Does Breaking Bad Deserve a Happy Ending?

There’s a little known show that used to be on a while back about a mafia boss, called The Sopranos (that description is more than a little oversimplified by the way). As you might expect from a show about a mafia boss, it’s not exactly chuckles from start to finish.

Our main hero, Tony Soprano kills and maims and tortures and yet we cheer him on through it all because this is television, these things aren’t really happening and hey, he’s a pretty charming guy when he isn’t cheating on his wife or doing any of the aforementioned maiming or killing.

But of course this show comes to an end, as all things do (except Doctor Who, which will no doubt outlive even time itself). Just in case you ever plan on watching The Sopranos, and you should by the way because it is absolutely fantastic television, MILD SPOILER; the last ever episode very famously just cuts to black partway through the last scene.

In so many ways, this was the only real way a show of this ilk could end. Tony Soprano was a sociopath and the FBI was apparently closing in on him and people wanted him dead. The cut to black offers no judgement and takes no sides in the end. Tony could have been shot, he could have spotted the feds coming for him, he could just have seen his daughter coming in late for a family dinner.

With Breaking Bad’s final episode looming, I find myself thinking about The Sopranos’ solution more and more and how much sense it made, as confused and annoyed as I was at the time.

Walter White is hands down a bigger monster than Tony Soprano could have ever been in his worst dreams. The mafia has a code of honour, twisted though it is. White is in the game for one person and one person alone, and that is himself. He has poisoned children, disposed of children’s bodies, watched people die, killed in cold blood and he blew up a motherf***ing old folks home and all just to save his skin.

We have people on both sides of the fence when it comes to the fate of Walter White. Heisenberg apologists who believe he should get in, kill uncle Jack and run away with Jesse to start their own brand of hats and there are those who want Walt to rot for his crimes.

There are more than a few similarities in Breaking Bad with The Sopranos and Vince Gilligan himself has said that without Tony Soprano, Walter White would never have existed. So just how will things go for Walt, Jesse and co? The stakes are so high that a fade to black might just cause heart attacks worldwide, but does anyone actually deserve to get out alive?

No matter what, Breaking Bad’s finale will be divisive and it will be talked about for years to come. That’s just what good TV is about.

Of course, there are those we all want to see put down, like that creepy little bastard Todd, and loveable nazi uncle Jack. But looking to the main characters, who deserves to get away? Jesse was a heroin junkie, meth dealer and murdered a man at point blank in cold blood.

He feels bad about it, sure, but does that change anything? For all of his brooding and his stance on keeping kids out of it, how does he know where the meth he makes goes? He doesn’t know for sure that kids aren’t ODing on his product somewhere out there, does he? As far as I’m concerned, his getting out was too little, too late.

Then there’s Skylar. She paints herself as a victim and of course, to an extent she was. However, even before she was caught up in laundering Walt’s meth empire, she was quite happy to cook books for Ted. She too, had so many chances to just get out but was simply too afraid of strapping on a pair and facing the consequences.

Now, here’s the big one. Hank deserved to die. As much as I shouted at the TV screen when it happened and as much as I am still in denial about it, his death was on him. Why didn’t he have back up? Because he was too prideful. He was obsessed with being the one to take down his brother in law so he could at least get fired a hero but going after the head of a giant meth empire with an ex meth head and one other cop is plain frickin’ stupid. End of story.

Walt Jr is the only decent chap left in town and as a result I am sure that he’s about to bite the big one. Gilligan seems to be a bit sadistic like that. But then again, isn’t that what Walt deserves? All the suffering he has caused in the name of his family, for it all to have been for nothing and to maybe even be directly responsible for his own sons death seems appropriate.

A show like Breaking Bad can elicit so many different opinions however, that everyone will have a different view of who should make it out and who shouldn’t. At the end of the day, does the show itself deserve a happy ending?

After everything, Jane, Andrea, Mike, Hank, plane crashes, explosions, misery addiction and mourning I don’t think it would be at all for feasible for Breaking Bad to have a happy ending. It can only have an ending.

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4 responses

  1. dustdancingintheflickerlight | Reply

    I don’t think Hank deserved to die, but I completely understand what you mean. It was his fault, in a way. He was too proud to tell the DEA about Walt when he first found out about Heisenberg. I honestly don’t know what the hell is going to happen in the finale because Andrea’s death was so unexpected, literally anything could happen. I do feel for Jesse and Saul the most though. Jesse has done bad things but he’s also been manipulated, twisted, traumatised so much. It doesn’t excuse the things he did, but I hope he survives the series!

    1. Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, I love Jesse and would love to see him and Brock get out alive! The realist in me knows better though.
      Perhaps deserves is the wrong choice of words for Hank too… but as long as you get my point. Whatever happens, we’re never going to forget it.

  2. Good post! Thanks for sharing.

    I think a “happy ending” in most stories is when things become normal again. That definitely won’t happen. But I think we may get a “merciful” ending.

    Jesse may get out alive and start a new life. I think its possible that Walt will get the money to his family. If he does, i think it will cost him his life. And that’s the best ending a character like him could hope for. A mundane life is not in the cards for him. And throwing him in prison would be be extremely unsatisfying.

  3. […] every bit as brilliant as Breaking Bad — and there’s a wealth of speculative thought BB wouldn’t have existed without TS — I still prefer Bad.  For me, there’s an asterisk in my mind about  Tony and his […]

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