Matt Kelly, staff writer, [email protected]
Any TV snob worth his salt will be completely useless every Sunday evening this Fall. That’s because Sabbath afternoons for devoted members of the church of Heisenberg are spent in giddy anticipation and wild speculation. Seven to eight is obviously sacred time, followed by decompression and analyzing the episode that last well into the night.
With all this religious reverence, we may be turning a blind eye to sins being committed by the show’s seemingly infallible, Vince Gilligan. Our beloved Breaking Bad, one of the best television shows in years, may be overstaying its welcome.
Last Sunday I watched Hank and Gomie get into a shootout reminiscent of a gang of Nazi thugs Indiana Jones wouldn’t hesitate to bullwhip into submission. A sacrilegious notion entered my head and refused to leave: has Breaking Bad jumped the shark?
Why are Hank and his trusty sidekick Gomie should not be the only law enforcement officers still involved at this point. The Nazis would not be able to find them in the desert so fast. Most importantly: Walter White, who has been nothing short of calculating throughout the entire series, would never make such an obvious series of foolish blunders
It started with leaving a key piece of physical evidence lying around his bathroom, and has most recently included confessing to a hurried listing of federal crimes he has committed in a voicemail on Jesses phone. This seemed out of character for Walter White to the point of inaccuracy. So much of the fun of Breaking Bad has always been seeing the ingenious maneuvering of Walter White, equal parts McGuiver and Einstein. Now we are looking at a man reacting out of fear to situations he has little control over. It just doesn’t seem very Heisenburgy.
My faith in the show was truly tested that night. Then a beautiful thought suddenly occurred to me. A perspective-shifting revelation came to me. Like any good test of faith will do, it not only restored my faith in the vision Vince Gilligan has for all of us but made my faith stronger than it had ever been before.
Let me explain. Breaking bad has always benefitted from a rouges gallery to rival any in television history. The villain each season accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of improving on the previous seasons.
We started with Crazy Eight, upgraded to the brilliantly unpredictable manic violence of Tucco and culminated in arguably the greatest villain in T.V history – Gus Fring. I have been waiting for the bad guy to show up all season. While Hank is decidedly on the other side of the fence from Walter and is not without his charm, he clearly is no match for him. And Lydia is too neurotic and bureaucratic for me to really sink my teeth into.
There is no one for Walter to be afraid of.
After vanquishing the mighty Fring, no one in all of Albuquerque is capable of displacing the king of the meth hill: the great Heisenberg? Well, its’ looking like there is one man equal to the task. His name is Walter White.
It turns out Vince Gilligan saved his greatest villain for last: Walter White himself. Not only has he become an enemy to what is right and just in this world, starting with the poisoning of a child, he has truly become his own worst enemy.
In the world of Breaking Bad far no sinner has gone unpunished and no one gets to skip out on the check. Walter White survived his cancer. In doing so, he lived long enough to see himself become the villain.
I guess there is nothing left to do but count down the minutes until we find out how far the church of Breaking Bad takes the doctrine of redemption.