Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It's Not Really So Strange

A wealthy white American man with a van dyke, played by an actor who's also played Sherlock Holmes more than once, leads a fast paced life. His success has brought great hubris and then one day he's unexpectedly brought low, suffering permanent physical injury, but the path he takes to fix his body also helps to heal his spirit. Yes, I can only be talking about that well known Marvel superhero film. Doctor Strange from 2016.

So, yes, it's more than a little like Iron Man. Except Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) isn't quite as arrogant as Tony Stark, his injury isn't quite as bad, his road back doesn't seem like it was quite as difficult, and he never gets to kiss his love interest, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).

What does Disney have against romantic subplots? Maybe there's one in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie but I don't really want to see it to find out. To be fair, romantic subplots used to feel superfluous, as in Tim Burton's first Batman, but they could also be really wonderful, as in Richard Donner's Superman and Tim Burton's second Batman movie. Romance can be fun, you know.

Anyway. Doctor Strange isn't exactly bad--I guess it can't be since it so rigidly adheres to formula. Strange's smarm became really annoying really fast. I know I was supposed to find it funny when he called Wong (Benedict Wong) "Beyonce". But I just wanted him to get on with being an adult already.

And, yes, that's a Chinese guy, so much for the supposed white washing in the movie. Quoting Wikipedia:

The character is depicted in the comics as Strange's Asian, "tea-making manservant", a racial stereotype that Derrickson did not want in the film, and so the character was not included in the film's script. After the non-Asian actress Tilda Swinton was cast as the other significant Asian character from the Doctor Strange comics, the Ancient One—which was also done to avoid the comics' racial stereotypes—Derrickson felt obligated to find a way to include Wong in the film. The character as he ultimately appears is "completely subverted as a character and reworked into something that didn’t fall into any of the stereotypes of the comics", which Derrickson was pleased gave an Asian character "a strong presence in the movie". Actor Wong was also pleased with the changes made to the character, and described him as "a drill sergeant to Kamar-Taj" rather than a manservant. He does not practice martial arts in the film, avoiding another racial stereotype. Derrickson added that Wong will have "a strong presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" moving forward.

He does pick up a weapon, presumably to engage in a martial art of some kind, so this film was basically made by the Ku Klux Klan. Oh, well. But seriously, this movie was carefully measured and calculated at every stage to ensure you received the correct political balance in percentages designed to avoid any potential unpleasant suggestions or reminders of states of affairs based on practices resulting from institutionalised discrimination with roots going back to policies enforcing racism. Aren't you happy?

Tilda Swinton is really good as the Ancient One. I genuinely like the idea of a woman in the Obi-wan role for the male character but I wish there had been some resonance between the philosophy of her teaching and the manifestation of Strange's powers. The turning point for Strange is when she drops him on Mount Everest, forcing him to use his own powers to get back. I do like how all the magic looks like firework sparklers, it has a nicely tactile quality.

She tells him he has to defeat his ego to get back. But nothing about the scene actually shows how humility assists Strange in this task, nothing about his training actually makes him more humble. Magic in the film functions precisely like technology does in the other films, the little floating shield things are even rather like the floating computer interfaces.

The other major effect, of folding buildings, is taken right from Christopher Nolan's Inception. It didn't seem like anyone working on this film had a genuine desire to create a sense of magic. The astral projection stuff was kind of fun.

Strange is particularly annoying in the credits scene with Thor (Chris Hemsworth). I don't know why exactly his smugness is never as entertaining as Robert Downey Jr.'s as Tony Stark, maybe it's because there always seems to be a wounded quality to Downey Jr.'s performance, his arrogance consequently coming off as oddly vulnerable. But Benedict Cumberbatch is a good actor, maybe he'll do something better with the character in films from different writers and directors.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, Mads Mikkelsen's in the movie. He's good but he never has much to do. He has the distinction of being the only character to make any comment on Strange's name being, er, strange. Chiwetel Ejiofor is unremarkable as Strange's sidekick and seems like he's being set up to become another unremarkable Marvel villain to be tossed onto the pile.

