This episode follows Walt's final struggle, both with lung cancer, and the act of getting revenge on the Neo-nazi group that double crossed him and killed his brother-in law. Walter, knowing that cancer will soon kill him, takes every reckless precaution necessary to prepare himself for the end as he travels down memory lane and ties up loose ends with his family.
With police searching for him in New Hampshire, Walter White finds an unlocked car, its windows covered in snow, and gets inside. Suffering from the cold weather, he searches for something to start the engine. In the glove compartment, he finds a Marty Robbins music tape and a screwdriver. He tries to use the screwdriver to start the car, but fails after several attempts. The flickering lights of a police car appear, though Walt can't be seen from outside because of the icy snow covering all the windows. As a flashlight passes over the car, Walt quietly pleads, "Just get me home. I'll do the rest." The police car leaves without further inspection, and after a moment of intuition, the car keys drop from the visor into his lap. He starts the car, knocks the snow off the windows, and begins his drive back to Albuquerque.
SummarySomewhere in the New Mexico desert, Walt is driving down the road when he stops at a gas station to fill up the tank. He uses a pay phone and poses as a journalist from the New York Times doing a story on Elliott Schwartz and Gretchen Schwartz; he says that he will send his photographer to take some pictures for the newspaper and asks for the Schwartzes' new address. He also learns that they are getting back home that night from their interview with Charlie Rose in New York. After thanking for the information and hanging up, Walt leaves his watch — the birthday gift from Jesse Pinkman ("Fifty-One") — on top of the phone booth and takes off.
Later that night, Elliott and Gretchen come home to their luxurious country residence talking about pizzas and their common interests, all flirty with each other that they fail to spot Walt sitting half in shadow by the garden just waiting for their arrival. As the Schwartzes walk to the kitchen to prepare dinner, Walt closes the main door and follows them inside the house. Amused by the luxury, Walt analyzes some pictures on a counter as Gretchen walks into the living room and screams as she spots him. Elliott comes to her aid and Walt casually greets the couple and compliments their impressive new home. Walt mentions that the couple must have a great view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains because of their location. He tells them that he watched their interview on Charlie Rose and says that he has "something" for them in his car, asking them to help him unload it. Elliott tries to protect Gretchen with a small cheese knife but Walt just scoffs, "Elliot if we're gonna go that way, you'll need a bigger knife." Gretchen cowers behind a now wide eyed Elliott, who on second thought thinks it best to just drop the useless knife altogether.
Minutes later, the three of them finish bringing the $9.72 million in cash from Walt's trunk and pile the last of it on the coffee table. Walt tells them exactly how much money there is and that the Schwartzes will give it to Walter Jr. on his 18th birthday in ten months time, set up as an irrevocable trust fund. Gretchen scoffs, saying that it would make no sense for them to give Walt's family all that money for no reason, but Walt explains that they're already giving millions to help recovering addicts and it would make total sense for them to support his son because of his "monstrous father," who used to be their friend. Walt orders Elliott and Gretchen not to pay any taxes or legal fees with their own money. They must use Walt's money only and his hope is that Walter Jr. will use the money for college and to take care of Skyler and Holly. Walt shakes hands with the couple to confirm the deal, asking them if he can trust them to do this. As they nod yes, he turns to the window and signals outside to two "assassins", who train their laser sights on Elliott and Gretchen, much to their horror. Walt informs the distraught couple that he took $200,000 from the barrel to hire the two best hit men west of the Mississippi: He warns them that, regardless of what happens to him - whether he's dead, in prison, or on the run - the hit men will be keeping tabs on them, and if Walter Jr. does not get the money on his birthday, for any reason whatsoever, they will both die, probably when they least expect it. He gives Elliott and Gretchen a "friendly" shoulder squeeze and tells them this is their chance to make things right. Then he signals again and the assassins turn off their lasers. and he leaves the house.
Down the street from the Schwartzes' house, Walt stops his car and picks up the "assassins," who turn out to be Jesse's two former sidekicks, Skinny Pete and Badger, who give Walt back the two laser pointers used to threaten Elliott and Gretchen. The two say they feel somewhat uncomfortable with what they just did. Walt gives them $10,000 each and they instantly feel better. Walt asks them if it's true that Blue Sky is still being manufactured and distributed, which they confirm, thinking that the manufacturer was Walt all this time. Walt determines that Jesse is still alive and cooking much to Skinny Pete and Badger's shock as they thought Jesse had moved to Alaska.
