In Memoriam: Character Death’s I’m Still Not Over

(A pretty big and obvious SPOILER WARNING applies)

Over the years television has become bolder, brasher.  Bold moves such as huge plot changing twists often include deaths of beloved characters. Some character deaths are minor, only contributing a bit of heartache moving forward on a show. Some character deaths are so big that their repercussions can be felt throughout the remainder of a series.

Death’s can also be silly and contrived, only serving as a plot device to move other characters or story in a certain direction.  A death of a beloved character can spark heated debate and opinions.  Though most shows on television today utilize death as a plot point, some just leave us wondering.

Kol Mikaelson (The Vampire Diaries – Season 4) – Season three of The Vampire Diaries introduced us to the entirety of the Mikaelson clan, including brothers Finn and Kol. Eldest brother Finn, devoted to ending his and his siblings “miserable” lives as vampires, posed a threat not only to the protagonists of the show, but the rest of the Mikaelson family as well. His kol1death was swift but necessary. Youngest brother Kol, though, showed vital signs of excitement and a touch of trouble when undaggered and reunited with his family. He quickly became a fan favorite; his cute and mischievous ways were a welcome addition to the sometimes bland main characters. His all too controversial death in season four came after Elena and Jeremy White Oak-staked him, producing an outcry on social media. Not only was his death sloppy and heartbreaking, it also produced a vampire genocide that really didn’t seem to have much effect on the characters consciences or the vampire world moving into future seasons.

Death seems to be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to The Vampire Diaries. Characters constantly perish and are reborn again, one way or another. No season truly displayed this act more than season five, where some of our favorites characters, including Elena, Stefan, Alaric, and newcomer Enzo were resurrected from “The Other Side.” Accordingly, TVD introduced its popular new spin-off, The Originals, which centers on the Mikaelsons and their troubles in New Orleans.   Every opportunity to resurrect Kol was given, especially after the season one finale of TO, where patriarch Mikael, matriarch and witch Esther, and brother Finn were all brought back into the land of the living one way or another. Kol still remains the one permanently dead Original. His loss is still felt and debated.

peterrussoPeter Russo (House of Cards – Season 1) – The inaugural season of House of Cards not only brought some of the best small screen produced drama, but it introduced viewers to a bevy of new and exciting characters. Fans of the show rooted for Pennsylvania Congressman Peter Russo and his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. He was a good guy who couldn’t settle or overcome his upbringing, an underdog from a rough home and it showed. That didn’t stop him from being one of season one’s best characters. Frank Underwood’s mission to turn Peter’s life around for his own gain was manipulative, though necessary for Russo. A good kick in the proverbial ass would straighten him out and put him on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, Underwood’s determinations wavered and Russo became more of a hindrance to our main character. Frank and his team manipulated Russo into a relapse, ruining his chances in office. The final act came when Russo, high, drunk, and down on his luck, confided in Frank. Frank sat back and watched his mentee slip, delivering his final act as he let Russo die of asphyxiation in a locked, garaged car. Russo’s death signified the gritty tone of House of Cards, introducing audiences to the real Frank Underwood. But Peter’s loss was felt through season two, leaving fans of his to struggle with whom to root for.

Tom Shayes (Damages – Season 3) – Similar to Frank Underwood was Patty Hewes. A powerful, successful New York City lawyer who didn’t let anything or anyone stand in her way. Patty tomshayeswasn’t afraid to take the more immoral path when it came to fighting for a win. The high-powered woman had many enemies and many people who were ready to destroy her and her associates. Patty’s right-hand man and partner, Tom Shayes, suffered the brunt of her misdeeds. Tom fought for his place by Patty’s side, turning down amazing offers and opportunities for an easier life with his family. Tom’s loyalties to Patty delivered him the ultimate sacrifice – his life. Entangled in a high-profiled case with proven dangerous people, Tom was murdered trying to do the right thing, fighting to save Patty and the firm. Although his death was presented as the main mystery of season three, his final minutes on screen didn’t make his death any easier. His loss was evident through out the rest of the series, as it never really did recoup after such a huge character loss.

nealonceNeal Cassidy/Baelfire (Once Upon a Time – Season 3) – One would think that the son of the all-powerful Rumpelstiltskin would be the last on the list of characters that would meet a deadly fate. Another show that plays with death like a toy, many other Once characters had experienced temporary death — the loss of their heart, being cursed, and being brought back to life with true loves kiss. Season three’s Zelena (The Wicked Witch) would prove to be the gang’s biggest foe, causing heartbreak and bloodshed in her wake. This terrorizing beauty made sure no one stood in her way, including Rumpel. The expanded family paid the ultimate price when Belle helped a grief-stricken Neal try to find a way to bring back his father from his own sacrifice. Regrettably, this meant sacrificing a life for a life as the two were tricked into resurrecting Rumpel only for Neal’s life to be taken in the process. The Dark One tried everything in his power to bring back his son, but Zelena’s magic and havoc was too strong. Neal begged to be let go of, to die a hero – and that’s what he did. Not only was Neal one of the best additions to the show, but he also showed a true chemistry with Emma, son Henry, and the rest of Storybrooke. His death came too soon as Michael Raymond-James’s series regular status on the show only lasted one season. The potential was wasted for his character and growth as his death only served as an easy plot device to later move Emma and Captain Hook closer to each other.

