Written in Ink
Written in Ink

So here's the other thing about the Breaking Bad finale: Sometimes I get the impression that Vince Gilligan hates the American Family.
The early-Walt is a brilliant, successful scientific researcher, co-founder of a hot startup, respected for and enthusiastic about his work. We see him and Skylar, pregnant, house hunting; Walt is already looking to trade up.
Next thing, as far as I can recall (but I have a lousy memory), Walt has left the company (why is unclear) and has dead-ended. He hates his job trying to drum the periodic tables into his high school students; he works a second, menial hourly gig. If he's doing this for any reason other than to support his wife and special needs son, and fulfill his role as family man, I haven't heard of it. The field is set for Heisenberg to emerge, and the rest is TV history.

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Illustration for article titled Walter White, Family Man

Throughout the series, Walt claims he is doing everything for his family. I'm among those who think that, for a while at least, he believes what he is saying. It isn't until the finale that Walt finally admits to Skylar (and to himself?): "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And... I was ... really... I was alive."
Family and the obligations that go with it suck the life out of Walter White and leave him an empty husk — a member of America's other walking dead. It's a deeply cynical and pessimistic view, but there it is...

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