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Breaking Bad: The Wages of Sin

BY Pat Archbold

| Posted 5/31/10 at 12:03 PM

 

My favorite show on television is about the manufacture and distribution of crystal meth in Albuquerque.  Yeah, go figure.

The show, Breaking Bad, centers around a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) who receives a diagnosis of lung cancer.  Walter, fearing financially for his family which includes a pregnant wife and a fifteen year old boy with cerebral palsy, decides to use his chemistry skills to cook crystal meth just for a little while.

I really enjoy this show for many reasons.  The acting is first rate and the story telling enthralling.  But mostly I enjoy it because it is a character study, it dives deep into the character and nature of sin.

I have never seen a show which portrays the addictive and destructive nature of sin better than Breaking Bad.  Walter White uses the very good desire to provide for his family to justify some very bad behavior.  At first, Walter convinces himself that while he is doing a bad thing, he is not a bad guy.  He just can’t see himself as the bad guy.

What makes the show so brilliant, in my estimation, is how the story telling stays true to the title of the show.  Becoming bad is a process.  The Walter White we meet at the beginning of the show literally breaks bad as a consequence of his actions during the course of the show’s three seasons.

What the show also does extremely well is that it shows, with unflinching reality, the effects that sin has on those around us.  At first Walter tries to convince himself that what he does isn’t hurting anyone and that those who choose to take the drug would do it whether he provided it or not.  But the reality of the lives destroyed through drug use is vivid and unavoidable.  Beyond that, the show brilliantly shows the unintended consequences of sin and its destructive force on the completely innocent, including the family he sought to protect.

As we move along we see that even after Walter has saved enough money to provide for his family, sin is no longer the means but the end.

The amazing part of the show is that you know that the show will, nay must, end is disaster.  The wages of sin is death and Breaking Bad would have it no other way.  For that reason, it is my favorite show on television.


Breaking Bad is on AMC and is for mature audiences only.