‘Breaking Bad’ fans: Do not be the one who knocks tonight

So, tonight is the series finale of “Breaking Bad.” I know there are many of you Baddicts out there, so you’re already setting your DVR, prearranging snacks for easy access, and telling your friends and relatives that from 9 to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. if you count “Talking Bad”) you don’t exist – you’re in Belize. Yeah.

I am a relative newbie to “Breaking Bad.” I blasted through the series over a few weeks via Netflix, having only seen the pilot back when it premiered. I don’t know why I didn’t keep with it; perhaps I was too distracted by the barrage of “The Office,” “30 Rock” and other shows that ended abruptly, leaving me with an emptiness that not even the oddly resurrected “Arrested Development” could fill.

I was instantly hooked. There’s been debate over the viewing habits in the age of Netflix and On Demand – should a show be watched as it is intended, over the course of months or years, or is it OK to watch it movie-style in one marathon session? With “Breaking Bad,” watching it all at once doesn’t take away from the suspense; if anything, putting the show in several mediums made it more of a phenomenon, giving it an Internet identity that lent the show to clever memes, webisodes, Facebook posts and other fun stuff that only grew its rabid fanbase.

The show is followed by the “Talking Bad” talk show, which only further riles up fans. I wish they had this show back when “The Sopranos” or “The Wire” was on, because it points out some really obvious plot stuff that I totally miss and feel dumb about later when I read it on the message boards.

Now, if you don’t know anything about the show, creator Vince Gilligan sums it up pretty succinctly with the “Mr. Chips turns into Scarface” description. Chemistry teacher Walter White learns he has terminal cancer, and decides to put his expertise to good use and cook methamphetamine to build a nest egg for his family. An encounter with ex-student turned drug dealer Jesse Pinkman creates a team that slowly builds a dangerous empire. Surely, nothing could go wrong. Pfft.

Predictably, everything goes wrong, and nothing is off limits in this insanely tense, humorous yet brutal drama. I will not be a spoiler sport for other noobs, but highly suggest this show for anyone who likes TV, thrills, fried chicken, oxygen, hats.

The show is chock-full of iconic imagery. The porkpie “Heisenberg” hat – when Walter White puts this hat on, you KNOW he means business. The hazmat suits. The pink stuffed animal. The RV. There’s an online auction right now where you can buy “Breaking Bad” items used on the show – if I had a few hundred bucks lying around I would totally buy the platinum grill made into a paperweight.

How will it end? There’s been so many clues and Easter eggs to ponder, but I don’t want to get too existential. If pop culture went full circle, it would end with Bryan Cranston entering Witness Protection and emerging as his character on “Malcom in the Middle.” Or will it go “The Sopranos” route and fade to black? Will the clock run out in Walter’s fight against cancer? Will aliens land in Albuquerque and beam them all up?

Next week, I will return to material that everyone understands, so pardon my fangirl moment. But tonight, I will be watching, and hopefully no one comes knocking during the show. Because Walter White is the one who knocks. And no way I’m opening up for that dude.

Have an A-1 day!

Are you a Baddict? Share your thoughts on the finale with me at ssepanek@tribtoday.com, or comment on this story at www.tribtoday.com.