Mitchell (Being Human UK – Series 3) – Supernatural shows are no strangers to death, but when that death is of a main character it’s jarring, nonetheless. The UK version of Being Human saw a huge shift in character and story after its third season. One of the only shows to successfully transition into an entirely new cast, the loss of the first group of supernatural aidanbhentities living in a house together was still traumatic. Vampire [John] Mitchell had been on a long and hard road to overcome his blood addiction. Constantly struggling to be as human as possible and do the right thing, the charming vamp relapsed and fought his way through his urges with the help of werewolf best friend George and ghost girlfriend Annie. Mitchell’s ultimate sacrifice came when a faction of vampires were gearing up to take control. It was either Mitchell join them or subject himself to a fate worse than death.   In the Being Human world there was no afterlife for the soulless vampires and Mitchell knew that to save his roommates and loved ones he would have to help stop the war before it began. He had taken part in the murder of an entire train of innocent humans and had given into his most basic vampiric urges. But he had fallen in love, making every effort to pick himself up again, and giving his life for the ones he cared for most would be his final act. Faced with the choice of killing his best friend or die himself, George made his most gut wrenching decision as he delivered a stake into Mitchell’s chest. The loss of Mitchell was so big and painful that the rest of the original cast exited soon after, making way for a new group of supernatural roomies. Mitchell’s was the first of a handful of big moves for the UK edition that still makes one tear up to this day.

Henry Durham (Being Human US – Season 3) – It’s hard to mourn and move on from a character’s death, especially when said character didn’t even perish on screen. Aidan’s progeny, Henry, was a great addition to the US version of Being Human in its second season. He was compelling and easy on the eyes. We watched as Aidan struggled to rebuild a kyle2relationship with the “son” he had banished almost a hundred years earlier. Aidan struggled to keep himself cemented in the human and vampire worlds and Henry struggled for acceptance from his maker and the vampire community that had exiled him. Season three found most of the Boston vampires dead, wiped out by a horrible virus that only knocked humans into bed for a few days. The vampire flu was unavoidable, but Aidan helped himself and Henry from feeding off of tainted blood. Henry, though, would prove he wasn’t as strong as his maker. The vampire couldn’t control his hunger, feeding on diseased blood and contracting the fatal illness. Henry’s final speech to Aidan was his goodbye as he reminded his “father” that they were vampires, not humans. Henry walked off, letting the virus take him. Except, viewers never watched Henry die; Henry walked off, presumably turning into a pile of dust. But this was a character who had proved his survival skills, a trait Aidan made sure to remind his vampire son of over and over again. It’s hard to accept a characters death when their final moments aren’t even seen on screen and they have a history of making surprise entrances. Unfortunately, Being Human ended after its fourth season and it’s still unknown if Henry ever did miraculously survive the vampire flu.

cyril1Cyril O’Reily (Oz – Season 6) – On a show that centers around America’s toughest criminals, it wouldn’t shock anyone when shady goings on in a prison takes out one of its own. Fortunately for Oz, they built a series with a plethora of different and intriguing characters that one couldn’t help but root for. No character showed more compassion than Cyril O’Reily, Ryan O’Reily’s mentally handicapped brother. Cyril had been commissioned by Ryan to murder Gloria Nathan’s husband and Cyril, who could only comprehend at the mental capacity of a five year old, easily complied. The otherwise sympathetic Cyril was willing to do anything his brother asked of him. Cyril’s actions landed him straight in Oz and he became one of the most likable characters within a cast of degenerates. Cyril’s accidental but deadly actions in prison landed him on death row; the poor man couldn’t comprehend that he had made fatal mistakes. No appeals or a mental institution could help Cyril and in the show’s final episode and one of the shows more disturbing acts, Cyril was given the death penalty. This devastating final act was also one of the shows strongest moments. It showed how corrupt the prison system is and how even the most soulless of characters could have heart.

Tommy Merlyn (Arrow – Season 1) – Oliver Queen’s playboy best friend, Tommy, not only rose above his childish, egotistical ways, but also showed viewers that, indeed, a person can tommymerlynchange. Although his relationship with his best friends ex came off as less than honorable at first, Tommy and Laurel Lance worked. Her stern demeanor and his care free views on life fit together, evening each other out in a way that made more sense than former beau Oliver and Laurel. Tommy overcame his spoiled upbringing and although it took a little push by his father, Tommy learned that hard work really does pay off. Tommy proved himself as a formidable character and presented himself as a sweet and charming brother type, not only protecting Thea, but holding onto Oliver’s double life as The Arrow a secret all the way to his grave. Tommy’s untimely death at the end of season one was a shocker that changed the course of many characters lives moving forward on the show. His absence was felt as Thea learned that Malcolm was, in fact, her biological father and as Oliver continued to take on the evil in Starling City.

