I’m not going to say much about Breaking Bad because everything that could possibly be said about Breaking Bad is already being said by millions of people across the world. I will, however, say that the finale was perfect and that Breaking Bad is probably officially now better than The Wire.
But after the final episode, after the reviews were read, after the forums were scoured for reactions, theories and reflections, I found myself thinking not about Breaking Bad at all. Instead, I was reminiscing about another time, many years ago when Vince Gilligan left me grinning from ear to ear like he did last night.
The X-Files: Season 5, Episode 12 – Bad Blood.
Bad Blood was the fifth X-Files episode written by Gilligan (though back then writing credits weren’t that important to me, what with being only 11 years old and all). After Mulder stabs a guy through the heart with a stake, believing him to be a vampire, he and Scully attempt to get their stories straight before reporting to their supervisor. Of course, their versions of events don’t quite add up. They each paint themselves as the hero of the story while belittling the other, with hilarious results. It’s classic sitcom stuff, but with the added darkness and weirdness of The X-files.
When I was a kid, The X-Files was the highlight of my week. My sister and I were obsessed. We had a whole ritual for it. Every Wednesday, we would watch the latest episode, simultaneously recording it on VHS. Then after the episode was over, we would rush to the study and look up Aumtum Tysko’s reviews. It was always a race to see who got to read it first. Sometimes my sister printed it off beforehand and hid it from me just so she could be first. Those reviews were then placed in a folder, chronologically, for later reference. It was all very organised. Almost creepily so, now that I think about it…
If it was a particularly good episode that week, we wouldn’t tape over it. Bad Blood never got taped over. We still had it on tape even when VHS began to die out and give way to DVD. I still know the whole script off by heart.
Looking back, it’s strange that my sister and I were both so enamoured with the show, considering how different we became as adults. But as we tweeted Bad Blood quotes back and forth at each other last night, I realised something. Maybe our differences make perfect sense. She’s a journalist; always rational, always chasing the facts and eschewing the unbelievable. I’m a writer; embracing the weird, choosing to ignore facts in favour of fantasy.
What if… my sister grew up to be Scully, while I grew up to be Mulder!
Okay, maybe not exactly, but… I want to believe…
Thanks for being awesome all along, Vince Gilligan.
Oh, and thanks awesome sister too!