Thursday, October 3, 2013

'Breaking Bad' Reviewing "The Epilogue"

 by The Professor















It's 'Breaking Bad' Week here at The Web and first up we're serving up back-to-back reviews of the penultimate and ultimate episodes, "Granite State" and "Felina".

But first, let me walk you through the method to my madness. You guys remember the insanity that happened a couple weeks back in "Ozymandias" right? That episode was such a game changer, and it affected so much in Vince Gilligan's universe that I considered it to be an extremely tragic, quasi-series finale. In fact, if it wasn't for the flash forwards, I would have had to check Wikipedia to make sure there were more episodes on the way.

So, when a story ends, what comes next? In this case, an Epilogue of sorts. In the last two episodes we see how Mr. Lambert deals with his exile, and more importantly how he handles the aftermath of outing himself.

First up, let's go over the events in "Granite State" shall we?

Walt becomes Mr. Lambert and heads to "The Shire" (New Hampshire). No, he doesn't meet Bilbo and Frodo at Bag End, but he does freeze his ass off. For those who aren't familiar with state mottoes and whatnot, just like New Jersey is the Garden State and New York is the Empire State, New Hampshire is the Granite State (the episode's namesake) and it's state motto is "Live Free or Die" which lends itself to the title of the very first episode of the season. I bring this up because this show has been all about identifying and appreciating the little details, and even the names of the episodes are carefully chosen to supplement the intricacy of this show.

New Hampshire is, in climactic terms, the polar opposite of the ABQ. You can see it in Walt's face. He hates it, it's cold, it's dry and its desolate. He might as well be a prisoner out there. He's alive and he's free, technically, but he really isn't either. Walter White is dead, and Mr. Lambert is slowly withering away despite the continuation of his cancer treatments. This becomes really apparent when Walt's wedding ring falls off his finger, which sparks a really humanizing moment where he takes the ring and makes a makeshift necklace with it. Keeping what's left of his family's memory (literally) near his heart.

Meanwhile, in the ABQ, the status is the furthest thing from quo. Skyler is being questioned by the Feds, Marie is trying to find her husband and Junior isn't eating breakfast. Really, not too much on the familial front, they pretty much checked in on them to see how much their lives have changed and reminded the audience what needs to be mended during the "Felina".

Oh, they also threw in Jesse's attempted escape. And despite his failure he did succeed in deepening our sympathy for him, and by the end of the episode I was convinced he'd be granted a happy ending come series end. Also, fuck you Todd Alquist.

And yes, for those wondering, I do mean that kind of happy ending (I don't). Jesse Pinkman, me love you long time.

The last scene we were left with (before the series finale made the next 7 days extremely hard to bear) started off with another painful phone call; one where Walt begged his son to take his money, and Junior stubbornly refusing anything from his monstrous father. Completely crushed that all of his work was for naught, he turns himself in and orders one last drink. Again, thanks to the flash forwards, we know that Walt doesn't turn himself in and he comes back home, so what could possibly happen in such a short time frame?

...Enter Gretchen and Elliot via the TV at the local bar. Walt is brought up in the interview due to his involvement with "Grey Matter Technologies", to which Elliot responds by telling the guy that the only contribution that Walter had made was to the name of the company.


For years Walter felt cheated out of  the fortune that "Grey Matter Technologies" had made (for reasons never thoroughly explained), but he always was recognized as a key contributor towards the foundation of the company. Without him there would be no "Grey Matter" and he was proud of that, it validated his worth in a field that he was so passionate about. For Elliot and Gretchen to downplay his contribution to being only partially responsible for the name, was enough to drive Walt out of his despair and straight back to Albuquerque.    

And sadly, the second part of last review I'll ever do for 'Breaking Bad', I give you "Felina"

Not only is "Felina" an anagram of "Finale", but it also can be interpreted chemically. The "Fe" stands for the mineral Iron which is necessary for hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, to carry Oxygen. "Li" stands for Lithium which is apparently used for making Methamphetamine (I don't know from experience). And finally we have "Na" which stands for Sodium, which is found in a certain form of tears.

Put them all together and "Felina" could mean...Blood. Meth. Tears, which is nerdy as hell and I love it.

The episode gives us immediate gratification and doesn't start with the flash forwards we were teased with throughout the season, like I thought they would. Instead, we get a chilling scene with Walt lurking in the shadows of Elliot and Gretchen's home. The way "Granite State" left off, you'd think that Walt would want to off these people, and with him creeping through their hallways it added to that notion. I expected both of them to be dead by the end of the scene. But in a surprising turn of events, Walter takes the high road...sort of. By threatening them into taking what's left of his money he secured his family's financial future. But not before scaring the shit out of his former colleagues with laser pointers.

