Dear Mike, You Were the Family Man—Not Walt (A Letter to Breaking Bad)


(Spoiler Alert! For those who haven’t yet watched Breaking Bad‘s fifth and final season.)

Dear Mr. Armentrout,

Even in death you are still imposing enough that I don’t have the guts to just call you “Mike”. You remind me of my Grandpa in a way, except you’re a little crankier. And by that I mean you shot all those guys in the face.

There is no doubt to anyone that watched AMC’s masterpiece Breaking Bad that Walter White was the main character. But as you probably thought to yourself hundreds of times, I don’t give a (insert expletive here). You were the dedicated family man that Walt wanted to be. While he used his family as an excuse to cook meth and murder gangsters, you were quietly stockpiling money for your granddaughter with no fanfare or flashy speeches.

Were you capable of some of the atrocities that Walt committed?

Yes, and I suspect that you were capable of committing ones that were twenty times worse should the situation have called for it. But you would have done it without any crying or annoying crises of conscience. You got no rush from hiding in a freezer for a day just to pop out and take down a few cartel members with a silenced pistol. You regarded the task like a beleaguered accountant punching a time clock, and I can relate to that…because work sucks!

And then there’s the loyalty factor.

If I’m going to be hiring a stone cold psychopath to protect my fried chicken/meth smuggling empire (feel free to leave an application in the comments section) I’m going to be looking for a loyal employee. Not only did you make sure that your men in prison were compensated properly when you could have had them murdered, but your treatment of Jesse warmed all of our hearts. Sure you two didn’t get off on the right foot, and if it were up to you he might have gotten a bullet to the head a few minutes after you met him, but as the plot progressed it became clear that you genuinely cared for him.

The last season of Breaking Bad was a sixteen hour horror movie, containing moments that I might not ever recover from (whenever I hear the word “Ozymandius” I get in the fetal position and start sobbing). It featured its share of brutal, terrifying, and amazing moments of television. While your death wasn’t as soul crushing as some of the moments in that last season, there was something about it that just didn’t sit right with me. It was like a splinter in my brain. You were so close to getting out. You wouldn’t have been happy; I don’t think you were capable of that. But you would have been content.

I needed that for someone in this glorious nightmare.

When Walt realized that he didn’t have to kill you, that he could have gotten the names of the men in prison elsewhere, I almost took a running head start and tackled my television.

RIP Mr. Armentrout. Your fictional death drove me so nuts that I am writing a letter to a fictional character.

Till we meet again in November,

Breaking Bad, the complete series, is now available on DVD.

What would you say in your love letter to Breaking Bad?

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