"Breaking Bad" presented its much-hyped series finale on Sunday night, satisfying fans and critics by tying up loose ends and determining the fate of protagonist Walter White, played by Emmy Award-winning star Bryan Cranston.
(Spolier alert: Stop reading now if you don't want to know how the last show ends.
White, the cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher turned murderous king of a meth trade in New Mexico, slowly died after suffering a gunshot wound from his own automatic gun that wiped out an enemy white supremacy group.
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White threw himself on Jesse, played by Aaron Paul, to save him in the frantic and violent final scene. As Jesse escaped, White eventually made it out to the meth lab, where he died, as police stormed the white supremacy group's compound.
"Tense, witty, violent, oddly tender and, in its own strange way, as close to a 'happy' ending as a story this dark could hope, this last episode brought the story to a straightforward, definitive conclusion, without the spirituality of 'Lost' or the ambiguity of 'The Sopranos,'" said Robert Bianco, of USA Today.
"If it's debated, it won't be for what it meant, but for what it did: Killing Walt, but leaving Jesse alive and Walt's family rich. So sometimes crime does pay. It certainly did for viewers."
Time magazine TV critic James Poniewozik
said that while the ending wasn't flashy, it had something for everyone, for those who saw White as an anti-hero and others who wanted to see his enemies killed.
"We’ve been talking for weeks about the different camps fans have been in awaiting the ending," Poniewozik wrote. "Do you want Walt to live or die? Do you want him to triumph or be punished? And you could say, on the surface that this is an ending that plays out ideally for Team Walt, those who wanted to see him win spectacularly. . . . He ends things on his terms. It is over when Heisenberg says it’s over."
Fans left more than 4,200 messages on the show's website by Monday morning.
"Usually when shows this amazing come to an end the ending disappoints many people but ('Breaking Bad'), every episode especially the last was amazing," posted Matt Burns. "It's amazing how TV shows like this can affect you. Walt, Jesse, Hank, Saul, Mike, Skinny Pete and Badger. Gomey . . . thank you for everything. Will definitely go down in history."
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