The Anti-Climax

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The Sopranos is arguably the greatest television show of all time and has arguably the most controversial final scene of any television series.

At the core of The Sopranos’s final scene is the anti-climax.

The audience comes into the scene at Holsten’s expecting that something must happen to Tony. This is the last scene of a long-running mob show. Someone has to get shot or arrested.  But if look at the scene with no such expectation, you see it is a scene of a man sitting down to have a meal with his family. His daughter is late and some unknown man continues to stare at him before heading into the bathroom. Then the scene is over as he looks up. Fade to black.

What we have here is Act One of a story with no Act Two or Three. The normal world of Tony Soprano eating with his family and then a stranger appears. What does he have in store for Tony? Why does he continue to stare at him? Does he shoot Tony after leaving the bathroom? We will never get those answers. I do not have much interest in the answers to those questions. But I do have a very vested interest in the power of the Fade to Black and the lack of finite resolution.

David Chase could have given us three other endings here. He could have had the stranger in the Member’s Only jacket blow Tony’s brains out in front of his family for the shocking ending. He could have had the cops burst in and arrest Tony. He could have had Tony’s daughter park her car neatly, join her family and send the show off on a warm message.

But he chose none of those paths. Instead, Fade to Black as a door opens. The abruptness of the ending is what gives it its lasting appeal. The audience’s expectations are shattered and it is for the better of the show. Would anyone discuss the ending to this day if Tony were shot in the head? Or arrested? I know of people who dislike the ending and thought it was a middle finger to the fans.

But it was anything but that. David Chase rewarded his audience’s intelligence with an enriching ending. I found the ending to be reflective of how events pan out in life. Often times in life, we do not get the answers that we seek. Yet we can still be satisfied with what happened.

I do not think every story should have an ambiguous ending like The Sopranos. It requires a certain build-up. Those who paid attention to The Sopranos can see why it had to end the way it did. The abruptness of death is referenced throughout the final season.

There are lazy writers who write ambiguous endings because they don’t want to spend the time to figure out what the best ending for their story. They hide behind ambiguity and use it as a shield from criticism.

The anti-climatic ending can be a powerful story-telling tool in the right hands.

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Star Wars Episode 7: A New Hope (Spoilers)

I got around to seeing the new Star Wars. Thoughts and feelings below.

THE LIGHT SIDE

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The new design of the storm troopers was sleek. The opening shot with the First Order’s ship eclipsing Jakku was neat. John Boyega’s Finn stole this movie and gives me some hope for the future of this franchise. There were complaints about having a black storm trooper before this movie came out. I never thought storm troopers were one race. I’d assume there were black people in that universe. Eventually, one of them would want to be a storm trooper or be forced into being one.

I know for a fact that J.J. Abrams wanted these new Star Wars films to be more diverse. He mentioned it in interviews before Episode 7 came out. John Boyega as Finn is the good kind of diversity. They made a new character, cast a good actor, and wrote him well. There’s the other kind of diversity where they change old character’s races. An example of this would be Michael B. Jordan cast as Johnny Storm. I prefer making new characters over changing old ones to reflect our current feelings on diversity. I don’t want black Peter Parker, but I’m fine with Miles Morales.

Finn is the real bright spot of this movie. He has lots of flaws. He’s a liar. He’s self-interested. He thinks with his dick. He had several opportunities to leave the story, but he decides to stick around because he thinks Rey is hot. That’s a good flaw. I don’t think he won one fight in this movie. Some random stormtrooper kicked the shit out of him. Kylo Ren slashed him up too. He struggles unlike some other people in this movie. But I’ll get to her later.

I liked the humanization of the storm troopers in this film. There’s a sadness to them now. In the original Star Wars movies, they were faceless mooks. Now they were kidnapped as children and then brainwashed to fight for the Empire. Every storm trooper is a victim now. It’s a shame none of the heroes give a damn about this new backstory. Finn tells his story of being reprogrammed to fight for the Empire. No one hesitates to blow these guys away. Even Finn who hesitates from killing early on in the movie is fine with killing the stormtroopers. This was a contradiction.

