Sunday, August 11, 2013

Breaking Bad

Tonight the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad begin on AMC.  If you haven't seen the show before DO NOT watch.  Instead, go and watch the prior 53 episodes first.  Breaking Bad may be the finest of the cable drama series, even surpassing The Sopranos (something THC didn't think could be done).

Walter White (Bryan Cranston), quiet, highly intelligent, who missed his one chance to get rich and be recognized for his achievements, now teaches the chemistry he loves to bored high school students when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The choices he makes in response take him down a path of criminal enterprise, manufacturing methamphetamine in order to, as he tells himself, provide for his family when he's gone.  There is a lot of drugs and crime in the series but that's not really what it is about.  It is what happens when personal inner demons that have been suppressed finally hatch and the havoc it wreaks on Walt and everyone in his path.  As Andy Greenwald at Grantland wrote

"Breaking Bad, to its enormous credit, isn't about everything. It's about one thing and always has been: Walter White's calamitous path not from Mr. Chips to Scarface but from homeroom to the gates of hell."

In The Sopranos all the characters were the same from start to finish; we just learned more about them as the series progressed.  In Breaking Bad, all the major characters, not just Walt, change, as does our perception of them.  It has a more intimate feel which makes the intensity almost unbearable at times.  A memorable show but it is time for it to end and for Walt to get what he deserves.
(Walter, Season 1)
(Walter, Season 5)

And, don't forget - if you're in trouble, "Better Call Saul"

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