This leads me to my only gripe of the episode. Considering the ambiguity of the "Grey Matter Technologies" fallout, I thought their reunion would provide some definitive answers. From Season 1 we know that Walt felt as if Elliot and Gretchen cheated him out of his shares of the company, but then Gretchen claims that he sold his shares and left without any explanation. The true story was never told, and it's just gonna have to stay up in the air.

Walt made sure no one would profit from something that he started ever again when he slipped Lydia the ricin. Equipped with knowledge of Lydia's habits and a small vial of poison he was effectively able to topple his own empire, presumably ending the distribution of his signature crystal blue persuasion. Loose end, tied.

The rest of the episode served up some pretty satisfying, and untypically heartwarming scenes that managed to shift the tone, bringing 'Breaking Bad' to a happier place. We got Walt admitting that he stayed in the meth business "for him" right before giving his wife and daughter a proper goodbye.

The ending was as perfect as it possibly could have been. Walt took out Uncle Jack and his crew using his brain, saving Jesse in the process. Jesse strangled Todd with his shackles and Walt gave Jesse a shot at revenge giving Jesse an opportunity to finally say no to his former mentor, thereby freeing himself physically and metaphorically from his meth-based prison.

And then the screen went black.

Just kidding folks, this final scene was actually a satisfying one. With a smile on his face, and a triumphant upbeat song playing in the background, Walt takes a stroll through a meth lab one last time. Leaving us with the image of him laying there, dead, in the place where he believed he belonged.

All in all the epilogue of 'Breaking Bad' was fantastic, "Granite State" gave us every reason for us to believe that Walt was going to come back and raise absolute hell, setting us up for the dark ending we all anticipated. Instead, "Felina" delivered an unexpected jubilant ending leaving us with almost no loose ends.

We have witnessed TV history ladies and gents. 'Breaking Bad' gave us a satisfying ride, each season more hard hitting than the next. It has been one of the most unpredictable shows that I have ever watched and it actually ended on a good note. 'Breaking Bad' you will be missed and will not be forgotten.

Score: 10


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 2013 TV Power Rankings

by Spider-Dan

WOW. What a busy month of television. Today, as we wrap up the month of September, let's take a look at what's on (or should be on) your television sets.

Please note, these rankings are based on my personal taste and enjoyment of a show I am currently current with, overall, with a concentration on the current or most recent season, with minor exceptions.

These power rankings are a little different than the August ones, this will be the new format moving forward. It is just impossible to compare dramas and comedies, so these ranks are revamped, bitches.

  1. Breaking Bad (Final Appearance)
  2. Game of Thrones (Season 4 Returning 2014 HBO)
  3. The Walking Dead (Season 4 Premiering October 13 on AMC)
  4. Mad Men (First Half of Final Season Returning 2014 on AMC)
  5. The Newsroom (Season 3 Returning 2014 on HBO)
  6. Homeland (Season 3 Sunday's on Showtime)
  7. Doctor Who (50th Anniversary Special Airing November 23 on BBCAmerica)
  8. Sherlock (Season 3 Returning 2014 on BBC)
  9. Boardwalk Empire (Season 4 Sunday's on HBO)  
  10. Dexter (Final Appearance) 
  11. Arrow (Season 2 Premiering October 9 on CW)
  12. Once Upon a Time (Season 3 Sunday's on ABC)
  13. Shameless (Season 4 Premiering January 12 on Showtime)
  14. Sons of Anarchy (Season 6 Tuesday's on FX)
  15. Falling Skies (Season 4 Returning 2014 on TNT)
  16. The Killing (Final Appearance)
  17. Bates Motel (Season 2 Returning 2014 on A&E)
  18. Ray Donovan (Season 2 Returning 2014 on Showtime) 
  19. Revolution (Season 2 Wednesday's on NBC))  
  20. The Following (Season 2 Returning TBA on FOX)
  21. Glee (Season 5 Thursday's on FOX)
  22. American Horror Story (Season 3 Premiering October 9 on FX)
  23. Under the Dome (Season 2 Returning 2014 on CBS)
  24. Defiance (Season 2 Returning 2014 on SyFy)
  25. True Blood (Final Season Returning 2014 on HBO)
  26. Graceland  (Season 2 Returning TBA on USA)
  27. Da Vinci's Demons (Season 2 Returning 2014 on Starz)
  28. In the Flesh (Season 2 Returning 2014 on BBCAmerica)

#1 - Best Drama on TV / Saying Goodbye - 'Breaking Bad'

And so it's over. The greatest show on television goes out on top of the power rankings, as it should. It's 'Breaking Bad' week here at The Web, so much more coverage on this in upcoming posts. Simply put, the finale of this show (final season, final episode, final scene) was perfect. With its ending now complete, it has solidified its spot among the greats in television history, maybe even atop the list.