I will continue to call the bad guys from this movie, the Empire, through out this post because I don’t know why they decided to rebrand themselves as the First Order. Did Supreme Master Snoke think The Empire was old hat? Did he take a marketing course at Sith Academy? Maybe they were forced to rebrand because all the Empire imagery was banned like how after World War 2 all the Nazi imagery and symbols were banned in Germany.

Luke Skywalker looked cool for the minute we saw of him. Mark Hamill looks great for his age now.

I felt like Harrison Ford cared about his role as Han Solo and put forth some effort. BB-8 had a cool memorable design. I liked the acting by Daisy Ridley as Rey.

THE DARK SIDE

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Episode 7 is a bad movie.

It’s not prequel bad, but it’s still bad. The prequels are what happens when you give an idea guy complete control of a movie. Lucas wanted to play around with computer graphics and make money. The story and dialogue came second to that. That becomes very apparent once you analyze the prequels. Here’s one example of that. Count Dooku. He’s an all-powerful Jedi who joins the Sith. His betrayal of Jedi is the backbone to the plot of Episode 1: Attack of the Clones. Yet he is nowhere to be found in the predecessor, The Phantom Menace. Not one mention of Count Dooku. It would have helped to see him be good before he was bad. Lucas made the story up as he went. I still have no idea who the Phantom Menace was. Darth Maul? Sidious? The Sith? Nute Gunray?

You can’t fault Lucas too much because of all the money he made off of the prequels. Congrats to him on his success.

Episode 7 is Spider-man 3 bad. It’s bad like Ghostbusters 2. Iron Man 2. Blade Trinity. The Dark Knight Rises. Avengers: Age of Ultron. Thor 2. Matrix:Reloaded.

Do you know what all those movies have in common? There’s no heart in these movies. They don’t do anything new. They are boring. They have story structure and characters. But they fail to innovate or challenge the audience. They are made to not offend lovers of the originals.

The first rule of story-telling is to ask yourself one question; Is this a story worth telling? The answer to that for the prequels was no. It doesn’t matter how Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. We don’t need to see that. But we were given it. It ruins the impact of Luke rejecting the Emperor’s offer at the end of Return of the Jedi.

He says he’s a Jedi like his father before him. But then we see his father was a child-murdering lunatic in the prequels. Even when he was a Jedi, he was a crappy one. This is not a person who deserves to be redeemed. The prequels take all the weight out of the words that Luke speaks here.

But to get back to this new Star Wars, I wanted to be okay with these new movies. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek was a good popcorn flick, but no depth lied beneath all the lens flare and action. So I set my expectations low for this film. When I watch a movie like The Transporter, all I expect is a fun time at the theater. I turn my brain off and sit back for an hour and a half. But this movie was putting me to sleep. I wanted to check my phone to see how long was left in the film because it felt like a waste of my time.

This is a retread of A New Hope that we didn’t need. I’m surprised nobody in the movie pointed this out. Old General Leia should have been pissed that all her work in the original trilogy has been undone. Here she is thirty years later still fighting the Empire and a masked guy wielding a lightsaber. It’s like they accomplished nothing in the original trilogy.

Why did this need to be a New Hope again? We have a vibrant universe with thirty years worth of stories to rip off. The Expanded Star Wars Universe had to have something more worthy of the screen than this film. When the movie started off with a guy giving his droid important information that the Empire wanted, I rolled my eyes in the theater. Couldn’t they think of anything else? You can do anything with Star Wars but instead, you rehash the old.

Why do we have to be on a desert planet in the start of this film? Can’t we start in a place we’ve never seen before? With characters, stakes, and situations that are new to Star Wars? Do we need to see the 2015 version of Darth Vader entering the Rebel ship and capturing Leia?

After this opening scene, we are introduced to our main “character”, Rey. I put the word, character, in quotations because Rey is not a character. Characters have flaws. They learn and they change. Someone needs to get in contact with Rian Johnson, the director of Episode 8. We need to get Rey a flaw, just one flaw. So the next one won’t be boring too.

