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Old January 4 2014, 02:07 AM   #1
Kail
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Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

Just watched this show for the first time. Since Walt had no criminal history before his cancer, do you think it affected his mental state, turning him into a cold hearted SOB?
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Old January 4 2014, 07:46 AM   #2
bigdaddy
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

I think you need to rematch the show again.
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Old January 4 2014, 01:41 PM   #3
Kail
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

What did I miss?
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Old January 5 2014, 12:02 AM   #4
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

All it changed was his emotional state. Walt was always capable of what he did, he was always just too risk averse to do it. His knowledge of impending death removed his fear of risk, so he did all the things he wanted to do all along.
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Old January 5 2014, 02:38 AM   #5
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
All it changed was his emotional state. Walt was always capable of what he did, he was always just too risk averse to do it. His knowledge of impending death removed his fear of risk, so he did all the things he wanted to do all along.
That's my take, as well. And, for my money, was kind of the point of his final conversation with Skyler. He'd always used the cancer as an excuse for his behavior, but at the end he had to admit that he liked being Heisenberg.
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Old January 5 2014, 02:54 AM   #6
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

And there are indications of this as early as the first season.

Remember after he made the deal with Tucco, went back to his car, and screamed "YESSSS!" I think that was intentionally made to seem similar to Tucco's reaction when he did the meth. Winning at law-breaking is Walt's high.
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Old January 5 2014, 11:43 AM   #7
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

I think Walt's motivation was pretty much defined in the fifth episode of the entire series, "Gray Matter", when Gretchen and Elliott offered to pay for his cancer treatment which would have eliminated the need for Walt to cook Meth.

Whetever had happened between him and Schwartzes in the past, could it really have been that bad that producing and selling illegal drugs is actually preferable?

Not in any objective manner, but then again there were Walt's ego issues and his inferiority complex which were foreshadowed in this episode.
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Old January 5 2014, 02:34 PM   #8
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

Thanks everyone.
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Old January 5 2014, 02:37 PM   #9
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

I always thought the premise was just absolutely ridiculous. Especially because of episodes like Grey Matter.

But then again it's just my personal problem that I think that there is absolutely no justification for crime.

What is it with all those evil protagonist shows lately?
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Old January 5 2014, 03:21 PM   #10
the G-man
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
I always thought the premise was just absolutely ridiculous. Especially because of episodes like Grey Matter.

But then again it's just my personal problem that I think that there is absolutely no justification for crime.

What is it with all those evil protagonist shows lately?
Stories with evil protagonists are nothing new. See, eg, Richard III, MacBeth, Faust, Paradise Lost, etc.
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Old January 5 2014, 08:09 PM   #11
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

What the hell does Breaking Bad have to do with "justification for crime?"
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Old January 5 2014, 08:32 PM   #12
Ensign_Redshirt
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
What is it with all those evil protagonist shows lately?
It may be a relatively new thing for TV shows (although Jim Profit originally aired back in 1996 and The Sopranos premiered in 1999), but it has existed in literature and movies for as long as there have been books and films.

See The Public Enemy (1931) and the 1932 version of Scarface for early motion picture examples. And of course, the whole genre of "Film Noir" would have never existed without villain protagonists, not to mention a couple of Hitchcock movies.

As for why TV has refrained from using the trope for so long... it may be something as simple as "please think of the children!", considering that TV had been very sanitized compared to movies for a long time. Remember that TV didn't really start to become as violent as we are accustomed now until the 2000s or at best the 90s either. The rise of networks like HBO were probably a contributing factor too.
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Old January 5 2014, 08:48 PM   #13
the G-man
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
What is it with all those evil protagonist shows lately?
It may be a relatively new thing for TV shows (although Jim Profit originally aired back in 1996 and The Sopranos premiered in 1999), but it has existed in literature and movies for as long as there have been books and films.
Yep (see my post about books, above). But even on TV it isn't necessarily that new, when you factor in cartoon protagonists, such as Dick Dastardly (Wacky Races, Dastardly and Muttley) and Wile E. Coyote (the Roadrunner, duh).
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Old January 5 2014, 09:56 PM   #14
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

Walt didn't refuse money from the Schwartzes because of their history, he refused it because it was charity. He wanted to be the breadwinner for his family and nobody else.

@Jarod

I don't think there's any justification for doing harm to people, but I think violating laws in ways that don't harm anyone, especially if the laws themselves are harmful or unjust can be justified. Though my view falls more in line with Gale's than Walt's.

At the beginning Walt entered with the delusion that he could just be the cook and not have to get involved with the violence. That's what makes it possible to be along for the ride in BB. Walt goes out of his way to avoid killing people then only does so when his actions create a threat to himself, his family or Jesse.

Also I think shows about bad guys can sometimes be more fun to watch than shows about decent, law abiding citizens.
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Old January 5 2014, 10:01 PM   #15
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Re: Breaking Bad - Walt's mental state

Gale was cooking meth. I'd hardly call that a harmless act, unless his last step in the process was to throw the meth in the garbage, which of course it wasn't.
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