On Sept 29 it will be a year since Breaking Bad had its series finale. In that time my family has moved to a new house. My daughter started kindergarten, and my office transitioned through a huge paradigm shift. But compared to Walter White’s fifty-first year, I might as well have spent the last twelve months frozen in carbonite.
Breaking Bad was an incredible creative achievement. I can’t think of any other series that was so masterfully outlined from beginning to end—and executed with such unerringly focus on total viewer satisfaction. But I can’t understand why Vince Gilligan decided to stuff fifty episodes of plot into one year of actual story time. Here’s a list of major events that occurred in Walter White’s life between his fiftieth and fifty-first birthday.
Diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer
Kills a couple of drug dealers
Begins a successful (and illegal) freelance business
Reconfigures his business model after his first kingpin boss is killed
One of his employees is assassinated
His pregnant wife returns to the workforce
Walt’s cancer goes into remission
Reconfigures his business model after finding a new drug kingpin boss
Walt’s daughter is born
Effectively murders another victim
Separates from his wife
Fired from his day job after sexually harassing his boss
Reconfigures his business model with a new lab and a new lab assistant
Murders a few more drug dealers with his Pontiac Aztek
Orchestrates the murder of his new lab assistant
Starts a new (semi-legitimate) business
Walt’s family is put under protection of the DEA
Poisons a young boy (but doesn’t murder him)
Kills his boss
Reconfigures his business model; partners with neo-nazis
Walt’s wife has a nervous breakdown
That’s a lot of living for one character! More mayhem than your typical season of Scandal. Is it any wonder that he turned so cranky?