Breaking Bad: As Long As Jesse Lives

Jesse Pinkman Breaking BadWhat will we do on Sunday nights from now until the end of time? An intricate storyline filling not just our living rooms but our imaginations as well has ended. There were just so many dead guys. We cheered the demise of some and others not so much. In the end, Breaking Bad came down to one thing. All is well as long as Jesse lives.

Oh, and Baby Holly and Junior. It’s always nice to save the kids. The number of bodies left in the wake of Walter White’s demise into desolate life destruction was massive. Breaking Bad reinforced the old adage that crime doesn’t pay. Well, it pays. It pays very well. You just have to end up alive and able to enjoy the riches. And staying alive becomes a basic problem.

Shall we review?

In the beginning it was just poisoning, strangulation and a beat down that resulted in death to No-Doze. Then we hated Tuco so he would have to go. Then it was a whole planeload of people after Jane died. Walt, how could you just stand there and watch that poor girl choke to death on her own vomit?

We also saw a man crushed by settling car in the local junkyard, another get his head crushed by an ATM, at the hands of his wife for Pete sake. Angry is one thing, but meth angry; that’s up a notch. There was also a decapitation. And still we watched.

We rooted for Walt’s success. We wanted the underdog, down on his luck to get the money for his family and somehow beat cancer. But, by this time, he was downright scary.

The next people died by shooting but our minds were already a mess. We were along for the story and not as bothered as we once were by the mayhem, drug use and killing. We told ourselves as long as Jesse lives, it would be okay. Bearing witness to his torment at the hands of Walt and every adult around him, including his tough love parents, broke our hearts. Take him home. Save him, we pleaded.

By season five where we were so invested in characters we actually thought about who should live and who should not. Hector and his bell ringing had to go. Gustavo’s reign of terror finally reached its zenith and so did his face.

Which brought us to the final showdown and the constant question of who would live and who would die. Did we like Skyler enough to let her live? Did the writers? What about Marie? She had to live to decorate another house all in hues of purple. Hank had to leave us if Jesse and Walt were to get their money back, save Walt’s family and let him enjoy what little was left of his life.

After filthy lowlife Todd shot Andrea, we glimpsed what appeared to be the last of Jesse’s resolve leak out with his anguished tears. We knew Todd could not triumph over his evil black heart regardless of his simpleton brain. Lydia’s calculating spelled death for her and how appropriate it came with extra Stevia please. And, of course, Walter had to die because he was just so very, very bad.

Our hearts did not break for the others in the way they shattered for Jesse. Every time he tried to right his life, something, some circumstance, veered terribly awry. The loss, brutal anguish and torture haunting him the rest of his days will be the gift of being the only bad guy with a conscience. So, with a crunch of Todd’s neck, viewers cheered on Jesse. And heaved a sigh of relief as we sat breathless for those last few moments thinking, “As long as Jesse lives, as long as Jesse lives.”

Written by Linda Torkelson

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