Somewhere around the fourth season of Breaking Bad, I was already convinced Walter White wouldn't be able to turn things around and redeem himself. By then, it was clear to me that greed (and perhaps even pride) were at the core of his motivation for doing the things he kept doing.
Calling him "evil", or "sociopath", or "evil sociopath" --- just for conviction and emphasis that he was that baaaaaad! --- was still putting it mildly. He was beyond all that, if that's even possible.
And yet, unlike other TV characters I've developed seething hate for (such as this guy), all I felt for Walter White after he... well, broke bad... was fascination. How oddly complex did his character grow? However, not once did I feel any sympathy.
Until the series finale.
And all of a sudden, I was on board Team Walt. And crying for him 15 minutes into watching the last episode.
I was in tears partly because I was sentimental about the show ending. But also hugely because I've come to realize how awfully sad, sad, sad this character was.
That moment with Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz was a pivotal one for me. I admit I've forgotten about the Schwartzes, what with everything that's happened on the show. But here, their presence was a glaring reminder, defining where it all actually started. Or where Walter would've been, if his fate had been different. (But we wouldn't have Breaking Bad then, would we?)
Grudge, rejection, falsehood, betrayal, charity case, pride, ego, millions. I could see the striking contrasts of all of that in the scene.
And that made me really sad for Walter White.
(I can't break down the scenes so much because I would want you to watch it, and especially feel it --- FEEEEL!!! --- without getting spoiled!)
In the end, how it came together was befitting.
Walter White did right by the people he hurt. He went the way he thought he should, and somehow, this was his redemption. And despite all the tragic circumstances he got himself and his family into, he was, in the end, a fulfilled man.
Thank you to the writers and cast for this wonderfully bitchin' ride!!! Congratulations, Bryan Cranston... for blowing us away, playing a character with so many layers so, so well!