#10 - Saying Goodbye - 'Dexter'

Oh, Dexter. Oh, poor Dexter. It is a shame that this show went out in the way that it did. I love this show, it has been a favorite of mine for years, but this last season, they really shit the bed. In what could have been another celebrated series finale (a la 'Breaking Bad') turned out to be quite the opposite. With the poorest execution of its finale (final season, final episode, final scene) 'Dexter' ruined their well-deserved spot in TV history. Normally, I would have ranked this last season much lower, but considering I had such an invested emotional connection to the show throughout the years, I'll let it go out as #10 overall.

#16 - Saying Goodbye - The Killing

Well, AMC cancelled this show, again. After its initial 2 season run, 'The Killing' came back from cancellation and delivered its best season yet. However, suffering from the same low ratings, a repeat cancellation was no surprise. It's extremely unlikely shows get brought back from cancellation, only a few have, so this time, it's over. Goodbye to Holder and Linden, it was fun. Holder, we'll see ya in 'Robo-Cop'.

#9 - On the Rise - 'Boardwalk Empire'

After much thought, although this show doesn't give me the "I need to watch the next episode immediately" feeling, it is still pretty great television. Bobby Cannavale deserved his Emmy for his portrayal of Gyp Rosetti. This season has me interested: The rise of Capone, The rise of the New York mafia, Vigilante Harrow. With a 5th season already confirmed by HBO for 2014, I expect big things from 'Boardwalk'.

#18 - Random Highlight - 'Ray Donovan'

I know I'm gonna' get some comments on this one. Let me tell you why I don't care for this show much. This show has a great concept, a Hollywood fixer, The Wolf of Hollywood. It's cool. And with Liev Schreiber embodying that, even better. The best parts of this show are when Ray is doing what Ray does. This long and slow moving season focused way too much on the familial issues of the Donovan family. Although having these family issues are important for the growth of characters, and for a more engaging serialized story, it really made it its focal point. When this show comes back for Season 2, I hope that they focus more on Ray, showing episodic jobs with a season-long arc revolving around a significantly hot client, with team Donovan (Mickey and Sons) joining in. Sign me up for that.


1. New Girl (Season 3 Tuesday's on FOX)
2. Community (Season 5 Returning 2014 on NBC)
3. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Season 9 Wednesday's on All New Channel FXX)
4. The League (Season 5 Wednesday's on All New Channel FXX)
5. South Park (Season 17 Wednesday's on ComedyCentral)
6. The Big Bang Theory (Season 7 Thursday's on CBS)
7. Parks and Recreation (Season 6 Thursday's on NBC)
8. House of Lies (Season 4 Returning January 2014)
9. Modern Family (Season 5 Wednesday's on ABC)
10. Drunk History (Renewal Status Unknown on Comedy Central)
11. Arrested Development (Season 5 Returning TBA on Netflix or Movie?)
12. How I Met Your Mother (Final Season Monday's on CBS)
13. Eastbound and Down (Season 4 Sunday's on HBO)
14. Workaholics (Season 4 Returning TBA on Comedy Central)
15. The Middle (Season 5 Wednesday's on ABC)
16. Family Guy (Season 12 Sunday's on FOX)
17. American Dad (Season 9 Sunday's on FOX)
18. Nathan For You (Season 2 Returning TBA on Comedy Central)
19. Mindy Project (Season 2 Tuesday's on FOX)
20. Sullivan and Son (Season 3 Returning 2014 on TBS)
21. The Neighbors (Season 2 Friday's on ABC)
22. The Boondocks (Season 4 Returning TBA on AdultSwim
23. Franklin and Bash (Season 4 Returning 2014 on TNT)
24. Men at Work (Season 3 Returning 2014 on TBS)
25. Suburgatory (Season 3 Returning 2014 on ABC)
26. Two and a Half Men (Season 11 Thursday's on CBS)
27. Raising Hope (Season 4 Premiering November 8 on FOX)
28. Brickleberry (Season 2 Tuesday's on Comedy Central)
29. Axe Cop (Renewal Status Unknown on FOX)
30. High School USA (Renewal Status Unknown on FOX)

#1 - Best Comedy on TV - 'New Girl'

This is the greatest cast on TV. Everyone is crucial to the success of an episode. If someone is slacking, another character steps up and carries the weight. They rely on each other not only for the incredible chemistry they have developed, but also for dialogue. Much of 'New Girl' relies heavily on the actors going off script and expanding upon the writing. It is this combination of acting and writing that makes 'New Girl' the hit that it is.

#12 - On the Rise - 'How I Met Your Mother' 

'How I Met Your Mother' is one of my favorite series of all time. The show is responsible for much of my personal vocabulary, as they've coined so many terms over the years (I've definitely experienced "The Mermaid" before). Though it has faltered in recent years, the premiere of this final season started off strong, delivering the series best episodes in a while. You instantly fall in love with the mother and see why she is perfect for Ted, which is monumental for this series to accomplish. For the first time in recent memory, I am excited for more 'Mother' in hopes that it ends its run with some series-best episodes.