In a dreamlike moment, a younger and happier Jesse is finishing a wooden box for his woodworking class back in high school ("Kafkaesque"). The box is perfect and Jesse enjoys the smell of it as he gives it the final touches, and the memory of joy and pride it left him with. A second later he's jolted from this daydream, bearded and scarred, still a prisoner of the White Supremacist Gang, cooking meth for them in the warehouse at the end of a chain.
The following day — Walt's 52nd birthday — Walt stops by a Denny's to meet with Lawson and purchases the M60 machine gun ("Live Free or Die") and later drives back to his old home, now abandoned and in ruins, to retrieve the ricin hidden inside the bedroom switch plate ("Blood Money"). Before leaving the house, Walt stops in the middle of the empty living room and reminisces about his 50th birthday, when Hank Schrader invited him for a DEA ride-along that catalyzed his journey into the meth business ("Pilot").
Lydia Rodarte-Quayle enters her usual café with luggage, orders a chamomile tea, and picks out the last Stevia packet from her table. Todd Alquist joins her shortly after and they start a conversation where Todd awkwardly tries to compliment Lydia's clothes (and in her eyes failing miserably.) Suddenly, Walt pulls up a chair and joins them, telling them that he only needs two minutes to give them a new offer. Lydia is frightened and tries to leave, but Walt holds her by the arm and begs for just two minutes of her time. She gets back in her chair and Walt tells them that he can do the math and he knows they are almost out of methylamine. He tells them that he's found a way to cook meth without the methylamine, and he is willing to teach Todd this new formula for only $1 million which he says is nothing compared to what they would earn. Walt informs them that he needs the money as soon as possible because he's almost broke from trying to keep ahead of the authorities. Lydia asks Walt how he knew to find them there and he points out that Lydia is a creature of habit and that they used to have this same meeting at the same time every week ("Gliding Over All"). Lydia tells Walt that he can meet with the neo-Nazis to discuss the subject further. Todd tries to protest but Lydia interrupts him, saying that the meeting will happen during the evening. When the waiter returns with Lydia's tea, she asks what Walt and Todd would like to order, but Lydia says that Walt is just leaving. He gets up and walks out of the café. As Lydia stirs her Stevia into her tea, she tells Todd that they can't indulge Walt's request for their own safety. Lydia insinuates that the best thing to do is to kill Walt, which she includes, would only be doing him a favor, considering his physical condition.
In the New Mexican desert, Walt's M60 and instruction booklet are laid out as he builds a device with a garage door opener connected to a car battery. He switches on the machine remotely with his car lock remote. The contraption starts rotating back and forth and he smiles in approval. He then notices his wedding band, hanging from his makeshift necklace, and focuses on his next course of action.
Skyler White sits in her cramped apartment, smoking a cigarette. Marie Schrader calls and tells her that Walt is back in town; the vehicle he stole in New Hampshire was found parked at the local Denny's. She also reports Walt was spotted by their old neighbor Carol, walking out of the White's abandoned house and greeting her like nothing was wrong ("Blood Money"). Skyler asks if Walt hurt anyone and Marie states that as far as the police know nothing has happened until now. However, many absurd phone calls are being made to the DEA. Marie tells Skyler she is sure that there are only three things Walt would be after back in Albuquerque: Herself, Jr., or Skyler. Marie tells her that some agents are coming to watch her house and another group is watching Jr.'s school in case Walt shows up. She then tells Skyler to be vigilant and safe, then hangs up. The camera pans to reveal that Walt was inside the room the entire time and Skyler tells him that he has five minutes. He tells her that whatever happens by the end of the day, he wanted to give her a proper goodbye and that his last phone call to her ("Ozymandias") was no way to end things. Skyler worries that Walt's return will put her in danger again, telling him about the masked men who threatened her ("Granite State"). Walt assures Skyler that, after tonight, those men won't bother her any more. She asks if Walt is going to turn himself in to the police and Walt confirms that "the police will come for me." He also decides to tell Skyler his motive for cooking meth but she interrupts him, complaining that she doesn't want to hear that he did it for the family one more time, but Walt surprises her by finally truthfully admitting he done it for his own sake. He tells her he built his Drug Empire for himself, because he liked it and because he was good at it and ultimately because it made him feel alive. Having the weight of that guilt lifted off her shoulders, Skyler's whole face softens, lit up by Walt finally being truthful with her. A modicum of pity, love and understanding creeps into her eyes too. He gives Skyler the lottery ticket ("Buried") and tells her to call the police as soon as he leaves. She must tell the police that he broke into her apartment, ordered her to make bacon and eggs for his birthday, and gave her that lottery