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#602304 - 08/13/13 03:49 AM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: madget]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7089
Okay, I missed the bacon 52. I was sporadically passing out about six hours into that marathon.

I just really hate how many of the BB characters are written in the same cadence of giving just enough information to keep themselves from being offed (and gun-aiming characters who are willing to listen). Jessie is the prime example, but there are so many others. In real life, it's usually shoot first and don't even ask questions later. Todd's decisive (and non-verbose) action was, for me, a refreshing departure from Gilligan's formula of dragging out how everyone "feels" about every little nuance of every situation.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#602305 - 08/13/13 06:19 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: Allen Montgomery]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Any particular examples? The show does have a lingering, exploratory pace. I.e. it's rarely "action!" It's usually: blurry obscure shot of something we don't recognize; slowly it becomes recognizable; ambient sound; ambient music; close up depth-of-field camera tricks; facial expressions and other details we have to read into for ourselves; THEN something might happen or be said. I like this unhurried style; I find it aesthetically pleasing, an effective mood-builder, and preferable to too much exposition-through-dialogue. But it is what it is, can't be everybody's cup of tea. I can't think of any confrontation scenes with Jesse where it seemed like he should've been shot but instead the characters got to talking about their feelings, with the exception of him confronting Walt in his home about the poisoning of the boy in Season 4. But "shoot first ask questions later if at all" doesn't really apply there. It's not like Jesse spent much time discussing his feelings with Gale before killing him, even if he was sad about it. And Mike certainly never showed much interest in the discussion of feelings when knocking off his former associates.

Some post-E1 reading:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment...anymore/278552/

Quote:
"Blood Money" framed the upcoming season in dueling terms of redemption. Walt seems to think that he can die a good man simply by ignoring his past sins. Jesse, on the other hand, wants to atone for what he's done.


http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/08/12/breaking-bad-star-trek/

Quote:
Now, Badger’s idea for an Enterprise pie-eating contest lacks the thematic density of other AMC-character metafictional TOS spec scripts, like Paul Kinsey’s “The Negron Complex” or Sarah Linden’s “The Sweaters of Triskelion.” And one imagines that, if you asked Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to explain the hidden meaning of Badger’s Star Trek pitch, he’d laugh his famous Georgia gentlemen laugh and say, “Well, heck, I don’t know much about ‘symbolism’ and whatnot. But who doesn’t live pies?” NOT BUYING IT, GILLIGAN! If you look closely, Badger’s fanfic contains hidden layers of meaning which illuminate the whole arc of Breaking Bad…and which might give us a clue about the show’s ultimate endgame. (continues..)


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20...plot-twist.html



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#602308 - 08/18/13 09:14 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: madget]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7089
So the rest of this season is apparently going to be everybody trying to show off how much "acting" they can do.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

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#602309 - 08/18/13 09:53 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7089
Ah, they're going to re-hash the "idiosyncratic drug lord" plot device from Season 4, but this time with the nervous lady who should have been dead already.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

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#602311 - 08/19/13 12:03 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
I was glad that they didn't drag out Hank's discovery of Walt any longer. Basically, we're in mid-season, so that's when things should be getting really shitty for the "hero" and he has to start working on a way of getting out of it.

My prediction going in to this half-season: Hank gets killed in ep. 4, Jesse in 6. Walt walks away with Skyler completely corrupted. I'd love to see Marie and Walt Jr. killed.

Not so glad about the way Jesse conveniently gets caught. The show has suffered from contrivances like that throughout all of its seasons. The emotional resolutions are usually better than the getting there. I suspect it's because Gilligan has a good idea of where he wants his characters to go, and the writers construct a method for them to get there, like reverse-engineering. It's kind of the anti-Lost.
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#602313 - 08/19/13 08:18 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: Charles Reece]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
There must be betting pools going as to who gets offed when, at this point. Oddly, I actually don't think that any remaining major character is going to die, except Walt. Jesse might kill him, maybe with malice, maybe without. Walt has chosen his path and for the most part is unrepentant; that ship sailed with the show's central premise and kudos to them for seeing it through. But Jesse is actually sorry, and I think the show will offer him some sort of redemption (albeit probably a very muted one).

This isn't necessarily my preference and as usual I have little confidence in my capacity to predict the show's precise path. I'm not sure I have a specific preference or path I would take it down -- it largely depends on the execution -- but I think I'm more partial to Walt being the last man standing. The cost and ostensible value of his "victory" can quite easily speak for themselves. Season 5's tag line is "Remember My Name," and of course the name that will be remembered is "Heisenberg."

