‘Breaking Bad’: How All Three of the Franchise’s Endings Are Unique

by Craig Garrett

Creator Vince Gilligan gave Breaking Bad fans three endings with each of the franchise’s installments, and each one was tonally different. However, each conclusion was the perfect note to end on. The first ending was Breaking Bad‘s series 2013 finale, “Felina“. The second ending fans got was for El Camino, the Netflix movie that allowed Jesse Pinkman to have a proper send-off.

Finally, the third ending to the Breaking Bad universe was the final episodes of Better Call Saul. The previous two endings deal out the fates of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). However, Better Call Saul‘s sixth season concludes the wider franchise as Jimmy McGill finally pays for his schemes.

Breaking Bad‘s tv classic “Felina” goes something of a tragic ending. In some ways, Walter White figures triumphs, giving long-time fans some closure. Walt finally manages to get his drug money earnings to Walt Jr. and Holly. Then, the formerly meek chemistry teacher goes out in a blaze of glory while taking down Jack’s Nazi gang. However, Breaking Bad‘s series finale isn’t all about Walter White coming out on top. All of Walt’s attempts at repairing his relationship with Skyler and Walt Jr. are rebuffed. His memory going forward will be one of his lies and squandered potential. He dies alone.

“Felina” was the perfect mix of tragedy and triumph. Breaking Bad fans had come to see Walter White as an antihero. Plus, Bryan Cranston brought so much charisma and power to the role, that not seeing him win on some level would be a letdown. That said, the series is grounded, and a tale about drug dealers can’t be too upbeat.

How the Breaking Bad spinoffs enriched the original series

El Camino left audiences with a much more upbeat ending because it follows Jesse Pinkman’s story exclusively. Unlike Walter White, Jesse never really lost his way–he was always kept under the thumb of those who had more power than him in Albuquerque’s drug community. Sometimes it feels like if Walter had never gotten hold of Jesse, he may have grown up to be a productive person. Even though he wasn’t perfect, Jesse spent months as a slave to Jack’s gang and watched many people close to him die mercilessly. El Camino‘s writers did the right thing by giving Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) a second chance. In fact, watching him leave with hope and optimism enhances Breaking Bad’s original ending.

Finally, Better Call Saul gives Breaking Bad fans another distinct ending tonally. Jimmy McGill isn’t a fighter by any means, so going out guns blazing like Walt would feel false. On the other hand, Jimmy has caused countless people pain with his cons. So having Jimmy get away to start anew like Jesse would be totally wrong.

The only option was to have one of the main protagonists finally have to pay for his crimes via prison time. This also thematically fits, since Jimmy McGill (AKA Saul Goodman) is constantly playing the Law in his scheme. It’s only fitting that the lawyer meets his fate in court.