Last night I stayed up until 3:30am watching the final episodes of “Breaking Bad”. AMC had a marathon in honor of the new year and I had just finished as much as Netflix could provide me. I found it profoundly sad. I suppose that was the intent. The show was intended to be a tragedy, I suppose. As a modern American, I guess I am not used to seeing such entertainment. I have heard that the ancient Greeks used drama (tragedy included) as a cathartic experience. However, I emerged from “Breaking Bad” not so much feeling purged as feeling depressed. Maybe this is the stage I must pass through before feeling purged, I don’t know. I do know that I also found this series very compelling. Walter White was honorable but also had a pull to the dark side and an urge to lie to cover it up. Jesse Pinkman was looking for approval but could never find it from his parents or his surrogate parent Mr. White. I loved that dynamic. I identified with Jesse. Everything was beautifully acted and written. I came away from it feeling shitty but I am guessing that was the intent.
For me the story is about Jesse. He was the mediocre child looking for approval. He felt judged by the world and therefore rejected the world by slacking and taking drugs. He did finally find that he was capable but still could not shake the feeling that he was “less than.” He also could not shake the moral judgment of his victimizer (his inner voice). He felt guilty for what he had done and the effect of his actions on other people, especially children. In the end, it seemed, he was the one who was liberated from these events. Perhaps his servitude with the white supremacists in the final episodes was his decent into hell and his payment for his sins. But perhaps (more importantly) Mr. White’s final embrace where Mr. White was shot protecting Jesse from his auto-machine gun, was his real redemption. His mentor finally showed him the act of compassion he had been looking for (and needed to make himself complete) all along. This event occurred despite Walter White’s intention to kill Jesse previously. That does not matter. It all came together in the end. The true intention – the God intention came though in the end.
Bravo “Breaking Bad”! What a wonderful series you produced. Although I emerged from watching feeling disturbed and depressed the world is a better, more interesting place because of you.
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