Let me preface this by saying: I binged. I binged hard. I devoured five seasons, all 62 episodes, in precisely 10 days—and that’s with a full-time job, mind you. (I ❤ Netflix.)
I normally write this column on the same day that we put the Gazette to bed—our lovely fall issue that you now hold in your hands closed Monday, September 29, 2014. It just so happens that Sunday, September 29, 2013 was the day that the kingpin of cable dramas, “Breaking Bad,” drew to a final close. Writing about my experience with the show felt particularly poetic that day.
For those of you who have not dabbled in Walter White’s descent into the seedy underworld of crystal meth production, beware—I’m not one to hold back on spoilers, especially when there are so many juicy talking points. So if you’ve never watched or are considering maybe someday watching, now’s your chance to avert your eyes—I’m talking directly to fellow fans from this point on.
First of all, people use the term “mind-blowing” a little too loosely, in my opinion. No. That should only be reserved for when you find yourself staring blankly at a television screen as the credits roll, to the point where you forget to blink, as I did a couple weeks back when “Felina” ended around 1 a.m. on a Monday night. (And I paid for it at work the next day.) I joked on Facebook and Twitter that I had brain matter oozing out my ears, but the description wasn’t too far off. Wowza.
I’d been toying with the idea of giving BrBa a shot for months. I take note of what shows consistently win awards, and after the Emmys were once again swept by Vince Gilligan’s brainchild, I figured it was time. (That and the fact that I’ve been hearing about its brilliance nonstop from one Mr. Joseph Korba.) My mother and I sat down on a Saturday night and gave it the pilot test. We then watched three more. After she went to bed, I finished the entire first season. I was hooked.
Hooked. Addicted. Overdose. Withdrawal. Any and all vaguely drug-related clichés apply to the viewing of this show; I spent the next 10 days in a bluish haze.
The concept is something that really just makes you stop and wonder what any one person is capable of. If you had an opportunity to make all the money you could ever need or want to spend, would you do it? Would it matter how? What if you knew you had a limited number of days left? Would you be more reckless? More willing to throw caution to the wind and live a little? When do the lines between right and wrong become blurred? It was fascinating to watch this mild-mannered Mr. Rogers type transform before your eyes into a complete sociopath.
As for Walt’s literal partner-in-crime, I hate to say it, but as a 20 something female, the ever so endearing and attractive Jesse Pinkman was probably my favorite character and part of the show in general. They could’ve kept him solely as Walt’s comic counterpart, really only there to mess up and provide some cheap laughs (“Cow house?”) but as intriguing as it was to watch Walt spiral down, it was even more satisfying watching Jesse rise up and become the moral anchor. He may not have been doing much with his life before Walt grabbed hold of him, but he finally reached a point where enough was enough and nothing was worth becoming a murderer, not even millions of dollars.
My eyes popped when I read on IMDb that Gilligan originally planned to kill Jesse off at the end of season 1. Not simply for shallow reasons, I’m glad they allowed him to live—not just through season 1, but throughout the series. I can’t imagine what it would have looked like without him, mainly because Walt’s treatment and manipulation of Jesse was usually an accurate implication of Walt’s own mindset at any given point. After everything that poor kid went through, I practically laughed/cried with him when he finally escaped the “empire” once and for all.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of situations and moments in this show that I’d love to talk about, so I invite all readers who’d rather wear pajamas than deal with people, particularly Breaking Bad fans, to come back to our website on Thursday, October 9. I’ll post a breakdown of ten of my favorite scenes in lieu of a Thursday Top Ten (seeing as how my co-writer will be on his honeymoon) for a special exclusive Breaking Bad edition of POP.
One thing’s for certain; I couldn’t be happier to have finally broken bad!