mikeehrMike Ehrmantraut (Breaking Bad – Season 5A) – Perhaps a turning point for Walter White and the series as a whole was the accidental death of Mike.  In a desperate attempt to procure the names of the men who worked for Gus and his operation, Walt fatally shot Mike in the former hitmans attempt to flee town.  Walt’s shot was purely accidental as he only meant to scare the elder partner.  Though Mike was by no means a “good” guy, he showed a ton of heart, especially in scenes depicting him and his young granddaughter.  All the money Mike had been earning through Gus and Walt had been put away into savings for young Kaylee.  Unfortunately, with the arrest of one of his men and the discovery of Walt’s true character, the money was seized into evidence.  To this day, Mike remains one of the best characters Breaking Bad has ever created.  With the announcement that his portrayer, Jonathan Banks, would be joining the prequel spin-off, Better Call Saul, fans don’t have to mourn his death too much longer.

himymTracy McConnell (How I Met Your Mother – Season 9) – As depicted many times, a character death as a use of a plot device can prove infuriating and sloppy. No plot device was as obvious as the death of the titular character of How I Met Your Mother. Fan’s tuned in for nine years to finally meet the mother of Ted Mosby’s children, the love of his life. Tracy, who had been introduced in the finale of the eighth season, came to be adored and loved by viewers. She was smart, funny, and was the perfect match for the love inept Ted. Tracy and Ted were perfect for each other – soul mates. But that hadn’t been HIMYM’s long-standing plan. The plan from the beginning was for Ted and Robin to constantly play the “are they, aren’t they game,” going back and forth on whether they were meant to be together or not. Robin seemed happy with playboy Barney and Ted was growing and moving on in his life. But Tracy’s death served as the final blow to the series. Ted had spent nine years telling his children the story of how he met their mother, but it was really just a journey as to how he was rediscovering his love for their Aunt Robin. The series took nine years of great character growth, story, and suspense and flushed it down the toilet. By turning the mother into a device and having Tracy fall ill and die, the series ruined what it had stood for since the beginning.

Honorable Mentions: Bobby Singer and Kevin Tran (Supernatural), Zoe Barnes (House of Cards), Allison Argent (Teen Wolf), Robb, Catelynn, and Ned Stark (Game of Thrones), Debra Morgan (Dexter), Mike Delfino (Desperate Housewives), Everyone (Six Feet Under).

2014 Emmy Reactions

The 2014 Emmy season is upon us.  Nominations were broadcasted this morning at 8:30 AM EST/5:30 AM PST.  While most people probably slept through the nominations, I was up with baited breath just hoping this would be the year that some of televisions most talented performances weren’t overlooked.  Unfortunately, every award show comes with a handful of snubs, the academy omitting some of the most outstanding work on television today.  Accordingly, exceptional work by some stellar people was recognized this year.

The Snubs

orphanblackTatiana Maslany (Orphan Black): Hands down one of the most marvelous actresses on television is none other than Tatiana Maslany and her work on the BBC American show Orphan Black.  Tatiana has taken on the role of on not one, not three, not five, but eight different clones throughout the series.  Only in its second season, Maslany has continuously showcased just how unique one person can make eight different characters.

shamelessShamelessEmmy Rossum, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Allen White: Bumping Shameless into the comedy category proved well for the Showtime series as William H. Macy was finally recognized for his work as alcoholic, deadbeat dad Frank Gallagher.  Although Macy’s nomination was a nice surprise, Frank’s shenanigans on the show have taken a backseat to the younger cast of Shameless.  Emmy Rossum (Fiona) hands down carries the series, while Jeremy Allen White (Lip) and Noel Fisher (Mickey) pulled out some amazing performances this year.  It can be argued that Shameless isn’t fit for the comedy category — this past season went to some pretty dark places — but a nomination for Macy may lead to further recognition down the road for this very talented ensemble show.

Dean Norris (Breaking Bad): Perhaps one of the most infuriating snubs of the season as Norris’ eligibility for an Emmy ended this year with the last season of Breaking Bad.  The standout character development of DEA agent Hank Schrader was above and beyond this past year.

Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation): No explanations needed.  Offerman’s Ron Swanson has been overlooked for the past six years.  A real travesty for the comedy category as his portrayal is perhaps some of the most excellent comedic work on television to date.

mcbrideMelissa McBride (The Walking Dead): A standalone performance on a continuously overlooked show.  Melissa McBride’s portrayal of Carol on this season of The Walking Dead outshone her fellow cast members.  Carol’s ultimate sacrifice of [spoiler] killing Lizzie, the psychotic child she had sworn to protect, was phenomenal.  It’s no surprise TWD and its acting was once again passed over as series star Andrew Lincoln and once cast member Jon Bernthal have been just as deserving of a nomination in the past.

hannwillHannibalMads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Raul Esparza: NBC’s Hannibal falls into an interesting category.  It’s horror and horror is not something the academy often moves towards.  But with the continuous recognition of American Horror Story, Hannibal is finally in a place to deserve a fair chance at recognition.  Although the show can be gory and over the top, the acting continues to be absolutely stellar.  Titular character Mads Mikkelsen shatters any doubters as Hannibal Lecter, while Hugh Dancy’s struggling Will is harrowing.  Guest actor Raul Esparza (Dr. Chilton) maintains a manipulative yet funny presence on the show.  The direction cinematography are not like any other on TV today.

Arrow stunt work: A random and underrated addition.  But Arrow’s leading man, Stephen Amell, does all of his own parkour-esque stunts.  This comic book inspired show is a hotbed for incredible stunt work.

