I don’t like Walter White – he isn’t any kind of hero to me. I like Jesse though, he retains a quality throughout that makes him likable, and I think it is his struggle to remain human, and his semi-victory in doing this (not that his victory is one I would particularly like to replicate).
Walt’s likability diminished pretty quickly for me, given the narrative arc that transforms him from likeable school teacher to villain, I don’t suppose this is that unusual. But some people seem to like him, and I don’t really get that. The things he does are reprehensible and indefensible, even if you can follow his moral descent and the twists and turns of his logic. I felt similar about the main character in Weeds and her relation to the other characters – the initial impetus for them doing what they do makes sense, but the casualties along the way make that argument weaker and weaker, and by the end you just have to acknowledge they are doing what they are doing because they have grown to like it … the power it gives them.
Skyla, Hank, some of the street dealers, they hold your sympathy. It is hard, or was hard for me, to afford Walt the same consideration. Is this a reflection of me? Probably. The acting is amazing from Bryan Cranston … I remember not recognising him as being the same guy from Malcolm In The Middle
when I first started watching this.
I love Breaking Bad
, because it is one of the best written, most compelling, twisty, and believable pieces of drama to grace our screens in a long time. It isn’t light watching, and like Walter it doesn’t make easy choices. It becomes painful to watch, and it is because it is truly Faustian, in that Walter fails at every turn to just take the ways out that are offered to him; he moves always back into the cross-hairs of his inevitable damnation. The end is amazing, I won’t spoil anything by outlining it here, but the ending was also a release in the sense that we could bid Walter farewell and not have to hang out with him anymore, to not have to be strapped to the front of the runaway locomotive.
At some point I intend to re-watch the whole series again, dig in deeper, and write more. It will be interesting to see how everything that comes from those involved afterwards compares to this tour de force; interesting to see how Walter feels to me as I get to know him even better … with this level of quality you know that this is a long term relationship we are looking at.