WARNING: Contains spoilers for Breaking Bad Season 5, episode 16 "Felina."
Few things can be as polarizing as a beloved TV series' finale. You've always got the fanatical and fawning die-hards on one side, the relentless and unconstructive critics on the other extreme, and a wide range of assessments in between; which is logical when considering the variety of subjective interpretations possible for any work of art. Finales have the added weight of being, for many viewers, the single most transcendent episode of a show; getting the conclusion wrapping up any prolonged, serialized narrative right is the trickiest and at the same time most important aspect for a creative team, in many cases defining the whole perception and legacy of the franchise for generations to come (just look at Dexter, Lost, etc. for prime examples in how much a finale can potentially upset its fans).
So, disagreements in opinions regarding series' finales are a given, and reactions to Breaking Bad's final episode, aired on September 29th, were no exception. While there was a solid portion of the audience who were satisfied-to-thrilled with the final path taken by and his crack writing team, there also was a non-negligible section dishing out the expected negative reviews. And there's one particular, erm, television critic who had strong words for the most-watched episode (10.3 million viewers, up 442 % compared to the Season 4 finale "Face Off") in AMC's history: veteran filmmaker .
Stone, to be precise, cannot accurately be described as a 'Baddie' (a struggling, up-and-coming term used to label Breaking Bad ultra-fans), not because of his negative opinion, of course (nobody gets sent to Belize for speaking out their minds... oh, wait), but because of the simple fact that he has only watched a single episode of the show. The last one. In any case, it appears Oliver did not like what he saw:
I happen to not watch the series very much, but I happened to tune in and I saw the most ridiculous 15 minutes of a movie — it would be laughed off the screen.
Those 15 minutes Stone is referring to are part of the third and final act of the hour-long episode, in which Walt faces off the Neo-Nazi gang, using his scientific cunning and ingenuity to rig an M-60 machine gun in his trunk to fire on command and ultimately wreak havoc on the compound. Stone's bone to pick was the realism of the violence depicted in that scene:
Nobody could park his car right then and there and could have a machine gun that could go off perfectly and kill all of the bad guys!* It would be a joke. It's only in the movies that you find this kind of fantasy violence. And that's infected the American culture; you young people believe all of this shit! Batman and Superman, you've lost your minds, and you don't even know it! At least respect violence. I'm not saying don't show violence, but show it with authenticity.
The director, helmer of films such as Savages, Natural Born Killers and writer of Scarface, delivered these harsh words while promoting a new series of documentaries for Showtime, titled The Untold History of the United States.
What do you think? Do you agree that Breaking Bad's quality is lowered by its depiction of unrealistic violence? Do you believe it is an integral part of the show (witness stuff like Gus Fring's face, the macabre demise of the Salamanca cousins, etc.) or was it an overstep on behalf of the creative team? Should Mr. Stone watch the entire 5 seasons before slamming Br Ba? As always, let your thoughts flow free in the comments... or die.
- Note: Not all the bad guys were killed by the machine gun; Uncle Jack caught the wrong end of a mid-sentence bullet shot by Walt and Todd got his esophagus severely constricted by Jesse's iron manacles. Not to mention Lydia and her artificial-sweetener-induced 'flu...'