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Recap / Breaking Bad S5 E16 "Felina"

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Season 5, Episode 16:

"I was alive."
Written and directed by Vince Gilligan
Air date: September 29, 2013

♫ Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me
Tonight nothing's worse than this pain in my heart... ♫

And so, with a prayer to a higher power and Marty Robbins playing him off, Walt steals a car outside of a New Hampshire bar to face his destiny.

Upon arrival in Santa Fe, he tracks down Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz's address under the guise of a reporter asking for an interview. After revealing himself to them, Walt demands that the couple deposit his remaining $9.72 million into a trust fund for Flynn to receive on his eighteenth birthday — and that the money must appear to be coming from them, not from him — to which they agree. As added motivation, laser sights are directed at the Schwartz's chests from afar, with Walt threatening the couple that should they renege on their agreement, his highly skilled and very expensive assassins will kill them both without any hesitation or warning. After Walt returns to his car, it is revealed that the "snipers" are in fact Badger and Skinny Pete with laser pointers. Walt learns from them that Uncle Jack's crew has taken over the distribution of Blue Sky and deduces that Jesse is still alive and is now cooking for them. Meanwhile, Jesse is shown cooking in Jack's superlab, daydreaming about indulging in his hobby of woodworking, only to wake up to the stark reality of being chained to his workstation.

The next day is Walt's 52nd birthday. He goes to Albuquerque and then heads to a Denny's for a meeting with Lawson, where he gets the M60 machine gun, ammunition, and car we previously saw him purchase. He later drives back to his old home, now abandoned and in ruins, to retrieve the ricin he had hidden inside the bedroom switch plate. Before leaving, Walt stops in the middle of the empty living room and reminisces about his 50th birthday two years ago, where his journey into the meth business began with Hank inviting him for a DEA ride-along.

Lydia enters her usual café to get her usual cup of tea and meet up with Todd, who awkwardly attempts to hit on her shortly after he arrives. Walt suddenly appears in the café and pulls up a chair to their table, telling them he has an offer. He wants to sell them an alternative meth recipe that doesn't require methylamine in exchange for $1 million. Lydia asks Walt how he knew to find them at the café and he points out that Lydia is a creature of habit and that they used to have this same meeting at this exact spot, the same time every week. Lydia tells Walt that he can meet with the neo-Nazis to discuss the subject of the new meth recipe further, asking Todd to arrange for the meeting to take place in the evening. As Walt leaves, Lydia tells Todd that they can't indulge Walt's request for their own safety. Lydia insinuates that the best thing to do is to kill Walt, which she claims would be doing him a favor, considering his physical condition. She then goes about drinking her tea, adding in a packet of stevia to sweeten it.

Now alone in the New Mexican desert, Walt puts together some sort of contraption in the trunk of the car he got from Lawson, using the M60, a car battery, and a garage door opener. With a press of his car lock remote, the device springs to life and starts rotating back and forth. Walt smiles in approval at this, before he turns his attention to his wedding ring, still hanging from his makeshift necklace...

Skyler, who is living in a cramped apartment with Flynn and Holly, receives a call from Marie, warning her that Walt is back in town. As Skyler hangs up, it is revealed Walt is already in the apartment, and she gives him five minutes to talk to her. Walt gives her the lottery ticket with the coordinates to where Hank and Gomez are buried and tells her to claim that she got it from Walt forcing his way into the apartment and forcing her to make breakfast for him and to use this information to negotiate a plea deal. Walt also finally admits that his involvement in the drug trade was never about helping his family, but because Walt enjoyed the power and prestige that came with it; it made him feel alive. Skyler agrees to his request to see Holly one last time. As Walt leaves, he sees Flynn enter the apartment from afar, only watching him.

Walt drives to Jack's hideout where he repeats his previous offer to Jack, which he rejects whilst ordering his men to kill Walt. Walt then insults Jack for betraying him and partnering up with Jesse, only for Jack to call for Jesse to be brought up to prove that they never agreed to a partnership. When Jesse is brought in, Walt tackles him without warning and uses his keys to remotely open the car trunk, revealing the M60 rigged to his car. The M60 guns down most of Jack's crew and wounds Jack and Walt. Todd manages to duck and take cover and gets through the shooting unscathed, but Jesse uses the confusion to sneak up on him and chokes him to death with his handcuffs. Walt picks up Jack's dropped gun and he approaches the wounded gang leader. Jack attempts his darndest to play it cool and begins bargaining for his life, telling Walt he'll never find the rest of his money if he pulls the trigger on him. But Walt's only response is to nonchalantly shoot him in the head.

