I have heard of and read about Breaking Bad for quite sometime already but I was busy with whatever I was pretending to be busy about so I did not give the series much thought. Enter Rochelle who said I should give it a try for she was sure I would love it. Five seasons and fifty four episodes later, I have felt every kind of emotion possible towards the show, the creators and its characters.
Breaking Bad is the story of a brilliant yet underachiever chemist working as a high school teacher diagnosed with lung cancer (on top of his wife having an unplanned pregnancy and his son suffering from some neuromuscular disease) who started cooking methamphetamine with a former student to pay the bills and leave inheritance for his family. Thanks to his chemical background, the product he produced was the purest form available in the market. The show is basically about their adventures and (mostly) misadventures into the illegal drug world, the evolution of the main character (because you cannot really call him a ‘protagonist’) Walter White from small time cook with good intentions to drug lord who wouldn’t let anyone interfere with his ’empire’.
I have a small number of shows under my belt but this has got to be one of the best produced ever. It’s intense and at the same time subtle. Most of the scenes which gripped me with suspense do not even include guns or death. And the writers know how to respect their viewers because they treat us like we are thinking beings with actual brains (i.e. not giving TMI). Also, the characters are real people. How can I say? because you cannot like one all throughout and they do stupid things at one point or another. Marie for example, who irritated me in the first few episodes was the only likable one in the end.
This series very much reminds me of The Godfather and Michael Corleone (because really, the whole point of the movie was Al Pacino’s character becoming evil). He started as the hero and ended up being the brain behind the intricate web that is the Mafia.
It got me thinking, are certain people more predisposed to break bad? Is there a higher percentage for those with higher IQs (most supervillains are geniuses)? Or is it the same for everyone and the only differentiating factor is a stimuli that would force us to go beyond the thin line between good and evil?
In our psychology class way back in first year college, our professor presented us with two thoughts (I forgot who the philosophers/scientists were). One was that humans are naturally good but society makes them bad while the other claims that humans are in fact naturally evil and it is the society that makes them act humane. I remember being bothered by that thought for days on end. Four years later, I still don’t have an answer. Maybe it’s not a question of whether we are inherently good or bad, maybe it’s the choice we make every single day. And if there’s one thing I learned from all the Sunday services I have attended, it’s the fact that no one is righteous and we will always fall short. But by the grace of God, we can manage.
Towards the end of season 5, Skyler brought Walter in a storage locker and showed him all the money that he has amassed in three months, more money than they can spend in 10 lifetimes. Then she asked, “How much is enough?”.
In the beginning, Walt just planned to make 737,000 dollars. How come he is not contented with five million then? I think people will never be contented when the question asked is “how much” or “how many” because we will always want more. A bigger house, a better phone, a fattier paycheck, and any other comparatives (if not superlatives). more. more. more. Hard as it may sound, the answer lies not on things but on our perception of them.
Lastly (I hate spoilers but I am guilty of spoiling. Readers would go ahead and read on anyway even if there’s a warning. I’m sorry but I need to get this off my chest), among all the lives lost in the series, Mike’s (whose half measure story I would never forget) death was the saddest for me. Father figures always hit too close to home. Before Mike it was the motorbike kid and Gale’s (whose character by the way still haunts Walt. haha).
So excited for the other half of season five! How will the story end? Or better yet, will it live up to the hype and not disappoint?