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Breaking Bad 
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I'm so conflicted! Last week I was totally on team Hank. But I gotta say, this episode actually made me feel sympathetic towards Walt for the first time in a long time. I think now I actually want him to get away. That scene where Walt is lying on the floor and he tells Skylar that he'll turn himself in if she promises to keep the money, I actually felt sorry for Walt. Incredible performance from Bryan Cranston. In fact, EVERYONE was firing on all cylinders. Cranston, Norris, Gunn, even Betsy Brandt was incredible. The diner scene between Hank and Skylar was tense stuff. And then later on the scene with Marie in the bedroom. All stellar stuff. And everyone's right, that last scene was such a tease! Is it next Sunday yet?!!


BTW, after this episode, it's abundantly clear that the gun Walt bought from Jim Beaver in the diner is Lydia and her group. She's going to want him to go back and when he doesn't come back, that's when all hell is going to break loose and Walt is going to go to war with her.

Man, this last season is going to be truly awesome!


Last edited by ilovemovies on Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:27 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
1. Laura Fraser is stupidly sexy.

2. Yeah, they wrung out just about as much quality acting as they possibly could from the dialogue scenes. The whole thing with Marie basically reading Skyler's tears and finding out how long she knew about Walt's activities was just nuts.

Still waiting on someone to tell Hank who paid for his treatment...

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Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:47 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Yeah, my sympathy just shifted all over the place this week. The show developed the characters so well that when everyone knows the secret, it feels like you are one of the family too, and don't know how to feel (and what to do).

Two episodes in and Jesse still had wayyyy to little scenes. That will certainly change next week, with that tease of an ending.

Also, I don't know if it's just me but the pace in this last set of episodes seems different (not saying it's better or worse). It's just so deliberately meticulous and detailed pacing, all the while moving the story forward in huge chunks. If not for afraid of the spoilers that will be unavoidable since the show's become much more popular now (Episode 9 last week had 5.92 millions, compared to 2.78 millions of Episode 8 last year), I'd want to save all 8 episodes to watch in one huge sitting. This is the first time I've watched the show week to week and I'm growing restless!


Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:18 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Last week's episode was better. This episode felt kind of anticlimatic. It was all build up but not much payoff. Still enjoyed the episode though.


Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:42 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Did not realize there was a Reelview BrBa thread! Great stuff.

For me, honestly? It was the most intense and gut-wrenching episode of TV I've ever seen. Other shows have had incredibly tense moments and sequences, but I can't think of one that strung things together like this.

The "Hank forced me to cook" gambit is jaw-droppingly brilliant in the best possible way, largely because it was right there in front of us to figure it out. It wasn't some random twist that no one could have seen coming. It was so cold and so perfect. I don't know that it realistically buries Hank as much as the show wants us to believe, but it is the very best card Walt could possibly have played at that point.

The scene with Walt, Jesse, and Saul in the desert is as good as the show has ever been. Or any show has ever been. I was so afraid the whole time that Walt was going to kill him, but Jesse finally calling out Walt on his bullshit and manipulation was heartbreaking -- you almost want to cheer for him for calling it like it is, but there's no real victory in it. Is there a more tragic character in TV history than Jesse Pinkman? Really, Walt should have killed him. That he didn't after making such calculated moves against Hank is interesting.

And man oh man did Aaron Paul murder this episode. Just a phenomenal performance. I'm guessing that he's the one who paints "HEISENBERG" in the house. And there's Todd wearing a jacket like Walt and Jesse! What a final stretch it's going to be.


Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:38 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
After last episode where Saul suggested killing Jesse and Walt refused furiously, I didn't get worried of Jesse's safety in the desert scene that much. Jesse would have to do something more egregious, like in the last scene, to have Walt finally considering that.

Heart-racing stuff. The first two episodes are so deliberate and meticulous (I mean that in the best way possible; they are completely engrossing) that I wondered when and what would trigger the events to get to the flashforward of everything falling apart and the White house trashed. This episode kicks the pace up several notches, and finally give a hint of answer to that as well.

I have Season 3 as the show's best season (and one of the best TV seasons I've ever watched as well). Season 5 is looking to surpass that.


Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:48 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
It was an intense episode but my problem is that it builds up to this crescendo of tension and then .... just ends. There is no real payoff. It builds and builds upon intensity and tension only for there to be no payoff. Disappointing and anticlimatic.

