Category Archives: Analog This

Analog This: Community Season 5 Premiere, and the Meaning of Greendale

“Community” has had such a troubled run. At the same time, it is also more privileged than most shows. Besides multiple hiatuses and threats of cancellation, the show has seen one showrunner get fired and then re-hired. But the loud voices of the Internet spoke, and Dan Harmon’s vision got to beat on.

And to that I say, “amen.”
I would have been okay if “Community” had gotten canned after its third season. However, if it had ended with the bitter taste of season four, that would not have felt right. So, there is a fifth season of “Community.” And once again, I say “amen.”

Analog This: The Pete Holmes Show Is Quietly Reinventing Late Night

Image via PopWatch

Late night isn’t what it used to be. Besides the fact that most people are just watching the highlights online, there’s just way too many hosts and way too many shows to choose from.

During the 11 PM hour, I have to choose between Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Conan O’Brien, who are all personal heroes of mine. Two weeks ago, Comedy Central kicked off “@Midnight,” which proved to be a surprisingly smart and fun way to combine TV and social media into a game show format. There’s a reason that Chris Hardwick now hosts everything ever.

Then one week later, “The Pete Holmes Show” premiered on TBS at the exact same time. After two or three episodes, I was sold. Granted, I was already a huge fan of Pete Holmes through both his standup and his podcast “You Made It Weird.” Holmes’ standup is endearingly goofy and consistently sharp in its observations. “You Made It Weird” focuses on a loose conversation that is funny and enlightening and often pushes the three hour mark. Holmes is both one of the most talented stand-ups working today, and host of a podcast that is often better than some of its more well-known contemporaries.

In his new show, Holmes takes both his skills as a comedian and his skills as a great conversationalist and shoves them into a half hour that is abundant with jokes that never feels rushed or crammed in. Normally, it takes a late night host a while to get settled in. Just ask Conan, who serves as this show’s executive producer. However, Holmes already looks like he has the gist of it after just a little more than a week on the air. That’s probably because this is Pete’s show. He built it from the ground up (with a little help from his friends) and then put his name on it. There is no legacy that he has to preserve. With that pressure off, all he has to worry about is being funny. After all, that is his job.

Because of this sense of freedom, Holmes has quietly been tweaking with the late night format while also showing great respect for it. Unlike most late night shows, “The Pete Holmes Show” always opens with a pre-taped sketch. Lately, he’s had multiple parodies of James Bond and X-Men. Neither of these things are that relevant to pop culture at the moment, but who cares. It seems wrong to make jokes about something over a year old, but the bits are so funny that the time that they air seems irrelevant.

After the opening credits, its naturally time for the monologue. Instead of firing off a bunch of one-liners about the day’s current events, Holmes instead does a few minutes of stand-up. One night, he might tell a long story about going to an Enrique Inglesias concert. Another night, he might go on a rant about farmers and Daylight Savings Time. You never know. What is beautiful about this is that Holmes is bringing unpredictability back to late night.

And of course, the show ends with an interview. Just like the monologue, the interview format can change from episode to episode. One episode last week featured a pre-taped interview with Allison Williams in which they sat in their pajamas and ate ice cream. When guests come on, they rarely discuss the products that they are actually there to promote. Holmes incorporates the laid back and friendly atmosphere on “You Made It Weird” into his TV show and makes his interviews unforced and fun.

Analyzing the reason why a certain joke is funny tends to ruin the joke. However, I will say that “The Pete Holmes Show” fully embraces the philosophy of comedy, especially improvisation. Pete Holmes always has the attitude to just go with it, and when he accidentally goes off script (which he does a lot), or laughs at his own jokes (which he also does a lot), he embraces the “yes, and.” This can sometimes be disastrous, but because Holmes is so naturally funny and quick on his feet, he can always turn an awkward moment into a fun and hilarious one.

“The Pete Holmes Show” clearly comes from somebody who loves both comedy and late night television more than most people. It is with this knowledge that he is able to move the format forward. He can play with conventions without being sarcastic or mean. As Holmes has stated on his podcast, people enjoy a monologue and an interview because the familiarity of it is comforting. “The Pete Holmes Show” is not radically new but rather a much needed breath of fresh air.

You can tell how different “The Pete Holmes Show” is just from the look of it. The set is decorated with paintings that look like they come directly from the walls of NerdMelt, one of America’s best alt-comedy venues which happens to be inside a comic book store*, and perpetuates the “we’re all in this together” comedy mentality.

Pete doesn’t even need to wear a suit to show you that he knows what he’s doing. Ladies and gentlemen: the new future king of late night wears Converse.

*NerdMelt is located inside Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. If you live in LA and have never been to a show there, go as soon as humanly possible.

Here are some of Pete’s funniest stand-up bits:

Analog This: Homeland- Run Dana Run

This is a recap of episode four of season three of “Homeland.” The episode is “Game On.” 

I have no idea what’s keeping “Homeland” together right now. Each story seems to constitute its own separate show. It’s about time some character came in, “Lost” style, and declared that everybody needs to go back. I’m pretty sure Matthew Fox is actually looking for work.

The one common factor keeping everyone together this season is a feeling of imprisonment. Tonight’s episode is called “Game On” but it feels more like a groan than a game changer. This is the episode where everyone tries to run away. Some found great success (Carrie), while others found themselves walking into yet another trap (Dana).

Speaking of which, let’s talk about Dana. She’s the easiest character to hate on the show. She’s the worst person ever on the whole planet, according to that one person who can’t get people to listen to them unless they are in an Internet comments section. Anyway, I’ve never totally hated the character of Dana. Morgan Saylor did some amazing work two weeks ago when she thought that for once she was completely content. However, if the writers happen to put her in the wrong situation, then she can become grating.

Again, it is the fault of her circumstances, and not Dana personally. This week, Dana and her boyfriend ran away in what seems like an imminent sequel to “Natural Born Killers.” Once again, Dana has another bad boyfriend. She finally thought she found someone as messed up as her, but it turns out she found someone even more messed up than her. I would love if she would just catch a break at this point, but then again, this is a drama.

Meanwhile, Carrie is still in the psych ward. After witnessing the struggle of another female patient, she’s all like “LOL time to go!” Her words, not mine. From this point forward, I am giving up on explaining the plot in a straightforward fashion, because I still am not even sure what just happened. And I don’t mean that in an awesome David Lynch way. This week, everything was both completely figured out and more muddled than ever.

The reason I stick with “Homeland,” no matter what wrong turn it decides to take, is that it is one of the most adventurous shows on television. It always strives to do the thing that you don’t expect it to do. Then, once it backs itself into that incredibly insane corner, it takes Saul’s advice and lets all the pieces fall together. This week, “Homeland” nearly had the puzzle all together. Then, at the last minute, it decided to blow the whole puzzle up and twirl its evil mustache. While there are still multiple stories that need to be connected for “Homeland” to function properly again, it is comforting to know that at least Saul and Carrie are together again. Not like that kind of together though, you sickos.

I still don’t know how I feel about the way in which the show got the two of them back together. At one moment did Saul recruit Carrie as an undercover agent? Did she basically feign insanity and go back into treatment in order to get Saul the information he needed? Saul is right, Carrie is very, very brave. No matter how crazy she might get, or how much money she will steal out of another man’s wallet, Carrie will do whatever it takes to stop the bad guys.

The whole ruse, however, felt like too easy of a fix. It felt more like a convenience than a truly well thought out way to move the show forward. Twists that pull the entire rug out can be good, but they can be problematic if they completely alter the meaning of everything we’ve seen before it. “Homeland” tried really hard this week to pull itself out of neutral. However, it tried just a bit too hard.

