Finally watched Breaking Bad, only about a decade too late. Gonna drop a few spoilers, just so you know… Have a really weird opinion, which was that it more or less lost its way after Season 2. When Walt’s cancer went into remission, I more or less thought the show’s premise “man with cancer makes drugs to help his family” had run its course.
In a nutshell, I think my issue was that I thought Walter White’s transformation from “Mr. Chips” to “Scarface” was pretty much done by the end of Season 2. Him letting Jane die was pretty climactic. By the end of that season, his family had left him, and his cancer was no longer an issue… The fact that he stayed in the meth business pretty definitively concluded that he was now solely doing it for selfish, egotistical reasons. In other words, the central questions about Walter White’s motivations and morality were answered, essentially fulfilling the premise of the show to its inevitable end.
Season 3-Season 5 did have a lot of colorful supporting characters like the Terminator twins. But, to me, the show became less about engaging character arcs and more about shock imagery, from a parking lot shoot out to a man with his face completely blown off to a machine gun in a car to a pool of poisoned cartel leaders in Mexico to a supporting character getting shot in the face.
Now, don’t get me wrong: a lot of that imagery was genuinely memorable/cool/iconic/awesome, but the show lost that black comedic edge married with intricate character work, descending head first instead into its more violent aspects. That said, totally understand that pretty much everyone will disagree here: every best of Breaking Bad list that I can find seems to think that the finest episodes came in the last season, during which I was frankly pretty bored.
Still, Bryan Cranston, as Walter White, is one of the great performances, and he sells every second, even after Walter White has already concluded his transformation into Heisenberg. But, Skyler, I thought, was pretty insufferable, and I’m not the biggest Hank or Marie fan either. Now, don’t get me wrong: I really loved Gus, Mike, and Saul Goodman, but they don’t really change all that much. They’re put to much better use elsewhere, which leads me to…
Better Call Saul is a perfect show. Cinematography, directing, writing, acting, everything. No complaints.
Look forward to the remaining seasons.