With Jack and his gang dead, Walt gives the gun to Jesse and says he knows Jesse wants to kill him. Jesse angrily replies that he'll do it only if Walt confesses it's he who wants Jesse to shoot, which Walt does. Jesse however sees that Walt is already wounded and bleeding badly, and refuses to indulge his final request, telling him to do it himself as he goes for Todd's car. Todd's phone rings, prompting Walt to answer the call, revealing a visibly ill Lydia who is calling Todd to confirm Walt's death. Walt tells her he is still alive and informs her that her business partners are dead and he had replaced one of her stevia sweetener packets with the ricin powder during their meeting before hanging up.

Before Jesse leaves, he and Walt share one last look of gratitude as they bid each other farewell, and he then drives away from the compound, laughing and crying hysterically. After seeing Jesse off, the adrenaline in Walt's system subsides, and he finally realizes that he is dying as he feels the pain from his gunshot wound. With the police approaching the compound, Walt tours through Jack's lab, admiring some of the chemical equipment and Jesse's final product: A perfect batch of meth, a sign for Walt that he has succeeded as a teacher. Finally succumbing to his wound, Walt smiles at the knowledge that his family is safe and financially secure. He collapses and dies as he stares serenely at the ceiling. Police officers storm the lab and find Walt's body, ironically, in the same kind of place where he felt so alive.

As is written in the script: They're too late. He got away.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Walter in his last moments. He is left a broken man desperately trying to make up for the damages he has caused. Throughout the episode, he ensures his family's future will be financially secured, makes sure his wife will be free from charges, takes out the remaining bad guys, and pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save Jesse at the cost of his own life. He then dies in a meth lab, surrounded by the things that brought him joy.
  • Asshole Victim: Let's just say Jack, Todd, and Lydia thoroughly deserved their fates. The rest of the Neo-Nazis who were killed by the machine gun also count.
    • Walt was a Jerkass to people throughout the series, but thanks to his partial redemption in this episode it's a Downplayed trope.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Between the Neo-Nazis as one of them holds Walt at gunpoint.
    Kenny: Where do you want it?
    Jack: Oh, I dunno, anywhere not my living room? Take him out back.
  • The Atoner: Walter ends up being an extremely dark version of this; while he's unapologetic for his actions, he does his best to mitigate the consequences.
  • Aww Look They Really Do Love Each Other: A tragic example. Marie's phone call to Skyler and her opening of "Truce?" implies that things have been icy between the sisters in the six months since Hank's death. Interestingly, considering Marie's approach (being the one to ask Skyler "truce?" and ensure her sister lovingly that the DEA is probably watching her because "that's what Hank would do"), it seems possible that it's Skyler who has been shunning Marie, and not the other way around.
  • Back for the Finale:
    • Walt tracks down Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz and forces them into an elaborate plan to get his drug money to his children.
    • He also enlists Badger and Skinny Pete for the plan, after they had all but vanished from the show.
    • Hank briefly reappears through a flashback to "Pilot".
  • Backported Development: The only reason Walt suddenly decides to remove his watch Jesse gave him and leave it on top of a pay phone is to resolve the fact that he wasn't wearing it in the Flash Forward originally presented in "Live Free or Die".
  • Batman Gambit: Walt uses Jack's disdain of rats like Jesse against him.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Downplayed. Jack doesn't consider Walt's offer at all and pretty much immediately orders his goons to take him out back and shoot him, but when Walt then accuses Jack of working with a snitch, it wounds Jack's pride enough for him to put Walt's summary execution on hold and have Jesse brought in just so he can clarify the point to Walt that Jesse is not actually working with him, but being forced to work for him. This hesitation on Jack's part is what allows Walt to retrieve his car keys and pull off his plan.
