NEW YORK (AP) — Any "Breaking Bad " fan could be forgiven for concluding that Sunday's finale held no major surprises.
That's because this AMC drama series has delivered surprises, shock and OMG moments dependably since its premiere five seasons ago.
Just like it did on its final episode.
For those who don't want to be reading how yet, stop reading! And let's take a few moments for you who aren't ready to find out what happened to tear your eyes away from this article.
The finale closed the loop on a scene that began Season 5, and found Walt (series star Bryan Cranston) with a beard and a full head of hair at an Albuquerque, N.M., Denny's restaurant. There he made a swap for a different car than the Volvo he had stolen and driven cross-country from New Hampshire, where, until the final moments of last week's episode, he was holed up, a most-wanted fugitive from the law. More to the point, Walt in that deal at the Denny's men's room became the owner of a very serious rifle.
The scene, flashing forward several months ahead to Walt's 52nd birthday, was no less tantalizing than bewildering to viewers when it aired. On the finale, it revealed itself as a key piece of the series' finished puzzle.
As the finale began, Walt — cancer-stricken and a hunted man — was headed back home to Albuquerque for a last showdown.
In a byzantine and sinister arrangement with the couple who had become tycoons from a pharmaceutical company Walt co-founded but received no benefit from, Walt made sure his children would get the $10 million drug money he left behind with the couple — or else.
Walt then dropped in on his estranged wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), who had made it plain she hated him.
"Why are you here?" she asked him coldly.
"It's over," he said, "and I needed a proper goodbye."
After all this time, he justified out loud his descent from life as a meek, ill-paid chemistry teacher to a life as a legendary drug lord. Before, he had always insisted he did it for his family, to leave them provided for after his death from his terminal cancer.