Desperation and Inevitability in Extremity 5

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, pitched his TV show as one man’s journey from Mr. Chips to Scarface. But at what point does Walter White turn from mild mannered high school chemistry teacher to ruthless murderer/drug lord? When is the precise moment that the switch is flipped? Jerome has done some terrible things over the course of Extremity‘s first few issues, but Extremity 5 is the first time his actions cross the line into unjustifiable cruelty — or rather, murdering Jessica is the first time felt him crossing the line.

Even as he was exacting bloody, terrible revenge in the first four issues, we were still rooting for him; it felt like justice, an eye for an eye. But now we know the lengths to which Jerome is willing to go, and we see everything clearer: this is no moment of transformation. Jerome was always going to kill this man and his wife, because the choices he made long ago led him to the moment. Slicing Jessica’s throat reveals to the reader the depths of Jerome’s darkness, but his own cruelty doesn’t even phase him.

Breaking Bad revealed that Walter White did not transform into Scarface, it’s who he always was. Jerome still has the opportunity to learn from his mistakes, and I’m hoping he does, but can he ever be redeemed?

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