Monday, March 03, 2008

Scoobidoo Love Explosion

With only one episode left in the season for Breaking Bad, things are moving along much faster. While the first few episodes were marked by a slow and deliberate pace, we're now watching Walt's transformation from Mr. Chips to Scarface much more speedily. In chemistry, Walt points out to his students, a change that happens quickly can be marked by an explosion, and an explosion is what marked this week -- call it BB's 'shock and awe' episode.

Predictably, the affects of chemotherapy and radiation are taking it's toll on both Walt's energy and hair, making it difficult to cook and allowing for the "bad-ass" hairdo. I'm living proof that being bald doesn't have a direct correlation with being bad-ass, and it's perception-vs-reality items like that also play thematically through the episode. Walt is able to bluff down his DEA agent brother-in-law Hank at poker and similarly, it's this perception of weakness that makes Hank write-off Walt as a suspect in his hunt for the new crystal meth heavy in town.

Since he's too tired to cook, and Jesse's a failure at selling to a distributer, the roles become reversed, and we get the 'bad-ass' scene that the whole series seems to have been leading up to: Walt earning the respect of the drug lord Tuco, via some explosive crystals. The explosive crystals, too, were another perception-vs-reality example. Just imagine if Tuco had smashed one of the crystals like he did with Jesse?

Another interesting parallel used was the pairing of the chemotherapy scenes with Jesse's selling and smoking of the crystal meth. The drug scene was ironically backed by the obscure Paul Rothman song "Scoobidoo Love," which up until now, has been humorously used quite a bit with animation. While I'm sure it's not the case for most viewers, the use of the song took me out of the scene, having me think of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Attorney At-Law, in a scene where this song backs Harvey in an electric chair, thinking he's about to be executed:

Previously: Body of Work (episode 1.04)

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