How a teacher changed T.V.

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“That’s all, bitch!”

It’s the end of an era with the final episode of AMC’s Breaking Bad having aired this past Sunday. For those who have yet to experiment with the highly addictive, Emmy-winning drama series — begin immediately and brace yourselves for one hell of a ride.

Breaking Bad is widely considered one of the best television series of all time, increasing immensely in popularity over the course of its last few seasons.

Having peaked in popularity later into the series, the demand for Vince Gilligan and his team of writers to produce something remarkable was greater than ever heading into the fifth and final season.

To say they rose to the occasion would be true, but that would be putting it lightly.

The enormous popularity of Breaking Bad is evidenced by the number of people who tuned in to watch the series finale, which according to the show’s Twitter account was a record 10.3 million viewers.

This, of course, was in addition to hashtags such as #GoodbyeBreakingBad, which were trending throughout the day as fans settled in to watch Walter White meet a tragic and fitting end.

The final episode of what has been an astonishing series was nothing less than perfect.

It’s fairly common for both television and film narratives to conclude on an open-ended note, leaving the viewer to interpret the ending for themselves (see: The Sopranos). There was nothing open-ended about the conclusion of Breaking Bad, however.

In the series’ aftershow, Talking Bad, Vince Gilligan explained how Breaking Bad is a finite story following the arc of a central character, and therefore, required a definitive ending for which Breaking Bad fans are thankful. Combining poeticism with pure badassary, every remaining loose end of the story was tied, resulting in one of the most satisfying final episodes imaginable.

Each and every scene of this episode was done beautifully and deserves mention, but perhaps one of the most sincere and powerful moments came in the final minutes of the series.

Surrounded by the lab equipment that brought such profound tragedy and meaning to his life, Walt finally accepts his prophecy, which is sung by Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” as “I guess I finally got what I deserve…” Just as the AMC commercials warned us, all bad things must end.

Breaking Bad has been a show that pushes moral boundaries both on the screen and in the minds of viewers. The array of emotions felt over the course of watching Breaking Bad in its entirety, and especially during the final episode, is testament to the show’s profound popularity.

There is hope that the void Breaking Bad has left behind will once again be filled, as AMC has confirmed a spin-off series featuring Walt’s “criminal lawyer,” titled Better Call Saul. 

 

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