From Man to Monster: The Fall of Walter Whie

Matthew St. Blanc
2017 Ellipsis: A Journal of Art, Ideas, and Literature  
As he sat on Jesse's toilet, he contemplated his little problem in the basement below. As was typical for a man like Walter White, he was making a list of pro's and con's, and weighing his options. Only this was no ordinary list, and this was no ordinary problem. He was deciding on whether to kill the man he was holding captive. On the "kill him" side, he had only one entry, "He'll kill your entire family if you let him go". After as much reflection as he could bear, he made his way downstairs.
more » ... He didn't have a plan. He had no idea how he was going to do it. Krazy-8, a drug dealer who wanted Walter's meth recipe, wasn't going to be Walter's first kill, not even his first kill of the day. But Emilio, Krazy-8's accomplice, was killed in a rush, almost collaterally during Walter's escape earlier that day. Killing Krazy-8 would be different. Krazy-8 was shackled at the neck by a large bike lock to a pole in the basement. He was a captive, blind, unarmed, and weak. This would be premeditated murder, but it had to happen. In the basement, confronted only by Krazy-8 and his own morality, he made his move. Krazy-8 attempted to defend himself with the shard of a broken plate, but it was too late. Walter had a firm hold of the back of the bike lock around his neck and pulled as hard as he could. Strangling him was harder than Walter thought, so he braced his foot on the pole in front of him and put all his weight into strangling the life out of his captive. Krazy-8 continued to flail wildly, eventually striking Walter's leg with the broken plate, but his attempts were futile. Luckily for Walter, his wounds were minor. Finally, he felt Krazy-8 go limp. This was it. He was dead. Walter White has just committed cold-blooded, calculated murder. The monster inside of him has just been released. Breaking Bad took over AMC's prime-time slot for 5 seasons, from 2008 to 2013. The show proved to be a juggernaut for the network, earning many awards and accolades throughout its tenure, as well as gaining a massive following from its viewers. Breaking Bad follows mild mannered husband, father, and high school chemistry teacher Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), and junkie, former student, and all-around loser Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) throughout their descent into the darkness of drug manufacturing and murder. The show is unbelievably dark in its story arc and the producers made sure that this darkness was presented on the screen as well. Anna Faktorovich, who wrote her own review of the show in the Pennsylvania Literary Journal wrote, "To be frank, the actors in Breaking Bad are some of the ugliest people on prime-time TV..." and although she intended this as harsh criticism, this was exactly the kind of visual representation the show's producers intended. Breaking Bad was never meant to make the viewers feel good about what was happening. It was about watching a man, any man, really, using his pride, greed, and anger to transform himself into a nefarious, vile character.
doi:10.46428/ejail.44.03 fatcat:jednhssionh5bgpzux4lr36zfu