Brain Farts From The Edge

  • I saw this episode a few days ago so a lot of my notes don’t make sense. I think I’m just going to copy down a bunch of them with no context whatsoever. 
  • I wrote that the Magician was dressed like Harry Potter in a photo Saul had of him. Makes sense. Harry Potter wore a scarf. Logic.
  • I liked the line where Dar Adal compares Carrie to a “full blown contagion.” 
  • I wrote “WE GET IT” in all caps. Still not sure why. 
  • I also wrote “Don’t eat the grape!” when Carrie was in Bennett’s house. I just didn’t want her to incur the wrath of the Pale Man.
  • This actually seems like a really good time for “Homeland” to be on the air. This season has been about the instability of bureaucracy. 
  • Brody’s presence was really missed this week. I want more Venezuela. 
  • Back this week: Mike, Virgil
  • Missing this week: Quinn, Chris 
  • Carrie is on the TSA’s no-fly list. Finally, she has something in common with Abu Nazir. 
  • The closing credit music is the most consistently good part of “Homeland,” and they took that away, too. 
  • The problem with plot-centric episodes: Where’s the essence of the characters?

Analog This: Homeland- Tower (Of David) Heist

This is a recap of episode three of season three of “Homeland.” The episode is “Tower Of David.” 

Most chatter about “Homeland” nowadays is marked by debate on whether or not the show is good anymore. Rarely have I seen a show fluctuate between great, okay, and horrible so often, and sometimes just within the span of a single episode.

“Tower Of David” is not the best episode in the short history of “Homeland,” but it is definitely one of the most different hours that the show has done. This was the least politically driven episode in a while. To prove how far away it would be going from Washington politics, the episode opened with a sunny beach that might as well have been stolen “Lost” B-Roll. After a bunch of men spoke Spanish (with no subtitles to be found), a bloody and dying Nicholas Brody pops back up. America’s favorite sleeper cell agent is finally back!

Brody has become a former shell of himself. Now bald, he looks like a shriveled up Bruce Willis. He’s been away from the light and loves of his life for far too long. He’s shot for a still unknown reason and brought to a towering, dilapidated building in Caracas. There, he is healed and given a lot of heroin in lieu of, er, traditional painkillers.

Brody’s new home is named the Tower Of David, not in the Biblical sense but rather after the man who died and never finished building it once Venezuela’s economy collapsed. Now, it has become a place for criminals and squatters. Yet, it is a vibrant place in an even more vibrant city. “Homeland” has never stood out for its cinematography, but the contrast between the lively Caracas and the drab bureaucratic institutions that these characters usually inhabit is hard to miss.

The building is captured in a pull away shot which has an incredibly cinematic scope to it. Once again, Brody is trapped. It seems like most of his life has been spent in prisons, whether it be in the Middle East, South America, or his own home. Indeed, the Tower Of David felt a lot like Abu Nazir’s prison: a place that is obviously dangerous, yet Brody is already a little too comfortable in it. Just like with Nazir, Brody is given another young child. Father figure/Stockholm Syndrome part two is about to commence.

The world of “Homeland” already deals with a lot of real establishments, so there is little room for imagination. I would not mind finding out more about the history and people of the Tower Of David though. More backstory seems necessary, as I am still unclear of the intentions of the men who plan to keep Brody safe by holding him hostage. Clearly, they don’t plan on cashing in on the huge reward that’s currently out there for Brody’s head. They know Carrie, so perhaps she hired them to keep him safe?

If Carrie is the mastermind of Brody’s currently situation, she clearly has no more control as she remains institutionalized. Carrie is back on lithium and is losing control of her grip on reality. After cursing him out in a moment of sad triumph last week, Carrie can’t wait any longer for the return of Jewish Santa. However, Saul never shows up. Carrie’s presence seems like a mirror to Brody’s imprisonment. In a strange way, the two of them really are kindred spirits. I think there was more to their attraction than just the element of danger. Still, I think this episode would have been even better as a self-contained hour that was only set in Caracas. The Carrie plot line seemed a little abrupt. The episode I am picturing is a mini television masterpiece. But if I keep trying to write for a different show, then I might as well give up on the version of “Homeland” that actually exists.

Maybe its just that the vivacious and unpredictable new setting was exactly what “Homeland” needed to get its groove back. This is a place where you can get thrown out of a window for stealing something and “keeping the peace” is the justification. Brody is being put under intense psychological torture. Feeling unsafe, he follows Muslim chants and seeks shelter in a Mosque. This solace doesn’t last long before the Tower Of David crew comes in guns blazing and shoots the peaceful Muslims and two police officers who were about to take Brody into custody. When “Homeland,” is at its strongest, it is willing to rewrite its own rules at any time. Neither the characters nor the audience are in a state of complete comfort. For some situations, it is more interesting if there isn’t a political fixer/PR wiz to cover it all up.

For the majority of the episode, Brody remains in the care of the creepy lizard doctor. The doctor seems like the kind of person who would probably conduct some crazy scientific experiment and then try to kill Spider-Man. Anyway, the doctor doesn’t even feel real at times, he feels more like a figment of Brody’s overbearing subconscious. Towards the end, he tells Brody that he is like a “cockroach,” as he is always able to crawl out of disastrous situations completely unscathed. Brody will be there at the end alone, watching the world burn from the slums. Brody has lost his family, his secret lover, and his religion. All he has left to comfort him now is a hypodermic needle filled with heroin. In a short span of time, Brody went from war veteran to junkie fugitive. At its core, “Homeland” will always be a story about tragically flawed heroes and villains.

Brain Farts From The Edge:

  • “Tower of David” evoked “City of God” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Was that just me, or did anybody else think this way? Just need to double check that I’m not racist. 
  • Most thought provoking quote of the episode: “You are not a Muslim.”
  • Seriously, imagine if this whole plot line was completely contained to one episode, kind of like Levi’s rehab stint in “Enlightened”? Guys, I miss “Enlightened.” 
  • I’m curious as to what Chris Brody’s thoughts are on the lack of HD electronics in the Tower Of David.
  • This episode showed a promising turn away from “24″ territory. That means that Dana won’t get chased by a puma anytime soon.
  • Occasionally, “Previously on Homeland” can be better than real “Homeland.” 
  • Maybe something that made this episode so good was that a lot of the weaker minor characters weren’t present. 
  • Besides the lizard doctor, one could probably make the argument that a lot of this episode took place inside Brody’s head. But let’s not get all conspiracy theory up in here. 
  • Something I’ve never understood that movie/TV characters do: shouting a certain word repeatedly into a foreigner’s face, hoping that the louder you say it, the better they understand it. 
  • One of my notes: “Heisenbrody.” Because he’s bald…get it. Guys, I still miss “Breaking Bad.” 
  • “Homeland” really takes advantage of being on cable. No Jess Brody’s boobs this week, but a lot of bullet being removed from Nicholas Brody’s stomach in graphic detail. 
  • “When I get frustrated, I take a deep breath and count to ten,” -Nurse to Carrie. Okay, this is the most implausible part of “Homeland” this week. NOBODY CAN GET CALM THAT QUICKLY, LADY!!!!
  • Again, subtitles really would have helped this week. 
  • I like to picture that the lawyer who Carrie talks to has some pretty gnarly bus ads. 
  • Yes, Brody is a terrorist. But I don’t think I’m alone in feeling some sympathy for him. 
  • While they make a point that the Tower Of David was not named after the Bible, I could give this story some religious background: America is the Garden Of Eden, and Brody is currently in the exiled land paying for his sins. 