ticket. He tells her the numbers on the ticket are GPS coordinates that will take them to the burial site of Hank and Steve Gomez. Then explains how the guys who stole his money killed and buried Hank and Steve in the same hole they unearthed the barrels from. He tells her to trade this information for a deal with the DEA to finally clear her of any possible accusations so she can go on with her life. As a final request, Walt asks to see Holly one last time, which Skyler allows. She looks at Walt sadly as he lovingly caresses his daughter for the last time. After leaving the place, Walt watches from afar as Walt Jr. comes home from school and without disturbing him, he savours the last glimpse of his son as he too quickly enters the apartment and shuts the door behind him. Walt walks off crestfallen, easily giving the slip to the surveilling agents parked nearby.
That night, Walt drives to the neo-Nazi's compound and is greeted by Kenny, who is quietly amused by Walt's newly acquired vehicle. He drives into the compound as Kenny tells him to park the car next to the others, but instead Walt parks the car parallel to the front of the main building opposite the window. Kenny wonders why Walt does this but dismisses it and gets out with Walt, happy for him to park wherever. Walt is frisked by Frankie, and his keys and wallet are taken from him, they also make Walt lift up his shirt and spin around to show them he's not wearing any wires. They enter the building and Walt is greeted by Jack Welker, who sarcastically compliments Walt's head of hair, enquiring if it's really his own, but saying the rest of him "looks like shit." Walt asks Jack if they have a deal for his new meth-cooking method, but Jack informs him that they are not even in the business anymore. Walt knows that Jack is lying, he insists that soon they will run out of methylamine, and they won't be able to produce the required product they need. Walt tries to get some support from Todd, but Todd apologizes and says they can't do anything to help Walt. Jack laughingly declines the offer, saying Lydia can get them more methylamine from Madrigal Electromotive whenever they need it. Todd menacingly tells Walt that he shouldn't have come back, as Kenny puts a gun to his head. Jack tells Kenny to kill Walt anywhere but his living room. Before they can take him outside and kill him, Walt shouts for them to wait and insults Jack, calling him a liar because he hasn't killed Jesse like he was hired to do. Accusing him of partnering with Jesse who Walt knows is cooking the gang's meth. Infuriated by Walt's accusation, Jack says he is going to show Walt just how much of a "partner" Jesse really is. He orders Todd to bring Jesse in to prove Walt wrong. Todd says that they can't bring him out of the meth lab because he is busy cooking a batch. But Jack angrily tells Todd to hurry up so they can be done with this, after which he tells Walt that he will personally shoot Walt in the head.
Todd takes Jesse, bound in handcuffs and anklecuffs, out of the meth lab and the two head for the main building. Meanwhile, Jack and the others are waiting with Walt inside the gang's clubhouse. During this distraction, Walt is able to discreetly retrieve the car keys with the remote control from the pool table behind him. Jesse is brought to the room and Jack tells Walt to take a good look at Jesse, saying that he'd never partner with a rat. Walt approaches the ragged Jesse, inspecting his former partner. Understanding that Jesse is a captive, and not willilngly complicit in the gang's meth production, Walt feigns anger and tackles Jesse to the floor. The neo-Nazis are amused and start laughing at the struggle. Kenny jokes as Todd tries to get Walt off of Jesse, but Walt pushes the trunk-open button on the car remote control. Outside, the trunk of the car opens, exposing the mounted machine gun. It automatically starts to open fire, oscillating on the garage door opener's motor, and rips through the vehicle and building. The rain of bullets causes mayhem inside the clubhouse room, quickly killing Kenny, Frankie, Matt and Lester. Todd is already on the ground with Walter and Jesse, safe from the gunfire, but Jack is seriously injured by a bullet to the abdomen. Walt covers Jesse as the machine gun continues to fire bullets through the wall and windows cutting through everyone that was standing. After the automatic M60 runs out of ammo, Todd crawls to the window in a daze, wondering who's shooting at them. Jesse jumps up and starts to strangle Todd with the chain of his handcuffs completely full of rage for his captivity and murdering Andrea. The two men struggle on the ground as Walt watches but does nothing to interfere. Todd struggles, but Jesse perseveres until Todd's breath runs out and his body falls limp, finally avenging Andrea. As Jesse searches Todd's pockets for the keys to his handcuffs, Walt slowly gets up and grabs a handgun that Jack had dropped. He approaches the now bleeding and defenseless neo-Nazi leader who is lying on the floor. Jack casually grabs his cigarette dropped nearby, begs Walt to wait while he nonchalantly takes a puff on it, then tries to bargain for his life. He tells Walt he's obviously here for his money, but that he'll never find his millions if he pulls the trigger. Walt interrupts him with a bullet to the head, killing the man responsible for murdering Hank, now more important than even his millions, and finally avenges him.
