Update: At the time that I wrote this I wasn’t aware that “Season 5” was broken up into two parts and that the next “season” wasn’t going to be “6.” So the post below is about the first half of Season 5. I did end up watching the second half, late again, on Netflix. Those episodes were hard to watch, but I wanted to see if Walter would redeem himself in any way. After much beyond believable behavior on his part, he finally did admit to himself – and to his wife before he died – that he didn’t do all the nasty stuff he did for the family (it really took him a long time to admit the obvious), but because he liked the power. I may watch it again so that I can write a fuller post on sin and how people handle it, or don’t, in this popular show and how it reflects Christian belief on these subjects, but for now, enjoy the original essay (and thanks for dropping by!).
I wonder how many Christians watched “Breaking Bad,” the show about a high school chemistry teacher turned evil meth mastermind. I hadn’t wanted to watch it until recently, but that was because I had a mistaken view of what the original story was; we also because don’t watch much TV. My son wanted to see what it was all about, however, since it’s so popular, and we ended up watching up to season 5 recently on Netflix. (This is an adult show, so yeah, we fast forwarded over a few parts – something my son was very glad to do!)
If you’ve watched it, you know that the teacher, Walt, gets lung cancer and his family, even with insurance, can’t pay for all the treatments and surgery (that alone, if I recall correctly, was $120,000). He originally thought of just letting himself die, but his family didn’t want that, of course. So, since he knew chemistry, he decided to make money at making meth. He wanted to make enough to pay for the family’s bills and put enough in savings for his kids to go to college – before he died. He had good intentions, at least during the first season (and what he’s doing is not any different than what the tobacco industry gets away with legally, when it comes down to it). However, the treatments went unusually well and Walt’s cancer went into remission. Things went downhill from there.
I very much like the message of the first season. It’s something like this comic:
But after season 1, Walt gets more and more prideful until by the end of season 5, he murders a man easy as pie, where there is no reason to (and this man was a trusted associate). At this point in the show Walt is 51 yeas old, and only about a year and a half has taken place since the beginning of season 1. He is no longer the same person he was, by any stretch of the imagination. People can and do become corrupt, but the only way that it can happen at that speed and level, is by becoming demon possessed. So what I’m saying is that, *gasp*, the show is just bad.
The bad writing and weird decision-making by the characters started in season 2, so it makes me think the makers of this show didn’t have a good long-term vision for it. To try and make us believe that all the violence and stupidity in the show is due to Walt not being able to get proper health care is just silly. I do think they could’ve stayed on track with that original idea and come up with a more realistic, quirkier, and interesting show than what “Breaking Bad” became.
After season 1, it simply became a gangster soap opera. There are tidbits in it about the possibility of God, and how people change and become bad, but that’s all they are – tidbits. Besides that, Hank, Walt’s DEA brother-in-law (the good guys, right?), is an extremely obsessive legalist type who is about as equally disturbing as Walt! In any case, I kept watching the show because I was invested in it and I simply wanted to see what happened next, but, after season 5, I truly don’t care what happens to Walt anymore. I wish he hadn’t left a trail of bodies (or . . . barrels of acid) everywhere and made the lives of those who happen to be still alive so miserable.