Monday, January 06, 2014

Breaking Bad

I am hooked on the TV series "Breaking Bad." First, what does the title mean, it's slang for things not working out as expected, so best be prepared for the worst. The story is about an ordinary guy named Walter White, a chemistry teacher in a high school in New Mexico, who gets the news that he has inoperable lung cancer. He has a pregnant wife and a son who is crippled. Yes, this is a comedy, but a very black comedy. He suddenly realizes that life has dealt him a bad hand and he needs to make a lot of money quickly in order pay for his treatments and to support his family after he has gone. So what does a chemistry teacher do in such a situation, he decides to make drugs, he decides to synthesize crystal meth or methamphetamine. There is an active drug culture in the area and a big demand for this drug.

Walt meets a former student of his, Jesse Pinkman, who has gone bad and is a minor drug dealer. Walt offer to supply him with good quality crystal meth and they form a partnership. However, his product is too good, too pure and the dealers up the chain know that it's not Jesse's product, so they find Walt and want to control him. In order to survive he has to take drastic action, so he poisons them. One dies, but the other known as "Crazy eight" remains alive, so they imprison him in the basement of Jesse's house, but they now have to deal with him. By the way, all this time Walt has to keep his activities secret from his wife and son and his brother-in-law who is an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) whose job it is to find drug dealers and meth labs.

What has this to do with the Middle East conflict, wait, you'll see. Walt is really a nice guy and wants to release the drug dealer in the basement with a warning, but Jesse, who knows the drug culture, warns against this. He says rightly that if they release him he'll return and cut them to pieces and just for fun he'll kill Walt's family too, probably in front of him. Walt decides to see if he can reason with the drug dealer, but then he realizes that there is no alternative, so he provokes a fight with him and Walt kills him. I think this is a great metaphor for the Middle East, the Jews are like Walt, civilized and reasonable, but we have the Palestinian thugs caught in the basement of our house (Israel). We try to reason with them, but in the final analysis there is no alternative, its kill or be killed, the law of the jungle.

Of course, that's not the end of the story, after disposing of the bodies (using strong acid to dissolve them, a hilarious scene) Walt decides to go a rung up the ladder to the higher level of drug dealers and now he has to deal with a homicidal maniac named Tuco, who likes to beat people to death with his hands. How Walt handles Tuco and how he and Jesse just survive a near-death experience I won't divulge. Suffice it to say that Walt is making a lot of money, but he is in fear of his life and that of his family all the time. In order to survive Walt uses his knowledge of chemistry. OK, I know this all sounds quite extreme and gruesome, but trust me, its good wholesome fun, and you'll probably learn some chemistry too.


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