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Happy 10th Birthday Breaking Bad #BrBa10

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On January 20th, 2008 audiences were introduced to a new drama series that changed television history. The concept of the show was to have "Mr. Chips turn into Scarface", a concept that was rare in TV & critics and audiences caught on quickly and got sucked into the world of Breaking Bad. The series earned two Golden Globes for Best Drama Series and Best Actor, nominated five times, along with several Emmy Nominations and Wins. By the end of the series, Breaking Bad became the number one drama series in history.

Mr. Chip turning into Scarface - Walter White turning into Heisenberg... What a concept, here's the thing, Walter also changed the people around him. His actions, good or bad, had affected everyone in his life, as we all do, but for Walt it became extreme.

I was thinking about how this concept of the series, I did a lot of research. I interviewed Stewart Lyons, the Line Producer of Breaking Bad and watched the panel episode of Breaking Bad when they were at PaleyFest. I went back to Stewart a few more times to ask a few more questions, poor man, I can get rather annoying. Then I started to watch each character one by one.

I first watched Skyler - in the pilot and throughout most of season one and two Skyler was a housewife and mother. The only thing that she was concerned with was the health and wellbeing of Walter and, of course, her children. Skyler had the most amazing character trait, she was one smart cookie! When Walter went for his surgery and blurted out that he had two cell phones, everything started making sense to her. Walt's odd behavior, his sudden burst of sexual energy, the weird phone call from Jesse that Walt claimed to be his pot dealer, and his fugue state. Oh and let's not forget the money. Skyler found out that Elliot and Gretchen did not give them a dime for Walt's treatment. So, Skyler was confused, ‘where did the money come from?’ Then Skyler called Walter's mother. We should recall that he told his wife that he was going to see his mother but instead he went on a cook marathon with Jesse. That lie right there was the final nail in Walt's coffin - she was convinced that he was a drug dealer. Well, not quite, Walter’s confession that he's a cook may have only made things worse.

I'm not saying Skyler was a perfect wife, no one is (she is not by the way). When Skyler found out that Ted, her boss, was cooking the books behind her back, she told him that she "could not sign off" on it the way it currently was recorded. That awoke something in Skyler, something that has been festering for a while. As Walter kept forcing his way back into the house, Skyler got deeper and deeper involved with Ted, until one night she came home and walked up to Walt and whispered into his ear and said "I fucked Ted."

The affair with Ted didn't last long. Soon, Skyler realized that in order to protect her family she needs
to help Walter, but she was going to do it her way. Not involving Laser Tag and I know what you're thinking, why are you starting off with a Supporting Character and not Walter White or even Jesse. Well the reason Skyler played a very important part in Heisenberg's world & behind every powerful man there's an even more powerful woman that say's "We've come this far for us. What's one more?..." ; Anna Gunn, what a brilliant Actress, Anna is what you call old Hollywood acting. She brought this loving, sweet housewife to life, which was completely behind her husband and turned her into a mobster's wife, who ordered a hit on a young man.

Walter White, the man who's action's destroyed so many lives. The funny thing is, Walter didn't start out to become one of the most powerful drug lords, it just kind of happened. You know, shit happens. When Walt got his cancer diagnosis he knew that something needed to prove for his family one way or another. After the drug bust ride-a-long that Walter went on with Hank, and saw Jesse jump out of the window from the house next door Walt got an idea on how to make some quick cash fast, with Jesse's help. I’m not too sure if Walt put much thought into his plan to get Jesse's involvement. When Walt approached Jesse about the idea, it sounded good on paper, but when it was time to take action everything that could go wrong went wrong. After a few people died, Walt got the hang of cooking meth. He figured out the math and all the money he needed was about $800,000, to pay off the mortgage on his house, two college educations, and support his family for the foreseeable future. Although, one thing lead to another and Walt got greedy, he wanted more money (as we all do). So he kept cooking and the more Walter cooked the more lives he destroyed. Until one day he met a man named Gus Fring. Gus was a game changer for the Breaking Bad world. Would Walter White have turned into the Heisenberg that we saw in season 5 without Gus Fring? Well, that's a good question, and an answer that only the team from Breaking Bad could answer.