Jesse frantically unlocks his hand-and foot-cuffs and stands up, now facing Walt, who still has the pistol in hand. After an intense and silent stare, Walt slides his gun to his former student, who somewhat puzzled picks it up and aims it at Walt. Walt nods and urges him to do it - "you want this" - to which Jesse replies that he won't pull the trigger unless Walt says that he wants it. Walt obliges and admits "I want this," yet Jesse still finds it impossible to pull the trigger. Just then he notices Walt is bleeding from his side revealing that Walt was shot by a round from his own M60. He drops the gun and tells Walt to do it himself. As Jesse is walking out, Todd's phone starts ringing. Walt searches for it in Todd's pockets and answers the call. On the line, a seriously ill looking and feeling Lydia is calling Todd to ask if Walt has been killed yet. As Jesse looks for the keys to Todd's car, Walt says "it's done!" - then relishes in telling her that Todd and the entire White Supremacist gang are gone, and that it's Walt on the line. An alarmed Lydia perks up shocked, as Walt asks if she is feeling "under the weather," as if she has the flu? He then reveals that he poisoned her with ricin, putting it in the "Stevia crap" that she put in her tea earlier at the café. Lydia is horrified by this news and starts to panic as Walt calmly says goodbye and throws the phone to the ground, knowing she is about to die.
Jesse and Walt share one last look of gratitude, Jesse seemingly forgiving Walt, as the two men nod farewell to one another. Jesse gets in Todd's car and exhilarated plows through the gates of the compound to freedom, laughing and crying hysterically; hardly believing he made it out alive. He keeps his foot down and speeds down the road as fast as he can to parts unknown finally free of the drug cartels and able to resume his life without danger.
Blood drips from Walt's abdomen, soaking his shirt. As the police lights approach in the distance, Walt walks into the compound's meth lab which contains his old empire's industrial chemical equipment. It has been almost a year since he set foot in a meth lab. Jesse was interrupted during a cook, so Walt walks among the equipment, nostalgically tapping gauges and checking temperatures as he reminisces over his glory days of cooking. He makes no adjustments; Jesse is cooking a perfect batch of meth - Walt has succeeded as both a chemist and a teacher. At his last dying minute, he braces himself on a tank with a bloody hand, leaving a vaguely W-shaped blood red smear print on the shiny stainless steel surface, as the reflection of tears and the smile on his face drop down, as he falls to the floor. Flat on his back, his lasts moments amongst his beloved lab equipment, content with his last love being for what he made expertly, and what he felt alive for as Heisenberg. Knowing that his family is safe and financially secure, Walt dies serenely staring at the ceiling with his arms spread out from his body in a quasi-crucifixion pose. Walter Hartwell White is found dead by a group of police officers, ironically, in the same place where he most and last felt alive.
- The title "Felina" is a reference to the 1959 song "El Paso" by Western music artist Marty Robbins. The song concerns an unnamed cowboy who falls in love with a woman named Faleena, gets shot by his enemies, and dies in her arms. The song plays in Walt's stolen car in New Hampshire, and is later hummed by Walt as he assembles the M60.
