4 Things Other Shows Can Learn From the Breaking Bad Finale
Breaking Badended last night, and the finale (Season 5, Episode 16: "Felina") is already one of the most celebrated in years. If you ask Twitter, it's the Best Finale Ever. While we need some more processing time before making a declaration like that, it was definitely up there, and there's a lot other shows can learn from the success of Breaking Bad's final arc.
Like what? Well, here are a few of the lessons we hope other writers take away from Breaking Bad's spectacular ending.
1. Have a clear drive and message. One of the brilliant things about Breaking Bad is that it had an arc from start to finish, and the final season was especially well constructed to bring the whole story to a close. While not every show lends itself to such a clear throughline, basically any finale will benefit from a season that leads into it well, so that it feels like a real culmination of what came before. Hopefully we'll see more well-planned final seasons as networks (especially cable networks) begin to give their shows final season orders instead of leaving cancellation up in the air until the last minute.
2. Closure isn't necessarily a bad thing. Every show is different — some lend themselves, thematically, to open endings, while others beg for real closure on the characters. Breaking Bad wasn't afraid to offer up Walter White's final fate in a clear, definitive way, and it worked.
3. Focus on what's important. Too many finales get caught up in last minutes plot twists and Big Epic Moments, and forget what really makes their show tick. Breaking Bad avoided that mistake. Sure, Walt had one last crowning badass moment, but the focus of the finale was on the relationships and characters we'd been following since the beginning — the fact that the last character Walter interacts with is Jesse, his partner and foil through it all, could not have been more perfect.
4. Nod to the past — but do it subtly. This finale was overflowing with nods to former seasons, with scenes that paralleled past moments and the return of favorite characters (Badger and Skinny Pete!). However, the writers didn't let nostalgia take over the story: These moments were there for fans to appreciate, but the focus of the finale was on the present.
What lessons do you hope other shows take from the Breaking Bad finale? Sound off in the comments below!
Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!