Oh, look! Another Breaking Bad post. Shock.er. (May contain spoilers. I warned you.)
I mean, really, it’s no secret I’m obsessed (yes, still) with this program and its stars—Seriously, check out my Pinterest BrBa board. Stalk much?—its unparalleled writing, its masterful acting, and, of course, its unsettling conclusion.
A conclusion that left—for me anyway—some burning questions unanswered.
I have seen posts all over the Web about the symbolism in Breaking Bad, the use of color, the allegorical nature of the story, hidden tributes to other works, and even other posts about lingering questions.
But those posts don’t cover the same questions I have. Those posts are concerned with character analyzations and unfinished backstories. The things I wish I knew are far less cerebral.
And here they are (in no particular order):
1. WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE BATHROOM?
The Whites live in a three-bedroom home with a pool. Surely a home this size has two baths. Or at least 1.5.
However, twice in the series, a definitive lack of a second bathroom is seen. Once when Walt relieves himself in the kitchen sink because Witch Witchtoferson won’t let him in the master bedroom, and again, when Hank discovers the Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass volume during a…session on the commode in the master bath.
Seriously? Walt, Jr., shares a bathroom with his parents? As if the boy’s problems aren’t big enough with the CP and the meth-cooking father and Smoky Puffs-A-Lot for a mom? He has to endure—in his adolescence, mind you— the excruciatingly awkward situation of sharing a bathroom. With his parents.
Just think about that from a teenage boy’s perspective for a minute.
And, if this unimaginable inconvenience is true, why do we never see him in there, brushing his teeth or whatever? Everyone else who uses that bathroom is seen in it at least once.
How does this house not have a guest bath? Even if you suppose that Walt, Jr., has a bath of his own accessible only from his bedroom, there still should be a guest bathroom.
What kind of house doesn’t have a guest bathroom?
The house at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, Albuquerque, New Mexico, apparently.
It’s there. You just overlooked it. Walt pees in the sink out of spite and Hank just wanted more privacy.
NO. I COUNTED. THERE ARE ONLY FOUR DOORS IN THE HALL.
That’s Holly’s room, Walt, Jr.’s room, the hot water heater closet/crawlspace access, and the master bedroom.
How differently might things have gone if Hank had access to a guest bath? He’d end up reading the back of a hand soap bottle (don’t act like you’ve never done this) and Walter could have successfully extracted himself from the meth business without anyone but Cheat Cheaterspoon being the wiser.
Walt’s entire world crumbled to bits all for want of a guest bath.
2. HOW DID WALT LACE LYDIA’S STEVIA PACKET?
I guess we’re supposed to chalk this up to his super-human chemistry know-how and believe he could somehow open and reseal the package without leaving a trace of tampering. Yeah, no.
Maybe he injected it.
Yeah, well, maybe not. When we see the ricin in S2E1, it’s a lumpy powder, probably too large to fit through the barrel of a syringe. I mean, I guess if he ground it up fine enough, maybe…but that seems unlikely, considering he no longer had access to a lab with protective equipment, etc. It’s a stretch.
Maybe he dissolved it first.
Well, then the Stevia packet would have gotten wet. Even if he allowed it to then dry, the packet would have become too dangerous to just leave on the adjacent table, as the ricin would have seeped out and dried on the outside of the packet. Too many people might accidentally touch it (e.g. the patrons already at the table, the waiter who fetches Lydia’s second packet from said table, etc.) And Walt is nothing if not precise.
No, it had to be unsealed and re-sealed.
I looked at my Splenda packets. And I see no way of opening this thing and resealing it without it looking suspicious. Razor blade, Exact-o knife, whatever…I don’t see it.
And I’m not even going to go into how he managed to poison Brock when he’s only seen him once at Jesse’s and didn’t even go into the house.
So, whatever Vince Gilligan.
I understand this is a hot topic right now, and I understand Mr. Gilligan’s desire to make topical social commentary. What I don’t understand is why Walt, who is employed by the STATE, and Hank, who is employed by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT have crappy insurance.
