“You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!” – Walter White
Breathtaking! Awesome. Totally mindblowing! Quite possibly the greatest TV show of all time! I could go on and give Breaking Bad even more wonderful praise and undying love of quotes but I am too choked up with tears and despair. Yes I am sad today as I have just watched the last 55 minutes of a show that will forever be in my heart as the best thing I have ever seen on the small screen.
As 10.3m viewers in America are still digesting what they have seen and most probably NETFLIX confused and worried at the wave of cancellations now BB has ended, I am too numb to even think or breath at what my life will be like now that Walter White has finally met his maker. There be no more blue pills of meth on the market, no more “Pollos” to order chicken from, every single life moment of the family of the White’s has come to an end and a part of me has died with it! TV Life will never be this good again.
Its amazing for me personally that a show that only came into my life a mere month and half back could simply overtake everything that I have ever loved. I mean 24, Lost, Quantum Leap, The Sopranos, X Files, The Shield, The Wire, DEXTER and countless a few more have always been TV Shows that I can shout from the roof tops and demand my friends and family to seek out and watch. Breaking Bad was different! Thanks to a many not taking a chance in our home country of Great Britain, the perils of Walter White ended after two seasons with no other TV Station willing to pick up the rights and give it a go. With Dexter Morgan becoming huge, there seemed to be no room for a Science teacher and his student and I like many others just missed the boat and didn’t think much of it. Up until six weeks ago, I was oblivious to what “Heinsberg” was, not realising that it was probably the greatest TV character ever written and it was only by chance that I was persuaded to watch the show that I found something really special.
Being bullied by a close friend to start watching and then stumbling on a news article that stated looking back with correct accuracy that “BB is a must see TV GOLD!”, I sat down at the only site available (thank you Netflix), and embarked on a journey of a normal man who after discovering he had cancer, ends up becoming the most wanted man in America. Put in the words of creator Vince Gilligan’s ….”from Mr Chips to Scarface”, the journey of a normal man to cold blooded killer was gripping and immense. Yes it started off slow with Season one setting up the path for what would eventually become a rollercoaster that would physically drain those who watched.
Walter and Jesse with the now infamous RV that set in motion a world of Drugs and murder
Looking back at the days when Walter played with such vigour and esteem by Bryan Cranston and his student Jesse Pinkman, an equally impressive Aaron Paul, were cooking Meth at the back of the rusty RV van. It seemed simpler days. There was Walter who just wanted to make some money for his family before his cancer gets him, cooking some Meth and Jesse was the guy who knew a guy who could sell the drugs on the streets. It was a simple idea, easy money for them both, but who would have known that those blue pills were to become the best on the market and with word of mouth came the danger of gangs and a chicken restaurant owner who was silent but a vicious bastard when wanted.
Investing in the first two seasons may at times may have been a hard slog. But the seeds of destruction and the guy who Walter would become was seen way back even before he was given the diagnosis that he had lung cancer. At a house party and with his DEA agent brother in law Hank ( a much understated but brilliant Dean Norris) watching a news report about a Meth drugs bust, this exchange took place….
Walter: Hank, How much money is that?
Hank: Ah, it’s about seven-hundred grand, a pretty good haul.
Walter: Wow… that’s… unusual isn’t it, that kind of cash?
Hank: Um it’s not the most we ever took. It’s easy money, till we catch ya.
Its often mistaken that Walter started cooking Meth because of the cancer and that he wanted to gain extra money for his family in case he dies. In his own mind that is what he probably thought himself, but that one little piece of conversation sums up the entire beauty of this TV show, in that not once it sells out to the cheap crowd. It makes you think hard at what you seeing, there are hidden meaning and a level of darkness at play. In my mind, cancer or not, Walter would have ended up doing what he did simply because he wanted too. Once he saw how much money he could earn then he was awake, like he said in the final episode last night….”he felt alive!”….
Seasons two, three and four were all about getting to the point when Walter become the most wanted man in America. There was no rush to get to that plot! Gilligan showed great restraint not giving the fans what they wanted and what we had in front of us was a realistic tale of a normal guy becoming a force of evil.
Rewatching the moment in Season 2 involving the death of Jesse’s girlfriend Jane (Krysten Ritter) is the start of Walter becoming Heisenberg…….. who? To stop people from guessing what he is up too and not to be recognised, Walter invents a pseudonym “Heisenberg” a guy with dark shade glasses and a stylish Bollman 1940’s Pork Pie Hat. Believe me, after his chemo and with having to shave his hair, having looked like Malcolm In The Middle’s dad for the opening pilot episode, by the time you see this look….the guy just looks like a drug king!
