Breaking Bad was one of the most critically acclaimed shows to ever air, and Lost was one of the most influential. Both shows’ finales received similar attention before they premiered but drew wildly different types of attention post-airing. Lost did not fare quite as well as Breaking Bad did.
After Breaking Bad ended in 2013, the internet was flooded with tweets about it. Many of these tweets were aimed directly at Damon Lindelof and Lost:
“Screw you @DamonLindelof for not giving us such a perfect ending for Lost like Vince Gilligan did for @BreakingBad_AMC!”
Here is the link to more examples and an article written about them: https://ew.com/article/2013/09/30/breaking-bad-lost-finale/
And here is Damon Lindelof’s take, co-writer of Lost:
I know it’s a small vocal minority, like most negative air on the internet, but in this case I don’t think they inaccurately portray a consensus that Breaking Bad outdid Lost with its ending.
Because Breaking Bad’s ending, unlike Lost’s, was satisfying.
And that’s what we want, right? After investing dozens of hours into a show we want to be satisfied!
But a satisfying ending doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one. It is always immensely satisfying to watch Rocky beat the Cold War out of Ivan Drago while simultaneously avenging his friend, but that doesn’t make it a good ending. Lost’s finale, “The End,” makes some mistakes and may not be as satisfying as Breaking Bad’s finale, “Felina,” but it stays truer to its show, resulting in a more appropriate finish to its series.
I’m going to break this comparison up into three parts of what I believe makes a good finale. These are not the only aspects of a series ender that impact its effectiveness, but they are some of the most important: Characters, Themes, and Reflection
I want to make clear right now that I believe Breaking Bad is a stronger series overall than Lost. I am strictly comparing the finales and how well each ending wraps up its respective show.
Spoilers for the entirety of both series ahead
Lost was adamant that it was always about its characters and not the mysteries. It was stated repeatedly by the writers that the mysteries that would be solved would be the mysteries that mattered to the characters. While characters are absolutely integral to any story, it is not true that Lost was not also about its mysteries. The mysteries were a major draw to the series and it is understandable that many viewers were left underwhelmed with some of the answers (the whispers, for example), but the history of the show proves that the mysteries were always secondary to the characters. It wasn’t that a man could suddenly walk again; it was that John Locke could walk again. Few of us had posters of the Island or the Statue of Taweret hanging on our walls; fans had pictures of Sawyer, Kate, and the large cast photos, because what made those mysteries so compelling was the characters behind them. Most of the following shows that attempted to be Lost failed because they put mysteries at the forefront. Lost and “The End” kept the focus on the characters.
In fact, one of my biggest complaints about the Lost finale is the lack of recognition the Island itself actually gets. Would it have been too much to ask for Sawyer to look back at the Island on his way to the plane and give us one last full wide shot of the location we spent six years in? Or a solid look at it when he looks out the window as they are flying away?
And yet, I’d much rather the Island get shafted than Sawyer himself. Instead, the focus is on Sawyer getting to that plane and finally leaving the Island. It’s on Kate saving Jack’s life at the last second. On Jack accepting his place in all the madness. And each action they take reflects who they have been and who they have become throughout the series. Jack, obsessed with fixing everything, is no longer a man of science and fixes the Island on faith. Kate, always running, retreats from the Island but refuses to run from the complications of her relationship with Claire and Aaron. Frank, who just wants to fly planes that don’t crash, flies his plane away.
Richard decides to live. Hurley decides to rule. Ben willingly accepts a place as a VP and stays behind to meddle out his sins. The Man in Black dies fighting to escape his prison. The survivors find each other in the afterlife because they found a way to live together on the Island, so now they don’t have to die alone.
Each character gets attention in “The End,” and despite having such a large breadth of characters to juggle, they all get an active role in the finale.
“Felina” doesn’t balance its much smaller cast nearly as well. The focus is heavily on Walt, as one would expect the focus to be, but what about the rest of the cast? Nearly every other character in the episode stays still and waits for Walt to do something to them, including Jesse.