Analog This: A Helpful Guide of Whether or Not You Should Keep Watching Homeland

I swear…no more Skyping with terrorists.

Spoilers for the season three premiere of “Homeland” to come. Assume there will be spoilers for old episodes of “Homeland,” too.

A funny thing happened as “Homeland” was on its way to becoming TV’s best drama: it decided to go completely downhill. But “Homeland” wants you to know that they’re trying really hard to make a comeback. They let us know by devoting the entire “Previously on…” segment of the season three opener to what was essentially a highlight reel of the entire series.

I get it, “Homeland.” There was like two or three really awesome parts of last season. But Dana and her stupid boyfriend still murdered someone (before he got blown up) and Nicholas Brody Skyped with a terrorist on a Blackberry while standing next to the vice president. So I guess you could say things weren’t going too well for them.

So, should you keep watching, or not? The season three premiere showed some promise, but also some drawbacks. Here, I will present some highlights from the premiere, and its up to you to decide whether or not you should keep up with “Homeland.”

Chris Brody: He’s really tall now. And still has nothing valuable to add. I just want someone to give him a show where he reviews HD TVs.

Dana Brody: In retrospect, making Dana a murderer last season was pretty dumb. During the long gap in “Homeland” time, Dana attempted suicide. This is a more grounded, dark, and interesting territory for the character, and a good chance for actress Morgan Sayler to show off more of her acting potential. I just hope they don’t make much out of her sending the nude selfie. Like, that her potential new boyfriend is a Senator’s son and it causes another political scandal. It just seems too obvious.

Jess Brody: Sorry fans, but there was no Jess Brody nudity this time around. Just some deep and dark insight into her past and her family’s history with suicide and depression. Oh great, more interesting character insight. I blame the Puritans.

Jess’ Mom: Here’s a new character. Already not a big fan of her. She just seems to be there to tell Jess that she’s parenting all wrong. She reminds me of Claudette from “The Room.” That’s not a good thing.

Carrie’s Mental State: Carrie is still torn up about last year’s events at Langley. She blames herself, and I’m not sure if she really does or if that’s a way to make her cover story more convincing. Either way, she’s trying alternative medicines, but it doesn’t seem to be helping so far. She’s on trial for treason. I need to start the Carrie cry count, because this episode was a doozy.

Where in the World is Nicholas Brody?: Not sure. Surprisingly, he wasn’t in this episode at all. Maybe he’s with Saul Goodman in Nebraska. Or somebody sent him to Belize. Guys, I miss “Breaking Bad.”

Better Call Saul (Berenson): It’s really hard to complain about Mandy Patinkin. He’s like Jewish Santa Claus. He’s facing a lot more pressures now. As de facto head of Homeland Security, he has to deal with the possibility of a revoked charter, more terrorists, and the Nicholas Brody/Carrie bomb. Plus, Saul has personal issues to deal with. He’s the most sane character on the show, so I really hope he doesn’t fall into the vortex of insanity.

New Problems, New Possibilities: Maybe I’m alone here, but the most interesting conflicts on this show are the internal issues being dealt with at Langley. It feels more relevant given how, you know, we don’t have a functioning government right now. “Homeland” has some great characters, and I think it would be even better if we got to see them evolve this year. Instead of just chasing terrorists, which we’ve seen before, I’d love to see some personal struggles. How does someone keep an entire government agency, and themselves, together? But it’s a fine line to walk because…

…I don’t want a courtroom drama: “Homeland” runs into the possibility of slipping into implausibility and simply being a show about chasing terrorists. This was a problem it faced last year, which is why it nearly slipped into complete “24″ territory. However, I also don’t want to see it become just a courtroom drama. Too much of old white people (because, American politics) arguing over abstract political issues could get dull. So if “Homeland” is to get back on its feet, it needs to balance internal and external threats. Oh, and bring Nicholas Brody back.

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Goodbye, Mr. Blue

This is a recap of episode 16 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Felina.” IT’S THE FINALE. 


Well, well, well then. That’s all I can think of saying at first. There’s a lot to say. 

First of all, this definitely isn’t the ending you expected. Nearly every prediction made by the Internet was wrong, proving that Reddit can’t write a TV show. Or at least not one as good as this. 

Continued After the Jump

“Breaking Bad” was a show that constantly built up upon itself and changed. The final episodes of “Breaking Bad” did not resemble anything seen in season one. However, the series finale, entitled “Felina,” combined the best of the early years of “Breaking Bad” with the best of the later years. 

Right after the main title credits had rolled, Walt had already gone from New Hampshire to New Mexico. It was wise not to show his whole trip, as that could have been an entire season of a completely different show. This current Walt is hard to define. All I know is that he definitely stole Lindsay Weir’s jacket. Anyway, this was the end of silent rage Walt from “Granite State” and the return of the man who takes action. 

Much of this episode was about emotional catharsis. The tense yet surprisingly funny showdown between Walt, Gretchen and Elliot was the light patch this show needed after weeks of tragedy. Elliot and Gretchen’s house is a paradise for people with too much money to spend. At first, they’re too distracted with their gadgets and small talk to realize that Walt has broken into their house and is standing just a few feet away from them. Perhaps this is the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” Mexican standoff that was alluded to weeks ago. However, this showdown ends in a much less violent fashion. Walt gives them a sizable chunk of his fortune, and asks them to give it to Flynn once he turns 18. Gretchen and Elliot, who seem so shocked to be alive the entire time, accept Walt’s money. Last week, it seemed like Walt was returning to kill them for shaming him on Charlie Rose. But this week saw the return of a more level headed Walt. Instead, Walt got his revenge through fake snipers. Badger and Skinny Pete, the show’s best dynamic duo since season one, also showed the show’s overall view on humanity: you can make a person drop their moral code in an instant as long as you offer them enough money. Goodbye, you goofy Greek Chorus.

While “Breaking Bad” usually saves its flashbacks and flash forwards for beginnings and endings of episodes, “Felina” decided to plop a few right in the middle. One showed Jesse woodworking. The good thing about this week’s marathon on AMC was that it reminded me about Jesse’s past woodworking love. Then cut back to the present day, where prisoner Jesse looks like a mix between Jean Valjean and Viggo Mortensen in “The Road.” Following that, another flashback shows the fateful day that Hank asked Walt to come along with him to bust a meth lab. If only Walt had just said no to Hank. Throughout its five seasons, “Breaking Bad” liked to show that most of the bad things that happened to its characters were partly their own faults. Even a good guy like Hank wasn’t safe. No one was safe in this universe, any bullet could ricochet at any moment.  

The most exciting part of this finale is that it brought back genius Walt, who has been missing for a long time. At first, I thought Walt was still being an idiot. After all, Walt left his car in a Denny’s parking lot, went back to his own house, and then talked to his neighbor. But once he went to see Skyler, I realized that he was in the midst of a planned death wish. Skyler, shrouded in cigarette smoke, gives Walt five minutes to explain himself. After Walt gives her the coordinates for his buried money and bodies, Skyler expects to hear more lies about how this was all for his family. Instead, he finally admits that everything he did was “all for me.”  

“I’m surprised by this,” said no one.

Walt is good at a lot of things, but one of them is not being honest (and ironically, he also eventually became a pretty bad liar). It must have taken a lot for him to finally admit that the man who protects his family is driven by a lot more than love. When I heard that this show was “Mr. Chips becomes Scarface,” I assumed that meant that the main character would go out in a drug-riddled, ego-driven blaze of anti-glory. Instead, he tried to seek redemption in death, he died with his arms spread out because he wanted to die sacrificing himself for those he loved. He really wanted to convince himself of that. Maybe he could have done this if he hadn’t been so obsessed with building an empire.   

