In loving memory of Walter White (1961—2013)

So what was it really about? Was it about a mid-life crisis acquiring a gargantuan, even mythical proportion? Was it about an unfulfilled life stumbling onto doing one thing—perhaps the only thing—it was really good at? Was it about our dichotomous universe—where a kleptomaniac must seek medical help but a meth-baron be revered? Was it about becoming bad or being bad, in that you don’t become bad until you convince yourself that you are one? Was it about us wanting—even craving—the guy to shake off his middle class stupor and be diabolical? Was it about the small moments where we fundamentally change as people—to various degrees—but are rendered clueless because no one is really around to convince and warn us of that change? Was it about carefully protecting one’s masculinity? Was it about our inherent loneliness that just couldn’t be salvaged or resolved? Was it about how our reasons are just that… reasons—a sense of false rationalization of doing something we always wanted to; something we would have always done, no matter what? Was it about a strange friendship—that was almost never referred to—forged from desperate, co-dependent times? Was it about a son searching for his father? Was it about sons searching for their fathers? Was it about a provider almost always failing to provide no matter what, even when he was well within or without the means?

We all knew at various points that Walter White was a haraami, but did we want him to be one? I can only say for myself, and honest to God, I wanted the guy to cook; I wanted him to stand up for himself. I wanted him to man the fuck up, but soon, strange things begun to happen, and then he started trotting out the reasons. First he convinced himself, and then he convinced me—or as it might have turned out, perhaps us. And for the most part, I played along, bought the reasons, came up with neat, little answers in my own head and made peace with them. But after some time, the rationalizations stopped, and we were just left with “actions” and, of course, their “consequences”.

At various points, not only was Walter White faced with choices, but so were we: do I like him for doing this or do I not? Is this forgivable? Can this be rationalized? Can this be accommodated? Can this bad somehow overcome the greater good it so promises? So it really wasn’t about Walter White all along, was it? It was eventually about us. Wasn’t Walter White just a Macguffin? An accessory we could just point fingers at? But then here’s the thing: the show might have gotten over, but we have a long fucking way to go.

Thank you for being interesting, Mr White. Thank you for being a wonderful Macguffin. Thank you for being bad.

You will be missed.

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