Meth or Murder? (Dexter vs. Breaking Bad)
The start of this summer’s TV shows is under way. “Showtime’s” Dexter unveiled its 8th and final season this Sunday. It’s been quite a run for Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall, over the past few years. He's dealt with the murder of his wife Rita, birth of his son Harrison and has come damn close to being exposed as the Bay Harbor Butcher. With so many close calls will the world, including his Miami homicide dept co workers, ever know the truth about his Dark Passenger?
Season 7 gave us quite a shake when Captain Laguerta couldn't help but try to discover the truth about the murdering monster (at least that's how Dexter feels about himself). However, the Captains investigation was cut short by Dexter’s sister Lt. Debra learning that the only person she has left in the world, is really an avenging killer. Together Deb, (reluctantly of course) and Dexter ended Laguerta’s suspicions by killing her. Where will Deb and Dexter go from here? I know I can't wait for the series finale.
Dexter has a great cast and writers, and I know they will only end Dexter in the most deserving way. Over the past few years Dexter has been the top contender on my list of favorite television shows. But, amongst all the other crap you find on cable TV, a close runner up has peaked my interest.
AMC’s Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston, the goofy and hairy, father from Malcolm in The Middle. But his role as Walter White is anything but comical. He's a middle aged family man and chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He realizes that his family will need his support dead or alive, and vows to make something of his life with money to leave his family. Who would have guessed that the straight and narrow Mr. White would team up with Jesse Pinkman, a drug addict and ex-student, to make the purist form of meth possible?
Through the seasons of Breaking Bad you find Walter and Jesse get deeper and deeper into the wrong crowd. Eventually it’s them against some of the biggest kingpins in the meth community. Their employer Gus threatens too much for the duo and has a filthy death resulting in being blown to bits.
But there's an even bigger threat to them by Walter’s very own brother- in-law Hank, a DEA agent dead set on discovering who produces the popular blue meth. With the danger of Hank getting closer to the truth, Walter and Jesse might have to do something drastic to cover their asses. We won't find out what that will be until the final season premises august 11.
My question is which show is better? Breaking Bad and Dexter both deliver a powerful punch of intensity and seriousness. As of right now, my favorite would have to be Dexter, but boy, are they almost neck in neck.
Dexter Morgan vs. Walter White
Dexter Morgan is played by Michael C. Hall, a matured Broadway actor and former cast member of HBO’s Six Feet Under. On screen, Hall is given a lot of free range to improvise and is allowed creative freedom with his Character, Dexter. He immerses himself into the character and it surely shows. He brings so much to the table when playing Dexter. I remember a particular scene where Dexter is just about to kill one of his many victims. He imitates his victim by screaming and beating on his chest and does a spin. This scene stuck out in my mind when I saw it. The whole thing was unscripted and totally impromptu for Hall. It worked so well, and was kind of creepy too. Its scenes like that, that really make Dexter a real person. I never once thought that Dexter was over acted or unrealistic.
Walter White is played by Bryan Cranston. He is excellent in this role. His character feels so genuine. You really feel like Mr. White is a real person and maybe you would do the same thing for your family that he attempts to do for his, even if it doesn’t work out all the time. We see a lot of character development in Walter throughout the 5 seasons of Breaking Bad so far. He starts off being a calm and well mannered genius and eventually has a realization that he is constantly being walked over and not taking seriously. As his alter-ego Heisenberg is created, Walter changes his demeanor. He becomes someone whose name you would not forget. He becomes a mad scientist, always figuring out ways to resolve all of the conflicts presented to Jesse and him. Not to mention, the occasional physical fights him and Jesse have amongst themselves. Pretty much, he turns into a bad ass, ready to make his money and survive the battle of cancer, and the meth world.
Although both starring actors have won awards for their roles, I think Michael C. Hall playing Dexter Morgan takes the cake for this one. By far, a more complex and appealing character that you just want to learn more and more about every episode.
Trinity Killer vs. Gustavo Fring
The Trinity Killer is played by John Lithgow, and his performance really blows you away. Trinity is a serial killer being sought out by Dexter in season 4. He kills in groups of 4. A women jumping off a building, a man being bludgeoned to death, a young girl in a bath tub, and a young boy being buried alive. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. The entire season is just heart stopping and creepy. When not on a murdering spree the Trinity Killer, also known as Arthur Mitchell, is a normal family man to the everyday person. But Dexter discovers the truth even before his Miami Homicide co-workers. On his path to kill the dangerous Trinity, he gets way to close. And eventually, Arthur knows Dexter’s true identity. This puts his family in danger, and eventually is the reason for the murder of Dexter’s wife, Rita. Trinity really put up a fight for Dexter and made season 4 my favorite season so far.
Gustavo Fring, or Gus is Walter and Jesse’s boss. He owns a franchise of chicken restaurants called Los Pollos Hermanos. But this isn’t your everyday KFC. Behind the scenes, you see that Gus is transferring and producing meth using his restaurant name. He is a swift and powerful business man. He emanates seriousness and just wants to make as much money as possible, even if that means killing his right hand man or anyone else who gets in his way, for that matter. Trying to escape the grasp of their crazy employer, Jesse and Walter come up with a killer plan to get Gus out of the way. The consequences of their actions are what make Gus such a serious villain for them. They are trying to avoid being murdered by Gus throughout season and are truly scared for their lives. They end Gus by blowing him up. At least there is one less problem for Walt and Jesse to worry about.
Once again, Dexter has the upper hand here. The season of Dexter that features the Trinity Killer, ends with such a twist that it will literally make you jump out of your seat. How can you beat that?
Fatherhood/ the “Code” vs. Cancer/family problems
We have seen a lot of different sides of Dexter. His biggest struggle is maintaining the balance between his family life as a father to Harrison, and still maintaining the code taught to him by his very own father. Dexter spends much of his time away from his son during the day as a blood splatter analysis and his nights as an avenging angel. Being a father has made Dexte more of a human and every action he makes, he thinks of how it will affect little Harrison. On a few occasions, Dexter has broken the code and killed innocent people like a gas station clerk and his very own boss. He struggles daily with the thought of being caught. Who will take care of Harrison then? As we reach the end of the show, we will see if Dexter really sticks with the code his own father taught him, or will he do whatever is in his power to protect the life he has with his family?
From the first episode of Breaking Bad, we discover that Walter White has terminal cancer and is only giving a few months to live. We learn that his wife is caring mother and will also protect her family from harm. Together they have raised a son with Cerebral Palsy named Walter Jr. and eventually another baby girl. As the story progresses Walt is doing all he can to provide for his family when he is gone, but he takes it way too far. He becomes too immersed in his new lifestyle that his family is in danger. He finally is respected as the chemist who creates the pure blue meth that everyone loves, and he can’t give that up. He struggles with eventually losing his wife and the respect of his son, who wants to be called Flynn to disconnect from his father. Walter is hurt by what the effects of being in his type of business and what that has caused his family. He started out doing this for his family, and ended up losing them because of it. Now, he is fighting with his cruel and selfish wife and only has himself anymore.
Finally a win for Breaking Bad is in the midst. For me, Walt’s struggles are things that many people could relate to. He forgot why he started producing meth in the first place, and has lost a lot because of it. You won’t find much of Walter White left, just Heisenberg, ready to take on whoever is in his way.
In conclusion, Dexter is my favorite show, as you see it won two out of three for me. With the series both coming to an end this summer, it will surely get serious. Both shows are going to end on a high note for sure. And I personally can’t wait. How the shows end could definitely be a game changer for me . Maybe Breaking Bad will rise above Dexter_ and push it off of its much deserved pedestal. But all we can do is wait, and see!