The saddest part about this episode was the moment that Walt watched Flynn return home from a distance. He could never talk to his own son again. And with that, he was off to seek revenge on the neo-Nazis. He went in with the cover of a new business deal that they weren’t buying into. While he never said this out loud, I believe Walt also wanted Jesse dead for making meth without him. However, once he saw what Jesse looked like, he realized that Jesse was a prisoner rather than a competitor. In that moment, Walt took pity on Jesse and perhaps saw a man that he knew so well, a man that he took under and raised like a son. Walt saved Jesse’s life, as he pulled the trigger on his brilliantly created trunk-gun device that brought down the entire gang. 

This scene was Jesse’s moment, and even Walt knew it. As Walt put a bullet in Uncle Jack’s head, Jesse brought down Todd in the most violent way imaginable. Once that happened, all I could feel was an immediate sigh of relief. “Breaking Bad” was always great at planting seeds, and the show was building up to that final showdown since Todd shot Drew Sharpe off of his motorcycle. 

It would have felt wrong if “Breaking Bad” concluded without a true showdown between Walt and Jesse. What was amazing about it was that they used so few words. Neither said anything about Brock or Jane. Instead, Walt hands Jesse a gun and asks Jesse to shoot him. Jesse notices that Walt has already been shot, but the real reason he lets Walt go is that he admits that he wants to die. Jesse got the same emotional catharsis out of that as the audience did from watching the neo-Nazis get mowed down. Another good name for this episode would have been “Confessions,” a title already taken by another episode this season. 

Walt and Jesse have fought on several occasions throughout the show’s run. Yet, they have always had a strong father-son relationship that perhaps neither of them could achieve with any of their real family members. I couldn’t tell if Jesse truly cared for Mr. White anymore. However, it was clear that Walt cared for Jesse. Like all of his other family members, Walt provided for Jesse even when it was a risk for him to do so. With Hank gone, Jesse is the closest thing to a hero left in this gritty world. He’s the only one who gets to leave the compound alive. With tears of joy in his eyes, he takes a car and drives right into “Need for Speed.” I don’t know if he’ll get to live the rest of his life and never get caught for his crimes. If he does, I have a feeling he’ll rescue Brock and then get a job that involves taking care of kids. He’s great at that.

After Jesse departs, Walt is left to hobble to his death. He is kept alive for a lot longer than he probably should have been for this thing called dramatic effect. The show’s final moments bring him back into a meth lab as Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” illuminates the scene. Walter White is now completely alone. His family and friends have either died or abandoned him. All he has left is his one friend, his baby, his true love: those little blue crystals. Call it an unhappy ending, but Walt got to die doing what he loved: cooking meth and tying up loose ends through murder. Some might interpret this as a hero’s death, but just remember all of the circumstances that led to this exact moment. Walt probably didn’t want to die, but he knew that he had to. He probably thought that a man who caused the death of his brother-in-law didn’t deserve to be alive. Plus, if he died in the lab, he gets to take credit for all of the meth Jesse cooked. Therefore, Jesse doesn’t get in trouble, and the Heisenberg legacy lives on. 

The ending of “Felina,” like that of such remarkable episodes before it like “Face Off,” was better than just about any movie. It was satisfying and answered a lot of questions while not struggling too hard to put a bow on every little thing. Here is a show that let its characters die memorably, but not necessarily with class or dignity. There were many faces to “Breaking Bad.” First, it was a dark comedy. Then, it was a tragedy. Then, it was a tale of karmic justice being served. 

Tonight, I was reminded why “Breaking Bad” ever began anyway. Walter White, a dying man, started cooking meth to feel alive again. In the process, he caused the death of hundreds and then himself. It is fitting that Walt was brought down by his own gun. The only man who could ever kill Walter White is Walter White.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Not that any of them are reading this, but thank you to every single person involved in “Breaking Bad” for bringing this show into my life. “Breaking Bad” has become so big that it’s not “cool” to call this one of the best shows ever anymore. But I’ll just say it anyway because everyone knows its true. 
  • As always ladies and gentlemen…the sound of the wind. 
  • There are way too many pay phones in “Breaking Bad” for comfort. 
  • Until tonight, I almost forgot about how brilliant this show’s song choices could be.
  • I still don’t know what to call this new Walt. Post-Heisenberg? Hipster Walt? Unabomber seems fitting. 
  • I almost completely forgot about Lydia! The realization of her imminent death provided another cathartic sigh. I thought the closeup shot of her drink was just Vince Gilligan’s way of messing with us. No visual trickery this time. And a major PR blow to the Stevia industry.
  • Lesson learned Lydia: never use artificial sweeteners. 
  • Whether he’s tormenting Lydia and Todd or Gretchen and Elliot, Walt has a way of acting so nonchalant just moments before he’s about to try and completely ruin someone’s life. I think its a way to give himself control of the situation by putting his enemies’ off with his casualness. Now that is the stuff of a criminal mastermind. 
  • Todd’s ringtone is the song “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” Points to Todd for still being creepy even after death. Points deducted from me for life for not realizing until now that Groucho Marx sings that song.
  • “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” would have been another good song to end the series with.
  • Meanwhile, “Blue” by Eiffel 65 would have been the worst final song choice ever.
  • On “Talking Bad” (yes, I actually watch it), Vince Gilligan said that the ending was meant to be reminiscent of “The Searchers.” If you haven’t watched “The Searchers” yet, then you really should. 
  • Some unexpectedly great comic relief: Marie can’t tell the difference between Becky and Carol. Poor Carol!
  • Also, poor Huelle. 
  • Tonight’s funniest line: “Elliot, if you wanna go that way you’re gonna need a bigger knife.” 
  • Orchestral music strangely has the power to make things more intense. 
  • Did Walt really believe that it was all about him? Had he truly convinced himself? Or was he just playing Skyler once again in a really elaborate way? I vote that admitting his selfishness was his most selfless act in ages.
  • Jokes that “Breaking Bad” is a spinoff of “Friday Night Lights” > Jokes that “Breaking Bad” is a spinoff of “Malcolm in the Middle”
  • If you want some more insight into the decisions of Walt and Jesse tonight (and also throughout the whole season), watch “In Bruges” and pay close attention to Ralph Fiennes’ very strict code of life.
  • Uncle Jack just wants to die with a cigarette in his mouth.
  • Were Todd and Lydia on a date together? Was it business? Personal? Both? 
  • Walt was wearing the same green collared shirt that he also wore in the pilot.
  • This was most likely not deliberate, but that shot of Walt’s bloody hand slipping off the metal machine made me think of “King Kong” letting go and then tumbling down the Empire State Building. In both cases, the king falls and dies because they have no choice. 
  • The Stevia shot and the final shot resemble two very famous shots in “Taxi Driver.” I don’t know if it influenced “Felina” at all, but Walter White and Travis Bickle definitely have a lot in common. They’d definitely have a pretty interesting coffee date. 
I have had an amazing time watching these episodes and getting to write about them. I am sad that it all has to end now. Thank you so much to everyone who chose to read my recaps when there are so many others out there. Just because I never want to let this show go, I will be working on a full series recap soon. For now, onto the next show. 
“You know who else cut corners in life? Walter White. You know where he is now? DEAD.” 

Breaking Bad: Analog This- The Wizard of Ozymandias

This is a recap of episode 14 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Ozymandias.”


That would have been an apt title for tonight’s episode. And just as poetic. It was one of the last things that Hank ever said (“My name is ASAC Schrader. And you can go fuck yourself.”) and also the one thing I couldn’t stop saying over and over again throughout “Ozymandias.” I think I needed this little mantra. It reminded me of how cathartic cursing can be.

