As the countdown to the Breaking Bad finale grows closer, fans are dying to find out how this five year roller coaster ends. Regardless of who the ricin is for and who lives or dies when the gun smoke clears, it is pretty certain that Walter White will be having his own “say hello to my little friend” moment.
Vince Gilligan is a master at giving his audience clues at future events in the show. Whether via a pre-credit teaser, a la the burnt teddy bear with one plastic eyeball floating in the swimming pool, or the sight of a disheveled and hairy headed Walter White picking up his M-60 machine gun and his ricin in the run up to the last ever Breaking Bad episode.
The use of the show’s episodic titles also serve as literary signposts to future events in that particular installment. Some of these can be very eclectic and esoteric; like the episode Rabid Dog, for instance. In that particular episode it was difficult for viewers to figure out just who the “rabid dog” was supposed to be. It could have meant Jesse, but there were a few contenders for that title.
Ozymandias, the episode prior to Granite State, with its reference to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 1818 poem was a clear indicator of what that show was about. Walter lost everything important to him in that episode. As he shared that shattered gaze at the ruins of his life, he became the ethereal twin to Shelley’s king.
The finale episode’s title could be a lesson in ambiguity. Felina, has no clear cultural reference. There are those who think it is a reference to the Marty Robbins’ song El Paso. In the song, an unnamed cowboy is in love with a saloon girl named Felina. When he kills another cowboy for kissing the object of his desire, he goes on the run.
When the cowboy returns to El Paso to see Felina one last time, he is shot to death by several other men.
This reference leads some to believe that this will be Walter’s fate. On the surface, an entirely unsatisfactory ending for the man who created the legend that was Heisenberg. It implies that White will die before ever squeezing off one round from his little friend. To say that an end like this would be unsatisfactory would be the understatement of the century. The Breaking Bad finale could never end in such a fashion.
But there has been another clue to the end of Heisenberg. In a previous episode in season five, Hazard Pay. After Skyler’s breakdown, she walks in on Walt and Walt Jr watching Scarface on television. As Tony Montana is about to have his climactic gun fight at the end of the film, Walt tells his son that this is the best part of the movie.
Walter clearly admires Montana’s final actions, his attack against all his enemies. His “say hello to my little friend” line and the wholesale slaughter of all the foes in front of him. Of course, Tony dies after The Skull sneaks up behind him to shoot him in the back with a shotgun.
We know from an interview with Vince Gilligan that he changed the ending somewhat after meeting with a young man who suffered from cancer, and who sadly died before the season finale, to include Gretchen and Elliot. In a move that further mirrors the Scarface film, it is not too hard to see Jesse as The Skull. And with both Gretchen and Elliot reintroduced into the story, Elliot could also fit the bill.
Either of the two men could be the ones who take down Walter White from behind. Both are also seen as having betrayed Walt. Elliot early on in Walt’s life and later, once he becomes Heisenberg, Jesse betrays him by working with Hank to take him down.
With either of these two as potential assassins, the only thing that remains will be the overall body count. Regardless of how many that White can take down before he meets his “Scarface” end, we can be pretty sure that he will not survive the final episode.
But looking at the El Paso connection, is Skyler Walt’s Felina, or is it his old flame Gretchen? Will he die trying to be with either woman one last time? Is this how he will die. Shot to death by unknown men with guns while attempting to reach his woman’s arms. Men, hired perhaps, by Lydia? Or could Marie be the one who pulls the trigger. The name implies a bit more than a country music song, it implies that a woman will have a part in his death.
The Breaking Bad finale, will most likely have a “say hello to my little friend moment.” But it remains to be seen just how far Walter will get in his impetuously planned slaughter. With his returning cancer, he could well lose control of his big gun with a disabling coughing fit. Which could, in essence, bring Heisenberg down with a cough and not the roar of gunfire. The show’s last episode will air tonight on AMC.
By Michael Smith