Archive | December 2012

Breaking Bad Episode 210 “Over”

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 9.37.47 PMThis episode is a little slower and quieter than most this season, and this fits the storyline perfectly. It’s a great place to pause in, almost an uncomfortable place. Limbo. Walter White has gotten this borderline miraculous news–he’s in remission and going to live for the time being against all odds–but isn’t feeling the relief and exaltation that he should.

I think it’s a few things. One, as discussed in the post for the previous episode, he’s felt that remorse in the desert for all his deception and lies and now he has to live with it. But I think it goes beyond that. He’s created this whole new identity for himself as Heisenberg. He thinks of himself as this total badass, even though this view of himself is a bit inflated. Sure, he’s tough when calling the shots on territory and revenge on the Spooges and raising the product price, but it’s all behind the scenes. Still, he has this new picture of himself as this criminal mastermind, not to be messed with. And I think he doesn’t want to let that go.

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Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Five

afd5imagesAwhile later Jill suggested we have a campfire, an idea welcomed by all. There was a fire ring not far from t©he cabin. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. I felt like I was a little kid again, at Girl Scout Camp. I suggested we tell ghost stories. Everyone loved the idea. We decided we would tell one story per night. Karl requested to go first.

“Wait!” I cried, before Karl began, as a stroke of brilliance hit me. “Why don’t we tell the stories we wrote for Miss Bennett’s class! We were just talking about how none of us wrote flowery tales!”

That idea was agreed upon as well. Don said that he would think up something, seeing as he did not have Miss Bennett for a teacher.

Karl began talking and did not stop until his story was complete.

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Breaking Bad Episode 209 “4 Days Out”

209aindexWow, wow, wow.

I know I say this about a lot of episodes, but “4 Days Out” is one of my all-time favorites, like for real. Definitely top five. Some of the funniest lines in the whole history of the show are in this episode. I still to this day can’t go get clumps of copper for fractional distillation (organic chem lab) without thinking to myself, “Ahhh wire.” And does anything really beat, “A robot?” Jesse’s failed chem tests are showing through.

One thing I love about this episode is that it fits into the arc of the season (I mean, talk about Walt pushing for more, and about consequences) and it also works really well on its own. It has a complete story arc within these 47 or so minutes, and could almost be a mini-movie. If someone came to this episode first, I think they’d be able to follow most of what’s going on. It advances the larger story, sets up a LOT (Walt’s going to live, they have a shitload of meth they need to sell) while still being a full story unto itself.

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Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Four

afd4indexI slept through most of the ride. When we arrived, the cabin was much bigger than I had expected. It was actually more like a house in the woods than a cabin. There was electricity. In fact, there were fluorescent lights in each room. There was one bedroom that was small and had one double bed in it. I assumed it to be Justin’s parents’ room. Then there were two other bedrooms, each having four cots and four cubby-type things to store belongings in. The living room was huge and had in it three couches with blue cushions. There was even a TV, but it didn’t get cable. The kitchen was small but had a refrigerator, freezer, and gas stove. With all the advanced equipment, it was really strange that there was not a single phone. All the walls were wood paneled, and only the living room had a rug, a brown one. There were two bathrooms, which was a good thing considering there were six of us. In the front there was a beautiful porch with windows on the three walls that were not part of the actual cabin. It was spacious compared to what I had expected. Eve, Jill and I chose the room that was more towards the back of the cabin for our own. It had a back door so if any creepy people came to kill us, as one would in a cheesy horror movie, we’d have an escape route. The guys stayed in the other bedroom, where there was no such escape route.

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Breaking Bad Episode 208 “Better Call Saul”

208indexOh Badger, Badger, Badger. You shoulda listened to your gut on this one. You knew that guy was a cop and you sold to him anyway. Smooth move.

In the previous episode, Walt pushed for expanding their territory, and a price hike, and in this one, there are some consequences. Actually, there have been a lot of consequences all season, but it’s funny how Walt doesn’t see it. Or sees it and wants to just push on anyway. He’s not exactly proceeding with caution. Skinny Pete got held up and in response Walt pushes Jesse to get into the whole mess deeper. Gretchen called Walt on his bullshit and he gets all Heisenberg and says “Fuck you.” Walt and Jesse got kidnapped by Tuco and Walt gets naked in a convenience store to make his cover-up of his disappearance more believable and talks to Jesse, while still at the hospital, about starting up cooking again. Jesse got all depressed after his dealings with The Spooges and Walt sees it as an opportunity to exploit their newfound power and expand the business. Walt’s family life is all a mess and he just keeps on lying and disappearing.