Twitter Sonnet #998

A gentle step intrudes but waits for thread.
A kinder sort of fog consoles the crowd.
It's nothing like a row of petals shed.
The creature's eye uncorks a bubble shroud.
Molasses stems unfurl in potted ships.
Canals continue west while captains east.
A mountain range may lick its rocky lips.
The yellow tops of trees report a feast.
Encouraged by the swimming moose we sank.
On paper pulled from candy heads we ate.
No gunner goes for paper glued to tank.
In distant schools the bees would count to eight.
Descending wisps have hardened clouds to hands.
On faulty disks all hues turn into bands.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Gods and Electricity

There was another nice new episode of American Gods on Sunday, "Lemon Scented You", which introduced some important characters and had one of the nicest side-story vignettes yet.

Spoilers after the screenshot

"Hey, you. Get your damn hands off . . ."

Sorry. I don't usually get George McFly in my head when I see Crispin Glover but there's just something about his Mr. World that unaccountably reminds me of the McFly patriarch. He's odd casting for the part, I would have liked someone more like John Hamm or George Clooney, someone with a banal charm. Glover is so delightfully weird but, of course, that means it's always nice to see him. I love his suit.

Gillian Anderson does much better impressions of David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe than she does of Lucille Ball. I found the music kind of distracting in the Bowie scene but I was tickled by how half her lines were Bowie lyrics. Though, considering I love David Bowie and I like Gillian Anderson, I feel like I should have enjoyed the scene more. Maybe once I start getting the impression that Media is not simply a villain I'll feel better about it. It is a bit ironic that a TV show is portraying Media so far as almost purely an antagonist, though she does seem like she wants to extend an olive branch to Wednesday (Ian McShane).

I've been refreshing my memory on the novel by reading synopses and I'm starting to be reminded of Wagner's Ring operas. I won't go into too much detail for those who haven't read American Gods or seen the operas but Shadow (Ricky Whittle) resembles Siegfried in the Wagner operas in ways he doesn't resemble Siegfried or Sigurd in the Nibelungenlied or the Elder Edda. I haven't read all the different versions of the legend, though, I don't know how much was Wagner's invention or how much he drew from the Norse mythology. It would probably be helpful to read Neil Gaiman's recently published book on Norse mythology.

I feel like Shadow is more definitely defined as a black man on the show whereas his race in the book was sort of a mystery. I could be remembering wrong. In any case, the focus on his race--the significance of him being lynched--and him being a Siegfried figure is oddly starting to make the show resemble Django Unchained, or Django Unchained is starting to resemble American Gods.

It would make sense for Laura (Emily Browning) to be Brunhilde, being associated with the dead and with kicking ass. I wonder why Emily Browning was willing to be naked in this episode but not the previous one. Maybe it's to do with the different directors--"Lemon Scented You" was directed by Vincenzo Natali while "Git Gone" was directed by Craig Zobel. I guess this gets into a gossipy area though I do think it demonstrates how often nudity in film is included to not be distracting rather than vice versa. Shooting around big parts of someone's body for reasons not related to artistic intent always comes off as awkward. It was nice they were able to include that lovely beating heart effect in this episode though Shadow and Laura parting with him saying he wasn't her puppy anymore was a slightly dopey piece of melodrama. I'm guessing when they see each other next we'll learn he simply meant the power dynamic in their relationship had changed. But of course in the interim she has to suffer thinking he doesn't love her anymore.

That cgi vignette was really cool. I hope there'll be more vignettes that aren't live action, the animation seems to allow the makers of the show greater scope.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Don't Take the Ring

I had to go and watch all four of the new Twin Peaks episodes last week, so I have to wait another week to see a new episode. I guess I can say some more about the new series now since some of you spaced your doses more wisely and only just last night watched episodes 3 and 4.

Spoilers after the screenshot

I'm pretty sure Naomi Watts is wearing the same cardigan she wore at the beginning of Mulholland Drive.

I doubt her character in Twin Peaks is meant to be Betty or Diane but it's worth remembering that Lynch did say Lost Highway was set in the same universe as Twin Peaks. She sure looks happy serving those pancakes.

