Monday, November 26, 2012

Second Look: Breaking Bad

A few weeks ago I was wrapping up on a photoshoot when the model, her guest and I got into small talk.  We discussed everything from Dubstep [#whiteboykrunk] to the arts and eventually made it to favorite TV shows.  I was telling the two about when they both suggested in unison that I take a look at Breaking Bad.

I heard the title before, but never made it past the general knowledge of the show's name.  I simply assumed it was about some outlaw riding around on a Harley, crackin skulls and dodging the po-po.  Man was I intrigued when the model told me it was about a school teacher who turned to a life of cooking crystal meth after learning he had late-stage lung cancer.  And the kicker is that he was still attempting to maintain his home life and profession while balancing out a meth cooking alter ego.

Breaking Bad is an AMC drama set in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, is your typical working stiff.  He is a high school chemistry teacher who has seen the lives of former chemist co-workers flourish while he's stuck working check-to-check.  He has a pregnant wife and a son with cerebral palsy that he loves with all his heart, but is struggling to support.  To make matters interesting, his brother-in-law, Hank, is a culturally insensitive DEA agent that seems to get his rocks off anytime he busts another drug dealer.

During a birthday celebration, Hank begins pounding his chest and showboating about his job to partygoers.  When he grabs the TV remote and changes to a local news story covering his most recent bust, he unknowingly triggers a catalyst that will forever change the world around him and his family.  After viewing the news footage Walt takes an interest in Hank's profession and asks to go on a "ride along."  In Hank's  neanderthal mind, Walt's request is harmless and he believes it to be his attempt to get some excitement in his life, but little does he know Walt is doing recon.

Walt's initial plan to only see a meth lab up close is sidetracked when he crosses paths with a former student , Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul during his "ride along."  This odd crossing of paths not only represents the final snowflake that causes the avalanche in Walt's life, it proves to be a recurring theme throughout the series as the show illustrates just how interwoven the criminal underworld is and how seemingly random events have more to do with decisions than chance.

Breaking Bad is the type of show that will make you question your own morality and values.  Walt's alter ego, Heisenburg, immediately screams Bruce Wayne and Batman as you are subjected to two personalities that make you question which one is the true Walt and which one is the mask.  Either way, you will find yourself rooting for both as each personality faces its own challenges.

Currently Netflix features four seasons of Breaking Bad, so feel free to ride solo with Walt/Heisenburg or make it a couples bonding project.  The plot twists are well thought out and will leave you anxious to watch the next episode. 

Final Thoughts:  This show cooks!
Thing I look forward to the most:  When Heisenburg comes out to play.
Why I'm hooked: He may not have the muscle, but Walt's criminal mind is the best in the business.

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