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

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Unraveling 5x09: "Blood Money" (i.e. "Deja Vu, Huh...")

The more things change, the more they stay the same...
      -Cliche (the inanimate noun, not a name of some obscure French writer)

The Tao of the Epistemological-Odes

 (i.e. "if you want to get straight to the root meaning, and bypass these posts' core, twisty branches, robust and rotted leaves, and especially the unneeded-but-unavoidable's where you can come for some pith [ least the Bullet Points....wait, oh nooot really that relevatory a pun).

Alright, these will be statements that try to navigate the slippery slope between obnoxiously over-thinking-it and profound-realizations-that-a-step-by-step analysis or rambling-pontification just couldn't do.

I will definitely explain many of them once I get a chance to refresh, revisit, listen to others, and rewatch (and repeat...on regress!)
  • There is no escape from this.
  • Nothing could have ever really stopped the White Train: all that they, and us, can do now is watch the crash...we couldn't avert our eyes even if we wanted (we don't)
  • Many ghosts haunted the fabric of this "yarn," especially the resurrected iconography of Gustavo Fring!
  • Every action, every inaction, every word both said and unsaid, even an elusive sound, echoes in eternity.
  • Every composition, every indelible musical accompaniment, every structural choice, every choice and past moment and future moment and no moment, reflects into a shattered spectrum through a hall of cracked mirrors. 
  • The road to the realization of the self and the other, leads to a surge of regressive denial and acceptance that eventually causes a cognitive dissonance in which your car ( my friend and fellow madman Nick Bacon could show you, in the univers ) crashes.
  • Lydia, the quality of the blue is inferior most likely because Todd and the Skinhead crew don't know what they're doing. 
    • while this possible scenario doesn't jibe with Lyd's definition of a "best-laid-plan," it certainly reifies the metaphor of Walter's Great White "Hopes." More to come in the Crucial Threads about race and class and all that geopolitcal/existential fun stuff!
  • To figure out the way to truth (I mean, Hank always knew, he was just spun about by the hands of fate and blinded by his own good-naturedness) just need a spacious man-cave, a.
  • The road to recovery often leads to a psychotic freak-out in which you drive reckless and toss stacks of cash at the fragmentary echoes of all previous places where-you-tried-to-do-right-but-witnessed-sin (...oh Jesse, there's a better path toward renouncing your material me...)
If You and I (each "other") don't know what this post is about...then we better tread lightly; and I will do my best to "Thread" not-so-hardly...oh, if only this sloppy and always "looming" business could be as simple as art itself....
Mind blowery

Path I Took

Gut Reactions; Pre-(necessary evil)-rambling remarks and free wheelin' observations, some elusive attempt at plot summary 

My audible utterances during the show: 

(I try to stay completely quiet, especially watching it with friends and fellow fanatics....really): hehehehehehe, sick....ooooo....oh no, a ha....real...oh, wait....pfffft...pfffffft...hahahahah....oh, man....YES!...nice.....niiiiiiiice..... then stoned silence for a while.

What it felt like:

I usually only get the "take-your-breath-away" affect from sublime landscapes that exist in my actual spatial reality. This was the first time I had that feeling when watching a TV show. I reme

So yeah, it felt like that could have been the final episode, and I still would have seen the whole series as perfect (not just thematic, but the audience really is given a lot (the writing of what happened is literally on the walls).

I also feel like it is already my favorite episode they've ever put together. I have a feeling I may feel this way each week from now until....

INSERT SHOT FROM COLD OPEN HERE would have been a postmodern mindfuck akin to the end of Infinite Jest or the book/film No Country for Old Men

Plot Summary (?)

Hey, guess what. All it takes is an insignificant spark to set off a chemical reaction long in the making...the show is evolving before our eyes. Reviewers can't do what they did last half and force conventional schemas of realism. This played out as art-entertainment of the highest order. I was speechless after the final shot (you know, the one after Walt threatens to murder Hank, doing a symbolic (to use a televisual analogy, here's an equivalent sequence from my second most-obsessed-with ...depending on how long my string of under-employment lasts, there may be a "The Meaning of Trigun is also the Meaning of Life" sibling-site on the vaguest of well-meant horizons!)