Jesse has such a minimal, passive role in the finale that, frankly, he could have been killed off in “Ozymandias” and the ending, plot-wise, would have been exactly the same.
Walt was the clear protagonist of Breaking Bad, but Jesse was the heart. We felt for Jesse, rooted for Jesse, and cried for Jesse. It’s a much bigger mystery to me why Jesse wasn’t more prominent in “Felina” than why there was a magic cork plugging up magic on a magic island. It may have been satisfying to watch Jesse drive away screaming, free from the hell Mr. White dragged him into, but he had zero agency and didn’t relate to the final plotline at all.
I found it more satisfying watching Jesse team up with Hank to bring Walt to his knees a few episodes prior. Jesse took an active role by making a decision to turn on Walt. It felt as though he was growing and learning as a person, finally taking action against Walt and pushing his character to a new place. If Jesse could have freed himself from Walt’s world through his own actions, instead of Walt deciding, “Now you can go,” it would have fit better with Jesse’s arc over the course of the series and brought his character to an even more thrilling conclusion.
Is it in character for Jesse to be excited to escape? Obviously. Were the circumstances of his release as powerful as they could have been? No.
“The End” took its protagonist, as well as all the other main characters, and allowed them each to make decisions based on all they had learned to accomplish or fail their goals. Each major character had an active role in the final outcome of the story. “Felina” pushed its protagonist to the forefront and made the beating heart of the show a side player.
Lost and Breaking Bad were both shows with themes and ideas they explored. Each was consistent in the exploration of their themes, maintaining thematic consistency all the way through their respective series. From the beginning of Lost, even before it was outright stated, we saw that these people were going to need to work together, to live together, or die alone. Breaking Bad explored the idea of chain reactions and consequences from its first episode forward.
One of the most important aspects a finale has to nail is a reinforcement of the themes of the show. This is what this show is about, and it’s time to make a final statement, or, at least, raise a final relevant question to the themes that have been prominent throughout the show.
Most often these themes will be displayed or questioned through the characters and their actions. All of the actions by the characters in “The End” aren’t just true to the characters themselves but to the themes of redemption, loss, and faith running throughout the entire series. They reinforce an ethos – “Live together, die alone.”
Say what you will about the flash-sideways afterlife concept (I didn’t like it), but it is a true reflection of the idea that because the survivors learned to live together they didn’t die alone. It may be a bit too spiritual for some and lack the weight of the on-island story, but it provides an adequate vehicle to reinforce the idea that the survivors needed each other and that they became a family. They helped each other grow and move on in life, and therefore they move on together in the afterlife.
The finale also circles back to other prescient themes, such as Man of Science VS Man of Faith. Jack puts his faith in the Island, Jacob, and John Locke. No, we never learn for certain what would have happened if the Man in Black left the Island, but neither does Jack. If we did know, then Jack wouldn’t be acting on faith. In the flash-sideways, Jack gets his memories back from his father – appropriate considering how heavily fathers figured into the series.
“Felina” gives Walt the perfect conclusion to his saga. It’s riveting to watch him enact revenge on everyone who screwed him over, and even more satisfying to watch him admit to Skylar that he did it all for himself.
But this particular brand of satisfaction comes at a cost. His actions did not reinforce the themes the series presented us with. Was taking revenge in character for Walt? Absolutely. He was always a petty, egotistical man. But allowing this type of revenge goes against the ethos of Breaking Bad as a series. Breaking Bad never allowed for easy decisions and always forced major consequences against its characters with each decision they made. There was always a follow through, a reckoning. “Ozymandias” is a perfect example of everything the show was about coming together – the consequences to one man’s actions for illicit power created a chain reaction that finally caught up with him, destroying everything in his life. Being a badass drug dealer has its price. It isn’t glorious and it isn’t fist-pumping awesome.
