Breaking Bad

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kingofthejungle
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#651 Post by kingofthejungle » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:42 pm

domino harvey wrote:He was surrounded by the reminder of his brilliance and went out almost entirely on his terms (Jesse didn't do it but that hardly mattered when he was already wounded)-- you'd have to spin this pretty hard to come out as a denouncement of the character
Exactly. He got to leave his money to Junior, essentially had a reconciliation with his wife, got to see his kids one last time, took out Lydia and the Nazis, set Jesse free and came to a kind of terse understanding with his formerly estranged cook-partner (letting him kill his oppressor along the way). That's an incredibly tidy ending for Walt.

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knives
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#652 Post by knives » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:50 pm

domino harvey wrote:He was surrounded by the reminder of his brilliance and went out almost entirely on his terms (Jesse didn't do it but that hardly mattered when he was already wounded)-- you'd have to spin this pretty hard to come out as a denouncement of the character
I didn't say it was a denouncement of character, just that he wasn't going around curing leapers and what not. There's a large middle ground between the two areas (that said it would have punctuated the matter to force him to live through a trial.

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Red Screamer
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#653 Post by Red Screamer » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:53 pm

Walt admitted that he did this for himself. That he destroyed his family, among many others, and was personally responsible for the deaths of too many people to count because he was selfish. Everyone he's ever known hates him. Not exactly meth Christ.

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Black Hat
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#654 Post by Black Hat » Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:58 pm

Counter to Domino & King's points is that when Jack offered to give him his money Walt shot him. I think it's going to be overlooked but that to me said a lot about how much of a failure Walt's transformation into Heisenberg was.

My take on the finale is that it was a surprisingly predictable ending. It was successful in giving its fans exactly what they wanted, almost as if Gilligan had a checklist he was crossing off but it didn't take any risks. Ultimately I can think of numerous episodes of the series that were far more memorable as it felt more like a Breaking Bad formula episode than a finale.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#655 Post by Black Hat » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:02 pm

Superswede11 wrote:Walt admitted that he did this for himself. That he destroyed his family, among many others, and was personally responsible for the deaths of too many people to count because he was selfish. Everyone he's ever known hates him. Not exactly meth Christ.
I'd say the exact opposite and think the answer is right there within your own post. Walt did do this for himself and that is all he cares about so for him to die in legendary fashion is the personification of Meth Christ.

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kingofthejungle
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#656 Post by kingofthejungle » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:06 pm

Superswede11 wrote:Everyone he's ever known hates him.
And yet, it was all worth it. He ensured his family's future with the money he made, freed his former partner from bondage, and destroyed the evil doers who killed Hank. He gave his life to make everything "right".

That he admits he did it for himself (and that the show reveals his meth as his true love) kind of blunts the sting of the loss of his family, doesn't it?

It seems to me that he left very much on his own terms.

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knives
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#657 Post by knives » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:09 pm

Black Hat wrote:Counter to Domino & King's points is that when Jack offered to give him his money Walt shot him. I think it's going to be overlooked but that to me said a lot about how much of a failure Walt's transformation into Heisenberg was.

My take on the finale is that it was a surprisingly predictable ending. It was successful in giving its fans exactly what they wanted, almost as if Gilligan had a checklist he was crossing off but it didn't take any risks. Ultimately I can think of numerous episodes of the series that were far more memorable as it felt more like a Breaking Bad formula episode than a finale.
Eh, given how much Scarface has been an influence on the show Walt going out in a blaze of fire was a given from episode one. The stuff surrounding that death is key. In that case I think ultimately the show was forgiving Walt, hence allowing him to die as he did, and the Badfinger song.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#658 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:20 pm

I'm of two minds:

1. I absolutely loved it as a fan of Walt's MacGyvering and ability to get out of incredibly twisted situations against all odds. He's an incredibly smart character, as has been shown time and time again, and for Gilligan to show the guts not to abandon that aspect of a character that he'd done his best to convince us to despise was certainly interesting. We've seen Walt do so many awful things and shatter so many lives, to end things on this note is just icing on top of a shit cake - but it says something about myself (and surely millions of others) that we were still like wide-eyed children cheering on his ingenious escape from the messes he'd created (that were still able to be spruced up [some will never go away, of course...]).

