Jonesing for wild speculation and in-depth analysis of Breaking Bad as its final season ramps up August 11? Don’t ask David Chen. The Seattle transplant will dance around spoilers and instead offer up vague insights like, “The end of the fifth season betrayed a lot of what the show had built itself up to be.” Which is ironic, because he hosts the show’s best recap podcast.
Each week on slashfilm.com’s The Ones Who Knock—a sly reference to the chilling fourth-season soliloquy that cemented meth-cooking chemistry teacher Walter White’s turn to the dark side—Chen and guest hosts dissect the minutiae of the latest episode, down to the cinematography and score. Breaking down character motivations and story arcs is a lot of work, especially when you consider that Chen also has a day job at Microsoft. “People have a lot of free time—nights and weekends—and they use that time to recharge or think about the next day,” he says. “I use it to do things like podcasts.”
Five years ago, while living in Boston, Chen launched his first one, an independent production about film that attracted just north of 150 listeners. But one of them happened to be slashfilm.com founder Peter Sciretta, who was so impressed with Chen’s encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture that he offered him the helming duties for the yet-to-debut Slashfilmcast. Since then, Chen’s hosted a handful of ’casts for the site, on everything from Game of Thrones to Justified. And they’ve been a tad more popular than the first, racking up a whopping 10 million downloads.
Turns out, The Ones Who Knock was an afterthought, something Chen didn’t consider until after he got sucked into Breaking Bad’s fourth season in 2011. Despite playing catch-up, though, his analysis has proved the ultimate water-cooler conversation starter for obsessive fans. Which makes it all the more frustrating that when we asked him for his thoughts on the finale we couldn’t get anything juicier than this: “It wouldn’t be keeping with the show’s sense of morality if Walter were to survive through the entire series.” Guess we’ll just have to tune in.
Published: August 2013