Monday, 30 September 2013

about the one who knocks

It is an end of an era.  Sunday evenings will never be the same again.  Chris Hardwick will still grace the 10pm AMC slot, this time talking about the zombie apocalypse, but even he is hurting and going through Breaking Bad withdrawal when I caught him making a couple of Heisenberg references in a panel discussion about Walking Dead.

I was late to the party.  My sister begged me back in June to watch the premiere episode and let me decide based on that alone to commit to the show.  I binge watched 4 and a half seasons until the last available ep where Hank sits in the toilet holding Whitman’s Leaves of Grass reading Gale’s note to Walter White.

My knowledge of film and television critique is limited to classes I took in university (I studied Film) and countless of hours spent watching tv and movies… Breaking Bad undoubtedly is the best show on television.  It is.

There is not a weak link to be found in any part of this series. The writing, directing, editing, music, acting, cinematography, my God the cinematography!… I could go on and on. Creator and perfect Southern gentleman Vince Gilligan had such a unique vision for Breaking Bad, and it is exemplified throughout the show.  Each character evolution is magnificently written, creating a sense of tension which is escalated by the superb acting that each cast member brings to the table.

Every season delivers gut punching moments aided by Bryan Cranston’s masterful and dazzling portrayal of Walter White brilliantly morphing into the monstrous Heisenberg.  For every sympathetic moment, every time Walt saves Jesse, defends Hank or plays the benign paterfamilias, there is a moment of monstrosity.  Heisenberg’s tentacles keep unfurling, and we end up torn between the ordinary downtrodden man we first met and the drug kingpin sociopath we now know.

The brilliance that Gilligan delivers is our constant astonishment as to why we, as viewers, find deep in our hearts, that we still root for Walter White.  Throughout the entire series, he insists to his now chain smoking wife that he did it all in the name of family.  And we believe him.  Damnit.  (I wonder though if the show had been written from Jesse's point of view..would we still feel the same way for Mr. White?)

One of the most gut wrenching scenes in the Felina episode (series ender) shows Walt finally admitting to Skylar, 
“I did it for me...... And I was really-- I was alive."  
It is the line where he finally redeems himself and where Gilligan acknowledges that this story is not just about a chemistry teacher’s voyage into crystal meth production.  It’s a story of a man and his kick-ass midlife crisis. 

Apart from numerous technical and artistic awards, Breaking Bad has earned plaudits for its “uncannily accurate” depiction of the meth trade.  I don’t know if the local drug syndicates employ gifted chemists and crystallographers to manufacture their product, but scientific aptitude is the last thing one associates with meth-heads.  Toothlessness and bizarre behavior, yes, though they sometimes can be talented musical prodigies like Skinny Pete and Badger.  Oh wait.  They’re not real people. Ack!

Oh Saul, I will miss you the most.  

say his name.