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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.16: Felina (Series Finale)
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Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 16 Felina Review

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 16 – “Felina”
Directed and written by Vince Gilligan
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 29, 2013

SPOILERS FOR THE BREAKING BAD SERIES FINALE. You’ve been warned.

“I did it for me…. I was alive.”

So much of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) Mr. Chips to Scarface journey has been caged with idea that Walter was doing everything for his family. It’s much like the idea that I highlighted a few weeks ago about his Batman-esque “no killing family rule” – the origin of Heisenberg in so many ways came from a place of gray morality for Walter, a justification that was the weakest of crutches as the show progressed.

As a viewer, it’s been clear to me for a while that Walter made every choice because he wanted to do so. And last night finally provided closure to all that.

It’s always been personal for Walt. It’s the thrill, the excitement, and because he was good at being bad.

...continue reading »
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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.15: Granite State
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Goodman   |  
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Breaking Bad Season 5.14 Granite State

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 15 – “Granite State”
Directed and written by Peter Gould
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 22, 2013

After all the predicting and guessing I’ve made, turns out the most simple reason of all is the reason behind Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) return to ABQ. Massive spoilers follow.

It’s not Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) or Skyler (Anna Gunn) or Walter Jr (RJ Mitte) that brings Walter White’s newly minted Mr. Lambert back to ABQ. In fact, it’s so much simpler than that. It’s the reason that Breaking Bad has explored for so long.

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.14: Ozymandias
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Goodman   |  
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Breaking Bad Season 5.14 Ozymandias

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 14 – “Ozymandias”
Directed by Rian Johnson
Written by Moira Walley-Beckett
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 15, 2013

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I got assigned Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias to read in high school and it very quickly became one of my favorite poems. As with most art, there are several interpretations one can take from its content, but the most frequent — and applicable one, to Breaking Bad at least — marks the loss of power, the decline of leaders, and how their “works” often fade.

Earlier this year, I felt that the AMC promo featuring Bryan Cranston reading Shelley’s poem was a little on the nose, but it did further cement the fact that everything is going to fall apart in the final eight episodes. But we already knew that things were going to end poorly — I keep coming back to the scene in “Hazard Pay” where Walt and Walt Jr (RJ Mitte) are watching Scarface – “Everyone dies in this, don’t they?” Yes, Walt. Yes they do.

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.13: To’hajiilee
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Goodman   |  
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Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 13 Review

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 13 – “To’hajiilee”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by George Mastras
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 8, 2013

Full-on spoilers for this week’s action-packed Breaking Bad are below. You’ve been warned.

In his mind, the only thing that kept Walter White (Bryan Cranston) from fully descending into hell was a Batman-esque, one-premise code: Family was off-limits. For so long, Jesse (Aaron Paul) was considered family that Walt could never imagine sending him to Belize. He fought hard and long to make sure that Jesse ended up safe, but after last week’s episode that rule was broken and all bets were off. Jesse has always been far smarter than anyone ever gave him credit for and uses this to his advantage. I was half right last week when I said that Jesse would come for Walt at the car wash. So much of Walt’s motivation to cook was always about the money. There’s no way all that green would disappear.

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.10: Buried
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Goodman   |  
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Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 10 Buried Review

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 10 – “Buried”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Thomas Schnauz
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air Date: August 18, 2013

What would you do if you were Skyler White?

Considering the fact that she acted for so long as a barrier for Heisenberg’s natural progression and evolution, I can understand much of the audience not being a Skyler White fan. It’s almost by design in that aspect, as we’re conditioned to not liking her character because she’s against our “hero.” At that early stage, it was mostly because she’s the one stopping Walter (Bryan Cranston) from becoming more a badass.

But there are so many moments in Breaking Bad episode “Buried” that remind me that Skyler White (Anna Gunn) is doing the best job that she possibly can. Like Skyler, Hank (Dean Norris) and Marie (Betsy Brandt) have been affected by Walt’s cancerous decisions, but they could claim ignorance and continue. Skyler isn’t as lucky, having taken a pledge to protect this family from the man who protects this family. She’s just as buried in the business as Walt is, a fact that Marie hauntingly came to realize in an incredible standout moment for these two sisters.

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.9: Blood Money
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Goodman   |  
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Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 9 Blood Money

As Breaking Bad begins its final run of episodes, we’ll be reveiwing the series as it comes to what will probably be a very bloody, intense, and exciting finale. Join us after the jump for analysis of Walter White’s final journey.

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 9 – “Blood Money”
Directed by Bryan Cranston
Written by Peter Gould
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, Charles Baker, and Matt Jones
AMC
Air Date: August 11, 2013

What has pride cost you?

Recently, it’s cost me about $10. I got mad at a former girlfriend over a stupid fight and decided to not put on sunscreen before heading into a college football game. It was all about pride, feeling that this was a way I could get back at her: by not letting her tell me what to do. So I ignored her words of advice and marched into the game, having felt that I’d won.

The $10 and the week I spent rubbing aloe-vera into my face told a different story.

I say all this to preface the fact that hubris can lead to lots of stupid decisions and damaging outcomes. In the case of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) pride, it’s certainly cost him a lot of things. However, this time around, it may cost him the most it’s ever cost.

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DVD Review: Neverwhere – 15th Anniversary Edition
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cGt2099   |  
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Neil GaimanNeil Gaiman’s Neverwhere: 15th Anniversary Edition
DVD
Directed by Dewi Humphreys
Written by Neil Gaiman
Created by Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry
Starring Gary Bakewell, Laura Fraser, Paterson Joseph, Hywel Bennett, Clive Russell, Trevor Peacock, Peter Capaldi, Tasmin Greig
BBC
Release Date: November 15, 2011

This year, the BBC celebrates the 15th anniversary of fan-favorite Neil Gaiman‘s first endeavor into the world of television series. In 1996, Gaiman had established himself as a solid writer of novels and comic series, and joining forces with the phenomenal Lenny Henry, created the world of Neverwhere – an almost-unseen domain lying beneath the city of London.

I may lose a little geek cred here, but prior to this year, I had limited exposure to Gaiman. I was a fan of his Alice Cooper comic for The Last Temptation CD in the 1990s, and had some mild awareness with Sandman, but that was it. Until this year: being a Doctor Who fan, it was inevitable, the Neil Gaiman-penned The Doctor’s Wife was a major highlight of the 2011 season.

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