"The thing is, if you just do stuff, and nothing happens, what's it all mean?"

Friday, August 16, 2013

Love and Compassion: this show?

Living is a dream
When you make it seem enchanted
Lovers take for granted
All the world's aglow, they ought to know

When you touch a star

Then you really are enchanted
Find a seed and plant it
Love will make it grow

It's really grand when you stand

Hand in hand with your lover
And thrill to the wonders of night

And days, too will amaze you

And soon you'll discover
Your dreams run to dreams
In continuous flight

Love is ecstasy

It's divine to be enchanted
When your dreams are slanted
Through a lover's eyes
-The Platters, "Enchanted," 2x11 "Mandala"

"I haven't been myself lately, but I love you. 
Nothing about that has changed, nothing ever will. 
So right now, what I need, is for you to climb down out of my ass. 
Can you do that? Will you do that for me, honey? 
Will you please, just once, get off my ass, you know? 
I'd appreciate it, I really would."
-Walter White, 1x02, "The Cat's in the Bag"

This fan-made YouTube montage is fittingly titled, "I killed her; I loved her" 

Question: aside from the above epigraphhow many times is the phrase "I love you" said throughout the series? How often is it genuine,


So, barely at all.

Now, how often do the characters show signs of affection and compassion? How often do you see the compassionate side of Walter squashed by the utilitarian Heisenberg, the devil on his shoulders and inside his head?
The moment of resolve: when we and Walt realize that love, even for "family," wouldn't squash his dark impulses. Walt becomes the Dark Phoenix

Family. Walt could have rationalized that he let Jane die because of his fatherly affections for Jesse, but as the aftermath exposes, this was a fools' logic; deep down he did it because Jane was a threat. How was she a threat? She could expose the truth, plain and simple. Is wasn't his family that would have been destroyed by her bluff, but his reputation. His pride. His ego. His control.

Maybe Walt temporarily saw her as another Tuco, someone who genuinely had it coming ("We tried to poison you because you are an insane, degenerate piece of filth and you deserve to die"

Admittingly, Jane-on-Heroin was pretty unlikable, but junk-makes-cowards-and-demons-of-us-all.

 (...the parallels between Holly and Jane, .

What kind of father--what type of man--let's somebody's daughter die so pitifully?

...No man, no man at all.

In the initial writing process of "Phoenix," Gilligan and Crew toyed around with the idea of having Walt directly inject Jane with a needle that would force her to overdose. That wasn't authentic to his character development at the time, and would have probably alienated fans and could have lead to a cancellation of the series, so thankfully they "put a pin in that." Fifth season Walt would have just had the Nazi-goons brutally kill (and likely rape) her. Then again, the No-Where-Man Walt wouldn't have even showed up there to help Jesse; the likelihood of their mutually-assured-drug-destruction would have been seen as a "problem taking care of itself.

The thing about the final scene in "Phoenix" that made it so indelible and sublime (until "Fly" and the Fourth and Fifth season, I didn't think the show would ever top the emotional and artistic resonance of "Phoenix;" but I guess it was able to rise from the ashes, more compelling and pathos-inducing than ever) was that letting Jane die wasn't a "Pro/Con" scheme of necessary evil, or even a thought-out choice. It was instinct. No scientific reason. (...this comes up later in 5x07, when Walt kills Mike purely out of pride, even though it's clearly the most reckless and self-endangering thing he could Walt is the most pathetic and vulnerable we ever see him as).

This moment of renouncing love is Walt's true point-of-no-return-sin; his Jane-moment would later resurface in Jesse's ultimate sin, the murder of Gale.
Here are the "criminal" characters that seemed most capable of genuine love and compassion...Mike, Gus, and mostly Jesse and Gale.

Gale loved the hell out of life. Jesse could see this in the soul glimpsed through their eye contact in the last scene of 3x13, which is why is was the most crushing thing he ever did. Jesse was (see the fan art in the Dramatis Personae page, for a great representation of this psychic fracturing).

Want some ocular proof of Gale's zeal and over abundant Love for Life...
For all the martyr symbolism attached to Jesse, Gale may have been the most authentic savior-figure 

Is Walter White, self-presumed savior of the dirty and impure meth game, capable of true love? For a man that presents himself as an all-knowing god, he seems more in line with blind Old testament wrath than agape. No, his idea of compassion is more like a-gaping hole in the fabric of decency.

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