Rey is good at everything. She won a light saber fight with a guy trained by Luke Skywalker and Supreme Master Leader Snoke. She can fly the Millennium Falcon without ever flying it before. She knows more about it than Han Solo. She does not need help when she is attacked by thieves. Luke got attacked by Sand People in A New Hope and needed Ben Kenobi to save his dumb ass. Rey does not need help from anybody. She kicks ass! She’s so cool that Han Solo offers her job on the Millennium Falcon. Chewbacca likes her. Finn falls instantly in love with her because she’s so beautiful.

You can’t be intelligent, hot, a great fighter, a great pilot, a great Force User and loved by everyone. That’s a not a person. Finn is a liar and somewhat of a coward. He fears the Empire. Po, a great pilot like Rey, shows mental weakness when he gives up the location of BB-8. Luke was whiny. Han Solo was selfish. Leia was mean and bossy. Rey is better than everyone at everything.

Rey has one moment of vulnerability in this movie. She runs away after touching Luke’s lightsaber. She wants no part of her destiny. Then she is captured. I thought at this point a flaw was about to show up. She stayed on Jakku because she feared her destiny. But then she with no help from anyone resists same torture that Po succumbed to and then uses a Jedi Mind Trick to escape. Han Solo, Chewie, and Finn are their way to rescue her but she didn’t need their help. She escaped herself because she’s awesome.

Remember how in A New Hope Luke was screaming for C3PO to save them from the trash compactor? If Rey was there, she would have climbed those walls, and then beat Darth Vader in a light saber fight. And then blew up the Death Star with no one’s help. What she accomplishes in this movie took Luke three movies to accomplish. When Luke fights Darth Vader for the first time, Vader is toying with him. He dominates Luke. Luke gets in a few lucky hits but that only pisses Vader off. Luke loses his hand and then decides to jump to his death than join Vader. Only through sheer luck does he survive the events of Empire.

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Compare that man to Rey at the end of her first fight. She stands over the injured Kylo Ren, with not a mark on her.

Why should I care about this character? In the end, she finds Luke. It’s implied she is going to be trained by him. But what is there left to teach Rey? I bet in episode 8 she will be teaching him about the force. I hope Rian Johnson will rectify this situation with Rey and make her shitty at one thing. Just one.

Luke exiling himself is a rather strange story development. It leads to us having the teaser ending, but why would he do that? His nephew murdered children so Luke decides to go look for the first Jedi Temple. Why don’t you stop him? Don’t you care about the people being murdered? What’s going to be at the first Jedi Temple that could help? A secret Jedi technique? Do you need that against Kylo Ren? He lost to Rey and she was a Jedi for like two minutes. Surely you, a Jedi Master, can whup his ass and end this conflict? Is the secret Jedi technique for Super Master Commander Snoke?

I don’t even want to get into Supreme Kam Chancellor Snoke. His name is Snoke. I think that says enough.

Why did Luke’s lightsaber call out to Rey? How come when she touched it, it showed her visions? Didn’t do that to Luke. He would have seen visions of the prequels and probably decided the Jedi life was not for him. Where did that orange alien thing get Luke’s lightsaber? I know it will be a story later on, but I want to know now. That’s a more interesting story than the events of this movie. Was the hand still attached? Was it in the back of that chest?

Why did Han Solo and Leia name their kid after Obi-Won’s fake name? I had no idea Ben meant that much to them. Han Solo didn’t seem all that sad when Ben died. Now he names his kid after him. This is not a big deal. It was just something I was wondering. Why not name his kid after his good buddy, Chewbacca? Chewbacca Solo has a nice ring to it.

The Starkiller is bad fanfiction. A bigger badder Death Star that can destroy five planets at once. This was the best they could do? They were writing this script for over a year. I expect better than Death Star except bigger. My five-year-old cousin could have come up with that.

I hate being so down on this film. I wish I could have taken it for the ride it was trying to take me on. But this was a ride I’d been on before.

