October 10th, 2011
|01:54 pm - Breaking Bad: Chicken payback|
I laughed out loud. I screamed - in a kind of girly way - and hid my face in my dressing gown. I thought I might cry but I somehow couldn't. It was the Breaking Bad season 4 finale: Face-Off. Do not read unless you want to be spoiled.
Although I predicted almost nothing about this episode, once it had started every event became an inevitable consequence of everything that had happened before. And by the end I think every shot was foretold.
I have two problems with the episode, and I've got to get them out of the way. Firstly it was not subtle. It was massively in your face. Ha. The symbolism was - let me say blunt. Gus got half his face blown off. Like the teddy in the swimming pool. Like TwoFace from Batman. Like a man who is half a respectable business man, and half the embodiment of evil, and like Walt.
Walt, you two-faced fucking bastard.
Secondly, unlike the previous seasons this did not build to a great climax of misguided love. Well. It kind of did, but 'misguided' is an understatement. A great climax of stupid psychotic betrayal of everything that love is supposed to be. And I don't know if I can ever entertain a romantic thought about Walt and Jesse again.
Walt did poison Jesse's girlfriend's son. Just to make Jesse mad. Just to make Jesse come back to him. Just so they could team up. And it worked. And as Walt says 'I won'. Well congratulations, you complete piece of shit.
I can't believe I thought Walt had learned his lesson. When he said 'let me help you' to Jesse I thought he had learned not to be such as arsehole. And it was all a put on. Bastard.
Now I have said my problems and I haven't said all the things that were great, which there were loads. And the problems aren't objections one might have to a show you don't like, but problems to do with the pain I feel as a viewer, and how I feel betrayed by how sad it is, which I know is entirely the point of the episode. It's genius television, even while it breaks my heart.
A long season of 16 episodes is lined up, possibly over the next two years. It's going to be unpleasant, and I will love every minute.
ETA I was thinking of WB Yeats' poem Vacillation, which is ... well, some of it is difficult to like I think but it also has some of my favourite lines.
A tree there is that from its topmost bough
Is half all glittering flame and half all green
Abounding foliage moistened with the dew;
And half is half and yet is all the scene;
And half and half consume what they renew.
...From man's blood-sodden heart are sprung
Those branches of the night and day
Where the gaudy moon is hung.
What's the meaning of all song?
"Let all things pass away.'
So much for "Jesse as Walt's family" I suppose. Walt's only family was grouped in the Schrader's mansion, Jesse is just a pawn. What happened to the grieving father of a surrogate son we saw in Salud?
The handshaking was unbearable to watch. I can't believe Walt won over Jesse. That's what breaks my heart. What was the whole season for?
I wished so much that Jesse would finally break free from Walt's cancerous influence, he's seen enough of himself to know he can take his life in his own hands. And this, also thanks to Gus.
The whole poisoning plot wasn't up to BrBa. Not from a moral viewpoint, but from a narrative one. Bringing Andrea and Brock conveniently into the game -when they shoed up again in Hermanos you just knew something ominous was impending-, leaving Walt's whole family -and Mike- out of the game, using the not-so-hidden plot device, something Gilligan has never done before. I get the feeling they played too safe this time.
And the happy ending for Walt was schocking, thinking that this could have been the show's finale. I feel like I've always watched another show.
I think it is very good that a show can produce reactions like this. I think I was quite invested in Walt, and I feel almost personally hurt by what he has done. But that it is so shocking, is a great tribute to the show. I still believe Walt loves Jesse. When he came to rescue him, killing everyone in his way, that was wonderful. I don't think Jesse is just a pawn, but I think Walt feels justified (quite wrongly) in manipulating him 'for his own good'. It's an interesting examination of what we owe to the people we love, I think.