  • Brandishment Bluff: The "snipers" that Walt hired to intimidate Gretchen and Elliot into following through on their end of the deal turn out to be Badger and Skinny Pete using laser pointers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Walt is able to die on his own terms after having finally dismantled his drug empire and giving Jack, Todd, and Lydia their comeuppance. Jesse is freed from the drug trade for good, Skyler has information on the Neo-Nazis and where Hank and Gomez are buried, implying she will use this info to avoid trial and Walt ensures that Gretchen and Elliot will help secure his family's financial future through Flynn's trust fund. However, everybody that survived the series still has to live with the devastation Walt caused by getting involved in the meth trade in the first place and he himself remains unapologetic about his actions. Walt also still dies alone, has had his reputation completely destroyed, and is hated by his family, meaning the White family will never know that the money from the trust fund came from Walt instead of one of the Schwartz's acts of charity.
  • Book Ends:
    • The first scene of the pilot sees Walt with a full head of hair saying goodbye to his family via video recording as he prepares to die believing the police have caught him. The last scene of the finale has him dying, once again with a full head of hair, as the police surround his location after he has said goodbye to his family.
    • In the pilot, Walt attempts to shoot himself to avoid being caught by what he thinks are the cops, only for the gun's safety to stop that attempt. In the end, a bullet from his own gun ultimately did Walt in.
    • Walt's stated motivation for going into drug dealing, from the very first episode, was to earn enough money via the trade so that his family could live comfortably without him. In this episode, the last villain of the series and the last distributor of the blue meth (Jack) tries to bargain with Walt by offering him his lost drug money. Walt completely ignores the offer and kills Jack anyway, finally ending the business.
    • Jesse's first scene was him running from drug manufacturers, and his last scene has him escape the bodies of the Neo-Nazis.
    • When Walt secretly met up with Jesse in the pilot, Jesse was about to get in his car and leave before Walt proposed a partnership in the drug business. In this episode, all Walt can do is silently nod to Jesse, letting him go free in a stolen car. To further the comparisons, Walt is even wearing the same outfit in both scenes.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Jack, courtesy of Walt.
  • Brick Joke: Played for Drama. Walt has finally found the combination of words that would make Skyler understand.
    Walt: I did it for me. [Beat] I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive.
  • Call-Back:
    • Walt's ricin is once again juxtaposed with someone pouring artificial sweetener; before it was Marie, now it's Lydia.
    • Jesse briefly distracts himself by imagining he's making a wooden box in his high school shop class.
    • Walt recalls his 50th birthday party as he is walking through his old house, when Hank showed him a news report of a drug bust he conducted. In particular, he remembers Hank quipping "It's easy money... 'til we catch ya!" before offering Walt the fateful ride-along that would reunite him with Jesse and begin his career as a meth cook.
    • The final shootout brings to mind two scenes from Season 2:
      • When Walt and Jesse are held prisoners by Tuco, Jesse suggests that Walt attacks him while he goes for his gun, as Walt is dying from cancer and thus the best suited to make a Heroic Sacrifice. Walt is predictably indignant at the insensitive suggestion. Nearly two years and four seasons later, as cancer has taken its toll on Walt and he's got nothing to lose anymore, he does end up Taking the Bullet for Jesse.
      • When they're stranded in the desert with their dead RV and at the end of their rope, Jesse frantically fires at Walt several ideas of things he could be MacGyvering to help them, amongst which a robot (they eventually go for the more sensible suggestion of a battery). In this episode, Walt does get to build that robot (a remote-controlled oscillating rig for his M60 machine gun), which results in him saving Jesse's life.
    • On three separate occasions, Jesse had Walt at his mercy, ready to strike (the third also with a gun), with Walt telling him to "do it". While on those occasions, Walt was goading Jesse with the hope that he'd back off (which he did), this time he genuinely offers him his life, only for Jesse to deny him once again.
    • Jesse clearly remembers the last time Walt tried to manipulate him into doing something "he" wanted, and he again instantly sees through the deception and tries to get him to admit the truth for once: that Walt himself needed this. This time, Walt has no reason to lie to Jesse anymore.
    • Walt again meets Lydia in her preferred meeting place with a ricin vial on hand.
  • Camera Abuse: Blood gets on the lens when Walt shoots Jack in the head.
  • Cathartic Scream: Jesse screams like a madman as he drives away from the Neo-Nazi compound.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: By the time police storm the Neo-Nazi compound, everyone has already been killed, or, in Jesse's case, long gone, so there's no one left to arrest, only bodies to put away.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The lottery ticket with the coordinates to the buried drums of cash. Walt gives it to Skyler so she can use it for a plea bargain and to have Hank and Gomez's bodies recovered from the desert so they can be given proper burials.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Walt's M60 and the ricin finally come into play.