When Gus exploded along with Hector Salamanca, that gave Walt and Jesse a new start. They could have just walked away from it all, Walt had the money that he needed for his family, he was healthy, why continue to cook? Walter White was greedy and he wanted more and it didn't mater who got hurt in the process, even a little boy’s life hung in the balance. I could go on and on about Walter White and his story, but this isn't just about Walt it's about every other character as well. Bryan Cranston proved one thing; we need to pay our teachers more! Back to a serous note, Cranston is a genius, for the first time in TV history he was playing a character that was being transferred into an evil form. His performance was so powerful that it left audiences and critics remembering for years to come.

My whole point of this article was to talk about how Walter White turning into Heisenberg had an affect on everyone in his life. Like the ripple effect. Walt's actions hurt a lot of people but mostly it was Jesse that suffered the most. When the two met Jesses was just a small time meth dealer working out of his friend’s Emilio’s house. Then after Hank busted Emilio, Jesse was up shit's creek, because one, he lost his lab, and two now he's got this old dude blackmailing him to help him cook.

Jesse was a good kid, like Combo, he just ran with the wrong crowd. But when Jesse got involved with Walt it started to affect him. Jesse was already a drug dealer but on a lower level, he was cooking this Chilli - P crap. So when he started working with Walt and cooking the blue meth it got Jesse feeling all kinds of happy feelings. The joy didn't last long, once they got involved with Tuco Salamanca. Tuco loved the blue meth, but was also bat-shit crazy! So, Jesse and Walt had to peddle the meth themselves, which they weren't very good at doing. When Walt made the decision to work with Gus Fring it had a huge impact on Jesse's life. For one, he was forced to kill Gale in order to save Walter's life. Jesse may be a lot of things, but he's not a killer, Walt's the killer. Gale's death was the beginning of a mental break-down for Jesse. He went back to smoking crystal meth and his house ended up looking like Skid Row. Believe it or not it was Gus who got Jesse clean and back on the straight and narrow - not Walt. Hell, Walter knew something was going on but didn't do anything about it. When Jesse got sent down to Mexico to teach the cartel how to cook the blue meth for once Jesse got to feel what it was like to be on top, the Master Chef as you might say. But then he met Don Eladio, and the Zafiro Añejo came out and everyone started to drop like flies. Jesse had no idea what was going on, Gus and Mike never told him their plan. Jesse did what Jesse does best during a shoot out, he freezes. But Mike handed Jesse a gun and he shot Joaquin Salamanca, Don Hector "Tio" Salamanca's grandson and last living relative. Instead of leaving it at that, when Jesse and Gus returned home, Gus took Jesse to the home were Hector was to rub it in his face that his entire family is dead and Jesse shot him.

Jesse was a pawn in everyone's game, everyone took advantage of him. Walter blackmailed him into cooking, which ended up destroying his life, killing the only woman he ever loved. Gus made Jesse feel special. Gus thought if he could get Jesse cooking on his own then he could eventually get his permission to kill Walt. I think the only one that was on his side was Mike. Aaron Paul was a fresh face when the series started. His young brought a special flavor to Jesse Pinkman. He truly Earned those Emmy wins.

Like I mentioned earlier Walt and Jesse were really bad at peddling meth. So Saul knew a guy, who knew another guy, who knew another guy. That guy's name was Gus Fring. Before Walter White came along, Gus was a simple businessman transporting meth from Mexico to New Mexico. Everything was done nice and clean, Gus never had to get his hands dirty. The choice to hire Walt and Jesse as his cooks was not a wise choice. Why, whenever Walt is involved everything turns into a cluster fuck, and that's not how Gus does business.

After Jesse killed Gale, Gus had no choice but to keep Walt and Jesse on as his cooks to continue the operation. Gus needed to send Walt and Jesse a message, so he took a box cutter and slit Victor’s throat. The blood went all over Walt and Jesse, as to say Victor's blood is also on their hands. Eventually the Cartel started making threats. That's when Gus made the decision to bring Jesse and Mike down to Mexico with him to teach the cartel lab how to make blue meth. After Jesse taught them how to make meth it was party time by the pool, with Don Eladio. Gus, the evil gentleman that he is, presented Don Eladio with a gift, Zafiro Añejo, but it was poisoned. They toasted to good health, brought out the girls, then dropped dead.