#13 - Random Highlight - 'Eastbound & Down'

Kenny fucking Powers is back! In the show's final season, Kenny is adjusting to the mundane life of an average non-celebrity, as the show picks up years after season 3 ends. Kenny is a family man now, who longs for the taste of his old life. Expect more obnoxious and inappropriate Kenny for this final stretch of episodes.

Too Soon To Rank
(Currently Airing First Season - In No Particular Order)

Back in the Game (Wednesday's on ABC)
The Blacklist (Monday's on NBC)
The Bridge (Wednesday's on FX)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Tuesday's on FOX)
The Crazy Ones (Thursday's on CBS)
Dads (Tuesday's on FOX)
The Goldbergs (Tuesday's on ABC) 
Hello Ladies (Sunday's on HBO)
Hostages (Monday's on CBS)
Low Winter Sun (Sunday's on AMC)
Lucky 7 (Tuesday's on ABC)
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesday's on ABC)
Masters of Sex (Sunday's on Showtime)
The Michael J. Fox Show (Thursday's on NBC)
Mom (Monday's on CBS)
Sleepy Hollow (Mondays' on FOX)
Trophy Wife (Tuesday's on ABC)
We Are Men (Monday's on CBS)

Feeling Optimistic - 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

This is just off to a phenomenal start. I am still geeking out about how cool it is to have this show on our TVs weekly. The team was perfectly set up in the Joss Whedon directed Pilot, and I am more than hooked to see where Marvel will take us both in the series and in the Shared Marvel Universe. The canon and continuity gave me multiple nerdgasms.

Feeling Pessimistic - 'Hostages'

To borrow a line from The Professor, "Durrrr".
Watching this show felt as if I, myself, was being held hostage. I have subsequently cancelled the series recording on my DVR. 


I Deem These Unrankable - Reality, Variety and Cartoon's (Excluding Prime Time Cartoons - In No Particular Order)

America's Got Talent (Season 9 Returning 2014 on NBC)
Avengers Assemble (Season 1 Airing on Disney XD)
Beware the Batman (Season 1 Airing on Cartoon Network)
Deon Cole's Black Box (Renewal Status Unknown on TBS)
Face Off (Season 5 Airing Tuesday's on SyFy)
Hard Knocks (Season 9 Returning 2014 on HBO)
The Hero (Renewal Status Unknown on TNT)
Hulk and the Agents of SMASH (Season 1 Airing on DisneyXD)
The Jeselnik Offensive (Season 3 Returning 2014 on Comedy Central)
Key and Peele (Season 3 Wednesday's on Comedy Central)
King of the Nerds (Season 2 Returning 2014 on TBS)
Kroll Show (Season 2 Returning TBA on Comedy Central)
The Nerdist (Returning TBA on BBCAmerica)
Robot Combat League (Renewal Status Unknown on Syfy)
Saturday Night Live (Season 39 Saturday's on NBC)
Talking Bad (Final Appearance)
The Taste (Season 2 Returning 2014 on ABC)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Season 2 Saturday's on Nickelodeon)
Ultimate Spider-Man (Season 2 airing on DisneyXD)
Whodunnit? (Renewal Status Unknown on ABC)
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Season 1 Airing Tuesday's on CW)
The Writer's Room (Renewal Status Unknown on Sundance)

Saying Goodbye - 'Talking Bad'

With the ending of 'Breaking Bad', so too must 'Talking Bad' go with it. Fare thee well Chris Hardwick. See you next month in 'Talking Dead'.

Unrankable Shout Out - 'America's Got Talent'

America got it right this year. In what is one of the few reality competition shows I watch (AGT has a uniqueness and heart about it that almost every other competition show lacks, combined with America's judge, Judge Howard Stern, AGT is the best network reality show). This year, in a deep pool of talent, America chose Kenichi Ebina of Japan (UrrrAhhh? Tim Allen Noise) This was the clear choice. The man is a talented genius and came up with the most interesting sets I have ever seen on AGT. Check out the video below.

We Remember - 'The Sopranos'

The question has, inevitably, now become: 'The Sopranos' or 'Breaking Bad'. Tony Soprano paved the way for modern audiences to empathize and root for the "bad guy". It changed the course of television with this new narrative approach. This historic show deserved all of the acclaim it received , both critically and publicly.

Vince Gilligan certainly fed off 'The Soprano' platform and created Walter White, the only anti-hero ever created that can question Mr. Soprano's throne. Will he? Find out this week as The Web gives you the Top Anti-Heroes in TV history.

Stay stuck on The Web for more coverage during 'Breaking Bad' week.