Breaking Bad has always had a soft spot for on-the-nose musical choices, from the "Crystal Blue Persuasion" meth-cooking montage to the day in the life of the prostitute Wendy set to The Association's "Windy." So while it might have felt a little crushingly obvious when the guitars started up and the line "I guess I got what I deserved" played over Walt's final moments on Breaking Bad, really, could it have ended any different?
You can look at the lyrics from the first verse of the song, the only one we hear in the episode, to see why Vince Gilligan thought it was a perfect pick for playing over the final shot of Walt, dying on the floor of the high-tech chemistry lab built based on his own designs:
Guess I got what I deserved
Kept you waiting there too long, my love
All that time without a word
Didn't know you'd think that I'd forget or I'd regret
The special love I had for you, my baby blue
Walt may have found a way to get his money to his family, gotten some closure with Skyler and a final visit with Holly, and even rescued Jesse, but the true love he was coming back for--whether he knew it or not-- was that baby blue, his signature color and the basis of his empire, the only thing by his side when he died. Even in an episode that gave Walt an unexpectedly happy ending, the song choice is one final reminder of what had truly driven Walt this entire time, and the reason he was stuck dying in this Nazi-owned meth lab to begin with.
The one other major song of the episode gives it the title, "Felina", which is an anagram for "finale" but also the name of the girl at the center of Marty Robbins' "El Paso," a lengthy ballad about a cowboy who loves a girl named Felina and dies as a result. Plenty of people made the connection before the episode aired and some impressive dissections of the potential meanings went online. You hear the song in the very beginning, when Walt steals the Volvo and leaves New Hampshire. You can also hear it again below:
The song, like "Baby Blue," encourages us to see Walt's meth empire as the girl at the center of a ballad, though since "El Paso" comes at the beginning of the episode we don't necessarily see the connection then. Here's the end of the song, though, if you want to find the parallels to the final moment of the episode:
Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
A deep burning pain in my side.
Though I am trying
To stay in the saddle,
I'm getting weary,
Unable to ride.
But my love for
Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen,
Though I am weary I can't stop to rest,
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle.
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.
From out of nowhere Felina has found me,
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for,
One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.
Walter White lays his bloodied hand on a silver tank used for cooking meth and dies on the floor, surrounded by what's left of his empire. That's the nice thing about chemistry equipment and drugs-- they'll never leave you so long as you keep coming back for them.