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  1. #21
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I don't know. We can talk about it more after you finish based on where the series goes; but when you see these THINGS pop out of Walt earlier in the series -- like, "Where in God's name did that come from?" -- it makes you strongly consider that while on the surface he was very civilized and defanged and sensitive in the beginning, underneath it appears he had been cultivating this persona of bitterness and emptiness and disappointment -> anger -> for a long long long time.
    Parts of Season 1 almost reminded me of "Fight Club", for those reasons. Like he was being forced to live in this overly tame world, and was finally given a chance to break free from it. I wonder what the reasoning was, for not making Walt's background a bit clearer. We aren't given a lot of information, and the information we get is conflicting and often delivered by unreliable data sources (e.g. Walt and Gretchen).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I still would love to know why he walked out on Gretchen. I don't recall there ever being an explanation for that (?).
    Yeah I definitely am wondering that as well -- not to mention, why did he get with Skyler? Seems like he and Gretchen would have been a better fit, personality-wise.

    Sometimes when my roommate and I are watching the show, one of us will ask the other how it's possible that those two people are responsible for creating Walt Jr., who at this point seems to lack most of his parents' flaws: manipulativeness, selfishness, passive-aggression, guile. Wouldn't surprise me if the show's creators chose to name him Walt Jr. in part because of that irony. (Plus the fact that he's a good symbol of Walt Sr.'s desperate need to leave a legacy.)
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Parts of Season 1 almost reminded me of "Fight Club", for those reasons. Like he was being forced to live in this overly tame world, and was finally given a chance to break free from it. I wonder what the reasoning was, for not making Walt's background a bit clearer. We aren't given a lot of information, and the information we get is conflicting and often delivered by unreliable data sources (e.g. Walt and Gretchen).
    yes, cancer was really a "catalyst," and he says in S1E1, "I'm... awake!" He's finally alive, or at least feeling it, after years of just kind of going through the motions.

    But change can be explosive and even destructive. You just never know until you undergo some of it.

    Yeah I definitely am wondering that as well -- not to mention, why did he get with Skyler? Seems like he and Gretchen would have been a better fit, personality-wise.
    I don't know. Gretchen is more similar to him, although no doubt Walt sees himself as superior. Skyler was waitressing somewhere near Walt was working at the Los Alamos Laboratory and that's how they met -- Walt decided he was into her and thus slowly 'machinated' meeting her by doing the same crossword puzzles she was until they hit things off. He is 10-11 years older than her.

    It's almost like he abandoned this old world of his -- disillusioned somehow? -- and suddenly went for Skyler because he was enticed by the differences, and now he resents it after he has lived this "normal human" life out rather than remaining in research science.

    Also notice that Walt seems to like conflict now, he's very willful. Gretchen really comes off as mousy and very accommodating (even if underneath she has some resilience), unlike Skyler who is definitely willing and often does stir up shit when she doesn't get her way. I think Walt likes a challenge on some level, he might even need it.

    Sometimes when my roommate and I are watching the show, one of us will ask the other how it's possible that those two people are responsible for creating Walt Jr., who at this point seems to lack most of his parents' flaws: manipulativeness, selfishness, passive-aggression, guile. Wouldn't surprise me if the show's creators chose to name him Walt Jr. in part because of that irony. (Plus the fact that he's a good symbol of Walt Sr.'s desperate need to leave a legacy.)
    Yeah, and Walt keeps taking it hard when he calls himself "Flynn" instead of "Junior."

    Which is interesting when you think about Walt's relationship with Holly. I think he generally loves her without the expectations or baggage; I would go so far as to say, after seeing the whole series, that he probably actually loves her the most purely out of how he loves anyone on the show. (Which is still flawed, but... he comes the closest with her.)

    I can actually relate to a lot of what you've said, personally. My mom is a decent person, but she and my dad were a total mess and both horrible at the relationship/marriage thing when I was growing up. Like, seriously, you'd wonder how their kids would have ended up -- but both my sister and I grew up in that environment and yet are far more stable and perceptive than my parents were. I think it either makes or breaks you. Walt Jr. is definitely one of the "best" people on the show. I think with him, Walt and Skyler were still decent enough to parent him right without letting their own crap mess it up, at least until Walt turned 50; their issues seem less parental ones and more interpersonal ones (like equal-level relationships).
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #23
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    @Jennifer yeah, but it depends. I mean, even a fantasy novel can be "realistic" according to its own rules. I'm thinking more about plot flaws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sultan of Beans View Post
    @Jennifer yeah, but it depends. I mean, even a fantasy novel can be "realistic" according to its own rules. I'm thinking more about plot flaws.
    The thread is about the show... all aspects of the show. If you want to discuss plot flaws, then discuss plot flaws. You don't need anyone's permission.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Well, I played through and only have the final three episodes to go.

