Crystal Blue Perdition


Anyone getting psyched for the first of Breaking Bad‘s final eight (8) episodes could do worse than revisit this post from two years ago by a friend of Korrektiv. The commentary contained therein is still relevant, as is the link to the New York Times profile of the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan — a lapsed Catholic, in case you didn’t know (which reflects at least a few faint photons of glory on us). As an Extra Added Bonus, there’s a YouTube embed of an old (i.e., young) Bryan Cranston commercial for J.C. Penney that — at least for those of us not too familiar with the man’s pre-Walter White résumé — constitutes a real-life flashback as paradigm-shifting as anything on the show.

In case you didn’t click the first link above, here it is again.

And Hank exits the loo in 3… 2… 1…


  1. Methinks his role in Drive will be of better use for meditation on than the jc penny ad.
    Ugh you can’t be on Team Skyler, seriously? Team Breakfast is the way to go.

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Alas, poor Shannon! What a wonderful supporting cast Drive had.

      Ugh you can’t be on Team Skyler, seriously?

      Yes, seriously. But I forgive you.

  2. Holy recap, Mr. White!

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      Bob, would you believe it’s been so long since Part 1 of Season 5 that I had completely forgotten the show was animated?

  3. Don’t stop believin’.

  4. How can anyone not be Team Skyler?

    • Ted Beneke's Labored Dictation says

      I just want to make it absolutely clear, for the record, that I’ve always been on Skyler’s side, and I always will be. Always and forever. As long as my family is safe.

    • She is a royal … (you get the rest.) She may be have justification as a “wronged” woman since Walt wasn’t honest with her for the longest time but she is simply an irritating character.
      Dont even get me started on her sister.
      That’s not to say I like Walt any more than her. Him with his pb&j sandwiches for lunch and cheerios for breakfast. Cheerios… the worst cereal ever invented. It’s a marketing stroke of genious, getting people to eat that tasteless bland easily soggified food. I can understand honey nut cheerios but the plain stuff is beyond me.

  5. I suspect that the story really began in Mr. Gilligan’s head after watching that JCP commercial.

    “What if, instead of a consumer, we made him a producer? – ‘I got in, I got out, and nobody got hurt.'”


    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      … Mid the decay
      Of that colossal sale, boundless and bare,
      The clearance racks and carts are cleared away.

  6. Hour long convo last night with a friend after watching Sunday’s episode, my friend who is STILL rooting for Walt over Hank.

    “Everyone Walt has killed has been in the game,” he said. “They were killers themselves. They knew the risks they were taking when they entered the game. It’s kill or be killed. Every player knows it. So Walt is just doing what he has to do to win. Everyone he has killed would have done the same thing in his place. So yeah, of all the players, I want Walt to win. And if I had to live next to a drug lord, better Walt than Tuco.”

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Jessie’s girlfriend? Drew Sharp, the boy on the bike?

      • That’s what I said: “The boy on the bike!” But of course, Walt didn’t kill the boy on the bike. If he had, it would be a different story.

        He didn’t kill Jessie’s girlfriend either. Maybe he could have prevented her death, but she was a player too. She entered the game of her own free will. Nobody forced her to start shooting up heroin, least of all Walt. She wasn’t exactly an innocent bystander. Once you’re in the game, it’s every man for himself, yo’.

        “The great sacrifice in war is is not so much the sacrifice of life but the sacrifice of conscience.”

        And Hank. As if he’s the good guy? Working for the DEA? The very engine of the War on Drugs!

        Vince Gilligan is a genius.

        • Matthew Lickona says

          Walt was content that the boy on the bike be killed, and did not repent after it had happened.

          Walt absolutely could have prevented her death. He chose not to, for his own reasons. Nobody forced her to start shooting up heroin, yes, true. But she would up on her back because Walt went in the room.

          We’re all in the game. It better not be every man for himself, or we’re all screwed.

          I don’t buy Just Some Guy’s account of Hank. He is seeking to do good. Can we say the same of Walt at this point?

          • But who cares if Hank is seeking to do good?

            “It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context…One may not do evil so that good may result from it.”

            The War on Drugs is evil, through and through. That’s what this show is about. Violence begets violence, no matter who is doing the knocking.

            • Matthew Lickona says

              It is also an error to judge human acts without considering the intention at all. I was responding to Just Some Dude’s claim that Hank was just like Walt, a man motivated simply by pride and ego. I just don’t think that’s true. I think he is pursuing justice, and doing what he believes is good in that pursuit. He may be mistaken about the nature of that justice – though I think that your claim about the war on drugs being evil through and through is an overstatement – but he is seeking something larger than his own betterment. I certainly don’t think the show is about the war on drugs, though that is certainly the context for the drama. I think it’s about people’s souls, especially Walt’s.

