Okay My Dear Darlings, I told myself that I would not mention a glass of wine standing right in front of me while I write this, but who am I kidding, it’s Sunday night for God’s saké, everyone needs at least a glass (or two) of wine just before Monday’s madness begins and besides, I am going to talk about Breaking Bad today, so I need to get at least a little bit tipsy, otherwise how will I be able to explain the things I am going to discuss here later?
I know deep inside that this write up should be one of those entries where I actually talk about character development and s**t like that, but who knows, I might finish talking about dolphins? Why dolphins? Ask my shrink, he knows things about me I had no idea existed, but who am I kidding (“kidding” again?) my shrink is that glass of Port wine and it’s getting emptier as we speak (smiley face).
Without stating the obvious, which I state, the obvious: the series are very smartly written. I like when my brain is slightly titillated by what I see on the screen. Somebody smart has said in some smart book somewhere that thinking is more powerful than an actual physical act of sex. I don’t know by whom and how that was discovered, but one thing I want to say to this, I’ve been accused of too much thinking… Ha, I wanted to insert a smiley face here but suddenly realized that that might read a little strange for dolphins (ehem!).
There is no secret that my mind loves finding secret messages and meanings in almost anything. I can’t accuse it of having way too much… okay, okay I will not go there even though I want to oh so much… Call these entries my mindful masturbations (yes, I did say that, get over it and have a glass of wine).
Who would have guessed that I would be watching a TV series about a dying chemistry teacher who decided to cook meth till flipping over and saying “over?” I have “fond” feelings about my own chemistry teacher from high school (insert sarcasm here), but not the ones that I want to remember. But ask about those feelings later and I might tell you some stories. Let’s not get distracted by some other chemistry teachers when we have Walter White himself – our villain and a hero in disguise.
If you haven’t watched the series, I strongly recommend you do, because even Mr. Anthony Hopkins binge watched it and send a letter after he did it to Bryan Cranston congratulating him on the work he has done on the series.
I might be giving away some information and spoilers here, so read it with caution. This read though might be more enjoyable if you have already seen the series or at least have seen some of it, otherwise what’s the point of me talking about all these secret messages and meanings that I saw watching it? You know what? I will just assume that you have already seen Breaking Bad. So why do I spend so much time introducing shit I write about? (Drunken thought) Okay, I’ll have another glass of wine. Boom!
Yes, I devoted (this is not the word I wanted to use here, but I can’t think of another one at the moment) a lot of time to the series and I am glad I did. There are several reasons why I am glad about it. One – I want to consider myself a writer and this was a great study of a great writing. Two – I am also an actor/director (ha, thaz, right, I am) so character study is what drives me to do my mindful masturbations on stage, film and sometimes when I write (all of a sudden I fell like touching my nipples).
Okay, okay, I will stop with all this touchy-feely business and say that I will be concentrating (mostly) on Walter White’s character here. Oh, it is so much fun to think that you find and see things you think nobody else sees in the series till you point them out to those blind ones (ups, almost touched my nipples again), but I digress.
I just want to say it straight-forwardly or gay-forwardly or whatever-your-preference-forwardly is, Walter White’s character might seem like a good character gone bad, but reality is relative, or “is it so?” – Herr Heisenberg says and flips his hat. So –
Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher who is affected by a cancer. Everyday life becomes his bodily illness. His days are running with no apparent change. He is a loving dad, or at least it seems so, but he is caught in a routine and does nothing to change it. His life and lives around him are gray and blunt. One day he gets news nobody wants to receive – he is terminally ill with a lung cancer. That news awakens that Walter he was a long time ago, full of energy and determination. He sets a plan of how to make enough money for his family to survive after he dies.
While driving around in his brother-in-law’s car Walter gets an idea about what could bring the needed money. Walter’s brother-in-law is a DEA officer who is closely involved in fighting meth business. Walter White doesn’t really know who uses meth and how it really works, but he sees it as an opportunity to earn some quick cash before he dies.
In every episode throughout the series there is something that changes Walter White. We might think that, oh my god, a good teacher is becoming this drug lord, or oh my god, he needs to be killed or at least to be stopped because look how many people are dying around him and he doesn’t even give a shit about it. Wow, wow, wow I would say, hold your horses and let’s see who Walter White “really” is and what he does.
Walter White cooks meth – meth is bad – he is destroying people’s lives, thus he has to be bad, right? Wrong! And this is why. Walter White from the very beginning of his meth cooking business establishes that he only cooks pure meth. What does it mean? Meth is meth? Well, my Dears, that means that whoever uses meth Walter White produces will get a pharmacy quality drug. You might say, who cares, they are drug addicts, and thus they should get what they ask for. And I would say, just look at your own medicine cabinet, you judgmental prick, and say that you are not a drug addict too. I am sure you have a plenty of pills there that make you feel good (smiley face?).