    The series is even more cohesive when you watch it the second time. There are a lot of images, lines, situations, and visual blocking that is repeated throughout the series.

    There seems to be a lot of arguing about Walt and how someone can enjoy a character who acts despicably. I think the largest confusion over Walter is that in some situations he actually "does the right thing" but then turns right around and does something horrific, leaving the audience unclear of who they are looking at, doing a riff on the Heisenberg principle of wave/particle duality (or, as Hank puts it in "Blood Money," "I don't know who you are. I don't even know who I'm talking to.")

    @EJCC mentioned (I think) that it's pretty amazing how GOOD that Flynn/Walt Jr is [interestingly, it's Walt Jr. who expresses duality of identity like his dad, but in an open and non-duplicitous way?], as a person, considering his parents. The thing is that, despite how horrific Walt is in many ways, and how bad Skylar becomes at times, they actually parent Flynn correctly, they say and do all the right stuff and provide sound advice to him, parent to child. The issue is that some of the best things that Walt says are based on lies; he is "working" his son and/or using sound advice to deflect intruision into his affairs. The funny thing is that Walt Jr. tells him at least once (after he is beaten up) that the moments when he was open and vulnerable are actually the best moments of their relationships; but Walter must maintain control, and this precludes honesty and vulnerability. Despite being a good teacher, he uses his "teacher/parent" roles as ways to maintain control (expressed especially through his twisted relationship with Jesse) and thus taints what could have been a positive experience where he could have given of himself to his student(s) and children.

    What I see in the large scheme is that Walt is capable of being a wonderful human being when he has control; but when his control slips, his lack of morality becomes apparent and he does whatever he needs to do in order to regain control and make things happen how he wishes. Worse, he not only lies to others but to himself; he is the King of Rationalization. Even when these rationalizations are thrown in his face, he seems oblivious to them or unwilling to hear them. (For example, literally Walt's entire argument for what he had Jesse do at the end of Season 3 is repeated by Todd as an argument to WALT in Season 5 to justify something TODD just did. It's almost lifted verbatim right out of Walt's mouth. But Walt chooses not to remember, and instead blunders onwards...)

    There are so many times I want to scream STFU at the screen, when Walter goes off on yet another embarrassing series of lies, rationalizations, manipulations, etc. And it's at its worst when people call him on his lies and he persists anyway, saying many many "good" things in all the RIGHT ways, like an innocent man would, distorting people's ability to perceive the truth and taking advantage of their desire to be fair, give him a chance, believe he could change... and yet the whole time the audience knows he is lying, and lying horrifically. It turns all the gold to crap.

    And that sequence of episodes after the end of Season 4, when Skylar realizes how far Walter will go to "win" and becomes utterly terrified of him (a callback to "I am the one who knocks"), and he is SO lost in his own lies that he still tries to wheedle and rationalize and appeal to her, where the reality is that she wants to vomit whenever he comes near her; when he lies in bed and kisses her on the shoulders and offers her patent reassurances while she stares away from him barely able to avoid a breakdown, I just felt my skin crawl. He was saying all the "right" things, but in context it made the "right things" far worse than all the overtly wrong things.



    The show really leaves you with a variety of conflicting emotions because it really is the anti-hero western, except the bad guy isn't just a guy who makes waves socially -- he really actually does a lot of horrific stuff by the end, while meanwhile hiding in plain sight and doing some things that are good on the surface. The guy in the black hat [who happens to be named White and is represented by the white king on the chessboard] proceeds on this life of crime, losing bits of humanity (or revealing bits of his inherent inhumanity), all while being chased by the coarse guy in the white hat, things escalating, games playing out, lie built upon life... leading to a final endgame and showdown, with loyalties played against loyalties and everyone in the cast (well, whoever survives) eventually forced to choose sides.



    At the end, I'm mostly speechless. I'm reminded of a line from "The Firm," where Abby is talking to her husband Mitch about his lawyer mentor Avery, and she says something to the effect that Avery was kind, and decent, and totally corrupt, and that Mitch could have gotten that way too if he hadn't gotten away. The character of Avery is not nearly as bad as Walter White was here, but it's the same juxtaposition that can leave one speechless... the show leaves you in that desolate wilderness where everything is all jumbled together in a confusing mess.

