Russell Baillie 's Opinion

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Russell Baillie: Bad all the way through

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Russell Baillie previews the finale of Breaking Bad - the likely television event of the year.

Walt just didn't seem to be dying fast enough. Though the body count sure rose with each episode.
Walt just didn't seem to be dying fast enough. Though the body count sure rose with each episode.

Not that it will stop me here - and unlike some I know - I am woefully underqualified to write about Breaking Bad.

Mainly because I lost the mad-fan connection to Walter White and cohort Jesse Pinkman's adventures in the New Mexico underworld sometime late in season two or three.

Not sure what it was. But this was meant to be about a guy who was dying of cancer figuring the bad hand he had been dealt was enough reason to use his scientific brain to become a meth master chef, and so provide for his family when he was gone.

Hate to say it, but Walt just didn't seem to be dying fast enough. Though the body count sure rose with each episode as he went from moonlighting teacher to the Mr Big of Albuquerque under a trademark black hat and the code name "Heisenberg".

And of course it didn't help that the ongoing seasons of the show in NZ bounced from TV3, where it started in 2008, eventually to Four before becoming part of Sky's SoHo monopoly on American shows from the supposed Golden Age of television - an age that may well have died this week at the Emmy Awards (but that's another column).

But having come down with a minor case of FOMO (fear of missing out) as Breaking Bad heads to its very final show on Monday NZ time (and a few hours earlier in the US), I've reacquainted myself via the magic of DVR with what Walt's been up to in part two of the final season five.

That's meant some disturbing nights on the couch.

Last Monday it meant a marathon of the three most recent episodes, including that night's penultimate instalment, Granite State.

That last one was really something. We - and I'll say "we" now that I've started repaying my late dues at the BB fanclub - all knew Walt was headed back to New Mexico from his log cabin hideaway in New Hampshire. There was a flash-forward to his return a couple of episodes back.

But what we've had on the way to the ending of Breaking Bad is a lot of possible endings for Breaking Bad. It could have ended a couple of weeks back on the episodes To'hajiilee and the following Ozymandias with the murder of Walt's DEA agent brother-in-law Hank as he was finally slapping the handcuffs on his nemesis.

Ending there would have been both grim and poignant, a reminder that when it comes to his family, Walt just doesn't have cancer - he is the cancer, killing the living tissue around him.

And then there was Granite State with Walt in the New Hampshire woods, stuck with a useless barrel of millions in cash and only two DVDs of Zach Helm's Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium - hasn't he suffered enough? - to pass the time.

And there in that cabin sat a soul-sick and dying Walt, despicable Dad and druglord as played by the ever brilliant Cranston.

He was meant to stay until the coast was clear. Or die cold and alone and probably using his ill-gotten gains to feed the wood-burner.

But mad bad and sad Walt still has unfinished business. Come Monday night, how he wraps that up is likely to be the television event of many a year.

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- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Russell Baillie has been writing about entertainment since shortly after entertainment was invented. His first music review was of five whalers singing around a piano which got him run out of the town of his upbringing, Whangarei. Along the way he discovered writing about moving pictures with sound was just as rewarding as his coverage of gramophone products and musical ensembles. Eventually he found a home at the Herald, as the founding editor of the TImeOut section, where has won prizes for editing, reviewing and feature writing.

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