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.

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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