- "Felina" is an anagram for "finale", and is also the feminine version of the word "feline" in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
- That "Felina" is a portmanteau of "Fe", "Li" and "Na", the symbols for iron, lithium and sodium, or shorthand for "blood, meth and tears" is a common misconception.
- This is the fourth episode to be written and directed by Vince Gilligan, after "Pilot", "Full Measure" and "Face Off".
- Walt's reflection on the lab equipment is distorted in such a way that he appears to have a goatee and a shaved head.
- Carol compares Walt's appearance to the Unabomber, real name Ted Kaczynski, a terrorist who evaded capture for 17 years despite a federal investigation but who was eventually caught after his sister-in-law and his brother became suspicious of him; this parallels with Hank and Marie's role in catching Heisenberg. Similar to Heisenberg, Kaczynski was also a highly-educated and intelligent mathematician who spent a significant portion of his life living in a remote cabin. Carol's comparison also contrasts with Saul Goodman's comparison of Walt's appearance to that of D. B. Cooper in "Better Call Saul"; D. B. Cooper, who stole $200,000 from airline passengers in 1971, was never caught.
- The device Walt used to control the M60 is a Chinese made UN-4001 Central Car Lock System, a remote-controlled central car lock. The letters UN on the box is covered by a bar code sticker, but largely uncensored. It is the only Chinese product in the show to be shown as Chinese. Statistically, it is the most commonly used remote car lock in China.
- The outfit Walt wears when he arrives at the compound is identical to what he wore in "Pilot" (pastel jacket, green button-up shirt, white undershirt, beige slacks). He begins and ends the series in the same clothes.
- While assembling the M60, Walt hums "El Paso" to himself, after hearing it playing in his car at the beginning of the episode. This could be a callback to when he hummed "Horse With No Name" to himself after hearing it playing in his car in "Caballo Sin Nombre".
- Todd Alquist, Walter White and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle are, in sequence, the fourth, fifth and sixth main characters to die.
- Jack's death mirrors Hank's; as Hank was shot by Jack as Walt offered Jack all his money to spare him, Jack is shot by Walt attempting to offer him his money back to spare him. They were also both shot in the head midsentence.
- Despite its being a recurring element throughout the show, Lydia is the only person to have been successfully killed with ricin.
- Several takes were shot of Walt's blood stained hand sliding down the stainless steel tank. Vince Gilligan selected the one where a "W" (for Walter White) is created by the smear.
- The lyrics "A deep burning pain in my side" in the song "El Paso" parallels what happens to Walt towards the end of this episode.
- His death also reflects "El Paso" by how the cowboy died in the arms of his lover, Walter died amidst the empire he loved.
- The lyrics "The special love I had for you, my baby blue" in the song "Baby Blue" by Badfinger reflect on Walt's actual love and respect for his own exclusive signature product Blue Sky.
- Vince Gilligan explained that The Searchers heavily influenced the final standoff between Walt and Jesse. Gilligan believes that Walt was intending to kill Jesse, but when he saw the state his former partner was in, Walt couldn’t do it.
- There was one scene cut from the finale script for budget and time reasons. It took place at the gas station after Walt makes the call in which he pretends he's the Times reporter. In it, a former student of Walt recognizes him. Walt pays him off and threatens him to make sure he doesn't rat him out. But before leaving the former student, he asks, "What kind of teacher was I?" The former student replies, "You were good" and then says he remembered the time Walt sprayed different chemicals at a flame and it made different colors.
- Walt's last word is 'Lydia'.
- Some fans still joke about whether or not Huell is still sitting in the safe house, for Hank never told him it was safe for him to leave.
- The license plate of the Cadillac reads "JG8-516", whereas "516" is a hint for this episode, which is the sixteenth episode of the fifth season.
- The entire series began and ended with sirens heading towards Walter.
- Judging by the way Walt talks to Skyler about his confrontation with the neo-Nazis and the fact that Walt wanted Jesse to shoot him, it can be concluded that Walt had planned to get himself killed with the M60 along with Jack's gang before finding out Jesse's condition. Although unknown, it can be assumed. Coincidentally, in the first episode of the series, Walter tries to shoot himself (unsuccessfully).
- As the camera pans out from Walt's body, the lighting fixture forms a crosshair and settles over his left lung. This throws back to his initial CT Scan, and future references where Walt stated he had a tumor in his left lung.