This episode was also mainly about the uneasy road to recovery. Everyone seemed to be in a disoriented state of either sobering up to harsh realities, or attemptiong to  (even if their specific vices have changed, the mentalities of a deceptive-drug-addict (why do you think Gus made such a big stink about... " addict,:

Primary Tao (the episode's "catalyzer"):

.... one sentence that brings back into unity all the tactics of art-dissection..... 

To take the initial advertising mantra from Shawn Ryan's The Shield (as I might eventually get to, Breaking Bad is indebted to The Shield more than any of the other "ground-breaking-tube-viewing." Shawn Ryan and company's pithy advertising mantra was, "The Road to Justice is Twisted." So, for this epistemological-ode, the P.T. would be:

  • The Intertwining Paths to Karmic Justice are entangled.

Misc. Hits and Misses

Here are some pictures that may elucidate the arduous yet exhilarating BB hole I submerged myself in today:
I really wanted to just live through the astounding atmosphere and delicious rubix-cube mirror logic of episode 5x09, but I desperately needed to jot down stuff once Walt says "Deja Vu, Huh..."  if I wanted to get stuff down and not forget all my impressions. This match-book was closest at hand....
Once I realized that the mid-episode (I have to double-check, but I'd bet this scene occurs in the exact middle of the episode). The closest thing I could find to write on was this (sorry Edwin Lew...), I found the unintended metaphor chuckle-able
...I tried to jot down stuff during the commercial breaks...
...but the formulas got a little unruly.

The Name of the Rose 

(i.e. explaining the title and getting down to serious business):

Blood Money

Well I'm grinding my life out, steady and sure 
Nothing more wretched than what I must endure 
I'm drenched in the light that shines from the sun 
I could stone you to death for the wrongs that you done 
Sooner or later you make a mistake, 
I'll put you in a chain that you never will break 
Legs and arms and body and bone 
I pay in blood, but not my own 

                            -Bob Dylan, "Pay in Blood," Tempest

The first "outside" song that I thought I'd get clever with; kind of parallels Jesse and Saul

If you just watched the episode I just watched, I figure I won't have to point out how the above blog-bastardized-epigraph(ic)s relate to the themes of this specific episode (hmmmm, maybe a good and authentic play on words really is to refer to "episodes" of BB as epistemological-odes...?]. I may end up hyper-linking some silly little "foot-note" later on, just to cover all the bases of the "mission statement."

But for now, just know that after I actually listened to the lyrics after just arbitrarily pasting the text in, I discover that there is an eerie amount of seemingly unintended intertextuality between Breaking Bad's exhilarating celebration of the abyss and Dylan's latest (and likely last) album.

Both Tempest/Bob Dylan and BB/Vince Gilligan subvert and adhere to the mythology of The Bible, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce...I really believe this! While I'm testing the limits of proper paranoia, am I the only one here that is also spooked by how similar sounding their last names are?

What Does The (i.e "Insert quote from episode") Mean?

Deja Vu.... Trust me on this, the following will make the case LOUD AND CLEAR (....though, as you may see, not as loud-and-clear as the loud-and-unclear-sounds that weave throughout 5x09
images...across numerous episodes...across every season...ESPECIALLY THE PILOT...yup, BB episode 5x09 totally pulled a Third Season Arrested Development structural-mirror-switcheroo...the type of device that draws stark att (...see Wikipedia page on Gestalt theories....I'm not hyperlinking that now)
Here's another example I find pretty clutch! LYDIA AND COFFEE...WALTER BACK AT THE BEGINNING...BUT NO.

This shows the kind of stuff the cats over at the AV Club have been getting at, the shows aesthetic works so well because it (for a interesting take on these type of "spectation" check out Chris Hager's undergraduate thesis for a different perspective on the same types of questions Breaking Bad necessitates...this is a personal hyperlink, as well; since the

Cold Opening and Fiery Finale 

One of my old friends was talking to me about the three years he was a cocaine addict in high school. He despised the mentality and culture of hardcore drug junkies. He, in a poetical fashion, once told me that the best way to summarize a coke-junkie is that they get caught up in a state of "lying about lying." This never made sense to me...until I saw Walt's performances in this episode. Even his final

Was is just me, or....after taking aside the sublime ecstasy of the opening sequence...did anyone get the feeling that Ralph Edwards was going to come out the crawl space and say, "Walter White, this is yoooour liiife!" And then Ralph would take Walt on a symbolic and performative journey through the pivotal parts of his life! That was actually kind of what happened, wasn't it?

