Posted on Monday, September 30th, 2013 by Joanna Robinson
As we promised in “The Ones Who Knock” Kickstarter, I did weekly recaps here for each episode of Breaking Bad. For those of you unfamiliar with my recapping style, it’s less of a straightforward plot summary and more a distillation of the most interesting elements of each week’s episode. The recaps will spoil everything up through the current episode (S5E16 “Felina”), but won’t spoil any future episodes or even scenes from the “Next Time” segment of the show..because that’s all over now. So hold on to your pork pie hats, because here we go.
1. Blood: Is that what you wanted? Did you want to see Walter White, former school teacher, gun down a clubhouse full of Nazis? Sure, we were spared the full-Scarface treatment because Walt built himself a little robot. (Yes, Jesse, a robot.) So he blinded them with science…b*tch. Okay, but seriously, was that what you wanted? A bloodbath? I’m not sure I did. I absolutely expected one, but I’m not sure I wanted one. And it’s pretty convenient that a) the Nazis didn’t check the trunk and b) the Nazis have a clubhouse in the first place. Nonetheless, it was satisfying to see Uncle Jack and company get what they had coming. For some reason, the most chilling image from that scene was Kenny’s lifeless body on that massage chair. Eerie, gruesome touch from director Vince Gilligan.
2. Meth: And was this a fitting final resting place for Walter Hartwell White? Oh it surely was. This I loved. That he died in the lab, surrounded by the things he finally admitted to loving the most. He died where he had felt most alive. I also want to give credit to those of you who placed so much significance on Charlie Rose’s mention of the blue meth. While I thought it might have planted a small seed in the back of Walt’s brain about the possibility of Jesse Pinkman being alive, but it played a much bigger role than I thought it would. Which is only fitting. Was it pure altruism that drove Walt? No, it was a little bit of pride too.
3. Tears: There are a lot of things Walt did last night to redeem himself in our eyes. And many would argue he didn’t deserve that redemption. That Walt should have gone out hated. But, like Skinny Pete and Badger, I like my morality plays a little murky. And so my favorite redemptive moment was when Walt was, at long last, honest with his wife and with himself. He wasn’t doing this for his family (at least not primarily) he was doing it because it made him feel alive. And if you think back to The Walking Dead version of Walt we met in the pilot (pre-diagnosis), this confession to Skyler feels true. And after five seasons of half-truths, blatant lies and continual delusions, it was nice to hear.
4. Felina: Leading up to the finale, we crackpots had a lot of fun trying to decipher the meaning behind the episode title “Felina.” My personal favorite was breaking down the word into its elemental parts: Fe+Li+Na=Iron+Lithium+Sodium=Blood+Meth+Tears. And that works. Oh it works very well. But the other, more straightforward reference proved to also be true. “Felina” is a reference to a song called “El Paso” by Marty Robbins. We saw a clear shot of a Marty Robbins cassette. (You still use cassettes, New Hampshire? Adorable.) Then the song played as Walt got up the wherewithal to drive to New Mexico. “Just get me home” he said to someone (God?), “I’ll do the rest.” The pertinent lyrics are as follows:
I saddled up and away I did go, /Riding alone in the dark. /Maybe tomorrow /A bullet may find me. /Tonight nothing’s worse than this /Pain in my heart.
The song tells the story of a man who narrowly escaped with his life only to return for the love of a woman, Felina. Walt hums it again later as he’s assembling his gun-bot. I think most of us could have guessed that “Felina” would stand in for Walt’s family or maybe his pride. But only a few of us hoped he was saddling up to rescue Jesse Pinkman. I think all three interpretations are true, but my heart is most glad that Pinkman was on Walt’s list of amends and not revenge. And though the two of them parted, they parted on the best possible terms they possibly could. With that final look.
Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel /A deep burning pain in my side…One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.