Tuesday, 30 September 2014

TV Tuesday - Breaking Bad: One Year On

As a matter of fact ...

Yesterday was exactly one year since the last episode of the hit TV show 'Breaking Bad.' I didn't start watching the show until just before the last episode aired. I was a bit late to the party. As such, I didn't watch the episode with everyone else, not wanting to spoiler my dinner. 

So one year on, what is there to say about Breaking Bad? Well the results speak for themselves, the show earned 16 Emmy awards and 1 golden globe over its duration. The last episode pulled in a massive 10.3 million viewers in the US alone.

Though this is all great, it's not the numbers that stay with us from this show: it's the characters. Walter and Jesse are obvious favourites but they'd be nothing without their supporting entourage. So here are my favourite recurring characters from the show, still as fresh in my mind as they were a year ago. 

1) Saul Goodman

He had to make the list. Saul is a nugget of comedy gold in a mine of brooding coal characters. He's not just a piece of comic relief for the show, he's a driving force behind so much of what goes on.

He gave the show such contrast. It was easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of death, drugs and destruction that followed Walter wherever he went but it took the humour and absurdity of Saul to see how truly dark and often scary the world of meth money really is.

I loved how we first saw Saul as more of criminal than Walter at the beginning. Walter just needed some business help and was reluctant to entangle himself in Saul's crooked dealings. It's a testimony to how out of hand things got for Walter that Saul ended up being scared of him and trying to run for the hills. He had dealt with some of the roughest, shadiest criminals in Albuquerque and came out cracking jokes, but Walter's escapades left him a broken man on the run, with no business, money or friends and desperately searching for a new identity to start again.

Thankfully, fans of the show can get more of their Saul fix after HBO announced that he will be getting his own show, 'Better Call Saul', which premieres in February 2015. 

2) Gustavo 'Gus' Fring 

A truly chilling character. From his introduction to the show in season 2 he proved a potent nemesis and partner to Walter. 

What I loved about Gus was just how effortlessly cool he was. He wasn't what TV viewers are grown accustomed to when it comes to drug barons. He wasn't loud, obnoxious and trigger happy. He was calm, calculating and used words as weapons. The best part? He was always one step ahead of Walter. Ironically, this proved to be Gus' downfall. Walter went from just wanting to get out of the game and escape Gus, to plotting to kill him. When he eventually succeeded, Gus stayed cool to the end with the haunting sight of him readjusting his glasses with half a face missing. Chilling.

As with Saul, Gus worked well as a way of showing the audience how much Walter had changed. To think that the lowly, meek servant that Walter was to Gus in the beginning and how he went on the kill his master and take his throne just shows the transformation that took place within Walter. 

Gus was a haunting and incredibly essential addition to the show. Without him, Walter never could have become the true villain. 

3) Mike Ehrmantraut 

Mike was arguably the only hero of the show. Although he was Gus' right hand man, his wasn't corrupted or obsessed with drugs, money or power. He was truly loyal and level headed among all the chaos around him. Even more than the apparent 'good guys' he often fought against. 

He was a rough around the edges, gnarly, bitter old man but I just wanted to hug him whenever he came on screen. There was something so sad behind his eyes. He took everything in his stride in a way that made me think he wasn't scared of death anymore as he'd already lost something worth living for. 

There were plenty of funny, serious, angry and scary characters but Mike was the only one who was sad. It's a testimony to the writers that they can pull of melancholy and murder in one guy. 

I've just realised I might have put a few spoilers into this piece so I won't say anymore about Mike. Needless to say, his last scene in the show is probably the most heart breaking in the show. Made even more so by a beautiful side story with his grandaughter. 


An amazing show that's talked about one year on. The first of many I'm sure. 

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