              • But wasn’t Walt initially pursuing something more than his own betterment? Security for his family once he was gone. I mean, yeah, he was bored with his life and looking for some action, a way to prove himself, but it’s hard to imagine him becoming a drug lord if he had never gotten sick and had enormous bills to pay.

                I don’t think you can ignore the context, the system in which they are operating, a system in which a teacher can’t afford the skyrocketing costs of healthcare (why?) and in which prohibition has created a black market that provides opportunities for people to make ludicrous amounts of money, and let’s be honest, provides a lot of excitement for men like Hank, who like to walk around with guns and shoot down “bad guys” for a living.

                I think that’s what the show does so brilliantly, showing how a small error in judgment or departure from the truth, even if initially well intentioned (ends justify means), will always snowball, result in a blood bath.

                I think what Just Some Dude is saying is that, as far as salvation goes, Hank is not exactly in the clear. The power of the State is backed by violence (end vs. means) and the War on Drugs is a war of aggression. Resort to violence as your means…snowball…bloodbath. There are no innocent parties here, except the son, who just wants to eat some breakfast. Give the man his pancakes and let him eat in peace.

                • Whatever Walt was doing at the beginning, he hasn’t been doing that for a long time. I liked Vulture’s assessment that the transformation to Heisenberg really took hold in Season Two, and that was a long time ago.

                  It’s not hard for me to imagine Walt becoming a drug lord if he hadn’t gotten sick, not after the “I’m in the Empire business” speech. There has been a worm of resentment and bitterness eating at his soul for a long time.

                  I never suggested that Hank was in the clear. But Just Some Dude claimed that “Hank pursues druglords for the same reason that Walt makes meth: pride and ego.” I just don’t think that’s true.

                  The State does have force as one of its means. I do think it is possible for force to be used justly, whether or not the war on drugs is itself just.

                  And my memory may be faulty, but I can’t remember Hank rejoicing in the excitement of walking around and shooting down bad guys of late. He wants to bring Heisenberg down, but that’s not quite the same thing.

                  • I’ve noticed that people often replace the word “violence” with “force” when talking about the State. But it’s the same thing, as force would not be possible unless it was backed up by violence or a threat of the use of violence.

                    They are both men who use violence as a means to achieve their ends and the War on Drugs creates a more violent society. I think this show does a great job of exposing that. That’s all I’m sayin’.

                    I would argue that, yes, Hank and his buddies have been shown to rejoice upon the killing of “bad guys.” And Hank doesn’t have a worm of pride and/or insecurity that might have something to do with his arguably destructive (to self and others) machismo?

                    Don’t get me wrong. I have a soft spot for Hank. I won’t give a crap if Walt dies. I just think there is a A LOT of similarity between them; it’s just that one is acting legally and one is acting illegally. And that really has nothing to do with acting morally and immorally. IMHO

                    • You’re probably right about “force” and “violence,” because “violence” carries with it, to me, anyway, a connotation of wrongness. (Even though the kingdom of heaven is being taken by force, and the violent bear it away!) And since I think the state may use violence justly, I go with “force.”

                      I’ve said what I think the difference is between Walt and Hank. Reasonable folk may disagree, etc.

                    • Dear me, how little you seem to have mastered the correct procedure of your profession. You should ask whether I have any message for the British public. I have. It is this: Might must find a way. Not ‘Force‘ remember; other nations use ‘force’; we Britons alone use ‘Might.’ Only one thing can set things right — sudden and extreme violence, or better still, the effective threat of it.

    • Just Some Dude says

      I want Hank to die. The War on Drugs has killed thousands of innocent people; not a week goes by when I don’t read about some cop or federal agent killing some innocent person. (“Oops, wrong house”). Truth be told, Hank pursues druglords for the same reason that Walt makes meth: Pride and ego. He wants promotions and accolades. He lives in a huge house. He loves being on TV. He poses for pictures with kids. He has a cowboy mentality. He jokes around about dead bodies. When Walt challenges Hank about the arbitrary nature of America’s drug laws, Hank appears dumbfounded. At least Walt appears to (sometimes) struggle with the consequences of his moral choices. Hank is just another idiot cop following orders.

      Well, to be fair, Hank DID have a mental breakdown after almost killing Jesse. He even said, “I think the universe is trying to tell me something.” But instead of quitting his job and finding honest work, he goes back to the DEA. As far as I’m concerned, Hank is as much a player as Gus or Walt. Any person who chooses to fight the government’s endless wars of aggression–against Iraqis, methheads, or whomever–accepts the spiritual and physical risks of initiating violence against other human beings. What goes around, comes around. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. To quote Barnes from Tombstone, “Wearing that badge don’t make you right.”

      Sorry for the rant. Here’s a video of a dog on a skateboard:

  7. Matthew Lickona says


Speak Your Mind