SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE BREAKING BAD FINALE AND WISH TO, STOP READING!
In the wake of the series finale, countless Breaking Bad wrap-ups are popping up around the web. It’s been incredible to see the various viewpoints and just flat out opinions all of these great writers have been putting out. Now, I do not consider myself a great writer but I would be remiss if I did not at least throw in my two cents. I pondered for what felt like hours on how I should go about this. (More time than I should have actually.) There are countless things I want to say about this show. Maybe some day I will review or at least do a highlight of my favorite moments or flat out episodes. I plan (time permitting) to sit down and actually rewatch the series in its entirety over the upcoming winter break. For now though I just wanted briefly say why this series is so important to me.
In short, Breaking Bad helped me keep going. To those who know, clinical depression is an ongoing element in my life. I have had some dark times these past couple of years. TImes where I thought erasing myself was the only option to escape. Hell, I still struggle with these kinds of things.
My counselor told me that when you are severally depressed, or at least acknowledge to yourself that you truly wish you were dead, that you need to find something to hold on to. Whether it be people, hobbies, or what have you. This becomes increasingly more difficult as things begin to feel like they are slipping through your fingers.
Now, I’ve been a fan of this show since it began in 2008, but somewhere around the 4th season it took on a whole other meaning. When things got to their bleakest,and I felt like I literally on the razor’s edge, a funny thought would cross my mind: “I have to see how Breaking Bad ends.” Silly, I know but this simple stupid thought did the trick more often than not.
I had to see how Gus was going to scare the shit out of me in the next episode.
I had to hear the truth Mike was going to spit out each week.
I had to see the confrontation between Walt and Hank.
I had to see who the ricin was for.
I had to see what Flynn was going to have for breakfast next.
I had to see if Walt was finally going to build Jesse that robot.
I had to see whether Walt was going to get away with everything or go down like Tony Montana.
The other day, I rewatched the series finale and one scene made me shed a tear that I hadn’t when I first watched the episode. It’s the final shot of Jesse as he is driving away from the Nazis’ compound, and he begins to laugh.
He’s free. After all the shit and truly horrible things this guy has gone through, he is finally free. His destiny is at last his own, and the path before him, while uncertain, now has a light to guide the way. It kind of defines his character all in a single shot. It was one of the most satisfactory moments in one of the most satisfactory conclusions ever committed to any medium. Darkness doesn’t define Jesse Pinkman. Hope does.
Now, I’ve never come close to the hardships Jesse has had to face. My life has been quite easy in comparison. But I too have struggled with an inner darkness that I fear will eventually come to define me. I think we all do at some point. I don’t want to be a Walter White. I want to be a Jesse Pinkman.
Breaking Bad means more than just one singular thing. The beauty of this, and any great show is that it holds countless meanings for millions of people. But to answer the title, Breaking Bad means hope to me. That hardship does not have to define me. That maybe, just maybe, there is a light. It will be a struggle. I have no illusions about it being anything other than hard. I’m going to stumble, but I’m going to keep looking for things to hold to keep my balance. Breaking Bad was one of those things, and for that I am eternally grateful.
In closing, I must thank any and everyone who helped this wonderful show come into being. Thank you for making a show that made me want to come back each season. Thank you for making a show that made me keep going so I could see the end. Thank you for giving the world Jesse Pinkman, Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul. And to everyone else?