Posts tagged "Walter White"
Dixie, When I Let You Go: A Few More Thoughts on Breaking Bad’s Finale

Dixie, When I Let You Go: A Few More Thoughts on Breaking Bad’s Finale

Before the world moves on, we thought we’d offer a second take on the Breaking Bad finale. I consider this something of an abbreviated follow-up to my CT piece on the show this past summer. Spoilers abound:

The universe of Breaking Bad has always been a closed or ‘finite’ system (as Vince Gilligan hammered home in his comments on Talking Bad the other night), and the finale bore this out in a remarkably confident manner, with Gilligan giving the last word to Badfinger’s Pete Ham, who sings “Guess I got what I deserved” over Walt’s dead body. Indeed, deserving was the…

Read More »

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Felina”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Felina”

This covers last night’s finale, “Felina.” Spoilers!

“I started from scratch. I made another, then another. And by the end of the semester, by box number five, I had built this thing. You should’ve seen it, it was insane. I mean, I built it out of Peruvian walnut with inlaid zebrawood. It was fitted with pegs, no screws. I sanded it for days until it was smooth as glass. And then I rubbed all the wood with tung oil, so it was rich and dark. It even smelled good. You know, you put your nose in it and breathed in… it…

Read More »

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Granite State”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Granite State”

Again, if you haven’t watched “Granite State,” Breaking Bad’s most recent episode, wait to read this! Spoilers abound.

If last week’s episode was the spelling out of the end, the unveiling of all lies, this week’s episode did two things to show what will endure in the wake of the truth.

The first, of course, is the utter isolation that surrounds nearly every character in Walt’s world. Skyler is alone to face legal prosecution. Marie is now husbandless, in a car with DEA agents. Saul is headed to Nebraska. Junior answers the phone, alone, in his school’s counseling office. Brock is now…

Read More »

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”

Be warned! The following is on last night’s (bloodcurdling) Breaking Bad episode. Spoilers!

That’s Heisenberg himself, reading Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” the warning knell for any human emperor facing the leveling work of time. Like the cold open of this week’s episode, the flashback to the first cook–which took place where this standoff takes place–we are given Shelley’s Egyptian landscape in the desert of New Mexico. This is Breaking Bad’s now-staple poetic foreshadowing. Here, tonight, dies the Heisenberg Empire, in the same place of the first lie he ever told.

We are watching in this episode, horrifically, the leveling work of the truth and,…

Read More »

On TV: Breaking Bad, “To’haliijee”

On TV: Breaking Bad, “To’haliijee”

This covers last night’s episode of the final season of Breaking Bad. Spoilers!

To’haliijee, the Navajo reservation upon which the empire began in the Fleetwood Bounder in Season 1, now lines up the beginning of its end–and the end is coming by way of inversion. In last night’s episode, we watch a painted redux of the old westerns, of the outlaw rounded up in the landscape where he made his fortune, justice served by his embittered sidekick, and the marshall who’s gone to all lengths to get him. But after the capture, it all turns inside-out, and a new cowboy’s…

Read More »

The Frightening Moral Logic of Breaking Bad

The Frightening Moral Logic of Breaking Bad

Where will you be when the Breaking Bad finale airs? God-willing on a couch somewhere. In anticipation of that day, the good people at Christianity Today asked yours truly to write something up about the moral vision of the show. And they kindly gave me permission to post it here. It probably goes without saying but I owe a lot of the following to pollo hermano numero uno, Ethan Richardson:

You might not expect an Emmy-nominated tastemaker to tell The New York Times, “I want to believe there’s a heaven. But I can’t not believe there’s a hell.” Yet…

Read More »

Walter White vs Raylan Givens: The Two Hats of American Law

Alright TV fans, the moment of truth (and consequence) has arrived:

You may download the recording of this session by clicking here.

Walter White vs. Raylan Givens: The Two Hats of American Law

Walter White vs. Raylan Givens: The Two Hats of American Law

You think you know me? Well, I know you Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens. I know you like to shoot bad people…I heard about you shooting that gun thug in Miami, but you know? At any point, when you were looking at that gun thug, did you see your daddy’s face?

These are the words of Boyd Crowder, longtime friend and archenemy of Raylan Givens, in the show’s pilot episode. In the modern carriage of the Western Sheriff trope, Givens represents the unbending, truth-toting hand of justice. And with this trope—of law and order and “shooting bad people”—comes the necessary prospect any…

Read More »

The Lovable Lostness of Jesse Pinkman

The Lovable Lostness of Jesse Pinkman

[Spoiler Alert!] According to the Fresh Air interview with actor Aaron Paul, his character, the impulsive young Jesse Pinkman in AMC’s Breaking Bad, wasn’t supposed to make it out of the first season. He tells Terry Gross he didn’t even know that was the plan and so:

…instantly my heart kind of dropped and slowed down a bit, and (Vince Gilligan) goes, “but we don’t think we’re going to do that anymore.” And I was just – I was like, “What do you mean? What are you talking about? Like, what’s the plan?” And he’s like, “No, we just – I…

Read More »

Kingsley Amis and Disdain for the Truth

Kingsley Amis and Disdain for the Truth

Been in something of a creative funk as of late, so I am not going to belabor the point here. Professor Jim Dixon offers these thoughts in Kingsley Amis’ great novel Lucky Jim, and they are so indicative of the human condition: Give me the straight juice, but only if it goes down smooth. Even more telling is the fact that Amis wrote this as a waning Stalinite on the verge of a breakup with the Soviet Union:

“Now, as Dixon had been half expecting all along, Welch produced his handkerchief. It was clear that he was about to blow his…

Read More »

Jimmy McNulty, Walter White and the Search for a Gracious God

Jimmy McNulty, Walter White and the Search for a Gracious God

There have not been many television shows as good as the HBO series The Wire. Some, such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, are in the same league. Others would probably argue for Friday Night Lights (this is a great dispensation for television!). Whatever your poison might be, The Wire and I have spent a great deal of time together. Detective Jimmy McNulty is one of the heroes/anti-heroes of the series whose deft investigatory skills and genuine sincerity about his work are tempered by a high-functioning alcoholism, arrogance, deviousness, and a long line of broken relationships. He is the perfect…

Read More »