Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Agent Richard07, Jul 7, 2012.
Now that's an interesting bit of perspective.
The cancer was everything in his degeneration. He felt like life had dumped on him and he felt like a loser. But it was the fear of dying that made him so desperate to make a mark, even if it was only as (at first) someone who provided for his family. Doing so after he was gone was the only kind of immortality he could grasp. He was broken (and went bad) by his fear of death. Every time he had an opportunity to turn back, he was deterred by his fear, of dying, of being shamed as a loser, of taking responsibility.
He's all about rationalization so he doesn't see it that way. He thinks he's being rational about the prospects of a huge fortune. He's partly still driven by his fear of death, I think, unconsciously seeing the imagined empire as the monument that will leave him a kind of immortality. But at the same time he's partly driven by his dire need to deny his mortality, imagining the empire is a substitute for the family he keeps throwing away.
I think one inner truth of the series is that Walter can't see Junior as an adequate vessel for his hopes for immortality in his descendants' memories. Junior is flawed, so flawed that he ruined his father's life. If the series never addresses this I think it would be a gigantic artistic failure for the project as a whole.
The ambiguity of the phrase "breaking bad" is built into the show as it has been written. Breaking morally, going bad is one meaning. The other meaning is that a put-upon guy is heroically fighting bad. The show has played a little fast and loose making Walter really badass, and selling the fun of seeing Walter win. Making him lose may actually be more realistic but is realism and moral honesty what the audience really wants?
Junior didn't ruin Walter's life. Not in a way that's his fault. The financial constraints of raising a special needs child, of course, weighed heavily on Walter and Skyler's finances. It may have prevented them from being upwardly mobile. Better to take the "safe" job as a teacher than to take chances when you have overwhelming medical bills.
How Walter views Junior is debatable, but it would be a brutal, realistic possible truth for the writers to deal with. Walter feels very cheated by life because of the decision he made to quit Gray Matter, a decision he wasn't coerced into making by Gretchen and Elliot. Walter blames them, but I suspect that isn't a rational blame. I wouldn't put it past Walter and his selfish mindset to somehow blame Junior even though he loves him. Why was I burdened with a special needs child so I couldn't pursue my dreams?
It would provide a motivation for Walter's (albeit sick and dysfunctional) hold on and attachment to Jesse. Someone "normal" to help him with his legacy. That "goodbye Jesse" when he was talking to Walt Jr. sticks with me as a viewer. Really, why should Walter get so attached to a stoner kid? It doesn't make sense. Disappointment at his special needs son--however wrong--might provide a realistic motivation for that.
It was initially about his family, but only until the Grey Matter offer, at which point it became solely about ego.
I always find it ironic that technically Walt never had to go into the drug business to provide for his family and pay for the cancer treatments. He had friends willing to provide the money for him, and in the end, the cancer remitted. This just proves that Walt's true motivation for turning into a drug kingpin was for his own sense of self-worth.
If it's written & presented well, it holds as much merit as any alternative, because this isn't a mob show or a serial killer show. We don't & didn't necessarily have to assume the character is flawed to their evil ways as you would in the Sopranos or Dexter, but it is true that the evil ways are chosen & willfully so. So a righteous ending could hold as much water as the badass guy gets away with it one, because the truth is... Walt isn't a bad ass. He's a pathetic man, whose been cloaking it in badassery ever since he blew up Tuco's place. You're a bad ass if you pull that stunt when you don't have cancer. Someone with a death sentence inviting that kind of death is just pathetic
Turning to or steering into badness/immorality is the principal meaning, imho, & destroying badness is the double entendre, because Walt is the principal character, & he's clearly been turning to badness/immorality throughout, deeper down the hole by the viewer's standards
If there is to be a true presentation of the breaking-of-the-bad double meaning. It has to be someone else like Jesse that represents it, as I see it
Ran across this on Junior: http://sistermagpie.livejournal.com/206293.html
It really does paint a picture of how much illness, disability & infirmity play a role on this show, highlighting throughout this ever brutal world, that human life is really exceedingly fragile
That's a good read and perspective.
Well, that was intense. I wonder what Vince has left for us in episode eight.
Wow......just wow. Walter, you are doomed. I had wondered if VG would get rid of Jonathan Bank's Mike. I adore the character, but I understand the reasoning behind VG killing him off. There's more potential story with Mike gone. If Walt can't find Lydia, and Mike isn't paying his guys anymore, they have no reason not to flip.
And what in the name of God is Jesse going to do when he finds out? Assuming he does. Walt will lie his ass off to Jesse. Two things this episode made abundantly clear.
1.) Walt is NOT the man. He's not. For all his "I'm Heisenberg; I'm dangerous" bullshit, he visibly flinched when Mike walked toward him to get the bag. Gus Fring wouldn't have flinched. I found that flinch very telling, and I'm sure Cranston was directed to do it. For a supposed kingpin badass, Walter White can be surprisingly cowardly when confronted with a real man.
2.)Walter most definitely does have a very sick, twisted need to have Jesse in his life for whatever reason. It struck me how differently he reacted to Jesse wanting out than Mike saying he was leaving. Mike, Walter accepts. Jesse, he still tries to BS him into staying. What do you have in your life, Jesse? Video games and go-karts? You'll be using again, Jesse.