Imagine how nice it would be to have Naomi Watts make you breakfast. Anyway, she does a good job making it believable that she doesn't notice Cooper's wearing his tie on his head. I think we're going to learn next week that the sip of her coffee brought him back to his senses.

By the way, if you're wondering what the deal is with this ring Dougie wears, you haven't watched Fire Walk with Me. Go watch it now--you'll find other things you need to know about like the Blue Rose and the long lost Philip Jeffries. It wouldn't hurt to watch the deleted scenes, too.

But the ring hasn't ever been fully explained. It has a symbol seen in Owl Cave in season two in which a cave painting tells the story of the Black Lodge. But I strongly believe the ring is based on the emerald ring that figures into the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt.

Along with Vertigo*, Shadow of a Doubt is probably the Hitchcock movie that most influenced Twin Peaks, with its depiction of a small, innocent American town, a sweet teenage girl, and her eerie relationship with her sinister uncle. Shadow of a Doubt is set in Santa Rosa, California. We meet Dougie in . . .

Which is also the name of the production company whose logo we see in the new opening credits. By the way, I really like Jade the prostitute (Nafessa Williams), I hope we see more of her.

But back to the ring. My belief that it's based on the one from Shadow of a Doubt is so strong I even worked some hidden fan fiction into a web comic I did a few years ago, Echo Erosion, where I show a character from Shadow of a Doubt, flirting with a man named Arnold Banks in 1952, my idea being they'd one day be the parents of Teresa Banks, the first victim of Bob on Twin Peaks and the first person we see wearing the ring.

In Shadow of a Doubt, the ring represents a moral choice, as accepting the ring means Teresa Wright's character, the innocent small town teenage girl, is accepting collusion with the murders her uncle has carried out--he stole the ring from one of his victims. The ring in Twin Peaks seems to work in a similar way thematically--it seems to mark its wearer for death. Dougie seems to be mixed up in something where he owes a lot of money but he's still spending cash on a prostitute, cheating on his wife in the process. The idea that Dougie is manufactured suggests he literally has no soul. When Agent Desmond in Fire Walk with Me takes the ring, he's wiped out of existence. When Laura sees the Man from Another Place holding the ring in her dream, Cooper warns her not to take it and later, when she's in the train car with Bob/Leland, we see her voluntarily putting on the ring, symbolising that, like Dr. Jacoby suggested, Laura "allowed herself to be killed". So while Dougie and Teresa wearing the ring seems to be a part of Bob's plan--he wants to kill them both--Laura wearing it is not because he doesn't want to kill her, he wants to inhabit her body. This is reminiscent of the strange psychic connexion Teresa Wright's and Joseph Cotton's characters share in Shadow of a Doubt--and the fact that both characters have the same name, Charlie, a mundane male American name, like Bob.

Well, I'd dying to see how the ring figures into the next fourteen episodes, if at all. I wonder if it's at any level meant to be a Lord of the Rings reference.

*It's well known that Laura Palmer's cousin, Leland Palmer's niece, Madeleine Ferguson, is named for two characters in Hitchcock's Vertigo, Madeleine Elster and Scottie Ferguson.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Everything Happens to Him

Mahmad Firouzkoui is just too meek to overcome a streak of extraordinarily bad luck in 1977's The Report(گزارش). This doesn't stop him from beating his wife though from the tone of the film I think we're meant to think he should be forgiven for this, that he's well within his rights. The underlying misogyny of the film is part of its central idea of the injustice of a man being thoroughly emasculated at work and at home. It has some well constructed scenes and good performances--and one great performance.

Ironically, the best performance in the film comes from Shohreh Aghdashloo as Mahmad's wife, Azam. Her character is written entirely based on her effect on Mahmad--she constantly nags him about going out with his friends after work, she complains about taking care of their kid, she complains he doesn't make enough money. The script never gives us anything from her perspective but Aghdashloo through sheer brilliance in her performance actually does a lot to make up for it.

So a film that otherwise would have been a one sided pity party for a much put upon man works out to be much more provoking. Mahmad (Kurosh Afsharpanah) works as a tax collector. He's wrongly accused of embezzlement and is laid off during the investigation. He's frustrated but when he's confronted on the matter he tends to stammer and look at his feet.