If the show would have ended right there, that would have been a stronger conclusion to the saga because what follows goes against all this. “Felina” gives Walt the happiest ending he could have. He gets to “redeem” himself, in a sense, by getting the money to his son, explaining himself to his wife, and saving Jesse. Then, due to his death, he doesn’t need to live with or experience any of the consequences of these actions.
Perhaps some would argue that Walt himself is the reckoning and that all these people are getting what is coming to them based on their actions. But giving Walt this level of control and power goes against the themes of power from the previous five seasons. It also allows him to go out with pride, something that by all intents of the rest of the series was his downfall.
Even if we overlook the circumstances above, Walt’s means of revenge goes against the themes of the show as well. Breaking Bad’s pilot has a scene where Walt teaches his class about chemistry. He says that everything has a reaction, providing the first basis of chemistry themes in the series. Through the journey, we witness Walt use his chemical knowledge to outsmart drug dealers, create poisons, and (obviously) cook meth. And yet in “Felina” Walt takes down Jack’s drug crew through an impressive feat of mechanical engineering. Why not have him enact revenge on the group with an impressive feat of chemical engineering? This would reinforce the idea that all actions have a reaction, and give us a final look at one of the major themes presented in the show.
“The End” reinforces the major themes of Lost through the actions of its characters and the environment they find themselves in (even if that environment is a bit weak). “Felina” trades its thematic relevance for a revenge plot that, while satisfying, does little to further the themes of the series.
Reflection is important at the end of any story. It is always of benefit to remind viewers just how far the characters have come and remind them of how much has changed and how much has remained the same. This gives an ending a feeling of completeness and allows viewers an opportunity to say “good-bye.”
“The End” has several callbacks and lines to earlier moments in the series. The shot of Jack and Locke looking down the hatch is recreated. Famous lines such as “I’ll see ya in another life, brother” are spoken (and also another great relation to the thematic resonance of “live together die alone”).
The most obvious callbacks are the “reawakening” memories of so many of the characters. While they advance the story in regards to the survivors “waking up” in the sideways universe, I don’t feel they are quite as effective as the rest of the homages paid to the series in real time. They have a scent of clip reel, which is a cheap way to drum up nostalgia. I find it much more effective when Jack dies in the same place he woke up on the Island.
“The End” also misses an opportunity to allow us to reflect on the Island itself. We don’t have a chance to take in the full scope of the Island one last time, and it doesn’t use its environment as well as it could to reflect.
“Felina,” on the other hand, excels at these callbacks, even if I don’t feel the plot itself is up to the task. Skinny Pete and Badger have a fantastic cameo in the finale, allowing us one last look at the goofy duo. We finally get to see where the ricin ends up, which ties up a seasons long thread. Walt gets to say his goodbyes, allowing the audience to say goodbye with him.
A flashback memory plays within the episode in a similar fashion to how “The End” uses memories. Again, it feels a bit cheap, but Walt standing in his abandoned, vandalized home is an amazing visual representation of how far he has fallen.
I don’t feel there is any more effective callback than Walt’s emotional look at the meth lab. All that we need to understand about his view of himself is written on his face, and we get a long look at the environment Walt’s journey took place in. As I stated earlier, “The End” doesn’t afford us a chance to say goodbye to the Island properly, but “Felina” nails this aspect.
And then Walt dies, and the series uses its last shot to pay homage to another finale.
Neither finale is perfect. Your mileage will vary based on what is most important to you, and there are more aspects that go into an effective finale than the three that I highlighted above.
“Felina” is a fine finale. Damon Lindelof thought it was great. I think it is fair to say most viewers found it satisfying. “Felina” learned from “The End,” understood that viewers felt mislead, cheated, and like there were too many loose ends floating around, and adapted. Breaking Bad left no stone unturned and finally gave in to the power fantasy it had been avoiding before, leaving many viewers with a feeling of triumph that Walt proved you don’t mess with Heisenberg.
