Do you hear that? It's the depressing, empty silence of life after Breaking Bad. Last night at 10:16 p.m., we finally released the breath we've been holding for the past five years. There was a lot of speculation surrounding the finale's events, and high expectations, but Vince Gilligan and team blew them all out of the water. The 75-minute episode was a true catharsis for BrBa's fan base, in every sense of the word. We revisited characters we thought were long gone (what up, Badger and Skinny Pete?), we got to see Walt finally stick it to those schmucks Elliot and Gretchen, and we felt sweet relief as Jesse gained freedom for the first time in his life. In fact, we're pretty sure there's never been a more satisfying ten seconds of television than Pinkman's howl-filled joy ride out of the Nazi compound.
And then, of course, there's Walt: The mighty and (not quite) infallible Heisenberg. Few shows could get away with killing off their main character in such an incredibly perfect way. Love him or hate him, we're willing to bet that not a single Breaking Bad faithful can deny that his ending was poetic, deserved, and, ultimately, genius. For those who wanted him to pay, he paid. He died knowing that his life's final work wreaked havoc on every single person he ever loved. And, for those who wanted him to win, he did. He died at the hands of his own genius creation, surrounded by the glory of his empire — the meth lab that started it all.
Vince Gilligan, the show's creator, has often said that he was able to end Breaking Bad exactly the way he always wanted. The show was a complete story, a tale that came full circle at just the right time. For the fans, the ending was satisfying in a way that few finales are. Many series suffer from a
rut run that far exceeds its collective creativity (Dexter writers, we're talking to you), while others seem to take the easy way out. So many cult favorite shows have left viewers split in opinion — think Lost or The Sopranos — but our anthropological research (read: Twitter trolls) shows that viewers were simply left in awe of this show's magic. For our part, we're just trying to figure out what the heck to do with our Sunday nights now.
All these nostalgic feelings for our favorite meth dealers has got us craving a look back, so ahead we picked out five of the most talked-about TV endings of all time. Whether a show ends on the highest high or the lowest low (again, Dexter, that's you), these finales have gone down in television history. Check out our list ahead, and read why we think BrBa has them all beat.