Bad Breaks All Around

Inspired by Palmer Fritschy's post on standout characters of The Wire, I elected to draft a similar post about AMC's own crime drama, Breaking Bad. The program revolves Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Walter, a high school chemistry teacher, turned to cooking and selling methamphetamine with Jesse, meth cook and dealer, after he is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Walter has a pregnant wife and a teenage son with cerebral palsy, his intent is to make enough money in what little time he has left to leave his family financially safe. The following five characters are some of the best in the series.

Gustavo Fring, portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito, the clandestine kingpin of the show. This man is as meticulous as they come, he could walk into his worst enemy's house with a smile and an apple pie simply to see the man's family, observe his greatest weakness. If you watch this program, you will come to respect and revere Gus, or detest and fear him. Most likely, all of the above.

Leonel and Marco Salamanca, portayed by Daniel and Luis Moncada, whom I refer to as the Silver Skull Brothers due to their footwear. These twins never speak, only hunt and kill unfeelingly. For dual silent roles, their screen presence is admirable. They command attention with the minuscule raise of an eyebrow, a cold stare, a clenched fist. Despite that they are featured prominently in the third season, these brothers remain masterfully mysterious.

Known only as Mike, portrayed by Jonathan Banks. He works for Gus, in seemingly every capacity. Hitman, crime scene cleaner, courier, etc. A former police officer turned career criminal, his experience appears boundless. In the few scenes where Mike appears as the only recognizable (and sometimes surviving) character, his never fails to astound.

Walter White, portrayed by Bryan Cranston. Walter wears many masks in the series, that of father, of educator, meth cook, murderer. His alias, Heisenberg, seems an independent identity, a Hyde to the mild-mannered Jekyll that Walter is. However, as the series progresses, some of the monster appears in Walter's actions, even if he horrifies himself at those times.

Jesse Pinkman, portrayed by Aaron Paul, the street side of his and Walter's cook co-op. He knew the business prior to meeting Walter, but needed a true chemist to make a professional play. Walter solves that one issue, but brings several more into his life. Jesse loses everything in the course of the series, as does Walter. Jesse, however, tries to convince himself he doesn't care.

Watch the full first episode here.


Chadd Cawson said...

This show is by far one of the most brilliant ones ever to hit tv, with constant standout performances and plot twists. I can't wait til the next season starts up.
Great post Chuka!

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