BREAKING BAD: Season 4 thoughts from a new viewer. Zzz… Oh, is something finally happening?

I very nearly lost my way with Breaking Bad watching this season. Not only was it a chore to watch, turns out it’s a chore to write about, too. I mean… How much actually happened? Particularly around episodes 7 and 8, I have several notes about this being the toughest season to get through. It wasn’t particularly entertaining to watch, and even characters who I used to love lost their spark and became less interesting to watch. Not to mention the fact, it turns out they actually DID kill off my favourite little scientific assistant, Gale. 😦 Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Season 4 thoughts from a new viewer. Zzz… Oh, is something finally happening?”

BREAKING BAD: Season 3 thoughts from a new viewer. The highs were higher (HANK!), but the lows were lower (One word: Fly)

This has been a tough post to write – I’ve got so many thoughts on Season 3 and when I think about it, I really can’t begin to decide HOW it matches up to the first and second. I should have expected something a little different when the first episode opened with a bunch of people doing The Worm. I mean… What on Earth was up with that, actually?

Tuco’s worm-crawling cousins, AKA The Terminators, provided some surreal entertainment throughout the season as they stalked Walt. I was pretty disappointed when one was shot and wasn’t revealed to be a robot from the future, but I guess the show can’t have everything. Those guys were as determined to kill Walt as COVID was to get around the globe. I called it very early on that they were Tuco’s cousins. Their presence this season felt a little over the top, but I could suspend my disbelief because they were entertaining enough to watch.

Sneak peek of Tuco’s sister’s husband’s brother’s dentist rolling into Season 4

Season 3 stayed true to form with Breaking Bad moving at a ridiculous pace. In my last post I guessed that over the course of this season, Skyler or Hank would find out the truth about Walt… I burst out laughing 35 minutes into episode 1 when, boom, Skyler figures out most of the lies and wants a divorce from Walt. I’m thankful for the fast pace – it was a smart move to fast forward though a predictable plotline and jump to Skyler being more involved in things right from episode 1.

The pacing also caught me off-guard when Skyler came home after sleeping with her boss and told Walt about it 0.2 seconds after walking through the door. I was all set for a season-long storyline of secret affairs! The more I think about it, the more it seems like Skyler’s character knows exactly where I think the show is going to go and seems determined to keep me on my toes. I loved it, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to get used to just how fast Breaking Bad can speed through important plot elements to explore the aftermath, instead of the event.  

Skyler was one of the most engaging aspects of the season for me. I can’t believe I didn’t like her back in Season 1! I don’t know if she’s a popular character amongst the fanbase or not, but jeez, I am liking her more and more as each episode goes on. As soon as Hank’s medical bills came up, I knew this would be the thing to make Skyler faulter and be more lenient on Walt. She had some great scenes this season, including her deliciously sneaky story of how Walt made all his money gambling, and that amazing moment when she tried to call the police to get Walt out of her house. It really felt like watching someone who was at the end of their tether, without a clue what to do – she was calling the police but was terrified and I really felt for her. Although on that subject, it was honestly comical how good Walt is at pretending everything is fine when he has to.

Everything Skyler did this season felt pretty believable, as much as it pains me to say it. They really managed to make her naturally get more involved with Walt’s lies – when she offered to be the accomplice in Walt’s money laundering scheme I think I audibly said, “No, Skyler, No!!” at my TV – but in context it made sense that she was finally taking some control of Walt’s money. Sadly, this season I think the only person left who was speaking any real sense was the lawyer Skyler met with, when she told Skyler upfront: you’re married to a criminal, you’re becoming an accessory to crime, leave your house now and get out of that situation. JUST LISTEN TO THE LAWYER, SKYLER, FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

CAN SOMEONE IN THIS SHOW PLEASE MAKE A GOOD DECISION.

I’ve got to talk about Fly – episode 10. Halfway through, I had to do a sneaky Google because I knew people would be talking about this episode. And what do I see? So many articles about how it’s one of the best episodes of the entire series. I’m sorry, but… WHAT? I can only assume this episode surely takes on a whole different meaning if you rewatch it in the context of the entire series. Because… that was horrendous.

I didn’t read articles beyond headlines, as I was afraid of accidentally stumbling upon any spoilers, but from what I gather it’s a very divisive episode. Ordinarily I tend to love episodes that come out of left-field and try something completely different. I LOVED Exposé in Lost, and Restless in Buffy. Admittedly, neither of these are bottle episodes like Fly, but they’re both deviations from the norm of each show. In the case of Buffy’s Restless, it comes right when you’d expect a bombastic season finale episode – and pulls the rug from your feet. But at least I left Restless having learned so many new things about the characters’ inner thoughts and feelings – their fears, their hopes for the future, their secret desires. In Fly, I didn’t learn anything new about Walter or Jesse, nor did my opinion on either of them change whatsoever. I am DYING to speak to other fans about this episode, perhaps when I finish the series – is this genuinely one of the best the series has to offer…?

