For five seasons of the series, viewers and critics have come to love chemistry, learned the properties of hydrofluoric acid, “learned” to dissolve corpses in bathrooms and cook methamphetamine. They recalled their school years and the old man Mendeleev, learned the table of elements, and the cunning ones even calculated that there are 62 episodes in the series, and the 62nd element is samarium, which is now used in the treatment of cancer. And all because the main character is a cancer patient chemistry teacher with a beautiful name Walter White .
The way of the drug lord
Mr. Walt is a typical loser. He missed a chance in life, once selling a stake in a billion-dollar company for a pittance. At 50, he is forced to work as a school teacher and plow in the evenings at a car wash. When he was diagnosed with a terrible diagnosis, Walter did not scream, cry and complain about fate. His strict, brilliant mathematical mind found a way out. To support his family, he decided to cook methamphetamine, enlisting the help of his former student, petty drug dealer Jesse Pinkman.
From failure to the heights of his empire, and then to its collapse – this was the path of Walter White, a teacher and family man. Day after day he loses his conscience, throws away the remnants of former principles and attachments, like a tree throws off dead, dry leaves. In fact, he died the day he decided to manufacture and sell drugs. Leaving corpses behind, acquiring unnecessary millions, the former teacher moves to death, destroying everything on the way.
Doctor Faust or Mephistopheles?
The pseudonym Heisenberg, chosen in memory of the theoretical physicist, becomes the name of the second personality of Mr. White. He did not change due to the proximity of death, but simply showed his true face. The vanity he had long suppressed, the passion for science, the ability to manipulate others, ruthlessness, anger and cruelty now blossomed into a magnificent and poisonous color, and then began to bear deadly fruits.
There is no such line that the drug lord and chemist would not cross. The scientist Doctor Faustus summoned demons in his thirst for discovery until he fell for Mephistopheles’ bait. Chemistry teacher White himself turned out to be a real devil. At first, his actions were only self-defense, an attempt to protect himself, his family, his partner, and the nascent drug business. But the criminal environment became a breeding ground for Walt’s talents: he became a killer and a monster. In cooking, Walter fully realized himself as a chemist, in the manipulation of people – as an organizer.
The proximity of death, constant risk and threats became a constant unobtrusive background for the chemist, and he stopped responding to them. Brutality has turned into toughness, into impenetrable armor. The money that he could not even spend was no longer a guarantee of the future of his family and children – he stored millions, not even counting. The main thing that Walter received was strength and power, and he did not give up these invaluable gifts of his methamphetamine career.
The first thing Walter thinks about when he finds out about his diagnosis is his family. Jesse Pinkman subconsciously reaches out to his family, who betrayed him. Drug lord Gustavo Fring talks about responsibility to his family. Family attachment is an absolute priority for the bandit Hector Salamanca. None of the characters in the series act or live alone.
With all his might, Walter guards his secret from his wife and children. Whatever he did, he continued to masterly lie. He is not so scared that the police find out about everything, as that the son can understand where the source of his sudden wealth is.
But, having achieved fame and success, Walter realized that he could only share his achievements with the same bandits and murderers as himself. Neither wife nor children need Heisenberg. Having earned money for them, in return he can count only on contempt, rejection and condemnation. Walter is ready to give all his money, if only the brother-in-law who hates him stayed alive. But he is unable to redeem his honor and dignity.
The family gives protection, the family is strength. But she is also weakness and vulnerability. Therefore, Jesse has to give up love, the opportunity to have a family. It is impossible to secure the future of your children on the death of others.
Walter and Jesse
The relationship between teacher and student is transformed from the very first joint actions. Walter and Jesse, incredibly different, become one in minutes of work. Nervous, vulnerable and impressionable, Jesse turns into a toy in the dexterous hands of the teacher.
Mentoring became the second passion of the chemistry teacher. Not finding pleasure in his profession, not feeling a response from his students, not finding a common language with colleagues, feeling only acute pity for his own son, Walter finds in Jesse the one he so lacked: a colleague, a son, and a student.
Affection, dependence, fear, hatred, respect – the whole gamut of Jesse’s feelings towards Walter is difficult to describe. Mr. White behaves like a master, like a mentor, like a tyrant parent who knows best what his ward needs, and disposes of Jesse’s life with all cruelty until he forces him into open revolt.
Fly: completely Kafkaesque
The episode, during which Walter tries to kill a fly that miraculously flew into a sterile laboratory, remained misunderstood by many viewers. She has several explanations. First, it highlights Walt’s perfectionism.
Secondly, in the process of hunting a fly, Walter begins to philosophize and comes to the conclusion that he missed the time of death – he should have died earlier. Walter himself feels like a fly captured by a drug laboratory, and, not finding a way to free, comes to the idea of the necessity of death.
Third, the fly symbolizes a serious problem – the first tragic rift between Walter and Jesse: Jane’s death. Calmly watching the girl die, Walter became her killer. Now, seeing Jesse’s torment, he feels guilty. He can no longer work with a partner whom he deceived so cruelly. But when Jesse kills the fly, he symbolically removes the problem, and Walter steps over his remorse. He is ready to move on.
Puppeteer or puppet?
Mr. White fancies himself the master of the world and the arbiter of destinies, but in fact he himself always becomes a stranger’s puppet: either the crazy drug dealer Tuco Salamanca, the drug lord Gustavo Fring, or the bandit Jack Welker. They try to use his talent, to make money from him. Intellect and cruelty help Walter get rid of them, but instead of one problem, two grow up, in the place of one bandit – a whole cartel.
Walter hoped he would outsmart everyone. But the laws of the gangster world are extremely simple. Death breeds death. Wanting to make money on it, you yourself become its slave forever – until it turns you to dust.
The meaning of the ending of the series
A person with cancer is not protected either materially or morally. He can only rely on himself and close relatives. How far can he go in an attempt to defend his right to life? Mr. White has shown this in its entirety.
Of all the money he made, Walter’s family got only a fraction. Everything remains in the coffers’ treasury and will be confiscated by the police. But Walter does not regret – this money, in fact, he did not need. He dies happy, avenging Hank’s death and freeing Jesse. And Jesse once again does not find the strength to kill his “evil demon”, who gave him knowledge and enormous wealth in return for life.
Walter doomed his loved ones to great trials and torments, ruined the future life of the whole family. But no trace of remorse is visible on his face. He dies, lying on the floor of the drug laboratory, among the instruments, like a king in his kingdom. Good intentions paved his way to hell.