Walter White and the Book of Job: Why it’s so difficult to rejoice at the downfall of the wicked

walter white

Along with millions of other viewers, I have been mesmerized by the ingenious screenwriting and directing that has crystallized into this fifth and final season of Breaking Bad.

In the most recently aired episode, Ozymandias (warning: spoilers ahead), viewers bore witness to the sudden and thorough collapse of the world of the chemistry teacher turned villain, Walter White, a character developed as masterfully as any other on screen in recent years. In fact, what perhaps compelled me most about this episode was how apt a depiction it was of the fall of the wicked man discussed throughout the book of Job.

Walt’s unceasing stream of dastardly deeds throughout the series, which includes chronic mental abuse, pathological lies and multiple homicides, represents an impressive resume of evil. And therefore, to see the valiant response of the writers of Breaking Bad to Job’s plea to God: “is it good to You that You should oppress and despise the work of Your hands and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? (Job 10:3)” should have infused me with at least some semblance of satisfaction. Having just watched the materialization of Eliphaz the Temanite’s declaration that “[the wicked] meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noon as in the night (Job 5:14)”, I should have smiled, nodded my head and gone to sleep light of heart.

And yet.

My sentiments while watching the downfall of Mr. White, which was brilliantly enhanced by juxtaposing the sequence of his demise to the flashback of the still innocent schoolteacher in his first foray into the world of drugs, were exactly the opposite.

Continue reading this post at the Times of Israel by clicking here

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