Episode 7 is going to make lots and lots of money for Disney. It does not matter if it is a good movie or not. It does sadden me because I felt this was a squandered opportunity to do something new with Star Wars after the disappointment of the prequels.

Maybe the next one will be good. Rian Johnson is a good writer. His work on Breaking Bad’s Ozymandias shows that he’s a competent director. Maybe he’ll turn this whole ship around and set us on a course for good storytelling.

Hopefully.

If not, oh well. We’ll always have the originals.
—-

Age of the Superhero.

Spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers was a great spectacle. It wasn’t the best shot movie or the most well-acted. It was a great time in the cinema. A nicely-executed pay off to Marvel’s patience with their franchises. Also a great big pay off to Disney. So what comes next?

Avengers: Age of Ultron is what they came up with. Thanos was teased at the end of the first Avengers, but he needed more time in the kitchen. A hell of a lot more time since he’ll be in two more movies. So they microwaved up some Ultron for us. They left him in a bit too long. He’s not bad. Just a little soggy.

The Good
-The Party
Everything about the party scene. From Thor’s reaction. We’re able to stay with the characters. The cameos are cute and don’t overstay their welcome. And this was back when the Cap language joke was really funny. The hammer scene was on point. And then Ultron makes his horror movie entrance. This is the best stuff in the movie.

-The Vision
The character was introduced late, but I liked what I saw of him. There was potential constrained by the faults of the movie. But this is about what’s positive. I want to see him explored deeper. It’ll have to be done in future films. I don’t know where Marvel will fit it in. Better not be in Captain America 3. I don’t want it boggled down by that.

The Bad

-TOO MANY CHARACTERS!!!
The biggest flaw in Age of Ultron is the amount of central characters in its cast. The Avengers had less and Hawkeye got shafted. So the answer to that was to add three new good guys and a villain. Along with makin

I have no idea what the hell Thor was doing in this movie or why he was even there. He wanted Loki’s staff and then went into a lake. And came back to make Vision because he had a vision. It was weird. I felt like I missed a scene.

I believe this movie needed to make a choice between the twins or Vision. Having both only reduces what can be done with character development for the entire cast I’d lean toward cutting the twins. Vision is a great parallel to the human-hating Ultron. More cameos should have been cut back on too. I love War Machine but he shouldn’t have returned after the party scene.

With more story space for the characters, this film could become a worthy successor to the Avengers. Now it only will be at the box office for Disney.

-Lack of gravitas
This is the biggest threat the Avengers have faced thus far. Ultron wants to make mankind extinct by dropping a meteor on the planet. But you could not tell for a second that anyone was worried by the way they were talking. A one-liner here. A one-liner there. Lightening up scenes to relieve tension is good writing. But this went over-the-top. Ultron was far funnier than I expected him to turn out.

I thought he was going to be a cold calculating robot. One that would relentless in his mission to the point of exhausting the Avengers. Attacking their personal and physical flaws all while building his final solution for mankind. My own fault for expecting that. The first trailer didn’t have Ultron as a funny guy.

There were Ultron bots that never seemed to be a threat to anyone. They were there to be smashed. I can’t recall a single Avengers struggling against them. The only person who dies is the guy with 15 minutes of screen-time. The characters need to take the situations a bit more seriously.

-Looking Ahead Too Much
They built for Black Panther, Infinity War, Thor 3, and Captain America 3 in this movie. It bottle-necked the film to have to include all these scenes. I don’t know whether to blame Joss Whedon or big wigs for this, but I want it to stop. Please.

That’s it for my thoughts on A2: Ultron Day. This was in the middle tier of Marvel films. If you don’t like superhero films, don’t bother. And if you do, then you’re going to see it anyway.

So writing this was completely pointless.

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Bustin.

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Sony can’t win.

Sony announces female leads for new Ghostbusters reboot.

People are angry.

Sony announces they’ll have a male-focused reboot too.

People are angry.

No matter what Sony does with Ghostbusters, nobody is happy.