I guess my point is that at any point where it seems a person might decide to proceed with caution and dial things back, Walt does the opposite. He is a man on a mission and doesn’t see any of these things as warning signs. He wants that money counting thing to be going around the clock.

But Badger getting busted could be really bad. Jesse says he’s too loyal to roll, but how long will that last?

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Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Three

cabin-in-the-woods-in-the-winterIt was a year after the funerals, two years after the party, and a week before Winter Break. I was a senior in high school and eighteen years old. I couldn’t wait to graduate in June. Life seemed to be going well.

It was on a Saturday afternoon rich with blowing snow and howling winds, that my parents decided to talk with me about Winter Break. I was up in my room, working on a book I was trying to write. I had been working on it for about six months, but couldn’t get very far. I had some strong images and scenes that would not leave my head. I knew it was about a girl who dreamt often and vividly of a girl who looked exactly like her, yet it was not her. Nor was it her long-lost identical twin, or the likes. I also knew I would title it Stranger is Me if I ever got around to finishing it.

I was summoned downstairs by my mother. She needed to have A Talk with me. I honestly thought it would be about studying, grades or some other grueling topic.

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Breaking Bad Episode 207 “Negro Y Azul”

207imagesThis episode is all about new territory, literally and figuratively, on so many levels.

The previous episode, “Peekaboo” gave a much needed glimpse into the real dark and depressing and yeah, swanky, underworld that’s on the other other side of Walt and Jesse and their cooking endeavors. But it also did something else important. It set Walt and Jesse up in a position of power that they didn’t have before. As long as everyone thinks that Jesse crushed a dude’s head with an ATM machine, our dynamic duo have a new license to take new risks.

Or really, it’s just Walt who wants to. He’s kind of a greedy bastard this season. He wants to expand into other dealers’ turfs. He immediately senses the business potential inherent in people thinking Jesse killed a guy who jacked him. He knows they can feed on fear. As always, he’s real academic about it, all exponential growth and levels of distribution and initiative and nice colored maps. Walt would have made a good business shark in some ways.

But I’m not sure he knows the criminal world as well as he thinks he does. Jesse seems much more in touch with the realities of the drug dealers on the streets, and with the unspoken rules about territory and turf.

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Affinity for Darkness – Chapter Two

afd2indexAll nine of us went to Jake and Todd’s joint birthday party, the one I spoke of earlier. We were the only attendants, rather odd for a sweet sixteen party. Jill, Eve and I figured we were invited because of Brenda, though none of us had really spoken with her since she began seeing Jake. Justin was invited without question, being Todd’s best friend. Jake had invited Karl and Don; don’t ask me why. Jake is Jake though, unpredictable and pushy. He gets what he wants whether he has an explained reason or not. He had insisted the two of them come, which was no problem with either of them. Eve and Don had not been going out then, but they did argue a lot, and a real romance was growing between them.

  I had hopes of going and talking to Justin. As of yet, I had never done so. At least, not of any significance. While preparing to leave, I thought of as many ways as I could to start a conversation with him. I thought of how I could impress him with my wicked sense of humor, wow him with my brilliant intelligence. But I knew all of this was quite exaggerated and only in my mind. Who was I kidding? I’d be lucky if I could gather up the courage to say hi to him. I was a coward, too scared that I’d get my heart broken and shattered like fragile glass.

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Breaking Bad Episode 206 “Peekaboo”

206imagesThis is a really important episode. And no, I’m not just saying that because I love Jesse and this is a very Jesse-centric episode. I do like that his character gets to develop here, but the real reason I think this episode is important is that we get a rare glimpse into the lives of Walt and Jesse’s customers. Aside from Wendy, we haven’t really seen this side, the reality of what they’re doing, the methheads.

In all of the criminal fun and drama and fighting and danger Walt and Jesse are having, it’s easy to almost detach from what they are doing, from the real dark side of meth. And in a way, that fits the show really well, because Walt is detached from it himself. He’s lost in the chemistry, in the bad-assery, in what he wants to do for his family, in the lab and the ego. Other than short dealings with Tuco and Krazy-8, he has no interactions with actual meth users. He talks about everything in academic, business terms. Totally dissociated from the actual long-range effects of what he’s doing.

So this episode, even though Walt is still oblivious of the actual lives of meth addicts, allows us as viewers to really see the kind of people Walt is cooking for, to not lose sight of that. And I think it’s important because it adds some heaviness, some desperation, to Walt’s endeavors. Because oh my god, the Spooges. What squalor. That apartment is such a shithole, there is no other way to say it. Stuff strewn everywhere, a little kid left there while the junkie parents are out, the parents hiding heroin and meth up their asses. Gross, yo. And such stark contrast to the chemistry and the cooking.

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