August 20, 2012

TPG's Chemistry Class: 5006 Buyout

"Breaking Bad' continued it's hot streak of being a way to end your weekend on an incredibly stressful and dark note. Doesn't really matter if you were at the beach all day frolicking or winning a Monopoly game, this show will still rope you into a sea of darkness and meth. But looking past that, we had another strong episode, albeit, one that was not my favorite of the season. So let's grab our wine glasses and pour ourselves a generous amount.

Meaning of Title - The "buyout" of the title is obviously the one that Jesse and Mike thought would provide them a clean exit. Of course it also refers to the Gray Matter buyout which was pretty enlightening peak into Walter's true psyche.

Acting - Not one real standout here, but I gotta say, I think Anna Gunn is a great actress, but she just can't hang with Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston. I mean in that dinner scene, they seemed so natural, and while she was good, I knew she was acting. Maybe some of readers who are actors can enlighten us in the comments section.

1. The opening sequence of the methodical destruction of the bike was one of the most disturbing sequences the show has ever done. Judging by the increasing destruction of the relationships between the group, it was clear that the bike getting dismantled was a visual metaphor for the partnership. On some real deep level though, it was pretty much a dismantling of their humanity, I mean after you kill a kid and destroy the evidence, there isn't really anything to go back to.

2. Hearing Todd call Walter Mr. White really jumped out at me for two reasons. It's obvious Todd is becoming the new Jesse in his eyes, at least in a business sense, but also about as close to "The Don" as we're gonna get to show us that Walter White is a true criminal genius/warlord in the traditional sense. Maybe that's a little too Reservoir Dogs, but you know what I mean.

3. As Walter descends into the dark depths of humanity, his environment is as well. Gone are the glitzy well lit labs and car-washes, instead we have the stark mechanical bare bones of the office, his muffled earth tones of his home, and the washed out dull houses he cooks in.

4. I don't even know why they even bother giving the rival drug cartel people names. Sure this guy is named Declan and he's cool, but no way this dude lives longer than 3 episodes.

5. MINOR MIND MELT - They keep talking about Jesse James this season and I'm starting to wonder if this prophetic for what's come down the pipe. Looking at the story, an eager new recruit came into Jesse's gang with a desire to prove himself. This man was Robert Ford, this man killed Jesse James. Am I suggesting that Todd is ultimately going to kill Walt? Yes, yes I am.

6. We've always known that Walt harbored some serious grudges over Gray Matter, but him coming clean to Jesse about it was one of his most honest moments yet. Remember that Walt has been jazzed off the meth cooking since the beginning; in the pilot alone he beat Walter Jr.'s tormentor and had serious passionate sex with his wife, oh how far we've come. He's craves recognition, and the dark side of recognition is notoriety.

The Dinner Scene - This will probably go down as one of the most epic scenes in the history of the show so I'm going close out escalating readings of this scene.

1. Jesse represents normal people. Skylar and Walt are both completely off the rails for a variety of reasons, but I mean just look at what's happening here. Jesse is the only one not drinking alcohol. He's also the only one eating.

2.  Jesse represents everything that has divided Walter & Skylar. The dude is wearing a shirt with a jagged lightning bolt on it!!! None of the White family's complications would have happened if Jesse hadn't been there to introduce schoolteacher Walter to the meth game.

3. Jesse is the real Walter Jr. He's always been some kind of surrogate son to Walter, and now at this scene he makes it official, of course in true Heisenberg fashion it's all manipulative bullshit to further his agenda.

4. Jesse represents humanity. Both Walter and Jesse has shown horrible things, but while one can't even work after seeing the news report about the boy, one of them merrily whistles. Skylar on the other hand, essentially sold her family off for money? Jesse, he's the moral core in the middle with the extremes on either side. After all he's the only one with the light on him. He's protected yo.

5. Jesse has an empty space across from him representing Mike/Hank/A Way Out.  Walter is tied to Skylar in this scene whether he likes it or not. Jesse, across from him, is the great wide open, getting away. Cause that's what we want right?

1 comment:

  1. Regarding Anna Gunn...

    The problem with her is that she has no idea what show she is in. This has been evident since Day One. Last night, I was thinking about how Vince Gilligan probably wanted to replace her after the first season, but didn't want to go all Soap Opera on us. In hindsight, he should have. The staggering amount of actresses that could have absolutely nailed Skylar is overwhelming. And we would be over the initial shock of a "Back to the Future with two different Jennifer's" after a few episodes.

    Anna's performance PUSHES. It ALWAYS PUSHES. Everyone else who has ever been on the show has found a disturbing middle ground of reality and hyper-reality that they have toed the line between. Anna Gunn has always been in the hyper-reality camp, but has never really been ingrained with any kind of believability. Everything is forced- from gestures to facial tics, to line delivery, to almost laughable portrayals of human emotions that other people would label as "scared" or "powerful." She never shows power, try as she may with the old actor-y standby of "A powerful person never screams, they whisper." And while this is true, Gunn isn't actually even capable of pulling this old trick off. And on top of that, the other actors don't actually seem to trust or respect her. In her scenes, they try to pick up the slack and are often pulled into her hornet's nest of campy trick-acting. Even Bryan Cranston fell victim to this last night with his completely forced "Empire" line. Naturally, the writing was a bit to blame for that one, but this coming from the man who pulled off "I am the danger," albeit also with Gunn, but no one was going to drag that moment away from Cranston.

    When a character is so wildly of a different acting style than the rest of the world he/she inhabits, this is a natural reaction for the other players. But it can go either way... In LOST, for example, when Michael Emerson came into the show, his acting was on another level- in a good way. And he brought everyone up with him for the rest of the ride. No way in hell is the acting better in LOST until he arrives. His hyper-reality, however, was ingrained in TRUTH. Anna Gunn's hyper-reality is ingrained in "acting" and "showing." She will never let a moment breathe- which is insane that she cannot trust the brilliance of this show to hold up the weight of silence and stillness without extra added posturing.

    Needless to say, Anna Gunn is wildly overmatched, it's ridiculous. The sooner they kill off this character and get her onto a CBS sitcom, the better.


    PS. Jesse James/Robert Ford makes sense, but I think that might be Mike that gets hammered by Todd. It would be so out of character for the show's mythic nature to have a small character recently introduced be the one to bring down the Sheik.

    PPS. Every second last night made me feel like the way Hank is going to find out Walt is involved is by getting all pissed about something, smashing his picture frame, and finding the bug. I'm almost certain of this.