Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 7:41:05 AM
Society naturally dissects things in hopes of unveiling common qualities. Many television shows leave us transiently entertained, but few boast stirring an emotional connection to the very plot of the program.
I will admit that viewing a financially-challenged chemistry teacher who combats the expenses of chemotherapy for his cancer through applying his chemical expertise to become an esteemed and eventually arrogant methamphetamine cook who gradually and violently promotes himself to the ruler of the Southwest U.S. drug scheme, all the while being sought after by his own DEA brother-in-law, is a bit hard, if not impossible, to relate to.
Yet, looking deeper into the psychological implications reveals many similar elements to our own situations, at least personally.
My heart ached with grief from Walter White's medical and financial predicament. As he began involving himself with the sale of meth as a cry for help, I continued to support his character. I rooted for his reasoning like the typical fan would. However, this chain of reactions seemingly every TV show follows was broken when the show branched off other story lines, testing my faithfulness to the character. Walter's simply trying to assure a secure future for his family. But, what about everything he's neglecting? He hasn't informed his wife. He's lying to his entire family. He's sabotaging the his brother-in-law's efforts. He's committing crimes at a shocking rate, and this exposure is in turn numbing him to the crimes themselves.
My faith in Walter had been misplaced, done utterly intentionally by the masterminds behind the makings of this show. Walter had metamorphosed, from a lovely protagonist to a hated antagonist, leading me to question the very definition of the word, "bad."
Many elements of the show spoke to me. The unfaithful response of Walter's wife to his lies was justified, yet Walter's heartbroken reaction to the misunderstanding rendered me empathetic to his situation. Yet even more, as his psychological breakdown and his wife's metaphorical confinement progressed, I found myself sympathizing with Skylar for Walter's greedy obsession. I related with the son's disheartening emotions to being snatched away from his father without reason, how he felt clueless about his own life. I felt the ambition in cell in Uncle Hank's body, his angst every time he grew so narrowly close to the shocking answer to his Heisenberg case. I felt Jesse's pain, the emotional torture he put constantly put himself through. I felt the self-rebellion he endured with the loss of his loved ones, with his disbelief of the range of victims death inflicted mercilessly.
I felt it all.
What's equally commendable about this show is it's execution of events. All the plot twists, the symbolism, the simple yet powerful foreshadowing, the ingenious camerawork: all delivered perfectly. It sculpts the audience's reactions exquisitely, treating the brilliance of the plot with utmost respect. It toys with your response and anticipates emotional reactions perfectly, using this predicting ability to its advantage as a means of catalyzing the ultimate response from the viewer, from me.