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Old October 9 2013, 11:39 PM   #916
Count Zero
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Sorry to join late, but...
am I the only person who really didn't have much a of a problem with pretty much anything Walter White did at any point?
Hopefully.

Regardless of whether you think that there was still some decency left in him or not, he was a criminal who murdered a bunch of people and strived to have a drug empire. We aren't talking about a guy who grew some cannabis plants or mushrooms in his backyard.
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Old October 9 2013, 11:50 PM   #917
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Sorry to join late, but...
am I the only person who really didn't have much a of a problem with pretty much anything Walter White did at any point? Admittedly, I might be forgetting something...
Risking the death of a small boy for his own gain isn't a problem for you?

Walt had no idea the boy would make it, he got lucky.

For everything else one could, and i stress could, make an argument because they were all bad people (some not so much as others) but this fact alone about Brock made him utterly irredeemable.
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Old October 10 2013, 12:07 AM   #918
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

I disagree. If he wanted to kill him he could have used the ricin. Or come up with something else. He took a calculated risk, making an educated assessment on how much Lilly of the Valley would not be fatal. Chemistry is his field, don't forget. It was a slight risk, but he certainly didn't see it as much of one, given his ego.
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Old October 10 2013, 12:28 AM   #919
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Sorry to join late, but...
am I the only person who really didn't have much a of a problem with pretty much anything Walter White did at any point? Admittedly, I might be forgetting something...
Empathy? Morality?
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Old October 10 2013, 01:56 PM   #920
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
I disagree. If he wanted to kill him he could have used the ricin. Or come up with something else. He took a calculated risk, making an educated assessment on how much Lilly of the Valley would not be fatal. Chemistry is his field, don't forget. It was a slight risk, but he certainly didn't see it as much of one, given his ego.
So you'd be cool if I were to poison your son/nephew/child that you cared about with something that caused him great distress and put him in the hospital, so long as I had a reasonable expectation that it would actually kill him? And you'd be fine with me doing that as part of a a scheme to manipulate you into becoming an accessory to murder?
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Old October 10 2013, 05:23 PM   #921
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
I disagree. If he wanted to kill him he could have used the ricin. Or come up with something else. He took a calculated risk, making an educated assessment on how much Lilly of the Valley would not be fatal. Chemistry is his field, don't forget. It was a slight risk, but he certainly didn't see it as much of one, given his ego.
It wasn't a slight risk. Poisoning anyone is never a slight risk. There are allergies, adverse reactions, drug interactions, potency variations, etc. etc. Perhaps Walt accounted for as much of that as he could, but he still poisoned a kid, just as like, a move, you know? That is the behavior of a sociopath, and is abhorred by both decent people and all reasonable criminal justice systems.

There's also blowing up Gus, which (apparently) had no collateral damage, and that is totally a conceit of the show's writing, because in real life there would have been other dead innocents in that situation.

The show carefully kept Walt from deliberately murdering innocent people, but this is a matter of the writers hiding the true consequences of Walt's actions from us. What of the thousands of people who used his product? What of the gang violence that arose from his drug empire? He enabled who-knows-how-many murderers and thugs with his blood money. Drug empires aren't built on niceties and goodwill, they are built on intimidation, violence, extortion, bribery, and murder. Walt did his best not to get his own hands dirty, but the blood is still on him.

Now, Walt didn't go into all this with his eyes wide open. He had to learn the ropes and realize just how dangerous his new venture was, not just to himself but to everyone around him. Even once he knew the full scope of his profession, he pressed onward. These are not the actions of an ethically circumspect individual.