The Well-Deserved:

The Normal Heart (various nominations): No surprises here.  The HBO movie was absolutely out of this world.  From the story to the acting, The Normal Heart may be this years best few hours of television.  Stars Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomber, Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, and Alfred Molina all garnered nominations for their performances.  The movie is sure to win best TV movie and will probably dominate in the acting categories as well.

ahscovenAmerican Horror Story: Coven (various nominations): QUEENS.  Is there any other word to describe the handful of women all nominated for their acting in the third installment of American Horror Story? Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Angela Bassett, and Kathy Bates all held their own this year on the miniseries.

William H. Macy (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Shameless): As stated above, Shameless‘ move into the comedy category proved worthy.  Macy has continuously given life to patriarch Frank Gallagher.

Amy Poehler (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Parks and Recreation): If Parks and Recreation has to continuously face being ignored by the voters then at least leading lady Amy Poehler’s nomination can give some light to the underrated comedy.

oitnbOrange is the New Black (various nominations): The Netflix comedy’s inaugural season was not surprisingly given high praise and high recognition.  As well as the show as a
whole, actresses Taylor Schilling (Piper), Kate Mulgrew (Red), Natasha Lyonne (Nicky), Laverne Cox (Sophia), and Uzo Aduba (Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’), were all bestowed accolades for their work on the show.  And that’s just for season one.

freddyhocReg E. Cathy (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series – House of Cards): A House of Cards fan favorite.  Freddy and his BBQ joint were highlighted in a devastating way during HOC’s second season.  Cathy’s performance was a gut-wrenching look into the inner city of DC, one that left audiences heartbroken and angry.

Breaking Bad (various nominations): No explanation needed.  The AMC drama’s swan song season was some of the best television ever made.  All the performances (including nominees Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn) were top-notch and the series once again proved that television can be a real piece of art.

The Originals (Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series): Because of reasons.

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What Can Be Done:

Implementing a separate sci-fi/horror/genre category: Shows like Orphan Black, The Walking Dead, and Hannibal continuously fall onto the short list.  Over the years, television has jumped leaps and bounds, making way for groundbreaking shows that don’t exactly fit into a drama or comedy category.  Shows that implement a horror, sci-fi, or otherworldly story house some of the best talent on television today.  The Emmy voters have slowly taken note, continuously commending the work on Game of Thrones and American Horror Story, but there are so many more deserving pieces of work out there.  An additional category to single out these series and performances would make way for some new faces.  Television is ever evolving and the Emmy’s should follow suit.

Dear Breaking Bad,

It comes with shock that I am at a loss for words.  How do I adequately explain what you have meant to me? All these years of faithfulness and adoration.  It’s hard to really explain to people what a fictional television show could mean to me.  In the end, you left me too soon, you broke my heart, but you left me satisfied; always wanting more but knowing that you ended in the most dignified way you could.

Three years ago it was recommended to me that I should watch a little AMC show which had just ended its third season.  Having an open mind, I delved right in.  What ensued was a three season binge watch that had me clawing at the bit for more.  You were riveting, exhausting, beautiful, and everything I could have asked for in a television show.  I quickly fell in love with everything Breaking Bad.

I became what you would call: obsessed.  I wanted to know everything and anything about Breaking Bad and its actors.  I wanted to explore every inch of the show, uncover what hidden messages would lead to big explosions and drama.  bbcastI wanted to know all the details of the cast, as a show as beautifully acted as this deserved my full attention and awareness of which unbelievably talented actors portrayed these parts.  No one could compare to the unease Bryan Cranston brought to Walter White, the sympathy Aaron Paul bestowed onto Jesse Pinkman, and the hurt and anger Anna Gunn emulated through Skyler White.  Among them stood and equally gifted supporting cast, who deserved every accolade, every praise they received.

Luckily, as time progressed, I was no longer in a small minority.  I became part of an audience that felt so close and so passionate about a show, I was no longer considered the crazy TV addict (ok, I still am, but at least I am not alone).

As the final weeks of the show drew nearer and nearer I felt as if I had become a part of a community.  Everyone was clamoring at the bit to make last minute predictions, laments, and tried to find meaning in every little detail that creator (and genius) Vince Gilligan and crew presented to us.  We all leaned on each other for emotional support and engaged in conversations about what the final last minutes would look like.

bb1No one was prepared for the end.  The show hit its peak during its final eight episode run, when everyone and anyone knew what Breaking Bad was, what it had created.  Clutching to a blanket, with a box of tissues nearby, my head swarmed as I kept every ounce of attention I had on the last hour of my beloved show.  As Walter took his last breath, I breathed a sigh of relief.  The protagonist turned (debatably) antagonist’s journey had finally reached a head.  Walter died defending himself, partner Jesse, and his meth empire.  As much as I had come to despise the person Walter had become, I couldn’t be mad.  I was too busy rejoicing over the life of Jesse Pinkman.  The life he would continue to live as he had escaped his enslavement and freed himself completely of his captor (RIP Todd).  All the remaining pieces fell in line.  Closure granted to each and every main character.

I was more than satisfied with the way you left me, Breaking Bad.  You gave me everything I could have asked for and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.  After a finale like Dexter, which failed in every way it could have, you were the saving grace.  What a series finale should look like.  What a television show all together should look like.  You went out on top, with more fans than ever.  I salute you, I congratulate you, and I will always be a fan.

