Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad - Some Final Thoughts

Breaking Bad - Some Final Thoughts

AMC ran a  massive marathon for Breaking Bad over the last weekend as it lead up to the final episodes. In watching this series for the 10th time, I just can't stress how amazing it seems the writers paid attention to their own show. There's so many set ups and turn arounds there that are really early in the show.

Like when Jesse is terrified of Tuco coming for them, he decided to pull a revolver out of a drawer, throws it on the counter and says "It's either him or us."

This scene is pretty much a mirror image of what Walt does when talking to Jesse about Gale.

You then have Hank watching Walt and Jesse steal the methylamine barrel. As they're lugging the barrel along, Hank yells at the screen "try rolling it, you morons" Which is what Walt eventually does with his one barrel. 

At one point Tuco says they're all going to go to Mexico. Walt's protest to this is that he says "I can't just uproot myself and leave, I have a family"

Hee hee, oh man, foreshadowing to the third to the last episode where he uproots himself and leaves.

But taking a moment to touch on that Gretchen aspect that a lot of folks complained for the longest time was dropped by the waist side, let's address that for a moment. You see, Pride is Walt's greatest weakness. which is why he didn't take their money.

According to the actress, directed by Vince Gilligan, Gretchen came from a very wealthy family, and when she first introduced Walt to her parents, Walt in all his pride realized that he could never fit in with or match to that background. So he left her basically on the spot that day and cashed out his shares in Gray Matter to get away from her.

Many may not agree with me, but this little information serves to help reinforce something I've always thought about Walt from the beginning. There is something bizarrely noble about wanting to do it yourself, it's a running theme of masculinity and success, which I'm sure a lot of people can relate to. That's why, I think at the beginning, even though it started out really bad.... many people could agree with Walt doing what he did. But the show masterfully deconstructs the darkness that comes from this thought carried out to its extreme.

On the other hand, Walt and Gretchen reminds me of Walt and Gus. New money vs. Old. He's never quite going to fit in no matter how well he does at being a chemistry wiz or a crime lord.

But I guess it's just a Western theme, a frontier theme. In this scenario, Walter White is the archetypal frontiersman. He wants to make it himself, on his own terms to the point that faced with his mortality, he steps over the frontier into a violent world. Now, in an earlier time when the western pioneer was seen as an unvarnished good guy and the frontier narrative was about white power reshaping an unformed wildness and savagery in the heart of North America, Walter would be the protagonist without question despite his behavior.

But Breaking Bad, is just that, a revisionist Western in the darker mode of Sam Peckingpah or New Western history. And Walt is actually not the individualist pioneer he imagines himself to be, he really is the bad guy in all of this.

Either way, I loved this show and it was great seeing it from start to finish.

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