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TV Show Breaking Bad on the Dangers of Pride

The critically-acclaimed TV show Breaking Bad centers on the story of Walter White, a bored high school chemistry teacher who discovers that he has stage III lung cancer. Desperate to provide for his family, Walter decides to start manufacturing methamphetamine to create a nest egg. Initially, his goal is to make about $750,000; enough to cover the mortgage, college for both his kids and to cover any other major expenses that might arise over the next 20 years.

But as the series moves forward, the drama focuses on Walter's transformation from a frustrated middle-class American male to a drug kingpin and a cold-blooded killer. The central question of Breaking Bad Becomes this: What makes a person "Bad"? As the story develops we get a clear answer: at some point, Walter decided to become bad.

Specifically, Walter succumbs to the sin of pride. Initially, his pride was submerged under a thin veneer of suburban respectability. But as the show progresses, Walter's pride rises to the surface. In one of the show's most stunning scenes, Walter chillingly explains to his wife Skyler why he's the man in charge when it comes to Mexican cartels and the drug trade. He says,

Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going in to work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. It disappears. It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don't know who you're talking to. So let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks.

Walter is no longer the frustrated, somewhat bumbling and basically good genius of season one. He's changed, and we're encouraged to look at him the way Diane Keaton looks at Al Pacino at the end of The Godfather: "What's happened to you?" It's a mixture of horror, deep regret, and revulsion. It's a disturbing picture of the evils of pride.

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