14 Years of Breaking Bad: The mesmerising cinematic painting of blood, glory and despair

| Updated: February 20, 2022 13:23:22

14 Years of Breaking Bad: The mesmerising cinematic painting of blood, glory and despair

“Say my name” - and we all know whose name comes up!

Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, is one of the most critically celebrated television shows of all time. 

‘BrBa,’ which is near the top of the IMDb charts, has a strong cast led by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. This Emmy and Golden Globe-winning crime drama has remained the holy grail for television shows for the past fourteen years. 

"What ends up making a show about a bald chemistry teacher so noteworthy?" might wonder those who have never seen Breaking Bad. The answer is right there in the question. The show's work of art is the show's bald chemistry teacher. 

Walter White is going through a tumultuous period in his life. He has cancer, feels betrayed, and resorts to absurd measures to sustain himself and his family by cooking meth. 

Aside from the breathtaking visuals and extraordinary cinematography, director Vince Gilligan's brilliance shines through in every intricate episode and layered character arc. 

This show is gobbled up by nerds who dream of a transition like White's, from an ordinary everyman to an outstanding drug kingpin, owing to its exceptional dialogue and complicated chemistry references. 

And we are all aligned with Walter there, “The chemistry must be respected.”

From the beginning to the end, the series is lyrical, with magnificent broad imagery. On that note, it's critical to note how the creators came to an appropriate conclusion with Walter's death. 

With Walter White's extremely complicated character arc in motion, the line between protagonist and antagonist begins to blur, and the show plays well with the subject's psychological intricacies. 

White's shy and ordinary demeanour gives way to a rapacious and egocentric persona reeking of malignant narcissism and sociopathic attitudes. 

He is a pitiful hero who has been betrayed and deceived; he is bitter and manipulative, making the audience doubt their love and commitment. 

The show's camaraderie between Walter and Jesse Pinkman is a highlight. Despite the fact that Pinkman is frequently used as a pawn by White, the two are bitter enemies who have a heart wrenching partners-in-crime relationship. 

Photo courtesy: Wallpaperboat

Pinkman's transition from an irresponsible and careless addict to a compassionate individual whose activities are well-balanced with his emotions and his willingness to settle down to a more comfortable life is captivating. 

The death of Walter White is a work of poetry in motion. Walter dies encircled by his one real love, the meth machines, thanks to his never-say-die attitude. 

The method of manufacturing meth both gave him and took away his sense of hope for life – he indebted everything to the machines. 

The final episode, ‘Felina,’ is widely regarded as the greatest ending to any TV series ever, as it brings the series to a fitting conclusion to Badfinger's music, ‘Baby Blue.’ 

This series not only has a powerful final episode, but also antepenultimate and penultimate episodes that are equally as good. 

Its antepenultimate episode, ‘Ozymandias,’ is widely regarded as the greatest television episode of all time, having won multiple Emmy awards and a solid 10/10 rating on IMDb. 

The natural landscape of Albuquerque not only gave the show an exceptional visual style not previously seen on television, but Gilligan's attention to story specifics regularly went beyond the original text, using colour cues and small tidbits. 

From the continuing use of yellow to signify Walt's changing relationship with the danger surrounding him until he infamously becomes the danger himself, to cascading motifs like the pink teddy bear's eye, which represents Walt's past starting to catch up with him—for world building. 

This series was an absolute treat to watch and a pleasure to look forward to every week, with a roller-coaster sense of adventure, catchphrase gold (‘Science, bitch!’ ‘I am the one who knocks!’) and a supporting cast so powerful that they could survive an entire second spinoff show. 

Yet it had no illusions about the atrocities committed in its hero's name, never failing to notify us of what he'd done in the name of ‘family.’ 

Its balance of the divine and the terrible – captivating us with Walt's misadventures one instant, emotionally bloodying us with them the next – was unrivalled at the time. 

It's an accomplishment worth bearing in mind and revisiting. To quote the original Ozymandias, “Look on its works, ye mighty, and despair." 

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