Breaking Bad: why the 'Box Cutter' episode felt poorly handled

SPOILERS Please note, this isn't meant to be a discussion of 'why' Gus kills Victor. I get the logistics of it- weak as they are. This is more an assessment of what the character of Gus meant for the series and why I feel this episode in particular ruined that somewhat.

I've just watching season 4 of Breaking Bad and, whilst I still think it's easily the most finely crafted show on television in recent memory, the box cutter episode seriously bothered me.

To my mind, it took what was a genuinely novel, fascinating, and original character, Gus, and turned him into yet another Drug Baron; albeit a uniquely machivellian one (yawn). The whole scene just came across as lazy writing to me- something I never thought I would be saying about Breaking Bad.

Gus originally came across as a maverick- the prime mover several steps beyond everything and every one in the perfect guise of a mild-mannered owner of a series of commercially successful fast food joints who could, in actual fact, see the grand design behind it all. He was certainly not one to get his hands dirty. More than that, he also appeared to have adopted somewhat of a utilitarian approach to his particular line of work- one might even class him as a libertarian. There was something awesomely 'red hood', or, at a stretch, 'V' about the guy to begin with (that particular scene where he casually splits the mobile in half at the end...wow). He classed the twins, and the rest of the cartel by proxy, as 'animals'. He was not one of them.

I'm not at all saying that he was a good person, far, far from it. He was, however, supposed to be a strategist. We rarely, if ever, get to see dealers of this order portrayed in entertainment. By simply reducing him to a killer who can stoop to basic intimidation, the writers have totally ruined the mystery that was the Chicken Man. I feel they squandered an immense amount of potential here, not to mention halted any chance of further character development. They had a chance to do something truly different, even profound, with this character and they sort of blew it.

Still loving the series though ^_^

21 Comments

Pixelated Woes (the Connection between Watchmen and Alexander)

Welcome, dear reader(s), to another edition of pixelated woes. A Blog where I try to stave off depression by writing about a connection within a topic/ idea that I think is interesting, but has been looked over by the media at large. It might have something to do with video-games, it might not.

As many of you are no doubt already aware, DC has decided to relaunch the Watchmen series. Fuck marketing, Alan Moore forever etc. This does, however, mean we will be granted further insight into the back stories of the characters themselves which, at best, could be mildly intriguing or, at worst, disastrous. To be honest, I couldn't give a damn about the majority of them; after all, the characters themselves were initially designed to be one off archetypes, metaphors if you will, of the heroic world. Crafting a coherent, engaging, believable, history for characters that were purposefully designed to be clichés and dark parodies, in the first place, is going to be no small task for the writers involved. Although there is one that caught my eye...

How amazing is that art?! Anyway, that's beside the point. Apparently this book is set to deal with the early life of Adrian- namely; I'm guessing, his Alexandrian journey, obsession with the Macedonian conqueror and subsequent realization about the world and his future role in it. I, for one, think this is a fantastic idea- at least; this is the route I think they should go down. An understanding of Alexander is vital to a wider understanding of Veidt’s later motivations, they can’t overlook that connection. That’s what Alan Moore was trying to explore with this character- a dictator who was, in fact, benevolent. As someone who has always had a fascination with Classics and Ancient history (studying it at uni at the moment, useful I know :/), and as a Buddhist myself, I took a particular liking to the character of Ozymandias. I'm really interested to see how they develop his link to Alexander the Great and whether or not the writers will also be able to balance this with his supposed mystic Buddhist leanings. Unfortunately, I think it's pretty much a given that the writing will not live up to my expectations (or Alan's for that matter).

So what do you think? Will they treat Adrian Veidt's life story with the respect, detail, and care it needs in order for it to work or is this all just one big cash in?

1 Comments

Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Making Byzantines the evil ones?:/

The premise of the new Assassin's Creed game is ridiculous. The Ottoman Empire was one of the worst to ever blight the earth...a collection of paedophiles, sadists, religious extremists- most of them tyrannical beyond belief. Yet the Greek Byzantines are the ones being labelled as the 'bad guys’ while the Ottomans are made out to be sophisticated and multicultural...bullshit, the Byzantines were the multicultural ones- they practically invented the term. Of course this is all done in the name of 'political correctness'...wouldn't want a certain fanatical group getting their pants/fuses in a twist now would we? I’m really getting sick of all this mindless pandering towards Muslim extremism...especially when it's this obvious. Man-up and show the unbiased truth Ubisoft- I’m sure most moderate Muslims would actually thank you for it.

77 Comments

pixelated woes (alrenatively, 360p is just plain mean)

This is an appeal, my language will be as polite and concise as possible, please respect my right to an opinion even if you don't share it and I promise to respect yours in turn, trolls and fan boys can go fuck themselves in advance.

So, as many of you have no doubt discovered by now if the forums are anything to go by, our fair website of Giantbomb has switched over to youtube and has decided to set the bar at 360p for all the non-subscribers. And you know what? As the title would suggest, I see this as just plain mean. Whilst I understand that Giantbomb is largely a subscription based website and relies on this to help it survive and remain honest, this latest decision just seems groundless (and a little spiteful to free users at that) why?

1. it costs nothing to actual upload videos in 480p/HD- there are 12 year olds up in Northern Estonia who do it constantly from their mothers basement etc

2. The interns post videos at 720p in the community section all the time- it seems a bit strange that their content should be of a better quality visually than what is actual posted on the front page of the website of itself for the average passer-by.

3. By choosing to upload content at 360p, Giantbomb actually do a huge disservice to themselves in the long run- anybody new coming in from youtube/the site itself will be instantly put off by the shoddiness of the video, as 720P is readily available for free on both youtube and other gaming websites. I myself can't actually sit through a single video anymore. Thus, for those who say I should pay for it, I say why should I? When so many other

websites, industry bull aside, at least provide HD videos for free. The term Premium content should be reserved for just that, 'premium'- not something that's already readily available on most other websites.

The creators of Giantbomb pride themsleves on their integrity and fairness. Now would be a perfect chance to show it- uploading videos at 360p in 2011 just isn't acceptable by anyone’s standards anymore, let alone a reputable gaming website. Whilst Giantbomb don't actually owe non-subscribers anything, common decency demands free users deserve to be treated with more respect than this. I understand premium users might not like this idea, but I just want things to return to the way they were before i.e. - I'd be happy with 720p and premium users get 1080p along with the usual benefits all for themselves.

For those who agree with me, I propose we post this heartfelt message of protest under each quicklook/trailer etc (just once though, no spamming):

"Dear Jeff,

please start posting videos at 480p/720p again for non-subscribers. Nobody

should be forced to watch 360p in 2011. Don't leave us out in the cold man,

many of us have been with Giantbomb for years now. We're poor but loyal, so

that ain't cool. Remember what drove you to create this site in the first place

and help make a good website truly great again. Yay Vinny"

Thanks to all those who took the time to read this blog post.

16 Comments