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Breaking Bad Season 5: Say hello to my little friend - The Ex-Communicator

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July 30th, 2012

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10:58 am - Breaking Bad Season 5: Say hello to my little friend
My daughter was the same age as Harry Potter as the books were released, which was great. Now I am the same age as Walter White. Next weekend we both have the same birthday. Also, he's going freelance because his last job didn't work out so well :-)

I identify with Walt quite a lot. But the trajectory of Breaking Bad is Walt becoming evil. That's not a spoiler, it's every single description of the show issued since Season 1 ('Mr Chips to Scarface'). That needs some emotional processing if you have identified with the character. Towards the end of the last season I was temporarily thrown off. I found the final episode quite difficult. I posted here that I didn't like it. In retrospect I was trying to fight against the current. Now with Season 5 I am relaxed and letting the current sweep me along. I was saying before about how women can fall into identifying with the internal life of men, because the internality of men is prioritised. Or it may just be that I am an atypical woman. In any case, I find my window into the show is inside Walt's head, which is sort of a nasty place to be, but very powerful.

I am also very invested in the Mr White/Jesse relationship. But - again - this is now a very uncomfortable and problematic place to be. It has become emotionally intimate and yet abusive. They will not have physical relations, of course, but Walt is abusing Jesse in parallel to the abuse of his own wife. It is the same horrible behaviour, in one case overtly sexual, and in the other case I think covertly so. Or perhaps better to say that it's overtly an abuse of love in both cases. Walt is no longer doing evil things for love, he is using love for evil, to stoke himself. He is like Satan in Paradise Lost, preferring to reign in hell. He lies and manipulates the two people he loves (loves?) to make them his exclusive dominion, and they both suffer and suffer. It is gorgeous and painful as a spectacle.

In episode 2 this was made clear. In two separate scenes Walt loomed up behind Jesse and Skyler, who face the camera. His head was off shot, and only his hands come onto them. They are distraught, he is smug, he thinks he possesses them. In Skyler's case you hear him unzipping his fly - gross. In Jesse's case you see Walt's hands coming into frame, pressing and kneading Jesse's shoulders. Jesse is crying, saying he is a bad person, he doesn't deserve Walt. It's almost literally sickening. It's like a case study of how love goes wrong, when you try to overpower the loved one it makes the relationship meaningless. And in episode 3 Walt deliberately destroyed Jesse's other emotional relationship, with the woman whose child he poisoned. Perhaps to remove a threat, or more likely to remove any rival to Walt in Jesse's heart.

Every person who threatens the one-to-one of Walt and Jesse gets killed. Season 2 - Jane loved Jesse. Season 3 - Gale loved Walt. Season 4 - Gus wanted to make Jesse his protege. Killed, killed, killed. This season however it is hard to think of anyone who will survive. Walt is watching Scarface on telly. He says to Skyler 'In this movie everyone dies!' He sounds pretty pumped about it. I think he would like a world where there are no people except those enthralled to him.

My only real complaint - the humour is getting a little muted now, because people like Saul are just too scared to make wisecracks any more. It breaks my heart to see him cringing before Walt, with his eyes downcast. That's what happens when you play Satan.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2012 09:06 am (UTC)
Like you I relate to Walt a lot and am very invested in the Mr White/Jesse relationship. I think it's the teacher in me!

I find Walt fascinating and so human, so real. he's become pretty unlikable, but his flaws and most horrible personality traits are precisely what makes him so human. It's juts such an honest portrait the writers and Cranston provide.
[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2012 09:19 am (UTC)
Interesting you mention teaching, because that is one of my main jobs I have done, that and writing, and I think they are both roles where you have to balance reaching into someone's head with respecting them and letting them make their own mind up. Walt has gone way wrong here.

In this recap in the Huffington Post the writer says "Not only is Walt a smirking, arrogant monster at this point, he feels he's above connections to anyone else... The thoughts he has about others center on his need to control them, to know that he dominates them, to know that he is the puppet-master of all he surveys."

it's a dramatisation of how being a mentor and father can go bad
[User Picture]
Date:August 1st, 2012 09:32 am (UTC)
it's a dramatisation of how being a mentor and father can go bad


There's also the fact that a teacher in his classroom is a king in his kingdom. You're the master, you've got the power, there is no "let's vote now". We are all potential dictators. Walter is no fit to be a company man, unlike Mike, he has to be the master. I wonder if this is the reason Grey Matter didn't work.

In a way, Walter always had the potential for the Heil The King! arc we are seeing now.

I love that show so much.

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