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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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.

BREAKING BAD and DEXTER Bring Their A-Games

Sunday night had a spring in its step as both Breaking Bad and Dexter wowed me with jaw-dropper after jaw-dropper and various other physical signs of amazement, like convulsions and gasps. (That was a weird sentence, but I thought it was kinda funny, so I won’t backspace it).

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First, on AMC, the word is out. And Hank and Marie are not happy about it. The writers and actors must have had a serious heart-to-heart before shooting the intense and delicate scenes because the show has seriously never been better. The chilling silence between Hank and Skyler in the diner brilliantly escalated to a Claire Danes caliber freak out on Anna Gunn’s part, who is, at this point, begging for that sweet Emmy. A few short moments after she’s asking Hank, “Am I under arrest?!” Marie decides to join the mix by taking Holly away from her sister – and she’s not a happy camper. The chemistry between the sisters has never been better as their shouting match, juxtaposed to a crying baby, erupts in the house.

Walter also had quite the episode, burying his money in the desert – but not after Huele lives his fantasy by lying on the enormous pile of tender bills.

Meanwhile, Lidia’s back and nastier than ever. With the help of Adam, she is able to wipeout her new, uncooperative meth cooking team, but the emotion hits home as she refuses to look at the dead bodies. The camera angle is perfect as we see her high-heels stumbling through the barren wasteland, sullen with the blood and guts of the dead.

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Over on Showtime, Hannah McKay is back – without a vengeance? After drugging Dexter and Deb, she fails to follow through and kill off the only people who know the truth to her years of crime and homicide.

After getting back with Hannah, Dexter decides to take her along on a trip to the Keys to catch Zach Hamilton, another one of Dr. Vogel’s experiments, in the act of murder. However, private investigator Deb is on the trail, leading to the most uncomfortable walk-in since the kids of Modern Family catch their parents in the act. Deb walks in on Dexter, Hannah, and Zach in a kill room. With some comic relief, Deb immediately leaves, but it also speaks volumes to where she is mentally as a character. She is beyond broken and staying would have only made her mix of depression, guilt, and anxiety worse.

While I was blown away by this episode, I was not wild about the ending when Dexter finds Zach dead in his home, killed by none other than the Brain Surgeon. I thought that teaching Zach “the Code” would have made for an interesting storyline, but at the same point it could have taken the limelight away from the title character.

Hopefully both these shows can keep it up in their final stretches, or else I’m gonna have to send someone to Belize.

A Word on DEXTER Season 8

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We’re four episodes into the eighth and final season of Showtime’s once-fan-favorite hit Dexter and I am not impressed. For starters, have the writers forgotten that the show is called “Dexter,” and not “Deb“? Because it seems to me that she has been the star of the show – taking away some precious kill time from everybody’s favorite serial killer. Or should I say, “everybody’s once-favorite serial killer,” because the show has sharply declined in its popularity and relevance. In the the show’s fourth season, The Trinity Killer had audiences on edge, climaxing with one of the greatest water cooler episodes (surpassed by Game of Thrones‘ “Red Wedding”), in which Dexter finds Rita dead in the bathtub only moments after indulging his urge with Trinity on the table.

What went wrong? Surely, the show needs to end, but at what price? By diluting the episodes with irrelevant and often repetitive Quinn and Jamie nonsense, we lose sight of how cutting-edge (pun intended) the show used to be. I guess Dexter’s just somebody that I used to know…

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(props to the Tumblr community for already making this gif)

 

A Word on RAY DONOVAN

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Saw the pilot, not a fan. It’s basically just Scandal but with a lead that’s a white male, whose clients are wealthy people instead of the president. And I don’t know why Sabertooth gets mad all the time. It probably has to do with Angelina Jolie’s dad giving him smug looks.

Verdict: I accidentally started to watch the second episode because it came on right after Dexter. Once I realized what was going on, I lunged for the remote to turn it off. So, no, I didn’t really like it.