The Anti-Antihero: Heart of Darkness

(NO specific spoilers for Breaking Bad episode 5.11)

It is fascinating to me that after the latest Breaking Bad episode, more than half of viewers polled believe that Walt demonstrated a glimmer of caring and sincerity to an old ally. Such deception! Such willingness to hope and wish and pray that NO ONE is ever 100% evil, that there must be a human still down in there waiting to be redeemed. That is the antihero ideal: a front-and-center villian that is able to feel affection. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an antihero. Bender from Futurama is an antihero. Hell, even Homer Simpson is an antihero. This is my posit: Walter White is the ANTI-antihero.

In the latest episode, there is a vague implication that he’s showing heart – but this could be to contrast the later re-reveal that Walt did indeed harm an innocent (and frame it on someone else) to successfully reinforce loyalty, and now the object of that loyalty-grab has figured it all out. Very impressive. Did he, didn’t he, how did he? Viewers with tight analytical skills have solved this.

But now, those that Walt has deceived and those that he is still openly manipulating KNOW with clarity anew. They really, truly, know what and whom they are dealing with, even if the knowledge is difficult to accept; even those on the show have a hard time accepting pure evil as a possibility. They are gobsmacked at the prospect, slack jaws hanging at the cusp of dislocation.

So it seems clear that Walt is evil. Really, really evil. Like, not-ever-having-a-prospect-of-a-shred-of-humanity evil. There is no “anti-hero” here. There is no heart of gold. There is only blackness. Accept that some things are 100%, even in television-land. And thank gawd for Vince Gilligan to stick with it.

Five episodes left.

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One thought on “The Anti-Antihero: Heart of Darkness

  1. That realization happened for me in the S4 finale and was like a punch in the gut. Right until that last scene I still thought there was some tiny flicker of redemptive possibility for Walt. This link has the song with the lyrics — watch that and read those lines and once again the towering talent of that writing team is revealed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfXJtUjgWc0

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