Full Measure

15 Jun

Why bother with anything?

The world is full of awful people, many of whom would kill you easy as look at your. You might be sick, or even dying, and there’s not a god damn thing you can do about it. The powerful people are going to stay that way, and if they see you they will push down even harder.

Walter White was once a celebrated anti-hero because he found the courage to say no. The cancer gave him an out from civilized society, an avenue to express all the pent-up rage that came from his own personal hellmouth of monotony. It was, however, one of his own making.  This week’s cold open demonstrated perfectly that Walter has always been a man of great pride and ambition.

That desire, as we see now, is toxic. While his intelligence and self-confidence get him what he wants, it’s his inability to shut the fuck up and keep his head down that prevents him from keeping it. Witness Jesse Pinkman, a man whose life Walter has totally and utterly destroyed, and within hours of his tentative steps towards saving himself Walter found a way to destroy him again. As he held that gun you could see parts of Jesse just fall away. I’ve never wanted somebody to put down a gun so badly, and in a season full of beautiful moments for Jesse this was perhaps the best.

This episode spent a lot of time with the camera low to the ground, observing these people from a safe distance, letting us know who they are. If Solid Snake and James Bond were half-brothers, Mike the Cleaner is their dad. Saul is always, always, playing another angle. Gail was just a nice guy who got in the way of business.

So who are Walt and Jesse?

Jesse’s been the good guy, the bad guy, and the guy who doesn’t give a shit.None of those roles really worked out for him. As Walt’s opening speech hinted, Jesse could have a new role to play- the devoted son. Provided he doesn’t discover Walt’s role in the death of Jane, perhaps he’ll see his efforts to protect them both as an outreach of genuine compassion. Sad as it is, it may be all he has.

Walt too is multiple people:  Dad, Walter, Mr. White, Heisenberg, and while Jesse strives to find one good side of himself and keep it alive Walt seems to want all of them at once. The porkpie hat returned to convince everyone that he wasn’t fucking around, and his deception proves he’s got a few tricks left. ‘Full Measure’ had one moment of silence, when Holly pulled Walt’s glasses off his face. It was a touching, human, gesture, and in that little moment you can see Walt realise what’s most important. Keep the ones you love alive, try not to get yourself killed in the process.

And that’s the end of the season.  It’s been fun writing about a show from week to week, but seeing as there’s no more show I’m going to take a break from writing about tv. I started this as a way to practice my critical writing, as well as to generate discussion, so thanks to everyone who commented.

I’d like to do this again soon, and since Mad Men is back in late July I thought it would be a good candidate. I’m always looking for new and compelling shows so if there’s anything I should be watching let me know. Until then, True Blood is back as filthy as ever, Rubicon (set to take Breaking Bad’s spot for a few months) looks like a fun Ipcress File sort of deal and if hell freezes over the major networks might have a compelling drama out for the summer.

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