That wasn’t what Breaking Bad was about, though. It wasn’t a tale about learning not to mess with Heisenberg, and that’s why I don’t feel its finale truly lives up to what preceded it. One of its lead characters is rendered ineffective and the themes of the show don’t shine very brightly (if at all). There are some great callbacks and scenes of reflection providing us a good opportunity to say goodbye, but ideally that would be within a plot that reinforces those first two areas (character and themes). I don’t believe that “Felina” does this.
As a single piece of media and as a singular episode, I would probably agree that “Felina” is a stronger piece of work. It’s exciting, clean, and effective in its simplicity. But as the end to a series it doesn’t reflect the show it represents.
“The End” on the other hand, pushes its characters and themes to the forefront. “Felina” may be more satisfying than mystifying, but “The End” effectively wraps up its story in a way that is true to the characters and themes of the series. On that level, satisfaction be damned, it makes for a better cap to its respective show, wrapping itself in everything that made Lost Lost, which is why I believe “The End” > “Felina.”
Even though the flash-sideways was kinda lame.
Who Will Die On ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4B?
Stranger Things Season 4 was quite a bloodbath, but we haven’t seen anything yet.
While Vecna claimed a handful of victims in the first eight episodes of the season, none of them were part of the core cast.
That’s all about to change come Season 4B, which does not go easy on our Hawkins best and brightest.
The final two episodes — both feature-length in duration, clocking in at over two hours a piece — have been teased by Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson) as absolute “carnage.”
Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) has been doing the press rounds and hinting at a major character death, and truthfully, all signs point to Steve Harrington.
Think about it: His death would have the largest emotional impact. He’s a fan favorite, he’s the “dad” of the group often taking on the protector role and keeping the kids safe when their parents are literally nowhere to be found, he’s an overall good guy, and he has so much momentum and chemistry with Nancy right now, it’s insane.
Per Insider, Joe Keery’s character wasn’t supposed to survive the first season in the Duffer Brother’s original plan, but they simply couldn’t let him go.
And it’s exactly why his death would destroy a whole fandom, crumbling them at the core. It’s a death that will hit both fans and characters equally as hard. Some might argue that Steve is the glue that holds it all together, never taking himself too seriously but also going boldly right into the danger zone.
Matt Duffer didn’t exactly confirm that Steve would be the big death of the season, but he also didn’t deny it either.
“If he’s going to die, it’s not going to be from the bat bite,” Matt told Variety, which is almost reassuring. He did acknowledge everyone is “worried about Steve,” so maybe his death is too obvious.
If we’re all prepared for it, it won’t be as effective, right?
In that case, could it be Nancy Wheeler? At the end of season 4, Nancy is stuck in the Upside Down in a trance as Vecna explains his origin story to her. It’s unclear why he chose to be honest with Nancy, but that’s a good journalist for you — getting the story even when it could cost her her life.
Of course, Steve is in the Upside Down with Nancy, so I don’t think she’ll die there just yet. There’s no way he’d leave her behind without bringing her to safety. But if Nancy is already connected to Vecna, that means she’s running out of time and unless she can find a foothold in the real world to keep her safe a la Max’s “Running Up That Hill,” she might just be his next victim.
Dr. Benner or Dr. Owens — Both of them care for Eleven and want to help restore her powers so that she can defeat this evil once and for all. But the FBI is coming for them, and they don’t take kindly to betrayal. I can see them sacrificing themselves to help Eleven escape for the greater good. Owens would be slightly more upsetting because Brenner might just deserve it.
Eddie — Eddie is a fan favorite, and if look at the show’s track record of killing off the lovable, new guy, well, it doesn’t bode well for the newcomer. He’s already been to the Upside Down, and based on the teaser, we know he returns there for some epic guitar solo. Maybe that’s his triumphant moment before death?
Jonathan — The only way that Nancy and Steve could work is if Jonathan is out of the picture. And while it’s cruel to kill him off for the sake of another relationship, there’s also not much that Jonathan is actually contributing to the storyline anymore aside from getting high with his friend Argyle. His death, however, would shake the core group as he’s Will’s brother and rock.