Love Always,

Erin

Breaking Bad: 5 Things You Missed Last Night

Breaking Bad’s antepenultimate episode, “Ozymandias,” was by far one of the greatest hours of television to date.  It provided tears, heart palpitations, and feelings that I bet you still haven’t shaken today.  The hour long episode felt like a roller coaster ride, never slowing down until the very last second.  We witnessed some gut-wrenching and blood boiling scenes which made the little things easy to pass over:

1. Welcome back, Walt’s pants: The title “Ozymandias” refers to the rise and fall of a king.  A line from said poem states:

“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.
 Near them, on the sand,”

Nothing, and I mean nothing, in this show goes without purpose.  Every cause has an effect.  As Walt began rolling his barrel of money through the desert he passed by a piece of history that may have gone unnoticed to the casual eye:

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That’s right.  Walt’s pants from the very first episode of Breaking Bad were still intact, chillin’ in the desert sun. This was a connection between where Walt was only a few short years ago and where he stands today, or as some would say: the rise and fall of a king.

2. Walter White & Gus Fring, One in the same: A clear parallel can be drawn between the moment that Walt watched Hank, his own brother-in-law, die and in a flashback in season four, when Gus Fring watched as his closest comrade and partner was killed by drug lords:

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Walt struggled for so long to distance himself, rid the world of the evil he thought was Gus Fring, but in the end only ended up in the same exact place – a once good man, hidden in plain sight, reaping the consequences of his actions.

3. Skyler absolved: Many people tried to make sense of the phone conversation Walter had with Skyler  towards the end of the episode.  While the feds listened in, Walter belittled Skyler to her breaking point, blaming her for being a terrible wife to him.  This conversation was Walt’s lowest point, he had shown his true colors and they were the ugliest in the box.  This conversation wasn’t just a way for Walt to completely sever ties with his family but to clear Skyler’s name of any and all blame in his actions.  He played Skyler off as the victim, knowing the cops were listening in.

4. Bullet to the head: Hank met his demise with a single bullet to the head. Minutes later, Walt left the scene, in his car riddled with bullet holes.  A foreshadowing or a representation on what has passed? Could Walt meet his maker in the same way?

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5. Baby Emmy’s: Walter interacted with his infant daughter Holly more so in the last minutes of the episode than any other time on the show.  Unfortunately, the interaction was heartbreaking.  Walter kidnapped his own child due to his inability to accept that his family no longer wanted to follow him and accept him for the man he had become.  Baby Holly cried out for Skyler.  Her look of sadness and fear was better acting than most grown adults on television today.  When Walt finally did the right thing, leaving her at a fire station to easily be found, the look of abandonment was strewn across the infant’s face, sparking emotion in even the hardest of hearts:

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Little things may mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, but in Breaking Bad, they mean everything.  Only two episodes remain.  Who will still be standing at the end of the series? Will anyone earn a happily ever after?

Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Ridiculous Theories: Breaking Bad Edition

Well fellow Breaking Bad fans, the beginning of the end is officially underway.  The second half of season five premiered last Sunday to an audience of 5.9 million viewers (a personal record for the hit show).  For weeks now, fans have been speculating some pretty incredible theories on what events will transpire in the final eight episodes.  Who will live? Who will die? Will the White family be destroyed beyond repair?  Will Hank persecute his own brother-in-law?

Four ridiculous and highly improbable Breaking Bad theories

Walter Jr. is no longer friends with Louis – uses the name as a code word for drugs/Louis is Jr.’s drug dealer: Since the beginning of the show, Walter’s son Jr., or Flynn as he likes to be called, has been consistent in two things: eating breakfast and constantly hanging out with his friend Louis.  Viewers have only caught a few glimpses of Louis throughout the series, but Jr. has continued to rant and rave about Louis nonstop.  It’s been a while since fans of the show have actually seen Louis on screen, which begs the question: where is Louis? bb2What do the two do together, as it seems they hang out on a daily basis? One theory is that Louis and Jr. are no longer really friends and to keep his parents in the dark about his extracurricular activities, Jr. has been using “Louis” as a code word to use drugs, specifically the blue meth so famously made by patriarch Walt.  Since season one I’ve been waiting for Jr. to take a more prominent role in the series, for Walt’s double life to gravely effect his children.  I’ve been holding onto the theory since the beginning that Jr. has been into the blue crystal and that one day Walt would walk in on his son, seeing first hand the destruction his pure product has caused.

Another theory is that Louis is in fact Jr.’s drug dealer.  In Sunday night’s episode, a dinner conversation surrounding college found Jr. discussing Louis and his carelessness towards higher education.  Walt and Skyler laughed off their sons blasé attitude towards expanding his knowledge beyond high school because his friend felt the same, but could this lead towards bigger problems? Have Jr. and Louis become wrapped up in a darker life than their parents really know?

