Everyone roughly knows the storyline and the generic explanation people give when they briefly explain the concept can sometimes be a bit repetitive: this high school chemistry teacher gets lung cancer so to support his family and pay for his treatment, he starts cooking crystal meth. And more often than not people seem a bit dubious about the whole thing. So after copious attempts to encourage (or should I say force) all my friends to watch it, I tend to receive many shaking head and odd looks. However, it is understandable as it is an abstract concept. Yet, then again, this small detail is probably what makes it so great.
Created in 2008 by Vince Gilligan for US television channel AMC, the show recently wrapped five successful seasons last month, with season five being split into two so technically making it a sixth season but technically not. During these years, it has attained much attention with the ratings almost doubling from the fourth to fifth season. Critics have stated that it is the best television show of all time, mainly because of the conceptual ideas it presents on issues like morality, life and death.
Walter White’s spiral from a benevolent chemistry teacher into an evil, manipulative and homicidal drug lord is one of the things that makes Breaking Bad so intriguing. The show focuses on how death and the prospect of it can change someone so drastically. Walt’s illness makes him realise how short life is. You can die unexpectedly at any time therefore you should make the most of it and do as you please, without thinking about the consequences. Gilligan has previously stated how he wanted to create a character where the protagonist became the antagonist and Walter White’s complex character is the epitome of that description. Walter transforms from the one you are rooting for to the one you are not sure you even want to win. It is very confusing for the audience as you feel you should support him; he is the protagonist after all. However, his actions and ideas as the series goes on sway you from supporting him. The character development is incredible here. It provides an interesting and curious insight into the mind of a cancer patient and the ways it affects them.
Unlike many television shows these days, Breaking Bad had an original plot and was quite realistic when regarding the drug scene in New Mexico. It didn’t hide anything and always portrayed the gritty truth rather than covering up the harshness of life. Furthermore, sticking to its gritty nature, the way in which Walter single handedly ruined everything around him begs the question of how far an individual will go to for power. He keeps justifying that everything he did was for his family and not for him but was it really? Maybe it was just a cover up for his true intentions of gaining power?
Meanwhile, the writing is continuously on top form with memorable phrases such as Walt’s threatening ‘I am the one who knocks’ and Jesse’s comical ‘yeah bitch.’
Thus, the conclusion to the series seemed to arrive too quickly. After spending ages practically devoting my life to the series like the fangirl I am, everything was suddenly over and I didn’t really know what to do with myself. Yet, it was a brilliant send off and ending to a beautifully crafted series. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole episode and it even brought a few tears to my eyes as certain events played out. Some critics think it was rushed but I disagree, they did what they needed to do in the time they had.
Ultimately, Breaking Bad is a modern day masterpiece that will be remembered for many years to come. It is a shame it had to end but it ended at the right time and although I will miss it, I have the spin-off Better Call Saul to look forward to next year.