Over its five year run between 2008 and 2013, Breaking Bad achieved a lot. It remains genuinely shocking to think that the neo-western crime drama wrapped up nearly ten years ago and that it’s been almost a decade and a half since we first set foot into the surreal world of Walter White and Co.
Breaking Bad was perhaps the pinnacle of ‘The Golden Age of TV’, where we got so many other great series such as Mad Men and Game of Thrones, but unlike the aforementioned, it remained consistent across its five seasons, leaving us with that life-changing finale, or ‘Felina’, as we should call it.
‘Felina’ makes a strong claim for being the best final episode ever, eclipsing even that of The Sopranos. It read the memo about great TV, such as the original cultural talking point ‘who shot JR’ from the days of Dallas in the ’80s, and for everyone who tuned into AMC to catch that breathtaking finale of Breaking Bad, their lives and perspectives were changed forevermore.
This is arguably the greatest achievement of Breaking Bad. It has stood the test of time, and when rewatching the finale, we’re transported back to a time when things seemed more straightforward and when community via TV was a real thing. Added to this, the show still sits at the very top of the mountain of great TV, and apart from elements of the first season, it hasn’t aged at all. There’s something Breaking Bad for everyone, and when you get to ‘Felina’, even after having watched it before, you stand on the edge of an emotional and personal precipice. This is what TV is all about.
One of the other incredible facets of Breaking Bad was that it gave you a choice. There are multiple alternative endings that you can ascribe to if you so choose, and the best of these features is one of, if not the best, reference in TV history. For hardcore fans of the show, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about, but for others, be prepared to be blown away.
Released on the DVD box set of the complete series, the alternate ending we were supplied with remains almost inconceivable nine years later. A parody of the iconic final scene of the ’80s sitcom Newhart, we were whisked off to the world of one of our other favourite sitcoms, Malcolm in the Middle. Just a word of warning, spoiler alert.
In the scene, Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in Breaking Bad, awakes as his other most enduring character, the hapless Hal from Malcolm in the Middle in bed with his wife in the show Lois (Jane Kaczmarek).
The frightened Hal abruptly from his nightmare and recounts the events of Breaking Bad hilariously. We don’t want to spoil it for you, but his descriptions of some of the best-loved characters from Breaking Bad are hilarious, including his impression of Jesse. There’s also a couple of Scarface references sprinkled in as well.
Lois tells Hal not to worry, and that he’s still taking the kids to school in the morning, nightmare or not. She says there’s no way that he could kill anybody, which fans of Malcolm in the Middle would definitely agree with, given his weak disposition. Wearing the trousers, Lois assures him that the nightmare is just a side-effect of him eating a deep-fried Twinkie before bed.
Then things get really juicy. As Hal and Lois switch the lights off and return to their slumber, the camera pans over to a chair, and on it is Walter White’s trademark pork pie hat. Incredible.
Watch the alternative ending below.