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TV Review: BREAKING BAD: Season 5, Episode 16: Felina – AMC TV Show

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Felina

AMC‘s Breaking Bad Felina TV Show Review. Breaking Bad: Season 5, Episode 16: Felina wrapped up the series’ many story-lines in an extremely satisfying fashion. Many aspects of the episode were cinematic, especially the editing of key scenes and the placement of the camera. Felina was a concluding bookend: it was rich television, realistic, and fulfilling both emotionally and narratively. This is especially true and starkly different when compared to Dexter‘s lousy, hole-ridden, recently aired finally episode.

The glory of Felina stemmed from the way in which the remaining story-lines and lose ends in Breaking Bad were tied up. This episode also answered fan questions about flash-forwards that they had seen in previous episodes and seasons.

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser)’s Risen poisoning was brilliant theater. The moment she opened and poured that Stevia sugar packet into her coffee, I knew it was the Risen Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) had secured from his former home. All of the nurturing, circling camera work gave it away and drove the point home without a single character uttering a word. Everything Heisenberg said at the cafe table was loose-end tying pretext. It was brilliant.

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul)’s box-making daydream was something the viewer might see in a motion picture. When his apron got snag and the scene cut to him being chained in the Meth lab bearded and scarred, it was a jolt to the senses, a gigantic finger snap right in front of the viewers eyes. Those two shots and the writing of that scene took precision and writer Vince Gilligan should be applauded. Gilligan cared about every single shot in the episode. None were throw away scenes. They were all “his babies” and he presented them as such.

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Felina

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Felina

Gilligan played a card game with the viewer with the Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader) call to Skyler White (Anna Gunn) warning her that Heisenberg was back in town. When the camera pushed forward to reveal that Heisenberg had been there the whole time, it showed how well-executed the both of them were: Gilligan and Heisenberg. Once again, the scene was like well-orchestrated theater and ended with emotional tumult for the Whites as Walter gave a final goodbye to his baby girl fast asleep in her crib.

The “sniper moment” during the “trust fund” scene was when Breaking Bad went wide again, like in the Mexico scenes of seasons past. Heisenberg brought the criminal world and organized crime into the plush home of Gretchen Schwartz (Jessica Hecht) and Elliott Schwartz (Adam Godley). Who Heisenberg had hired to carry out the shootings, where he hired them were questions that immediately ran through the viewer’s mind as those tiny red dots were on the Schwartzs’ chests. When it was revealed who the snipers actually were, it was just another instance of brilliant writing and a effective use of already established characters.

Seeing Heisenberg alter his plan to kill the Nazis and Jesse in a split second upon seeing that Jesse was not a willing participant but was their chained slave showed that his compassion for his former partner was not completely dead. Seeing Jesse like that reawakened many of the old, warm feelings he previously had toward Pinkman and Heisenberg died to protect him. It was poignant when they nodded toward each other but even better moments before when Jesse reasserted the fact that he would no longer take orders from Heisenberg.

The machine gun moment, for lack of a better word, was perfect: brains and ingenuity over numbers and animosity. It was like the gun battle after the bank robbery scene in Michael Mann‘s Heat. Gilligan had the camera pointed precisely at the gun as it eliminated its targets, ran dry, and continued on its mandate. Heisenberg had chosen that specific car because the trunk positioned the machine gun waist high, assuring elimination of its normal height, male targets.

Breaking Bad was a crime drama done right. Like viewers who watched the transformation of Detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue, Breaking Bad‘s viewers got the opportunity to witness the transmogrification of Walter White into Heisenberg.

“The One Who Knocks” will be missed.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

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