The experience of the multiple seasons, which I consumed basically this year has been harrowing as time proceded, primarily because this is the kind of dramatic show I tend to avoid. Too much staring into the void, etc. The ending, outside of a few stunning dialogs and the complete destruction of hope was surprisingly wordless. There were silent tears gushing from human beings who have lost it. It seemed rather slow at the time. I expected wordification of plot and interior monologue, but met only crying eyes. The effect was useful for me to reflect upon what I knew about the characters, which was that they were complicit in their own spectacular destruction, inextricably and for the simplest reasons, just trying to deliver something to their families. Nuclear families irradiated by pride, burned down degeneratively from the absorption of too much ionizing power.
The ambition of Walter White rings a bit empty on that idea of having and holding family. Although his every rationale screams 'family', it all rather came down to a gangland omerta style of family. Family was dragged and manipulated through the darkside for a wanker's dream. What Walter White never did was teach his family. His domesticity was formal. He merely fed them. He didn't lead them by example, he didn't engage them. Yet he did provide and protect them against all odds. In that way he was a perfect manly embodiment of will whose business could only provide an inheritance unattached to actual love, caring or purpose. To Walter, family was duty but nothing else.
The car wash was never a car wash. The high school classroom was never a classroom. They were boring necessities and hiding places in the shadow of White's true calling of psychological domination. And so it was such an extraordinary adventure he took, such an exhilerating test of his qualities as a man. At every turn, he exhibited brilliant foresight, prescient character judgment, bravery, skill, nerves of steel, stunning adaptability and the kind of self-confidence anchored in his genuine conviction. He believed that in the end he could prevail, justifyably. Until he knew he was dying.
It was far, far too late. But what a downscaled drama. No red Ferraris, no silk suits, no night clubs. No gold plated guns, hot women. His double life as Heisenberg was an intoxicating power trip. Walter White had the pure thing and no insipid accoutrements. He outwitted legions. He stared down everyone, everywhere and he forced them all to obey or face the consequences. He calculated everybody's weight down to 7 digits of precision and used the extra gram to push them over the cliff slowly enough so that he could yank them back as if he cared.
But there was nothing left for them to believe in. Walter White never became invincible socially. He was too large for any family but a crime family the size of Gus Fring's operation. But he couldn't scale down the ego controlling all that power into a nuclear family sized package, and he microwaved the brains of everyone in close proximity. He built nothing sustainable into his criminal enterprise. There was nowhere to build it. Walter's world was as empty as the desert, the endless tweaking consumers, the brilliant legal and illegal hacks and the faceless, bloodless corporations. Series creator Vince Gilligan's world is devoid of structures of society that aren't weak or degenerate. The self-help circles are hopeless. The only things that function do so at strip-mall capacity. Everybody's got a hungry heart, a weak will and only desperation energizes this ill planet.
It reminds me now, remarkably like the gaming worlds of Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row. A sandbox world in which only astounding destruction can move mountains. These are worlds in which inspiration is frustrated and slow to come and only finds purchase in the hope of a spouse or a child, the lack of which is presumed and justifies a pathetic disregard for humanity. At some point everyone in this world is an unattractive housewife who drops her jaw and groceries at the sight of men of action. That's all there is. Them who can fetch the dinero, and the dirty deeds they must do.
That provides good drama for those of us who consume televised entertainment as it contrasts with what we must possess as humans lest we go so astray. And yet the radiation of such cruelty and sadness, such emptiness without pathos has a haunting banality. The empty desert heart of Gilligan's New Mexico will echo with us for a long time.