Goodbye, Walter White

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Sunday night, we bid farewell to Walter White, a beloved husband, father, brother-in-law, teacher, mentor, defamed drug lord, and archetype-shattering anti-hero. Over the course of the show’s five seasons, we have seen one man’s descent into the tantalizing void of greed, leaving no victims unscathed. In the Season Three finale, we see the magnitude of Walt’s decisions, as two commercial airlines crash over his home because Jane’s father, an air traffic controller, couldn’t focus on his job after learning of his daughter’s overdose – something Walt witnessed and could have stopped.

While some are sad to see the drug lord’s story laid to rest, others are happy that the show ended on top, snagging the Best Drama Emmy last week. Some notable shows that audiences agree ran their course far before their finales are Lost, Heroes, Dexter, and, currently, Mad Men.

Fans were also pleasantly surprised at the amount of loose ends Executive Producer Vince Gilligan was able to tie up in the final two episodes, especially the well-deserved bow-out for the druggie fan favorites Badger and Skinny Pete.

Breaking Bad played with our emotions during the hour-long finale, replaying clips from Season One as Walt’s conscious becomes flooded with guilt. For once in his life, Walt confesses to Skyler that everything he did was for him – not the family. “I liked it,” he manages to say. “I was good at it.” If that doesn’t scream character arc, then maybe his selflessness in the show’s final moments will make you change your mind. I’ll leave you there without spoiling too much of the tale.

As for the legacy of Breaking Bad? It will become a textbook example in all categories – writing, directing, cinematography, and, of course, acting. Without Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, and the rest of the amazing cast, the show wouldn’t be the success it is. They made the strange place of Albuquerque, New Mexico feel like home. They made us apart of the White family. Heck, they made cooking meth into an art, let alone feasible by your favorite chemistry teacher and his dead-beat student.

So here’s to you, the great Heisenberg. And to many A-1 Days to come.

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Goodbye, Dexter Morgan

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What’s there to say about the series finale of Dexter? It just wasn’t good. The whole season just wasn’t good, for that matter. DISCLAIMER: If you want to skip the part where I rant about the final season and talk about how great the show was as a whole, skip to the end of this article.

I feel as though the writers had good intentions of bringing everyone’s favorite serial killing back to his roots with the introduction of Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a psychologist who worked with Harry Morgan to develop “The Code” for his deranged son. However, Dr. Vogel’s character just made the conflict center on the relationship between her and her former patients and previously presumed dead son, Oliver Saxon, who was dubbed the Brain Surgeon.

Meanwhile, the writers put the various side characters into pathetically boring side-stories, like Masuka’s biological daughter becoming an intern at Miami Metro and Jamie being a complete bimbo with Quinn. Instead of Miami Metro tracking the Dexter/Hannah/Brain Surgeon saga, the writers tasked new characters (a private investigator and a state marshal) with the job. Like, there’s no drama there. First of all, I don’t know either of these “bad guys.” And second of all, both of them seem like they came out of a lame, ‘90s surfer flick.

In the end, Dexter was once again torn between his love for his sister and his love for Hannah (and his son, who he ends up abandoning just like his mother did to him…but that’s a discussion for another time). Dexter, showing a character arch, decides that neither of them deserves his wrecking-ball of a lifestyle. Cue a random flashback of Deb and Dexter holding Harrison for the first time and then snap back to reality with Dexter pulling the switch (or presses the button) on Deb’s life support, because taking a turn for the worst after a successful surgery is totally a feasible plot line for the Showtime hit.

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Dressed in his iconic kill outfit, Dexter sneaks Deb’s body out of the hospital and onto his trusty boat, “Slice of Life,” and sails into the eye of the very poorly CGI-animated storm. Regardless, Michael C. Hall’s performance in the final moments of the show are breathtaking, as he tosses his sister’s lifeless body into Bay Harbor – she is just another victim, no different than any of his other kills. In a cathartic act, Dexter continues on into the storm.

After the storm passes, Hannah reads of Dexter’s death, as she sits in an Argentinian café with the innocent Harrison.

But after a brief blackout, we are introduced to a lumberyard and follow a strange, bearded man into his small, dank home. He lurks in the shadows into the final moments when he sits down and stares at the camera – it’s Dexter Morgan. But the Dexter Morgan we know is dead – and so is his dark passenger (both Harry’s ghost and Dexter’s narration are void from this scene).

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While I criticize the show’s eighth season, let’s not forget what a cultural revolution this show sparked in terms of premium cable television. Dexter used to be the epitome of the office water cooler – from discovering the true identity of the Ice Truck Killer, to Trinity’s final kill. Dexter, the character, is a loveable serial killer – the first of many anti-heroes to grace the small screen in this golden age of television, paving the way for the other anti-heroes to follow him, like Don Draper, Walter White, and Sargent Nicholas Brody.

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So, cheers to you, Dexter Morgan. Doughnuts on you?

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My Favorite Moments from The 2013 Emmys

There’s a 60% chance you watched the Emmys last night, a 40% chance that you watched Breaking Bad and a 6% chance you watched Dexter. Regardless of these irrelevant statistics, television was packed with groundbreaking water cooler moments.

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Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring the best in television over the past year. Coming into the night, American Horror Story: Asylum led the night with 17 nods and Netflix made history by becoming the first non-television network to be nominated for an Emmy with their shows Arrested Development and House of Cards.
Here were my highlights:

-Amy Poehler and Tina Fey heckled Neil from the audience and proceed to crawl up the stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actress.

