On August 11th 2013 in the multi Emmy Award winning show Breaking Bad returned to America Screens in its highly anticipated fifth and final season. The show was created by Vince Gilligan and stars Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul and Dean Norris to name but a few. It first premiered in January 2008 and has won widespread critical and commercial acclaim.
Season five originally aired on July 2012 with 16 episodes planned. The season was split into two parts with the first eight broadcast from July to August 2012 and the second batch of episodes beginning this week. As the finalé broadcasts on Netflix, here’s a guide to the show for non-watchers to Bluff you’re way through the show.
So what’s the show about?
The show centres on Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a very intelligent but meek mannered high school chemistry teacher with a wife, son and another child on the way. Walter is diagnosed with aggressive terminal lung cancer and given 6 six months to live. Given his impending demise, he decides to begin manufacturing or ‘cooking’ crystal meth and selling drugs to provide for his family after he’s gone. This brings him into a criminal underworld where he encounters violence, murder, drug cartels and federal agents. As the show progresses, Walter struggles to separate his personal and ‘professional’ life as his beloved family get drawn into this dangerous world.
Where is the show set?
The show is set in modern day Albuquerque, New Mexico. Albuquerque is a mixed town which has it’s more affluent parts and rough neighbourhoods. Being close to the USA-Mexico border brings the characters into contact with Mexican Cartels who are trafficking drugs across the border and fighting rivals for control of the lucrative drug trade. This also brings a large police and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) presence to the region.
What is Crystal Meth?
Crystal Meth or ‘Meth’ is the shortened street name for the drug chemically called methamphetamine, methylamphetamine, or desoxyephedrine. It’s synthetic so it can be made in a laboratory or the back room of a house. It’s made by isolating ephedrine or the contents of common over the counter cold and flu medication. The drug is most commonly smoked in a pipe and is cheap and incredibly addictive. It’s easy to make, but is dangerous and explosions can happen in labs. The effects of Meth addiction are devastating and the drug has ravaged parts of the states. It is said that it can be several more times addictive than heroin or cocaine.
Who are the main characters?
Among the main characters areWalter White, the shows protagonist, Jesse Pinkman, his partner in crime, his family and Sgt Hank Schrader, Walter’s brother in law.
Walter White is a brilliant Chemist and had huge potential for the future in the World of Chemistry. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out he’s now approaching 50 and stuck in a high school chemistry job that pays so little that he’s forced to work a second job to provide for his family. He lives in suburban Albuquerque with his pregnant wife and 16 year old son who’s physically disabled. When the cancer bombshell is dropped on Walter, he takes a radical choice and starts cooking crystal meth, dedicated to becoming successful at it. This means protecting your turf, crushing weaker enemies and enforcing street justice which we see in the show. Walter takes on the alias ‘Heisenberg’ to hide behind for the show and we see him change and develop slowly from a harmless man into a monster.
Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) is Walter’s brother in law. He’s a Sergeant with the local brand of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). He’s a blue collar, rough and tumble kind of guy who provides light comic relief but is also an astute policeman. Over the series his paths cross with Walter’s very frequently and Walter is constantly ducking and diving and trying to remain one step ahead of his brother in law and keep him in the dark on his emerging drug empire and king pin status. The relationship between the two becomes one of the focal story points of the show.
Jesse Pinkman or Pinkman as he’s called (Aaron Paul) is a local burn out in his late twenties and a former student of Walter White. He was the scruffy, lazy one in class who was only in half the time and the type of guy who would never amount to much. While brought along for a raid by his brother in law, he witnesses Jesse sneaking out the back of the house that the agents are searching.
Walter’s family consist of his pregnant wife Skyler White (Anna Gunn) and his teenage old son with cerebral palsy Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte). Skyler is good looking, intelligent and 10 years younger than Walter (punching above his weight anyone?). Walter Jr. is a care free high school kid who idolizes his father and can see him doing no wrong in his eyes. Skyler is a loyal devoted wife and gives birth to their daughter in the second season. Skyler’s begins to suspect something is amiss with Walter’s strange behaviour when he starts to cook crystal meth and their relationship comes under massive strain as result. Their relationship and trouble therein proves to be a very interesting part of the series.
Finally, why should I watch the show?
It’s won 7 Primetime Emmy awards over the run of the show. Three for Bryan Cranston as best actor and two for Aaron Paul as best supporting actor. Is that good enough for you??
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_Bad#Casting accessed on Aug 12th 2013
http://chemistry.about.com/od/medicalhealth/a/crystalmeth.htm accessed on Aug 12th 2013