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"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Two copies."

 

Best joke ever.

Ha!

"I'm not big on movies" or whatever the follow-up was exactly, from the wonderfully-cast Robert Forster. Love him.

 

I thought it was a superb episode tonight.

I'm a little scared at how much is left hanging for the final episode, though.

 

The scene at the end with Gray Matter co-founders and Charlie Rose made this clear enough for Walt : when you run away from something, by default you surrender all power to present your narrative to the world and you leave it in the uncharitable hands of your enemies. To me, this was Walt's anguish at the bar and the epiphany he needed to propel him to make it right (even by force) in the finale. I still do not view Walt as a monster. He is more than the sum total of all his bad choices. 

Edited by Greg P

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Two copies."

 

Best joke ever.

Ha!

"I'm not big on movies" or whatever the follow-up was exactly, from the wonderfully-cast Robert Forster. Love him.

 

It's a movie about dying gracefully, which makes it the polar opposite of BB, obviously.

 

I thought the episode was a bit of a letdown after everything that happened last week, but at the same time, we needed a quieter episode to reset and gear up for the finale.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I found the Elliot/Gretchen call-back perfect, because even when he was Mr. Chips in Season 1, Walt was an arrogant and angry man and they were his reason/target.

 

(Warrants mentioning: As the pilot notes, WW possesses Nobel-level science chops. Many of us have exuded more arrogance for much less accomplishment.)

 

Edit to add: Perfect casting for Saul's guy. I bet with one or two hints, most of us could have guessed it.

Edited by J. Henry Waugh
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So that's what Max Cherry, bail bondsman, ends up doing. 

 

(I thought this was a great episode).

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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sniff...

:(

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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It was about as fine a finale as you're ever gonna see, imo. Really masterful, right down to the final seconds. A few highlights:

 

Badger and Skinny Pete-- the finest hitmen west of the Mississippi! Perhaps the only happy moment in an episode filled with a palpable sense of dread and doom from the first frame

 

The scene with Walt and Skylar's closure was absolutely devastating. So hard to watch. But the toughest emotional punch for me was the scene immediately afterward, where Walt watches Jr. as he comes home from school. For them there will be no closure. Walt's helplessness as he watches his handicapped son enter the crappy little apartment, the damage done as a result of his selfishness, the wounds and misunderstanding that will never be healed, his ultimate resignation as he watches from behind a window (nice touch)... Tough, tough scene. 

 

I thought the final blood bath at the nazi compound worked as expected, but found Walt's final scrambling to get Jesse in the room before they executed him, to be the evening's biggest stretch. Jack putting the brakes on his demise by arguing "Are you calling me a liar?" just didn't seem plausible. Nevertheless, the sentry gun judgement was wickedly gratifying as was Jesse's strangling of the season's most despicable character, Todd. Then the phone call from Lydia? Perfect!

 

Also... the Walt/Jesse struggle was resolved wonderfully. Walt not only sprung Jesse from meth lab slavery, he took a bullet for him... and in the end Jesse's decision not to kill Walt showed that he'd finally broken free from Walt's control. As per Jonathan Bank's comment afterward on Talking Bad about Jesse going straight to see Brock, it might've been a nice touch to flash forward at the end, even for a second to show Jesse or Walt Jr..  

Edited by Greg P

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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I agree with pretty much everything in Andy Greenwald's recap for Grantland.

 

 

