The Tale of Heisenberg

(the following is a re-post from my old tumblr account)

Breaking Bad is a really fucked up show. I’m getting better at introductions I promise. As expressed in my post about Jesse Pinkman (plugging this will never get old alright) BB is extremely corrupt. The two main characters are not your typical heroes. As a matter of fact, in the case of Walter White, I don’t think he’s much of a hero at all. This is the part where I warn you about spoiling the show for you (seriously FINISH THE SHOW BEFORE YOU READ OR ELSE DON'T BITCH AT ME YO). 

Walter White has gone so far from point A to point Z that I think it’s not necessarily accurate to call him an anti-hero anymore. Walt isn’t an anti-hero. He’s lost all sense of heroism that he once had by this point in his story. The unique take that his character has on television and film protagonists really does beg the question “how far can this man go before we turn on him”. It also likens itself to the famous Kanye West quote “no one man should have all that power”, but this is just an example of how I digress. Anyway, the point is that Walt has been ruined by the power bestowed upon him. What started as a chemist using his brilliant mind to stay ahead on bills has turned into a man filled with pride and too much regret to look back now.

As amazing and badass as the character of Walter White is...what he does is NOT okay. I’m not calling any specific people out on this, but there are always those scattered folks across that map that blame other characters for Walt’s mistakes. The one thing I find troubling is that all of these people excuse Walt’s behavior when even Heisenberg himself doesn’t go that far. Walter White straight up tells characters more times than even I can count that he’s not that good guy he used to be. He’s evil (an evil mastermind if you’ll let him tell ya) and he’s fine with that, so why aren’t we?

Is Skyler a saint for everything she’s done throughout the show? No, but she’s also not some “stupid, bimbo, whore, cunt, crazy wife bitch” like A LOT of people try to make her out to be. Listen, Skyler going off and fucking Ted? Not really okay to me, but with the way Walt’s been parading around as some makeshit drug kingpin at every step he can I’m not going to make him the hero of their marriage. Both of them are screwed up. If I had to pick one of the two characters to champion in this situation though; it’d be Skyler. It’s unfair how she was IMMEDIATELY ostracized for putting Walt out on his ass. The guy deserved it. I don’t think the cheating was justified in any way, but the two definitely needed to be separated. The fact that many people have had the nerve to say that her casting Walt away and then trying to make the best of the situation by helping him is a knock on her is ridiculous. Skyler’s just doing what she feels she needs to do to preserve herself and her family. If anything she’s trying to keep a clean underside to Walt’s dirty business (although we can see that doesn’t ‘quite’ work out too well).

Before leaving Walt’s family I want to say something about Walt Jr. Now it’s not too much (because he’s only really been reacting to the world around him here), but Walt’s parenting with this kid has been quite inconsistent. The infamous “give him a drink!” moment by the pool is one thing, but Walt knows how much this kid really looks up to him and doesn’t do much to help his image. It’s actually incredible how infallible Walter is to his son at certain times. When he gets kicked out all Jr. can talk about is his dad and how wrong his mom was for giving him the treatment she did. Walt’s had his moments with his son. I’m not going to deny that sometimes he does a little something here or there to show that he is that great father he once was, but now we see that Walter White is embracing the dark side a lot more than he is his family. Couple all of this with the fact that Jr. still has no real idea what’s going on and it’s bound to explode sooner or later.

Speaking of exploding...Gustavo Fring. Okay, that was a little much. Anyway, Gus is one of the most interesting villains I’ve ever seen in a television show. While an argument can be made about our anti-heroes; I’d like to pitch in the fact that I view Gus as an anti-villain. Yes, Gus was largely corrupt and evil and honestly he’d probably kill anyone he saw getting in his way, but he let you know that. Gus never had any card that he did not put out on the table. When Gus wanted Jesse and Walter to go after each other he didn’t necessarily hide behind the principle. Gus hiring Gale to take over the lab wasn’t some big mystery amongst everyone involved, but Walt had to make sure he covered up the mess he put himself into by orchestrating Gale’s demise.

Gus did everything he said he was going to do and then some. The main thing that I feel sets Gus apart from Walt is that Gus always took care of his own business without dragging it all through the mud along the way. Gustavo may have been an evil man, but he was an evil man with a sense of honor. A man can’t be afraid of you if he doesn’t at least have some sort of respect for you. The respect between Walt and Gus was mutual, of course, but the fear all lied with Walt knowing that if push came to shove Gus wasn’t going to be afraid to stab him in the heart with a smile on his face. I don’t think it’s much of a shock that Walt would run from Gus, but it’s a lot more surprising that Walt would use both the respect and fear he had from Jesse to help take Gus out.

Jesse is the last piece of the kingpin’s puzzle. I’ve written a lot about Jesse at this point (probably my 3rd or 4th most discussed character by now), so I feel like he’s the most important piece to Walt’s story. Without Jesse I don’t think Walt would be where he is (or even alive) today. Jesse’s made Heisenberg just as much as Walt has. The amount of people that want to call Jesse dumb and a problem and a nuisance to Walter White clearly don’t seem to get their relationship. The dynamic started off with Jesse depending on Walter to get ahead, to help him get by, to show him a true purpose and a means of success in the game. Now though, it seems to have flipped to Walter only being able to trust Jesse due to that past sense of dependency.

Walt knows that Jesse is going to stay loyal to him, he knows that if he ever needed a foot soldier Jesse would be the one, and he also knows that he could lie to that broken kid’s face and he’d believe it right to the bone. Let’s not get ourselves twisted up here; Walt is a master manipulator. This man has built a lifetime of good faith in people and he’s using all of that to tear down his own social structure from the inside out. Walt’s lost his family, he’s lost his friends, lost his job, and now all he has left IS selling meth. He’s somehow gotten past Hank for all of this time (a character I would like to touch on but doesn’t seem to get any discussion one way or another) and bucked the system, but now he’s got no competition. Jesse was there for a bit. He rivaled Walt and he could have damn well taken his ball and ran with it, but Walt used the naïve spirit that Jesse has and got him back on his side.

So, what now? Well, what else is there for them really? Jesse has to find out what Walt did eventually. Walt has to come to some conclusion on where to take his newfound glory as a drug lord. Walt Jr.’s gotta sooner or later find out his dad is batshit crazy. Hank is a mess and should really just pay attention. Well, everyone is fucked, and this entire world revolves around how much of an insane dick Walter White is. Do we celebrate him for being that way? Sure!

I’m not going to tell you to not like this character for his actions. I LOVE the character that’s been built throughout Breaking Bad’s run, but I’m not going to tear down all of these other characters for the fact that HE is the one that’s been ruining their lives. Heisenberg is a damn good character to see play out. For once we have someone who doesn’t care about being the hero of their own story. All I want is that we acknowledge that he isn’t. Justifying bad behavior only gets you so far. Plus, I’m sure WW would rather kill a man than sign an autograph for him.

Breaking Bad - Say My Name Review: Walt is his own favorite villain

How 'Breaking Bad' broke Jesse Pinkman