Breaking Bad 5



Bryan Cranston in Season 2 of “Breaking Bad.” (2009)

Fate will not let Walter off his murderous hook lightly. Krazy 8 survives the phosphine gas attack and must be chained up in Jesse’s basement while Walter musters the “courage” to finally kill him for real.

Again the logic the scriptwriters construct for Walter’s dilemma is convincing… at least on the surface. They have put Walter in a seeming box. Either he kills Krazy 8 or, he lets Krazy 8 go… and Krazy 8 kills Walter, Jesse, and all of Walter’s family. The writers even include a scene in which Walter writes the pros and cons of killing Krazy 8 on a piece of notebook paper. A closeup at the end of this scene reveals to us that Walter is convinced he must kill Krazy 8 in order to “save” his family. The writers are wanting us to believe that Walter will kill Krazy 8 in order to continue to be a good father in his own mind.

Walter descends into the basement with Krazy 8’s Last Sandwich on an ordinary dinner plate [crusts removed, just the way Krazy 8 likes his Last Sandwiches]. While walking down the stairs, Walter is overcome by a cancerous coughing fit which causes him to pass out. The plate breaks into shards as Walter bounces off the floor.

Sometime later Walter recovers. His murderous mood dampened by the depths of his infirmity, Walter passes the time asking Krazy 8 questions about himself. This is the classic humanization of the enemy scene which [in any story about death and violence] is evidence of a character infected by an insufferable weakness. Walter, sympathetically effected by Krazy 8’s humanity, sweeps up the broken shards of plate and takes them upstairs to throw away.

We can tell as the shards enter the trash can, Walter’s next step is to get the keys that will release Krazy 8. Except… something about the way the shards fall into the trash ignites Walter’s suspicion. He takes the shards out of the trash can and puts the plate back together on the kitchen counter. A long knife-like shard is missing from the center. Walter realizes, if he lets Krazy 8 go, Krazy 8 will [with certainty] kill him.

Surely, this qualifies as a kill or be killed situation, right. The writers have written an airtight algorithm for the necessity of Krazy 8’s death, right?

Obviously they haven’t or we wouldn’t be on article 5 in this series.

Any normal person who realizes that she is going to have to kill her second person IN LESS THAN A WEEK in order to save herself and her family from certain death, also realizes that she has waded into waters which exceed her capacity for navigation. Any normal person quits. They call the cops. They plead temporary insanity and justifiable homicide and wind up with five years of probation. A normal person does not kill a man whose neck is chained to a pipe and presents no threat to anyone outside of his reach.

In Walter’s mind the Krazy 8 disjunctive reads as:

Kill him or let him go.

In reality the disjunctive is far more complicated and reads as “kill Krazy 8 and continue to have the freedom to be a “good” dad and an exceptional meth cook, or turn Krazy 8 in and lose those SPECIFIC two freedoms.

It is fascinating to me that the writers had the forethought [this early in the series] to design Walter with this kind of precise processing error. Walter never sees the true disjunctive about Krazy 8, or any of the people he ends up murdering. His preoccupation with false disjunctives is endemic.

The show wants us to believe that cancer is killing Walter White. That is a metaphorical front. In reality, a false disjunctive is killing Walter. He believes, in extreme error, that it would be true to say:

Either I do what I want or I don’t do what I want.

If you rewrite the last half of that disjunctive as “I do what you want” you will see that I am hinting at the idea that Walter’s mind has lost the ability to recognize compromise as a viable intellectual proposition. The world has been reduced to: his way or not his way.

A psychopathic manner of thinking if ever I heard one.


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