The desert scene was good. Am I the only who actually believes that Walt really does care for Jesse? Yes, Jesse wasn't wrong about Walt often trying to control and manipulate him, but that doesn't mean that Walt doesn't totally care about him. I loved when he hugged Jesse.

Still not sure if I'm team Hank or team Walt. Last week's episode put me back on team Walt. But I still love Hank and still want him to be the hero of the show. Maybe Hank and Walt will be forced to team and band together against Todd and Lydia and that group later on. That would be awesome IMO.


Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:52 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
imo, Jesse finding out about Brocke and changing team (maybe?) is climax enough.

I also agree that Walt really do care for Jesse. I always thought that, back since Season 2 where they were put through a lot together. The question is how much his caring will be put to test when Jesse is finally in opposite with him now.

Right up until last year's last episode, I was increasingly anti-Walt. But then he quit and the long-suffering Skylar (whom I have always found one of the most sympathetic characters in the series) finally had a semblance of peace. Adding to that Walt's cancer is back, and I'm very conflicted. It is quite ingenious actually, not unlike Warrior, that they build reasons to be both for and against two opposite teams. It makes things very compelling and unpredictable.


Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:23 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I am by no means an anti-Skyler person, but I did get kind of mad at her in the scene in the car wash. By now, her Walter White Bullshit Detection radar should be tuned to a laser-like level of precision, but she didn't even bat an eye during the conversation about the latch on the vending machine. Come on, Sky.

I don't think anybody fully registers just how screwed up Walt's feelings for Jesse are. Since basically, the start of the show, Walt has treated Jesse both as a surrogate child and as an endlessly fucking-up subordinate, sometimes at the same time. There may very well be some kind of genuine emotion beneath that hella awkward hug. That said, I no longer think this would be enough to stop Walt from killing Jesse or otherwise treating him as an expendable means to an end. And that's before the gasoline thing.

Team Hank for life.

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Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:52 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
A table-setting episode. Very good but not up to the first three. This episode just compounds on my sadness for Jesse though. He'd spent time being ping-ponged by Walt since the beginning of the series to now by Hank, who as someone in the show (Skyler?) said before, really set his eyes on the prize and didn't care much for collateral damage. Part of why Jesse decided to go for his own plan at the end for sure.

Since they have spent quite a bit of time on Lydia and the Czech storyline, I guess Jesse' plan will have to do with that, but I don't know how, other than maybe Jesse will go to talk something with Lydia to lure Walt out.


Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:03 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Jesse's a smart guy. Honestly, there are only two ways that Jesse doesn't match Walt: 1, Walt is obviously more educated, and 2, Walt is much better at solving problems on the fly. By that, I mean that Walt is a terrible long-form strategist, and even though he often pushes people's buttons to get them to do what he wants, he's bad at reading people and clumsy about manipulating them. How many times have people given one of his obviously bullshit cover stories the benefit of the doubt because for decades they've been used to thinking of him as husband, father, and/or schoolteacher?

So far, I think the only one of Walt's successful plans that required playing more than one move ahead was the ricin cigarette thing. And Jesse's about to show us some long-form planning of his own. What does he mean by getting Walt where he really lives? Is Walt's whole monologue about the "empire-building business" coming back around?

And that's the saddest thing of all: no matter how good Jesse is, it doesn't really matter, because nobody's going to care or recognize him for it. His only ally right now, Hank, is as single-minded as Sherlock Holmes. The only person who genuinely gives a shit about Jesse--and the only person he'll never buy it from again--is Walt.

Man, it's such a fucked-up interpersonal dynamic. Jesse and Walt. Maybe the most dysfunctional father-son relationship in the history of TV. Of everything about this show, I'm starting to think that this element will be the most enduring in history.

Anyway, lots of nice little touches in this ep. The way the weather stripping on the back patio door squeaked as Walt tried to open it quietly. The way the swimming pool looked like Walt's meth dripping mechanism. The way Marie so meticulously recites the details of the poisons she looks up that you really believe she could never use them.

-

Time for some inebriated rambling.

The more I think about it, the more I think I've had Walt figured wrong all along, and I've had moments like this before when I've reevaluated my approach to his character.

