New 'Breaking Bad' characters pose challenges, open new avenues

Yahoo Contributor Network

Among the many events that have made the final season of "Breaking Bad" so much fun to watch is the fact that it introduced fans to two new characters who have radically changed the dynamics of the major players. Lydia and Todd, for better or worse, have thrown a wrench into the machinery, and it remains to be seen just how great the damage will be as a result of their presence.

From what we have seen from Todd so far, though, it seems that he will do a great deal to inflame Walter's desire to gain more power and wealth for himself (something that he needs no help doing in any case). Just as importantly, however, Todd has also shown that he has a ruthless streak that is a match for Walter's, proven by the fact that he was the one who not only shot the boy in the desert but had some very practical and pragmatic reasons for doing so. Clearly, he does not have the moral compass and restriction that has kept Jesse from sliding completely into the darker places of the human soul. While he also may not have Jesse's innate intelligence, Todd is nevertheless clever enough to be able to get what he wants, no matter the cost to others.

Lydia, likewise, is cunning and ruthless, though she tries to hide it under her nervous and paranoid exterior. She has also shown that she is willing to do whatever it takes to keep herself alive, up to and including hiring someone to kill Mike (and then convincing him to let her live). With her access to the higher echelons of power, she will no doubt prove to be an exceptionally useful ally for Walter as he seeks to grow his business and solidify his own power. However, if she has proven anything, it is that she is quite capable of taking down those that she sees as a threat to herself and her personal safety. It seems that Walter would do well to watch his back where Lydia is concerned.

Although "Breaking Bad" has been quite good at keeping its narrative focused on a few key characters, bringing in these new faces in the fifth season was a good decision so far. They've added some variety, and both of them may come to play crucial roles in the drama and devastation that is no doubt to come in the final half of the final season.

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