“Breathe Me” by Sia, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Before the Devil Knows Your Dead” by Delta Spirit are three songs that accompanied the final moments of season finales that I hold in high regard.* The last episode can be controversial and divisive (see Lost and The Sopranos), all round hated (the Dexter swansong) or generally satisfying (Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock). As Julie Hammerle points out in her excellent Breaking Bad review the last outing is rarely the best episode of the show and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan even stated that the penultimate penultimate episode “Ozymandias” is the best hour of this show.
For me Breaking Bad falls into the generally satisfying category and yes the story was wrapped up neatly, but it felt fitting to what we have been watching; a show that has been chaotic and reckless, but has always had a strong structure much like the crystal meth that Walt has been making.
*Those shows are Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Friday Night Lights
The closing song choice as Walt lays down to die surrounded by meth equipment similar to what allowed to be a king is Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” a song which starts with the line “I guess I got what I deserved.” While this notion might be in contention as Walt got to die pretty much on his terms and as he told Hank he would die before he was convicted – from a gunshot and not the cancer as he predicted. The song title is also a not so subtle nod to the color of the meth that made Walt so famous and as he lays dying in a lab it is pretty fitting.
What a final song choice needs as we witness the last few minutes of a character, that we have not only watched but discussed for hours is some sort of finality and while something like The Sopranos refused to give that with its closing scene (a scene which I love) the end of Breaking Bad is not ambiguous in any way. Walt’s story is over and while characters like Jesse will be haunted by what has happened in the unseen hours of the show (fanfic time!) our protagonists tale is over. This neatness is not the ending that all will find satisfying but on this occasion I’m more than happy with the end result.
So long baby blue.