Breaking Bad Binge

Let’s party like it’s 2013, 3.5 readers.

I recently went down the rabbit hole of a Breaking Bad binge. I haven’t watched it in years, so much of it was fresh. It’s also funny how when I first watched it when I was younger, I identified more with Jesse and all the angst that comes with growing up and realizing you’re on your own because the adults don’t know as much as you thought they did. Now I’m old and I identify more with Walt, i.e. the older you get, the less shits you have to give because the bitterness grows as you realize with age comes wisdom but also with more doors slamming in your face.

Of course, the whole moral of the story was just when you think it can’t get any worse so you might as well give up on all semblance of morality and engage in any evil deed you desire, you will discover that there always is something else to lose. Walt comes to the meth business with a suburban Karen-esque mentality i.e. “I need to speak with the meth biz’s manager because the meth gangs aren’t playing fair.” As he learns, dealing meth isn’t like being a teacher. You can’t complain to the union when things go wrong. Various baddies threaten Walt, his kids, his loved ones. Crime doesn’t pay and there’s always something more to lose.

At any rate, this is one of those shows that benefitted from the early days of streaming. It’s premise, a man with a cancer death sentence decides to embrace a life of crime because screw it, if he gets arrested he’ll be dead soon anyway, sounded kind of sad. And truly, it is. Writer and producer Vince Gilligan doesn’t let his characters off the hook with happy endings. He explains how they got into this terrible life and adheres to a rule of those who do bad things get bad consequences.

I could talk about this show from a writing standpoint forever, but instead, let’s watch Walt Jr. rap about breakfast:

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4 thoughts on “Breaking Bad Binge

  1. tealveyre says:

    “you might as well give up on all semblance of morality”-the way your review is written, it’s like you’re saying the characters have no agency. But Walt is very much the cause of his own problems. Walt is an evil man who destroys himself and his family. I absolutely love breaking bad, but not because it’s some trite postmodern piece about morality having no place. It’s a character study. It’s a beautiful and gripping character study of one man’s quest for respect and status. It’s a lot like John Steinbeck’s ‘The Pearl’ in many ways. It’s a classic: ‘quest for greed causes the main character’s downfall’ story. Idk maybe your point just isn’t coming across well in this post. It’s not entirely clear what you’re saying.

    • I think if you read on I go into how Walt felt at first that he has nothing left to lose so he might as well give up on morality and cook meth. However as I said, the point in the show is even if you think you have nothing left to lose, you always do. Walt never gave much thought into how it might affect his family until it was too late, so he did in fact have more to lose. They either end up dead (Hank) or ruined (everyone else) and hating him. Bitter as he was about not making more of his life, he would have been better off just sticking with the bland life to the end and being remembered as lovable but sad Dad and teacher who wish he had done more but loved his wife and kids.

      I found I did get more out of it after a second watch. For example, Walt should never have cooked meth but if he was going to he should have listened to Jesse and gone safe and slow. Jesse wanted to do the selling himself just to local junkies he knew, maybe make a million after a year. Walt scoffs and wants big money now, ignoring Jesse’s advice that you really dont want to get into bed with gangsters like Tucco. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

      Anyway, Walt had a lot of naivete that came back to bite him. Jesse too.

  2. I don’t remember Walt becoming a drug kingpin after receiving the death sentence because he thought, hey, what the hell, it’ll be fun. I thought he went down that path because he had bad insurance that wouldn’t cover his treatments and when he died he didn’t want to leave his family in debt so he did what he knew to provide. Then things just spiraled from there.

    I don’t believe that Walt was ever evil. He was a guy who got dealt a crappy hand and dealing with it transformed him from a schlub to a very powerful, very rich, man. I’m not sure there are many who wouldn’t make the same decision he made for worse reasons, even knowing that it wouldn’t end well. Walt was lucky because he always knew it would end badly.

    • Would he have done it though without the death sentence? There were insurance problems but most people would have either swallowed their pride and taken Elliot and Gretchen’s money or just told Skyler tough luck but I hate those two and I’d rather die than take their money. Few would cook meth. Walt knew their was a risk he’d get caught but figured since he’d be dead soon the consquences wouldn’t last long. I don’t think he thought about how it would hurt his family until it was too late.

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