I don't know if "Felina" let Walt off too easy — I mean, he did

die — but maybe it was too easy on us. In its final weeks, Breaking Bad had dipped its toes into the kind of muddy water nearly all popular entertainment does its best to avoid: one in which sentimentality and preexisting notions of justice played no part, one where breaking bad itself is an impossibility since everything was already so irreparably broken. And its audience was, for the most part, ready to dive right in with it and splash around. Instead, in the final hour, the show stayed high and dry, allowing Walt to pull off the happiest of all possible endings for himself. Like a critic, he was able to swoop in and point out his own failings. His final conversation with Skyler was magnificently staged and played, but it felt jarring to hear Walt say the words that those of us on this side of the screen had been repeating for months: "I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was ... alive." This level of self-awareness, like the teary good-bye to a sleeping baby Holly, struck me as undeserved.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I find myself wanting to disagree with the Nussbaum camp, which essentially says that the second half of the finale was too tidy, too clean, too satisfying, etc. The final 15 minutes plays out like most of the series: WW executing a successfully devised concoction and enjoying the satisfaction of his imagination coming to fruition--however messily. Walt's breaking bad has been Walt's "do it yourself" project--it's the thing that made him feel "alive," but his self-enclosed purposes meant that these successes were little deaths along the way of WW's soul. The last fifteen minutes is that irony played to its final note.

The self-awareness issue is something a bit different to consider, but I think lately WW has had a few awareness-inducing moments, but the key is that he's persisted anyway--his only response is to alter the plan as necessary because he's still operating within the confinements of his narcissistic imagination. Self-awareness--maybe a little bit--but I don't know how sorry he is. And I think the musical choices in the final scene, along with the second-to-last shot of his reflection, says it all.

There's nothing "tidy" about Walt's scene with Holly or watching Jr. from afar. And WW sure wishes Jesse would just take his life--but that's not going according to plan. Jesse's words are powerful: do it yourself.

Edited by Nick Olson

"What is inside is also outside." -Goethe via Merleau-Ponty, in conclusion to the latter's one extended rumination on film
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I'm fairly mixed. Compared to where this last, excellent run of episodes was leading (the complete, humiliating end fruits of Walt's pride) I felt that the Nazi-massacre, Lydia's poisoning, intimidating Gretchen and Elliott, etc played too much to the Team Walt crowd. The wages of sin is death but damn if he isn't going to kick ass one more time.

Edited by Nathan Douglas
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Did Walt know about

Lydia's daughter? I think the only scene with her was when Mike went to Lydia's house and threatened to kill her.

I wonder if that could have affected how that storyline ended. In a way, it's similar to the Nazis killing Andrea and leaving Brock behind, except that Walt wasn't out for extortion--just tying up loose ends and revenge.

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I finally read the Emily Nussbaum "Dream theory" essay (don't think we've linked to it on here before) after finding this Grantland post about it, and although I don't agree with the theory in the sense that it's what Gilligan and co. were going for, I do think it's an infinitely more satisfying end to the show. As it is, the standard interpretation (that it all really happened the way it appeared to) feels like the "love conquers all" ending of Brazil.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I have only read a few posts in the thread, just about the last four episodes. T'hajolii or however it was spelled was such a gut-churning episode that I didn't sleep well the night I saw it and couldn't bear to watch Ozymandias until a week or so later. If you've seen the show you'll know what I mean. I can't think of better television than this--I don't have HBO so maybe something they air is stronger, but as a whole, I am just overtaken by how well-done Breaking Bad is.

Walter White was such a character where I could sympathize and loathe all at once—such a fool and yet so driven to excellence, and Cranston does such an amazing job in transforming him over the years into a compelling and tragic figure. As far as the redemptive conversation goes, I don't see much of it. All that White states that he is setting out to do, he does the opposite. Does Felina let him off the hook of justice? Possibly--but it also leaves him cold and empty, surrounded by the only thing that he truly loved and that which destroyed him.

My one quibble: nobody gets up from an M-60 hit. Strained credibility.

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There's going to be a Spanish-language remake, Metástasis, on Univsion. "Diego Trujillo (El Capo, A Corazón Abierto) fills Bryan Cranston's shoes as Walter Blanco, while Roberto Urbina (Che: Part 1, Correo de Inocentes) will play Jose Miguel Rosas, the accomplice role that's won Aaron Paul two Emmys. Sandra Reyes and Julián Arango also star."

 

Here's the trailer for this remake.

 

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Here's the first (incredibly short, as in only 9 seconds) trailer for the spinoff series, Better Call Saul...

 

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/videos/wisecracking-bad-the-first-better-call-saul-teaser-is-here-20140811

 

We have a Better Call Saul dedicated thread, by the way.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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