2. I feel like in an effort to please the most people, Gilligan abandoned what was an incredibly compelling angle of seeing this all go to hell for everyone involved, including innocent bystanders. Of course, we saw innocents have their lives destroyed quite a bit throughout the run of the show, particularly in the last few weeks, but by allowing Walt's children to inherit his money... I just don't know how to feel about that and I don't know if it'll ever be a dark enough path for me. I feel there was quite a bit of intellectual dishonesty in the Ozymandias imagery, in the near promise that all Walt worked for would be for naught. Gilligan clearly realized this to a certain extent, with the alternate-universe Jesse and the flashback to Hank at Walt's 50th birthday party. But at the same time, I don't know that we got an intellectually honest (to re-use that phrase because I think it fits best) approach to what this show had been foreshadowing. For everything to go so serendipitously well for Walt without a single hair out of place... I just wish that were played as sad and pathetic rather than cathartic. Because ultimately, in the grand scheme of those two years, it was too little too late. But while watching the episode, one didn't get that feeling. We felt (for better or worse), relieved and satisfied. And I don't know that that's the emotion I signed up for as I watched things get worse and worse.

I still stand by my assertion that this is the best that television drama has ever had to offer because I've never felt so invested in something episode after episode, so utterly attached to every word, action, and edit - but I sort of wish Gilligan had exhibited the courage of his convictions.

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Red Screamer
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#659 Post by Red Screamer » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:33 pm

kingofthejungle wrote:
That he admits he did it for himself (and that the show reveals his meth as his true love) kind of blunts the sting of the loss of his family, doesn't it?

It seems to me that he left very much on his own terms.
I would agree that he left on his own terms but isn't the fact that he loves meth more than anything quite pathetic?

I'm with mfunk9786, not a particularly great or even good episode but in the grand scheme of things a very exceptional show. I'm surprised how safe Gillian played it since he's usually one of the shows most daring directors/writers.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#660 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:35 pm

kingofthejungle wrote:That he admits he did it for himself (and that the show reveals his meth as his true love) kind of blunts the sting of the loss of his family, doesn't it?

It seems to me that he left very much on his own terms.
The only way the logic of Walt totally winning works is if you assume that Walt is a morally bankrupt, egotistical maniac- which he is, more or less. Whatever the outcome for him, the show maintains a critical distance from him. I mean, honestly, are we the production code, to demand that evildoers be punished so everyone knows that crime doesn't pay?

(If you want an example of a show that starts out with an anti-hero, only to fall in love with him and totally embrace everything he does, watch Dexter sometime.)

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knives
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#661 Post by knives » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:46 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:but it says something about myself (and surely millions of others) that we were still like wide-eyed children cheering on his ingenious escape from the messes he'd created (that were still able to be spruced up [some will never go away, of course...]).

But while watching the episode, one didn't get that feeling. We felt (for better or worse), relieved and satisfied. And I don't know that that's the emotion I signed up for as I watched things get worse and worse.
Obviously super subjective and I would never accuse my emotional state of being the norm, but I didn't have either of these two reactions instead being left with a deep sadness over the whole thing with the only humour provided is the dark potential of Jesse getting Mr. Pinked. Maybe it wasn't highlighted with a marker for the meth is bad message to take over like some PSA, but we are still left with a delusional man child who think that he's won by dying still blind to the cost of his selfishness. Yet through the idiocy there's something to love, I'm not sure what, which only deepens the pitiful facts of the end.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#662 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:56 pm

The charm of Walt in this episode is that he finally owns up to being a morally bankrupt, egotistical maniac. I do believe he cares for his family, or thinks he does still. But he knows that the chips are finally down and that he's got to show his hand, to leave some kind of memory behind. That's how I interpret the scene with Skyler, as his confession.

I think Jesse does indeed get Mr. Pinked (though it would be nice to think he did get away). Skyler is going to spend the rest of her life both in hiding and in deep depression. But she'll have Marie, who won't be much better now. Junior gets the money and destroys his life with it. Holly probably gets it the worse as she has to grow up in this amassing mess in the wake of her father's destruction.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#663 Post by Murdoch » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:02 am

I give the writers kudos for actually thinking up a way to inject some very brief joy into Jesse's otherwise destroyed life. He's basically survived his own personal holocaust which is the only way I could see him coming away from all of this with any sense of value for his own life. It's a very twisted ending but I think it fits his trajectory perfectly and was the only way to give him some semblance of happiness before the series' end.