- Co-executive producer Melissa Bernstein can be seen in the bus when Walt Jr. comes home from school. It is a voluntary wink to the "Pilot", in which for lack of budget, she had played the sole occupant of the school bus seen during the scene where Walter accompanies Hank on a drug bust.
- Viewership: This episode was watched by 10.28 million people on its premiere night, up from the previous high, "Granite State", which had 6.58 million. This makes "Felina" the most watched episode in the series' history.
- The finale also set new records on Twitter, with 1.24 million tweets from 601,370 unique users during the live broadcast of both the EST and PST telecasts. The Breaking Bad finale hit a peak of 22,373 "tweets"-per-minute as the final episode began on the East Coast. Popular Breaking Bad-related Twitter tags included: "#BreakingBad", "#BreakingBadFinale", and "#GoodbyeBreakingBad"; all of which were trending on Twitter that night.
- Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman) does not appear in this episode.
- Vince Gilligan had Walt leave his watch at the gas station for continuity reasons, as he wasn't wearing it during the flashforwards in earlier episodes. ("Live Free or Die") ("Blood Money")
- Leaving the Tag Heuer watch may also be symbolic that "time has run out" for Walt, or it may be symbolic of Walt leaving behind his prideful, selfish, "Heisenberg" self, who was overly focused on greed and power, symbolized by the watch. Many of Heisenberg's worst actions were taken after he received the watch as a gift.
- Gilligan almost didn't get to use Baby Blue, but the music supervisor said it was the best choice in the end.
- The song Baby Blue by Badfinger saw a 9000% increase in streams, and more than 5000 Itunes sales the night Felina aired, putting it in the top 20 iTunes songs 40 years after it was initially released.
- In the final scene between Skyler and Walt:
- Anna Gunn wore oversized clothing (like Cranston often does) to make her look like a "shrunken person" and a "shadow of her former self."
- The shot of Skyler reflected in the microwave was completely accidental. Gilligan admits not knowing he got it until the editor complimented it.
- The camera operator cried shooting the final Skyler and Walt scene, and had to take his eye off the eyepiece.
- Walt's machine gun robot was recreated on an episode of Mythbusters.
- Walter's death, despite general acceptance from fans, is widely disputed. Logically, Walter could survive and Cranston has since teased this theory by stating "You didn't see a body bag" in an interview.
- "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really... I was alive."
- ―Walt to Skyler, about his true motivation for manufacturing meth.
- "He's alive isn't he? And he's cooking for you! What are you gonna lie?"
- ―Walt to Jack about Jesse during their final confrontation.
- "Jesus. Mr. White..."
- ―Todd's last words before Jesse strangled him.
- Walt: "Do it. You want this."
- Jesse: "Say the words. Say you want this! Nothing happens until I hear you say it."
- Walt: "I want this."
- Jesse: "Then do it yourself."
- — Walt telling Jesse to kill him.
- Walt: "How are you feeling? Kind of under the weather? Like you've got the flu? That would be the ricin I gave you. I slipped it into that Stevia crap that you're always putting in your tea."
- Lydia: "Oh my god.."
- Walt: "Well, goodbye Lydia."
- — Walt's last words.
- "El Paso" by Marty Robbins (Playing from a cassette in Walt's stolen car, later muttered by Walt as he sets up his machine gun rig)
- "Ballet Music No. 1. Allegretto (Mouvement de valse) [From the opera, "Faust"] by Charles-François Gounod" by Louis De Froment et l'Orchestre symphonique de Radio Télé Luxembourg (when the Schwartzes arrive home)
- "Ballet Music No. 2. Adagio [From the opera, "Faust"] by Charles-François Gounod" by Louis De Froment et l'Orchestre symphonique de Radio Télé Luxembourg (when Elliot threatens Walt)
- "Love is Running Through Me (aka Running Through Me)" by Javaroo (Reprised from "Live Free or Die" as Walt celebrates 52)
- "Unknown Track #2" by Unknown Artist (when Todd & Lydia meet in the café)
- "Lydia the Tattooed Lady [From the film, "At the Circus" by Marx Bros]" by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg (Todd's custom ringtone for Lydia)
- "Baby Blue" by Badfinger (As Walt dies and the police arrive)
- "Line of Fire" by Junip