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Recent Comments

Re: “How Breaking Bad redeemed its worst mistakes

I enjoyed your interpretation of events and I agree that Marie´s initial foray into shoplifting was odd and ill-conceived, but the later scenes redeemed that. I´d also agree that the cousins were far too over-the-top and that writing them out early was a good idea. I never liked the Tuco character for the same reason, and I was happy to be rid of a villain who was essentially a cartoon. A psychopathic Yosemite Sam.
But I´d offer a different read on the plane crash if you will. One of Breaking Bad´s weak points is that it rarely if ever acknowledges the destruction Walt´s blue meth has likely caused in the world. The death of Jane and the plane crash is a metaphor for all that. Walt let´s Jane die of a drug overdose because it´s convenient for Walt. Sure, she´s a human being and a drug addict, but it´s easier to have her out of the picture. Walt *benefits* directly from Jane´s suffering and death. There are repercussions, and Walt is mostly blithely unaware of them or the effect he has until *after* the plane crash. It is then and only then that Walt realizes that Jane´s death caused her father´s depression, resulting in the plane crash. It is in some karmic way Walt´s fault. All of this is a long and detailed allusion to Walt´s blue meth.
Jane, like all of the addicts on Walt´s blue meth, are victims of Walt´s desire to make money. Walt knows what meth can do, and he literally watches Jane die, but Jane´s death is like the addiction of suffering of Walt´s blue meth-heads: necessary to benefit Walt´s needs. Walt might feel a momentary twinge of guilt if he bothers to think about it, but ultimately he doesn´t really care as long as Walt gets what Walt wants. And so Walt goes on cooking, oblivious to the pain and suffering his drugs are causing. He is tearing down lives through his choice to make meth, just as he´s torn apart Jane´s father and Jesse with his choice to let Jane die. But suffering and pain have repercussions, and Walt literally sees this when the planes collide directly over his home, a karmic notice from the universe that Walt´s evil choices have unintended (but predictable) consequences. Just as Walt´s meth is leaving victims and emotional devastation all over ABQ, Jane´s death leads to a plane crash raining death and suffering all over ABQ. There´s even a wide shot of evidence and body parts littered about the neighborhood, fires and smoke smoldering in the distance. This is a metaphor, and a not too subtle one, for the effect Walt´s choices have on everyone around him.
Walt´s drug dealing has consequences. Breaking Bad rarely acknowledges this, but season two is designed around making his actions and their consequences explicitly clear. And Walt´s pathetic speech at the school assembly, his inability to burn his money or take his own life vs the semi truck, is a way of depicting how disconnected and ambivalent Walt, and by extension the audience, is to the dangers of Walt´s Breaking Bad.

20 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by jacklaughing on 09/24/2013 at 7:03 PM

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