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-Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie – but you know her as Caroline from New Girl) won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and delivered the shortest – and probably best – acceptance speech ever. “Thanks so much, thanks so much,” the actress said. “Umm…I gotta go.”

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-Tony Hale joined co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as she collected her second award for Veep. Hale, who won for Best Supporting Actor earlier in the night, acted as the bumbling bagman for Louis-Drefyus’ character, Selina, the Vice President of the United States.

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-Claire Danes won again for her work on Homeland and honored the late writer Henry Bromell, whose wife later accepted the award for Best Writing for a Drama Series for the episode “Q&A.” While it was no “Rains of Castamere,” it was an honorable mention to one of the industry’s greatest talents. On the red carpet, Danes caught up with her unlikely BFF Lena Dunham. And it was pretty great.

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-Kevin Spacy turned into Congressman Underwood.

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-Will Ferrell brought his kids with him on stage to present because Dame Maggie Smith cancelled her babysitting gig.
-James Cromwell took the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series over co-star Zachary Quinto. Sarah Paulson was snubbed for Supporting Actress and Twitter had this to say.

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-Modern Family won its fourth Emmy, which peeved me, but Breaking Bad finally won the award for Outstanding Drama Series.

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Looking Forward with BREAKING BAD

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What more can I say about Sunday night’s antepenultimate (fancy word meaning third to last; sports fans may know this as the quarter finals) episode?
Between Hank’s death and Walter’s now infamously misconstrued phone call to his wife, the episode exceeded my expectations and has been attracting a lot of attention. Since the episode aired, employees at AMC’s headquarters have been stuck in a continuous Sue Heck dance-loop.
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While other blogs have given you a play-by-play of the full forty-two minute masterpiece, I thought I’d spend this time contemplating a few matters at hand as we prepare ourselves for the final two episodes of this great series.
Before I make a prediction of the White family’s fate, let me lay out what we know:

1. Walter White skipped town, presumably with the help of Saul’s vacuum repairman, after knowingly victimizing his wife and family with his police-tapped phone.
2. Jesse Pinkman is being held prisoner by Todd and his Nazi-branded uncle. Using the picture of his ex-girlfriend Andrea and her son Brock, they blackmail Jesse into cooking meth again. We assume that he will be forced to continue as a part of Lydia’s global meth operation.
3. In the Season Five Part 1 premiere, we saw a flash-forward of Walt returning to Albuquerque. By the way he places the bacon on his plate at the local Denny’s, we know that it is his birthday – one of Skyler’s tradition we see in the episode “51.” In the same scene, he has a full head of hair, a New Hampshire license plate, and a pretty hefty gun.
4. In the Season Five Part 2 premiere, we see Walter drive from the Denny’s to his now-abandoned and dilapidated home. The living room appears charred and “Heisenberg” is spray painted on the wall. Walter goes into his room to retrieve the ricin, which has been stored in his handy-dandy wall outlet.
5. On his way out, his neighbor Carol appears petrified. It is obvious that the world now knows the truth about Walter White.

So what does this all mean? Here’s what I think/hope is going to happen.

1. Skyler, Flynn, Holly, and Marie will be put under Witness Protection. Walter will never see them again.
2. Walter will return to Albuquerque to kill Todd and his uncle’s crew, thereby liberating Jesse of servitude. This is what the gun is for.
3. Walt will then give the ricin back to Jesse – this will be a symbolic gesture, as if he is giving Jesse the power to kill him, just as Walter had the power to kill Jesse many times before.
4. Walter and Jesse will drive through downtown Albuquerque and pick up Wendy for old time’s sake.

So these are my (edited) predictions for the final two episodes of Breaking Bad, which will forever be one of the most realistic, dramatic, eye-opening, genre-shattering, mind-bending show on television. In addition to its amazing writing, the cast is brilliant – especially noting the often hated on Anna Gunn. Let me just say, her New York Times article perfectly narrates her life’s struggle over the course of the show’s production. Let’s just say I got chills when this happened.

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While I will be watching the Emmy Awards next Sunday night, I expect ratings to dip a bit for Breaking Bad‘s upcoming episode, but the finale on September 29th should hit record numbers. Maybe surpass The Walking Dead? One can dream.

September: The Television Enthusiasts Purgatory

Now that September’s here and I’m back at school “studying,” I face a sort of “atheist’s dilemma,” only you have to replace “atheist” with “television enthusiast” and it kind of makes sense. While I am super grateful that Breaking Bad has been delivering Sunday after Sunday (and while Dexter has become a chore to watch), I am not fulling satisfied. I need everything back.

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I need Homeland and Modern Family.

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I need Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead.

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If I pray hard enough, maybe this fall will see new seasons of Mad Men and Game of Thrones. Or maybe that would be pushing the envelope a tad.

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Be on the look out for posts on these shows and more (including, but not limited to, Parks and Recreation, The MiddleCommunityNew GirlThe Mindy Project, American Horror Story: Coven, and Girls. I might try to get into some new shows, but they all just look so bad this season. The ones I’ll test are The Masters of SexSleepy HollowAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Dads. If you have any suggestions, let me know ASAP. Well, not, like, super ASAP, just whenever you feel like it. Cool. Good talk.

And shout out to tumblr for having these TV cross-over images. I’m glad to know my Internet folk are keeping busy and paying their bills.