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The confounding problem with the "hero" of Breaking Bad

WalterSeven episodes remain of Breaking Bad, and now that we know Walter White has been busted by his brother in law agent it is only a matter of time before this thing goes way south.

In the course of these five seasons we have viewed White's transformation from bright, burdened, cancer-striken sympathetic and overly-qualified high school science teacher into a near psychopath. He has built a drug empire. A man who formerly had little control made himself into a feared monster who bullied the bullies, fought back against those who tried to intimidate him, and out-witted everyone.

Obviously, he took it too far. As is the case of all tragedies, it's about to come apart. 

The perplexing question for the viewer is, how do we prefer Walter White to end? Considering how he was in the beginning - decent, kind, affable, funny and exploited - we know there is that side to him. That is the part we want to see win, who takes pleasure when he menacingly asks:

"Say my name."
"That's damn right."

He has protected his partner, Jesse, like a child. It was illegal, but he has provided for his family while making them vulnerable to his drug world.

Just when you want Walter to win he pulls some sick stunt that demands you hope for his failure. Just when he's about to get caught he returns to the baseline of decency established early on and you hope he gets away with it.

Walter White is so full of complexities and layers a case can be made either way to root for his success, or hope for his inevitable demise be it from the law, his spouse, the drug world, or cancer. 

His run is about to end, we know he's "caught". As a viewer the best thing to do is merely to do as Walter White advises and "tread lightly."

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