***SPOILERS at the end***
Breaking Bad is a crime-drama television show that was created & produced by the amazing producer Vince Gilligan. Breaking Bad was shown on the AMC on January 20, 2008, and lasted for five seasons, to September 29, 2013. The show narrates the story of a highly struggling high school chemistry teacher who got diagnosed with lung cancer, named Walter White played by Bryan Cranston, Walter start cooking meth in collaboration with his former pupil Jesse Pinkman played by Aaron Paul.
I watched the jaw-dropping season 4 finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad Sunday night with that mixture of awe and wondered that only the best art could inspire.
Like all forms of mass media, television is a chameleon at heart. When it’s bad it can be mind-numbingly bad-melodramatic, reality shows bad but when it’s good-I mean Mad Men, The Wire good it can approach the sublime.
Vince Gilligan’s acclaimed series is at its heart the study of Walter White’s transformation from a struggling, mild-mannered high-school chemistry teacher to a meth-cooking, morally descending murderer. But, as fans and critics alike agree, Breaking Bad is so, so much more.
Like all great characters, Walt is by no means a caricature. What makes him so interesting, so irresistible even in his conniving, child-poisoning evil is his complexity as a human being. Here is an individual cut open and laid bare before us stinking guts and all. It’s painful but cathartic to witness.
In Walt’s case, it’s partially fate (his cancer), but primarily his own doing that has led to his life unraveling before our very eyes. Greek tragedy comes to mind, as does Shakespeare: think of the callousness of Macbeth coupled with an internal and external world spiraling out of control and you get the idea.
Compared to Walt, meth addict Jesse sometimes appears so naive, so innocent. But, of course, Jesse is no angel. He too is neck-deep in the big muddy. Manipulated by Gus and Walt, Jesse has been a frequent pawn in an epic chess match between two grand masters. But Jesse has blood on his hands as well and clearly Gilligan has many more trials in store for this young man.
The possibilities for the 5th & final season of the show are delicious. As in Greek or Shakespearean tragedy, Walt’s life may come to a devastating albeit predictable end. Is there some possibility for redemption here? Perhaps it’s too late for Walt–he’s gone too far–and redemption is in store for Jesse alone.
Were it a novel, many of us would stay up all night reading to find out. But television, by its serial nature, takes that choice out of our hands in a sense. In this way it mimics life. For as in life, with television we have to wait until next week, or in this case, next season to find out what happens. This only adds to its power, its irresistible mystic. And when it’s this good, few want to resist.
If you are seeking for a good TV show to watch, I recommend you to start and watch Breaking Bad; it’s an amazing TV show. If you already watched the show, you know how awesome she is, and you might want to look and find some Breaking Bad gifts.
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