I know that I am always talking about how amazing “Breaking Bad” is every week but I feel like up to this point, I was being a tad hyperbolic. “Ozymandias” may be the show’s finest hour. If it is not the absolute best, then it was the show’s most horrifying and emotionally devastating. Appropriately, many critics are already comparing this episode to a horror movie. This episode was a horror western directed by Rian Johnson, who’s proved himself to be excellent at mixing and matching genres through the likes of “Brick” and “Looper.”

“Ozymandias” begins with a flashback to season one. Remember that season, when Jesse was still calling everyone a bitch and Walt still couldn’t figure out how to lie properly to his wife? He couldn’t even figure out whether to say “a bug” or “a stick” up his butt as he formulated his excuse for being home late from his first cook. While Walt has changed a lot since season one, I noticed a few habits that he hasn’t quite been able to shake off. For one, he still always tries to act like things are going just fine even when they are going horribly, especially when it comes to his family. Whenever Walt is around his family, it’s as if he immediately starts to believe his own lies.

Hi, can I have an Emmy please?

This flashback was absolutely perfect here, as this little plot of land has proved to be one of the most important locations in the “Breaking Bad” mythology. It is also the most haunting location as well. It will forever be known as the land where Hank Schrader died. I knew this moment was coming, but I didn’t think it would be quite this tough to get through. In the moments before his death, Hank showed off the best of his personality. He wouldn’t even sacrifice his principles as he was offered a chance to live. Meanwhile, Walt literally tried to give up everything he had for a battle he couldn’t win. Even Hank knew that Todd’s uncle had his mind made up from the start. For once, Walt found himself in a situation that he couldn’t talk his way out of, just as Hank found himself in a shootout that he couldn’t shoot his way out of.

So, Hank gets shot, the gunfire echoes, and his body is buried. And the show just moves on from there. This might be a tragic moment, but “Breaking Bad” doesn’t have time to stand around and mourn. Get used to it. Nevertheless, I was a wreck. In just a few seconds, the show completely changed course once again.

Hank’s death hit Walt the hardest. H just lay in the dirt with his mouth agape like some character out of Pac-Man (I don’t know man, it just made sense to me). Then, just as it seems like this show couldn’t gut punch us any further, Jesse looked like he was the next chicken out to roost. Found hiding under Walt’s car, Jesse looks like a dog hiding away because he knows his death is near, to bring back the rabid dog metaphor. Jesse is spared by Todd, who believes that Jesse has information that they could use. And by “information they could use” he really means “the ability to cook meth.” Todd showed off many facets of his sociopathy tonight. First, he told Walt “sorry for your loss” regarding Hank, and then he tied Jesse to a rope and made him cook meth for him. As Todd, Jesse Plemons is one of the few actors who can play both a nice teenager and a murderous psychopath, sometimes separately, and sometimes at the exact same time.

“Ozymandias” might have secretly been the final episode of “Breaking Bad,” as so many loose ends were tied up tonight. It was revealed that Walt’s fortune amounts to $80 million, but he would only be getting $11 million of that. Then, just to spite Jesse, Walt told him that he watched Jane die and did nothing. The look on Aaron Paul’s face as Walt told him that was the definition of heartbreak.

Anyone looking for pants?

This was also the first time that Junior and Holly got involved in the family business. Skyler had no choice but to tell Junior the truth, as it was the only way to get Marie back on her side. Junior obviously doesn’t take to the news too kindly, but he oddly takes out more of his anger on his mother. Poor Skyler. But then again, she’s just as evil too. In maybe the most poetic thing that Junior has ever said, he points out to Skyler that by not doing anything, she is in effect as evil as Walt. That seems to be a big theme on this show, and it even goes back to the airplane and teddy bear of season two: by not stopping something from happening, you are eventually at fault for when it does happen. Basically, it is impossible to stop most things, and it is always your fault.

Poor Junior, he’s basically messed up for life now. The kid won’t even put on his seatbelt, he doesn’t even feel like he’s safe anyway. Then, the episode piles on another devastating and violent surprise as Junior and Skyler come back to find Walt still at the house. Skyler pulls a knife on him and ends up stabbing his hand, “Shining” style. The more Walt tries to protect his family, the more he harms them. “We’re a family,” Walt says, as his last shred of dignity fades away. I thought the Bluths were TV’s most dysfunctional family, but clearly this family could use a better publicist as well.

For the rest of the episode, Walt’s actions border on the surreal and bizarre. Any of them could be interpreted as either beneficial or harmful. In the third worst thing he’s done on the show, Walt kidnaps his own daughter. This seemed like the desperate act of an extremely sad man. Holly is the blank slate and therefore the only family member left that can’t hate him. That is, until she utters “mama” right in his face. Then she says it a few more times seemingly just to rub it in. Walt then talks to Skyler on the phone, who is on the other end as a bunch of cops stand behind her and wait to track Walt’s phone. Walt then confesses every crime to her, which would seem dumb if Walt wasn’t smart enough to know that there are cops on the other line. At first, his confessions seemed like pure ego. But then, it seemed like one last attempt to save Skyler, as he takes full responsibility for all of his actions. This was pretty fantastic to see; Walt isn’t someone who usually holds himself accountable for the crimes he’s committed. He even takes responsibility for Hank’s death here. Maybe he sees himself as responsible since he couldn’t stop the murder, or because it’s a way to keep the neo-Nazis from getting any more pissed off at Walt and his family.

So Walt goes and brings Holly to a nearby fire station, where he leaves a note on her which I couldn’t read, but hopefully listed her return address. Then Walt follows the advice of the song that plays earlier that episode: “I have no place to go…guess I’ll have to roam.” So a solemn Walt is picked up at the cemetery by the man who is also known for selling vacuums. Walt’s reflection in the side mirror disappears further and further away. The Walt we have known for so many years is now gone. So is Heisenberg. What we are about to get is some kind of post-Heisenberg who is fueled by revenge.

And so ends “Ozymandias,” an episode that felt like a collection of horror shorts which built upon one another. Rarely did I think television could be this stressful until I watched this episode, but Vince Gilligan has always demanded that the audience became a part of the characters’ world in order to feel the pain of it. There are only two episodes left of “Breaking Bad.” Had it ended tonight, I would have been both baffled and satisfied. I speak for a lot of people when I say that my best guesses for the end still tell me nothing.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Yes, the title of the episode comes from a poem. Yes, it means something. Look it up.
  • Smartly, Rian Johnson (I’ll just say him because I’m not sure who’s responsible for credits. The editor?) decided not to put the credits over the scene of Hank’s death. Instead, the credits don’t come on until at least 25 minutes into the episode (including commercials). It’s a bold move that works out well. Like “The Departed,” whose credits didn’t start until at least 18 minutes in.
  • Rian Johnson also directed the season three episode “Fly.” That was the episode where I thought Walt was on the verge to telling Jesse the truth about Jane. I guess Johnson felt he had some unfinished business. 
  • There’s a great vertigo shot in this episode.
  • Some funny things about the early flashback: The knives are visible in front of Skyler; Skyler tells Walt to pick up a pizza which may or may not end up on the roof at some point. Dipping sticks, Skyler. 
  • Usually, Hank is as good at shooting his way out of a situation as Walt is at talking his way out of one. In the show’s opening minutes, both men failed at their apparent strengths.
  • RIP Hank. Seriously. It’s amazing to see how that character went from a side character who seemed like a dumb jock to one of the show’s smartest and most intelligent character. Keep brewin’ up there, Agent Schrader. 
  • Also, RIP Gomey. Your comic relief did not go in vain. 
  • Every time Walt is in a weak position, his glasses are always sitting lower on the bridge of his nose. 
  • Marie: “Oh you know…this and that.” Sounds like Betsy Brandt is auditioning for the new “Fargo”-based TV show.
  • Now that all of the Skyler hatred from the past few years has mostly gone away, I think it’s fair to say that Anna Gunn is amazing at what she does. 
  • While in the lab, Jesse’s face looked like Gus’ when he had half of his face blown off. 
  • The image of Walt lying on the ground also reminded me of an image from “Once Upon a Time in the West.” 
  • After tonight’s episode, I’m convinced that Todd eats people. Among other things.

