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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unraveling 5x14 "Ozymandias" (i.e. "...and despair")

I mean, no matter how well I explain it these days, she just has this This I mean, I truly believe there exists some combination of words.
There must exist certain words in a certain specific order that would explain all of this, but with her, I just I just can't ever seem to find them.
-Walter White, 3x10 "Fly"
*Brandishes Knife* Don't say another word.
-Skylar White, 5x14 "Ozymandias"

"I'm Just Kidding!" More to come...

Whatever can be said about tonight's 'Breaking Bad,' whatever words can be written, they won't do justice to this hour of television, which is without a doubt the hardest episode of TV I've ever watched. Every time you thought things couldn't get worse, they did. Every time you thought the lowest point had been reached, it hadn't been. There was more. It kept coming. It kept finding new ways to be mind-bendingly, soul-churningly devastating. ... So that was stomach-turning to witness, even as I could appreciate that the first third or so of 'Ozymandias' was one of the most well-written, well-directed and seamlessly edited things I've ever seen
                   -Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all
-Hamlet, Hamlet, Act III, Scene i

I want to investigate the Cousins. 

Wait...after all that just exploded into dust....I'm gonna start out with...the Cousins....? Maybe I'm nuts, but I never (

When Hank crawled toward the shotgun, in the post-cold-open cold open (one o my friend's theories was that the lack of opening intertitles during the first post-credit sequence was to not have words distract from the intensity of the moment...while likely true, Rian Johnson is a saavy enough stylistic, and writer Moira Beckett enough of a brilliant dramtist, that I think there's more going on here...I may get back to this...), it intentionally echoes the moment at the end of "One Minute" (3x07) when Hank gets the death bullet in, just in the nick of time.

When Gilligan and others discussed that sequence with the Counsin Confrontation, he admitted that the writers saw both Hank and the Cousins as expendable at that point, so the intensity of the sequence comes from not knowing who will come out on top. Hank squeaked out a heroic last minute victory against his opponents before, but there is no more room for extreme nobility in the hellscape which the final acts have conjured.

Both the audience and the characters know that there is no escape for Hank, but false hope still persists. The show has no interest in coddling its viewers, this will not be a happy ending, even if artistically it is a euphoric masterpiece of hopeful beauty.

I actually didn't think they would give Hank the awesome last words they did (how opposite is Hank's stoic and ballsy approach to the face of death, compared to the type of cornered-animal behaviors we've seen from Walt over the seasons; especially the desperate play we saw him make when Mike had him dead-to-rights at the end of "Full Measure" (3x13)). 

It seemed like Jack didn't want to waste any time. Similar to the echo-framing that occured when he executes Declan in the end of "Buried," Uncle Neo-Nazi walks up to Hank like )a moment that had, until the 4th and 5th season, been the show's most iconic moment of "take-your-breath-away What-The-Fuck!!!-ary"

Since Walt furiously reminded Jesse of this "...Run" moment during their phone conversation at the tail end of the previous episode, so the audience has been primed to have that moment in the back-of-their-head as they watch this breathless sequence play out (

Have to give this episode's "Unraveling" a rest for now. Before I start raving about the nuances of Breaking Bad's finest hour...some contemplation and a rewatch (...or two...or five) these coming weeks will likely clear out the creative juices. 

Todd's twisted and cruel twists of Jesse's cruel fates was pretty insane and one of the episodes many moments of overwhelming bleak dark sublimity. To tie things back into the Cousins, keep in mind that the fate Jesse is living/dying through echoes waaaaay . Even the house of the Native American (...I'll definitely get back to this, whenever I rouse myself to write a post which lasers in on Breaking Bad's abundant influences from the Western genre...or something).  

Oh, I have a feeling the worst is yet to come; though I can see the potential for black vaudevillian gold between Mr. White's surrogate sons, based on how these two interact in the bigot's bizarro "Superlab".

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