Except for Channing Tatum. He’s happy because he gets to star in a Ghostbusters movie. Congrats on being the only person happy, Mr. Tatum.

I was against any more Ghostbusters beyond a cartoon or comic book series. Ghostbusters is stupendous comedy film. It has aged great. Ghostbusters 2 was not up to par but it’s in the upper echelon of afternoon Comedy Central movies so it wasn’t a complete failure. With the death of Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters 3 is a depressing venture. It seemed best to let the franchise lie.

But money always makes a way. So here we are in 2015 with not one but two Ghostbusters reboots on the way. I’m going to refer to the female led version as Chickbusters and the male focused one as Dudebusters henceforth.

Chickbusters pissed me off initially because of Melissa McCarthy. Once it was announced, I knew she’d be in it and I’m not a fan of her style of comedy. I wouldn’t call it comedy even. The rest of the cast I’m not familiar with, maybe they can salvage that film. Paul Feig offers some encouragement. Anyone behind Freaks and Geeks is a person I can get behind. But Melissa McCarthy is a lot to overcome.

Now Dudebusters has the Russo Brothers directing. They directed Captain America: Winter Soldier and I thought that movie kicked a lot of ass. In fact it kicked the most ass of 2014. I’m neutral on Tatum. I don’t seek out movies with him in it, but I don’t hate him in movies he is in. He’s not a minus like Ms. McCarthy.

I’m making two sure bets about these movies. Neither will be better than the original Ghostbusters. And nobody will be happy with either of them after they’re released except for Channing Tatum.

What Sony should do is make an all-black version next called Ghostbustas with Busta Rhymes in the lead role. That’s where the real money is.

I am Jack’s Smirking Revenge

Ah. Fight Club.

The movie Roger Ebert didn’t quite get. He gave Fight Club two and a half stars. I know he’s dead and you have to respect the dead, but he was off about this one.

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This was a movie that appealed to the generation that came after rather than the one before. Fight Club intitally struggled to find an audience.The book was lining up warehouses until David Fincher decided he wanted to make a movie out of it. Marketers had trouble advertising this satirical film. They couldn’t figure out how to entice audiences to check it out. Its box office numbers reflected that. Dark comedies are one of the harder genres to make trailers for. But after the home release, it gained its own almost Project Mayhem-esque cult following.

This movie is fucking hilarious and revels in absurdity. It’s about a guy so bored with his life that beats himself up and starts a cult, and then shoots himself in the head. The humor is lost on some audiences that focus on Tyler Durden’s philosophy or get turned off by the violence. If you listen to his words and nothing else, the movie comes off as propaganda for the destruction of capitalism and modern civilization. This movie gets much better with rewatches after the twist is out of the way. You can focus on Tyler as a malevolent force rather than his own person. His nihilistic philosophy is extreme and not to be imitated. Which of course had led to people seeing him as a wise man

The contemporary erosion of the masculine identity is a theme this movie examines. There’s the scenes with the protagonist at the testicular cancer help group. Here we have this man, Bob, with giant bitch tits hugging and crying. By the end of the movie, he’s dead. And his name was Robert Paulsen. In life he had lost everything because of his cancer. In death, he was to be remembered. He was a name repeated by the members of Project Mayhem. Just an interesting arc I noticed this time around.

The men in the film are these lost souls doing mindless work. What are they supposed to be? What are they as men supposed to do? They go back to the basics. They beat the living shit out of each other. And through this violence they bond. The violence is a way to express their rage at the world that’s told them they were special when they were not. It’s almost an after thought to everything else going on in this film. As I think about it, it’s more about how isolation, repetition, and lack of direction can drive a person insane

The writing is so strong in this film. The movies does commit a huge screenwriting no-no. It’s narrated by the protagonist. But like most writing rules, that one is meant to be broken. To take the narration out of this would be akin to ripping out a person’s spinal cord.

Below I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes.

“When people think you’re dying, they really really listen instead of waiting for their turn to speak.”

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”

“We’re a generation of men raised by women. I wonder if another woman is really the answer we need.”