Whatever sympathy he deserved at the start, he deserves none by the end.
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Old October 10 2013, 06:25 PM   #922
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

^I do think that to discuss these things with specificity we have to draw a line at how attenuated the causality link is. I certainly don't hold Walt responsible for "the thousands of people who used his product" or "the gang violence that arose from his drug empire." Yes, he is what the law calls a "cause in fact" - that is, he was part of the chain of events - but he was not a "proximate cause" of those things, any more than he was responsible for the airliner crashing because he didn't intervene to save the daughter of an air traffic controller. I just don't lay that at his door. These things would have happened anyway, in some form or another.
As for things Walt directly did, like making the boy sick... maybe I should have a problem with it. But somehow, the way it was presented on the show, I don't. I don't know if that's a function of the tv presentation or an indication that I'm a sociopath. The former, I think.
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Old October 10 2013, 08:55 PM   #923
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

Insofar as Breaking Bad approached tragedy, it was the tragedy of a normally good person breaking and becoming an evil one. Turning it into a story of a normally bad person becoming a somewhat worse person, but for understandable reasons? That's pulling punches, triviality.

This country has two kinds of popular secular morality, one of which is informed by nondenominational religions leavened with Enlightenment thinking. The other is bottom-line, winner takes all, anarchist/libertarian thinking which denies society, seeing only a jungle, or at best, a marketplace. Breaking Bad tried to service both visions. But here at the climax, you just can't do it without chickening out.

I never cared for Scarface, but if Al Pacino's character had as many wins at his end as Walter White did, people would have rolled in aisles of the theater, laughing hysterically. As near as I can determine, people who do like Scarface enjoyed the win, win, win fantasy, then enjoyed denying it by ritual comeuppance. Conquering hero becomes scapegoat.

I've seen elsewhere the claim that Team Walt just watches wrong. It's really hard to dispute that I think.
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Old October 11 2013, 01:18 AM   #924
A beaker full of death
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

^ this actually put me in mind of something I was reading today:

http://www.mikementzer.com/character.html

Schwarzenegger wasn't always the best physique in the room. But he always won - at least once he figured out how to undermine his opponents. Was that cheating? Was that breaking some kind of ethic? Is the goal to have the best body, or to win?

Gordon Ramsay has famously undermined rivals in the past - hiding recipes, that sort of thing. Yet look at where he is today.
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Old October 11 2013, 01:57 AM   #925
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

TheRedPill wrote: View Post
A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
I disagree. If he wanted to kill him he could have used the ricin. Or come up with something else. He took a calculated risk, making an educated assessment on how much Lilly of the Valley would not be fatal. Chemistry is his field, don't forget. It was a slight risk, but he certainly didn't see it as much of one, given his ego.
It wasn't a slight risk. Poisoning anyone is never a slight risk. There are allergies, adverse reactions, drug interactions, potency variations, etc. etc. Perhaps Walt accounted for as much of that as he could, but he still poisoned a kid, just as like, a move, you know? That is the behavior of a sociopath, and is abhorred by both decent people and all reasonable criminal justice systems.

There's also blowing up Gus, which (apparently) had no collateral damage, and that is totally a conceit of the show's writing, because in real life there would have been other dead innocents in that situation.

The show carefully kept Walt from deliberately murdering innocent people, but this is a matter of the writers hiding the true consequences of Walt's actions from us. What of the thousands of people who used his product? What of the gang violence that arose from his drug empire? He enabled who-knows-how-many murderers and thugs with his blood money. Drug empires aren't built on niceties and goodwill, they are built on intimidation, violence, extortion, bribery, and murder. Walt did his best not to get his own hands dirty, but the blood is still on him.

Now, Walt didn't go into all this with his eyes wide open. He had to learn the ropes and realize just how dangerous his new venture was, not just to himself but to everyone around him. Even once he knew the full scope of his profession, he pressed onward. These are not the actions of an ethically circumspect individual.

