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Breaking Blog! What’s in a name on Breaking Bad? A Lot. (S5E1)

July 25, 2012

Breaking Bad is good TV.  No.  Breaking Bad is the best TV on TV in a really long time.  It is honest storytelling, which is completely unafraid to enter territories that other shows avoid at all costs.  It does not care that we dislike or even hate some of its primary characters.     I’m not going to approach writing about this show like I have with Lost or The Walking Dead.  It would take too long, and I’d rather be watching and enjoying it rather than re-capping or reviewing.   I’m simply going to see what it inspires as I attempt to crack the formula for the show Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad is what I like to call a “Big Picture” show.  While each episode is something that can stand on its own.  There is a foreboding inevitable momentum to the larger seasonal story arc.  Usually this freight train of a story will start small, with an idea or casually mentioned occurrence, and often times there are clues of what is to come hidden in plain sight, because these writers are a lot like Walt, in that they like to reveal  how smart they are through subtly in their writing, which I have no problem with.  They are smart.  Damn.  They’re brilliant.

Episode 1 of season 5, Live Free or Die, was fantastic, and I’m not going to descend into spoilers and shout from the rooftops about the awesomeness of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.  No.  Instead I’m going to take a look at one line of dialogue.

“Happy Birthday Mr. Lambert.”

A Denny’s waitress calls Walter “Mr. Lambert” in the opening scene.  We’re not going to discuss the fact that time has passed.  Walter has a nice head of hair.  We’re not going to mention that Walter is hiding from or on the run from someone scarier than he is.  Lastly we are not going to talk about the clandestine meeting in the bathroom for the purchase of a big ass gun.  None of those plot points are important.  Not to me at least.

What is important?  Why this new alias?  Why Lambert?

Heisenberg was an alias that made perfect sense given Werner Karl Heisenberg’s scientific contribution of the uncertainty principle (amongst many other contributions to physics, theoretical physics and philosophy.)  Perfect because Walter always seemed to be in an uncertain place.  You never quite knew where he’d end up.  His health, career as both a teacher and Meth cook, his marriage, his life, were always uncertain, even from the very first episode.

Now he’s going by Lambert.  Why?  Who is the inspiration for this new name?  Walter is not a random character.   There is a reason for everything.

Perhaps it is Johann Heinrich Lambert.  He was a philosopher scientist who made great contributions to physics, philosophical perceptions (ie objective vs subjective perception as applied to the world around you), and theories on illumination.  Illumination?  Hmmm?  That is pretty interesting.  Being that we are entering the final chapter of the saga that is Walter and Jesse’s Southwestern Meth Adventure, does this new alias suggest that a light will be shone upon their lives.  Will motivations be revealed?  Or even worse, will the illumination of the season simply mean that one of the characters, probably Walter judging by the fact that he is on the run, will turn “Rat” and snitch on the whole operation, the deaths, the money, etc.  I’m probably wrong, but if that is the case, and the inspiration for the new alias is in fact the illumination theories of Johann Heinrich Lambert, then this blank line here _____________________________________ Is me taking a moment to pat myself on the back.

***** I’ll be watching this finally season of Breaking Bad and I will not be reviewing it or recapping it.  I will however be watching it and attempting to crack its formula.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul Washington permalink
    October 24, 2012 8:28 pm

    Skylar’s maiden name is Lambert. Also, do you think there is any significance to the fact he isn’t wearing a wedding ring?

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