“The condom is the glass slipper of our generation.”

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we’re free to do anything.”

“Working jobs we hate to buy shit we don’t need.

I have not read the book by Chuck Palahniuk. I’ll get to it one of these days.

Palahniuk is writing Fight Club 2 now. It will be a graphic novel. I’ll definitely pick that one up. I want to see where he takes the characters as the story was mostly focus on young men in their 20s and 30s. Palahniuk is now 53. What more does he have to say about masculinity with these characters? Will Tyler Durden return? Will we find out the Narrator’s name?

Good luck to you, Mr. Palahniuk. I look forward to Fight Club 2.

Race Swap

“Kingpin isn’t black! Man! They screwed it up! I ain’t watching that crap!
-my cousin twelve years ago upon seeing Daredevil‘s first trailer.

Movie adaptations can’t be wholly accurate representations of the source work. Everything cannot go in. Your favorite passage will not make it into the script. It’s the nature of adaptation to the screen. But once things like races start changing, you raise your eyebrow.

If you’re a diehard fan, you might have the same reaction my cousin did upon seeing a character’s race swapped.

No! They can’t even get the character’s races, right?! This movie is doomed! They’ve soiled it!

The casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four had a small backlash. I see why someone would be skeptical of those in charge when characters’ history is being messed with.

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I’m ambivalent towards race swapping.

I try to wait and see the performance before making a rash judgement.

I wasn’t a fan of the changing of Johnny Storm but keeping Sue white. They’re blood brother and sister. The cynic in me thought the powers that be wanted their blonde love interest while still being able to reach the “urban” demographic. But I’ve since decided to give him a chance rather than root against him.

I’m peculiar about race swapping. I had no gripes with making Samuel L. Jackson into Nick Fury. There was a basis in the comics for it. But I hated when the races from Avatar: The Last Airbender were changed in Last Airbender. I refused to see it.

That’s the odd thing about race swapping. It’s a violation of a minority character when you turn them white, but swapping white people for minorities is okay. Why is that?

The “Bad” Finale

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Criticism can be a meaningless gesture. There are no perfect creations out there. There are flaws in the design of even the most intricately crafted man-made works. Flaws do not make a creation worthless. Being the guy who nitpicks everything is a good way to have people ignore what you have to say. I’m guilty of being that guy more than I’d like to admit. I didn’t go into this wanting to hate it. I wanted to be awed and inspired to work harder. I’d like to take this time to point out a few flaws in Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad finale.

The Breaking Bad finale has been critically acclaimed, some have even touted it the most satisfying series finale of all time. AMC is happy due to the huge ratings increase towards the end. Bryan Cranston is satisfied. Vince Gilligan feels he and the crew did the best job they could with “Felina”.

So then how does one begin to suggest the idea that it wasn’t good? What is the criteria? I can only say that it didn’t resonate with me.

When the credits rolled, I shook my head. Where was the awe? The show ended far too neat. Walter White scratched and clawed his way through five seasons of opposition. His survival was due to his cunning and luck. But in the finale, Walt easily takes care of all his problems. The finale is Wal crossing off a checklist of things that he needs to do before he dies. He wants closure on Grey Matter. He gets it. He wants closure with Skylar. He gets it. He wants to see Walt Jr one last time. He sees him. He wants to kill Jack and his gang. He easily accomplishes this. They even let him park his car right where his machine gun can blow them all away. The only hiccup came when Jesse refused to kill him. Walt died shortly after that.

I was astounded to find that I was very alone in this criticism of the finale. All the reviews I read praised the show for ending so neatly. Many declared it to be one of the best television finales of all time. The closest I found to negative criticism was an article where a reviewer suggested the writers went easy on people who supported Walt. The finale went too easy on its audience.

