The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #3: “Breaking Bad”

My Poem “Run Jesse, run!”

It is the hallmark of a great film,
a great television show,
a great play, a great writer,
a great cast, a great production staff,
a great actor portraying
a great and complex protagonist,
who by the great gift of their craft
is able to make us –
the viewer, the audience –
care for them, accept them,
and become emotional invested and involved
in the story and in the journey
of the characters that we follow
from the second that we first see them
all the way to the last moments
of the last chapter and finale
that will ultimately – hopefully –
deliver a satisfying conclusion
that makes the journey that you
have taken with these familiar
characters worth all the time,
all the energy, and all the thought
that you committed to them
over the hours, the days,
the months, perhaps even the years
that it has taken to reach the end credits.

It can sometimes be hard to find
an ending that ticks all the boxes,
that answers all the questions,
that wraps up all the dangling threads
that remain to be addressed
and given a reason for why
they were not connected to the
greater narrative that underpins
everything that is a part
of the ultimate story being told…
in any given story it is always
out of the hands of the writer
and the author which part of an ongoing
story people will respond to and why –
sometimes it is the simplest
and the smallest of plot points
that resonate the most
and which over time become
what people remember the most,
as if what they saw shined like gold.

It is always a test for an audience
when an author creates
a character and they put them
through things that push them to their limits
and they change them in ways
that are hard to watch,
and it can sometimes be hard for people
to continue to empathize with
a certain character when they
start to behave in morally
questionable ways of being…
quite frequently, in some of the best
stories ever told, an audience gets
to watch the evolution of
a protagonist into an antagonist,
the hunter into the hunted,
the wronged into the redeemed –
and vice versa –
and the once imprisoned against
their will make their getaway
and run for the hills and away
from all that they are leaving behind –
like the character of Jesse Pinkman
driving like a bat out of hell
in his black and red ‘El Camino’
away from his past and towards
a future that not even he knows.

“The average person looking at someone doing evil or wrong wants the person to get away with it. I think it’s the most amazing instinct. The audience can’t bear the suspense of the person being discovered. “Hurry up! Quick! You’re going to be caught!” – Alfred Hitchcock

My Poem “Walter White (A Breaking Bad poem)”

What would a man do for his family?
What would a man do in order
to secure a future for his family
after he passed on –
perhaps even after this same man
had to witness the crystal empire
that he had built crumble
into shards of glass and then into dust –
like King Ozymandias –
after which having to live
with the consequences
of the actions that he took
to bolster and to reaffirm
his damaged ego?
What would a man do to feel alive again
after being given a short time to live?
How would the power to be someone else
change someone, and who or what
might they become?
What if someone were to become a cook
of a dangerous product
capable of destroying the lives
of those that imbibe in
what this maestro of chemistry
cooked better than anybody –
who slowly went from being someone
whiter than white, law-abiding,
and a model father and teacher,
to a black hat wearing,
gun-wielding, criminal
called “Heisenberg” who
pulled the wool over the eyes
of his family for over a year,
who broke bad with a former student of his,
called Jesse Pinkham –
in the City of Albuquerque,
in “The Land of Enchantment”
that is the State of New Mexico –
and who in the end lost everything that
he had ever worked for
and sacrificed so much for,
and that is the story of the main protagonist
of one of my favourite TV shows,
‘Breaking Bad’, and the legacy
that it has left since its final episode
“Felina” aired continues
to draw many new people
to seek out, to watch, to enjoy, to live,
and to endure the highs and the lows
that were played out from beginning
to end by the character and “cook”
Walter White and the blue crystal
that was his signature dish.