(More spoilers than a tin of hot fried spoilers)
Well then, that’s that. No abrupt cut to black, no twist “it was all a dream” ending and thankfully no surprise Malcolm in the Middle reveal at the very last minute. Breaking Bad is finally over after five seasons of near perfect television and by God, it was the most satisfying finale since Rachel got off the plane.
We weren’t left wondering, we weren’t left hanging and nobody thought that anything should be left open to interpretation. It was uncompromising, tense and packed full of punch the air f**k yeah moments from Badger and Skinny P’s surprise appearance to Jesse throttling Todd to death (the most satisfying moment of anything, ever).
Of course, a lot of it was predictable, but that is by no means a bad thing. The seeds of this episode have been sown since the start of series five. Walt had a rather large machine gun, some ricin and death in his eyes. How else was that gonna end? Of course no one can say they saw Walt using the machine gun in quite the way he did and it was fantastic to see Walt proving once again that he is one smart bastard.
Everyone got their closure. Skylar and Walt’s scene in the kitchen, where he finally admits that he did it all for himself and no one else… stellar acting from Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston. If you didn’t well up even a little as Walt says goodbye to Holly and watches Junior through the window then you have a small black rock where your soul should be.
Walt giving Skylar the location of Hank’s body was also a tidy move that allows Skylar leverage with the DA and a way out, while also giving Marie the closure of a proper burial for poor old Hank (who I still expected to pop up and save everything at some point by the way).
My only real problem with the “goodbye half” of this episode was Walt Jr’s lack of closure. I suppose after everything Walt did, he shouldn’t get off so easily that everyone suddenly understands and forgives him. His actions, all supposedly for his family should cost him his son. There was a fitting irony to this, although it still didn’t sit entirely right with me.
Of course what can I really say about Walt’s spontaneous Grey Matter reunion, other than that it was beyond beautiful to see him make them piss their pants and finally find a way to get his hard earned money to his family.
And then, Walt kills people. A lot of people. Getting Lydia with the Ricin (thank God they finally used it), gunning down a gang of armed nazis, saving Jesse and finally lying down to die in the (metaphorical) arms of the one thing he truly loved in the end. His meth lab.
Everything Walt did in this episode proved what we all knew from the start. You do not mess with Heisenberg. He finally got to take the credit by dying in the lab and he finally regained a modicum of humanity through saving Jesse and avenging Hank.
Considering everything that has happened over the course of this phenomenal series, I really do not think anyone could have asked for more from the way it was all wrapped up.
Breaking Bad was one of the greats. A truly special, one of a kind show that never once wavered in it’s impeccable quality. Brilliant written, astonishingly acted and as addictive as a rock of the old blue meth we all love so much… The only question is, what on Earth do we do with our lives now?
And there, on a Saturday evening on BBC One in 2013, was William Hartnell as… The Doctor. Excuse my language but fuck me that was enough to make me explode with joy. After fifty years, finally getting a glimpse of the moment The Doctor decides to run off with a type 40 TARDIS and see the universe was something truly special for me.
And it only went and got better. We saw Doctors one through seven, including that strange moment in Dragonfire where for some reason, Seven decides to crawl down a cliff. I think I’d already decided this was a perfect episode from that 50th montage and that was only the bloody pre credits sequence.
Of course, some of the meshing of archive clips worked better than others, but when you’re watching your childhood colliding with the present day of your favorite program, who really cares?
The Name of The Doctor managed to set up everything that needed to be set up for the 50th shenangins all while answering some questions that have been around for years and still managed to be an enjoyable, witty and in places quite chilling episode.
Did the big question, the Doctor’s name get revealed? No. Of course, it was never going to be answered in a straight forward “my name is…” way and frankly anyone with a fundemental understanding of Doctor Who would have known that from the off. Moffat is a fan and as such knows full well that is a question we never need to hear the answer to.
And if you were expecting an asnwer, it’s hard to have felt shortchanged from this gem of an episode. River’s final farewell was truly quite heartbreaking, seeing The Doctor’s assertion that he hates goodbyes is a deeper glimpse into who he is than his name could ever tell us.
Some might gripe at lack of explanation towards why The Doctor could see and touch River, I couldn’t care less when the payoff was such an emotional scene and that line “God knows how that must have looked”. It would be a shame if this was River’s last appearance but she couldn’t have gone out on a better note.
Matt Smith was firing on all clyinders once again, showing anger, heartbreak and at times, genuine fear. The scene where he found out he had to go to Trenzalore was quite unsettling. This is not how The Doctor is supposed to be and Matt Smith played it perfectly, not too much and not too little emotion.
Strax, Vastra and Jenny still need their own spin off series, that much will never change. I admit I was watching this episode in the fear that one of them would bite the dust and that horribly chilling scene where Jenny realised she had been murdered set the stakes very early on. Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without my favorite Dinosaur/Victorian Maid Lesbian Crimefighting Couple. Although Strax is genuinely brilliant, his comedy did detract from the drama at times, which felt a little frustrating.
I think Jenna Louise Coleman’s character has come under a lot of unfair criticism this series. She’s constantly been brilliant in my eyes and to be honest I never could really stand Amy Pond. Sorry, world, but I just think Clara is miles ahead.
Some reviews have complained that since we haven’t known Clara that long, her sacrifice doesn’t mean as much. I would argue that surely it means that much more? If she hasn’t known The Doctor that long and is willing to tear her very existence apart to save him, I think that’s pretty big.
Incidentally, The Doc and Clara’s chemistry was great here. Maybe it’s because Clara finally saw a deeper side to The Doctor, but they really seem to care about each other much more in this one. Although I am glad River wasn’t sidelined so The Doctor could canoodle with Clara as I initially feared.
There isn’t too much to say about The Whispermen and Richard E Grant. Grant is always brilliant and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of him and while the Whispermen looked creepy as hell, they didn’t really do much besides… whisper. Not that cool.
Oh yeah, introducing John Hurt as The Doctor? Jesus Christ, November 23rd cannot come fast enough.