Living on the East Coast, I got a jump on West Coast viewers and just finished watching the final episode of AMC‘s Breaking Bad. Feel free to make comments on the events of the episode here, after the final credits roll in the West Coast broadcast. But for now I’m not giving up spoilers. Suffice to say that the unfinished business of the hapless chemistry teacher Walter White, who becomes the ruthless meth magnate Heisenberg, get wrapped up tonight. And there are some stunning surprises thrown in on the score-settling tour. The episode plays like a roller coaster, and the uphill rise takes about 45 minutes. Then it’s all downhill for the next 30. Still seems remarkable given Vince Gilligan’s origins and Bryan Cranston‘s comedy background they would be able to generate a series this intense and dramatically compelling, but now they become another touchstone (the just wrapped Dexter is another) in what will go down as the most profound golden age of cable television series, wrought by a lot of quality feature writers who took their trade to the small screen when Hollywood turned its back on those middle-ground dramas in favor of global appeal movies that have a certain sameness to them. There is a sense of authorship in these cable series, from Homeland to Ray Donovan to Sons Of Anarchy to Game Of Thrones to The Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire. The result is that, in a short time, these cable series have become yet one more reason not to leave the house to go see a movie. I thought the finale was far more conclusive than The Sopranos and certainly a satisfying close to a groundbreaking series.