“Yo, bitches!”

Breaking
By broken Emmet
Now, what am I going to do on Sunday night?
“Breaking Bad” finished its blood-soaked finale on Sunday, which I watched, channel-switching with the dramatic Patriots-Falcons football game. It had to be done. Neither could be missed.
I never thought any television show could match (possibly exceed) the excitement and drama of “The Sopranos” which I once rated the best television series of all time. But “Breaking Bad” certainly has. Like many other fans, I could not wait for Sunday night to arrive.
In case you have been on Mars, or are too superior to watch any television show which does not originate on the BBC, the show was about Walter White, a mild-mannered (not really) high school chemistry teacher who contracts lung cancer. Faced with enormous medical bills (This ain’t Canada) WW spots Jesse, a former and reluctant student on a drug raid conducted by WW’s brother-in-law, the very manly Hank. Some critic said she show would have ended right there if a national health care plan existed. Possibly it was a five year advertisement for Obamacare.
The two start making a very superior meth product in a dreary RV in the New Mexico desert to pay the doctor bills. In the beginning, neither Walt not Jesse was a violent sort. Naturally, that changes over the five years of the series. Too many people start coming after them to remain peaceful and unarmed. Possibly it was a five year advertisement for the Second Amendment.
As they start moving up the drug ladder, their opponents including the thoroughly active Mexican drug cartel, become more and more violent, WW’s wife becomes more afraid that some assassin will come knocking some night and destroy their family. Don’t worry, said the transformed WW. “I do the knocking now.”
It would be impossible to pick out the best actor on the show. Sure, Anna Gunn won the Emmy for playing Skyler, the wife. And Bryan Cranston will never be forgotten as WW, even though he was once the mild-mannered father on “Malcolm in the Middle.” Aaron Paul will go on to other projects, but he will always be “Jesse” at Cobb Manor. “Yo, bitches!”
The supporting cast was fabulous.
To me, the most mesmerizing character was Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), the fierce drug lord who masqueraded as a chicken franchise entrepreneur. WW finally disposed of him by blowing up a room in a nursing home. Honest to god. Gus didn’t have to do much to change someone’s mind. Usually he just stared. He was the most believable character in the show. I would not want to see Gus (or Giancarlo) at my front door, day or night.
Without saying a single word, “Tio” Salamanca (Mark Margolis) became a major player in the action, just by ringing his bell. “Tio” was a former cartel enforcer, confined to a wheelchair. Seething with hate for WW and Jesse, Tio was even more enraged with Gus, a very old enemy. It was Tio’s familiar bell which set off the nursing home explosion that destroyed Gus’s face and life. Margolis has appeared in a million movies and television shows, but will be “Tio” forever, now.
To balance the relentless suspense and violence, the show had “Just Call Saul” Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) a perfectly venal attorney who had some of the best lines in the show. You would sit up straight and listen as Saul recapped the situation in his classic, pithy terms. I presume he got away with a pile of money before the bullets started to fly. There are reports that he may get his own show.
Goodman once told WW and Jesse “Look, let’s start with some tough love, all right? Ready for this? Here goes: You two suck at peddling meth. Period.” When the bullets started flying in earnest he said “As to your dead guy, occupational hazard. Drug dealer getting shot? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s been known to happen.” When it was time to flee (you knew it was coming, right?) he told the pair “Let’s just say I know a guy… who knows a guy… who knows another guy.”
And he did.
I reluctantly admit that I was rooting against Hank (Dean Norris), the DEA agent as the show progressed. But I was shocked how disappointed I was when WW killed Mike Ehrmentraut for no good reason at all. Mike was the former police officer who became the security and enforcement officer for the WW drug empire. As the series extended, I liked “Mike” more and more as I liked “Hank” less and less. Shooting “Mike” was a defining act for WW. Then, you finally realized that he was no good after all and had to die. Like when Tony Soprano choked Christopher to death.
Critic Hank Stuever of The Washington Post reported that “Breaking Bad” was born of (Creator Vince) Gilligan’s initial and almost reductive desire to tell a story about a good man who turns bad. It was not a remake of something that came before it. It was not a Shakespearean update. It was not an imported vehicle, not previously a hit series from Britain or Sweden or Denmark. It was not optioned from a string of crime novels or a fancy comic book.”
No. It was a total original. Like the “Sopranos.”
We shall never see its like again.
But that’s what I said about the Sopranos.