  • The Chessmaster: Walter was fully in this mode in this episode.
  • Cruel Mercy: Downplayed. When Walt asks for Jesse to shoot him, Jesse refuses; not because he wants to spare him, but because he's done letting Walt dictate his life. Plus, Walt had already been mortally wounded from his homemade machine gun turret, so he was going to die anyway.
  • Cutting Back to Reality: Jesse's first scene in "Felina" features him daydreaming of carpentry, putting the finishing touches on a beautifully handcrafted box. Satisfied with his work, he steps away from the bench with the box still in hand - and then we cut back to reality with a loud clank. He's still chained to the ceiling in Jack Welker's meth lab, bearded, scarred and traumatized for life; the "box" is actually the latest ingredient of the meth that the neo-Nazis are forcing him to cook.
  • Death Seeker: After killing off Jack and his crew, Walt offers Jesse a gun and the chance to pull the trigger on him, outright stating that he wants death. He gets it from a stray bullet from his rigged M60 (which would've gunned him down with everyone else anyway if he hadn't made the snap decision to save Jesse).
  • Died on Their Birthday: Walt dies on his 52nd birthday, two years to the day he received the cancer diagnosis that kicked off his adventure.
  • Dies Wide Open:
    • Walt in the middle of the meth lab as the cops storm the place.
    • Also Todd after being choked to death by Jesse.
    • And Kenny who lays dead on the massage chair which is still running.
  • Double-Meaning Title:
    • "Felina" is an anagram for "finale".
    • It is also a reference to the Marty Robbins song "El Paso", whose plot — a wanted man goes back to the scene of his crime to see someone he misses (a woman named Feleena) and is fatally shot in the process — the episode directly parallels. In Walt's case it's not initially clear what the "Feleena" he's really after is, but given the last scene it's probably his blue meth.
    • And there's an unconfirmed but lovely little theory that it also stands for Fe (iron), Li (lithium) and Na (sodium) - blood, meth and tears. Lots of blood was shed, the blue meth production was stopped for good, and lots of tears were shed during the episode and Walt's death. It's also a pun for the phrase, "blood, sweat, and tears", used when describing how much hard work was put into something, as in, lots of blood, sweat, and tears were shed to make it happen. In this case, Walt's blue meth business.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Thanks to the White family not wanting any of Walt's drug money, he decides to coerce Elliot and Gretchen into setting up a trust fund with the remaining cash he has for Flynn to receive on his eighteenth birthday to make it look like the money came from a philanthropist couple's act of charity, and during his final meeting with Skyler, Walt claims he spent the rest of his money getting back to Albuquerque. This means that the Whites will believe that Walt's actions were All for Nothing, even though the audience and Walt know that their financial future will be secured in less than a year.
    • If Jack hadn't been stung by Walt's accusation that he partnered up with Jesse, he'd have taken Walt outside to be executed right then. His decision to bring Jesse in to show him how mistaken he was gave Walt the opportunity to pick up his car keys (with the remote for his machine gun rig) on the pool table. Just like many of Walt's actions and mistakes over the course of the series were born out of pride, Jack shared this mortal sin with him, which ultimately caused his own undoing.
  • Due to the Dead: While it doesn't make up for their deaths, Walt giving Skyler the lottery ticket with the coordinates will allow the authorities to find Hank and Gomez's bodies so they can be given proper burials and funerals can be seen as his own way of making up for that particular mistake.
  • Dying Alone: Walt manages to ensure the last of his money goes to his estranged family, pays a final visit to his wife to make amends, and takes deadly revenge against those who wronged him, while saving his former partner at the cost of his own life. After Jesse denies him the Mercy Kill he requested and leaves, he ends up dying this way: bleeding out in the middle of a meth lab while waiting for the police to come.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The White family's financial future is secured, Jack, Lydia, and Todd got their thoroughly deserved punishments, Jesse escapes the drug compound, and the lottery ticket gives Marie and Skyler a chance to give Hank a proper funeral and keep Skyler out of prison. Walt dies, yes, but 1) he definitely had it coming, and 2) as Jesse's conversation with him makes clear, Walt welcomed it.
