I’m up to the fourth season, but I have also been watching the last half of the fifth season. Here are several thoughts,

The money isn’t really about the money for hardly anybody. One of the conceits of the show is that the drug money can’t really be spent in large, visible quantities because of the of the IRS. The result is that the most financially successful characters end up with huge piles of money that they either can’t spend or have to spend very slowly. Gus Fring lives in a modest house and drives an unflashy car. Fring had the drive, precision and intelligence to run a fully legitimate and successful restaurant chain if he wanted. He would have worked no harder and he could have lived larger (to say nothing of the dangers he would be avoiding).  But he wanted the power (and he - like Walt - had issues he wanted to work out through power). 

The Nazi gang steals over sixty million dollars of Walt’s money. The Nazi leader Uncle Jack makes the point that they have all the money that they could ever need. They don’t need to keep cooking meth. But his nephew Todd says something like “How can you walk away from all that money?”  And Uncle Jack goes along.

Isn’t the answer “Easy. I don’t want to keep doing something extremely dangerous in order to get money that I can’t spend.” It would make some kind of more sense if the Nazi gang was going to use the revenue flow to try to overthrow the government or something. But no, they are just out in the desert meth camp instead of lolling around on some Nazi beach or whatever it is they do. The money is just a way of trying to fill holes in their souls. Only Jesse has retained enough of his soul to recognize it doesn’t work that way.

Articles by Pete Spiliakos

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