So long and thanks for all the meth
I don’t know what to do with my television-based life anymore.”Breaking Bad,” the AMC original series from former “X-Files” writer Vince Gilligan, is now over, and fans throughout the internet are reacting. What’s great about these reactions, though, is that the fans are happy with the conclusion that the show gave, instead of upset like the fans of “Dexter” who had to sit down and see the main character turn into a lumberjack in the last few minutes.
Spoilers for “Breaking Bad” lie ahead, just to warn all of you who have not caught up with America’s favorite teacher-turned-meth kingpin.
I first got into the show two summers ago while it was in its fourth season. The Walt vs. Gus story was nearing its conclusion, and I sped up to the show, watching three seasons in a week in order to catch up to what was airing on television.
What I found myself doing once I was caught up, however, was a bit different from what I had expected. Watching it on a weekly basis was hard to handle. The show was so incredibly intense, and I realized all the praise it was getting from reviewers.
The show managed to make you worry for all characters involved, even the terrible people. It gave you a protagonist who would eventually turn into the show’s antagonist, and then, at the last minute, convert back. Ladies and gentlemen, I rooted for Walter White in the last episode of “Breaking Bad.”
The finale did many other things than just let me root for the central character yet again. It was also layered with many callbacks to earlier seasons that I didn’t even catch the first time that I saw it. Too many shows and movie series try to hammer in useless callbacks in their final episodes and films to make people say, “Wow, we sure have come a long way during this series.” Unlike all of those series, however, “Breaking Bad” actually did take its characters a long way over the course of its six-year run. Walt went from chemistry teacher to meth dealer to kingpin over the course of the series, turning more and more savage as it progressed. He wasn’t the only one, though, as the entire cast seemed to evolve over the years.
Creator Vince Gilligan also did the unthinkable by defying expectations week to week, throwing all of us in the audience through an emotional roller coaster that thankfully ended in the best way possible (but, considering how dark the final eight episodes were, it’s still not an entirely happy ending all the while). The only problem most fans seemed to have with the series finale was the predictability of it. For a show that threw us for twists and turns at every step, the finale seemed to offer a fairly safe ending, killing off all of the evil characters while letting all the good guys walk off (or, in this case drive) into the sunset in the end. To this, I have to say that this was probably the plan the whole time. With the amount of twists we were given in this series’ run, who would have actually expected everything to go well at the very end?
I expected a very dark and grim ending based on everything we had seen in the weeks leading up to the finale. For Jesse, a character who had had everything he loved taken away from him, to have a happy ending was far from my mind. Knowing the evil genius that is the showrunner Vince Gilligan, I assumed Jesse would die by his own hands in the series’ final moments. However, Gilligan was kind enough to let the tragic hero survive in the end, though where exactly Jesse drives off to at the end is up to the viewer to interpret.
“Breaking Bad” ruined TV for me two years ago when I first watched it by making everything else look bad by comparison. In a write-up I wrote for an opinion piece in my News Writing class, I discussed how suddenly I “thought ‘Dexter’ was too predictable and ‘Walking Dead’ was just a mess.” I still stand by those opinions, yes, but I wouldn’t say that “Breaking Bad” ruined TV for me anymore. Instead, it made it so much better.
My standards for a TV show are much higher, and I won’t accept anything less than the best (unless it’s just trashy, mind-numbing entertainment on Adult Swim, that is). I stopped watching “Dexter,” and I just now caught up to “Walking Dead” just to see if it got any better. The sad part about that is that no, it in fact did not get any better. I started watching (and absolutely loving) “Game of Thrones” and “The Newsroom,” which will help fill the void since the conclusion of“Breaking Bad.” The show didn’t only make TV better for me, though, it made storytelling much better. “Breaking Bad” was a story for me.
There was so much character and plot development; it never seemed like the writers forgot about that. Everything progressed, and nothing ever got trapped in the realm of being “the norm” like so many shows have. They constantly shook things up, but it never seemed like it was out of desperation. No, instead it was based on what seemed like the natural plot or character progression. Everything made sense, but it was still able to catch quite a few of us off guard. I’m going to miss this show quite a bit now that it’s gone, but thankfully, I’ll have a few new TV shows to watch, and I’ll make sure I’m not watching anything that doesn’t deserve it. I know I’ll also most likely watch the entire series of “Breaking Bad” upon its Blu-Ray and DVD release at the end of November. Winter break is going to be very interesting this year. So long, “Breaking Bad,” and thanks for all the meth – err – memories.