(There are only spoilers for the entire series here: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)
I know it’s only been a week or so since I’ve finished “Felina”, the final episode in the “Breaking Bad” anthology, but I can’t get my mind off of Walter White. I don’t think I worship his character, but if I’m being really honest with myself, I guess I do. I’m being really transparent here. I can’t focus on screenwriting, because every character I want to write has some sort of flaw or characteristic Mr. White has. I legit rage so hard when I get to have a conversation with any fellow ‘methhead’ about the show and why it’s so ground breaking. I even had a dream where I was a rising drug lord who had to kill in order to keep his own interests safe.
So besides the fact that I’m a few months late on discussing one of the hottest TV shows in the last decade or so, these characters have stuck with me for a reason. This post is nothing more than a brain vomit, but Walter seems iconic for more reasons than we might realize. I think it goes deeper than the rise and fall of a family man turned drug kingpin. It’s more than the lives the great Heisenberg ruthlessly put an end to, both literally and figuratively. It might even be more poignant than the trend in Hollywood pulling for the anti-hero archetype.
At the risk of sounding cultish, or new-age. Walter White is us, and we are Walter White. No, I don’t necessarily mean we are going to get cancer and fund the cure through production of pure crystal meth. I would venture to say that Mr. White is potentially the most honest and vulnerable character that audiences have seen in a while. We can all connect with him in some way. Seriously think about it.
At some point in your life, no doubt you have missed out on plenty of opportunities that seemed to have great potential. Maybe it’s a girl or guy that you could have dated. Perhaps you could have met Vince Vaughn at that Chicago Starbucks with your friends if you hadn’t decided to stay home that night instead. On a more serious note, maybe you didn’t take the time to have as many intentional conversations with a relative before they passed away. I know I’m guilty of that one. In the same way, Walter missed out on co-founding a corporation with two college friends, and by this point in his life, he would have legally become a billionaire. This a deep regret that followed Walt his entire life.
Despite being a very calculated and smart thinker, Walt made dozens of terrible decisions, which led to a huge body count by the end of the series. In the beginning of it all, Walt chose to cook in order to provide for his family’s future without him. At the end of “Felina” he finally admitted to Skyler that it was always for him and about him. For myself, I can easily pick out multiple instances in my life where I have said I made a choice to help someone else, but in all honesty, I was after my own gain. I’ve lied to myself constantly, to reassure my conscious that the choices I made were for the greater good. It’s bull crap, honestly. I don’t think I’m overstating anything by saying that we all do this though.
I think we can relate to Walt much more than we would like to admit, but it’s true.
There’s a lot more I’d like to say about the series, but I’m a little scatterbrained at the moment, and I just want to get this out there for now. I’m very open to talking more about the evolution of Walter White, and I’m just so obsessed that I’ll likely post again on the topic.
No Joke: Immediately after I wrote this, I went to find a suitable headline image for this post and the first link was from an hour ago where actor Bryan Cranston says “We all have a little Walter White in us.” How fitting. Oh, here’s the link.