Craft: Writing

Character Transformation

untitledI don’t watch a whole lot of television. But over maternity leave, television episodes were the easiest to watch while caring for an infant. One series I always wanted to see but never got around to was Breaking Bad. Last night was the first of eight final episodes. And all I can say is: WOW!

Few television series, or book series, for that matter show the transformation of a character as wells as Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston have with Walter White. Comparing the Walter in the first season to fifth season, I was struck by where Walter White has landed. Gone is the meek chemistry teacher fighting the prospect of economic poverty and lung cancer, to become a drug kingpin willing to destroy anyone that gets in his path.

I think what makes this character so intersting is that he didn’t start out evil. He chose to be that way. Life is about choices. And in Walter’s case, very, very bad choices. But it isn’t just the fact that Walter makes good meth or he’s ruethless. His greatest gift is that he lies. He lies so well to everyone. His wife. His drug partner, Jesse. His kids. His brother-in-law, Hank (who’s also a D.E.A. agent). And most of all himself. He even made me convinced too when he told Hank he was just a lolely car wash owner. Then Hank tells him he doesn’t recognize the man Walter has become. Then Walter tells him to ‘tread lightly’.

Oh, my goodness. Just one sentence and Walter tells the entire audience just how he’s changed. It’s also a great hook. I want to see how this story ends. And what happens to Walter. Will the cancer finally catch up to him. Or will someone else finish off Walter before the cancer does? Seven more episodes left in this amazing series.

If you haven’t watched any of this yet and you have Netflix, download it. Or watch AMC. I’m sure they’ll have a marathon of the series again soon.

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