When he goes home, it's to the constant nagging of Azam and their arguments become worse as it becomes clear they can no longer afford their home. The tension in these scenes comes across really well. The director, Abbas Kiarostami, uses long takes of the actors exchanging dialogue, giving it a stage play quality. The couple's young daughter, when she laughs or cries, is clearly not acting but her behaviour is always seamlessly incorporated in the scene.

I felt really bad for the kid because there are moments when the director must have intentionally made her cry. I guess there's no other way to get the scenes but it's one of those moments where I'm not sure people should go that far for art. I know I couldn't do it.

The film also has some very good compositions, especially near the end. The climactic episode, where Azam attempts suicide, hits a pinnacle of misogyny as we're clearly meant to feel worse for Mahmad than for Azam as he's faced with the nurses caring for her asking with passive reproach, "Did you beat her up?" The doctor at the clinic knows right away what happened because apparently the clinic receives women regularly who've overdosed on the kinds of pills Azam took, the implication being that Azam may have been only trying to get revenge on Mahmad.

Twitter Sonnet #997

Again the pair repair to coffins lined
And trimmed in cash and coin reclaimed in glass
Replete with empty stares like sleep resigned
Without the thought of rest the night to pass.
Into the light refracted white the prey,
A hunted hat, appearing just above
The hedge, a canny puppet clear as day
Desisted flight and turned to throw a glove.
A strike of acid dries the lemon through,
Deprives the battery of taste before
Electric eyes request to know just who
Could sew the path up to the only door.
The engines cull the vapour from the rock
Inside the face; a deftly hidden lock.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beware of Pyramids Bearing Gifts

To-day's new Doctor Who is called "The Pyramid at the End of the World" and I guess that's meant in the sense of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe--I wonder if the title was intended as a reference to former Doctor Who script editor Douglas Adams. It was a good episode in any case, written by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat, it put the protagonists through some moral dilemmas on a global scale featuring a very clever, effective villain.

Spoilers after the screenshot

I really, really love how the monks are offering aid only for complete consent. Though they do seem to be pretty picky and they may be their own worst enemies in this regard--but it's almost like a reply to the idea that Negan on Walking Dead can rule entirely through fear. The monks know, as the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) points out, fear is nowhere near as effective as love. But it's weirdly funny how totally inept the monks are at inspiring love. It's, forgive the phrase, blind luck that things work out their way.

I guess the Doctor just learned a lesson in how it can backfire when you don't tell your loved ones about your troubles. Though, to be fair, it would be hard to see this scenario coming and I'm still not sure how Bill's (Pearl Mackie) consent ends up handing over the whole world. But who knows how the monk's magic works.

I loved how the simulation turns out to be a bunch of threads, like these monks, who I still think are related to the Cybermen in some way, are the Furies. The idea of them only being able to take over by consent resonates with globalist politics, or the relationships the Orange President mentioned by Bill has with foreign powers. I assumed these episodes were filmed before the election but I guess not. Which means the simulation had the wrong U.S. president? Seems like a pretty big mistake for something that's supposed to be so eerily accurate.

"Pyramid at the End of the World" features the first major Chinese character, Xiaolian (Daphne Cheung), on Doctor Who since The Talons of Wang Chiang in 1977*. I'm not sure but I think Togo Igawa as the U.N. Secretary General may be the second Japanese character ever, after the Torchwood character Toshiko Sato's brief appearance in "Aliens of London" from 2005. My happiness at the appearance of such characters isn't so much a desire for political correctness but from the fact that I've always wanted Doctor Who to explore Earth as widely as the Doctor's supposed to have. This was part of the original concept of the show, after all, though I suppose it is cost prohibitive. I guess to-day's audiences aren't likely to accept the cardboard sets seen in the First Doctor's "Aztecs" serial. But since there's a mandate for diversity anyway in casting it would be nice if the show took it as an opportunity. This is an area where the audio plays have definitely outperformed the television series.