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Dumb & Dumber

This is a recap of episode 13 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “To’hajiilee.”

Walt has spent the past five years (real time, not “Breaking Bad” time) outsmarting everyone he knows. It turns out though that Walt’s ego, the same thing that’s always helped him get out of trouble, could also cloud his judgement. Finally, the joke’s on him. 

Only on “Breaking Bad” could a cathartic moment suddenly be turned into one of fear and pain. When Walt finally got handcuffed, it felt like a moment that was long time coming, which is probably why this episode alluded to the pilot so much. Of course all the hurt happens under the direction of Michelle MacLaren, who’s directed some of the show’s most twisted episodes. And hopefully once “Breaking Bad” ends, she’ll become a fine movie director, hopefully funded by Megan Ellison

I don’t know if Walt has gotten dumber, or if we the audience have gotten to know him so well that we can officially figure out his every move. Or, as Bryan Cranston said on last night’s episode of “Talking Bad,” Walt has gotten less scientific and more emotional. Yet, Walt still doesn’t understand how those emotions work. Sometimes, he doesn’t know when to use these emotions to call off a hit. 

Speaking of emotions and lack thereof: Todd. Todd is secretly the most evil bastard on the show, and even he doesn’t know it. He is what somebody smarter than myself would call a sociopath. But maybe he can experience love, as it looks like the man who once chased after Tyra in the “Friday Night Lights” universe wants some of that sweet blue jacket action from Lydia. I don’t think he’s going to get it though, even if they can improve the meth formula. Todd and his gang claimed to have “burned” the batch thus not giving it its distinct blue tint. Apparently, the people who buy up the product abroad find this to be a big selling point, like a marketing tool. Its funny because in the real world outside of “Breaking Bad,” blue meth has become an important marketing tool for the show. People go out and buy bags and bags of “blue meth candy” that probably tastes awful.

But back to the episode. Lydia still annoys me more than any other character on the show who has ever annoyed me, but I feel like we are going to see something come out of her completely unexpected during the last few episodes. Perhaps she’ll have to put out a hit on Todd and his neo-Nazi family and she’ll do the dirty work herself. She seems like somebody who’d be careful, methodical, and remorseless at a job like this. So, maybe she and Todd would make a good couple.

The episode brings us to Todd and his camp leading up to the moment from last week when Walt called Todd about a little job he had, which was a nice little wrap around. Then it was back to the dream team of Jesse, Hank, and Gomie. Gomie might be by-the-book, but he takes his work seriously and isn’t afraid to show when he’s pissed. I’m pretty sure I heard him call Jesse “Timmy Dipshit” for his move at the end of the last episode. This was a slower episode than usual, but by the end, it all made sense that were watching Jesse pull off a long con. Finally, Jesse was the one pulling the strings.

Jesse suggested that they needed hard evidence to bring Walt down, and the only evidence of Walt’s crimes are the barrels buried in the desert. Jesse and Hank were all about the fake pictures tonight. First, they used a fake brain to get Huell to admit where the money was. By the way, Huell made the saddest face after Hank and Gomie left him and told him not to leave his house. I’m surprised there was no scene in the closing credits with Huell still sitting on the couch, waiting for somebody to let him go. Man, maybe he should have just gone to Mexico with Kuby.

Walt, meanwhile, takes the easiest possible way out by looking for someone to take Jesse out. In the scene in which Todd’s uncle asks Walt for information on Jesse, Walt doesn’t even seem to know anymore why he wants Jesse dead, just that he needs him dead. This is reminiscent of Walt’s current state: there’s no passion left in his work, just a need to tie up loose ends. However, there is a chance for that passion to come back, as Walt was offered a new cook job by the neo-Nazi gang. Walt means it when he says he is out of the business for good. On the other hand, I’m sure Walt wouldn’t mind being crowned the meth king once again. 

How though, did Walter fall for Jesse’s trick barrel photo? Nobody else knew of the location of Walt’s money. I also would disparage Walt for not thinking about the fact that his call is possibly being recorded, but he had no idea Jesse was working with Hank. Walt thinks Jesse is a lot of things, but he never thought he could be a rat. That’s probably why he shouts out nearly every person he has murdered over the phone, letting Jesse know that most of the bad things he did were to protect them both. In that moment, I sincerely thought Walt was also going to blurt out “also, I killed Jane.” That’s a confession still waiting to happen.

There are many “Breaking Bad” episodes that manage to move slowly, but completely redeem themselves within 10 minutes. That’s what this week’s episode was, as “To’hajiilee” brought us back to the very first episode. Walt got arrested in the place his crimes began, a full circle. The episode really picks up when Walt hides behind a rock as he waits for Hank, Jesse, and Gomie to pass. The most perfectly framed shot in the episode, and perhaps one of the best in all of “Breaking Bad,” is that closeup of Walt’s face as Jesse’s voice echoes in the background. That voice doesn’t just pain Walt in real life, it is deep in his subconscious, and the pain it causes him is so apparent.

Still, Walt tries to argue that everything he is doing is for his family. At this point, it’s no longer justification and more like deflection from blame. You can’t lock me up, because I have a family to take care of! You can’t take the millions of blood dollars I made, because it’s for my family! This makes me think of my source of all wisdom, “Kill Bill”: “just because I have no wish to murder you in front of your daughter doesn’t mean that parading her around in front of me will inspire sympathy.” Mr. White, we love Walt Jr. and Holly but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see you pay for your crimes. 

But Walter gives up, and in doing so, he calls off the hit on Jesse. His last fighting words before being taken away are “coward.” Something that got to me in this scene was seeing how cocky Hank was as he taunted a defeated Walt who sat handcuffed in the back of the car. Like I said last week, Hank might be the good guy of “Breaking Bad,” but he is not necessarily a good guy. He’s got an ego to fulfill, and definitely some thoughts of revenge as well. Hank pays the price for this when Todd and his uncle show up with a whole gang to foil the arrest. This scene has been controversial. Why do they show up anyway? Every time there’s a little victory on the show, Vince Gilligan loves to yell “surprise!” and screw up our good time. 

