We’re at fever pitch around here, ready for tomorrow night. Phone lines and digital waves are burning between me & my adult kids who watch it, the playlist is loud and steady:
This is one of my favorite parts of this house – the very mod sound system – that works fantastically.
There are speakers in every room on this floor and I can be retro and hipster at the same time (or are they the same??) as I plug my Ipad into it and listen to Breaking Bad tunes as we fix a marble pound cake (for some reason. Just seemed like a good idea. It’s raining off and on today. No pool.)
(Now Playing: This one.)
Discussion of the question in the title after the jump:
We’ve got 16 episodes left, spread over a little more than a year. The show is about a man whose physical cancer went into remission but whose choices invited cancer into his soul.
What’s going to happen? Who knows..but I just want to play with the notion that’s out there that the show only makes sense, morally and artistically, if Walter White dies at the end, maybe at the hands of his DEA brother-in-law Hank. Justice and all that.
I don’t agree.
I think the the most effective ending from a moral and artistic standpoint is that if someone else dies because of Walter’s actions.
Perhaps his own son.
Or Jesse – that would actually make the most sense.
Yeah, from the standpoint of human justice, we need that Walt-Hank confrontation and for Walt to suffer for it.
But looking at the thing metaphysically, is that ever enough?
Because when even the most profound human justice and/or retribution has been achieved..the effects of the sin linger, fester, and grow into the next generation. That moment of “justice” does little to right the Big Wrong.
To understand that -for the sinner to understand that at the core of his soul, it’s only confronting the suffering that we’ve caused, and experiencing the wrenching realization of consequences – we have to see that suffering, and not be able to close our eyes.
It’s the only way we can really, really see.
So why Jesse? Because that’s what the series is about – and it’s so amazing since Jesse was supposed to be killed off in the first season. But as I said before, the resonance given to this narrative by the continuing corrosive effect of Mr. White on Jesse is profound. Something I rewatched this week just highlighted that even more.
I watched Full Measure (last ep of season 3) and Box Cutter (first of season 4) back-to-back. Like a movie. Because no one’s making good movies anymore, anyway. While in the original viewing they were separated by over a year, in narrative time, the events all occur on the same night.
And what happens (in simplest form) is that Jesse – who is no angel, but still has a tiny flame of conscience – begs, pleads, cajoles and tries to reason with Walter White that the “only solution” he in insisting on is really not so – that there must be another way. Those ways involve sacrifice and risk, but they don’t involve the cold-blooded killing of another human being. Circumstances spiral downward (as they do) and the killing happens – and Jesse is the one who commits the act – not exactly of his own free will, since he was drug-addled and manipulated into it by Walt.
The next episode, the events of which happen hours after the last, we see Jesse again – he barely says a word the entire episode. He slouches, glassy-eyed, in a state of shock, focusing, not on the moment but on the memory of what he’s done. His gaze is only shaken by another brutal act occurring three feet in front of his face, and the eyes shift from almost catatonic to horrified to understanding, as he meets the gaze of Gustavo, who committed this other act. He understands a lot now, Jesse does. He understands that this is who he is, too, now.
And Walt just keeps talking and talking and talking and trying to preserve his own skin, above all…no matter who has to do the dirty work for him and how it effects them.
To the very end, he’ll just keep talking, no matter what happens right in front of him, no matter what damage he brings into the world, he’ll just keep talking, talking, talking, trying to save himself.
So that’s why I think…someone else has to die for Walt’s sins.
That might shut him up.
Because that’s the way it goes.