The Killings of Walter White: Season 2 (*SPOILERS*)

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The Killings of Walter White: Season 2 (*SPOILERS*)

Postby malosaires » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:07 am

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The Killings of Walter White: Season 2

(Link: Part 1)


Walt’s killings bookend the second season, eliminating Tuco at the season’s start and Jane at its end. In both cases, Walt’s hand is not as direct as in the first season, but his motives and methods in each case reflect the movement of his moral compass.


Walt is at first willing to work for Tuco as a desperate measure to provide for his family, but is convinced by Jesse that, sooner or later, Tuco will turn against them. Jesse is convinced that killing Tuco is the only way they can protect themselves, telling Walt, “It’s him or us!” Walt acquiesces, indicating a shift in rationales. Where killing was previously acceptable only when in immediate danger, it is now justified by a potential threat.

Given Walt’s messy history with direct confrontation and the strength of Tuco’s organization, Walt plots to poison Tuco in order to avoid violence and suspicion. This doesn't pan out, as the DEA gets hold of evidence against Tuco, prompting him to go off the grid, taking Walt and Jesse with him at gunpoint.
When brought to the house of Tuco’s drug cartel uncle, Hector Salamanca, and told that Tuco plans to take them away to a super-lab in Mexico to presumably cook until they keel over, Walt and Jesse decide to speed up their killing plans. Walt attempts to poison Tuco’s food, but is thwarted by the mute Hector Salamanca, who tips off Tuco that he shouldn't trust them.

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"Ding Ding, motherfuckers!"


Tuco takes them out back and threatens them, at which point Walt admits they tried to poison him, telling, “You deserve to die.”
There is a struggle, in which Walt grabs Tuco’s assault rifle. Yet though Walt has the weapon, it is Jesse that finishes the fight. Walt never fires the gun. His hands waver too much, and he is unable or unwilling to take a clear shot at Tuco. Through all the chaos that has followed him, Walt has not properly used a gun.

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This moment marks something of a milestone, as it is the first time that chemistry fails Walt. Previously, Walt let science and chemistry do most of his dirty work. This time, however, his chemistry-based plan fell apart, and he needed to use brute force. From this point onward, Walt’s plans of murder and intimidation rely on men and guns rather than chemicals and knowledge. It is a sign of the transformation occurring in Walt, moving out of the realm of the chemist and into the realm of the drug lord.

Walt’s only other kill in the season is Jane, Jesse’s heroin-addicted girlfriend. Walt, finding out about Jesse’s heroin habit, withholds his share of a large sale they have just made until Jesse can show that he is sober. In response, Jane blackmails Walt into giving them the money. Walt has the option to walk away after paying them, and it is logical for him to do so, or to kill them both to ensure he won’t be turned in. But Walt finds that he really cares about Jesse, and goes back to his apartment to try to get him away from Jane and prevent his eventual overdose.

While shaking an unconscious Jesse, Walt rolls Jane onto her back, where she begins throwing up, and chokes to death on her own vomit. When Walt sees what is happening, he at first reaches to try to help her, but hesitates, and simply steps back at watches as she dies.

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Walt hides his culpability, letting Jesse think she died on her own because he feels that it is the only thing that will shock Jesse out of ruining his life with heroin. Despite this, as Jesse grieves for his lost love, we can see the guilt in Walt, as he comes to understand how deeply he has wounded someone he loves.
This is the first time Walt has willingly caused harm to someone who was not a threat to him. Here it is done with the justification of helping Jesse, yet it is a significant change in what Walt considers an acceptable reason to take a life. And it lays significant groundwork for Walt’s future violence.
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Re: The Killings of Walter White: Season 2 (*SPOILERS*)

Postby 52xMax » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:56 am

Just a couple of things:

Tuco's death is not the first time Walt relies on things other than chemistry, nor the first time he does it deliberately. Walt decides to kill Crazy 8 after weighing in the pros and cons of letting him live or not, then he chokes him to death with the bike lock. Maybe Crazy 8 was going to die anyway for being exposed to the vapors, and Walt only kills him after Domingo attacks him with the piece of plate, but you can't say it was self-defense as the guy was still chained to a pole and Walt could have just walked away and keep him prisoner indefinitely.

