Albuquerque, N.M. never seemed like the place for this to happen.
That is what has helped to make Vince Gilligan’s masterfully-crafted “Breaking Bad” so brilliant. It took place somewhere very few people passionately care about. It’s not even the capital of the Land of Enchantment. Gilligan brought an irrelevant place into the spotlight, and it has been shining ever since it took to the airwaves back in January 2008.
For those who don’t know, AMC’s “Breaking Bad” is a thriller-drama about an underachieving chemistry teacher named Walter White, portrayed sensationally by Bryan Cranston. In the pilot episode, he is diagnosed with an inoperable lung cancer. After going on a ride-along with his brother-in-law, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) of the DEA, Walter realizes how much money he can make producing crystal meth. White enlists the help of his former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to help distribute their “product.”
Eventually, White produces extremely pure meth. It even has a distinguishing blue hue to it, hence one of its nicknames: “Blue Sky.” Whie and Pinkman, are probably the most skilled crystal meth cooks in the United States for a healthy duration of the series.
But Schrader finds out that White may be the infamous “Heisenberg” he has been looking for over the past year. He finds evidence inside White’s copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” a major plot device throughout the series.
The episode, “Ozymandias,” which premiered Sunday, Sept. 15 was one of the best-chosen titles in the history of the show. The title is a reference to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 1818 poem “Ozymandias.” The poem is about the inevitable fall of the king of kings—someone can’t hold on to power forever. Gustavo Fring was that king for two decades, but in a shootout, Schrader and Fring are killed.
Now, White is truly secluded. He splintered his family and Pinkman is practically a meth-cooking slave. When we last see White, he is being picked up by a man who will give him a new identity for $125,000. The next episode “Granite State,” hints at him heading to New Hampshire.
The fact that “Breaking Bad” ends Sept. 29 is a massive deal. It has won many Emmy Awards and is consistently recognized by critics as one of the best shows on television.
If you get sick this semester and have the ability to watch the show, give it a try. It will introduce you to a place you probably aren’t familiar with and should entertain you with solid camerawork and fantastic foreshadowing.
“Granite State” premieres Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC; the series finale, “Felina,” premieres Sept. 29 at 9 p.m.