Going back to that moment in season two and with Jesse and Jane having taking drugs and Walter looking over them, it was here that Jane in her unfit state starts to choke on her own vomit. Walter looks as if he is all set to help her and there is a moment of flash in which he does think to do it, but then the evil which threatened for a while comes to the surface and for his own gain, he watches her die. From that moment on, Walter, the family guy of two children and a wife in Skyler ( stunning, remarkable and now Emmy award winner Anna Gunn) died and Heisenberg was born…….
It may have been slow to get to the point of when Walter was the drug king (we talking season 5 here), its the path to that moment that made the journey so worthwhile. Those who have stuck with it have been richly rewarded and there you can see by the evidence that each new season bought in new viewing figures as word of mouth and DVD sales rocketed and all of a sudden Breaking Bad became the most talked about TV Show for many of years. Not bad for a programme that is rudely ignored in my country.
But while Season 5 bought the highlight of Walter it also was the start of his downfall and with it came moments of sheer TV brilliance that will never be matched or bettered. The moment Hank on the toilet of all places discovers that the guy he is looking for is right underneath his nose was a cliffhanger to marvel at and I also doubt I will ever see two episodes like Ozymandias and Granite State that will take me to such a dark emotional place ever again in my lifetime.
Which of course brings me to the final ever episode which aired last night?
No words can describe just how I am feeling right now! I will no doubt love the last 55 minutes of Breaking Bad in the near future but at the moment I am angry that it is finished. Its very rare these days that a show gets an ending as usually they are axed well before and when they do get a final shout they sometimes get it totally wrong, like the black screen fiasco that greeted every single Sopranos fan and don’t get me started with the diabolical that was DEXTER.
Breaking Bad had a beginning, a middle and an end all the way back when it first started. Not once did it decide to get clever and change plan, Vince Gilligan knew what he wanted and everything that happened on screen was how it was meant to be told. Walter having lost everything decided to fight back and gain some kind of humanity. No longer was money an issue, Walter wanted to bow out knowing that he had finally done the right thing and to the credit of Gilligan, every plot arc had a closure.
Those who expected a bloodbath and Walter out for revenge were once again taken by surprise at just how this played out. Breaking Bad’s beauty was to unexpect the unexpected, no one could ever guess what was going to happen throughout this run and the low key offering we had of the finale was TV gold. Even the last scene between Walt and Jesse did not need any long speeches towards each other, just a knowing glance, a slight nod! This was written with every ounce and affection for every fan who had invested in the five seasons, even to the slight cameo of the small characters of Badger and Skinny Pete which was a welcome delight.
Filled with humour, knowing nods to what went on before (Walt is wearing the same shirt as in the pilot) and the darkness we have grown to love, Walter is dead, having said his goodbyes and leaving a wake of bodies and mess! It was a sad and tearful image that made my heartbreak as I realised that there be no more Meth cooking or Walter’s lies to his family. Yes we will have the spin off prequel Better Call Saul starring the crazy lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk, but we can only dream that it will match what this TV show had to offer.
Breaking Bad was a TV show better than anything in recent years. It showed originality and was never afraid to take risks (just look at the shooting of the child in Season 5). I have never been so emotionally drained by watching a TV show, it was at times funny while tragic and took the viewer to a dark place while not once losing its essence. It was about a simple man who made one wrong choice and ended up becoming an infamous bad guy…..
Walter White, I will take off my hat and shades and salute you……… for its been an experience that as taken me as high as the pills of Meth you offer….
My life will never be the same again!………………….
While I knew and many others thought the same that Walt would die, what if he hadn’t? A part of me wanted the climax to pave out like it did but instead of Walt ending up dead, he was arrested but without a care in the world as he knew had not long to live and that he was dying of cancer. What I hoped was that he would be stunned to find out that that his cancer hadn’t returned. We never saw that moment he was told the disease was back, and with all the chaos and life changing disasters, he assumed it had returned but in a bitter twist of fate, it wasn’t. The final shot would have been Walt in the prison cell, all his sins coming back to haunt him, but with all his money out there and a market still waiting for his meth to be cooked, it would have closed the series but also offered hope that it may return…..
wishful thinking I suppose………………