Monday, September 3, 2012

Hard To Break The Habit

While Breaking Bad, Season 5 hit some snags off it's usual 99% purity - mostly related to Walter White's character and some uncharacteristic over-dialogue, things all fell into place for the mid-season finale. And as we reach crescendo, there are no scenes for next week. All addicts eventually go into withdrawal.


The consolidation of events set to music is a common movie & TV trick to avoid characters bantering to catch us up on current events. 

The use of Tommy James & The Shondells' "Crystal Blue Persuasion" as the backdrop for the manufacturing, distribution, payoffs, and money laundering of Walter White's product might have been the best lyrical montage ever edited. 

And the use of Fred & Ginger's "Pick Yourself Up" as the soundtrack for the 10 simultaneous prison murders might be second. Just like that, the possibility of anyone from the previous regime who could talk was done in the start and stop of Walt's watch.

The cold and calculated cutthroat methods that Walt employed to achieve his goal do in fact fit his character. Gus, Mike, and countless others were just standing in the way of his utopian empire, one without drama, hassle or subjugation. He wasn't just the chemist, he was born to be the kingpin. And the end result was greater than his wildest dreams. 

Even Skyler - whose job was to track the money - admits she has "no earthly idea" how much it is. She asks Walt if it's everything he's worked for, and how much is enough?

After making peace with the oncologist's office paper towel dispenser Walt bashed in several seasons prior when he realized what risk he had engaged in when his cancer was in fact in remission, he made amends with Jesse.

After reminiscing about their early RV cooking days, Walt dropped the presumably $5 Million due to Jesse. Expecting the worst (with good reason) Jesse melts to the floor when realizing the situation wasn't life-or-death, and releases the safety from the handgun that he had at the ready.

Walt confesses to Skyler that he's "out," and the family seems to be repaired with his goal achieved. But we all knew it couldn't be - there are 8 episodes left. So Hank the supersleuth stumbles on the smoking gun while on Walt's shitter. 

Do you think the writers left Walt Whitman's "Leaves in the Grass" around as a prop for no reason? Walt had been tempting fate with Hank on many occasions. This is where the character arc now fits so well. Walt can only hide in plain sight for so long, he has to exert his intellectual superiority. It's a classic criminal downfall. Why do you think The Joker left clues for Batman, or Moriarty was compelled to toy with Holmes?

Now it's Hank's move. Can he take down his own family? And even more than that, can he swallow his own pride with his DEA buddies, that someone so close masterminded such an enormous criminal enterprise under his nose? 


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