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Old 08-31-2019, 04:24 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 1,426

@box elder

A while back, I rewatched the show again as I followed Alan Sepinwall's book Breaking Bad: The Complete Critical Companion and remember finding this excerpt interesting:

"The repellent nature of Uncle Jack and company seems an appropriate place for the story to turn in the closing hours. Some fans and critics have interpreted the Nazis as an intentional corrective to the adoration that white male antihero Walt has gotten for his various "badass" deeds over the years. To me, they feel more like a repudiation of Walt's own beliefs in his life of crime and how it should work. Walt has always fancied himself above the likes of Krazy-8 and Tuco, imagining he's a mogul like Gus: someone who will use his mind and his force of will to build a fortune without having to lower himself into the muck that consumes everyone else in the drug trade.
Time and again, events have proven this belief wrong, as he does and says things that the pre-cancer Walter White wouldn't have been able to fathom. That the neo-Nazis are the last foes he has to conquer- not a "worthy" adversary like Gus or Mike, or anyone else Walt wouldn't feel disgusted to share a room with under less urgent circumstances - feels like the final indignity from Walt's point of view, and the final reminder that Walt is not better than other criminals. He's just more proud."

While I don't think this excuses the cartoonishness of the neo-nazis as villains being an overall critique, I feel like this is an accurate explanation for why they heavily leaned towards cartoonish rather than something more dynamic. The idea that these are the adversaries Walt finds himself keeping company with (not just scummy white supremacists, but hollow caricatures) at the height of his reign after "winning" against Gus, is something I can appreciate as a fan who wanted a delusional Walt to go out in more of a whimper like yourself. As you said though, Gilligan seemed to like to eat his cake and have it too, so I'm sure the fist-pumpin' fans found it awesome.

Last edited by lionelhutz123; 08-31-2019 at 07:27 PM.
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