Unlike many other of the super-series, Breaking Bad comes to an end and I am prolonging the agony as the last series ricochets its way through the various end games post Fring departure stage centre.
I am as far as the unexpected (look away if you are not beyond the train heist) demise of Mike in series 5, the finale.
That episode is a kind of cruical crystalisation of the characterisation - their motivations are laid bare, their vulnerabilities all apparent and their fate's all driven by their personalities.
Who then do you identify with?
We are probably supposed to identify with one or other of the comic book characters we are presented with. The prissy Fring. The cool hand Mike. The young drop out with morals, Pinkman. The mother caught up in the mans ego.The Brother in law stuck with his obsessions and abrasive self defensive supersilious personality. Or of course the Heisenberg or the Walter Wimpy White duality.
The characters by in large are comic book and two dimensional. Gus Fring has Tarrantino like overtures to being a little larger than life in his gentleman drug baron play. Mike and his neurotic social climbing wife. Skyler, the all american mom with absent love for her kids, on hold while the cameras roll. And Walter White, the guy who sold out for 5 grand and took the safe route to nothingness.
We middle aged men are supposed to either go then for one of the three = the protangonist Heisenberg and his two antagonists, Fring and his Brother in Law. Lets face it, the majority of folk our age are not successful, on a western basis even then. Hank and Fring are successful but both in their own stress missions , locked into lives which have risk, mundanity and inescapability. They have a plan to retire, but enjoy the game too much.
So we have Walter, who finally gets to be a big roller, like we all would want to be although we would not choose
to intoxicate the desert states with class A. He becomes Heisenberg, and that is clear from the first time he tells the amatuer cooks in the car lot to stay off his patch to when he takes over Mike's exit deal on the Methyl Amine.
A younger me may have had some time for Jesse, but the kid is too much of a paradox between his morals and ropues codes and his wild crystal meth days. He just does not have the credibility , middle class slackers turned drug addicts care no more than their next hit and the next party. You want to think you or anyone has a moral base. But not down crack alley bud'
Walter white is the only one who is in control of the next step, be that a series of blind critical path , tactical choices and everyone else dances to the tune he plays, not that he knows how they will dance, but he has a route to a quick win at every twist and turn of fortune or misadventure.
I started to identify most with Mike. He is a planner, and maticulous in his thinking., But he is also able to react to circumstances with a coolness and simple means of rationalising. It is called experience and maturity, both of which he has too much of. He should have been out of the game five years back, but like them all was banking on a bigger deal and a final pay off, a pension from his risky business.
Then I identified with Walt. He has played the nice family guy for what, 18 years of the best of his life. He has been a jerk for the voluptious embrace of Skyler, who is not near his intellectual equal. Then it all finally caves in on him, with the cancer. Nothing to lose, now play Mr Existentialist DeLuxe.
By 50 we truly have made it or not, ok you can say that 60 is the new 40 when Life Begins as a new cliche of realising one is not immortal. Smell the flowers, kick the asses. health issues. life's a bitch.
Hank then, is he more the you and the me of the day? his obsession which is the real deal, but he fails to keep everyone on board. He is a little of the round peg in the square DEA hole. He is probably the best actor with the performance of his life in this, he is perhaps least comic book and most believable all american asshole. He has success but it is always on the brink due to the risks of his job and his own neurosis and fear of being killed.
We are masters of our destiny and we rationalise away our failures and down size our ambitions, or realise our goals in life to find them to be hollow and we are not really where we want to be anyway, the journey was more interesting before we arrived at middle aged comfort zone..Are we like these characters? Just a mirror of us all, not quite reflecting the whole picture but catching a glimpse of ourselves from an uncomfortable angle.