I would have loved it if I’d come out of Fly with a completely altered perspective on Walt’s character, but it quite honestly felt like a waste of an episode to me. Low point of the entire series, but at least it’s behind me now. And I still detest Walt.

America’s hottest meth-making-family-man was predictably awful in Season 3, especially when he tried to make a pass at his colleague at work… UGH! I really don’t think I’ve watched another series where I so desperately do not want things to work out for the main character. Walt did, however, manage to surprise me twice this season. I’m so used to him being a dick now that I had to make sure I was hearing things right when he was actually nice to his new assistant, Gale, when they met. He subverted my expectations again in the last episode, in which I fully believed he was throwing Jesse under the bus and giving him up in return for his own life. The show hasn’t really given me any reason to put it past Walt pulling a move like that, so it was a genuine shock when Walt used his phone call to ask Jesse to go and finish off Gale so they could both stand a chance of surviving. On that subject… CAN JESSE PLEASE JUST CATCH A BREAK FOR ONCE? He’s been through so damn much and now he’s got to kill Gale, the cutest little apprentice on the planet?! (I absolutely loved Gale’s character, he’s just so endearing!)

Jesse ’bout to pop a bullet in Gale’s head and Gale answers the door like ^

Jesse always seems to draw the short end of the stick in his partnership with Walt – just how many times now has he been beaten up and put in hospital because of Walt’s actions? I can’t believe he still puts up with so much, and I am STILL waiting for him to turn on Walt and take back his life.

Jesse was, once again, one of my favourite things about this season. Seeing him buy his parents house was fantastically petty and I loved every second of it. Later, I actually had to rewind and watch his breakdown to Walt in his hospital bed twice because I thought it was so well acted. To me, Aaron Paul is the best actor in the show. It genuinely felt like Jesse hated Walt and I had SO much sympathy for him. Jesse also summed up my feelings about Walt’s influence perfectly when he said that ever since he got involved with Walt, everything in his life had turned to shit.

…So it was a little underwhelming when, in the very next scene, Jesse calls Walt and says he’s back in the partnership. I just really want Jesse to get away from Walt, OK?!

My favourite moment this season was the murder attempt on Hank at the end of episode 7. It’s kind of amazing that a character like Hank, who I honestly did not care much either way for, managed to get such a reaction out of me in those scenes. It was SO well done – Hank, for one of the first times ever, seemed legitimately afraid for a moment and I was right there with him. I was shouting along with my TV as he fought back against Tuco’s cousins, culminating with a rather too loud, “OH NO” as I watched Hank unload all of his bullets into the Terminator’s chest. Oh, Hank…

I was convinced Hank was about to be killed off, and all of a sudden I cared that he was about to be killed off. Screw highlight of the season – that was one of the highlights of the entire show for me so far. BRB, going to watch that scene again.

The last two episodes of the season were really gripping, much to my relief after Fly. The end of Half Measures especially was fantastic, with Walt running over the gang members and shooting one in the head. Bloody hell, Walt knows how to get himself in some sticky situations, doesn’t he? I like to think if Skyler knew just how dark Walt has gone beyond simply dealing drugs, she would have left the house like her lawyer told her to a long time ago.

Writing this also makes me question how I feel about Walt. I hate him, but I also know the series wouldn’t be entertaining if he wasn’t so awful… It’s his effect on the world and the people around him that keeps me watching and keeps me entertained, rather than actually wishing any success for him.

As for what’s coming next… I’m putting it out there: No way is Gale dead. I’m not sure if I’m saying this because I genuinely don’t believe it, or because I just want the little sweetheart to live… But the way Jesse moved his gun at the last moment of the season, I am crossing ALL of my fingers that he just fired a warning shot. I expect they’re going to take Gale hostage now, and we’re going to be in a situation similar to that of Krazy-8 back in the first few episodes of the series. I’d be curious to see how different a hostage situation like that would play out now we’re further into the series, to see whether Walt would handle it in a more cut-throat manner. …Although based on the speed the show moves, they’ll probably murder Gale within the first two minutes of Season 4.

I assume Skyler is going to get more and more involved with Walt’s lies over the course of season 4, and I really think it’s about time she finds out that Walt is a murderer, on top of a drug lord. I am SO interested in seeing how her characters reacts and handles falling deeper into this world Walt has made into a cozy little home for himself.

Please let me see Walt get beaten up next season, and not Jesse, for a change.

Gus is surely going to be coming after Walt and Jesse HARD, and I’ll be amazed if Gus makes it out of the next season alive. Or… is Walt going to utilize Hank and somehow get Gus arrested, which would be a rather sneaky way of saving his own bacon? Hmm… I’m quietly confident in that guess. Time to find out if I’m right.