  • Ending Theme: Badfinger's "Baby Blue" plays in the final scene as Walt dies from his injuries.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Walter finally lets go of his pride and makes sure his children get the money they need despite knowing that his children will never know he was responsible.
    • He also wants to avenge Hank's death and does so by killing Jack and his goons.
    • He gives Skyler the location of the bodies of Hank and Gomez in the hopes she can use it the information to make a deal and be spared from prison.
  • Exact Words: When Skyler asks Walt if him being back in town means he's turning himself into the police, Walt says they'll be coming to him. After he kills off the Neo-Nazis, the police are alerted to the scene, and he dies just as they're storming the hideout, meaning the cops did come to him.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Neo-Nazis didn't bother to check the trunk of Walt's car. Also, Kenny doesn't even think twice when Walt parks in front of the clubhouse instead of the spot he indicated for him.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Doesn't it seem odd that the camera holds on a shot of Lydia adding that stevia to her tea?
    • When Walt shows up at Skyler's apartment in order to say goodbye to her, she asks if this means he's turning himself into the police. She also tells him about the Neo-Nazis and Lydia threatening the family into silence in the previous episode. Walt says that the cops will be coming to him, and reassures Skyler that his former associates won't be a threat to her or the kids anymore, but he doesn't give her any details. Walt killing the entire Neo-Nazi gang with the rigged machine gun alerted the police to the scene, and Walt dies from one of the stray bullets right before they storm the hideout. Walt also poisoned Lydia before he went to talk to Skyler, guaranteeing all threats to his family are no longer alive.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Walt's final expression is one of faint satisfaction, as described by the script. Vince Gilligan confirmed that, while he wasn't quite happy, he died convinced that he did the best he could to atone for his mistakes.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Skyler, Jesse, Elliot, Gretchen, Badger, and Skinny Pete are the only people who'll ever have an inkling of what Walt's final day was really like. To the police and the rest of the world, it'll look like Walter White died alone in a meth lab after gunning down a group of neo-nazis.
  • Grand Finale: For the show, tying up all the loose ends and even allowing Walt to find a way to secure his family's financial future. Better Call Saul and El Camino wrap up Saul Goodman and Jesse's stories respectively, but it is the finale for Walter White's story, and most of Breaking Bad as a whole.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After discovering his sorry state, Walt ends up Taking the Bullet for Jesse, when his initial intention had been to gun him down along with himself and the rest of Jack's crew.
  • He's Back!: Heisenberg is back one last time to atone for his sins, launder the remainder of his money to his family, and to avenge Hank.
  • The Hero Dies: Well, the Anti-Villain Protagonist does.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lydia, Jack, Todd, and Walt.
    • Lydia is done in by the ricin in the fake stevia packet, which Walt notes was way too easy to do as she always orders the same drink at the same table at the same cafe.
    • Jack spared Walt when he killed Hank and Gomez, which resulted in Walt killing him and his crew for vengeance against Hank.
    • Todd, after torturing him for months and even forcing him to watch as he murdered Andrea, is strangled to death by Jesse.
    • Walt is shot by his own rigged machine gun.
    • A lesser example is Elliot and Gretchen; after giving their television interview in "Granite State" when they say that the sweet man Walt used to be is gone for good, they come home and find the man himself waiting in their kitchen. Their expressions say they'd like nothing better than to have some trace of that sweet man back, instead of the hardened, murderous drug lord.
  • Internal Homage: The final shot where the camera pulls up from Walt's dead body recalls the ending shot of "Crawl Space". Fans often point to that episode as the moment when Walter White died, leaving only Heisenberg; this episode represents the moment when Heisenberg died too. However, instead of closing his eyes, Heisenberg's eyes are kept open.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Walt finds out Jesse has been cooking Blue Sky for Uncle Jack.
    • Skyler finds out Walt really didn't kill Hank, it was Jack and his gang.
  • Irony: Walt refused Elliot and Gretchen's offer to work at their company at the beginning of the series because he didn't want to depend on their "charity". Now the only way Walt can get the money he received through his crimes to his family without them rejecting it or it ending up in the federal government's hands is to coerce the Schwartzes into taking the nest egg and giving it to Flynn once he turns eighteen so it looks like the money came from one of their philanthropic acts.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Walt finally admits to Skyler that while he may have had noble intentions initially, he quickly lost sight of it early on and stayed in the game because he loved how it made him feel powerful and alive for the first time in his life. Probably one of the few times the admission has ever been put in a positive light.
