Well. It had to happen. As the network itself said, “All Bad things must come to an end.” Millions of Americans tuned in last Sunday to watch the final episode of Breaking Bad—a show that, over its five seasons, traced one man’s fall from middle-class chemistry teacher to murderous drug lord. I watched the final episode on Sunday. Twice. The show’s creator and writers had done such a wonderful job of realistically portraying Walter White’s corruption. I had to see the endgame. Numerous critics have already dubbed it the “best show ever.”
Here’s where I need to restate my disclaimer. It’s not for everyone. A lot of people have made the understandable and wise decision not to watch Breaking Bad, because it is tragic and gritty and horrifying. That’s completely commendable. Watching Breaking Bad is a lot like reading the book of Judges in the Bible. You know that nasty underbelly of humanity exists, but you don’t really want to look at it.
Here’s my other disclaimer. I won’t ruin it for you. I don’t know how you made it through last week without finding out how it all ends, but if you did, you’re not going to hear it from me.
But I do want to bring your attention to one scene in the series finale. Walter has come out of hiding from the Feds in order to see his wife and children. He’s standing there in the room with his wife, Skyler, a woman whose life he has ruined. And after all of the deception and abuse and threats, Walter finally comes clean.
Skyler says through clenched teeth, “If I have to hear one more time that you did this for the family —” And Walter stops her and finally speaks the truth. “I did it for me,” he admits. “I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really...I was alive.” And with that, any pretense of a “drug dealer with a heart of gold” is forever gone.
This Sunday, as we go Back to Basics, we need to talk about the elephant in the room—sin. One of the basic truths of the Bible is that we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We all have the capacity to break bad. We aren’t hopeless, but that potential is there for all of us. Strangely enough, the best place to start is by admitting that.