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I must preface with the following lest you dismiss my seemingly outlandish thesis. I am not religious. Indeed, I pride myself for being coldly analytical and self-critical, not prone to pareidolia, the seductive tendency of an obsessive mind to read significance into the prosaic. I enjoyed BB, but I am not a cultist who one day will take a pilgrimage to Albuquerque to heave a large pizza like a discus onto someone’s roof. But, like most atheists, I know my Christian mythology, even the non-canonical, pop variety, better than most of the faithful. I am thus sensitive to its presence especially when it unexpectedly surfaces. Until Felina (the transparent anagram for finale), BB had been devoid of religion, a curiosity because it is set in a city with a large Mexican/Indian population. Having grown up in El Paso’s south side, I know churches in barrios are as common as drugstores in the suburbs, and Albuquerque is El Paso’s identical twin, except with balloons. The only church scene in BB that I recall is the Salamanca cousins joining the tail-end (can’t afford to muss up their Italian silk suits and gargoyle-tipped boots) of a peasant crab-crawl to the temple where they light a candle and pray for Santa Muerte to deliver Heisenberg into their hands. Of course the prayer will never be answered because the BB universe is cold and uncaring and is controlled by a few powerful deities who feud over territory while they “play the long game”. While you and I have only our wits and luck to get us by, Jesse reminds us that Walter owns disproportionate stashes of both. His mad machinations will eventually and abruptly exhaust even his seemingly endless supply, but until that happens, the gods will not intercede if they even exist.

That is, until we get to Felina, BB’s Book of Revelation, the final chapter of a saga that will inflict heavenly revenge upon the world’s evildoers. Like St. John’s dreamscape, we find ourselves immersed in surrealistic and prophetic imagery that portends cosmic upheaval and a rocking spectacle.

There are a couple of important pieces of symbolism in Felina that I can’t tie back to my Jesus theme. Walt’s 52nd birthday and smiling bacon pancakes are examples. Moreover, I can’t claim that the writers consciously set out to echo Christian mythology in Felina, only that they managed do accomplish this conspicuously if somewhat haphazardly.

Walter in the Frozen Garden of Gethsemane

During his last prayer, Jesus first tries to bargain his way out of his predicament, but with the help of an angel, he girds himself for his suicide mission. An angel, in the form of a police cruiser, similarly visits Walter in the opening scene. The windows opaque with frost, perhaps representing clouds, are the barrier to the spirit world. Walter is unable to jumpstart the car (is that stigmata when he stabs himself in palm with the screw driver?). We never see the police car, only its ghostly lights. Walter is a man of science and has never been spiritual before today even when he faced death and inflicted it upon others. But here, desperate to start the car, Walter prays to and bargains with the light: “Just get me home. I will do the rest.” The light recedes. He looks and reaches up to heaven when the car keys drop like manna. His prayer has been answered.

The Transfiguration of Walter

Resurrected Jesus returns as a specter who passes through walls (which makes you wonder why it was even necessary to move that damn boulder from his tomb door). Likewise, Heisenberg is no longer bound by the laws of space and time as he casts off his wristwatch and all of his other worldly attachments and petty conceits. He was always a bungler, a broken and bruised klutz with a brain, but now he calmly and quietly glides through physical barriers like the ghost that he has become. Sporting a beard (like you know who), his first stop is Santa Fe, or Holy Faith, where he will easily penetrate the tastefully fortified compound of Gretchen and Elliott. He disarms and forces them to do his bidding with nothing but a few words and the incapacitating light of retribution that he summons with a wave of his hand. Thereafter, he appears at the Last Supper/nosh with the duplicitous and skittish Lydia “say my full name” Rodarte-Quayle and Todd, her dull and sadistic puppy. Judas-like, they decide to betray Walter. Lydia invokes the Lord’s name directly as she pours the ricin/stevia into her (“take this cup from me”) drink, “Jesus. Did you look at him? You’d be doing him a favor.” The scene switches to Skyler in her kitchen. Marie is warning Skyler over the phone that Walter has returned from the grave. Suddenly and impossibly, Walter is facing her. Walter never possessed Ninja skills, so how, without being detected, did he manage to enter and exit an apartment that was unfamiliar to him and that was surrounded by the police who were waiting for him? If he’s not intangible, how did he accomplish a similar trick when he stepped outside to see Walt, Jr.

for the last time?