    • Walt has a second sincere admission in that regard on Jesse's demand after the latter sees through his attempt to get him to shoot him.
  • Karmic Death: Just about every single killing here was very ironic and well-deserved:
    • Jack's crew is killed by the M60 machine gun rigged in Walt's car. Considering their specialty is in arranging surprise attacks and mass murders, being gunned down all at once without warning is quite a fitting end for them.
      • Not to mention they are all standing in a row when they are massacred, much like the victims of the Nazis they fancy themselves the successors to.
    • Todd, who had enslaved and tortured Jesse into cooking meth, and murdered an innocent kid and Jesse's ex-girlfriend right in front of him, is ultimately killed by Jesse himself (using the same chains that Todd used to enslave Jesse, no less). There is an additional layer when Todd explains to Jesse during their ride together in El Camino that he strangled his cleaning lady with his own belt after she found his cash.
    • Jack is killed by Walt in a very similar (if reversed) manner to when he executed Hank, even using Walt's money to try and barter for his life to be spared, only to be shot in the head mid-sentence.
    • And Lydia, who had made it a habit of killing off loose ends, ends up being Walt's final loose end after it's revealed that he spiked her tea with ricin. Walt also treats Lydia's impending demise not with any (overt) hatred but with cold indifference, much like how Lydia reacted to all the murders she ordered.
    • Even Walt's death, bleeding out alone in a meth lab from a bullet shot by his own gun, can be seen as such, as the first verse of the song that plays over his final scene is "Guess I got what I deserved". As for the "bleeding out alone" part, Walt had alienated every single one of his friends and family through his crimes and sins, so it's rather fitting (and pathetic) that the only thing he still has left to give him company in his final minutes of life is the infamous Blue Sky meth he created (and which sealed his fate).
  • Key Under the Doormat: After a vain attempt to hotwire it, the car Walt steals in the cold open turns out to have a set of keys conveniently hidden in the sun visor.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Jack, by Walt. Fitting, as Jack killed Hank in the same manner two episodes earlier.
  • Killer Finale: This is the final episode of Breaking Bad and is the one in which Walt, the Villain Protagonist, dies from being hit by a stray bullet from the M60 he used to kill the Neo-Nazis.
  • The Last Dance: For Walt.
  • Laughing Mad: Jesse as he drives to freedom, which it's hard to fault him for given all of the trauma he's been through and is now finally free from.
  • Money Is Not Power: Jack tries to dissuade Walt from killing him by pointing out that if he dies, Walt will never find his money. Walt doesn't care, since he's dying anyway and has no more use for money at this point, having already strong-armed the Schwartzes into giving his family the nest egg he built up, and simply shoots Jack dead.
  • Mood Dissonance: When it is revealed the assassins aiming at Eliot and Gretchen were really Badger and Skinny Pete using laser pointers.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: See Wham Shot below.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Though Walt went to the compound intending to kill Jesse along with the neo-Nazis, once he actually sees the truth of Jesse's state, he realizes just what kind of hell he condemned him to and decides to save his life.
  • Neck Snap: Todd gets garroted with a chain by Jesse until it cracks his windpipe, killing him.
  • Neverending Terror: Walt warns Gretchen and Elliot that, no matter what happens to him, the hit men he's hired will be watching them, and if they fail to deliver Walt's money to his family, they will die in anywhere between a day or a year, or even later, probably when they least expect it. Since they know that Walt is not kindly disposed towards them, they have to wonder if the hit men have orders to kill them anyway after the money is delivered, and since the "hit men" are actually two dorks with laser pointers, they could end up spending millions of dollars on detectives and home security systems to find hit men who don't exist. After Walt leaves their home, they both collapse onto the couch, Gretchen sobbing into her hands.
  • Not The Illness That Killed Them: Instead of dying of lung cancer, Walt dies from blood loss from the bullet wound he received while shielding Jesse from his improvised turret gun.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Gretchen practically jumps out of her skin when she sees Walt snuck into her home. Elliot, likewise, is similarly fearful.
    • Lydia, after Walt reveals what she really put into her tea.
  • One Last Smoke: Jack grabs a lit cigarette and puts it in his mouth before attempting to convince Walt not to kill him.
  • Papa Wolf: While he was already going to kill Lydia and the Neo-Nazis for their role in Hank's death, Walt finding out from Skyler that they had threatened her and the kids into silence increased his rage and conviction when he did so.