Whatever sympathy he deserved at the start, he deserves none by the end.
Exactly. He deserved to die for all the pain, suffering and death he caused. He didn't intend for some people to get hurt, but a lot of that comes from his own ego. He considers himself the smartest man in the room by default and that he can win by reasoning with people. But he got to the point where he only dealt with unreasonable people. He lost his empire, money and got Hank killed. This tore apart the family that he claimed to be the reason that he did everything. I'm glad they had the scene we he admits that he really did it for himself. He does care for his family, but his ego and pride always came first. He could have left at anytime and been a very wealthy man, but he always wanted more. He's a fascinating character, but you don't have to or should admire him.
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Old October 11 2013, 07:46 PM   #926
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

stj wrote: View Post
I never cared for Scarface, but if Al Pacino's character had as many wins at his end as Walter White did, people would have rolled in aisles of the theater, laughing hysterically. As near as I can determine, people who do like Scarface enjoyed the win, win, win fantasy, then enjoyed denying it by ritual comeuppance. Conquering hero becomes scapegoat.
Tony Mantana didn't start out as a "good guy" who initially got into the business to provide for his family after his death from terminal illness. No way to plausibly compare these two characters in the areas in which you suggest above.
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Old October 12 2013, 04:29 PM   #927
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

Enterprise is Great wrote: View Post
He does have a point, but as the article also suggested, the drama is good enough for most people that they'll let those little indulgences slide, assuming they don't embrace them as part of how the show does things to begin with.
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Old October 12 2013, 07:39 PM   #928
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

gblews wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
I never cared for Scarface, but if Al Pacino's character had as many wins at his end as Walter White did, people would have rolled in aisles of the theater, laughing hysterically. As near as I can determine, people who do like Scarface enjoyed the win, win, win fantasy, then enjoyed denying it by ritual comeuppance. Conquering hero becomes scapegoat.
Tony Mantana didn't start out as a "good guy" who initially got into the business to provide for his family after his death from terminal illness. No way to plausibly compare these two characters in the areas in which you suggest above.
The whole point is that in some approaches to drama, the issue is vicarious fulfilment of fantasies, even if the vicarious figure has to be ritually punished to allow escape from guilt for indulging the fantasy. (Of course, some are offended at their hero being so abused, but you can't please everybody.) Whether or not there was some lip service as to the moral acceptability of the vicarious figure is strictly a matter of personal taste. The essential narrative delight is the winning, which suits a moral view of the universe as a struggle without rules, bellum omnia contra omnes, whatever reactionary justification seems acceptable.

I think this is essentially Team Walt's misunderstanding of the series. They were not foolish because the series deliberately allowed both this approach, and the approach to the series as a tragedy about someone like us. But as I say, at the climax you can't really have it both ways. It's either Granite State or Felina. (I don't understand the occasional comments about Ozymandias should have been the finale. That seems to me like the kind of thing Chase pulled with The Sopranos, unless the argument that Chase was just being oblique in presenting Tony's death is correct.)
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Old October 12 2013, 07:50 PM   #929
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

Tell you what, Oliver Stone. You stop bitching about my cartoonish violence, and I won't say anything about your historical research department.

Yeah, I mean, who would want to take the realism away from violence? That'd be like, doing a historical drama, adding in a lot of your own conspiracies that contradict forensic reality and using real footage to lend them a presumed air of legitimacy. Who would do that?!

I suppose Oliver Stone would be the expert on mixing violence with fantasy.
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Old October 13 2013, 05:23 AM   #930
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Re: Breaking Bad Final Half Season

I would say on the evil scale:

Tucco > Nazis > Salamanchas > Lydia > Todd > Crazy 8 > Walt = Gus > Mike > Jesse > everyone else

It's true, Walt is far more morally complex than just 'He's a bad guy'. People died who Walt did not intend to die through situations that Walt created through criminal actions. Walt is responsible for the murder of Drew Sharp even though he did not and would not have pulled the trigger. Making Jesse kill Gale was a survival necessity, poisoning Brock was a survival necessity. But if you put yourself in a situation where there is a chance you may have to kill somebody to survive, you are responsible for that killing and it does not count as self defense.

Walt did not intend most of the horrible things that happened as a result of his actions, but he is responsible because he did everything he did knowing it was a possible result.
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