All along, the question being asked among viewers is, how far along is Walt? Assuming he started out as a meek schoolteacher and is on his way to becoming the fully-fledged, fully evil Heisenberg, how far through the process has he gotten? Is he at the end yet? Are there crucial steps left to be completed? There are even some people who still insist (most certainly in the wrong) that he's exactly what he started out as--the quiet-living family man who was put in a tough position and has done what he needs to in order to survive.

For a while, I was under the assumption that Walt is Heisenberg and has been for some time now. As my line of demarcation, I picked the first obviously evil thing he ever did, which was when Jane died in front of him and he did nothing to stop it. But then doubt crept in. Why did Walt break bad in the first place? People with families and limited income get cancer all the time. It sucks, but it happens. Very few of them become violent druglords. Viewing his progression from Walt to Heisenberg as a simple progression of evil acts somewhat misses the ring.

So then I started figuring that maybe Walt had been Heisenberg all along. My pet theory was that the real Walter White is the guy from the flashbacks during season one: a voracious student of chemistry, flush with insight and dynamic energy, behaving as though the world was at his fingertips. That's the real Walter White. At some point, he wrapped himself in a chrysalis--the self-protective shell of a meek schoolteacher and family man. With this new risk-free schoolteacher/family man persona, Walt isolated himself against whatever might have harmed him in his former life as a brilliant chemist. The schoolteacher is not his identity. It's merely a self-preservation strategy--a chrysalis, allowing him to sleep undisturbed while the big, scary world rages around him.

Viewed in those terms, his transition during the TV series has nothing to do with transforming from one identity into another. By the beginning of the series, the young and brilliant chemist had already been transforming for years inside his cocoon. When we first see him, Heisenberg is already fully formed inside the shell--and the show is not about changing into Heisenberg, so much as the already-present Heisenberg casting off pieces of the shell. Walter White was already long-gone. Heisenberg simply gained the confidence to cast off his self-preservation mechanism.

But again, I'm thinking that I got it wrong. I think the young, brilliant, dynamic Walter White has been alive all along, but he's been smothered by a mass of constructed identities. The schoolteacher is a construction. Heisenberg is also a construction. Who knows what other identities he's built for himself--the reassuring father, the cautiously magnanimous brother-in-law, the tough-love mentor, etc. What they all seem to have in common is that he assumes whatever he believes the situation demands.

The few times we ever see him being real, doing something genuine, without being blustery or lying or overcompensating--those are the times that we get a glimpse of his young, brilliant self shining through, alive all along. Anytime he's forced to throw together a MacGyver-esque solution, anytime he shows his tortured affection for Jesse, the few times he blurts something passionate that reveals how he really thinks and feels--that's not schoolteacher Walt, it's not Heisenberg, and it's not any of the other bullshit he wraps around himself when he thinks he knows what's best for himself. In those moments, he's the real Walt, the young Walt, the one he did his best to crush out of existence decades before Heisenberg was even a twinkle in his eye.

Frying Crazy 8's lungs with an on-the-spot concoction: real Walt. Druggedly confessing his feelings about Jesse to Walter Jr.: real Walt. Lying sick on the bathroom floor, admitting to Skyler that he screwed up: real Walt. He's still there. It's just that after a painful break from the life he cared about and through years of sedated domesticity, he's learned the unfortunate habit of rarely being himself.

The interesting thing about real Walt is that he's very passionate about two things: science and survival. He is quite possibly amoral--a chaotic, unpredictable expression of those passions. I'm betting that once the show catches up to the flash-forwards of the assumed identity and the car trunk full of guns, we're probably also catching up to real Walt. My new pet theory is that over the next year, his capacity for bullshitting is chipped away from him, and the guy we saw in those flashbacks no longer has a reason to hide.

tl;dr version:

1. Heisenberg since [any moment in the show here]? Wrong.

2. Heisenberg all along, having developed for years before the start of the show? Wrong again.

3. Mess of contradictory assumed identities, all the while with the young, brilliant Walt still lurking beneath and infrequently showing himself? Bingo.

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:14 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Great post. For me, even back in the episode 1 of season 1, I already feel Walter has a harder, bitter edge than the normal man should have in his circumstance (cancer, not enough money, etc.). Frustration of a genius mind that shines fully and gets full control when he goes into meth business.


Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:33 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Also..

Image


Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:19 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Walt and Skyler were also both hanging around in NYC during the mid-'90s.

