Breaking Bad: In the end, it was all about Walt and Jesse, and that’s the way it should be

7587002966_185cbdb7c7IT WAS A HARD sell to begin with. The dad from Malcolm In The Middle stars as a chemistry teacher with cancer making meth. Who could ever have predicted that five years, sixty two episodes, forty five awards and one hundred and nine nominations (thanks IMDB) later, it’s come to an end. I’ve been watching this show since it was first aired on FX. I was babysitting for some family friends and I thought I’d try it out. Since then, like many others, I’ve never looked back.  Watching Walter White and Jesse Pinkman together potentially for the last time, I wasn’t prepared and still am probably not, to let the show go.

What is admirable is that as a programme it handled Walt’s progression from tragic hero to anti-hero to villain nigh-on perfectly. It never demonised him, allowing the character to naturally dig his own hole instead of pushing him in with a tidal wave of morals. We know that meth is bad, so do the writers, we don’t need to say it. Walter was always the protagonist and the viewpoint on the world but the programme never tried to make him likable. He always asserted that everything he did was for his family but in the end, he is a symbol of the values of the rich: the more he had, the more he wanted. Jesse on the other hand was the closest the programme had to a true hero. Whilst he is a drug dealer amongst other things, he was always played as a teenager never given a chance, that went on to be an adult with few prospects. He personifies that classic idea from The Godfather that every time he tried to get out, Walt would drag him back in.

The programme’s real master stroke is its handling of supporting characters. There have been few that have ever felt under-developed. From the Machiavellian machinations of Gustavo Fring, the ever unhappy Mike Ehrmintraut and the sleazy brilliance of Saul Goodman through the brilliant antics of Badger and Skinny Pete, the two most lovable drug dealers you will ever meet, everyone feels like a real character. It is a sign of greatness when even interesting but two-dimensional characters like season 3’s Cousins are only notable by their lack of development. However for me the series’ golden pairing has been Hank and Marie.

Breaking BadBack in the first episode, maybe most of the first season, they seemed like caricatures of the unreliable sister and her jock husband but the writers and a pair of dynamite performances from Dean Norris and Betsy Brandt have turned them into two of the best characters on the show providing excitement, heartbreak and even surprisingly hilarious moments.

I’m reluctant to spend too much time talking about the actual ending itself, as there is a chance of new watchers reading this. It ended the only way it could, there were so many great characters along the way, but in the end, it was all about Walt and Jesse, and that’s the way it should be.

I’m not saying it was perfect, nothing is ever one hundred percent pure, but it was as good as any television has ever been. It ended at the right time, leaving in its wake a pile of bodies and an army of fans, and the knowledge that Saul Goodman is potentially getting his own spin-off soon makes the future feel a little less blue.