Gus survived the poisoning, but wouldn't live for much longer after that. Since Gale's death, Walt knew he was on borrowed time and if he was going to live he had to make the first move. Walt cooked rison in the lab to kill Gus. The plan was for Jesse to some how to put the ricin in Gus's food or drink. But Jesse could never get close enough to do so. Plan B, Walt tried to blow up Gus's car at the hospital parking garage. Gus had a feeling something was wrong and walked away. Good plan Walt! Plan C involved the only man that hates Gus more than Walter White, which is Hector Salamanca. Walt visited Hector at the nursing home and had a little talk, we don't know what they talked about but it must have been good because shortly after Gus came over and tried to kill him but instead Hector had one last laugh and blow them both up.

Gus Fring and Hector Salamanca were two of Breaking Bad's favorite bad guys, you know, besides Walter White. Giancarlo Esposito, brilliant actor, plays Television's most evil character with such grace. Gus is a man that is very evil and yet you respect him. Not because he might take a box cutter to your neck but because if you show him respect, Gus will return the same respect. Hector Salamanca doesn't respect anyone not even his one family. Mark Margolis is such a brilliant actor he was able to portray a character that was on a new level of evil with only using a bell.

Mike is everyone's favorite grandpa / hit man / cleaner. Mike worked for Gus and Saul in all things, how that came about we don't really know. The first time we saw Mike was when Jane died and Mike had to come and clean Jesse's house before Jesse called the EMT's to come and get the body. Mike came in did his thing and hit Jesse on the head a few times and walked out. A total Jonathan Banks move. Throughout the rest of the series Mike had this huge presence even when he wasn't in the scene. The other characters knew if they screwed up in some way, Mike was going to drive by and throw them in his car, and have a little chat with them. Everyone understood except for Walt and that just pissed the hell out of Mike. Because now Mike has to get out of his chair and clean up after Walt and that's just something Mike really doesn't like to do. After Gus died, there was a bit of a problem. There was a laptop left behind with video footage of Walt and Jesse cooking that's now in lock up. Mike told Walt screw you and told Jesse "take care kid I'm out of here. I suggest you do the same." For some reason Mike stayed and helped Walt and Jesse break into the evidence room. Jesse had this crazy idea to use a magnet to destroy the laptop from outside the evidence room and it worked, it also destroy everything else in that room.

Those three ended up teaming together for a little while to make some money to payoff Mike's guys in prison and to keep the money coming in. Until the methane train came driving by. Walt and Jesse and this evil dude named Todd rob a train to get 100 gallons methane, without anyone knowing. It worked and they pulled it off with no problems. But there was one thing; Todd shot a kid riding on his dirt bike. I think that was the breaking point for Mike and Jesse, they needed to leave the business for good. Mike found a buyer for his and Jesse's part of the methane and he was done. But the DEA wasn't done with Mike. One day when Mike was at the park with his granddaughter, Hank and Gomez was watching him. Mike knew, but then that lawyer that he was using for his payoffs, flipped and ratted him out. So Mike left his granddaughter at the park to call Saul to get his runaway bag at the airport. Walt ended up getting the bag to Mike because he wanted the names of his guys that are being payoff. Instead of simple talking to one another Mike and Walt ended up in a fight and Walt shot Mike. Mike drove off and hit and rock, then walked down to this beautiful lake to die, but not before getting one last word. Jonathan Banks doesn't need dialog to put on an Emmy worthy performance; he just needs a sandwich and a cup of coffee. But seriously he is a genius when it comes down to acting.

Every character deserves its own tribute but we'd be here for a year, so I'm going to stop here. As I mentioned at the beginning the concept of the series was Mr. Chips turns into Scarface and my theory was that Walt’s actions not only changed him into Heisenberg, but also had an impact on the lives around him. Walt’s actions hurt every single person he came into contact with. Whether he meant to hurt them or not. I’m not saying some of them didn’t deserve it, Ken the douche bag from the bank and gas station. Remember Walt blow up his car. Ok that was justice. But his family and Jesse, even Saul Goodman. No they didn’t deserve all that pain.

Breaking Bad will be considered the Best TV Drama in TV history and I’m sure glad I got to be around for it.

Happy Birthday Breaking Bad and Congrats to the entire Breaking Bad team on a job well done!

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