Walter poisons baby Holly with ricin: Rumors have been swirling for several seasons now that the death of Walter and Skyler’s infant daughter, Holly, was imminent.  Many bb3viewers even thought that the end of season 5A, before Hank took his year long dump of realizations, would bring Holly’s death as Jr. pushed her around in a toy car dangerously close to the pool’s edge.  This was mainly due to the fact that the color pink has continuously represented death on the show (the pink bear from the plane crashes, the pink lipstick found on Jane’s cigarette after her death, etc.) and baby Holly has continuously been fashioned in pink garments.  Viewers have also learned that color is a very significant benefactor on the series, usually indicating something much deeper within the characters themselves.

bb4In the beginning of season 5B, the cold open shows Walter making his way back to his now condemned house for one thing: the ricin which has still been hidden within the walls power circuit.  It’s pretty evident on Walter’s neighbor Carol’s face when she see’s him that she knows who he really is.  In a last ditch effort to save himself could Walt use the ricin on his own infant daughter to gain sympathy from others? It’s been established that Walter will do anything to save himself, even poisoning a child already to manipulate Jesse.  Could his ultimate act of selfishness lead to him murdering one of his own children?  Gus Fring threatened to kill Walt’s children without an upwards glance and Walt has proven to be even more conniving than his predecessor.

Marie kills Walt: The progression of the final episodes of Breaking Bad have brought all of our main characters to do unspeakable and uncharacteristic things.  One character who has stayed pretty grounded throughout the series has been Hank’s wife, Marie.  Marie has tried to stay the voice of reason (in her own mind) for her family but has had some missteps along the way, including a bout of kleptomania here and there.

bb5With Marie constantly teetering on the brink, could she step out of the shadows and deliver a final blow to her brother-in-law? The first scene of Sunday’s episode showed Marie wearing all yellow, a drastic change from her purple she seems permanently attached to.  This could mean a shifting change in Marie and whats to come.  We also heard Marie’s voice as she called Walt “the devil” in a joking manner.  A horrendous incident like the death of one of her family members may just send her off the edge to commit an act so out of character.  She adores her niece and nephew and would do anything to protect her own sister and husband.

It was all a dream: Possibly the most ridiculous and cliche of the theories.  The it-was-all-a-dream theory has floated around for every show, movie, book, etc. since the series ending to the 1980s show Newheart.  Walt’s continual battle with lung cancer has put him in the chemo chair several times now.  Could the chemo have had a lasting effect on Walt? Was  this entire show dreamt up by the side effects of his cancer battling treatment?

As we’ve seen over the past few years, everything and anything is possible and if we’ve learned anything, it’s this: Expect the unexpected.  The final few hours of the series is sure to bring tragedy, triumph, and a few (or episodes worth) of tears.  Breaking Bad has defied the way viewers watch and interpret television, consistently surprising us at every corner.

(this list was compiled by myself and some of the lovely members of ohnotheydidnt)

Erin Reacts to the Emmy Nominations

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If you can’t decipher what I just wrote then it must only mean one thing: Emmy nominations have been released!

On July 18th at 5:40 AM (8:40 AM here) outstanding (or what the committee deems outstanding) shows and actors were given recognition for their dedicated and hard work in television.  Some nominations were awesome (what up, Jonathan Banks!) but once again the Emmy’s failed to recognize some of the most outstanding newcomers (Clone Club, unite!) and veterans.  So, let’s get to it:

2013 Emmy Snubs:

orphanblack*Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black): This was by far the biggest snub (in my opinion and many critics’ as well).  Tatiana’s breakout performance as not one but SEVEN DIFFERENT characters on BBC America’s Orphan Black should have been enough to garner an Emmy nom.  Unfortunately, the committee has always been known to snub sci-fi themed shows.  It’s a shame because sci-fi and supernatural shows have come into their own, able to hold their own ground in today’s TV world.  Tatiana is a force to be reckoned with as Sarah, Cosima, Alison and various other clones.  Hopefully her day will come as Orphan Black only just recently ended its freshman run.

*Corey Stoll and Kata Mara (House of Cards): Although I’m jumping up and down for joy right now over House of Cards‘ multiple nominations, I can’t help be bet a little sad over the supporting actor/actress nominations.  Corey Stoll’s epic performance as congressman Peter Russo came to a heartbreaking, blood boiling end during House of Cards‘ last few episodes.  This was Corey’s only chance to be nominated for his achievements on the show and I can’t help but want to throw a shoe at my television because his name missed the nominations.  On the other hand, Kata Mara will get another chance next year but her portrayal of Zoe Barnes on the shows first season run should have been enough to lock down that nomination.

jcarp*Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter): Come on, Emmy voters! What were you thinking? This year Dexter didn’t make the cut, no nomination for Outstanding Drama and no recognition for leading man Michael C. Hall…and I’m okay with that.  The show has been in a decline since season four and I can somewhat understand the snub.  But, supporting actress Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Dexter’s sister Deb, really shined last year as her character discovered and came to terms with finding out that her brother was a serial killer.  Maybe next year? *crosses fingers* As the show has reached its last season, Jennifer has one more chance to score a nom.