    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft
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  6. #26
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Ughhh this is making me want to keep watching. But my roommate will be out of the country for the next week.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Ughhh this is making me want to keep watching. But my roommate will be out of the country for the next week.
    My eldest is finally watching the last 2.5 seasons because a friend at college wants him to watch them with her. He says it got better since he jumped back in.

    One interesting big line replication I missed:
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Betsty Brandt (Marie) on the Mexican Restaurant scene in "Confessions" (season 5):
    Emmys: 'Scandal,' 'Breaking Bad' Actresses Reveal Their Most Challenging Moments

    Critic's guesses on who will survive the last season (he gets about half right):
    'Breaking Bad' Final Season: Tim Goodman Breaks Down Who Might Die - Hollywood Reporter



    Producer's comments on how the season finale did not really redeem Walt:
    'Breaking Bad' Producer on Walt's Finale Sacrifice: He Didn't Redeem Himself (Q&A) - Hollywood Reporter

    Hour-long podcast with Vince Gilligan, from before the last eight episodes:
    [Around 21 minutes, Gilligan begins to explain when he thinks the "turning point" is, at least where Gilligan realized who Walt was and no longer could identify/agree with his decision(s).]
    Vince Gilligan » JCCSF Podcasts

    Various quotes from the series:
    'Breaking Bad' Quotes: 20 Most Badass - Hollywood Reporter

    Interesting, they didn't know where things were going when they created the opener to S5E1:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...illigan-640103
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #29
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    Oh, something to discuss: One of the "unrealistic" parts of the show is that it does not really ever present in detail the impact of meth use upon the social user base. Wendy is about as close as one gets, but she's also still seen as "stable" if hardened and strung out, and also she's a prostitute and uses other drugs as well, so it's not necessarily "the meth" that gets blamed.

    There are at least two reasons I can perceive as to why this happens:

    1. Focus. The show's focus is actually on the negative impact not of using but of being part of the production and distribution chain. Maybe they don't get strung out on the drug and they're the victimizers, but at the same time the social and emotional and legal consequentials of their behavior lead them in different paths of self-destruction.

    2. Empathy. The audience would find it much harder to empathize with the characters if we were repeatedly subjected to the actual outcomes of their behavior. But then again, they are ALSO insulated. Walter never really sees people doing the drugs he makes. Skyler's encounter with Ted at the end of their storyline is brutal to both of them. Jesse can't really deal with his own choices, they emotionally devastate him -- although here is probably the least realistic since he doesn't seem to have any major long term effects from meth use nor has friends who appear who seem physically destroyed by it (except for the two junkies in Peekaboo).

    Meth is pretty devastating. It produces a 10-12 hour high, versus a much shorter one (1 hour?) from cocaine; the high can also involve paranoia, which coupled with the long high can result in behavior leading to accident or death. It works on dopamine receptors in such a way that the high it produces can be 5-6x higher than cocaine and the body's highest possible "natural high," and so there's an obvious compulsion to go back to it; also, it can quickly burn out the receptors as the brain tries to regulate the highs, causing permanent damage and reducing pleasure altogether.

    Meth users do typically lose a lot of their teeth and gums (due to decreased salivation?). They seem to age quickly, in appearance. Some users feel like bugs are crawling under the skin, leading to leasions and open sores as they scratch at the areas. Since more drug is needed for later highs, all money ends up going towards meth eventually.

    Turns out it's sold in various countries, including Thailand. American meth labs are very reduced in quantity from what they were, but that's because Mexican cartel has managed to create it more cheaply, with higher quality, and smuggles it along the older preestablished drug lines. Apparently now in 2014, the Mexican product is VERY high quality and base their creation on phenylacetone versus the pseudoephedrine typically used in American home labs. Some form of the drug itself has actually been around for 100 years or more, it's just that it really took off when cold medicines because far more plentiful near the end of the 20th century in the US.

    US meth users turning to cheaper Mexican-made drug - Yahoo News

    Anyway, just like in westerns where you don't see the fallout on families from civilians getting shot or what happens when all their horses are stolen, etc., you don't really see the end result of the meth production here. The scope of the show is on the backend -- the negative impact on the producers and distributors.

    (It also gives more credence to Hank's hatred/disdain for the people in the drug trade, as he's seen the actual hands-on devastation of meth use and how easily it can hook people... although he also seems to treat junkies like crap as well.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #30
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    ^ I agree. Though I do think they strategically use the consequences of meth addiction, to remind the main characters and the audience of just what they're getting into. "Just FYI, everybody: THIS is what their 'business' is about. THIS is what they're creating."

    Examples:
    1) The "Peekaboo" episode
    2) Jesse's parents
    3) The house where Jesse stays when he's depressed/in mourning, in season 2
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
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