Monday, September 3, 2012

Breaking Bad Mid-Season Finale: "Gliding Over All"

In many ways I was wrong. I thought this season of 'Breaking Bad' was showing us how with every stupid decision he made, Walter White was digging his own grave. Mistreating Jesse, abusing Skyler, I thought last week's killing of Mike would mean the ultimate challenge for Mr. White. He couldn't recover from that, he was about to fall because of his own fault. I was wrong though, the show's writers were planning on something that may actually be more tragic.

Back at the beginning of the season, Walt gave Jesse a speech about the man who burned for flying too close to the sun. Back then, I wasn't sure what Walt was trying to tell Jesse with this speech. Neither did I know what exactly the writers were trying to foreshadow with this scene. Now I know. Despite all of his crimes and sins, despite his megalomania, mistreatment and obsession, Walter White managed to become the king of meth. He allied with Lydia, trained Todd, started selling to the Czech Republic and managed to make more money that he could have possibly imagine.

When Skyler showed him the pile of money, when Walt finally sees the fruit of his work, that's when he decides to quit meth for good. As if he had never ordered and committed several murders, he goes back to the life he knew. He gets his kids, his wife, his life back. He even gives Jesse his cut of the money. In his mind he has made it, he won the game and can now relax and make good.

And here comes the tragic part, it is a simple coincidence, Hank's desire to read something while he's in the bathroom that is apparently going to bring Walt's demise. Walt flew too high to the sun, he might have made everything that he thought possible to clean up after his business, but he forgot a minuscule detail: the Walt Whitman poem. Now Hank has had his Kaizer-Soze moment.

I wasn't wrong, though, in thinking the final stretch of the season (coming in 2013) would put Walt  agains Hank in the forefront. Because this final season has been cut in two 8-episode parts, we didn't have enough time for a big climatic ark like we had on season's past. While watching this final episode, I wasn't quite sure what the season was about, why they would have made Walt do so many bad decisions if they weren't going to blow up in his face. That last scene made me understand Vince Gilligan was looking for another kind of tragedy. One that you don't see coming, one that seems to be beyond control. One that isn't sparkled by actions, but by coincidence. I like this idea and would like to see how it plays out in the final episodes, considering 'Breaking Bad' seemed more like a show about cause and effect than about chance to me. Walter White still has a long way to fall.

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