Breaking Bad ends
The latest celebrity news including Breaking Bad comes to an end after five seasons and Katy Perry thought of ending her life after her divorce from Russell BrandPT1M36S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2upag 620 349 October 1, 2013
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SPOILER ALERT: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MANY SIGNIFICANT PLOT DETAILS
In the end, it was all about the work. Not the money, not the family, not even the power. Walter White was hooked from beginning to end on the work, on what he was able to do with a room full of chemistry equipment. It was where he was most alive and, finally, where he died.
Aaron Paul, as Jesse Pinkman, left, and Bryan Cranston, as Walter White, in the finale of Breaking Bad. Photo: AP
After five brilliant and riveting seasons Breaking Bad gave us the ending it, and we, demanded. Walter went out in a haze of conflicted morality, bullets, drugs and money. There was redemption and there was judgement. And of course, there was an awful lot of bloodshed.
In his final moments, a bleeding Walt staggered through yet another crystal meth lab, fondling a gas mask, stroking a stainless steel chemical vat, seeing himself reflected in its surface. This was home. This was where he belonged. This was where he would finally lay down and die.
His parting exchange with wife Skyler was one of the finest moments in a show whose five seasons have been brimming with them.
Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), right, using ricin-laced artificial sweetener in her camomile tea during the series finale of Breaking Bad. Photo: AP
“Skyler, all the things that I did, you need to understand…,” he told his chain-smoking wife, who quickly interrupts with: “If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family…”
“I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really … I was alive,” he finally admits.
Almost imperceptibly, she sighed in relief. The truth at last.
Breaking Bad's Walter White: Man to Monster
Humble chemistry teacher Walter White in class during the pilot episode of Breaking Bad. Photo: AP
It was an echo of the moment in the very first episode when, emerging from the first of many brushes with disaster, with death, Walt stood outside the mobile home-cum-meth lab in the desert, in his underpants and a lab apron, and said to Jesse: “I am awake.”
Being handed a death sentence was the best thing that ever happened to Walter White. It gave him a licence to live. And if there's a simple message lurking inside Vince Gilligan's morally complex, occasionally overreaching and never less than enthralling series it is this: live every day like it's your last. Like you mean it. Like it's yours.
For all that he professed repeatedly to doing it all for his family, Walt was a deeply conflicted man on that front, a man who began this journey feeling that nothing was really his at all.
Goodbye Walt Jnr ... Walter takes one final look at Flynn from afar.
Skyler and his son Walt Jr were deadweights in his personal narrative – the pregnant woman, the crippled son – holding him back, and down. Preventing him from being his full self.
Trying to explain away his abduction by a Mexican drug cartel in season two, Walt claimed to have had a total brain fade brought on by the circumstances of his life. “Doctor, my wife is seven months pregnant with a baby we didn't intend. My 15-year old son has cerebral palsy. I am an extremely overqualified high-school chemistry teacher. When I can work, I make $43,700 per year.
"I have watched all of my colleagues and friends surpass me in every way imaginable. And within 18 months, I will be dead. And you ask why I ran?”
It was as close as he ever came to expressing the truth about his motivation until that final scene with Skyler.
You could see how he felt about his family in those moments with the inlaws, too. Beneath his exchanges with the uber-macho Hank, there was a barely concealed rage; for Marie's inane New Age prognostications, there was a thinly disguised contempt. Walt felt intellectually superior, and he was probably right. But he was emotionally and empathically stunted too.
Yet he also loved these people, Hank especially. He saw in his brother-in-law something he admired and wanted to be; the man he felt he'd never become. In the end, Hank wanted nothing more than to bring Walt down, but even as Nazi Jack pointed the gun at the DEA agent who would send both of them away if he could, Walt was trying to bargain for his life, offering the full $80 million of his ill-gotten gains in exchange for Hank's life. “You're the smartest guy I ever met,” Hank said from the desert floor, knowing far better than Walt what lay ahead. “And you're too stupid to see ... he made up his mind 10 minutes ago.”
Walt was like that in so many ways; he was incomplete as a human being. In a season one flashback to his postgrad days, he was asked by Gretchen if the bit that's unaccounted for in the chemical analysis of the human body might be the soul. “There's nothing but chemistry here,” he replied chuckling (soullessly, you might say).
The Walt we got to know just didn't read things right, didn't know how to behave, what to say, what tool to use. He was clever, but a klutz. But in a laboratory he was a genius, pure and simple. Well, 99.1 per cent pure, anyway.
That was his tragedy and his comedy: he could only be truly happy, truly in command, at work. He may have claimed the money from his meth cooking was all about leaving a legacy to his family, but look how careless he was with it, how many times he was sent back to zero, without passing go or collecting his $200. The money really only mattered insofar as it offered validation for the excellence of his work.
Through his work, he became immortal. “Now say my name,” he told the drug dealer Declan in the first half of the final season.
“You're Heisenberg,” the dealer replied, only to hear: “You're goddamn right.”
Walt was cold, mechanical, untroubled by moral niceties when it came to lying to his family or murdering rivals in the drug trade. His kill count by series end must have topped 30, but none of them was not in some way “deserving” (in Walt's cruel moral universe, that includes Jane, Jesse's junkie girlfriend, whom he watched choke to death on her own vomit in season two; she was guilty of leading Jesse astray, away from his work).
In truth, few were truly blameless. Hank lied to extract confessions; Skyler fudged an audit and had an affair with old flame Ted Beneke, then became so embroiled in Walt's activities that she could urge him to murder Jesse, with a shrugged “what's one more?” by way of quandary. Only Walt Jr perhaps remained more or less blameless, but only if you turn a blind eye to his occasional “why don't you just die?” outbursts.
In some respects, Walt remained the most morally honest of all, despite his lies and violence and meth cooking. He really did try to provide for his family, whatever he felt about them deep down. The phone call to Skyler, when he knew the police were listening, was a masterstroke of abuse calculated to make it seem she'd had no choice but to cower before this bullying criminal mastermind. If a man who is already dead can offer himself as a sacrifice, this was it.
His double life was not lived in pursuit of personal gratification. He never partook of the drugs he created. His second phone was for work, not illicit sexual liaisons. He never even visited a strip club. Walt – or Mr White, as Jesse persisted in calling him until he could no longer even bear to utter his name – remained the most straight-edged of badasses to the very end.
In Walter White, Vince Gilligan created a character with resonance well beyond the specifics of his twisted circumstances. This is a brilliant, incisive portrait of a familiar kind of stunted masculinity, albeit one made gothic and grotesque and frequently blackly comic.
Walt's curse is that he felt trapped – by his family, his job, his own inadequacies – until a death sentence set him free. And when he tasted freedom, he ran with it to the only place he could really revel in it. His work.
Now that's tragic.