'Breaking Bad' creator cooks up a dark ending for Walt White as series concludes

Reuters

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The journey of anti-heroWalter White came to a dark end on Sunday when fans of "BreakingBad" finally learned the fate of the chemistry teacher turneddrug kingpin, as AMC's cult drug drama concluded after afive-season run.

Emmy-winning "Breaking Bad" has captured audiences with itsgritty plot about Walter, played by Bryan Cranston, acancer-stricken chemistry teacher who turns to cookingmethamphetamine with ex-student Jesse Pinkman, played by AaronPaul, in order to make money for his family. Walt's chemistryskills allow him to create the purest meth available, whichbecomes known as "blue sky." Its popularity in the market leadsWalt to eventually becoming a drug kingpin known as Heisenberg.

Sunday's 75-minute finale, entitled "Felina," saw Waltreturn to his deserted family home, retrieve a vial of ricin hehid in the wall, and embark on his final mission to tie up theloose ends left by his crumbled drug empire.

Walt visits the gang of white supremacists he had oncecontracted to kill Jesse, but who instead stole his drug moneyearnings and kidnapped Jesse to cook the 'blue sky' meth. Waltsets up an automatic rifle in his car that discharges when hegoes into the white supremacist compound, killing the gang andfreeing Jesse from captivity.

Walt takes a bullet but stays alive long enough to call methdealer Lydia, the last remaining link to his drug empire, totell her he poisoned her with ricin. Walt watches Jesse driveaway a free man, and draws his last breaths in the meth lab atthe compound as the police finally catch up with him.

Walt's death was one of the probable endings that audiencespredicted ahead of the finale, especially as his cancer hadreturned in the fifth season and his path into darkness saw himlose the support of the people closest to him.

In one poignant scene where Walt sees his wife Skyler forthe last time, he finally reveals his reasons for taking thedark path into the meth empire.

"I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I wasreally, I was alive," Walt tells Skyler, after he gives hercoordinates to the site where his police officer brother-in-lawHank was buried in the desert after being shot in the head byWalt's contracted neo-Nazi gang in an earlier episode.

"Breaking Bad" become the hot topic on Twitter on Sunday,with the hashtag #GoodbyeBreakingBad trending throughout theday. As Walt's journey came in an end, the majority of fanreactions were positive, with many calling the ending "perfect."

"We needed to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts ... weneeded a resolution," Vince Gilligan, creator of "Breaking Bad,"said in AMC's post-finale show "Talking Bad."

Paul added: "What I thought was great was that Walt diedprotecting Jesse."

'EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF GOOD AND BAD'

Walt's journey from a mild-mannered school teacher into amanipulative drug lord saw him descend the circles of hell as heloses his family and identity to become the cold, calculatingHeisenberg.

"In looking into this character and what happens to him andthe transformation, I really believe that everybody is capableof good or bad," Cranston, who won three best actor Emmys forhis portrayal of Walt, said at last month's Television CriticsAssociation panels in Beverly Hills.

"I think, if given the right set of circumstances, diresituations, any one of us can become dangerous," he added.

AMC, owned by AMC Networks Inc., split the final season of"Breaking Bad" in two, the first half airing in 2012 and thesecond in 2013. The second half of the final season, which beganin August, saw an average of 5.2 million viewers tuning in tosee the conclusion of Walt's saga, more than double last year'saudience for the show, according to AMC.

Online streaming site Netflix is credited with helping boostviewership for "Breaking Bad," giving audiences a chance tobinge-watch earlier seasons to quickly catch up.

On Sunday, Paul hosted a viewing party of the final episodeat the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles. Paul joinedcast members including RJ Mitte, who plays Walt Jr., drivingonto the stage in the rusty RV that Walt and Jesse first cookedmeth in, and emerged wearing yellow Hazmat suits, welcomed byhundreds of excited fans, attendee Terri Schwartz told Reuters.

The event raised more than $2 million for charity, and Paulsurprised fans by posing for pictures ahead of the screening.Many of the show's celebrity fans, including actor Ewan McGregorand comedian Jimmy Kimmel, attended the event.

"It's the final night of 'Breaking Bad.' It's devastating, Iknow. I can't thank you enough for coming out," Paul said,before enthusiastically kicking off the screening of the finalewith Jesse's trademark phrase "Yeah, bitch!"

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