As for Walt's end, I can't say I liked it or disliked it. I did like that he finally fessed up to his selfishness, and the takedown of the supremacists was another ingenious act on his part. But this is a man who poisons children, kills to get his way, and threatens his former best friends with murder, so seeing him die content and reminded of his glory doesn't sit well. Yes, the rest of the series serves to highlight the monster he was, but a series finale has that finalization of the last thrust of the pen. I was hoping the writers would take a risk and give a middle finger to all those worshiping at the altar of Walt by not allowing him any glory. Oh well.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#664 Post by OnOnt » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:23 am

As for leaving on Walt's own terms, they're hardly the terms he wanted from the beginning, they're just the best terms of which he had available and his propensity for always finding the best terms led me to expect him always ending on 'his own' terms, whether that be in prison after a long, painful trial or not. The show does have adoration for these particular abilities of Walt's, but I don't feel the love extends to any other part of his character, especially with Jesse's further breakdown at seeing the Devil get away with it once and for all.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#665 Post by karmajuice » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:44 am

One can't help but admire Walt's brilliance, his ability to outsmart his enemies (and his friends, if you can call them that) with relatively few resources and connections. The finale was a little too pat, particularly with that music cue at the end, but I feel like Walt was very deliberately writing his own ending, that he wanted to go out on his own terms and succeeded. I don't think that negates the ambivalence of the series, nor the complexity of Walt's character and his moral decline; if anything, we get more insight into Walt, who finally drops his sentimental facade and comes clean with himself and Skyler about his motivations. I also think it's possible to take delight in his machinations without embracing their ethical repercussions. The immaculate pacing and the smooth purr of the show's engine is part of its appeal.

Walt strikes me as a tragic character, in the classical sense: not a victim of circumstance, but a man brought down by his own hubris. But this episode makes him feel more like Odysseus than anything else: a brilliant man who wins a war; a man punished and exiled for his transgressions; a man who loses everything dear to him but his own pride; and who ultimately returns to settle the score using his wits to slaughter his enemies. Odysseus doesn't die, obviously, but it's a very similar structure (although BB focuses more on Walt's meteoric rise(/descent) and crash, whereas The Odyssey dwells on the exile).

(Also read something where Gilligan equates Walt sparing Jesse to the ending of The Searchers, which is an interesting source of inspiration, but it feels very apt.)

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#666 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:29 am

I thought it was just about as perfect a finale as one could want. The idea that Walter White needs to be more severely punished sounds more like an inconsistent "pat" ending to me - however dark his actions became, Walt has never been treated as an irredeemable villain on the show. Apart from the SCARFACE allusions, the stronger influence that became apparent as the series moved along was the western and the finale delivered a pleasing take on a number of tropes belonging to that genre, not the least of which was THE SEARCHERS reference of Walt sparing Jesse's life after intending to kill him (straight out of Gilligan's mouth from last night's TALKING BAD program).

I think it's important to remember that all of the characters on the show have been treated with a bit of softness, allowing the viewer to understand the motivations of the "villains" and to even sympathize with them to an extent. The irony present in the finale episode is that Walt's reputation within Albuquerque has grown to near-mythic proportion; he is indeed seen as that ultimate badass but Walt no longer aspires to that (nor did he have much interest in it apart from a way to threaten others in the meth business). That irony is what keeps the finale from feeling forced (and keeps the show true to its original intentions).

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#667 Post by Red Screamer » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:15 am

http://www.vulture.com/m/2013/09/breaki ... inale.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Another great piece by Matt Zoller Seitz on the finale. His comparisons to Cheers and A Christmas Carol are surely things I'd never thought about before.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#668 Post by rspaight » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:21 am

The idea that Walt succeeds in getting the money to Walt Jr. doesn't sit right with me, but then I wonder if Walt didn't do more damage to his son than even $9 million can fix. As Walt demonstrates to Jack at the end, we've passed the point where the money matters. Even for Walt.

And that's why the finale worked for me -- Walt finally came clean with himself about his motivations. In the moral framework of the show, that gave him the "grace" for his final loony plan to actually work. I don't think he's been redeemed -- it's far too late for that -- but he went out as he wanted to. I don't know if he "deserved" that or not, but it's an interesting question for sure.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#669 Post by kingofthejungle » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:50 am

Murdoch wrote:Yes, the rest of the series serves to highlight the monster he was, but a series finale has that finalization of the last thrust of the pen. I was hoping the writers would take a risk and give a middle finger to all those worshiping at the altar of Walt by not allowing him any glory. Oh well.
From my perspective, the Walt worshipers are the viewers who are willing to approach the show through it's own moral lens, rather than messily trying to rationalize its dramatic events through their own.

