It took me three years to watch the first four seasons of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix, and just over a day watch the fifth.
I’ve never been a binge watcher. In fact, I’m a weirdo eccentric who’s been known to not finish shows just so I can take comfort knowing there’s more to see ("The Wire" is genius, so of course I refuse to finish season four, much less the entire series). But “Breaking Bad” felt different. I’m not sure if I can remember a more anticipated series finale, and this is coming from someone who hosted not one but two “Lost” theme parties. The propulsive structure, the unique storytelling devices, the ensemble cast, the universal praise -- this was a show that you could lose yourself in for long stretches of time. So I pitched the idea of a season five marathon all day Sunday.
Much like Walter White in the very first episode, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
“Breaking Bad” is every bit as brilliant as your friend who won’t stop hectoring you about it says it is, but it’s also completely miserable. There’s putting down a puppy with a shiv to it’s brain and then there’s “Breaking Bad.” After watching the season four finale -- you know, the one with that image of Gus that you haven’t been able to shake from your nightmares -- I knew there would be some difficult things to get through in season five, yet I was still emotionally unprepared. Things don’t get any better for Walt, Jesse and the rest once Gus is out of the picture; like every major action in the show, this measure only sows the seeds of even more despair.
Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. I just thought 'wouldn’t it be fun to plow through the whole fifth season on Netflix and On Demand, so I could watch the finale live with the rest of America? I’ll spotlight the cold opens -- one of the greatest strengths of the show -- write a quick review of each episode, touch on my own emotional and mental state, then hit play on the next one.'
Did I compare myself already to season one Walt already? Oh, okay, good; so you know things didn't go exactly as planned.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW