March 1, 2014 at 12:21 am , by Nick Shell
3 years, 3 months.
Spoiler Alert: Contains some minor revelations of how Breaking Bad ends.
This was a special week in the world of Netflix as people who are too cheap to pay for cable or satellite (or iTunes) were able to see the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad.
I managed to watch them all over 3 nights; Wednesday night I only slept 4 hours in anticipation of seeing what happened, in the end, to Walter White, the terminally ill high school science teacher turned meth dealer who wanted to provide a living for his family after he was gone.
One of the reasons this show is so captivating is that it capitalizes on the thin line between good and evil, as well as the gradual breakdown of a “good man’s” morals, under the guise of “doing something wrong but for the right reasons.”
It’s fascinating, as a spectator of the demise, to find myself rooting for the anti-hero up until nearly the final episode; despite the fact he literally destroyed (and ended) more lives than I would care to count.
The fact that I was privately hoping he didn’t get caught reveals something about my own damaged sense of morality. It shows me that even in the smallest, unidentifiable ways, I can be wrong and be convinced I’m right.
Ultimately, Breaking Bad is a story about a man who gains the whole world, yet loses his soul.
When I say that he loses his soul, what I mean is that what mattered to him more than anything (at least, at first) was his family, and he lost them:
In the end, Walter White’s teenage son outright hates him; even changing his name to Flynn, from Walt Jr.; a subtle way to detach himself from his father, as he watches his father become preoccupied with his work, compensating with gifts, but not regular quality time.
Walter White’s marriage remains in tact only in a legal and business sense. And his infant daughter will grow up knowing her father only as a murderous drug dealer.
That’s just the damage he did to his immediate family…
However, he did manage to (illegally and off the radar) leave his family (via his son) millions of dollars ($9.72 million, to be exact) to live off for the rest of their lives.
One question that the final episode proposed to me was, what kid would choose millions of “dirty” dollars from a father they despised… over having a father who truly cared about them and loved them with all his heart, though he didn’t leave them much money behind?
To me, it’s a no-brainer.
There’s a good chance I’ll never be able to leave you with millions of dollars, but I can love you with all my heart. I know that’s what you’d rather have anyway.
Image: Courtesy of AMC/Breaking Bad.