“To’hajiilee” concludes with a hell of a cliffhanger. It leaves in mid-action. Somebody is probably going to die now, but it leaves us with no indication as to who. Or maybe the more tragic part about is that we know Walt will definitely survive, thanks to those flash forwards. Once again, I see a connection to “No Country for Old Men”: Walter White is Anton Chigurh. Like Chigurh, he is a grim reaper figure who manages to walk out of every horrific incident he gets into unscathed. He will then be forced to walk the Earth, as a reminder that evil will always exist in the world. I’m getting dark here, but my point is that only fate (cancer) can kill Mr. White at this point.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Like Jesse before him, Todd refers to Walt as “Mr. White.” It is fascinating that even after his teaching career ends, Walter continues to be a mentor/teacher figure for so many younger men. I guess once the teacher leaves school, he’ll find another place to teach. Walt is like a Pai Mei (sorry for another “Kill Bill” reference) for aspiring meth cooks.
  • I found the scene where Todd and his buddies pretended that they saw blue in the meth to be pretty hilarious. I got a “who’s on first, who’s on second” vibe from it. 
  • Maybe I am going too meta here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the debate about colors from the beginning is a bit of winking joke at viewers who obsessively analyze the way that the show uses colors for theme. 
  • This episode consisted of a lot of people pretending that they didn’t know who Saul was.
  • Most joyful moment in this very dark episode: Junior is genuinely starstruck by Saul Goodman. The face he makes is absolutely priceless. 
  • Continued presence of the haunting sound of the wind.
  • While taking notes, I subconsciously kept calling Todd “Landry.” My apologies to Jesse Plemons.
  • Brock asks for string cheese AND yogurt squeezers in his lunch? Respect. Although if I suddenly got poisoned one day, I would probably only eat food that was sealed shut in little packets for the rest of my life. 
  • The way that Hank says “I got him” to Marie reminded me of when Walt called Skyler to tell her “I won” at the end of season four. 
  • I love the way Saul bosses around the guy cleaning his car. The way he tells the guy to “get in there real deep” just made me think of “Dodgeball.”
  • Also, I like how Saul refers to Walt as an “occupational hazard.”
  • In New Mexico, cops clearly don’t care if you go through red lights. 
  • I didn’t exactly catch what Todd’s ringtone was, but it was definitely hilarious. “Breaking Bad” loves funny phones and ringtones. 
  • I’m happy that the scenes for next week didn’t actually show any scenes from next week. I still have no idea who is getting out of that shootout alive. 
  • My friend Jeff Wucher made a prediction that the neo-Nazis will kidnap Jesse. Walt will then come back later to rescue him, which explains the shotgun during the flash forwards. At this point, I have no idea what is going to happen. But this is the most interesting prediction I’ve heard so far.
  • The next episode is called “Ozymandias.” “Ozymandias” is also the name of a poem written by Percy Shelley. Well, time to do some research!
Until next week everyone, Keep Calm and Tread Lightly. 

Analog This: Trapped, Trapped, Trapped in Orange is the New Black


Is TV as we know it dead?????!!!!! Is Netflix the only place we can get good shows now????!!!!!!

No. TV is alive and well and Netflix holds promise as a lead distributor for the future. But I’m not in the future predicting game; I’m in the “Orange is the New Black” fan club. We are few and we are annoying, but we know great television when we see it.

“Orange is the New Black” is based on the true story of Piper Kerman, a waspy shiksa* who ends up in prison for a crime she committed years earlier. The show takes a lot of liberties from there. It starts through the eyes of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and then expands far and wide, populating the prison with an array of colorful characters. These are the kind of characters who normally aren’t portrayed on television, and they’re often the kind of people you never meet when you’re a sheltered white boy from Connecticut. That’s what good stories are all about: expanding your world and introducing you to the kind of things that your own life might be too short-sighted to ever see.

While watching “Orange is the New Black,” I was reminded of an unlikely companion show: “Lost.” Like that sci-fi drama, “Orange” uses the medium to its fullest extent by leaving its setting through flashbacks. This allows the characters to be more than just their present selves; in prison, you’re not the same person you were on the outside world. In order to understand the new person, it is necessary to also see the old one. Also, if “Orange is the New Black” is “Lost,” does this mean they’re going to start having flash forwards later on? And does that mean Jason Biggs is the smoke monster?

But I digress. “Orange” is the second show created by Jenji Kohan, the first being “Weeds.” If the last few seasons of “Weeds” left a bad taste in your mouth, then consider “Orange” as Kohan’s way of pressing the reset button. This is a brand new world with an episode structure that literally allows endless possibilities.

“Orange is the New Black” is not just that female prison drama. This is a show about people who happen to be prisoners. Emphasis on the people part. That’s why it expands to the characters’ lives outside of prison, so there’s a taste of life outside the prison walls. “Orange” is as much about life in prison as it is about people trying to maintain normality in a very abnormal place.

I wish I did a run through of each episode individually, and tried to cover the little moments that can get lost during binge watching. That will be for another time. So for now, I will try and recap all the best little tidbits of this awesome first season:

The Theme Song: The big debate is whether Regina Spektor’s “You’ve Got Time” was fitting or annoying, or whether the show even needed opening credits at all. Most people were watching episodes in huge chunks so opening credits weren’t necessary. However, they just seem like a staple of television at this point, and they are always a good way to set the mood for the show, and maybe allow some time to recap to yourself what happened in the last episode, as we live in a world where “Previously On…” may be all but irrelevant.

Best Episode: I am tempted to say “Lesbian Request Denied” because of Sophia’s backstory (more on that to come) and the sheer weirdness that is Crazy Eyes. However, I am going to have to go with “The Chickening.” This episode showed the strength of the comedy side of this dramedy, as this episode involved a bunch of prisoners chasing after a mythical chicken they believe is full of drugs. But it also expands the history of the prison and made the relationships between certain prisoners even more complex (specifically that of mother and daughter pair Aleida and Daya Diaz). Then, it ends at a moment so surreal that it begs you to immediately watch the next episode, regardless of whether the chicken mystery will ever be solved.

Most Interesting Backstory: Sophia. It is so rare to see a transexual character on television (besides Mrs. Garrison on “South Park,” of course), so seeing one as a major player on “Orange is the New Black” was so refreshing. Sophia’s backstory explored the consequences of such a major decision in such a deep, funny, and sad way. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. It was this episode that assured me that “Orange is the New Black” is not just some female prison drama.

Craziest Revelation: Pennsatucky became a Jesus freak after murdering a nurse in an abortion clinic and inadvertently becoming a martyr. However, this was not an act of fundamentalism but rather simple craziness. Maybe you should be less judgmental of Piper’s lack of faith, Miss Five Abortions.

Greatest Character Redemption: “Crazy Eyes” Suzanne. Suzanne scared me in the first few episodes as much as she scared poor Piper. Yet, a funny thing happened towards the end of the season: Suzanne got a chance to really talk. Turns out she may be disturbed but she’s also an incredibly kind person. I am excited to see more of her next season. She seems to have her crazy eyes more open to what’s really going on in the prison than most people there.

Greatest Backwards Character Redemption: Healy. Healy was my favorite character in the beginning. He seemed like an honest guy who wanted nothing more than to help Piper and collect Corgi bobble heads. But it turns out he’s kind of a jerk. And he’s really bad at his job. Then in the last episode, he walks away as Piper is close to death. In a show filled with some very dangerous prisoners, the guard is the villain.

Funniest Moment: The inmates bond while watching “Good Luck Chuck.” It’s actually a very sweet scene about escapism and the healing power of laughter, all while watching a Dane Cook movie. But hey, I guess that was the best that Litchfield prison could do. Also, if I were in prison, I would probably be okay with any comedy that I could get.

Funniest Jewish Moment: Oh man, is Jenji Kohan good at these. The tiny detail that Yoga Jones hung a dreidel up backwards is funny. Yet, I will have to go with episode one for this one: Larry’s mother taking up his phone time with Piper with a string of neverending questions was perfect.

Funniest Irony: John Bennett is a war veteran and seemingly the most genuine guard at Litchfield. However, his amputated leg came not from war, but rather from an infection from a hot tub in Orlando. Does anyone else find this funny? Or am I just a bad person?

Pornstache: I believe Mendez deserves his own category. No matter how creepy he got he was always such a joy to watch. The moment that got me is when he did inspection while humming “Pomp and Circumstance.” No matter how pervy he got, maybe I could always find sympathy because he really did care about his job. But mainly it’s because Pablo Schreiber is such a fantastic actor. He made Mendez so consistently creepy. Here’s hoping he lands an Emmy next year.