It was so safe. That finale was written by someone who sat back for weeks and watched every controversial television series finale made. The Breaking Bad finale was a nice gift-wrapped box of closure. I didn’t want that. I wanted Walter’s plans to go horribly wrong like they did in “Ozymandias”. I wanted to see more pain and suffering. I know that sounds bad. I didn’t want blood, I wanted an ending fitting for Breaking Bad. I’d like to compare this episode to the previous season’s finale, “Face-off”. I was out of my seat. That final shot with the Lily of the Valley plant. Oh man. That’s the awe I wanted from this finale.

“Felina” doesn’t hit as hard as other episodes because it focuses more on the fates of characters that we barely know; The Grey Matter couple, Uncle Jack and goons, and Lydia. We don’t know them as well as Skylar, Marie, and Walt Jr. None of them are formidable foes for Walt. He’s smarter than all of them. I don’t care too much about him getting the best of them. This may not be a fault with the storytelling. They had only eight episodes to take us from Hank on a toilet to the death of Walt. Maybe with more time, these characters could have went in other places.

On a more personal note, Skylar and Jesse both escaping with their lives didn’t sit right with me. For as much as you can blame Walt for his ego-driven power trip, these two share a lot of the blame. They could have stopped Walt so many times. Especially Skylar.

I know that she is a “victim” for a majority of the show, but as it goes on, she becomes just as bad as Walt. How can she tell Walt not to hand himself over to the police so he can protect the family? It was at this moment that I thought Skylar’s fate was sealed. She would either die and rot in jail for Walt’s crimes. I would have preferred the latter. We never got a callback to Ted Beneke in the end either. Could we not see him testifying against her? Instead she is handed a get out of jail free card from Walt as he confesses to doing everything for himself.

That revelation is a very odd one. We’ve seen Walt sacrifice so much for his family. He was willing to go to jail for them to spare Hank. He is also selfish. I wonder why Gilligan included that line. Are we supposed to take that as the final word on Walt’s actions? It was all for himself? Or are we to believe that he didn’t want his final meeting with Skylar to end in a fight? Did he lie here to go out on peaceful terms with his wife?

Jesse living is a loose end. He has a criminal record and he’s a known accomplice of Heisenberg’s. He has to reconnect with Brock at some point in the future. The police have to be looking for him too. Was he caught after speeding off screaming like a mad man? Does he have any money left? There’s no Saul to connect Jesse with the vacuum man. How does he get to where he wants to? And I found him nigh insufferable in the second half of the final season. I don’t quite get his arc.

He’s a fuck up who gets deeper into crime than he expected. Rather than leave as the violence escalates, he chooses to stay. Then he’s given a final chance to leave, he chooses to get revenge. This results in the death of many people. He is then allowed to escape and move on to better things as Gilligan put it in his “Felina” script. Was I supposed to feel sorry for him?

The flash forwards earlier in the season hurt this finale. They bottle-necked the potential of the ending. Gilligan had to do cover all his tracks and ensure that all plot points did not contradict those scenes. There’s a scene in the finale of Walter leaving a watch behind. It’s included only because the watch would have created a continuity issue. I wish we didn’t get those flash forwards. They were fun for speculating over, but they damaged the show. This same problem occurred three seasons earlier with the teddy bear flash forwards. Again, fun to speculate over, but not the best direction for the show to have gone.

The most puzzling part of the finale for me was the end of Walt’s character arc. Let’s take a look at his final moment.

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His final expression is one of faint satisfaction.

So in the end, Walt got to feel alive. He doesn’t regret the wreckage left behind by his ego-storm. So he was right. He was right in refusing the money of Grey Matter back in season one. A disgraced unhappy high school teacher managed to end his life completely satisfied. He took a death sentence and conjured up the best years of his life. If he settled and took a payout, he may have died amongst his friends and family, but he would have been unhappy. If he regretted all that he did in the end, I could understand the intention of the story.

Be wary of doing what feels best for you, it will not end well.

But here it does end well for Walter White. He dies next to his most beloved creation. Is Breaking Bad a cautionary tale of what it takes to achieve real happiness?

I still applaud everyone who worked on this show. It was a grand adventure even the end left something to be desired.

Other than the hair stylist. How many bald people were on this show? I hope that person never work on a television show again.