** WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. **
This was, indeed, a proper send-off.
What better place to say goodbye to one of the best TV shows in recent memory than in the Hollywood Forever Cinespia cemetery in Los Angeles? (Well, OK, I concede it may have been a better fit in the deserts of New Mexico, but realistically that couldn't have worked.) The full cast of Breaking Bad, along with thousands of fans, friends and celebrities, gathered near the tombstones to bid farewell to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. We all sat on hallowed ground to -- probably, for all we could speculate -- lay to rest some, if not all of the remaining characters of the show.
Sponsored by Netflix and brought to fruition by Aaron Paul, his wife Lauren Parsekian and her partner Molly Thompson, all $2 million of the proceeds from the finale screening are going to The Kind Campaign, a non-profit charity that raises awareness of girl-on-girl bullying. The overall vibe of the event was joyous and a little bittersweet. No one was really prepared for the show to end.
The organizers made it as painless as possible, though: the grounds were decked out with Breaking Bad props and paraphernalia, including the original RV in which Jesse and Walt cooked meth. You could pose next to it for a photo while sipping on one of three cocktails -- the "Tread Lightly," the "Have An A1 Day," or the "On A Trip To Belize." If you were lucky, you could also snag a piece of blue rock candy, which looked suspiciously like the stuff only Jesse and Walt can make. (You can see all of this and more in the slideshow, below.)
We were shown the pilot episode of Breaking Bad first, and then we had a short break before the finale finally aired.
The Fans' Reaction
I cannot tell you how much better it is watching a show with thousands of fans rather than watching it alone on your couch. It's akin to attending a concert instead of listening to music on your own. Being surrounded by people who love the same thing you do is a wonderful feeling, one that you don't usually experience anymore, especially with our tendency to go on the internet to gripe rather than commiserate or interact in person.
At times you could hear a pin drop, and at other times, people would shout out "Gangster!" or "Yeah, Pinkman!" It was all very emotional, and with many hippies under blankets and the odour of pot hanging in the air, it sometimes felt like our own version of Woodstock ('69, not '99).
Listen To The Fans Post-Finale:
The Cast's Reaction
After the finale aired, most of the cast (minus Anna Gunn and Betsy Brandt) were brought out for an exclusive Q&A, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The cast embraced and cheered each other on, and the fans loved every second of it. This is where it gets really spoilery, as the cast weighed in on the finale and the series overall.
Jimmy Kimmel: "This is the first and only charity event where I've seen a cancer patient shoot a Nazi in the face."
Bryan Cranston: "[Walt] finally accepted who he was, and admitted to it."
Giancarlo Esposito: "I feel like a part of me is betraying Breaking Bad when I appear on other shows. My heart belongs with Breaking Bad."
Jonathan Banks: "If anyone bitches or moans about how this show turned out, they need to come see me."
It's going to be incredibly hard to not have TV of Breaking Bad's quality to watch. Vince Gilligan, when does your new show come out again?
You can rewatch "Breaking Bad" again when Season 5B streams on Netflix at a yet-to-be-determined date.
Check out this exclusive video, but please excuse the poor quality -- I was recording off a screen. There's so much goodness to be had, I didn't want to deprive any Breaking Bad fans.