Like a Meth Head Out of Hell

In the Harrowing of Hell, the mythical window of time between his death and resurrection, Jesus visits the underworld and frees the damned (not sure why he doesn’t do more of that, it being such a nice gesture and all). Jessie certainly finds himself in one of hell’s pits (probably standard in white supremacist compounds and GOP retreats) while being tormented by demons. Devils in the BB cosmos don’t sport horns but shaved/bald heads, don’t you know (Walter, Jesse, Hank, Gus, Mike, the cousins, Hector, Victor, Tuco, and even Huell). Walter heroically delivers Jessie from hell by spilling his own blood and sacrificing his own life. Salvation is gained through the “Sangre de Cristo.”

Walt, the Final Judge

Jesus was a prophet who foretold his own death. Walter predicts his own death, albeit with more flair (he had better writers). “Whatever happens to me tomorrow, they’ll still be out there keeping tabs…a kind of countdown will begin.” To Skyler: “They’re not coming back, not after tonight.” He fulfills the prophecy when he rains downs down heavenly machine gun fire on the den of thieves. Walter did not come to bring peace, but a sword in the form of an M60. We have been trained to revel at the death of nazis, and one death in particular satisfies our blood lust, that of the “dead-eyed Opie peace of shit Todd.” Satan in the New Testament temps Jesus with earthly riches. Uncle Jack tempts Walter, “You want your money, right? You wanna know where it is? You pull that trigger, you’ll never…” Walt rejects the proposition and spatters his no onto the camera lens.

Mr. White on the Cross

Walter dies on the cross in the final seconds. Slowing zooming out, we see Walter bleeding from a self-inflicted wound to his side (a Roman soldier’s spear in Jesus’s case). He is sprawled on the floor (hanging from the sky from our vantage) like a wilted Jesus on a superimposed cross in the form of ceiling crossbeams. It’s the prototypical Renaissance painting of the crucifixion. Jesus died for your/our sins. Never quite as selfless and with the Roman guard gathering at his feet, Walter dies for his own sins (cue Badfinger’s “I guess I got what I deserved”). Saving Jesse helps restore, but just by the tiniest bit, the karmic balance that he tilted so much in favor of darkness. There will always be death, destruction, and regrets trailing behind anyone who has been breaking bad for a while. Whether redemption and enlightenment are also present or even possible depends on one’s willingness to set upon a different path. Walter’s parting shot captures it all, “Cheer up, beautiful people, this is where you get to make it right.”

TV audiences become spoiled from the consistent excellence of their favorite TV shows. Fans prefer a show’s finale to be just as good (and pray that it be better) than the series. The finales of most prestige TV shows have disappointed, but not Breaking Bad. Felina is a tour de force befitting Breaking Bad’s five-year run. But few noticed the obvious Christ symbolism in Felina that is a stark departure from what came before. See if you agree.