Breaking Bad Director Vince Gilligan used these two adjectives in an interview with The Daily Beast in April to describe the end of season five, the series finale of AMC’s hit drama. This show has stunned viewers with its depth and anxiety-inducing shock factor since its premiere in 2008. With more than 6 million viewers per week for the latter half of season five and an Emmy for Best Drama last Sunday, this show has proven to be unlike anything else many viewers will experience in a lifetime.
Walter White’s final acts are unknown to everyone until the 16th episode of season five begins this Sunday at 9 p.m. EST. The episode will run until 10:30 p.m., and based on Gilligan’s brilliant writing and directing throughout the series, it may all be a mystery until seconds before the show goes off the air for the final time.
What does Gilligan mean by “victorious?” Season five, particularly the second half, has been anything but victorious for several characters, at least the way most of us define the term. Does Walt break bad? Does the king get his way in the end?
Judging from the poem “Ozymandias,” which the 14th episode of season five was named after, the fruits of Walt’s blue methamphetamine empire will cease to exist. Bryan Cranston recorded the poem for a season five promo, and his chilling voice speaks anything but victory. “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” he reads. “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.”
The final episode’s title is “Felina.” According to a theory posted in the “Breaking Bad” discussion section of Reddit, the word is both an anagram for finale and a combination of three elements: iron (Fe), lithium (Li) and sodium (Na). Iron is an element in blood, lithium in methamphetamine, sodium in tears.
No matter what it truly means, or what ends up happening, viewers should expect Gilligan to come through on his promise that the end will be “satisfying.” Who ends up satisfied, however, is completely unforeseeable.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.