Walter White worries about a single fly in his lab while cooking his meth. Other meth cooks mix their meth with cat feces and what not. Why is it so Walter cares about the damn fly? The reappearing fly in the series has a certain meaning though. I am using the fly as an example here to prove my point how particular Walter White is about the purity of his, as he says, product. With Walter’s meth you at least will know that there was no cat piss added to the mix, so less blocked arteries and less of other infections to the users of the powerful drug. It’s almost as if you are buying another prescription drug with amphetamine in a drug store. If you would say that I am crazy talking about things like that, I would say, you are blind. Just because a prescription drug is called by some fancy name it doesn’t mean that it is less harmful to your body. And talking about the amphetamines, I was floored when I saw this advertisement on TV which straight forwardly was advertising a drug with amphetamine in even its name. Well, of course, it doesn’t matter that the advertised drug might be lethal to some people, but the point is that you will not have the AD whatever D anymore after using it. Well, of course, you will not have it anymore, because you will be dead. So there, are you ready to read the labels on drug bottles you have in your cabinets and see meth users as people like you? Bam!
Walter applies his scientific knowledge and cooks pure meth for meth addicts who always will be there in our society whatever you say. So at least they will be using his pure meth and will have more time to figure out how they are going to get clean when they are done with it. Well, maybe Walter White from Breaking Bad didn’t think much about the drug addicts who use his product, but I’d like to differ considering how he cares about Jesse, his business partner and a drug user.
And here is the point number two: “people are being killed because of Walter – this is bad, because nobody should be killed.” Well, I agree with the last part of the sentence, but let me dissect the first part first: “people are being killed because of Walter.” It almost sounds like Walter is killing a lot of people by himself, and maybe he is, but not the way we might think he is doing it. I am not going to tell you if Walter actually kills anybody in the series, but I would like to ask you this question first: who is Walter White killing, if he is killing and with what? He is a high school teacher, who doesn’t even know how to use a gun. How does he do it?
Walter applies his intelligence and “kills” people with their own “guns.” He gets inside of the biggest drug cartel, where every DEA wants to be, and kills each and every one there single handedly. He removes these people from the streets. He goes for the core. He goes for the nucleus of meth business and destroys it. Bam! You can thank him later.
Walter uses Heisenberg’s name. Why? Werner Heisenberg was a physicist who dealt with nucleus power during WWII and was writing papers on uncertainty principle and relativity. While Werner Heisenberg was demonized as well as Walter White is during the series, he got his Nobel Prize for his science works. It is all relative how we use our knowledge and power. One sees a nucleus as a nucleus bomb that could wipe all the humanity of the Earth. Other sees nucleus as the power that could power up the entire world. So saying that Walter White kills people is relative. He destroys the drug cartel becoming one of them. He infects it with his being. He “kills” each and every one of them as a cancer kills a human body.
But how about these kids who die because of him, you ask? Well, here we come to another great discovery; none of them were killed by Walter White. They were killed by other people who instead of thinking, act first. Look at the nature around you. Not everything has a logical explanation here. Nature has some random things happening all the time. Illogical and unexplained things exist. Every scientist expects something unexpected to happen when they experiment with something. Some deaths happen in the series. Walter cannot predict how one or another experiment of his will end. He can only prepare it for the happening and then wait. Walter knows that these random, illogical things happen, because he is a scientist. That is why it might seem that he is heartless when he melts bodies of victims that others kill in the series. He is doing it because there was a failure. He didn’t want it to happen, but it happen.
Walter and his cancer
Okay now, let’s go to a very important and probably the most important thing of the series – Walter’s cancer.
Walter finds out about the cancer after he fails one of his students on chemistry. The student wanted to get an easy grade, but Walter does nothing to at least change the student’s perception about studying and importance of being educated. He seems completely absent from his and other people’s lives. Walter becomes the cancer.
Walter, after finding out about his cancer, decides to cook meth. He becomes a cancerous cell in a “healthy” body of drug business where everything seems to be working just fine.
Like a cancer cell finds a way to get into our bodies, Walter “finds his way” to the body of a drug cartel. He begins to grow there as oh so powerful and deadly tumor. Walter is able to get to the core and destroy the cartel the way chemotherapy destroys his cancer.
Walter’s cancer almost completely disappears after the whole cartel is gone and everyone is killed. The surgery on his lungs in one of the episodes is used to depict and define for us what we should expect later to happen with the cartel. Somebody is going to be cut out from the drug business the way the effected piece of his lung is cut out from his body.
Science and Humanities
At the end of the episode 8 of season 5 we are left with Hank discovering Walt Whitman’s book “Leaves of Grass.” It’s a perfect hint for us to realize that Walter might be hit from unexpected source, his humanity, where logic and science don’t apply. There is much to say about Walter and Jesse’s relationship in the series. Walter is science, Jesse is humanities. They are business partners. Who and what wins is for you to find out, because I am just too sleepy to finish this entry now.