Gravediggers Union 1 and the Art of the Cold Open

by Drew Baumgartner

Gravediggers Union 1

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

My name is Walter Hartwell White. I live at Albuquerque, New Mexico. To all law enforcement entitles, this is not an admission of guilt. I am speaking to my family now. Skyler you are the love of my life. I hope you know that. Walter, Junior you’re my big man. There are going to be some things things that you’ll come to learn about me in the next few days. I just want you to know that no no matter how it may look, I only had you in my heart. Good-bye.

Walter White, Breaking Bad

What’s your favorite cold-open? Breaking Bad had some doozies, to be sure, but the most memorable almost all fall into the category of “flash forward,” usually dropping us into the climax (or aftermath) of the episode in question before winding back to explain how we got there. It’s an approach that’s understandably popular — why not open with the most exciting moment of the story? — but is far from the only option when kicking off a story. I personally am a bit more partial to the 2001: A Space Odyssey cold open, taking place millions of years ago, connected to the plot of the movie proper only by the thematic connections we can draw between them. That opening clearly appeals to Wes Craig, who kicks off Gravediggers Union 1 in a remarkably similar fashion. Continue reading