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    Stephanie Watches Breaking Bad “Felina”

    As the world knows, last night was the series finale of arguably the best television series ever, Breaking Bad. And I’m having a lot of feelings. Relief, satisfaction, but also extreme sadness because it’s all over. Anyway, here be spoilers!

    The entire season (or hell, series!) has been building up to this moment. Basically from “Ozymandias” and on, it has been a wild ride. Walt has been in hiding and making his way back to New Mexico for a few months to make his last stand. Walt begins tying up his loose ends by first sneaking into Gretchen and Elliot’s gorgeous new house to kill them, or so I assumed . He gives them all of his leftover money ($9 mil!) and threatens them with sniper rifle death unless they deliver the money to Walt Jr. on his 18th birthday. They agree, of course, but little do they know that the snipers were Badger and Skinny Pete! I was so happy to see them again for one final time. And through them, Walt learns that the blue meth is still on the market and that Jesse must be the one cooking! (Since Todd sucks at cooking, obviously. Todd sucks in general, but I digress…)

    But we know the truth. That Jesse has been a meth cooking slave for the past several months. The only solace he finds is in his mind, having lose Andrea due to his attempted escape, so he can’t risk Brock as well. He has simply accepted his fate. One of the most beautiful scenes of this episode was the scene in Jesse’s mind. It was a recreation of this amazing speech:

    “I started from scratch. I made another, then another. And by the end of the semester, by box number five, I had built this thing. You should’ve seen it, it was insane. I mean, I built it out of Peruvian walnut with inlaid zebrawood. It was fitted with pegs, no screws. I sanded it for days until it was smooth as glass. And then I rubbed all the wood with tung oil, so it was rich and dark. It even smelled good. You know, you put your nose in it and breathed in… it was perfect.”

    Cue all of my waterworks as his apron gets stuck on something and he realizes he is still chained up in the lab. Ugh!

    Walt then pops up at the cafe that Lydia and Todd (ugh, Todd) have been meeting at regulary. I didn’t even notice him sitting there until he stood up and moved his chair over to them (also I laughed pretty hard at this because he just looked like some hobo bothering the nicely dressed people). Lydia quickly learns the danger of being a create of habit as Walt hid the ricin he retrieved from his house in her Stevia (called it!!!).  Through this little encounter, Walt plans a meeting with Todd for that night.

    Now that Walter had his revenge meeting all set, he needed to tie up the rest of his loose ends; the family–for whom he had claimed so long he was doing all of this. We arrive at Skyler’s apartment with all of the items from the old house strewn about and organized in a different fashion in a smaller space. Skyler gets a call from Marie, who seems to be okay, all things considered (seems like she’s still in the same house, despite the Nazi raid), warning her that Walt has been spotted in town. And, of course, after Skyler hangs up and the camera pans back, we see Walt has been there all along. Through another beautifully acted scene, they have what in their terms amounts to a goodbye. And Walt finally admits to Skyler that he was doing this all along for himself.

    Perhaps because a sliver of her former self still loves him and truly knows she won’t see him again, Skyler lets Walt say goodbye to sleeping baby Holly. This entire scene reminded me of this quote from a while back:

    Oh, I was… I was at home watching TV. Some nature program about elephants… and Skyler and Holly were in another room. I can hear them on the baby monitor. She was singing a lullaby. Oh, if I had just lived right up to that moment… and not one second more.That would have been perfect.

    After Walt says his silent goodbye to Walt Jr from afar, he embarks on his final journey. After building a contraption in his usual sciencey engineering way, which uses a trigger through his car alarm, he heads to the Nazi safehouse. They are immediately suspicious of him, checking his car, patting him down, taking his wallet and keys (arrgh–cue my arm flailing and anxiety). I found myself rooting for Walt for the first time in ages. No, I will never be “Team Walt” after all the awful stuff he’s done to Jesse/Skyler/Hank/etc., but I wanted someone to take those bastards down and both Walt and Jesse deserved that honor.

    Jack, Todd, and co. have already made up their mind that they were going to kill him and Walt had made his mind up that he was going to kill all of them and their new “partner” Jesse. But once they brought in the chained up, disheveled shell of a person that is now Jesse Pinkman, Walt’s plans changed. He sneakily retrieved his keys and in a ploy of attacking Jesse and knocking him to the ground, he protected him as he launched his attack. Bullets showered (well, is it a shower since it was all horizontal?) down upon them, taking most of them out. I grit my teeth as I saw Todd take cover. Ugh, dammit, Todd! Finally the barrage ended and the only survivors were Walt, Jesse, Todd, and Jack.

