I tried not to write any spoilers into this but I know I have, so please don’t read if you’re still watching Breaking Bad, it’ll ruin it for you and believe me you don’t want that. Turn off your computer or your phone or what ever you read this on and go and watch the show.
Breaking Bad has been on telly for many years but I only saw series 1 after I got it from my fiancé for Xmas 2013. I’d heard about it many times from many people, all of whom I considered crazy. I mean how good can a TV show be, right? Watching series one in one go was like taking a drug because I was hooked from episode 1 and after the first series ended I came down and I went cold Turkey and so I had to beg for series 2. Which I got for Valentines Day (best Valentines ever, apart from the one where… oh never mind 😉 ) and then I consumed that even faster, skipping a night or two of sleep in the process. On the eighteenth of February I wanted more, more, MORE!
Luckily for me my birthday is a few days after Valentines and my missus, seeing my withdrawal pains got me series 3, 4, 5 and 6. And like any good partner I got her hooked too (so we could share addiction – like good BB fans, or romantic meth-heads) so we could enjoy them together.
This last weekend we had Friday-Monday off work. So we spent the 4 days wisely and watched all of them, and I mean series 3-6 almost non stop (apart from food and refreshment breaks which are mandatory by law – but breaks are bad.) And now its over I want more and I can’t, its over (I won’t bother with the Ending spoilers, but its over. It gets pretty damn dark towards the end too.)
Again I may accidentally leave a spoiler or two, stop reading if you don’t want to see something you may regret.
Still reading? Expect spoilers then, you have been warned.
Is Marie or Skyler supposed to be the bit of fluff for the blokes watching? I never worked that out. American series usually have one but I never worked out which was the one. (I read once that American TV shows cannot be commissioned without something for everyone, maybe it was a bit about generic TV comedy, but you had to have a Family Guy set up – Mom, dad, son, daughter, pet, black man, sex addict, disabled person etc, because you then have a wide range of subjects to tackle and a bunch of people to interact in their own unique way ie white man, black man, woman, ethnic, gay, teenage, etc etc, seems plausible when you watch American TV right?) Both of them are likeable but Skyler did make a cuckold out of Walt with that Ted fella, and Teds demise was a bit sad, left paralysed in a hospital bed cus he can’t run straight. He was a dick who refused good advice from the married woman he was fucking, so as its fiction I can say I was happy with the outcome but wouldn’t have wished that on him. But Skyler was kinda lost to me after that. So she kept up the drugs/car wash charade, she did it for her kids not for Walt and for most of the show I was on Walts side, she was a bit of a cow. Or as Jesse would say, she was a BITCH! But I can understand her motives entirely. I probably ended up prefering Marie as ‘the bit of fluff.’
I felt sorry for Marie when Hank was murdered, he came so close to surviving but as very few people actually survive this little journey it was no great surprise. Hank, I thought was a great character even if he was a bit of an ungrateful twat when he was getting over being shot and treated his wife like crap.
Gus was an odd fellow. I’d love to know how much he spent on mobile phones as he spent a lot of time snapping them into pieces like he was about to eat a Kit Kat, when of course he wasn’t running a successful regional chicken franchise and selling crystal meth to Mexican cartels. Although his death was probably the most awesome, just because after the bomb goes off and you assume everyone’s dead he walks out and straightens his tie before we see the reveal and his collapse to the floor. That for me was a way to go, and worthy of a head of a huge drugs empire. Classic TV!
Walter White is the main character and I have to say I liked him all the way through it, even when he was trying to poison kids or admitting to Jesse that he watched his girlfriend overdose. He’s such an ambivalent character. Because of his lung cancer I felt very sorry for him but because of his breakdown and fall from being a chemistry teacher to a drug lord and what he does to achieve that made me feel very awkward towards him at the same time but just as I was about to start hating him he’d remind us of his illness or make a nice gesture (that may or may not have been accepted) towards Skyler or his kids.
Jesse, was a great character too because he too is ambivalent. His obvious drug use, drug making and drug peddling and the way he treats Walt sometimes was pretty damned annoying but his unwavering love of kids and justice he felt towards them when they were wronged I thought was awesome, but then who doesn’t feel protective towards kids, right? I suppose it says a lot about my view of the world we live in that its worthy of mention but I do feel that we live in a world where people are so selfish they don’t care about anyone, of any age, they just care about themselves. I think that’s why we like these flawed, dark and yet loveable characters in our drama and our fiction. Real life is dark and its nice to see a bit of humainty in a dark character, it offers us hope.
After Walt and Jesse probably my third fave character was Mike. I was really gutted when he died, and moreso that Walt killed him and then gave him the acid bath that we become so accustomed to during the show. He was very much a Mr Fix man like Mr Wolf in Pulp Fiction. He’s was an ex-cop who was smart, who covered all the angles and got the job done. Clinical and comical but ultimately comes to his cake and milk, just another life lost for coming into contact with Walter White.
Actually I noticed a lot of Tarantino winks in the series, maybe that was just me, but there certainly seemed to me to be more than one loveable parody of various themes and ideas used by Quentin. Especially a lot of the everyday, mundane conversations, a lot of diner scenes, the Mr Wolf type fix it guy (Mike) and there is the scene where Jesse picks up one weapon (I can’t remember which episode or what the weapons were but it stood out) and then sees a better one puts it down and picks a second weapon, then does the same again – very much like Butch in Jeds pawn shop when choosing the Samurai Sword before rescuing Marcellus Wallace.
I could go on and on about it, I really could, I’ve bloody loved it! Anyway, I’m seriously considering starting again and watching it at a more leisurely pace, maybe ten episodes at a time or so. It’s very rare for a TV show to grab me like that. Red Dwarf and The Simpsons are the only other shows that have ever grasped me in such a way in my life I think. I watched the first season of Homeland in one go and then got bored with series two after two episodes. Same with The Walking Dead. Great opening seasons, then once the format was established they fell away easily. I think Breaking Bad is just uniquely well done. I cared about all of the characters, and the change in Walt from Series 1 to series 6 is astonishing and so well done. I think having Cancer allows us to stay with him, without that he’d be just a disgusting, evil bastard. But that, and his love for his family and need for them to be secure after he dies, makes it a twisted, heartwarming, dark, sick journey of a man who’s intensions were always good, in the face of something bad, that takes him down a path of utter filth, greed, deprivation and lies.
I’m gonna miss Walter White, even though he is – in the end – nothing more than an evil piece of shit.
Can’t wait for the spin off with Saul Goodman.
PS – And not forgetting the iconic RV.