My mom was a teacher for 45 years. Her State Merit insurance provided excellent coverage. Even now, as a retiree, she still has reasonable out-of-pocket costs.
Maybe Georgia state insurance is better than New Mexico’s but whatever. It still doesn’t fly for me.
And, hello? We all know the feds are going to make ding-dang-diddly sure they have great insurance.
4. WALT’S SECOND JOB. THE LEGIT ONE.
Knifey McSlasherson tells Walt in S1E1, “You get paid ’til five, you work ’til five. No later,” in regard to his second job at the carwash.
Now, assuming the normal public school day for high school in New Mexico is the typical 8 hours (8-4) it is most everywhere else in America, and assuming it takes Walt a good 10-15 minutes to get to the car wash after school, this leave exactly 45 minutes for him to earn supplemental income.
Let’s even assume he has a planning period as his last, so he can leave at 2. That’s still only ~1.5 hours at the car wash.
Granted, Eyebrows often keeps him later, but still, even if he stayed until 7 or 8, that’s still only three to four hours of what must surely be a minimum wage position. Is this really worth Walt’s time and energy? For FOUR years?
He could have made better money as a private chemistry tutor or teaching Chem 101 night classes at a community college. (Which would have conveniently given him access to another set of lab equipment so as to arouse less suspicion.)
5. THE POOL
Why, in S1E1, when a newly diagnosed Walt is tossing matches into the pool, is the pool so nasty? We’re shown right off the bat Walter is meticulous, habitual, even borderline obsessive about things.
Work with me here. Using what we know about pre-cancer Walt, would it not be a logical assumption that his pool would be pristine? Let’s refer to S3E2 after Whiney Whinehouse kicks him out when he stopped to remove a Band-Aid from the community pool at his apartment. And this is after he knows he has cancer and realizes the futility of it all, yadda3. Yet he takes the time to clear the pool of ONE piece of debris.
So why, even in the midst of suburban ennui, would Walter White ever let his own pool get that dirty?
6. SKYLER’S MISPLACED MORAL OUTRAGE
So, it’s perfectly acceptable to not pay your taxes and cook your corporate books so you can continue to drive a Mercedes and have a heated bathroom floor, but it’s deplorable to manufacture methamphetamine in an attempt to provide money for your family after you are dead.
I hate her soooo much.
7. MARIE’S CAR
Is blue. BLUE. Every other thing in her closet, house, and life is PURPLE. Why did they not let her drive a purple car?
See? Even Marie doesn’t understand it.
8. THE SHOES
Maybe I get the downtrodden chemistry teacher wearing the UGLIEST.SHOES.EVER., but Heisenberg? He has style. But the only change he makes to his footwear is that they’re black instead of beige?
Boots. I totally would’ve gone with boots. It is New Mexico, FPS.
9. THE EYEBALL
I’m sure that stupid teddy bear eyeball had some significance as Gus’s all-seeing eye or something super symbolic like that.
However, it could have served another useful purpose.
Saul Goodman, Esq., makes it clear on two separate occasions that he’s filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of the ground “victims” of the airplane crash.
Walt’s got this eyeball just rolling around in a drawer. Why not give it to Saul to use as evidence in said lawsuit, and collect on that?
10. CHEMO IN THE CABIN
First of all, as a pharmacist, I’m just going to flat out call BS on that whole operation.
Second, how is it, on his first round chemo, Walt loses his hair (except for his eyebrows and moustache which is kind of weird, but I’m willing to let that slide) but on this second round he has hair to spare?
I understand that he continued to shave his head long after his hair could have grown back, but that was also during his remission, so there was no chemo.
I also understand he had to look different once he,”disappeared,” but what I’m getting at here is that the chemo doesn’t know you need a disguise. It does what it does.
Anyway, I guess Vince Gilligan accomplished what he wanted with the finale…
(Named FeLiNa to represent iron, lithium, and sodium, or blood, meth (lithium is a common agent in meth making), and tears. That it’s also an anagram of finale is no small coincidence, either, I imagine. Oh, Vince.)
…which was to keep us talking about it.