Perfect set up for the beginning of the end
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 22:09
Whenever a show reaches its final season, there is usually a huge change in content. The stakes are higher and the writers are no longer afraid to make risky moves with the characters, plot or themes. Breaking Bad is an exception because the writers have never played it safe. They have never been afraid to make characters unlikeable or produce the show their way. Unlike shows like Dexter or The Walking Dead, where everything has been continuously played safe and kept to a formula to ensure an audience, Breaking Bad has been one of the most courageous shows ever made. Despite this fact, they have managed to outdo themselves and these last episodes leading up to the finale have been some of the darkest and most intense episodes that television has ever seen.
While the entire cast is outstanding, Bryan Cranston’s performance as Walter White is perfect. I would compare it to Heath Ledger’s Joker both in performance and the level of skill. While both seemed like unlikely actors for the role, the results speak for themselves. Walter has become more ruthless than ever before. I remember towards the end of season four in “Crawl Spaces,” I had chills watching Cranston laugh manically when he found that his wife had given away his money and they could not escape. The image stayed with me for a long time. This season, Cranston has given us even more memorable moments and lines that make his previous Walter moments look like nothing.
The third to last episode, “Ozymandias,” was the most shocking the show has seen yet. In this episode we see Walter’s empire and everything he has worked for falls apart from underneath him. The entire episode was a non-stop thrill ride. We see the first one of the most shocking television deaths ever with Hank’s murder only to be followed with Walt finally revealing to Jesse that he let Jane die in one of his most heartless moments of the show and as if that wasn’t enough, we see his money stolen, Jesse held prisoner by the Neo-Nazis and Walt’s entire family finally see him for the monster he really is, no longer standing by his side. The following episode, “Granite State” may not have been able to match that level of intensity, but it certainly felt like the calm before the big storm. Walter’s empire is no more and he is all alone. His actions have of course brought him exactly what he deserves. As the empire collapsed we watched everybody be held responsible for their actions and mostly punished accordingly. Even Skylar is being held up legally and by her son in the same light as Walter.
While this will be published after the finale airs, it is worth noting that this was written before the series finale. Being a writer and a huge fan of movies and television due to my lack of having any sort of a life, I usually find myself able to predict what’s going to happen next. Somehow Breaking Bad has managed to block me at every attempt and keep me guessing every step of the way. The show has been one of the very few to achieve the ability to endlessly become better and better from season to season. It has only gone uphill, and while all of this last season has been outstanding, the last three episodes have been hands down the best so far. They have also managed to do a good job of clearing up all loose ends and tying everything together. We all know now, but as I write this I have no idea how the show is going to end. I could see it going at least one million different ways, but I have no doubt in my mind that no matter how it ends, it will not disappoint even with the enormous hype and build up in fans leading up to the conclusion.