Corruption Off!: “Orange” also covers the lives of those who run the prison, each one of them a little more corrupt than the last. Strangely, authority often seems more like the bad guy than the prisoners themselves. I think nearly everyone working there would let someone die (which happened) if it was in their best interest. Except for Luscheck (Matt Peters). He just always looks like he just wants to go to sleep.

Weirdest Sex Act: Big Boo. That screwdriver. No further explanation necessary.

Best Character with no lines: Big Boo’s dog. Because of course.

Saddest Moment: Miss Claudette (Michelle Hurst) is denied parole and the chance to be reunited with her long lost love. Some bad behavior lands her in the SHU. As she’s escorted down she says “I don’t care anymore.” In a show that humanizes all of the prisoners and offers many deserved moments of redemption, this moment was unexpected and heartbreaking.

Saddest Trombone:  Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow), who mainly seemed liked a spineless bureaucrat who couldn’t get up without a stick in his butt, finally showed some humanity when he offered Susan Fischer (Lauren Lapkus) a bouquet of flowers. She followed the nice gesture by introducing Joe to her boyfriend. Just when it seemed like he had a victory. Womp womp.

“Kill Bill”-iest Moment: Piper beating the ever living crap out of Pennsatucky in the snow.

What I want to see next season: How Red landed in prison, how Daya landed in prison, Healy’s backstory, Yoga’s backstory (even though she already described it), where the hell that chicken is

And finally…the moment my childhood ended: Laura Prepon. Naked in a shower. Goodbye, Donna.

*I know this sounds offensive, but its just so fitting for this show. Also, that’s how Terry Gross described her on Fresh Air. Terry Gross knows all.

Analog This: Breaking Bad- Every Dog Has His Day

This is a recap of episode 12 of season 5 of “Breaking Bad.” The episode is “Rabid Dog.”

Tonight’s “Breaking Bad” episode requires a little history lesson on the “Breaking Bad” universe. So for just a brief moment, let’s go back to season two. Remember that pink teddy bear that fell from an airplane that signified that Walt’s selfishness could lead to an airplane crash? Well once again, Walt can’t do anything without ruining the lives of others. In “Rabid Dog,” Walt showed that if he was going down, his whole family would be going with him. 

“Rabid Dog” is one of the more plot-driven episodes of “Breaking Bad.” It is also one of the quietest. Music and crazy dutch angles drive a majority of the action. Along with the creepy shadows, parts of this episode felt like scenes from “No Country for Old Men.” Episodes of TV are so short that sometimes its hard to have one quiet moment. “Breaking Bad” can make an entire episode chock full of them. 

Slowly, the false exterior that Walt tries to project on others is slowly crumbling. Even Junior starts to see through Walt’s lies. I also could see Walt’s lies much better this week. That’s not because we’ve all gotten to know Walt so well, it’s more because his lies are getting worse. Come on, faulty gas pump? If you could convince people that you didn’t murder someone, how come you couldn’t cover for some gasoline stains? Once Jesse called Walter out, the show itself (let’s pretend it’s a living, breathing thing) also became self-aware of Walt’s lies.

So, what does Walt do to keep his lies going? He gets the family a hotel room for the night. Junior, of course, is excited about this (Junior you’re great, but you’re also kind of the Chris Brody of this show). Though RJ Mitte did have one of his best episodes ever. Junior is one of the few people left who still thinks highly of Mr. White. Tonight, Junior acts like he knows something is up, but it is not the full truth that he will inevitably learn. In one of the most memorable moments of this episode, Walt sits in front of a pool (his thinking spot in several other episodes) contemplating, and Junior gives him a big hug. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this monster still has to be a father. 

Junior isn’t the only one that Walt has to father. No matter what happens, Jesse will be another son to Walt, which is why Walt still seems to be looking out for his best interests. This is something that Hank decides to exploit. Tonight, “Breaking Bad” broke from its usual narrative format to go back in time to the moment right before Walt got into his house, when Jesse was about to burn it down. Turns out Hank decided to stop by and calm Jesse down. Hank offers Jesse revenge through the legal system. 

Hank and Jesse are a great little odd couple, given their history together, which could be described as awkward. I think I see a possible father-son bond between them, which began with that nice little moment when Hank buckled Jesse’s seatbelt for him. Hank is more of a caring man than Walt is at this point, yet Hank would also sacrifice Jesse’s life for his cause as well. Poor Jesse is always getting caught in the middle of everyone’s selfishness. If Jesse is a dog like everyone has been labeling him, he is just an innocent pooch that wants nothing more than someone to love him.

The face-off between Hank and Walt heated up once again. The two of them are exact opposites yet, they have a lot in common. Both of them would surely put somebody else’s life on the line to advance their goals. This is why I think that this could all possibly end in a stalemate. Hank knows every way to track down Walt, but Walt is always one step ahead, and he is relentless in getting exactly what he wants. 

There has been a lot of bloody episodes of “Breaking Bad.” Nobody died in this episode, but the scent of death was all around. Marie, in one of her most chilling scenes, tells her therapist that she’s been doing some research on different poisons. Imagine if she’s the one who eventually brings Heisenberg down. And of course, nearly everyone at one point in this episode suggested that Jesse needs to die. Even Skyler, who’s trying so hard to be the better person, thought it’d be for the better to bring down Pinkman. Saul compared Jesse to Old Yeller. Then by the end, Walter makes the phone call in which he says “Todd, I think I might have another job for your uncle.” Unfortunately, we all know exactly what that means.

Overall, this was a very different episode of “Breaking Bad.” Especially when Jesse wears a wire, it felt almost like an episode of “24.” Fortunately though, this didn’t turn out like an episode of “24,” as in the writers didn’t rely on some cheap plot shortcut, and nobody decided to shoot the person they needed for information because they were unstable (yes, this happened A LOT on “24″). “Breaking Bad” doesn’t roll like that.

Other “Breaking” Points

  • Walt refers to Badger as Beaver. In an episode of “Beavis and Butthead,” Beavis is referred to as Beaver. This is the second stupid connection I’ve made to a Mike Judge show in the past two episodes of “Breaking Bad.” Time for a fake theory in which Walter White moves to Texas and becomes Hank Hill in the finale.
  • Other things of Marie’s that are purple: Mug, curtains, blanket, chair, pillows, luggage
  • Could anyone figure out the song of Jesse’s ringtone? 
  • This was an especially serious episode. Even Gomey didn’t have many jokes to crack.
  • Walt can even make the line “sleep it off” sound condescending. 
  • “I never should have let my dojo membership run out.” Hope Saul gets his membership back if there’s a spinoff. 
  • Yes Walt, of course we remember when Jesse came over for dinner.
  • Funniest moment of the episode: Walt as Santa photo. 
  • Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the brilliant people that do sounds effects for this show.  
  • Also, this show really knows how to play with shadows
  • This is the first time that Jesse and Marie have ever been in a scene together. 
  • When Jesse is walking to meet Walt at the plaza, I got this feeling that we were seeing everything directly from Jesse’s point of view. It was as if we were experiencing the world from Jesse’s paranoid vision. Brilliant. 
  • Apparently, pay phones are still a thing in Albuquerque. 
  • No matter how bad he gets, Walt still has a thing for tighty whiteys. 
  • The scenes from next week could be changed with the scenes from next week at the end of every “Mad Men” episode and I would see no difference between them.
Until next week everyone, Keep Calm and Tread Lightly.