  • Perfect Poison: The way Lydia dies.
  • Please Kill Me if It Satisfies You: After killing Jack, Walt hands his gun over to Jesse and tells him to do it. Jesse forces him to admit that it would satisfy him, then declines after noticing he's already been shot and makes it clear he's done with Walt's manipulations.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In the end, Walt successfully eliminates everyone who could be a threat to him or his family, he ensures the money he earned will reach them, and goes out on his own terms. Nonetheless, his actions ruined the lives of countless hundreds of people, including his own, he's been disowned by his family and friends, is known as a violent, hateful, and two-faced criminal by all but a small handful of close individuals, and dies alone, and is completely unapologetic about his actions (with the implication that, if he had the chance, he'd do it all over again). Him getting his remaining money to his family is the only factor that prevents it from being All for Nothing, and even then nobody besides Gretchen, Elliot, Badger, and Skinny Pete will ever know that the money actually came from Walt.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For Walt, somewhat. While he dies being honest with people, having come to terms with, and admitting his mistakes and sins, and does fix as much of the damage as possible, along with saving Jesse, he is also very unapologetic about them, regretting more the consequences they had on himself and his family as opposed to the actions themselves.
  • Reveal Shot: Skyler seems to be sitting alone in her new home when Marie calls to warn her that Walt is back in town. After the call ends, Skyler states "You have five minutes" and the camera slowly leans in, eventually revealing Walt who has been standing there in the kitchen the whole time.
  • Series Fauxnale: The episode was originally written as the Grand Finale for the series, but not too long after, it turns out that the story isn't quite over for Saul Goodman or Jesse Pinkman, with these loose ends being tied up in Better Call Saul and El Camino, respectively. It's still the definite conclusion of Walter White's story, however.
  • Shoot the Dog: Averted. Walt asks Jesse to kill him. Seeing Walt's already mortally wounded and realizing this is just another instance of Walt trying to manipulate him, Jesse refuses.
  • Shout-Out: Walter, in order to force Gretchen and Elliot to stick to the bargain, has Badger and Skinny Pete aim laser pointers at the rich couple to trick them into believing they're being targeted with gun laser sights by snipers. Walter tells them that he used $200,000 of his own money to hire "the two best hit men west of the Mississipi" to make sure they honor the deal. It's a nod to Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, when Mr. Shhh is described as "the most lethal contract killer west of the Mississipi".
  • Shown Their Work: Walter White poisons Lydia with ricin by putting it in a packet of stevia she uses to sweeten her tea. Normally, putting ricin into a hot liquid (above 80 degrees Celsius) would cause the ricin to denature and become harmless. However, stevia is also denatured at such temperatures, meaning that Lydia would have to take her tea at a relatively cool temperature in order for the stevia to work.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Todd's neck breaks with a loud and quite nauseating sound.
  • Sole Survivor: Jesse ends up becoming this with the massacre Walt performs on Jack's crew, and the only reason why that happens is because Walt made a split-second decision to do so. Then when Walt dies from a stray bullet, Jesse becomes the only one left in the world who knows how to make Blue Sky.
  • Spiteful Suicide: Walt intends to commit suicide to fulfill his boast to Hank that he will never see the inside of a cell. First, he tries to place himself in the firing range of the M60 as it massacres the Neo-Nazis, but ends up sacrificing that opportunity to save Jesse. Then he asks Jesse to shoot him, but his former student refuses to be manipulated anymore. Luckily for Walt, a stray bullet has fatally punctured his lung, allowing him to die just before the police arrive on the scene, getting the last laugh as he escapes away from justice for the final time.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: When Walt finds a car with the keys still in it and starts it up, the song playing on the radio is "El Paso". The episode is essentially a Whole-Plot Reference to the song.
  • Taking the Bullet: Walt had rigged his M60 to kill everyone in the clubhouse, including himself and Jesse. When he sees Jesse reduced to servitude, he tackles him to the ground before activating it, shielding him with his body from the stray bullets, one of which hits him instead.
  • Taking You with Me: Walt's original plan was to use the rigged M60 to kill everybody at the bunker, including himself and Jesse. But once he sees Jesse was Made a Slave by Jack's crew, Walt tackles him to the ground to protect him from the bullets.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Walt slips some ricin into the stevia packets Lydia puts in her tea, killing her.