*Arrested Development: The fourth season of the reboot had its ups and downs.  In terms of overall Outstanding Comedy Series, I could let that go.  Jason Bateman received a Outstanding Lead Actor nom. and I’m happy about that.  I am a little heartbroken though over the snubs of Will Arnett (Gob), Jessica Walter (Lucille), and Jeffrey Tambor (George Sr./Oscar).  Each actor is talented enough to earn their own separate nomination.  I would have also included Tony Hale (Buster) to my list but he was nominated for the role he plays on Veep (a show I haven’t had the pleasure to watch yet but am happy nonetheless as Tony is a phenomenal comedy actor).

parksandrec*Parks and Recreation: Once again, my spirits are crushed as Parks and Rec missed out on an Outstanding Comedy Series nomination.  Amy Poehler was rightfully nominated for Best Actress but supporting actors like Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), Adam Scott (Ben Wyatt), and Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer) deserve to be on that list just as much.

*The Walking Dead: Two years ago I would have laughed at the idea of TWD being nominated for anything, but these past two seasons have really said otherwise.  The show as a whole has become a lot stronger in terms of acting, drama, and pace.  Andrew Lincoln holds his own as Rick Grimes.  His portrayal of a survivor who lost his wife, countless new loved ones he has met on his journey, and his slow descent into insanity made for excellent television.  Again, the committee seems to forget about the sci-fi/supernatural shows so it’s no surprise a show like TWD was forgotten.

shameless*Shameless and Emmy Rossum: WHAT. THE. HELL.  It continues to boggle my mind every year where Showtime’s Shameless is once again forgotten about.  It’s on one of their favorite networks and plenty of other shows and actors from Showtime made the cut this year.  But not Shameless.  The show is beyond excellent.  Emmy Rossum’s portrayal of Fiona Gallagher is fantastic.  Her ability to bring Fiona’s inherent sadness and struggle to the screen should have garnered her a nomination in the lead actress category.  Along with Emmy, any of the supporting cast could have easily have scored a nom, especially William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, Fiona’s alcohol riddled and neglectful father.

newgirl*New Girl: I recently fell in love with Fox’s New Girl.  The show is funny and light hearted, making it an all around great show to watch and one that the voters should love as well.  Actors Jake Johnson (Nick Miller) and Max Greenfield (Schmidt) bring their own form of humor to the show as two very different roommates.  Johnson’s lazy but charming Nick gives the show heart and Greenfield’s over the top and ridiculous Schmidt is what sets the show apart from its competitors.  Either one of these outstanding men are strong enough to compete with the others.

Other snubs: Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal on Hannibal), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark on Game of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones), Danny DeVito (Frank Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Jason Gann (Wilfred on Wilfred)

It can’t all be bad news though, right!? Thankfully there were several nominations that made me weep with joy:

hoc1*House of Cards/Kevin Spacey/Robin Wright: House of Cards‘ first season run on Netflix was some of the best hours of television I have experienced yet.  Spacey’s portrayal of ruthless Frank Underwood sets a high bar for others in his category.  Wright’s portrayal of Frank’s equally as manipulative wife Claire is bone chilling. The show has a great chance of taking home some awards as last seasons sweep of Homeland proved that a freshman show can hold its own in the fierce competition.

bb*Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad): YAY YAY YAY.  Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut left the show in a heartbreaking showdown between him and lead man Walter (Bryan Cranston).  Banks really pulled out all the stops in his last few episodes, showcasing a bad guy who you just couldn’t help but want to hug (best grandpa ever!)  I’m super excited Banks’ name made the list this year, right next to his co-star Aaron Paul.  It’s going to be a tough race but Banks has the chops to take home the award.

*Zachary Quinto and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story): I’ve been saying these two deserved nominations since the shows second season came to a close.  Paulson and Quinto shine in the up and down, crazy show that is American Horror Story. Quinto (Dr. Oliver Thredson/Bloody Face) has the innate ability to play evil and psychotic characters, evident in AHS as he portrayed a mass murdering psychiatrist who skins women alive because of his mommy issues.  Paulson (Lana Winters) gives a great performance of a reporter who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time as she struggles with breaking free from Briarcliff Insane Asylum after being wrongfully committed.  The miniseries category hasn’t always been my favorite but this year I will be keeping my eye out for these two.

Episode 105*Mandy Patinkin (Homeland): I’m still racking my brain on how it’s taken until the second season of Showtime’s Homeland to recognize Patinkin (Saul Berenson).  Saul may be the best character on the show and Patinkin is strong enough that he may just pull out a win this year.  He deserves it.

*Jane Krakowski (30 Rock):  Finally! Janes portrayal of over the top and ridiculous actress Jenna Maroney has been a show stopper since the shows first season.  Unfortunately, it took up until the shows final season for the voters to see that.

Also happy for: Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates on Bates Motel), everything Breaking Bad, everything Homeland, Joan Cusack (Sheila Jackson on Shameless), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live).

For a complete list of Emmy nominations click here.

Breaking Good: A Redemption for Walter White?

