Spoiler alert if you have not already seen the final Breaking Bad episode. After last night's final episode of Breaking Bad, fans of the award winning Vince Gilligan television series will likely be showing up at Amoeba Music this week in search of specific songs and releases by Marty Robbins, Groucho Marx, and especially Badfinger - all of whom were prominently featured in last night's nail-biting finale of the five-season, five-star television show. Fans will also be tracking down both Breaking Bad (Music From The Original Television Series) that includes the Dave Porter main title theme, and the full Dave Porter Breaking Bad (Original Score From The Television Series) - not to mention, of course, all the Breaking Bad DVDs/Blu-Rays available from Amoeba such as Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season (All Hail The King) DVD that was released back in March and includes the first half of the final (two-part) fifth season. Clocking in at a stunning 375 minutes, the DVD set includes such special features as Episode 504, shot by Vince Gilligan and narrated by the Breaking Bad Writers, Prison Stunt Rehearsal, Jesse Plemons & Laura Fraser Audition Footage, The Cleaner: Jonathan Banks as Mike, and much more.
But back to the music in last night's suspenseful final Breaking Bad episode. The episode is entitled Felina, which is both an anagram for Finale and the name of the woman/subject of the Marty Robbins song played in the opening scene. That scene begins with Walt, in desperate search of keys or a screwdriver to start the ignition of the stolen car he sits in. He rummages through the glove-box of the old model Volvo and a Marty Robbins cassette falls out. Then as the snow covered car starts up and Walt begins his long drive south back to New Mexico, the Marty Robbins song "El Paso" (about a fugitive coming back to the town he had escaped from) plays with the late, great Robbins prophetically singing "Riding alone in the dark, Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me." (video for song is below).
Fast-forward to the fallout of the big ending showdown scene with Walt and the Neo-Nazis when the phone of Jesse's arch enemy Todd -- the young member of the Neo-Nazi meth makers (aka "Meth Damon" among fans cos he looks like Matt Damon -- rings with an incoming call from drug overload Lydia (whom Walt had earlier poisoned with ricin). Todd's ringtone for Lydia is the Groucho Marx song "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" (from the Marx Brothers film At the Circus) with the refrain "Lydia, oh Lydia, that encyclopedia. Lydia the queen of them all."
Then, for the grand finale closing scene, the Badfinger song "Baby Blue" opens with "Guess I got what I deserve" and plays over a rather dire scene with Walt. "Baby Blue" is from the short-lived British band's album Straight Up (also found on The Very Best of Badfinger) and was a hit for them in 1972 - other Badfinger hits included the Paul McCartney penned (and Beatles sounding) single "Come And Get It." Released by The Beatles' Apple record label, "Baby Blue" was the latest and final "Blue" themed songs carefully chosen for the show. Another excellent choice was Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crystal Blue Persuasion" (see below), which was incorporated this time last year in the first half of the final fifth season. Among the numerous other excellent songs (way too many to list here) chosen by Vince Gilligan, who clearly has a great ear for music, over this past two-part season was The Monkees' "Goin' Down."
As for the finale's storyline, I loved it and, in typical Breaking Bad fashion, did not guess what was coming. Among my favorite scenes last night was when Walt meets up with Skyler and (finally) comes clean as to his motives for cooking meth and going from chemistry teacher to drug baron. “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it,” he admitted - changing his previous justification that it was all for his family. And I concur with fellow Amoeblogger Charles Reese's post; he called the highly-anticipated TV series ending to be "emotionally satisfying." Of course there will be much chatter over the coming days by Breaking Bad fans on the many alternate endings that Gilligan could have written into the script. Personally I am just bummed that this excellent TV show - an anomaly in contemporary television's mostly mediocre landscape - has finally come to an end. I will miss it, but look forward to Vince Gilligan's future projects and going back and re-watching all the five seasons thanks to Breaking Bad DVDs/Blu-Rays available from Amoeba.
Breaking Bad / Tommy James and The Shondells "Crystal Blue Persuasion"
(song starts round 40 second mark)