The premise of Breaking Bad is about how far individual characters can fall or rather break bad in a confined space of time. How confined? About a year. Yep, Walt goes from getting fourth and fifth period lunch to cooking meth to crime lord in the time it takes Jerry Jones to scout, evaluate, draft, and then release a first round pick. The show starts with Walt’s 50th birthday, we see Walt’s 51st birthday and in the midst of it all we flash forward to his 52nd birthday, but the bulk of the show, until recently, has occurred between laying out the old bacon for Walt’s 50th and 51st birthdays.
We love you Breaking Bad. We love you hard, like a Sissy Spacek movie from the 70’s.
So what has happened to our beloved characters in that year, between the bacon? Let’s summarize.
How did Walt’s 50th year go? He got cancer, got an RV and whitey tighties but lost his khakis. He started cooking meth, teamed up with a stoner ex-student, bought a black hat, shaved his head, grew a goatee, killed some people, got kidnapped, worked for a drug cartel on the local, regional and national level. Then no more cancer, wife gets pregnant, wife has a kid, wife has an affair. He cooks meth in the RV, a house, a super lab, back in the RV, back in a house, and finally in houses where fumigation is allegedly occurring. But the cancer comes back, he teams up with a fellow chemist fan boy, has that dude killed, blows up a building and a dude…well half a dude’s face, watches a girl overdose and die, fails to render aid and is partially responsible for the collision of two airplanes over Albuquerque. Walt throws a pizza, retrieves the pizza, cleans the pool, gets taken to Mexico, doesn’t drink the tequila because its poisoned, poisons a kid, tries to poison his boss – well actually both of his bosses, puts a body in acid, plans a train robbery, executes a train robbery, uses a giant magnet, teams up with a weird chick with connections and becomes the meth supplier for eastern Europe. He teams up with a psychopath (not the first psychopath, or even the second one, I mean the third one, you know the guy from Friday Night Lights), enlists the help of a gang of white supremacists and the guys from Phoenix. He plans hits, orders hits, performs hits, avoids hits, watches hits, starts a turf war, a drug war and wins both. He hides money in an air vent, a crawl space, Coca Cola products, a duffle bag, a laundry mat, a storage unit, the garage, the baby’s room, and a vacuum cleaner.
He hides money in an air vent, a crawl space, Coca Cola products, a duffle bag, a laundry mat, a storage unit, the garage, the baby’s room, and a vacuum cleaner.
Hank, we love Hank, well, we loved Hank (spoiler alert). Hank spent the year plus, shooting a drug dealer, getting promoted, getting demoted, almost getting fired, working a cold case, a hot case, getting suspended for beating up a drug dealer, turning in is gun and getting it back. He got shot all up by drug dealers, stuck in the hospital, he can’t walk, depression sets in, rehabs, he learns to walk, depression gone, rage grows, then panic grows, the rage again. He fights in a bar, a house, a kitchen, and a back yard. Hank goes back with the DEA, sees a snitch’s head on a turtle (let me repeat, snitch's head is ON A TURTLE), becomes the boss at the ABQ DEA, tries to find Heisenberg but is SOL, goes rogue, goes to parties, goes to a junk yard, goes to the mall, goes to El Paso, goes to the border, goes to a hospital to see his wife who isn’t there, hangs out with Heisenberg but doesn’t know he’s there, brews beer, drinks beer, takes a dump, reads Walt Whitman (twice), and does his best thinking on the crapper.
I’m tired. Not that tired.
How about Skyler - the one we love to hate. How’s her year plus gone? She learns her husband has a cancer, has a child, an affair, an Ebay business, a bookkeeping job, a laundry mat, exposes fraud, commits fraud, hires a lawyer then hires goons. She discovers Walt is the meth heavyweight champion of 5 states, loves him, hates him, fears him, misses him, discovers she’s loaded, wishes she wasn’t, works hard to stay loaded, kicks Walt out of the house, lets Walt back in the house, starts swimming with her clothes on and is not a strong swimmer with her clothes on. She loves her sister, hates her sister, returns her sister’s baby gift, her baby gets kidnapped, well almost, then yes, then almost. Skyler orders hits, worries about money, launders money, gives away money, stacks money, and learns to control the silverfish population in an indoor storage facility.
Let’s wrap up with your hero and mine, Jessie Pinkman. What’s he been up to between the bacon? Well he’s a small time drug dealer who gets caught – almost, starts a meth business with his teacher, adds chili powder, has a partner named Emilio, a partner named Badger, a partner named Skinny Pete and a partner named Walt. He moves in next to Jane, likes Jane, dates Jane, loves Jane, Jane does heroin, Jane dies, Jessie is sad, goes to rehab, kills a dude, buys his parent's house, disposes of bodies, buys a giant TV and speakers, throws rager parties, buys a Roomba (or Robo-Tam). He watches his boss beat a dude to death, poison an entire pool party, and straight smoke fools (ok, not the same boss, but different bosses at different times), is a little freaked out, gets kidnapped, is a lot freaked out, gets jumped by crack heads, gets rescued from a crack house, gets beat up by a DEA agent, goes to the hospital, tries to poison two drug dealers with fast food and fails. He falls for Andrea, moves in with Andrea, goes straight, doesn’t go straight, relapses, goes straight again, relapses, breaks up with Andrea, gets back with Andrea, listens to techno, gives away money, helps kids, covers up a kid’s murder, goes to Mexico, comes back, has a man-crush on Mike, and says bitch… a lot.
(Jessie) moves in next to Jane, likes Jane, dates Jane, loves Jane, Jane does heroin, Jane dies, Jessie is sad
Life in Albuquerque is fast paced and amazing. I kind of want to go there, but part of me is terrified of the place. We love you Breaking Bad. We love you hard, like a Sissy Spacek movie from the 70’s. You’ve crammed a lot of stuff here in a year, between the bacon if you will. Reading it all I feel kind of dumb for loving you so much. But, just like Sissy, I overlook your faults and shortcomings because you deliver, in all your flawed glory.