(Ep 10 spoilers). And motherfucker, they decided against the "end with the door closing as the two characters are about to confront each other" option for Ep. 9, but indulged it in Ep. 10. I guess it had to end sometime. Very curious how round 2 of Hank v. Jesse will be handled. Last time Jesse knew a lot things Hank didn't; this time Hank has the upper hand. On the other hand, Hank is rattled -- he isn't the deliberative detective he was back in Season 2. He's desperate at the moment, and playing a somewhat sloppy game. The situation with Skylar is pretty interesting. She didn't choose her path in the conscious way Walt did, but I am glad the writers are noting the complexity (if not impossibility) of her now steering off of it. The dialogue was scripted to carefully omit her making any blatant confessional statements. She says almost nothing really, besides asking for a lawyer and whether or not she is under arrest. For all the wrong Walt has done, of Skylar's two options, he remains the force dedicated to keeping their family adhered together. Hank and Marie want to tear it apart. I can sympathize with disappointment that Skylar is reduced to choosing between the two powerful men in her life who are now facing off, but I think her character is consistent and believable, at least. In sometimes surprising ways. And she's a smarter character than she's often given credit for.

I agree with the reverse engineering theory, which has its pluses and minuses. It provides the show both its (for TV) impeccable sense of structure and formalist aesthetic, and its occasional drift into transparent contrivance.

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#602319 - 08/26/13 07:10 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: madget]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Ep. 11 (spoilers):

Best part: Walt's confession. As Charles once pointed out (rightly, I think) one of the best aspects of the show is watching Walt lie. Fitting then, that his trump card against Hank should be one great big atomic bomb of a lie -- Walt's masterpiece, in a way, and the evil mirror image of the sincere confessional video that opened the series. The frantic, earnest, pantless Walt, in the middle of a desert, panicked into honesty, into doing the "right" thing; now, the composed, remorseless Heisenberg, comfortable in his home, clinically producing his Oscar-worthy monologue of familial double-crossing. What a gloriously riveting load of neatly weaponized horseshit it was. Fun as it was watching Walt, say, blow up a drug lab with the MacGuyvery power of Science, it's more interesting to see his Evil manifest itself as mind-blowingly shameless fiction, a willingness to use words (and to manufacture emotions) in whatever way suits his end.

Worst part: Jesse's epiphany. We touched on the show's occasional problem with transparent plot contrivances last week, and this is a good example. Sadly I think this final wrap-up half-season will have a few more to come. You can almost see the writers writing in this arbitrary bit about Jesse lighting up a joint in Saul's office, so that Saul/Huel has a superficial reason to pickpocket him again, and thereby Jesse can, with dubious suddenness, put it all together in a flash. I just didn't 100% buy it, but watching Jesse go lone wolf after Walt should be entertaining and interesting all the same. And it looks like we may now know what happens to the house! All in all, I preferred plot-shifting moments like when Skylar first learned the truth -- her being one step ahead of the audience. In Season 5 the audience is left more conventionally one step ahead of the characters, leaving the "revelations" (Hank's, Jesse's) feeling somewhat manufactured.

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#602323 - 09/02/13 03:14 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: madget]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Ep. 12 (spoilers):

I'd probably have to concede to those who are deeming this a somewhat weak episode, building on and worsening the contrivances that accelerated the action last episode. Some reviews complain of Hank's 'nick of time' arrival to stop Jesse. While hardly representative of the show at its best, that didn't particularly bother me, in the sense that one way or another, Hank is surely still keeping a close eye on both Goodman and Walt. And the re-introduction of Gomez into the fold this episode would seem to imply he may have never pulled his guys off Goodman to begin with; I think this is the idea, anyway.

On the surface of things, the bigger problem I had was swallowing the way the meeting with Walt unfolds, and Jesse kind of doofily mistaking a surly looking bystander for an assassin. It's hard for me to see any narrative benefit in making the further escalation of this end-game war between Walt and Jesse the result of a simple, kind of stupid misunderstanding. This situation is similar to Gus avoiding the car bomb in Season 4; I suppose the writers wanted to make this more Jesse's "version" of that. Where Gus's finely honed instincts of self-preservation and intelligent processing of the info gleaned from Jesse in the hospital saved him from Walt's assassination attempt in that instance, Jesse would be saved by his own doofishness and dumb luck. Then again, while it's not decisively established, my sense was that Walt did *not* have any real assassins or any plan to kill Jesse in place for this meeting -- but that now, because of Jesse's misreading of the situation and subsequent threats, Walt feels he must. Quite frankly, I feel a little cheated -- I would much rather have seen that conversation between Walt and Jesse unfold. And Jesse being wired could've just made it that much more interesting.

The complex relationship between these two characters has been so central to the show, I feel a little let down watching it forced down this road. Walt's blind spot of actual human compassion for Jesse is touched on in this episode, but not really explored -- it is noted, and dispensed with on the basis of a dumb misunderstanding, so we can move into the end-game of everyone gunning for each other. And while there's 4 episodes to go, it seems to me it deserved better than that.

