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Some Final Thoughts on Breaking Bad

  • Oct. 6th, 2013 at 10:56 PM

So it's now been a week since the series finale to Breaking Bad aired. A lot of my predictions were wrong, though I did get a couple of things right.  Not to sound conceited about it, but I'm usually not so ridiculously off with my predictions.  I kind of have a knack for figuring out how things will play out in stories, be they written or on-screen.  I used to do this even before I got into writing and editing.  Even if I don't guess everything exactly, I'm generally in the ballpark  concerning the direction of the story.

So it got to me to thinking about why this is.  Put simply, it is a testament to the writers and the actors.  This show and its plot were truly character-driven.  I was fully engaged and constantly amazed by this twists and turns and inner psychology of the characters.  And going into the finale, I realize now that I believed that Walter White was past the point of any kind of redemption.  I never thought this to myself going in, but I realize now that I felt that if they tried to redeem Walt's character I would never believe it.  So I didn't really consider these scenarios, instead thinking about some of the darker possibilities (and I did later read that Gilligan planned on killing Skyler before the other writers talked him out of it).

But come the end of this episode I was completely satisfied.  Without question, it now stands as my all-time favorite series, having knocked Six Feet Under off its pedestal.  So all I can do is doff my cap to a brilliant script from Gilligan, and a performance so compelling from Bryan Cranston that I completely bought in to his semi-redemption.  Thank you, Breaking Bad.  You provided a masterclass in storytelling and never delivered a single episode that left me disappointed.

I miss you already.  

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akashiver wrote:
Oct. 7th, 2013 03:48 am (UTC)
You had to go and mention BB, didn't you?

In retrospect, I think one of the smartest things about the show was that they weren't wedded to the trajectories they foreshadowed. Yes, Marie had made remarks about wanting to raise Holly. Yes, Skyler had made an earlier "suicide" attempt in the pool. Yes, Lydia had been twice intrigued by mention of Walt's children. But that didn't mean the writers needed to follow through on those plotlines -- and seeding them contributed to the show's unpredictability. But at the same time they did follow through on some "foreshadowing" elements, so they kept us guessing.

Vince G also apparently discussed endings where Walt lived & married again, where Jesse died, where Walt Jr died waaaay back in SO2, where Skyler committed suicide, etc. Pretty bold, to imagine all those different scenarios and comb through them for the best result.
douglascohen wrote:
Oct. 7th, 2013 03:55 am (UTC)
Lol. Sorry, I know that like me you're trying to get the blue meth our of your system. But I wanted to wait a week, gain a little perspective, and see if my feelings for the show remained as strong. They do. It really is my favorite show ever ...these is no close second.

And yeah, I read about those alternate endings as well. Interesting stuff, but I think they chose the right path. As to not following the foreshadowing, I'm reminded of how GRRM gave us the prophecy for Dany's child of the Stallion Who Mounts the World in A Game of Thrones, only to kill him in childbirth.

There are a lot of parallels in the storytelling between those two franchises--they really push the boundaries about what's possible with storytelling. At least we still have new Ice and Fire books to look forward to. :)

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Douglas Cohen

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