises Jesse on his latest batch, which cools on a nearby counter. Jesse actively ignores Todd’s existence. A door opens, revealing Uncle Jack and Lydia, who have been expecting Todd for their latest meeting. Todd joins them in the other room, leaving Jesse alone on his leash.
Or so he thinks. Walt arrives, one index finger pressed to his lips, the other hovering on the trigger of the M60. Jesse is dumbfounded, until he realizes, of course Mr. White is here. It’s hell, after all. They don’t talk.
Walt rolls his barrel, slowly and creakily, into the lab. Jesse and Walt keep eagle eyes on the conference room door. Walt stops near the meth and turns it upright, producing an echoing THUD.
The clamor behind the door dies down. Walt rushes to free Jesse – he can’t. Instead he hands him the M60 and bolts. Startled, Jesse watches as the doors open and Nazis with guns raised start piling out. Jesse opens fire, Scarface style, taking them down.
In the melee, Uncle Jack shoots Jesse in the arm, causing him to drop his gun. Walt saves the day by taking down Jack with the gun of a fallen Nazi. The brawl breaks out again, and Walt frees Jesse by shooting at his binding rope. Todd chases down Jesse, who smashes the psychotic freak in the head with the tarantula jar. He makes Todd’s death tortuous.
The dust clears. The Nazis are dead. Walt’s barrel is overturned, and mysteriously empty. From the wreckage emerges Lydia, hands up. Jesse aims to kill, but Walt stops him. She can live, and take her meth, as a condolence for her trauma. She’s aghast, but she lugs the meth and leaves.
Immediately, Walt and Jesse turn their guns on each other. They air their drama, discuss Jane, Andrea and the fall of the empire. He drops a bombshell on Jesse: he took the ricin. He’s ready to die, the cancer isn’t killing him fast enough, but this gives him a few days to say his goodbyes before he goes. He wanted to make things right with Jesse, then see his family, and die in peace. No more bloodshed.
Jesse agrees. At Walt’s behest, he goes to Brock, giving the boy the biggest hug. He’s going to keep the boy safe. He promises.

The next morning, Walt finds Skyler’s new house based on Ed’s info. There don’t appear to be any cops watching the place. In the car he practices what he’ll say, but can’t come up with anything substantial. At last he heads up to the front door and barges in.
The family is seated to breakfast – Skyler, Flynn, Holly… and Ted Beneke, Sky’s former boss and sometimes lover. He’s in a wheelchair after his “shakedown” by Huell and Kuby. They see Walt as Carol saw Walt… a monster. Skyler instinctively presses a panic button, which Walt notices. He came with good intentions but rages at Skyler over Ted’s presence. He flings wads of cash from his pockets, forcing them to accept his hard-earned money. Holly cries. Flynn gets up and whacks Walt with his crutches, fuming with hate. He chases Walt outside and gets into his car – he’s going to run Walt down. Walt sprints back to his car, coughing the whole way, as Flynn pulls out of the driveway and guns it towards his father.
CUT TO: Marie, absent-mindedly driving her own car. Her eyes linger a bit too long on a picture of her and Hank affixed to her rear view mirror, and – CRASH. She and Flynn collide, both narrowly missing Walt. Walt rushes to the car to pull his son from the wreckage – he’s already gone, as evidenced by his half-charred face (mirroring Gustavo Fring and the pink Teddy Bear). Flynn is dead.
Marie stumbles from her car and Walt attacks. He chokes her and forces her to the ground. She struggles, kicking and clawing at his body. He suffocates her until she turns a deep shade of purple.
Skyler arrives and sees the damage and destruction. She lunges at Walt, who puts up no fight, but the two just… hold each other up. They weep. They’re exhausted from all the battling and lying and death. They mourn their son and their family, which is irreparably destroyed. The sirens wail in the distance, and she tells him she won’t rat him out. She pressed it because of Flynn. She found Marie like this. It’s just time for Walt to go.
Walt goes. He drives away, narrowly avoiding the police cars responding to the accident. But he has nowhere to go. From his pocket he discovers a purple candy ball. Quizzical at first, he pops it in his mouth and drives on.

Following one last beautiful time-lapse, Lydia sits down at a meeting with Madrigal executives. She’s been rushed in and is unprepared for the meeting. Is there something wrong with the product? They turn on the TV – hundreds of drug addicts across Europe have died in the last few days after consuming Blue meth.  The meth, they say, has been contaminated. They couldn’t give the stuff away at this point and decide to cut their losses in the meth game and focus on other Madrigal subsidiaries. Lydia’s position, she’s told, has been terminated, and as the meeting door closes she panics and tries to escape. She doesn’t.
Jesse has Badger and Skinny Pete over child-proofing his house and playing with Brock. Jesse reads through the newspaper and turns to the obituary section. We don’t see the article, but Jesse’s reads it with trepidation. He needs them to watch over Brock for a while. He has some errands to run.
Jesse arrives at Walt’s dilapidated home. He examines the wreckage, but draws his gun. He heads to the laundry room and looks down the crawl space – there he finds Walter White. Walt emerges. Jesse saw on the TV that blue meth was killing people, and deduced Walt filled his black barrel with liquid ricin and laced Lydia’s last batch in the chaos of the gunfight. Walt admits it – the product dies with him.
But, Jesse pushes, Walt didn’t take the ricin. He read in the obituary section of the paper today – Gretchen and Elliot Schwarz were found dead of mysterious causes. He saved the original ricin for them, right? Walt won’t comment on them but is adamant he took the ricin for himself. Jesse is in disbelief and holds the gun to Walt’s head. This time, he’s finishing the job.
Suddenly, Walt starts coughing. The cough persists, and gets more and more violent. Walt can’t breathe. Jesse steps back to watch him suffer.
Is it the cancer that's finally killing him? Is it the ricin? Is it the purple candy ball, planted in his pocket ever so smoothly by Marie, her dying act after experimenting with poisoning food?
Ultimately, Walt crumbles to the floor. He tilts his head to look beneath the laundry machine. Under there, somehow, is the Teddy bear’s eye staring back at him. He closes his eyes.
Is he dead? Maybe, but once Jesse shoots him in the chest, he definitely is. His eyes startle back open, but the light is gone. Walter White is dead, and the cause of death is everything he had coming to him. Jesse feels nothing.
Time for one last montage: Jesse heads back to the car to retrieve the fruits of his errands, plastic bins and hydrochloric acid. He lifts Walt's body into the tub in slow-motion and pours in the acid, giving the scene almost religious connotations.  His body burns and bubbles, safely within the confines of the bin. Jesse has learned something.
Jesse snaps the bin shut and drops it down the crawl space. The final shot of the series is a trick shot, the opposite of Walt’s maniacal laugh facing up the crawl space. It’s Jesse, looking down, as the camera sinks deeper and deeper. Jesse shakes his head, utters one last line, and closes off the entrance to the crawl space, effectively cutting to black.
The line is, of course: “Bitch.”

**FINALE DAY UPDATE: Skyler has started writing the "tell-all" book about Walt's escapades and her position as a battered, captive wife. She ends up becoming a multi-millionaire, using Walt's deeds to propel her to success and fortune he himself could never provide. Not sure how they'll fit that in, maybe as a coda or a deleted scene. 

What did you think? Anything sound plausible? Anything I missed, or messed up, or am crazy to think would ever happen? Share your own predictions in the comments and be sure to listen out for the final Dual Redundancy Breaking Bad podcast, coming sometime next week!

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