Stephen King: Why I Love Breaking Bad

The first thing we see in the second season of Breaking Bad it is an eye floating in a pool as mermaids rise and intermingle in the background. Police siren? Fire sirens? Both? There is no way to know for sure. The eye is sucked into a circulation duct and we sink to the bottom, discovering a wet pink one-eyed teddy bear that is somehow worse than a corpse.

Episode 2 begins with a panoramic shot of a deserted terrain littered with discarded toys, appliances, and spent cartridges. In the background, something is frantically shaking. It sounds like a washing machine, but it turns out to be a car, shuddering in death spasms. It’s the most disturbing sequence I’ve seen on screen since the tape’s “In dreams” lip-sync Blue Velvet starring Dean Stockwell.

I wish I was the fly on the wall during the meeting Breaking Bad in which creator Vince Gilligan explained the concept of the series to AMC executives. I imagine him saying, “Okay guys, here’s the thing. Our main character is a high school teacher named Walter White. Although he doesn’t smoke, he discovers in the first episode that he has terminal lung cancer. He recruits a former student, a drug dealer named Jesse. Together they go into the business of making meth … and, as a chemistry teacher, Walt makes some incredibly good meth. Jesse only wants to make a small amount, but Walt has bigger plans: making sure his wife (pregnant with a pre-menopausal baby) and her teenage son (who suffers from a type of cerebral palsy) will be fine financially when he dies. Which could be soon. Do you get it? “

And they say yes! AMC said yes! God bless those guys! As a result, this modest basic cable network now airs the best-scripted series on TV. Your Uncle Stevie might not care much Mad Men, but has never seen anything like Breaking Bad in the subway. The only thing that comes close is Twin Peaks. But the David Lynch series loses its focus once it progresses past Laura Palmer’s death. Judging from the first three episodes of the second season of Breaking Bad, the story is better woven than ever.

Stephen King

Our heroes (if you can call them that) are complete babies in the woods, as you can see. Walt can make the best glass the world has ever seen, and Jesse has some connections in the drug world in New Mexico where Breaking Bad It gets set, but once guys like Krazy 8, No-Doze, and Tuco step into the picture, these two naive ones are unfortunately out of the leagues and struggling just to stay alive. Aaron Paul is wonderful as Jesse — a puffy-eyed crybaby reminiscent of Bill Paxton from Aliens-. You can almost hear him say “Game over!” But the real revelation is Bryan Cranston as Walter White. Now bald thanks to his character’s chemotherapy, Cranston uses his strange characteristics to convey fatigue, illness and incipient madness. He is an ordinary American who lives in a permanent state of alert.

Whatever were AMC’s reasons for giving the green light to Breaking Bad, the win for viewers who like their suspenseful cocktails a little stronger than the usual mojito from Law & Order is big. The second episode (“Grilled”) is a perfect example. There are no spoilers here; suffice to say that Walt and Jesse’s involvement with the demonic drug lord Tuco (Raymond Cruz) comes to a head in a desert hideaway where Tuco’s uncle, affected by a stroke, sits watching Mexican television on a wheelchair with a small bell attached to the armrest: a touch means “yes” and no touch means “no”. Or was it the other way around? There is no way to be sure; The only thing we can be completely sure of is that Tuco is crazy and that someone is going to die. It’s like seeing No country for old men combined with the malevolent spirit of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Thank goodness for basic cable, if it can produce such weird and compelling shows as this one. Breaking Bad invites us to another world, just as they did The Shield Y The SopranosBut Walter White may be a guy who lives around the corner, the one who tried to teach your kids the periodic table before he got sick. The pool with the eye could be around the corner too. That’s exactly what makes everything so funny, so scary, and so compelling. This is something exquisite.