The second thing is, I recently re-watched the episode where Jane dies, and I don't get the impression that Walt (and notice how I'm saying Walt because I don't think he's acting like full-time jerk Heisenberg in either case) lets Jane die on purpose, and that actually adds an extra layer of drama to that tragedy. His first impulse is to help her, but then Walter hesitates and studies his options again until he runs out of time. Maybe he doesn't fully regret it, and he actually uses the incident to get Jesse to kick the heroin habit and go back to business with Gus, but the remorse is there, albeit subtly, which is one of the reasons I love the show so much. I'm not saying either that Walter doesn't cross a moral line because he does and he knows it, but watching the subsequent episodes, you get the feeling that Walter at least feels bad about doing it, or rather, not doing anything to prevent something he might rationalize was going to happen sooner or later.

Funnily enough, I don't get that same feeling of remorse from Walt for what happens in the season finale, for which he may not be directly responsible for, but it is a consequence of his previous actions.
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Re: The Killings of Walter White: Season 2 (*SPOILERS*)

Postby Edgar Cabrera » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:57 pm

Yeah, the B---- in Apartment 23!!! That's what I was talking about!!!

But in all seriousness, I have to give you kudos Malosaires, for the amazing write-up, and to Bryan Cranston, for how far he has came. I remember having saw him for the first time on some cheap B-movie starring that guy from American Ninja. From that, to being Malcolm's dad, to the star of one of the most acclaimed series right now, to being on an Academy-Award winning movie, that takes some Herculean effort.
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Re: The Killings of Walter White: Season 2 (*SPOILERS*)

Postby Aquila89 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:06 pm

I never understood one thing about killing Tuco. After Jesse shot him in the gut, Walt told Jesse: "let him bleed". Why? This is extremely dangerous. Tuco could've survived and gone after them. (He was still pretty violent when Hank encountered him.) Or, he could've been found by the police and he could've told them about Walt and Jesse. Why didn't they just shoot him in the head?
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Re: The Killings of Walter White: Season 2 (*SPOILERS*)

Postby D-LOGAN » Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:39 pm

Aquila89 wrote:I never understood one thing about killing Tuco. After Jesse shot him in the gut, Walt told Jesse: "let him bleed". Why?


Because he undoubtedly thought Tuco was going to die, afterall he'd been shot and they were out in the desert, doesn't seem unreasonable to assume his imminent death was certain. The fact that this was wrong only proves that the character of Walt is not always right, something we already know.

As for why he'd take this chance when certainty would be better, well that sh*t happens in real life too. Just look at 50 cent, the guy who tried to kill him shot him 9 TIMES, why didn't he shoot once more in the head to make sure he was dead? Because he thought he was a dead man anyway.

Or there's this scene from Chopper (spoiler'd cause it's kinda grizzly)-

Spoiler: show


According to the real Chopper, this is pretty much exactly how it happened in real life, and during the commentary he says people often asked him why the guy stabbing him didn't just pick up the knife and slit his throat while he was lying helpless on the ground? After all the guy wanted him dead, why not make sure?

Because, as he says, the guy just stabbed him a sh*tload of times, he had every reason to think he was going to die, so why bother going that extra mile? As it turns out that was the wrong choice, just like with Walter and the guy who shot 50 Cent, but from this we can gather people make the wrong choice in Real Life therefore why shouldn't they in Fiction?

Breaking Bad isn't a depiction of a guy who always make the correct, sensible, pragmatic choice, it's about an incredibly intelligent man who makes a lot of bad and occasionally counter-productive choices. This is just one of them ...... or maybe not, I mean the Tuco thing sort of sorted itself out anyway.

MAYBE WALT'S PSYCHIC? Gotta admit that'd be a hell of a twist!
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