Breaking Bad: A Reading

Well that was that! Breaking Bad is done, having set a path few shows will ever traverse again.

It deserved its accolades too. The last episode was the best ending as you could have had with a show this good – it was a cultural phenomenon. This ending, no matter what the opinion on the matter, is no Sopranos!

Undoubtably, this show will rank up there with some of the best television and storytelling ever. It not only presented a character unlike any other – Walter White ran the gamut of Captain Ahab to Michael Corleone to Rockafeller to Tony Soprano – and took him through hell and back, from white hat to black to white again. And best of all, it did so continuously blind sighting us all throughout.

At the end of the penultimate episode, pretty much everyone was certain that Walt was going to kill the Shwartzs. With gleeful cynicism we were all trying to find the great dark motivation and closure to his story of spiritual and judicial fall. That’s what we have been conditioned to for so long – to see men fall and to only expect the fall to continue in perpetuity. The promo advertising “Felina” was also perpetuating these expectations: with Junip’s “Line of Fire” portentously playing over a montage of all the characters and all that has happened.

However in the end Walter White ended up playing the good guy, fitting into the messiahnic fate. His actions might have led to so much suffering for the people around him (Hank is the hero after all), but this did not excuse him in the end from taking responsibility for his actions. He set things right, as best as he could. Jessie was free, his family taken care off, Skyler got the truth, and he was back with his Baby Blue.

Such an ending was both what we can expect from the media, but also not. It was the moral ending that television has made common sensical, but it also flouts the general ethos of time – of paranoia, of libertarianism, lassie faire common sense, etc. It was neat, in a time when people simply don’t believe in neat.

Sources

“’Breaking Bad’ series finale smashes all records” http://goo.gl/24hdMv

“The Hero of Breaking Bad.” http://goo.gl/A7RsJn

“Breaking Bad Finale Review.” http://goo.gl/J2aoSc

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