I can’t spoil the plot of Breaking Bad, as until Sunday I won’t know what happens to Walter White. But I have been working on a detective story about a chemistry teacher who takes up a new profession after he is diagnosed with cancer and who faces moral dilemmas in a plot involving the illegal manufacture of drugs
So in my detective story, the scientist, John Keane, becomes a professor of business who teaches leadership after his illness. When his former boss is blown up, Keane is dragged into the case by the Vice Chancellor Wendy Lockinge, a former senior police detective. Both face dilemmas of trust and betrayal as they unearth a drugs plot which had enormous global consequences if it succeeds.
My ideas of what might happen in Breaking Bad are shaped by the adventures of John Keane.
Will There be a resolution of the moral dilemmas in Breaking Bad?
Who cares? Critics, perhaps. In John Keane’s world, moral dilemmas are not ‘solved’ they are dealt with. There will, however, be closure. Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes. That was closure not resolution.
I would expect some plot closure, but an artistic versus commercial dilemma confronts the writers of Breaking Bad. Can they [should they] keep traction going to meet public demand for more?
There is only one resolution of the medical condition facing both Keane and Walter White. Creative leaps are permitted but the “get out of jail” ideas are easier to dream up than to write into a final episode: Walt has to be confronted with the dramatic constraints imposed by his medical condition, as well as with the consequences of his decisions and actions.
In the great tragedies by definition there is a tragic end to a heroic but flawed figure. The audience is purified by the experience. At the same time there has to be a surprise. “In the end, Walt dies”. OK, so do we all, but we don’t know how or why. The greatest stories retain a mix of the inevitable and the unexpected.
Writers as subtle and dynamic as those involved in Breaking Bad have their own ultimate creative challenge. I haven’t the faintest idea how I will be surprised in the final episode. But I expect the unexpected.
What happened to John Keane?
Well, the answer to that would be a plot spoiler, wouldn’t it? But there is a surprise.