As a general principle, I think I appreciate this episode's reminder that Hank has never been all that sympathetic himself, is driven largely by a need for revenge, and that Jesse is now just a pawn on his side of the chess-board. This article about last week's episode touches a little on some of the underlying themes in the Walt v. Hank dynamic. E.g.:

Quote:
"Confessions" returns to the theme of the dangerous fragility of crushed American masculinity, which has always been Breaking Bad's grandest concern. Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Hank (Dean Norris) are both struggling working-class men who've recently experienced unexpected surges of great power with Walt's advent of the "Heisenberg" master criminal, but the latest episode in the series appears to pave the way for a circular narrative structure that will return the men to their stifling humble origins while potentially destroying everything and everyone else in their wake.


But while Jesse's manipulation and abuse by both sides should heighten audience sympathy for him, BB missteps in this episode -- he now seems as much a pawn of a struggling writers' room as of Walt or Hank.

Another complaint I saw was Skyler's "Lady MacBeth" moment -- she is now advocating the murder of the one person other than his immediate family that Walt truly wants to protect. (Incidentally, Anna Gunn posted an op-ed about the vitriol directed at her character -- and by proxy, her -- on the internet). She doesn't share Walt's blind spot on Jesse or Walt's history with him: he is simply another meth-business related threat to their family, and that threat needs to be removed. Jesse is nothing but a disposable junkie fuck-up problem to anyone *other* than Walt at this point -- this episode makes it clear that Hank, Skyler, and Saul are perfectly okay with Jesse dying. Walt is the only one who isn't. Heisenberg has protected Walt's family, and Jesse is Heisenberg's true family.

That is interesting and dramatically critical to Breaking Bad, so again, it's kind of a shame to see it being handled clumsily here. It may redeem itself in the remaining episodes, but more likely it will all just race into everyone trying to bring everyone down -- there's only 4 episodes left, after all. That's fun on its own merits and I'm sure I'll remain entertained through the end, but some of the twists and turns being taken feel a little cheap.

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#602329 - 09/16/13 03:43 AM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: madget]
Charles Reece Offline
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Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Last episode was clunky, but this new episode ... man oh man! What about those extremes in Walt's behavior: gloating about how he watched Jesse's gal die to giving up his family to save them? That sequence where he realizes he's now lost any semblance of his family was really well put together. Gilligan promised on this episode and delivered.
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#602331 - 09/16/13 07:41 PM Re: breaking bad : season 5 [Re: Charles Reece]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
<SPOILERS> It was something, all right. This episode is a good representation of the special level of drama you can hit when you take the time to build up characters piece by piece, properly investing in them before you really bring the hammer down. On the one hand, it's probably one of the more predictable ways that things could've played out (Walt gets Hank killed, family finds out, everything falls apart in shrieking and tears). On the other, it still manages to be 'Rains of Castamere' levels of haunting, and I can't complain much given the complexity and fine touch with which it was executed. The creators really cut down through all the illusions they themselves have built up, here, particularly in that illuminating, vaguely surreal moment where 'Flynn' guards his mother, while phoning the police, from a crazed man 'who may have killed someone.' While not as openly surreal, it's almost as jarring as Mulholland Drive's uncomfortable shift back into reality, vs. the fantasy we've all been lost in.

And while I'm not a big fan of meta-narrative winks, I thought it funny and clever to hear a thousand angry BB fanboys in the unhinged, blamey, spewing rant Walt delivers to Skyler over the phone. Male BB fans have been calling Skyler a "bitch" since Season 1. That the moment in the show where Walt actually does the same (and using the fans' own logic!) should be one of the most heartbreaking, is somehow strangely poignant.

And although they had to take a couple uncomfortably forced moves to get here, I think the twist-off side-situation with Todd and Jesse is pretty intriguing. Crazy as Todd is, he didn't seem the Mr. Blonde type to me, exactly, so I wasn't sure where that was going. In retrospect, I feel silly that his motives in stepping in re: Jesse didn't occur to me immediately.

I was hoping the writers wouldn't feel the need to have ALL SECRETS REVEALED! (Brock, Jane, etc.) But if the Brock revelation was a bit of a stretch (like everything related to Brock, really) the Jane revelation was about as good as one could hope, I'd say. Not a tearful confession, or an explanation, or a random contrived discovery on Jesse's part -- just a bitter, past-the-point-of-no-return Fuck You from Walt. Or Heisenberg, I suppose.

While I've considerable respect for the show's creators not dragging this series out just to drag it out, it is frustrating as such a fan, that we're so near the end -- there's plenty of material left for at least another half-season or so. Todd, Jesse, Lydia, post-family Walt, post-Hank DEA -- there's a lot there that could be explored, still. It saddens me that two episodes from now, it's all over, except for a very ill-conceived Saul spin-off show. Saul's a fun character, and has had some great lines, but, muh......

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