The second half of “Breaking Bad” season five will begin the end of Walter White this Sunday, August 9th. Or so is the ominous tone set as Bryan Cranston, who plays the former chemistry teacher turned drug lord in the deserts of New Mexico, reads Lord Percy Shelley’s poem about the fallen empire of an arrogant king that lies buried in an unnamed desert.
White was never going to have a happy ending. This promo promises one helluva ride to Dante’s inner ring for White.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I remember first reading this poem in high school and if you were the lit nerd that I was, you will have gotten goosebumps even before knowing what the poem fully means. Well, those were nothing but ganderbumps compared to Cranston’s reading. If ever a poem fit…it’s here, down to Heisenberg’s pork pie hat lying in the desert.
The poem is timeless. I remember thinking of this poem when I saw Angkor Wat or the film “Prometheus.” But there will be no resurrection in White’s case, no talking head taken off a robot to continue the journey (thankfully). I fear Junior may not even continue the White legacy. No progeny, much less a son who is a man’s only shot at continuing a family name, can survive a father’s trip to the netherworld.
And Cranston who deserves all his Emmys and the Hollywood Star he got a few weeks ago, also gave us fans a meta trip at Comic Con on the “Breaking Bad” panel. Cranston walked in as Walter White and then in John Woo-style, took off the mask and confronted his TV’s alter ego.
I have a feeling that Walter White will not be as happy as Cranston when he has to confront himself.