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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.16: Felina (Series Finale)
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Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 16 – “Felina”
Directed and written by Vince Gilligan
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 29, 2013

SPOILERS FOR THE BREAKING BAD SERIES FINALE. You’ve been warned.

“I did it for me…. I was alive.”

So much of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) Mr. Chips to Scarface journey has been caged with idea that Walter was doing everything for his family. It’s much like the idea that I highlighted a few weeks ago about his Batman-esque “no killing family rule” – the origin of Heisenberg in so many ways came from a place of gray morality for Walter, a justification that was the weakest of crutches as the show progressed.

As a viewer, it’s been clear to me for a while that Walter made every choice because he wanted to do so. And last night finally provided closure to all that.

It’s always been personal for Walt. It’s the thrill, the excitement, and because he was good at being bad.

...continue reading »
 
TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.15: Granite State
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Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 15 – “Granite State”
Directed and written by Peter Gould
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 22, 2013

After all the predicting and guessing I’ve made, turns out the most simple reason of all is the reason behind Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) return to ABQ. Massive spoilers follow.

It’s not Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) or Skyler (Anna Gunn) or Walter Jr (RJ Mitte) that brings Walter White’s newly minted Mr. Lambert back to ABQ. In fact, it’s so much simpler than that. It’s the reason that Breaking Bad has explored for so long.

...continue reading »
 
TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.14: Ozymandias
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Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 14 – “Ozymandias”
Directed by Rian Johnson
Written by Moira Walley-Beckett
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 15, 2013

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I got assigned Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias to read in high school and it very quickly became one of my favorite poems. As with most art, there are several interpretations one can take from its content, but the most frequent — and applicable one, to Breaking Bad at least — marks the loss of power, the decline of leaders, and how their “works” often fade.

Earlier this year, I felt that the AMC promo featuring Bryan Cranston reading Shelley’s poem was a little on the nose, but it did further cement the fact that everything is going to fall apart in the final eight episodes. But we already knew that things were going to end poorly — I keep coming back to the scene in “Hazard Pay” where Walt and Walt Jr (RJ Mitte) are watching Scarface – “Everyone dies in this, don’t they?” Yes, Walt. Yes they do.

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.13: To’hajiilee
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Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 13 – “To’hajiilee”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by George Mastras
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 8, 2013

Full-on spoilers for this week’s action-packed Breaking Bad are below. You’ve been warned.

In his mind, the only thing that kept Walter White (Bryan Cranston) from fully descending into hell was a Batman-esque, one-premise code: Family was off-limits. For so long, Jesse (Aaron Paul) was considered family that Walt could never imagine sending him to Belize. He fought hard and long to make sure that Jesse ended up safe, but after last week’s episode that rule was broken and all bets were off. Jesse has always been far smarter than anyone ever gave him credit for and uses this to his advantage. I was half right last week when I said that Jesse would come for Walt at the car wash. So much of Walt’s motivation to cook was always about the money. There’s no way all that green would disappear.

...continue reading »
 
TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.12: Rabid Dog
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Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 12 – “Rabid Dog”
Directed and written by Sam Catlin
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, and Bob Odenkirk
AMC
Air Date: September 1, 2013

Quiet hours of Breaking Bad are eventful, but not in ways that are maybe as overt as more action-packed hours of the show. Having officially reached the halfway point in these last eight episodes, the series needed to take a break and regroup as the end game is continued to be pieced together as the threads between the show’s future and present begin to weave together like latticework.

SPOILERS for Episode 5.12 of Breaking Bad.

...continue reading »
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