Breaking Bad Final Half Season

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Chuck Finley, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    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.
     
  2. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^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.
     
  3. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ 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.
     
  5. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Have An Awesome Possum Holiday! Moderator

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    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.
     
  6. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  7. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.)
     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I'm surprised more people don't bring up the plane crash when talking about Walt's guilt. I don't think it's fair to put that one on him, but he certainly felt guilt over it.
     
  12. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have tried to forget about that insanely stupid plotline. :lol:
     
  13. Roshi

    Roshi Admiral Admiral

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    Meanwhile, somewhere in a motel room...

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP_4z4IoYHs[/yt]
     
  14. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

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    Nah. Insulin injection or Wendy's run.
     
  15. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Contrasting Oliver Stone's opinion. His "Nixon" Anthony Hopkins praises the finale

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/anthony-hopkins-gushes-breaking-bad-648242


    Just the thought of Anthony Hopkins marathoning a show on the couch has me LOLing.
     
  16. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Wow...if this is for real then it is high praise indeed.

    And...oh NO! Britney Spears was "displeased" with the ending along with Stone - that's worth at least 5 Hopkins letters, right? Right??? :shifty:
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the fact that a vast majority of its fans thought the ending was awesome easily trumps a few dissenting celebrity voices making glorified forum comments in front of a megaphone.

    I would also say one of the signs of a truly good show is when the last season had significantly higher ratings than the first season. Breaking Bad's fourth season ended with 1.9 million viewers, which was considered a big success. The last run was consistently over five million and the finale broke ten million. That kind of late series boost is unheard of in television and only happens when a show has insanely good word of mouth.
     
  18. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    Only if it's a popularity contest, which it isn't.

    Let's not correlate quality with the size of the audience, otherwise the Transformers films represent high-quality cinema.

    I think BB was a great show with a good ending, and that ending could have been better if they'd had the strength of conviction to play it honestly.
     
  19. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You can't please everyone! :)
     
  20. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not equating popularity with quality, I'm correlating audience retention and expansion with the amount the fans enjoy the show. Like, I would say a show that has 30 million viewers in the first episode and 15 million in the last episode pleased its audience a lot less than one that has 1 million in the first and 10 million in the last. Which is not a direct relationship to quality but certainly is a pretty strong indicator of such.

    I think the ending was honest for the show. It played out using the same logic as the rest of the show. The Nazis winning and making away with all of Walt's money certainly would not have been more 'Honest' than the ending we got. Being true to the characters and being realistic are two different things, and the ending was very true to the characters. If Breaking Bad was going to be realistic it would have needed to make that decision a lot earlier than the final episode.

    And as I've mentioned, Oliver Stone, the director of JFK, is not in the position to be criticizing anybody for injecting fantasy into violence. His criticism is an unprofessional attempt to make his personal preference for more realistic violence into an objective value judgment.