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‘Breaking Bad’ – Chemical Reactions

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bad toy 3 revision-systems.co.uk6.4 million viewers tuned in to watch “Ozymandias,” episode 14 of season five of the amazing AMC series Breaking Bad. Even those who do not watch the series may know that the basic story line is a mild-mannered chemistry teacher named Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Devastated as he is, White decides that he will provide for his wife and children’s future by using his knowledge of chemistry to make meth. He hopes he will make enough money to leave them something substantial for when he is gone.

That seemingly simple premise has spawned a TV hydra known as Breaking Bad, with White doing the breaking and becoming something else, an “other” that I suspect even he doesn’t recognize anymore. White tells his high school students that chemistry “is the study of change.” How apropos that Walt becomes Heisenberg in a chemical reaction that is as nefarious as anything Dr. Jekyll could have conjured in Mr. Hyde.

As the days pass between the last episode and the penultimate one, “Granite State,” that will air on Sunday, to say the “buzz” about the series is viral is an understatement. People are talking about the show, writers are writing about it, and the dissection of good and evil and all parts in between will no doubt go on long after the series ends.

bad toy 2Today I went to the local toy store to get something for my son. As I walked down the aisle in the action figure section, I saw two very striking items – both featuring images of Cranston. One depicts Walter White in a hazmat suit as seen in the show when he is “cooking” the meth. The other is White’s alter ego Heisenberg, so I immediately thought Jekyll-Hyde as I inspected the boxes. Both items are manufactured by Mezco Toyz. The figure in the hazmat suit is a bobble-head; the other is a posable figure featuring White in dark hat, sunglasses, and carrying a gun. An accessory – a satchel full of cash – is included in the package.

As I was looking at these items an older gentlemen came alongside me and noted, “I’ve got both of those on my desk.”

I looked at him and nodded. “Big fan of the show I guess, huh?”

He was holding a two boxes with action figures from the AMC series The Walking Dead. He looked down at them and said, “Oh, these are for my grandson. I am really going to miss old Walter White.”

bad toy  1We both went our separate ways after that, but I sensed that anyone who would have both of these figures on his desk doesn’t view Walt as scum of the earth or spawn of Satan. In fact, this fellow is not alone. I have heard from many people since my last article – I like to call them “Team Walt” – who swear that White is the victim and everyone else is worse than he is.

I tried to rethink my position on this, because of the combustible reactions that are occurring since I wrote my last review of “Ozymandias.” Basically the thought process is that Hank and Jesse are getting everything they deserve. I have been told that the best thing Walt could have ever done for Jesse was to let drug addict Jane die. I am reminded that Walt told Hank to “tread lightly,” but Hank was having none of it. As for Marie, I have heard some people say that she had some nerve to go to the car wash and tell Skyler what to do with her son. Who the hell did she think she was? Telling Junior should have been Skyler’s choice when she was ready.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.