I picked up on Breaking Bad from some workmates during the third season. They told me it started well and remained strong through the second season which is almost rare nowadays. So I decided to give it a go.
Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, who’s had the rough end of the pineapple for most of his life: clearly a brilliant chemist, he was a co-founder of a company but left for personal reasons only to see it grow into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. He is relegated to teaching high school chemistry to uninterested, disrespectful uninterested students, and takes a second job cleaning cars at the local car wash to supplement his income. He’s married, and has a teenage son with Cerebral Palsy. He’s just turned 50, and has found out his wife is pregnant. And that he has inoperable terminal lung cancer.
Knowing he will soon die, he must find a way to ensure their financial security after he is gone.
Watching a news report on a drug bust, he is impressed by the amount of money confiscated by the authorities. He accompanies his DEA brother-in-law on a drug bust and sees a former student, dropout Jesse Pinkman, fleeing the scene. Later he looks up Jesse using the school records and forms a partnership. “You know the business, and I know the chemistry”.
The series explores the changes overcoming Walter as he deals with his own mortality. As the series progresses, he becomes darker and more sinister but at every turn he is only doing what he thinks is best to provide for his family. Pride, at losing out on selling his share of the company he founded for $5000, is also telling and changes how he views his new successes.
Indeed, he changes his whole persona and appearance taking on the Mr Hyde of “Heisenberg” to his own Dr Jekyll of mild mannered Walter. After his cancer goes into remission he becomes an unstoppable force, feeding an insatiable need to succeed and build an empire.
Breaking Bad is full of strong characters and memorable dialog. We’re half way through the last season with the last episodes coming in August. These two videos are a great summary of the show and should be enough to convince you to pick it up if you haven’t already.