To see Walt as a monster, you have to side with the nagging wife and kids who are always a bit fuzzy about Walt's specific actions and motivations. The show takes great pains to show us that Walt is never really as bad as outsiders assume. Yes, he kills people, but only as a matter of survival and usually they deserve it anyway. He poisoned Brock, but he intentionally gave him something non-lethal and did it because he needed Jesse to save his life. We were also carefully prepped to accept the only deaths that might have had dramatic significance (Jane and Hank). Jane may have been an innocent, but she was also portrayed as a junkie who couldn't stay on the wagon and if Walt had saved her, she probably would have died at her own hand some other time. Hank was hoping Jesse would get killed in a scheme to catch Walt, so isn't it just that he dies in a similar manner? When Jesse turns against Walt for poisoning Brock, thinking that Walt cares nothing about him -- he becomes just another child who foolishly misunderstands the motivations of his father.

To try to rationalize the progression of the show as that of Walt destroying his life, one has to neglect his cancer. Living happily ever after with Skyler, Walt Jr. and Holly was never an option. He began the show as a brilliant man who was struggling with insignificance and finds himself with as little as 6 months to live. Death puts his life into perspective, and he realizes he could easily die a burdensome nobody who leaves his family in a precarious situation. So, through the course of the show he finds significance in his genius, provides for his family and then neatly eliminates any potential repercussions of his actions that might live after him. He dies a heroes death, having essentially made amends with his family (we can include Jesse in that) and getting to go out on his terms, before cancer can bring him down.

If we were to compare the ending of Breaking Bad to a John Wayne film, I'd say it's much more like The Shootist than The Searchers.

To clarify, I'm not criticizing Breaking Bad for not having a production-code style moralistic ending. I'm criticizing it for not providing sufficient dramatic balance to Walt's narrow point of view - if one wishes, they can remain comfortably on Walt's side without ever really feeling challenged about it. I think that's morally simplistic.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#670 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:24 am

Andy Greenwald sums up my feelings [much] better than I could, including his general positivity about a finale that didn't do what he wanted it to do, or what he thought it should have done.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#671 Post by swo17 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:26 am

In order for Walt's family to have the happy ending of no longer living under the constant threat of death, all the people he succeeded in killing had to die, though it did all seem to play out a lot more like plans tend to work in your mind as opposed to how they usually unfold in execution. So the ending felt a tad perfunctory in this sense, but I don't know how I would have changed it. The one thing that could have gone either way is what happens to Walt after he has taken out all of his enemies. (He could just as easily not have been wounded and killed.) For a moment, I thought his perfectionism might have compelled him to go through the motions of finishing the cook that Jesse had started (which would of course never hit the street), until obligingly accepting handcuffs when the cops stumble upon him.

I also thought that they left a little too much of Lydia's poisoning to the imagination. We know she always met at that restaurant at that same time, but did she also always sit in the same seat? Or did the guy who looks like the Unabomber tell the fast food waiter to make the well dressed lady that was about to come in go sit at the table where he'd just been fiddling around with the sugar packets?

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#672 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:29 am

Yeah - did he put a little bit of ricin in each of the Stevia packets? I was asking the same questions last night, even though no one I was watching with seemed concerned about these details. Also - how do you get ricin into a sugar packet and seal it up neatly again? Did he craft his own sugar packet? How?

Also: "Walter's ricin hit on Lydia would not work that way in real life. Ricin, being a protein, would denaturate at once if put in hot or boiling water."

I hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

Image

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#673 Post by EddieLarkin » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:19 pm

I got the impression Lydia would always sit at that table. And there was only a single Stevia packet in the holder.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#674 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:34 pm

Maybe it was just the angle it was shot at, but it certainly didn't seem like her normal table. Also, still doesn't explain how he got the ricin into that packet.

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Re: Breaking Bad (Spoilers within)

#675 Post by Kracker » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:49 pm

I was under the impression it was her normal table. Pretty easy to predict where to put that sugar packet. And if Walt was crafty enough to make a battery out of coin and sponges, not mention having experience in stealthily poisoning people, he can get the ricin in the sugar packet, no problem. All you got left is the ricin possibly not working when mixed with the hot tea, assuming the tea she ordered was actually hot.

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