Viau’s View/Scott Viau

When I first heard AMC was going to be splitting the fifth and final season of “Breaking Bad” into two parts, I was very disappointed. “Bad” is one of my favorite shows currently on television and I didn’t want to have wait another year just to see how it will conclude, but based on how the first half of the season played out, it looks like it will be well worth the wait. And those who are still playing catch up can watch the first half of season 5 now out on DVD and blu-ray.

The season begins with a flashforward of Walter White sitting at a restaurant breaking bacon apart and placing it on his plate into the number 52, which devotees will know signifies his 52nd birthday. However, White is different from when we last saw him. He looks a little rougher and is now sporting a full beard. It’s clear that his life is not where he wants it to be. That’s even more apparent when he buys a very large gun, but the reason for that is still unknown. I really enjoy when TV shows give a glimpse of where a character will end up in the future. “Lost” was a master of this and it usually lets the viewer know the writers behind the show know the destination of the journey they’re talking us on, except for “Lost.”

The transformation of Walter White from the protagonist to the antagonist of the show is well under way. I’ve recently begun re-watching the series and it’s amazing how milquetoast Walter White was back when the series first started compared to the self-absorbed meth kingpin he is now. The real magic of the show is that despite how evil he’s become (he’s killed, both directly and indirectly, many, many people) I still find myself rooting for him. Although I don’t think the final episode of the series is going to go well for White, I would be perfectly alright with him getting the last laugh. The fact that I still feel sympathy for a man who poisoned a child and let another be murdered by one of his cronies speaks to the nature of how we define right and wrong and the compromises we’re willing to make to ourselves in order justify what might be considered the greater good. The whole reason White started to cook crystal meth was because he was diagnosed with lung cancer and wanted to be able to financially provide for his family for the rest of their lives before he died. That’s not the case anymore. Walter White is a gangster and while some people become addicted to the meth he sells, White has become addicted to the power he yields. As White states in the show, he’s not in the meth or money business … he’s in the empire business and he’s definitely created an empire for himself but no one stays at the top forever.

The rest of the episodes of season 5 begin in about two months. Until then, all we have is speculation about how it’s going to go down, but based on the finale of last summer’s episodes, it’s going to be gut-wrenching, thrilling and probably hearbreaking. If you’re not watching “Breaking Bad,” you’re missing the best show currently on television.