BREAKING BAD: Season 2 thoughts from a new viewer. A strong start that faltered at the last huddle.

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Bloody Hell, how fast does this show move?! In my last post I guessed this season would slowly chronicle Walt & Jesse becoming the ‘new’ Tuco… And that had already happened by episode 5. I was also expecting us to see a remission storyline close to the end of the show, but then – boop – there it is in the second season! I couldn’t believe how quickly they kept things moving, which was nice for pacing as it kept things consistently interesting.

Some highlights this season include the sheer amount of tension they managed to pull off throughout – especially any scene involving Tuco’s father. How did a character who can’t do anything else but ring a bell become so damn suspenseful?! He was fantastic. Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Season 2 thoughts from a new viewer. A strong start that faltered at the last huddle.”

BREAKING BAD: Thoughts on Season 1 From a New Viewer

I needed a series to get stuck into during social distancing, and what better than one that completely passed me by for years. I’ve started watching Breaking Bad with no spoilers or any idea where the plot goes whatsoever – which I feel is kind of miraculous considering how critically acclaimed the series is. Before I started episode 1, I knew this was a show about drugs, I knew it starred Bryan Cranston, and I knew it’s supposed to be just a little bit good. That’s… Everything, actually.

I’m going to write out my reactions to each season here, alongside my theories for where the plot is going and what’s going to happen next. Let’s get started with season 1! Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Thoughts on Season 1 From a New Viewer”

What Final Fantasy X could have been – tattoo systems, links to FF VIII, and terrifying hippos

Final Fantasy X released way back in 2001 (Holy shit has it really been that long) but has seen pretty consistent attention from Square Enix over the years with sequels, ports, remasters, accompaniment material, and most recently a version of the game’s Ultimania book translated for Western audiences. I’ve been looking through this book and collected some of the most interesting pieces of trivia and developmental information together in this post to imagine what could have been.

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This early concept art shows us a villain who is giving me some serious FF II Emperor vibes

Continue reading “What Final Fantasy X could have been – tattoo systems, links to FF VIII, and terrifying hippos”

The 5 best video games of the decade (feat. recency bias)

I can’t let 2019 end without jotting down my thoughts on my own personal favourite games of the last decade. Yes, obviously this list heavily favourites the latter half of the decade and I admit there’s probably a fair bit of recency bias at play. But I also think it’s just a fact that games have gotten better in recent years as more developers try to push the boundaries of what people think video games are capable of. Here are five of my favourites of this decade. Continue reading “The 5 best video games of the decade (feat. recency bias)”

His Dark Materials Episode Eight – One Book Down. Two To Go.

Well, we made it. Sadly, in tonight’s finale there was no screaming Ruth Wilson, nor did we get to see Serafina Pekkala tear any shit up. But somehow this finale still managed to be pretty damn good, and most amazingly of all – very true to the books. Continue reading “His Dark Materials Episode Eight – One Book Down. Two To Go.”

His Dark Materials Episode Seven – So much for those bears. At least James Macavoy is back?

I came into episode 7 expecting to see a polar bear get his jaw punched off. I was expecting to see armoured bears cheer as two vicious beasts attacked each other with all their might. I was also wanting a really exciting episode that would leave audiences feeling excited to see the end of Season 1 next week. I ended up watching something… different? If there’s one word I would use to describe my experience so far watching His Dark Materials, it would be unpredictable. Continue reading “His Dark Materials Episode Seven – So much for those bears. At least James Macavoy is back?”

His Dark Materials Episode Six – Don’t Mess With Serafina Pekkala

What a fantastic episode this was! We finally got to see why Serafina was hyped up for so long, Roger managed to act his ass off and actually succeeded, and all those creepy scientists got what was coming to them – maybe a little bit TOO easily if anything.  Continue reading “His Dark Materials Episode Six – Don’t Mess With Serafina Pekkala”

His Dark Materials Episode Five – That One Without Mrs Coulter

Tonight’s episode was missing two things: Ruth Wilson and a dead fish. We did finally get to meet Will (WHAT?!) and Serafina Pekkala (Yes Queen) but the ball was dropped on a pretty key scene, and it’s left me feeling a bit worried about the emotional payoffs throughout the rest of the season.

I am about to go on a Billy Costa RANT so before we do, let’s quickly mention Will and how great it is to see so much of The Subtle Knife already being shown off in Season 1! I’m not immediately sold on Will himself, but I also had my doubts about Dafne Keen’s Lyra that are now fading away, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think the changes they’re making here are really going to help the pacing of the series in the long-run as we get closer to season two. Continue reading “His Dark Materials Episode Five – That One Without Mrs Coulter”