    Todd gets up and mistakenly turns his back on them as he looks out the window to say some dumb stuff, I don’t even know. I really hate Todd, okay? And so Jesse finally sees his chance and I was screaming and cheering as Jesse wrapped his chain around Todd’s neck and choked the life out of him with a very satisfying crack. I don’t think you understand how relieved I felt when this happened. Knowing that Todd was out there in the Breaking Bad universe just walking around and existing. UGH. But he’s gone. It’s okay. I can sleep better at night now.

    Anyway, Jack is still sort of alive, promising that he can tell Walt where the rest of his money is if he lets him live a little longer. But what is Walt going to do with that? He’s been shot in the gut. He’s taken care of the money situation for his family. So, what does he do? The same thing Jack did to Hank. Shoots him in the head with another very satisfying explosion of blood. By now Jesse has freed himself and Walt slides him the gun, wanting Jesse to kill him. I believe Walt thinks he’s earned that right after all the awful crap he’s done to Jesse over the past two years. But Jesse doesn’t want to take another order from him ever again. If he killed him, it wouldn’t be because Jesse wanted to. It would be because Walt wanted him to. Jesse needs to orchestrate his own life, retrieve the agency that Walt, Todd, Jack, everyone took from him. And not killing Walt was a way to get that back.

    All in all, I still think Walt is too prideful to truly take his own life, which is why I never understood why many people thought the ricin was meant for him. Granted, by going after Jack and co., he knew this would be the end for him, but I feel like he was hoping they or Jesse would kill him in the process. He was prepared to die, sure, but if he hadn’t been shot in his own crossfire, would he have had the guts to shoot himself in the head? Maybe since the police were showing up. But we’ll never know, of course.

    One of my favorite scenes from the end was Jesse finally driving away from that horrendous place, busting down the gates to his freedom, all the while laughing and crying. (Cue me blubbering like baby Holly at this point.) I am so relieved that Jesse made it out alive, but I’m also so, so, SO surprised. I don’t even know how the poor guy is going to be able to survive mentally after everything he’s gone through. Hopefully one of Andrea’s family members took Brock in so that he’s not in the “system.” I imagine that Jesse at least went to say goodbye to Brock (and maybe one last smoke with Badger and Skinny Pete) before getting the heck out of that town.

    And that brings us to the end. After killing Jack, Walt gets one more final piece of satisfaction when Lydia calls Todd (I cannot deal with Todd’s ringtones!) and he informs her that she’s been poisoned with ricin. I liked Lydia a lot, so I was bummed that she got offed, but it also makes sense in the grand scheme of things. Walt needed to cut all ties to his empire and Lydia was the top of that chain.

    As sirens blare around him, Walt takes his final steps to the lab, admiring the equipment and space in which he felt more at home than his actual home. As he strokes one of the pieces lovingly, the loss of blood and bullet wound finally take his life and he collapses to the floor as police slowly surround him and the camera pans outward.

    And that’s how Walter White’s story comes to an end.

    Thank you, Vince Gilligan, for an amazing show and for wrapping everything up in a beautiful way. I feel satisfied because nothing was left truly open. The i’s were dotted, the t’s were crossed. I can’t wait to rewatch the series again and again and AGAIN! (Hint: to anyone feeling generous for Christmas and/or my birthday, I’d really love to have the complete series on blu-ray!)


     

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    Stephanie Watches The Crazy Ones 1×01: “Pilot”

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    I debated calling this “Stephanie Worships Sarah Michelle Gellar” because, well, I do. Ever since Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she has definitely been my favorite actress/human.  Buffy is such a fantastic show and Buffy was my favorite character. I laughed with her, I cried with her, I wanted to fight with her and save the world. And I’ve stuck with Sarah through her career since then. I root for her character in Cruel Intentions (yeah, I’m probably not supposed to, oops…), I loved those silly Scooby Doo movies, and I campaigned hard for people to watch Ringer, even though it ended up getting canceled and ended on a cliffhanger (ugh!). Since then, she’s mostly been out of the TV/movie loop, having another kid, getting Starbucks, etc.

    So, you can imagine my delight and surprise when I found out that she was in a comedy pilot. And that said pilot got picked up! Wooo! After much waiting, it finally aired last night on CBS.

    The Crazy Ones is about a father-daughter ad agency set in downtown Chicago. Sarah’s character, Sydney Roberts, is the voice of reason, while Robin Williams’s character, Simon Roberts, is her cooky, but brilliant dad whose mouth and thought process runs a mile a minute.

