I was late to Breaking Bad. I’d heard how awesome it was from everyone, how brilliant Bryan Cranston was, how dark and messed and wonderful the show was. But for some reason, I never saw the first season and never caught up.
Until a few months ago when I devoured all four seasons. Three seasons on Netflix, and one I purchased off Amazon Streaming. It was like watching Mad Men or Six Feet Under for the first time – shows that made me say “where have you been all my life?” I saw immediately what had made this show such a cultural focal point, and so much of that rested on Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s heads. Their chemistry was, well, chemistry (sorry…) and Walter’s slow descent paired with Jesse’s ongoing struggle was so utterly compelling.
And of course, once you added in Gus Fring played expertly by Giancarlo Esposito, every episode was fraught with danger. But the sort of danger that lurks, quietly rather announces itself at the top of its lungs. Just think about Gus and the box cutter in the first episode of season 4 and you can’t help but get that fear in the pit of your stomach. That is the sort of fear that most horror films cannot produce because the fear is completely real. The danger is real.
So it is unsurprising that everyone is chomping at the bit for this final season of Breaking Bad. How much deeper will Walter sink into damnation? How will his wife Skylar deal with it all? Will Walter’s DEA brother-in-law Hank ever finally catch on? And will Jesse ever learn Walter’s secret from the end of season 4 and break from his partner once and for all? It is all unknown but that’s OK because at 10pm Sunday night on AMC, we’ll start to find out.
In honor of this new and (alas) final season, here is a great video of Bryan Cranston becoming Walter White, both physically and spiritually. The change is pretty remarkable.