Eleven — It’s unlikely that the series would risk killing their biggest asset, but she is gearing up for her biggest battle yet. It’s going to take everything that she has. Some might say, you don’t make it out alive after using up all that power. And Eleven loves her friends deeply, so we know she would sacrifice everything for them.
Joyce, Murray, Dmitri, and Hopper are in a dangerous situation in Russia, but considering that they’ve managed to survive a plane crash, Siberia, imprisonment, and a Demogorgon, I have full faith in them!
Who do you think is going to die on Stranger Things Season 4B?
Only Murders in the Building Season 2 – Who is the Killer? We’re Logging Every Clue on the Murder Board
Only Murders in the Building season 2 carries the torch of the first season, putting a unique spin on the murder mystery genre.
The killer, who is most likely also the person framing Mabel, Charles, and Oliver (who are all persons of interest) likely won’t be revealed until the final episode, but we’re creating an online murder board to keep track of all suspects and possible clues hinting at this person’s identity.
Join us — and the characters who attempt to solve the whodunnit on their podcast via new weekly episodes that air every Tuesday on Hulu– as we theorize who is responsible for the latest murder at the Arconia!
*Cue the theme song*
Victim: Bunny Folger
Her Last Words: 14 and Savage
Cause of Death: 8 stabs wounds
Murder Weapon: A knife (not a knitting needle) that has yet to be located
Place of Death: Mabel’s apartment
Played by Cara Delevigne, Alice slides into Mabel’s DM’s shortly after she lands the front page of the tabloids as “Bloody Mabel.” The art artist collective owner invites Mabel to a gallery opening in an attempt to cozy up to her and get her to open up. Maybe she just sees past Mabel’s flaws, but considering the whole mystery hinges on a missing painting by the artist Rose Cooper (who also died a mysterious death), we simply cannot rule it out. Maybe she wants the painting… maybe she wants Mabel. Honestly, maybe Rose was Alice’s mom who was murdered by Charles’ dad, her lover, and Alice is trying to get revenge on him by getting close to Mabel. Also, Alice Banks doesn’t sound like it would be her real name, so she’s suspect #1 for now.
Amy Schumer is playing an exaggerated version of herself who just moved into Sting’s former penthouse. She’s a fan of the podcast — almost to an obsessive point — who wants the rights to it so she can turn it into a streaming service series and channel her inner Jan. You need a murder mystery in order to have a successful podcast… and then a show, I’m just saying. Plus, I have to believe that there’s a reason the series included her character!
I’m sorry to do this to you Uma, but there’s no one that knew Bunny better than her best friend. She not only knew about the painting, but she knew its worth. Maybe jealousy got the best of her?
We don’t know much about Nina other than the fact that she’s the New Board President. Howard says she has wanted the gig for a long time, which gives her motive. And he also warned the trio not to be fooled by her “maternal glow,” comparing her vibe to Rosemary’s Baby instead.
Killing your own daughter is certainly cruel, but crazier things have happened. Leonora wasn’t really phased by her daughter’s passing, but she was very interested in finding her painting. She even came with the original bill of sale in order to retrieve her prized possession. Yes, she’s technically blind and can’t cut a piece of cheese to save her life, but it could’ve all been an act. And there’s also the whole affair with Charles’ father that she casually mentioned after informing Charles that she knew exactly who he was this whole time. She clearly knows way more than she’s leading on.
If she’s devious enough to blatantly steal a podcast, she’s not above murder. A murder suspect has to benefit from the crime, and Cinda sure does! By giving the Arconia another murder victim, she deepens the mystery and secures herself a compelling season.
I don’t ever want to think badly of Ursula, but she was really suspicious when angrily throwing out a random box of documents and looking around to make sure there weren’t any witnesses. What’s she trying to hide? This couldn’t have been a routine dump.
Yes, she supposedly went missing in the ’50s and is believed to be dead, but no one ever found a body. There could be so many unknown twists and turns about her identity that we have yet to discover. What’s her true connection to all of this? Or is Rose Cooper actually Leonora?
