[SPOILERS GALORE. Don't read this if you're not up to the middle of the final season of Breaking Bad.]
Am I the only person in the country (world?) who wants Walter White to pay for all the horrible things he's done? I was on his side for a long time, but at some point I turned. Maybe it was after he poisoned and killed a small boy just to break Jesse's allegiance to Gus. Maybe it was watching Walt ruthlessly manipulate Jesse about their murder of the boy on the bike or watching Walt kill Mike in a fit of childish fury. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere in there, I began rooting for Hank.
There I said it: I want Hank to nail Walt's ass to the jailhouse wall. Walt is a horrible person, not so much for killing so many people over one year (remember, it's only been one year in Walt-time), but for how cruelly he plays Jesse again and again. I agree that Walt cares about Jesse a great deal and risks his life for him, but it's a sick, sick kind of love. It's a love of ego and pragmatism and sneering superiority. Jesse is the true protagonist of this show. Over four seasons we watch mild-mannered, law-abiding Mr. White descend into the original gangster of megalomania, but we watch Jesse transform from a fronting, two-dimensional drug dealer into a haunted, conflicted sidekick whose soul goes deeper and more pained with every decision Walt drags him into. Jesse's the only character who consistently displays a moral conscience.
We're now a few episodes into the final half of the final season, and I'm stunned by the lack of sympathy for Jesse in the online discussions of Breaking Bad. Is it that everyone loves a winner and since Walt has what it takes to destroy anyone in his way, let's cheer for Team Walt? Have Jesse's heart and emotions worn thin with an American audience that doesn't want to be reminded of its own moral conflicts and inner pain? Are we participating in that heartless calculation that if you're dumb enough to believe XYZ, then you deserve what you get?
If the heart of this series were the relationship between Walt and Skyler, maybe we could keep rooting for them because that's the contract between an audience and a Bonnie-and-Clyde story. But the heart of this series has always been the relationship between Walter and Jesse. Watching them grow to care about each other in spite of themselves was funny and fascinating and gave me hope for the state of Walt's character. But watching Walter tear at the foundation of that partnership again and again, leaving Jesse more broken and isolated each time, has drained all humanity from his character. For Jesse's sake, I want Walter to pay for his shit. I want Hank to win.
Is there anyone out there who agrees with me and has the guts to say it? Please see also my post Breaking Bad: the one I feel bad for is Skyler.