The relationship between Twitter and Breaking Bad has been an odd phenomenon to watch. After a while it seemed like Breaking Bad’s reception on Twitter, or maybe netwide, took on a life of its own. Whatever people wanted it to be, however they wanted it to end, seemed to have little to do with the show itself. The collective obsession could probably never have been fully satisfied, no matter how the show ended. But after all of this time, the “holy shit Breaking Bad!” tweets before the show aired here on the West Coast, the idolatry of Walter White, and now, the inevitable downfall/backlash I have to say I’m glad it’s over. That kind of stalker obsessiveness never ends well. It was best Breaking Bad made a clean break without trying to make its fans feel better by lying to them.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know what the main complaints are because I haven’t read them. Opinions are like slot machines now. And only one night to digest Breaking Bad’s finale and what that show has meant overall is not enough time. And yet, k’ching, here they come. Drop in a coin, get an opinion.
Do yourself a favor, don’t read the recaps, just watch and enjoy the show. That’s what it’s there for. Not to save your soul. Not to transport your spirit nor define your entire existence. It’s not there to make your life worth living or to give you a reason to wake up on Sunday mornings. It’s a TV show. A damned good one at that. Complaining about the finale is like complaining your sheets are wet after the best sex of your life.
The finale had Walter White tying up loose ends, because they needed to be tied up. He did in a manner faithful to his character; after all, the show started with White using his genius to make the best meth known to man. He was a scientist and a teacher. He’d spent a long time sitting up in that cabin trying to figure out exactly how he would end things. He is a criminal mastermind uber genius – does anyone really think he would finish this thing sloppily? Not a chance.
The best shot of the finale, I thought, was when Walter lovingly touches the meth machines right before he dies. The thing that drove him in the end wasn’t what he said — to provide for his family. We already knew that wasn’t the reason. He did it because he invented something great — something, dare I say, perfect. At the end of the day that perfection turned out to be a disaster — an unethical murdering machine. How many other things can we say this about? Nuclear weapons for one. We could build them, sure, and they are miracles of invention. But look what they do.
There hasn’t been a show on TV like Breaking Bad. At some point, Walter White took on god-like status. No matter how bad he broke, his fans loved him, quoted him, made t-shirts and coffee mugs with his likeness. He became more of a cult figure than Don Draper or Tony Soprano. And none of these guys are heroic. So what was it about Walter White that drew that kind of worship? What was it his fans wanted from him by the end that they didn’t get? He may have sold his soul for his own success but when it came time to cash in his chips and end his life (which was ending anyway because of cancer) he did what he could to fix things that needed to be fixed. Jesse needed to be set free. His family needed his money even if they didn’t want it. And all the while, there’s this creepy overhang that if nobody who deserved it got the money the government would take it. Isn’t that a dirty little detail most of us would rather not think about? The government profits from illegal drug trafficking too.
Though I’m sad to see Breaking Bad go, I’m happy to see it won’t be on Twitter anymore, ruining Sunday nights. I’ll be glad to see the Heisenberg worship dim. I’m glad I’ll never have to read a piece about how it didn’t live up to expectations as it closed the door on a magnificent series. Breaking Bad gave more than it got. It drew a line between right and wrong and characters decided on which side of that line they stood. There were innocent victims, and heroes who were murdered. Meth is still being sold into the billions in this country, destroying lives for the sake a few happy minutes on the drug. The series ended making sure we knew that, making sure we could see that the pursuit of the American Dream doesn’t always end to the betterment of humanity. Most of the time it just makes a few people rich. Somehow, everyone who remained alive got what they deserved.
So here is a hat tip to one of the best shows ever on TV. A thank you and a wave goodbye. Well done, Breaking Bad. Well done.