Mabel’s sort-of ex. What happened to him? Why are they moments away from the friend zone? Are we to just believe the streamer couldn’t get him back this season, or is there another reason he’s staying away… I don’t know, maybe like framing your girlfriend and her friends for murder?
‘Stranger Things’ TikTok Theory About Vecna and Ms. Kelly Will Blow Your Mind
Stranger Things Season 4A was a lot.
Each episode was a full-length movie, every character was busier than ever, and a new big bad started making the residents of Hawkins his lunchtime snack. So, naturally, there were also a lot of theories swirling around on the internet.
One that caught our attention links Ms. Kelly (Regina Ting Chen) and Vecna in a way that might blow your mind.
This might be a good time to point out that if you haven’t finished binge-watching S4 (but you should because we’re only a handful of days away from the 4B premiere of on July 1), you should probably close out right now because — SPOILERS AHEAD.
Both Vecna and Ms. Kelly are brand new characters this season, though, one is much more menacing than the other. Or so we thought…
Vecna makes a bold move in the first episode by making Chrissy the cheerleader his first victim. The poor girl can’t escape the mindscape that she’s trapped in, and when Vecna takes hold, she levitates to the ceiling as her joints snap like little pretzel sticks. It’s disturbing on many levels — just ask key witness Eddie Munson, that is if you can find him in the void between our world and the Upside Down.
Vecna’s second kill is Nancy’s nerdy journalist friend Fred, who, at first glance, has absolutely no connection to Chrissy.
Again, or so we thought.
Vecna then sets his sights on Max. Some might think it’s because Chrissy, Fred, and Max all spent a significant amount of time at the trailer park where Vecna could’ve taken hold, but if that theory were to hold true, everyone else would also be in Vecna’s crosshairs.
So, why these three?
As Max establishes, they are all patients of the Hawkins high school counselor, Ms. Kelly.
It gets even more disturbing when you realize that Vecna pretty much feeds off of their traumas, using their fears against them to weaken and break them.
That in itself is enough to make you wonder if the sweet and helpful school counselor might be up to something more sinister, but then,
While Ms. Kelly seems innocent enough, there’s another significant clue that might seal the deal on this theory — Ms. Kelly wears a necklace with a clock and a key pendant. Who else has a thing for grandfather clocks? Vecna!
TikTok’s Midwest Marvel Guy’s theory (watch it HERE) points out that there’s a lot of clock symbolism when it comes to Ms. Kelly, including a mini grandfather clock in her office and even clock ticking sounds when Max is around the guidance counselor.
Some believe that it’s possible Ms. Kelly is the grown-up version of Alice Creel, Henry Creel’s sister, which tracks since Henry, Vecna, and 001 are one in the same. Yes, Alice supposedly died the night of Henry’s attack in the Creel House, but he survived, so it’s possible that she did as well.
However, I’m more inclined to think that Henry/Vecna crossed paths with Ms. Kelly when she was his guidance counselor (even for a short time) and somehow mind controlled her into essentially becoming his foot soldier for all these years. After all, he needs to have some kind of hold on the mortal world, right?
The only plot hole in this theory is that Lucas’ basketball friend, Patrick, also becomes Vecna’s victim, but as far as we know, he is not a patient of Ms. Kelly’s. We don’t know for a certain that he isn’t, though, so the theory could still hold true!
With the final two installments of the season arriving Fourth of July weekend (with episode 8’s runtime of 1 hour of 20 minutes, while the ninth and final episode clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes), there are plenty of theories floating around. One even suggests that somehow, Henry/Vecna/001 is Eleven’s biological dad.
I guess we’ll have to wait to see it all fall into place. There will surely be plenty of surprises as actor Joseph Quinn (Eddie) teases that fans should expect “absolute carnage.”
Do you have any fun theories about Stranger Things Season 4?
And check out TikTok’s Midwest Marvel Guy break down the theory right HERE!
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