Here are some of my thoughts on Breaking Bad… It started with focus but worth posting nevertheless? I started thinking of songs I like so through them in as and when (my brain makes lots of connections).
Having just finished watching El Camino I think I am now in a position to clearly articulate my thoughts about the morals of the story in Breaking Bad. There are lots of fundamentals at play across the series as well as in Better Call Saul (A modern day retelling of Cain and Able?)
Before I begin I need to shout out the new format of essays, the video essay. They are so amazing. This one is really good but analyses it from a different perspective. Not sure I am going to learn how to do this.. never say never.
The morals of the story:
You should do what feels good. Innocent people will die no matter what (shit happens) but how you go about your life should match up with what makes you feel good rather than what society/family expects from you, if you don’t feel a sense of accomplishment or pride in what you do then you are ready for a great big fall!
Walter White starts of by rationalising his decisions to go into the meth business so he can care for his family after he is gone but this soon becomes apparent as a lie, through him not accepting charity from the Schwarz family (Black and White).
In the end (the last episode) he admits that he did what he did to Skylar because of how it made him feel. “It felt good” if memory serves. A lot of people say that his pride was his downfall, this is not true, he just choose to take pride in an achievement (his meth empire) that society deems unacceptable.
Take pride in what you do. You might have the worst job in the world, it might not mean anything to anyone but if you don’t take pride in those little things then you will not enjoy what you do. I remember when I worked in a supermarket as a trolley boy and has a shelf stacker, when I took pride in my section I felt good! I got a positive feedback cycle going in which time tended to fly by, I felt good because I took pride in the small things.
Jesse and his box that he dreams about whilst in the prison that Todd Built, Gus and his appearance (see checking tie even though he had his Face Off with Walt, Saul and the way he has his office set up. There is a healthy pride concept baked into this.
Shame is one of the most corrosive mirror of pride and when it drives the main characters decisions then they are almost always doomed to failure.
Jesse takes crystal meth (as do most of its users) as a shortcut through life to the feel good feeling.
Begin with the end in mind. All the characters that have any success have an end goal in mind with regard to what they want to do. Jesse doesn’t seem to have one at first but gets one in El Camino (End to Start a fresh). Sometimes they lose sight of their end goal (Walt especially) but every major character in the show has their endgame (if they had a start in mind) with the exception of Mike unfortunately though we get to see that he had his endgame in Better Call Saul.
Some random observations from the show:
Walter White is like Kirby – He absorbs characteristics from his “victims”.
Walter behaves like he is on Meth at times, the megalomania/confidence especially. See the Fly episode.
Here is the kicker – If Walt hadn’t broken bad, just died like he was supposed to then I claim that more human misery would have ensued. An alternative history of the Breaking Bad universe would have plenty of people still alive but many chasing their tails forever or ultimately getting targeted. Hank would have died due to Gus if he ever got close (Captain Ahab). The plane crash at the end of Season 2 would have happened it just wouldn’t have been those planes for that reason.