  • Tears of Joy: After spending months as a slave to the neo-Nazis and Todd, Jesse drives a car at full-speed through the gate of their compound to freedom, crying and laughing the entire time.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Walt's plan ultimately boils down to gunning down everybody in Jack's compound, including himself.
  • Thicker Than Water: Despite their current tensions, when Marie finds out Walt is in town, she immediately calls Skyler to warn her.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Badger and Skinny Pete, of all people, are probably the recurring characters (not counting Gretchen and Elliot) who make it best out of the series, since they don't appear to be appreciably worse off than they were when the series began, and end up with a nice payday from Walter for the task of shining some laser pointers through a window.
  • Together in Death: With Jesse free and Todd dead, Walt has ensured that his beloved blue meth will die with him, and he chooses to go into the lab with the last batch ever made.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Walt's machine gun stops firing, Todd stumbles to the window in a daze, wondering who's shooting at them, and mumbling, "Mr. White...?" as if he's about to ask Walt for help. He's still staring out the window when Jesse jumps him from behind and garrotes him.
  • The Unapologetic: While Walt finally admits to both himself and Skyler that his intentions weren't as noble as he tried to claim, he still never apologizes to anybody for everything he put them through, and it's implied that he would do it all over again if he was given the chance.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: The entire episode can be summed up as this. Walt dies, but ensures that his children will have enough money to live on when he's gone, and he ensures that Skyler won't serve jail time by giving her information (the location of Hank and Gomez's bodies) that is valuable to the DEA.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Badly wounded from Walt's turret gun, Jack pleads for his life by offering the location of the money barrels (in direct contrast to Hank, who went out figuratively spitting in Jack's face). Walt kills Jack before he can even finish his sentence.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really… I was alive."
    • "How are you feeling? A little under the weather, like you've got the flu? That would be the ricin I gave you, I slipped into that stevia crap that you're always putting in your tea".
  • Wham Shot:
    • Walt slowly revealing himself to the Schwartzes and, later, Skyler.
    • The stevia getting mixed in the tea.
    • The trunk containing the M60, which ends up killing Jack's gang.
    • Right as Walt is goading Jesse into killing himnote , Jesse glances downward and notices Walt's gunshot wound. Walt's profusely bleeding gunshot wound.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the barrels of money? Where Jack put it and who eventually found it is never revealed. Of course, at that point, Walt (and by extension, the audience) has no reason to actually care about the money.
  • Where It All Began: When Walt stands in the living room of his house, now abandoned and dilapidated, there is a flashback to the first episode in the same room when Hank offers to take Walt on a ride-around to a drug bust, the moment that unintentionally started Walt down the dark and destructive path where he is now.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The episode has many parallels to Marty Robbins' song "El Paso", even down to its title. The song is playing in Walt's stolen car at the beginning of the episode.
    • The cowboy protagonist of "El Paso" falls in love with a woman named Feleena in El Paso, gets into a gunfight where he kills another cowboy fighting for her love, and flees town. Walt is forced to flee town after a gunfight in the desert where a beloved family member ends up dead.
    • The song's protagonist runs to New Mexico, while Walt runs from New Mexico.
    • Even though he knows returning to El Paso will likely end in his death, the cowboy just can't forget Feleena, so he rides back into town on a stolen horse. Walt can't forget his empire and still has a few scores to settle before he dies, so he returns to Albuquerque in a stolen Volvo.
    • When he gets back to El Paso, the cowboy is almost instantly shot by a posse, but he gets to kiss Feleena one last time before dying in her arms. Walt is shot and fatally wounded by his own turret gun, but gets to spend a few moments admiring his beloved Blue Sky and the purity of what Jesse cooked before dying in the meth lab.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Walter's plan was twofold: 1.) Eliminate Lydia, which would irrevocably cripple Jack and Todd's burgeoning meth empire and force the gang to go further underground. 2.) Kill Jack and his Nazi goons. Which would accomplish the goal of getting rid of them. Lydia was most likely insurance as Walt would've figured there was a good chance he wouldn't be able to get in a position to kill the Neo-Nazis.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Walt, when Elliot grabs a fruit knife from his and Gretchen's kitchen and brandishes it at him.
    Walt: Elliot, if we're gonna go that way, you're gonna need a bigger knife.