    Robin Williams is someone that I always need to get used to. His comedy style can be overwhelming because he speaks so fast and it can be infuriating if you don’t follow along. I was a huge fan of Gilmore Girls because the jokes were quick, witty, and sprinkled with a zillion pop culture references, so following along with Williams wasn’t difficult, but I did find myself exhausted after some of his scenes.

    Aside from the father-daughter duo, there are a few more familiar faces, at least for me. James Wolk, who plays Zach, was the way-too-charming Bob Benson from Mad Men. So he escaped one ad agency to go to another. Working for Don Draper is probably more exhausting than being a hot ladies’ man in modern-day Chicago. *wink* His reputation from the start was pretty clear and his scene with Kelly Clarkson in the recording booth was pretty raunchy, although hilarious since they were singing about meat. (Sarah’s extremely concerned face during this scene was priceless.)

    The other familiar face for me is Amanda Setton because, yes, I used to love and watch Gossip Girl. In my head, her character from Gossip Girl just moved to Chicago and became a lot less mean. She’s pretty cute and ditzy and I giggled during the “smell my hair” scene.

    Sarah also stepped up her game and was not afraid to embarrass herself in front of a lot of people. She’s not a big fan of singing. I remember reading many articles about how she was pretty uncertain about doing the Buffy musical since she has no singing talent whatsoever (I think she did a pretty damn good job!). So, when Kelly Clarkson made her sing a McDonald’s “jingle” loudly in a crowded restaurant, while she climbed up on a table in five-inch platform heels, I was impressed by her and embarrassed for her.

    All in all, the show has definite promise for me. Most pilots are pretty shaky, but I knew what I was getting into having seen many of the scenes throughout the summer promotions. I definitely laughed many times throughout the episode. The heartwarming father-daughter element is also a big component of the show, which works because Robin and Sarah have pretty great chemistry.

    I have hope that this show will continue to get better and hopefully won’t get canceled, so that it can find its footing as a great comedy. We’ll get to know the characters more, there will undoubtedly be romantic drama (maybe Zach will try to woo Sydney?), and more father-daughter bonding.

    I’m just excited to see Sarah Michelle Gellar on my TV again–and not in the form of Buffy reruns, although I still watch those weekly.

    My only complaint is that the show is not actually filmed in Chicago. How am I supposed to become SMG’s best friend if she’s not actually filming here?


     

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    Stephanie Starts a New Blog

    Hi everyone!

    My name is Stephanie. I’m 25 and live in downtown Chicago with my kitty. I have a 9-5-er, but I’m also a do lots of freelance editing/writing on the side. It won’t be long before I get bored and go get my PhD just for something to do. Ha!

    Anyhoo, I’ve ventured into the blogosphere many times before, but always seem to lose interest in my blog after a while. I think because I’m always trying to narrow my blog’s focus on one thing, such as something nerdy or just fashion. And so many people have also told me I should start a TV Review blog because I tend to build my social schedule around my TV shows (thank goodness for TIVO though!). But my interests are really and truly not limited to just one thing!

    I’m starting this blog as more of a lifestyle blog of things that I like and things that I like to do.

    Some of the posts you will be seeing on this blog:

    • Stephanie Watches: Weekly TV Round-Ups of all the shows I’m watching and/or special posts for certain TV shows I’m passionate about (aka Breaking Bad/Game of Thrones/etc).
    • Stephanie Wears: If I have a camera person nearby and I happen to be wearing something cute, then I’ll post it! I still love fashion, even though I’m no longer working in the industry.
    • Stephanie Reads: I’m a huge bookworm. With my one-to-two hour twice-a-day commute and my iPad mini, I get a lot of reading done on the CTA. I’d love to share some of the cool books I’ve read this year!
    • Stephanie Cosplays: Oh, what’s that? I’m a really big nerd who not only goes to conventions regularly, but also makes costumes and dresses up as her favorite character? You betcha!
    • Stephanie Works Out: I’ve been really into getting healthy and fit lately. So, I’d love to have another outlet to share my workouts and progress! I am by no means any expert, but I’ve been enjoying my lifestyle changes.
    • Stephanie Eats/Drinks: That’s pretty self-explanatory. I may share recipes or just some food/drinks I love. I’m pretty picky (my  friends would say VERY VERY VERY picky), but I still try everything once!
    • Stephanie Wants: I covet many gorgeous things. I will probably make silly Polyvore collages for you with cat-themed items. Okay, they won’t always be cat-themed, but the number of cat shirts I have is a little out of control.

    Anyhoo, you get the theme, right? Stephanie Plus Verb=Stephanie Does Things

    And I’m Stephanie, obviously! Nice to meet you. I hope you stick around!