Breaking Bad

This comes late, but I just happened to be thinking about it.

So I loved Breaking Bad. I really loved it. I completely identified with Walt in the beginning, as I think I was supposed to. And I eventually came to loath him, as I think I was supposed to. In fact, the last episode (I’ll get to that in a minute) basically told me to loath him. And that all makes sense. I am introduced to a nebbish, who fortune shits on. And slowly he gains a measure of control of his life. I cheered him on, despite my misgivings because fundamentally he doesn’t seem bad. A facilitator of badness, but not intrinsically bad.

As time goes on, as Walt passes up opportunity after opportunity to gracefully exit the meth cooking game, what made him so likable and understandable and such an underdog starts to fall away. Here’s where I think me and a lot of other fans of the show part ways. I saw a guy make the leap from plucky underdog to violent, selfish control-freak criminal. One who couldn’t even establish a successful ongoing criminal enterprise because of his greed and self centeredness. It seems like a large number of people never stopped seeing him as the underdog, never stopped rooting for him to get his fair share, or something. All while he got his share and more. And became a murderer in the mean time. And let’s be clear, eventually, he was killing purely for his own gain, not to protect himself or his family.

I haven’t read any interviews with the creators but I have to think they wanted people to see him as I eventually came to see him. Why else include the scene in the final episode where he admits it wasn’t about his family. They tell us why he because what he did, for purely selfish reason. He LIKED being a violent murderous criminal that was feared.

Speaking of that last episode. BLEEEECH! Really, every thing ends up all tidy in a nice neat bow and Walt gets to die on his terms? Gross. Really it was a gross ending. I felt so let down by the show. It was as if they’d given up and just gave us what amounted to a fairytale ending (to the extent that a show about a meth cook can have a fairytale ending, which I admit is not that much). Bad guys killed bloodily? Check! Family gets the money? Check! Jesse set free? Check! Walt’s last moments in his precious lab? Checkaroo!

So I’ve decided that Norm MacDonald is right. He said on twitter that he thought the whole ending was just the final thought os a dying man, a la “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce. Norm thinks that Walt died in the car from the cancer, surrounded by police guns drawn. The keys dropping into his hand are the start of the fevered last moments of his brain playing out a final fantasy. Read his tweets from around Oct 2 and you’ll see it all makes sense. A few higlights: Walter walks in and out of heavily guarded homes with zero difficulty, but we don’t see how. He managed to get ricin into a sealed Stevia packet. He calmly built a remote controlled murder machine and mounted it in a car trunk in a day.

This interpretation makes an unbelievable amount of sense and lets me not think badly of Vince Gilligan. So I choose it. And you should too.

Alias

I started watching the first season Alias a week ago. I got it because I need to supplement my viewing material during workouts. Tivo can only work so hard and I’ve increased my time on the bike to an hour at least.

I’d been hearing about this show since it debuted.  A lot of people whose opinions I respect, and who like the same sort of stuff I like, had been raving about it. That was a while ago, the show has been off the air for over a year. It lasted 5 seasons, a pretty good run for a show that was never a major part of pop culture. I saw the first season at Borders recently at a steep discount, so I picked it up.

I am so smart! What a great show. I’ve watched about 6 episodes and the time flies when it’s on. The basic story is that she’s a spy, recruited in college by SD6, what she thinks is a branch of the CIA but is in fact a sort of NGO of spying. They kill her fiance, she becomes a double agent, finds out dad is a double agent too, and then tries to bring down the organization from within. All while discovering the truth about her past. The usual.

The success of the show with me hinges entirely on Jennifer Garner. First, she’s utterly gorgeous to look at. A true beauty in every way. Second, a pretty damn good actress. She’s convincing, even when the action is pretty unbelievable, she pulls it off with real emotion. Third, what a looker! And forth, she’s a grade A action hero. If this show is anything to go by, she could easily become the newest action hero of our time. And lastly, man what a babe!

There’s a remake of The Bionic Woman new this season, and I’ve been watching it. It’s not bad, but I don’t think it’s doing great in the ratings, and can see why. There’s just no hook. It does a few things well, but not great. What I realize is that this incarnation of The Bionic Woman is trying desperately to be the new Alias, and failing. In large part because of the actresses involved. Both shows are working the spy angle and the hot chick angle and the mysterious past, but one works and one doesn’t.

I have a coupon for Borders for tomorrow and Tuesday only. I’m gonna get the rest of the seasons of Alias.

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