You're always going to root for the guy who's fighting the Nazis, I guess.
Of course, Walt only accomplished all of that because he admitted his own monstrousness. The moment he does so is pivotal to both the episode and the entire series. Just when we expect to hear him tell Skyler the same old garbage delusions about family, he surprises her: "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really—I was alive." He gets it. Walter White finally reveals himself. He recognizes his own evil.
As Linda Holmes put it a few weeks ago, "What makes Breaking Bad one of the most moral shows in the history of television is that actions have consequences, whether those actions arise from pain or greed or fear or panic. You pay for your actions, not the operation of your heart." The best way to judge Walt's life is not by his intentions, but by his actions. That's why it matters so much to see him confess his egomania to Skyler. His greedy hunger was the secret that corrupted his soul. "Felina" allowed Walt to admit his sins, tidy up the mess he made, and punish the people who wronged him. It gave him a chance to do good —or rather, stop breaking bad—before he died on his own terms. It pushed Walt into noble anti-hero territory, despite six years of evidence that he is a villain.
Maybe you're right, Spencer. Maybe "Felina" is supposed to make us feel uncomfortable about the way it all ends. After all, Jesse escaped, but he will never be saved.
Walt was an irredeemably terrible person, and no matter what he accomplished, the world will remember him as a drug kingpin who died in a shootout. I want to believe he knew that with his dying breath. I want to believe that as he stared at his reflection, he understood that his sins would not be cleansed. That he could never undo the damage he caused. That he did not control his legacy. I want to believe, but I just don't know. All we know is what he did.
No, this wasn't a happy ending. It was a difficult one.
Gould: Happy. I'm inclined to agree with Spencer—albeit assuming something other than the usual sense of the word. Chris, you want to believe Walt died reflecting clearly on the magnitude of his failure as a human being and the death and destruction this failure has brought to so many lives. ("I Want to Believe": It's a good motto for affirming a series created by a former writer and producer for The X-Files.) But I saw none of that.
Walt did confess his selfishness to Skyler: Despite being able to leave millions to his family, he knows he built the Heisenberg empire for himself: "I liked it." I don't know if it's clear to me that this confession is the full recognition of his own evil you interpret it as, Chris, though you may be right. It's certainly not clear to me that Walt regrets anything he's done. He's provided for his family, which, in his pride, he seems to care more about than he cares about what he's done to them along the way. He's humiliated Gretchen and Elliott, who are together a major, if not the main, focus of his anger and resentment. And he's destroyed his enemies—and along with them the capability for anyone to "steal" his work ever again.