Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A spoiler-free observation about this week's Breaking Bad, subtext, why Walter White's a great tragic hero, and good endings

1. A surprising number of people took the final speech in this week's episode at face value. I didn't expect that because two great performances—by the speaker and especially by the primary listener—should've told everyone that more was being said than the speaker's words implied.

But subtext is often missed.

2. Walter White's a great tragic hero because he never stops believing that he can fix everything if he just tries hard enough.

3. Most stories have one possible emotionally right ending. Two episodes short of the conclusion of Breaking Bad, I don't know whether the right ending is Shakespearean devastation, or some degree of redemption for the survivors, or a hollow victory in which Walter never fully realizes the price everyone has paid.