Image

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:39 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Never thought I'd see the day where Walt is actually the least ruthless person! :shock:


Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:52 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I haven't watched Scarface, but this is pretty funny (if a bit on the nose).

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Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:16 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I knew when Walt hung up the phone, Todd's uncle and his gang would come, but from the moment Walt was cuffed, I just couldn't sit down. Pacing around the room all panicky and believing that there will be bullets cutting off the serene arrest any point (like, when they show Marie talking on the phone, I almost covered my ear because I was sure they might let us heard the bullet cutting off Hanks words from the other side along with her). So. Intense.


Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:13 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
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Seriously now. I cannot recall watching something with such equal amounts of I hope this never ends and This has to end now, I can't take it. Intensity that comes from emotions and actions is incredibly satisfying to experience.


Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:04 pm
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
Todd, like a few characters on this show, used to be so shitty. I'm glad they found a way to build his characterization, even if he's interesting in a cerebral way rather than on a more emotional level. He seems like such a contradiction--an eager-to-please manchild who's as amoral and brutal as can be. But it works.

Man, this episode had so much good stuff. Everything starting with that last scene in the car wash has this deranged Goodfellas intensity to it. I won't even bother to name individual elements. We know what they are.

And then that plateau, that moment of tranquility when it looks like they got him. Everything from point A to point B there is just perfectly modulated to let you know that there is no fucking way this arrest is happening peacefully. That moment when Hank reads Walt his rights is something we might have expected would be in the last episode, way back when we were innocent and the show was just getting started.

It might be the relationships and the intrigue that sticks with you well after the episode is over, but it's shit like this where the filmmakers show their best chops that make it such a damn pleasure to watch in the moment--the shooting and the cutting when characters goad each other into doing things they'd never do and multiple self-interested parties collide.

And how cool is Gomie with that shotgun? Poor guy. If two people on his side of the SUV are dead by the end of the shootout, it'll be him and Jesse. And if one person dies... well, you know.

Everything's different now. Jesse goads and manipulates Walt. Walt obey's Hank's orders without protest. Walt calls in the big guns, only to be powerless to stop them once they arrive.

Hell, I don't even mind that it's a cliffhanger ending. What happened in the desert is too big to be contained in one episode. This is no longer a series that has room for a big setpiece, then the comedown, then the fallout--no more Hank vs. the twins, no more Jesse vs. the corner dealers, no more of any of that. This, I think, is Breaking Bad building its final steam.

Some cagey predictions:

I think people expecting the Czech mobsters to become big players in the final episodes are off-base. I can see the mob being involved insofar as they have Lydia as their representative, but we're not going to see much of Czech-anything within the actual show. They'll be like Madrigal Elektromotive: yeah, they're important, but we mostly see the secondary effects of their existence--the fingerprints, rather than the hand. Breaking Bad's too economical to be introducing a bunch of new characters and new locations, especially not now.

I also don't think there'll be a Memento-type moment when the present day timeline and the "52" timeline converge or pay each other off or whatever. That's not to dismiss the importance of the flash-forwards, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they're not as heavy as they look. I base this on both the amount of unresolved business in the present day timeline (and with just three eps left!) and the fact that Breaking Bad's cold openings have never been quite what they seem. Future Walt and his beard may very well be onhand as a Tales of the Black Freighter kind of a point/counterpoint to the main timeline, rather than something more literally important.

That said, he does have that gun. And you know what Anton Chekhov said about guns.

My biggest cagey prediction is that whatever happens to anybody else, what happens to Walter Hartwell White is going to be worse. Picture the worst thing you can imagine happening to Hank, Jesse, Skyler, whomever... then try to imagine Walt getting off with a less severe fate. You can't do it. Not with this show. Maybe in a show with a more nihilistic moral sensibility, like The Wire, but Breaking Bad is a different kind of animal. Walt's not going to storm the gates, guns blazing, and win the day. He is the bad guy. I don't know if he'll be in prison or dead, or if his punishment will be more poetic than that, but he's in for it.

Hell, maybe his exile into an itinerant, lonely life under an assumed identity is his punishment in ways that haven't been made clear yet.

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Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:39 am
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Post Re: Breaking Bad
I don't mind cliffhangers but I don't really like the way Breaking Bad left us hanging in the middle of such a big scene!

Other than that, it was a great episode. Actually felt sorry for Walt.


Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:50 am
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