Despite the overtures of redemption (him realizing he was totally selfish, him saving Jesse, him not caring about the money) I have been thinking that Walt is a monster for too long to have those gestures mean much, so I don’t consider the ending to be as much of a reversal as the reviewer. Maybe the last 45 min of the show was a little soft, but the major point of Walt servicing his ego and ending up dead and leaving his family destitute — the very thing he was supposedly trying to avoid — while leaving a massive wake of collateral destruction and trauma was firmly in place and nothing in the finale changed that or even really mitigated it significantly. The little grace notes were maybe more than Walter deserved, but the glimmers provided in the finale don’t change my perception of the arc dramatically from if he just died in the cabin alone.
Despite the weaknesses of the finale, as far as endings go, I think this one was high up there. The Sopranos had a terrible last season, and although the last 5 min was interesting, nothing leading up to it was as well executed as BB. Deadwood was a good ending, but also cut off before its time, the Wire was a bleak, competent continuation of what came before but also sort of tried to put a post script on the major characters in a way that didn’t yield a great episode viewed in isolation … I think it’s hard to end these things and I agree with the reviewer that the very last 45 min of the series were overly concerned with tying things up in neat bows, but when I think of the ending, I think of the last 3 episodes and the precipitous fall of Walter, hated by his family, paying someone $10k for an hour of cards, with everything he lied and killed for gone, amounting to nothing. The last episode was maybe a spoonful of sugar we didn’t totally need, but we still took our medicine (IMHO).