Why I broke bad

I’ve been meaning to write a post that explains why I am such a huge fan and supporter of the show Breaking Bad, and I decided that I should wait until it was over so that I could fully express my feelings about the show based on the complete story arc. In the spirit of that there will probably be spoilers in this post, so if you haven’t seen the finale and spoilers bother you you probably shouldn’t read this post. Consider that your warning.

I will freely admit I got hooked on this show. It took awhile, it took awhile to sink in even after I started watching but once I understood what the show was saying I was all in and I had to see how it would all in. I kept watching because on all counts the show was amazing, the writing, the cinematography, the character development and the pacing. It was the best use of Television I think I’ve ever seen. Ouit of the three reason why I watched that show that’s the first that comes to mind, just based on the artistic merit alone it was something that I had to watch. One of the most pivitol moments from an artistic standpoint was the conclusion of the story arc in season 2. As we watched the planes come together on the radar, as the colided over the skies of Albuquerque, as I nearly had a panic attack because of the anticipation I was feeling for something horrible to happen, I knew that I was watching something special.

 

The second reason that I felt this was an important show was because of the philosophy of the show. There was tremendous commentary on the human condition presented by this show. Grey area, sin, brokenness, greed… it was all there. The idea that kept coming back was that there are real consequences for the selfishness we display, and after watching the finale and hearing Walt tell Skylar the true motivation behind his actions we can no longer pretend that Walt’s motivations were altruistic in nature.  Walt did what he did for himself, because it made him feel alive or as he said in the pilot “awake”

I secretly wished that the show would have ended with Hank either arresting Walt or shooting him and I was pissed when those dreams were dashed during Ozymandias. But I also understood that the world in which Breaking Bad exists would not allow for such a clean cut good guy wins over the bad guy ending. That doesn’t leave room for the grey that had been present throughout the entire season. Also seeing Walt bitterly weep for Hank’s passing was much more painful for Walt than it would have been for Hank to have shot him. The saddest moment in the show was when Walt finally lost his family. The primal scream that Walt lets loose after Skylar cuts his hand… that was not anger so much as it was grief. Walt lost everything and he spent the final 2 episodes putting into motion a way in which he could make it somewhat right in the end. Breaking Bad is in it’s most purest sense a tragedy. I did not want Walt to win but when he loses as badly as he does I felt sorry for him, because you are aware that it could have been different.

The third reason I watched is harder to share, it’s very personal. I have a history with Meth. No I’ve never taken it but I have friends, good friends who have and some of them are gone and one of them, I’ll call her M, is lucky to be alive.

I met her when we were both in HS and she was having trouble at home. My family actually let her live with us for a time towards the end of my senior year in high school as long as she agreed to not take meth. If you know anything about that drug not taking it when you are hoked is easier said than done. I still remember the morning that she came into my room with sores all over her arms and screaming about spiders that were crawling all over her. I still remember taking her to the ER. I still remember backing up her story because I was worried about her and didn’t want her to have to leave.

M told me once she used meth because she was worried about being fat and meth helped her to lose weight. She also liked the energy it gave her, she told me this one night on the phone and it was probably around 4 in the morning. SHe had kept me on the phone all night because she was too full of nervous energy to sleep and didn’t want to be alone, so I went without sleep and listened to her talk. Sometimes she would think that I was the only thing that was keeping her sane and sometimes she hated my guts and I had a hard time telling which was really her and which was the drugs. There was a sadness there that I wanted to save, the same sadness I saw in Jesse Pinkman. Jesse also reminded me a lot of M’s boyfriend who would later become her husband. He later shot himself and I am pretty sure meth had something to do with it. M is doing fine now she has been completely sober for 4 years and I could not be prouder of her. I asked her if I could write about her in this post and she said I could. What I’ve shared doesn’t even scratch the surface of what we’ve been through but it serves it purpose.

I hate meth, I hate the it exists and I hate what it has done to people I love. When Breaking Bad first started I didn’t want to watch it because I was concerned of the message it was sharing. We didn’t need a show glorifying making meth, we didn’t need to see how a Teacher lives a double life and becomes an awesome meth kingpin without his family knowing. As I came to understand that those ideas were only the surface of what the show was about I began to watch. Breaking bad is a cautionary tale and a part of me thinks that people who have used or sold meth should watch it because it is honest about the price you’ll pay. Mostly though it is a show that is honest about the state of our world, even the state of people that you would never figure to be evil. We’re all evil, we all have the potential to change from Walter White to Heisenberg. We all have the potential to destroy the very things that we hold most dear, even in the spirit of trying to protect those things. Vince Gilligan, whom I believe is an agnostic as I once was, has made the most compelling need for the gospel I have ever seen. Without Jesus, we will all end up as destroyed as Walter White was.

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