(written the day after the final episode of Breaking Bad; Spoiler Alerts)

Hank is as real to us as our own brother-in-law.

The gaping pain of Marie Schrader is almost unbearable.

We can only pray to God top to deliver Walter Jr from the madness seeming inevitable.

No show has evoked how we feel after the death of someone close to us as Breaking Bad and this elevates it into the highest reaches of Tragedy. Yet, to a degree unprecedented in this observer’s experience, I am witnessing an unfolding of events and personalities that is rivetingly, appallingly inescapable. It is a bit like being a mildly-amusing cousin, a fop conditioned to sitting nine places away from the real Richard of Gloucester at the drinking table. Our King Walter still stands, and he is enacting his bloody doings in front of our hostage eyes.

My beloved and I both awoke with nameless fear this morning, wavering, shivered to the bone. I cannot abide seeing My Dear in fear, since I love her and because her anonymous worry so correctly mirrors my own. Why have we inflicted this on ourselves? It’s a kind-of TV-PTSD, shellshock, battle-fatigue. What have we left ineffaceable in our memories of the series? These are the question these characters, and we, must ask ourselves, now. Like no other experience, Breaking Bad punches through the Fourth Wall and leaves our mouths a bloody mess. We purchased all of Breaking Bad until this point.

I doubt I can summon the money to achieve the complete loss of my moral teeth. But mouth was agape as it concluded. Five seasons, five acts. Pure tragedy, complete with body-count. Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, make room for Gilligan. The master with the bungler’s name!

If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, remember: you cannot un-see it. Perhaps, then, do not watch the final episode, and keep hope alive to the last. Leave the characters in a place where some unknowable Grace might deliver them from the inferno of suffering they’ve inflicted on themselves. Leave the characters as they are, where they are, I ask you. Leave Grace out of it, if it bothers you, and with cold rationality simply allow these them to exist in the same state as the theoretical cat of Doctor-Professor Schrödinger. Neither alive nor dead.

If you haven’t started to watch, perhaps don’t. For, what have we purchased? And at what deceptive price? Why have we bought into people we care about, as Walter did, and seen so many of them killed or wounded in ways visible and invisible, authors of who-knows-what tragedies to come? Is this what the ancients called Catharsis?

These are the questions Breaking Bad forces us to ask. Right now. This morning.

Don’t buy into this, even if it is the titanic televisionary achievement of our generation. Don’t get involved with Walter and Skyler and Jesse and Hank and Junior and Marie and the Baby.

Just leave these poor people alone.

 

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