(Warning: Major spoilers ahead.  Do not read on unless you have finished all current seasons of Breaking Bad.)


bblog4Walter White is a villain.  For five seasons now, Walter (commonly called ‘Walt’ on the show), has transformed from a timid, quiet spoken high school chemistry teacher to a vocal, manipulative drug king pin.  His maddening descent into the shows character we most love to hate has been over a span of five seasons with a few key misdeeds that have led to the Walt we know now:

bblog1The death of Emilio Koyama and Krazy-8: Perhaps the beginning of Walt’s devastating descent began at the very beginning of season one.  After producing their first batch of blue meth, Jesse attempts to sell it for a large profit to drug dealer, Emilio. Wanting to know where this pure meth is being produced, Emilio makes Jesse show him.  Emilio and fellow drug dealer Krazy-8 infiltrate Walt and Jesse’s RV.  In an act of protection, Walt poisons both dealers, instantly killing Emilio.  Krazy-8 however wakes up.  Walt helps Jesse dispose of Emilio’s body by dissolving his body in hydrofluoric acid and a barrel (a form of body disposal that became a staple through out the entire series).  Instead of instantly killing him, Walt and Jesse keep Krazy-8 chained in the basement of Jesse’s house.  Not wanting to cause another death, Walt personally opens up to Krazy-8 and eventually decides to let the dealer go.  Krazy-8, not feeling as sentimental towards his captor, tries to attack Walt.  Once again, Walt protects himself and in self defense, kills Krazy-8.

bblog3Negligent homicide:  Season two proved to be a tough stride for fan favorite Jesse Pinkman.  His lack of authority and frequent drug use took a downward spiral when he met Jane Margolis, the daughter of Jesse’s new landlord.  Between Jesse’s sudden wealth and Jane’s recovery from heroin, the two became entwined in a dangerous love affair, leading to the heroin dependence of both characters.  Walt becomes more and more frustrated with Jesse’s lack of motivation and and inability to work because of his addiction.  In the end, Jane blackmails Walt for money.  Walt, deciding he can help Jesse break his addiction, break away from Jane, and get back to the work he originally set out to do, forges his way into Jesse’s apartment.  He finds both Jesse and Jane in a heroin induced sleep, unable to respond.  In his effort to wake Jesse, Walt accidentally knocks Jane onto her back and she begins to asphyxiate.  Instead of trying to help, Walt stands over her as she dies.  Walt leaves, unnoticed by Jesse, and Jesse wakes hours later to find his girlfriend dead.

bb4Poisoning of Brock and subsequent death of Gus Fring:  Season four found Walt and Jesse at odds with each other.  Drug king pin Gus Fring had used all his ability to turn Jesse against Walt.  Fring wanted Walt dead and gone but felt that he could help Jesse.  In an effort to regain Jesse’s trust and rid of Fring once and for all, Walter uses his resources and his powers of manipulation.  Walter uses a toxic but common garden plant called ‘Lily of the Valley’ to poison the son of Jesse’s love interest, Andrea. In agony over Brock’s hospitalization, Jesse believes Walt when he convinces him that it is all a ploy by Gus and his men to rid of Walter.  With Jesse finally back on his side, Walt executes his final plan and blows up Gus Fring and one of his men in a final confrontation with enemy Hector “Tio” Salamanca.  The final shot of season four pans in on a close up of the ‘Lily of the Valley’ plant Walt used to almost kill Brock and the beginning of season five put to rest the debate over whether Walt really did or did not poison Brock (he did).  Thus proving Walt would go to any means to save himself.

Walt has slowly morphed from the protagonist to the antagonist of Breaking Bad. So, with a half a season left to go of the beloved series, can Walt be redeemed? The answer is: No.

The opening of season five showed us a brief glimpse into the future with a flash forward.  Walt, sitting in an Denny’s, alone on his 52nd birthday seems to look healthy but depressed.  He plays with his food, forming the number ’52’ with his bacon, reminiscent of how his wife Skyler celebrated his birthday in years past.  A glimpse of his drivers license presents a different state and name all together.  Walter White is no longer Walter White.  Upon his exit he meets with a gun dealer, who uneasily hands him keys to a car.  Once outside, Walt opens the trunk of the car, finding a very deadly machine gun.

At the end of season five, Walt seemed to have found peace in his life.  Finally breaking away from the meth making and dealing empire he had built for himself.  Even though Walt wanted to be the number one, the new Gus Fring, he chose the family path.  Walt finally put his family before his “business.”  The last scene of season 5 shows Walt enjoying time with his family by their pool.  His brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank, makes his way into the master bathroom, settling down on the toilet.  He picks up a book behind him, flipping through it to pass the time.  The book is revealed to be a Walt Whitman book of poetry.  As Hank skims through, he turns to the first page of the book, finding a note: “To my other favorite W.W. It’s been an honour working with you. Fondly, G.B.”  and boom, all is revealed.  Cut to credits.

bblog5We don’t know what will come after Hank’s discovery and seemingly long a wait on the toilet, but we do know where Walt will be in a few months time.  A different person, a different mission in life.  Walt has proven time and time again that you can’t go back.  He dug himself deeper in to the world of meth and by choice.  He could have had the easy life, chosen not to get involved with Gus Fring, not baited Jesse, an addict, into continuously being his partner, and not have taunted Hank about his involvement with meth maker Gail Boetticher.

In the end, who could Walt be planning to use that deadly weapon on that we caught a glimpse of at the beginning of the season? Could it be Hank?  Could it be Jesse? Maybe even Skyler?  One thing is for sure, Walt is out to save Walt.  The time for redemption disappeared with the choices he has made as he delved deeper with his voluntary and unemotional involvement with the dark world of crystal meth.  Two roads have diverged and he cannot travel both.  Walt has chosen the one less traveled and it has made all the difference.