‘Breaking Bad’ cooks up an enjoyable mid-season finale

Nathan Mendelowitz

The mid-season finale of “Breaking Bad” is upon us and it has come too soon. It’s the final season as well and creator Vince Gilligan has done a masterful job cooking up a heart pounding finale.

Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, has made the complete transformation from innocent high school teacher to drug kingpin. He has a short temper and does not do well with change or bad news.

This season, he has taken no prisoners and made it a point to show his loss of emotion in everything. In many ways he has become as ill-tempered and rash as Tuco Salamanca, the first major drug kingpin he meets in the series.

The finale began with Walter dealing with the repercussions of killing his former partner Mike. In the last episode, he shot Mike after getting impatient with Mike’s attitude on leaving and not giving him names of the dealers.

The episode continues with Walt trying to get the names of the nine people who worked for Gus, one of Walt’s former drug bosses, so he can eliminate them. The fear is they will talk to the police and bring everything Walt worked for to the ground.

Talking with Lydia, played by Laura Fraser, about the nine people, she in turn proposes a deal that would elevate Walt’s business, making him more money than he thought possible. While tentative at first, Walt agrees to a deal but shows his cunning side by hiding what looked like a recording device under his cap during the conversation.

This is a key moment because it shows his control over everything and everyone he works with. Always maintaining the upper hand, it’s why Walt has become the best at what he does.

After discussing tactics on how to eliminate the nine former dealers with a gang of neo-Nazis, the plan is followed through perfectly.

It’s at this point, viewers will notice how calm and calculated Walt truly has become. Eliminating nine people in three different jails isn’t easy, yet Walt makes it seem routine.

After a montage of things getting back together with Walt cooking up drugs and everything going back to normal, Walt finally gives Jesse, played by Aaron Paul, his wish by giving him his share of the money so he can finally leave the business.

Jesse’s reaction is a sigh of relief, knowing he is now done with the drug business and can take his money and do whatever he wants.

One thing prevalent in the finale is the small moments where Walt seems lost in thought and unhappy with how things are going. He shows no emotion around others and only deals with people for business. When alone however, he becomes silent and has a look on his face that says he wants something more rewarding. A life of making meth has alienated himself from his family and it’s taking a toll on him.

The unhappiness he has is shown by his awkward goodbye with Jesse while giving the money he owes him. Walt does his best not to look or sound sad but it’s evident by his demeanor and not being able to look Jesse in the eyes.

As the final scene plays out, Walt has decided to leave the business as well after talking with his wife, Skylar, earlier in the episode. While eating in the backyard with Hank and Marie, Skylar’s brother-in-law and sister, Hank finds a book that sparks memories of a conversation he had with Walt earlier in the series and begins to piece together that Walt may be the drug kingpin he has been looking for.

It’s a subtle ending and it works. Hank has been looking for the major drug kingpin in town who has been eluding him the entire series.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait until next summer to see how this new information will unfold. Whether Walt’s plans of leaving with his family will come before Hank can put it all together is going to be the driving force for the final eight episodes.

Nathan can be reached at: [email protected]