(If you haven’t seen the Breaking Bad finale, this post contains spoilers.)

After the despair of Ozymandias (perhaps the most perfect single hour in television), and based on hints dropped by cast members and Vince Gilligan, I expected the Breaking Bad series finale to be an unambiguous tragedy, including the death of the less guilty, and the innocent.

I’m thankful I was wrong. With the deaths of Andrea and Hank, we’d had enough.

Although Walter’s demise one way or another, onscreen or off was foretold, I expected to be surprised in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I’m thankful to have gotten that.

Below are a few of my favorite (unexpected) moments:

1. The shout out to the ending of that other gangster show when Walt warned Gretchen and Elliot if they didn’t follow his orders, how they might be anywhere in the world, and suddenly the hitman would take them out before they even knew it, and their world would go black.

2.The revelation that those hit men, were two meth-heads with laser guns (and the chance to say good-bye to Skinny Pete and Badger.)

3. The MacGiverness of Walt’s automatic weapons system.

4. Walt’s being more honest than he ever was before when he wrote his own epitaph, “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I really, I was alive.”

5. The return of Walt’s compassion when he saw the condition that Jesse was in and decided to save his life.

6. The death of Todd, and that Jesse got to do the deed.

7. Jesse’s final “no” to Mr. White, before he drives away, and our knowledge that he is truly free and actually has a future (possibly involving woodworking).

8. Lydia’s having a couple of days to ponder her coming death.

9. Knowing that no one is left who is a threat to the Whites.

10. The glimpses we got of all the family, even if only flashback.

11. And yeah, even though he didn’t “deserve” it, it was satisfying to watchWalter White go out on his own terms, as a badass.

We never found out what exactly happened between Elliot, Gretchen and Walter. What was the great wrong they committed, the one that even at the end, kept Walter from wanting a penny of their money? Last week, I pondered that the truth might change our entire perspective, but maybe there wasn’t any dark secret, just three irreconcilable versions of events, each distorted by time. Memory is the least stable element.

(Feel free to comment on your own favorite moments or take on the finale. Have a look at some other posts on topics of interest. Or if you’re done here, go have a look at some other examples of Marion’s work.)

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