Larry Preston

Champion of Endless Optimization (CEO) at Digital Opera & Raceday. Happy stoic, aspirational minimalist, recovered big hair 80’s rock star. Author of “Star Fire Kids – Midnight Blue Express”.

We Are All Walter White

Do NOT read if you want to enjoy the end of the Breaking Bad finale as much as seven million of us did when it first aired.

I am still blown away at how much I enjoyed the season finale of Breaking Bad last night. I didn’t sleep much because of it, and I can’t get it out of my head.

The character of Walter White just wanted to be really good at something. The sad part of the story is that he was. He was exceptionally good at chemistry – and no one around him cared. In fact, some of his closest relatives mocked him for it.

Early in the show, they demonstrated how humiliating it was for him to be teaching chemistry to disinterested high school students. Imagine if Steve Jobs had wound up teaching computer science at a community college instead of running Apple, and you get the same feeling.

Time and time again, we’ve seen that money is not the prime motivator for programmers, designers, engineers, and the gifted. More than anything, it’s pride and recognition of their work.

Walter White got neither, then got cancer. Game over until he thought about what he could do in a meth lab. Transform. Use his talents to the full extent. Become someone greater. Take care of his family. Be the man he always felt he could be.

Heisenberg showed up due to Walter discovering he was the best damn meth cook in the world. Once he felt what it was like to live with that kind of confidence, he was not about to give it up. But after being honest with himself and his wife about his pride in the finale, it was nice to see he put Heisenberg to rest.

The final song, Badfinger’s Baby Blue, was a fantastic choice to end with. The title was clearly referring to Walter’s ultimate source of pride – his signature blue meth, as well as the opening line “I guess I got what I deserved.” referring to Heisenberg.

But the very last shot.. Walter laying in the lab that he and Jesse built, the blue light shining on his chest – well, that was just plain amazing. He’d ruined his and his family’s life – but he still had pride in the work he had done so well.

In the end, the knowledge that he was the best in the world at something was his only comfort.

I am in no way, shape, or form implying that producing or selling meth is somehow a noble practice. In fact, I have seen firsthand what it does to people, and I’d say it needs to be fought tooth and nail on every possible front.

But finding a way to be really proud of what you do with your best waking hours for most of your life?

That is something I think we all can relate to.