The opening shot cements that this will be the most Symbolic Season of Television Ever Presented! 

I'm referring to the future-present Walt as "No-Where Man."

Funny, current-in-the-shows-main-timeline Walt is, as Marie jokingly says, "the devil." 52 year old Walter strikes me as the most fallen-yet-still-trying-to-finally-get-one-final-shot-to-do-something-recklessly-decent

The final shot is this....

Profound Photography

....soon, this is gonna take a hot minute or hundred....

Musical Overtures and Undertures

----do do dooo do doo doo do do dooo dod do

Dramatis Personae 

Moments in which the stars shine brightly against the darkness, or have their light enveloped by the expanding event horizon of Heisenberg's black hole (...sounds cultist and psychosexual....umm, Vince and Crew probably didn't intend that interpretation...but...maybe?)


Jesus Christ, Hank (...not "Jesus Christ, Marie"...but that too, I guess...). I get you buddy. Want to know how. Here's Hank's work  station....

Here's a spookily similar scene (oh, the commonalities of us Ahab-types...wait, is this "White" Whale an honest depiction of mankind's mortal nemesis....shit, I'll get back to ya on that one) from my own life

 That was the work-station I'd been using all Sunday, in a fury of disorientated analysis...trying to at least figure out "who dun it" in the whole "meaning of Breaking Bad" query. I'm still flustered (like Hank, I just needed a garage door to close, leaving me and the "accused" alone...then I can get to the point


Oh Jesse, you ugly beautiful bastard (literally, in this episode, symbolically)


Saul was at his swarmiest this episode (though, to be fair, based on the life he's lead and the people he ingratiates himself with and the clientele he serves and observes on a daily basis, I can't blame him for not understanding Jesse's attempt at karmic justice).

Walt Jr.

Not promoted to end of things pantheon quite yet, but I have faith it will happen. Walt Jr. has to be used for something. It may seem like a forced sacrifice of a pawn; but that may have been the intent behind Walt Jr.'s passivity to begin with (...or at least, Gilligan and Crew did some fancy hand-work and used their stellar power of self-correcting narrative-revisioning to make it seem that way, at the point of 5x09.

For now, there's still a good old call back to the obsessive quality that defines Junior:

The Spectres:


Still dead, but still finding ways to kick Walt's ass and continue to maintain quality control of Walt's evil products, and to help orient the moral compasses of his fellow fallen angels.


Oh Gus, Walt may not be consciously reflecting on how the tactics he used to usurp you ended up bringing him to his demonic knees, but the Fritz Langian expressionist shots sure make the astute viewer aware.


I could make specific guesses, but I'd most definitely be off. At this point, I think that Vince and Crew have already thought about what even-the-most-perceptive-viewer may expect, and
will subvert and twist the hows and whens into something elusive and thrilling. Though, as the Dramatis Personae section is beginning to tease through, it's safe to assume that "...nobody wins." No question there will be further from the Hank and Walt "falling out," but the next episode will likely start to introduce and reintroduce more shadows of Walt's past, ready to unleash the onslaught of karmic justice that puts him into the No-Where-Man zone of the future.

So yeah, there is still a pluri-potent (i.e. shit load) of meaning and observations to be made by the potency of the plural! Feel free to contribute, even if the discussion is still incomplete (it most certainly always will be...most likely). Any stray observation, brutal critique, or...these posts don't bite, and its not like we're crammed into the confines of a symbolic domestic space, or anything!

Let's get weird(er)...


  1. dude, this blog is outta control.

  2. In the spirit of the Buddha, I assume you are giving both a critique and a compliment...?

    I'm clearly trying to dissolve boundaries, so have some fun, especially while the circus tent is still poppin.

    There's a "Lighter side" side section that I still haven't quite worked out. If you have any spare time to fritter online, that may be a good section for you to unleash some needed clownery....

    Thanks for treading the depths! It's only going to get worse/better.

    Anyway, damn that last episode kicked my ass (into gear) with awesomeness!