That's exactly how an abusive husband behaves when his wife is trying to break free. You can't live without me. You can't make it without me. He tries to destroy the wife's self esteem and confidence. I don't know if Walt is a pseudo abusive father figure, or what, but he doesn't want Jesse to leave him. Perhaps his twisted need to have someone look up to him, respect him and adore him, but that suit doesn't fit Jesse anymore and Walt knows it. He knows Walt Jr. would reject him in a heartbeat if he knew the truth. His wife has rejected him. Hank would arrest him. Holly is with Hank and Marie. In a sick way, Jesse is all Walt has, or all he thinks he has. Jesse is on to Walter's manipulative bullshit.
So--would Walter pull the trigger on Jesse to save his own neck? That is the question. It's an intriguing one. That conversation of theirs was ugly. It's so funny when you think of how close Cranston and Paul are in real life.
Great episode! Loved the teaser, 'Mine is Coke Classic!" lol
I loved that line, too. It was great. I loved the whole over the top business of "Say my name. Say it. You're god damned right I am."
Walter really fancies himself as a Scarface kingpin type but, ironically, Mike's death proves that he isn't. Walt's the kid who brings a gun to school to ambush the bullies. He was shaken that he'd lost his temper and killed Mike and now he doesn't know what to do. This was unexpected. This killing--this Walter can't rationalize away.
Gee Mike, I guess I could have gotten the names from Lydia. Oops. That is sooooo sick. Vince Gilligan is a sick, sick man.
And a happy 33rd birthday to Mr. Aaron Paul. I sure hope he gets the lead in that HBO series they're doing preproduction for, The Missionary. TPTB want Paul for the lead. I hope it works out.
I had a feeling that either Mike or Skyler was going to die by the end of the first half of S5. That scene when Walt was giving a creepy look at Mike shaking hands with Jesse through the window told me that it was Mike's time to go. I think what drove Walt to kill Mike was Mike once again seeing through his bullshit and refusing to submit to his authority as the Man, and some jealousy over Mike having Jesse's loyalty which Walt feels should be his and his alone.
I'll miss you, Mike. You were a true badass.
I think Walt is going to cover up what happened to Mike, telling Jesse that he rode off into the sunset with his money, and then he will come up with some manipulative way to lure Jesse back into the fold. As much as he tries to fool himself, Todd is no Jesse just like Gale was no Jesse.
The possibility of offing Mike probably germinated in Walt's head when he heard whatshisface tell Hank that Mike's lawyer was going to flip, but then Walt warned Mike about the cops. He had no way of knowing at that point that Mike would call asking for his bag so yes, I think his actually pulling the trigger was due to what you cited. Mike disrespected him to his face; Walter lost his temper that he was being dissed. Also, I think you hit the nail on the head that Walter was somewhat jealous of Jesse looking up to Mike and not to him. I love the twisted, cat and mouse whatever it is dynamic between Walt and Jesse. I can't see Walt admitting what happened to Jesse; he'll just tell him that Mike left.
Mike was a great character and Jonathan Banks did a tremendous job with it. A great exit scene, a man who maintained self-assurance even in death and a man who's running on pure fear and ego. It was interesting how they had established that Mike, the cold-blooded hitman, had some kind of moral center and wasn't completely out for himself. "A man got to have a code." Which also contrasts with Walt.
The latest ep reminded me that there's one little thing that bugs me about this show, and I hate to mention it since I haven't looked forward to new shows this eagerly since The Wire. But they use gimmicky shots. Last night it was the POV of the hand opening the safe deposit boxes. A few episodes ago it was an upward shot through a table and a map which had somehow become transparent. Hitchcock always said the camera should be placed so the viewer feels they could see what it's seeing, it subconsciously draws them in. Every time they use a shot like that it takes me out of things a little. It seems like a gimmick that the show doesn't need. But that's small beer...
With the introduction of Todd as a sort of better version of Jesse, I have no doubt he would kill Jesse, and I'm pretty sure we'll see it happen, or at least the attempt.
On the other hand, Todd might be a hidden danger. Maybe he'll try to off Walt or betray him in some way. He's a bit overeager.
I, too, loved the scene at the beginning and the soft drink analogy. "Would you want to live in a world without Coca Cola?"
Wow, excellent episode. Although I have to admit I'm kinda bummed Mike isn't hanging around a little longer, and won't be figuring into the final few episodes in some way.
But it was nice to finally see someone call out Walter for his pride and giant ego. It's always been perfectly obvious of course, but until now it seems like the show went out of it's way to avoid having anyone actually say it.
I also thought the episode did a great job of showing just how cut off and alone Walter has made himself, whether it's him shouting in an empty room after Jesse walks out, or him eating a frozen dinner at the dinner table all by himself.
Seems like the only "friends" he has anymore are a child killer who's a bit of a lunkhead, and a brother-in-law who's actually out to capture him.
If the whole show was shot that way, I agree it would be a problem. But it's just a little bit of flash here and there for fun, to keep the show from feeling too oppressively dark and heavy.
Plus it's a way to make something as boring as opening safety deposit boxes (or cooking meth, or any of the other boring activities we see on this show) seem a little more cool and visually interesting.
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