Sunday will mark the end of an era and I feel lost. Nay, aimless. After five spectacular seasons of AMC’s Emmy-winning TV series, it’s time to say goodbye to Breaking Bad‘s questionably lovable meth-cooking ex-high school teacher Walter White. There are some of you, however, who have never seen a single episode—you’ve never experienced the frustration brought on by Skyler
fucking White; you’ve never watched Walt Jr. eat breakfast over and over and over again; you’ve watched Saul’s spin-off without ever seeing him save Walt’s ass; and you still think of Heisenberg as merely a theoretical physicist. To those of you who identify with the aforementioned statements: I envy you. You can still experience everything for the first time. But let’s be real, you’re not going to watch all five seasons before Sunday. To get you caught up, read the five things you should know about the legendary series after the jump.
- Don’t let the finale be your first episode of Breaking Bad. Before Sunday, watch at least the first episode. Fair warning: everything has changed, but at least you’ll get a basic understanding of certain characters. It’ll be interesting to see a healthy Walt teaching chemistry and then see him dying alone as an embittered man in the wilderness. Curious how that transition happens? Watch the show.
- It’s about more than just meth. When I asked a non-viewer his impression of the show, he responded: “Meth. Aaron Paul says ‘Bitch’ a lot. Lots of violence (which is why I don’t watch it). More meth.” While that’s somewhat true, it hardly scratches the surface. Walter White was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which required a treatment he simply couldn’t afford. Naturally, he decides to use his chemistry knowledge to make meth to keep himself alive and support his family. Throughout the course of the series, he goes from being the good ole family guy to a despicable man whose greed and depravity know no bounds. His partner in crime, Jesse Pinkman, has a parallel but reverse transformation. He starts out as the druggie delinquent with nothing to lose. Throughout the series he finds love and more direction in his life, only to have his loved ones die, which is a result of Walt being in his life. He is a fragment of a human being trying to hold on to his sanity. The show grapples with issues of morality, family, and “business ethics.”
- Why do people like it so much? Yeah, it’s a depressing show. Yeah, there’s violence. So why watch? Breaking Bad makes an absurd concept actually work. Its ability to captivate the audience by going from moments of laughter to instantaneous dread and uneasiness keeps the audience engaged. Its attention to detail in everything it does is fascinating. Each episode starts with the fallout of a huge event, followed by a less exciting mid section, and then ends with a bang. The magic formula keeps people coming back: It contrasts montages of the characters cooking meth throughout the series while happy-go-lucky music plays in the background, which almost makes one forget that they’re cooking a dangerous and illegal drug. Most importantly, after each episode you’re practically forced to ponder the series and character arcs. Its brilliant writing is unforgettable.
- Don’t ask any questions during airtime. None. If you do, your friends will undoubtedly poison you using ricin. (This was a reference to when Walt poisoned Jesse’s girlfriend’s child with ricin and blamed somebody else, but you probably didn’t catch that. Which leads me back to number 1 on this list. Just watch it.)
- Breaking Bad as told by the internet: