"What the hell's wrong with you? We're a family!"
For all the chatter and acclaim for Breaking Bad, including last weekend's Emmy win for best drama, the show wasn't about a high school chemistry teacher with cancer who builds a drug empire making crystal meth. It was about family.
When Walter White shouted the line two weeks ago, after a knife fight with his wife Skyler while their son Flynn tried to break it up, it was both tragic and ridiculous at the same time.
For all of Walt's intelligence, determination, cunning and resourcefulness, he made $80 million and it cost him his family and his soul.
Tomorrow night, during the series finale, we'll find out if it costs him his life.
Walt has shown himself over the course of five brilliant seasons to be the decent family man with a black heart, in complete contrast to that deceiving last name of his. The harder he tries to protect his loved ones, the more he hurts them. Ultimately, what his family needs is protection from him.
If the defining question behind Dexter was "can a serial killer be good?," then the question for Breaking Bad was "can a good man do bad things and still be good?"
Dexter made a compelling argument for yes, but Breaking Bad's answer is an emphatic no. The further Walt has gone to further his wealth and power, the deeper his delusion has become that he's done it all for the sake of his family. Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, pride and control drives Walt.
Still, he is capable of decency and of doing the right thing, which makes him so compelling because he's utterly unpredictable.
Walt is a modern Hamlet, a killer who believes his good intentions trump the pain and death left in his wake. Now even his good intentions are stripped away and he's left with nothing but anger and resentment. He couldn't be more dangerous.
Yet audiences care deeply for him and especially for his hapless protege, the long-suffering Jesse Pinkman. Both men deserve nothing but disdain for the hurt they've caused others, yet we can't help but feel sympathy for them as they grieve over the hurt their mistakes have brought to their loved ones.
Jesse and Walt speak to us because there but for the grace of God go the rest of us - two ordinary guys who fell into a ditch of despair but decided that the way out was to dig deeper.