“They say Sicilians would rather eat their children than part with their money. And they love their children very much.” ~ Prizzi’s Honor
“Breaking Bad,” ended brutally honest. Drugs, money and pride are deadly. The ugly truth behind Walter White’s calculated chess game came to pass and the once cult hero died an enemy to everyone, I hope.
Jesse Pinkman wins his life and he got to kill the creepy Todd to boot.
Walt is Emerson’s man living a life “of quiet desperation.” Whether you or he likes it at all, the truth is that he is all of us– ordinary. The cancer diagnosis simply reminds him that he has a mediocre life. What makes him a bit different is having sold his billion dollar idea for five thousand dollars, and now, a barrel filled with $10 million.
Maybe the best metaphor yet was Walt rolling his barrel in the desert. Jesse astutely said, “I’m coming to get you where you really live.” All Walt had left is the barrel of millions, a defiant revenge streak, and a hatred for anyone who has ever taken anything from him. He got the Nazi’s and Lydia (don’t forget how much Mike hated Lydia–for good reason). He’s not Sicilian but he sure loves what he thinks his money is doing for his family.
For so long, Jesse wrestled with his guilt, and sorrow like most of us while Teflon Walt kept calculating his next sociopathic lie.
In TV, movies and literature, there can always be a happy ending. Not this time. We loved Walt sticking it to “the man” and Fring, and Krazy 8, and Jesse’s assassins and so many more. But he crossed the line at Jane…and then Mike. Seeing his rage against the insurance companies, the traffic tickets, the stupid boss and job and the rest of the conformist rituals we all despise is our cartharsis. We now know for sure that the quirky folk hero really was the devil as Jesse suggested to Hank and Gomez.
Walt lost his vision and got blinded to see what could have been, and he still believes it was all for the benefit of his family.
We’re still not sure if Walt, in all his apparent love and compassion for his wife and kids, really ever knew that ordinary is good, and like this: one day you wake up and see the last of your five children packing his car to go off to college. And when you see that, you realize that that home, fed by an unconditionally loving mother, is the only life that that kid knows and now he is leaving her nest. You hope that he remembers the love and laughter his parents and brothers and sisters shared with him. You hope that you’ve taught him well enough to handle the noise you are sending him into. And then you start remembering everything he means to you.
His leaving is the absolute truth that this part of your life is over. His leaving to conquer the world is a permanent change for you. Now, all five kids are gone and you remember every birth, birthday party and every kid who ever came to your house to those parties. You recall every first day of school, science experiment, father’s day card, little league game, play, piano lesson, pet, dance recital and bicycle. You remember every dance, middle school graduation, Homecoming, argument, Christmas, Thanksgiving, first girlfriend, first boyfriend, first date, prom, breakup, high school graduation and every kid going away to college.
You remember that each time your household grew smaller by way of college, you looked forward to that day when the last one would leave home and what would be left is you and that woman who did everything in her power to make sure you and those kids were loved. You two would be together, alone, like you were in the beginning– before you created those beautiful children with her and that it would be a glorious day knowing he was ready to leave.
But then you see him packing his car and preparing his bike for the trip to his first day away home and your heart hurts because you really love him and his brothers and sisters. And you miss them all. You realize that over the years, they have enriched your life beyond anything you ever imagined. And then you turn around and walk to your room and close the door as he continues packing and you cry like a baby because your youngest-your wife’s baby– is leaving home and you can’t do anything about it. You are really going to miss him and you’re afraid he doesn’t know that. He, just like the four before him, really wants to go take on the world. He is not leaving for the wrong reasons. He’s leaving because you taught him all along that this day would come and going away to college is something to look forward to. His leaving to start his own life is a good thing but it’s really hard to do. And all of it is so ordinary and beautiful.
Walt lost his perspective. Ordinary is okay. It is not filled with athletic, movie, or rock stars. It’s not winning the lottery. It is the kids, the friends, the school events and summer vacation. It is not living in a sitcom or scandalous drama. Ordinary is what everyone is. By day’s end the Mumbai rickshaw driver and the Wall Street CEO each goes home to have dinner with his family as do the celebrities, intellectuals, garbage collectors, drug dealers and cops.
Ironically and scientifically he knows for certain that when he is six feet under, the miracle of the chemicals of his body human body that create the electrical impulses that make him what and who he is will be dead- a useless pool of liquid, and then dust, just like everyone else.
It would have been fitting to bring Fring back from the dead to say, “is this the way you want to be remembered Walt: an ordinary rata?”