Show Notes: Say My Name
Little did Zee know that the creators of the X-Files would influence the direction and creator of Breaking Bad. The parallels are pretty amazing.
The Truth is Out There
The X-Files, at it’s core, is about paranoia, manipulation, science used to torture and exploit humanity, and the quest of a small group to expose the truth. Watching this series after COVID and revelations of Deep State activity against a sitting president, against private citizens, and the federal government continual cover ups leaves you wondering if there was a higher degree of truth in the fictional series. The Truth is not only out there, it was in the series itself. While there were very eerie and disturbing creatures on this series, the real monsters were those hidden in the shadows.
The episode The Post Modern Prometheus is considered to be among the best of the series, and surprisingly it is a stand alone series. Written and directed by series creator Chris Carter, is pays homage to the Frankenstein movies of the 1940s, manages to nod at Young Frankenstein, and ends with a plot twist evoking images from the movie Mask with Cher. The musical scene at the end is simply a brilliant surprise, and is clearly outside the standard theme of the series of UFOs, conspiracies and cover ups.
Vince Gilligan was a writer for the X-Files as well as producer. In the Post Modern Prometheus you can see many elements that are reflected in Gilligan’s later work. Additionally, many of the stars who were to later appear in Vince Gilligan’s phenomenal hit Breaking Bad worked with Gilligan on the X-Files. This includes the star of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston who stared as a victim in an episode written by Gilligan. This show titled “Drive” is also one of the top 10 episodes of the series. Gilligan contributed many of the quirky characters that graced the TV screen during the series, and this skill was employed to an even higher degree on the series Breaking Bad.
Science, Mad, Mad Science
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle – the more accurate you attempt to be with measure subatomic particles the less certain the outcome. This formed the basis of quantum mechanics, and refuted Bohr’s model of the atom. Bohr’s model served as the basis for chemistry for decades.
Chem Class with Dr Frankenstein
Breaking Bad was the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher who had been diagnosed with cancer. Prior to becoming a teacher White had formed a company with a Caltech alumni friend, and despite filing patents, the company was slow to gain success. White sold his interest in the company, and shortly thereafter the company gained huge success, his former partner married White’s ex girlfriend and White harbored resentment that his hard work was at the core of the success and his friend stole the life that Walter should have had given his hard work. The company went on to win the Nobel Prize based Walter’s work, his shares would have been worth 720 million.
Desperate to make money for his family before he dies, Walter decides to cook meth, and with the help of a former student Jesse Pinkman, Watler builds the largest meth empire in the US, rivaling the drug cartels in Mexico. During this process Walter adopts an identity “Heisenberg”. This name is significant for two reasons. Heisenberg, the founder of quantum mechanics, formulated the Uncertainty Principle, and Walter channeled that concept into this new persona. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle displaced the traditional theory of the atom postulated by Neils Bohr. This parallels Walter’s character arc where his activities as Heisenberg soon displaced the importance of his life as a high school chemistry teacher.
Walter White, a scientist and creator, is also Frankenstein. His monster is his alter ego Heisenberg. Jesse was his Igor.