Physiology, or, Breaking Bad in Three Systems

Breaking Bad spoilers ahead. Seriously. I don’t care if you’re never going to watch the show, I don’t want to be the guy to ruin it for you.

It's elements. Get it?

It’s elements. Get it?

I’ll remember the end of Breaking Bad. I’ve watched shows come and go and in their eventual ends I’ve felt emotions from across the palette; bummed, pumped, underwhelmed, confused, irritable, sloth, hungry, etcetera. But as the final shot of Breaking Bad unfolded, so obviously the concluding image of Vince Gilligan’s epic, I wasn’t overcome with any one feeling so much as I was with a yearning for just one more shot, one more line.

I am not ready for Breaking Bad to be over.

But it is. And it leaves behind an endearing legacy as not only a phenomenal show, but a legitimate catalyst for severe physiological distress. Encyclopedias could be written on the writing, directing, acting, cinematography, sound design and general master craftsmanship of Breaking Bad, but at the end of the day the facet of Walter White’s journey that will remain the most potent to me is the unadulterated havoc it wrecked on the major organ systems of my body.

The circulatory system is great when it works. It delivers blood through the body like Los Pollos Hermonos delivers “chicken” throughout Southwest America. Effectively. AMIRIGHT? Unless of course it breaks in two and sinks into your guts, clobbered into oblivion with the unrelenting weight of despair. The conclusion of the season three finale, and the confrontation between Jesse Pinkman and a clueless Gale Bedecker comes to mind, as does a similar meeting between Todd and Andrea in the shows penultimate episode “Granite State.” The next time you’re thinking about those final moments of Breaking Bad remember Brock and try not to die inside, because lets face it, the mail man probably wasn’t the one to find the body.

It’s not just that bad things happened to good people, or even that good things happened to bad people. It’s that terrible, terrible things happened to unsuspecting real people. Somewhere out there in the real world a dork like Gale Bedecker exists. Somewhere in the world a mother like Andrea who is struggling to reform and give her son a safe life exists. And somewhere in my chest a bruised and battered heart cowers in darkness from the beatings I put it through on Sunday nights.

Rest assured I am dead inside.

Rest assured I am dead inside.

And while the damage to my circulatory system is probably altering my brain chemistry enough on its own, the desolation of my respiratory system isn’t helping. You’re a fool if you think I could breathe watching Gus Fring slowly zip up a sterile lab suit and fiddle around with a box cutter. But that was child’s play in comparison to Hank’s pressing the garage door shut in the premiere of the second half of season five, where in I went blue in the face. Unfortunately even that was nothing more than a hiccup compared to waking up in the hospital days after the unresolved shootout between Hank, Gomez and the Nazi’s in “To’hajiilee” with a massive tube feeding oxygen directly into my lungs and a riot of political extremists eviscerating one another outside my room over whether or not to pull the plug.

Needless to say my nervous system isn’t quite up to snuff anymore, which quite frankly is all the better. With the slim exception of NBC’s Hannibal no other television show has come close to providing the absolute sensory overload that Breaking Bad has. So what if the lack of oxygen and blood to my brain has blurred my vision? What other show am I going to watch that could ever hope to compete with Breaking Bad’s cinematography? New Mexico doesn’t put money into promoting tourism anymore because that’s not a thing they have to do after the gorgeous shots of people being murdered across the American Southwest that Breaking Bad has provided. Who gives a shit about the Grand Canyon? People across the country are lining up at airports as we speak to go find all the bodies and barrels.

Movie theaters the world over now have nothing to offer. 3D? IMAX? How about oil can cam? How about steering wheel/dashboard cam? How about scrubbing the fancy meth lab cleaning brush cam?

Can I hear anything over the rasps of my near dormant lungs? No. But that’s fine because what will I hear that will hit me as effectively as T.V. on the Radio’s “DLZ” playing against Walter White’s confrontation with two aspiring meth cooks in the parking lot of a hardware store. My children laughing? No thanks, I’ve already gotten an earful of Walter White’s near-psychosis induced laughter echoing from a crawl space while Skylar weeps in terror and horror in season four’s “Crawl Space.” Music? Were you listening to the masterpiece that was the reworking of the Breaking Bad theme in the series’ penultimate episode as Walt ditched his drink at a bar in New Hampshire?

Breaking Bad’s emotional blitzkrieg of my body may have only left me 90% deaf and dumb, but when I watch or listen to anything else it may as well be an even hundred.

But it’s not just that Breaking Bad left my entertainment tastes spoiled and my inner and outer being an emotion and spiritual wasteland that have cemented it as quite possibly the most impressive television show of all time. It’s that when a black screen adorned Vince Gilligan’s name appeared one final time last night the beating was worth it.

Drew Sharp y’all.

Word play.

Word play.


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