*Correction courtesy simon-on-the-river3 on Kinja: There was a Chinese character played by Burt Kwouk in 1982's Four to Doomsday and a Chinese actress, Ling Tai, in 1989's Battlefield. Hong Kong actor Yee Jee Tso was in the 1996 TV movie. That’s still not a whole lot.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Under the Glasses

What if the world is secretly controlled by aliens and the only one who can see them is a cheesy guy with a mullet? I'm not sure if the characters in John Carpenter's 1988 film They Live are poorly developed or are calculated to subvert heteronormative expectations without its stars or studio getting wise. The Sci-Fi concept is nice, its best distinction from something like Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the daring to incorporate economic class, though this has had the unfortunate effect of the movie being co-opted by the alt-right, prompting John Carpenter himself to speak out recently against anti-Semitic interpretations of the film. I don't think the movie espouses bigotry, I do think it's a bit muddled. Its cheesy 80s action charm sits a bit oddly with the implicit ideology of its concept.

I don't like to foist a sexual identity on people or movies. I think of the Ani DiFranco song "In or Out"--"their eyes are all asking are you in, or are you out and I think, oh man, what is this about?" On the other hand, the movie makes a lot more sense if you assume Roddy Piper's John Nada and Keith David's Frank Armitage are in love.

The movie has the least interesting John Carpenter soundtrack I've heard--most of the time we hear the same three notes on guitar played repeatedly as we watch Nada walk around town, trying to get work or wandering. He finally catches a break with a construction crew though he's discouraged when it's mentioned that it's a union job, at which point the camera cuts to a group of Hispanic workers chatting.

Which seemed like it was playing on a right wing fear of Mexican-American labour unions. But maybe not since Nada does get the job and starts working shirtless, his improbable physique scoped out by Keith David's character Frank.

Nada needs a place to stay so he follows Frank to the shanty town where Frank lives across the street from a church. Frank later mentions having a wife and kids but we never see them. After Nada discovers the magic glasses that lets him see the aliens pretending to be humans, the film has its most perplexing scene when Nada and Frank get into a prolonged, five minute brawl.

It's a good fight scene, obviously Piper's in familiar territory. But it doesn't make any sense. All Nada wanted was for Frank to wear the glasses and the fight erupts when Frank repeatedly refuses to do so. On Wikipedia, Carpenter is quoted as comparing it to the brawl between John Wayne and Victor McLaglen at the end of The Quiet Man. That fight was not a fight to the death and was designed as a way for two characters to work out their issues in a form of cultural subconscious hyper-masculine communication. These issues built over the whole movie having to do with tradition and pride--Wayne's character trying to buy land that McLaglen's felt was his by right, the issue further complicated by Wayne's relationship with McLaglen's sister and--well, you can go watch The Quiet Man. You should, it's a great movie. But Frank and Nada had nothing like that. They basically just seem friendly, if a little brisk, when suddenly Nada, who's anxious about the whole world apparently being taken over by aliens, puts everything aside to grapple with Frank, who apparently just can't put on a pair of fucking glasses.

When Frank finally puts on the glasses--seeing how things truly are--the two check into a cheap hotel room together, although they had to live in a shanty town before, and Nada says sarcastically, "Ain't love grand?" and starts telling Frank about how he was abused as a child. I am quite certain I'm not the first person to comment on what this seems like--I haven't even mentioned how encouragements to procreate through relationships with the opposite sex are part of the sinister subliminal messages Nada is able to see. The only female character is played by the sinister looking Meg Foster (most notable, to me, for playing the casino cashier in the new Twin Peaks).

Like I said, I don't like to impose a sexual identity on anyone, but how does any of this make sense if Nada and Frank aren't discovering a physical love for each other? Either way, Frank is oddly underdeveloped. If the two really are meant to be taken as being in love, it would have been nice if the film explored it more directly.

Aside from the political allegory, the film seems to be well-known for Roddy Piper's line about how he's "here to chew bubblegum and kick ass and I'm all out of bubblegum." The bullshitting humour in this reflects the humour found in much of the film, its irony never quite meshing with the ghoulish beings taking over the world and the real threat this presents. Maybe the discord is supposed to be there, though--it's supposed to be discomforting that aliens and Meg Foster are crashing the bubblegum party.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Requisite Hell

The economically privileged have always been adept at rationalising the suffering of lower classes who make the existence of upper classes possible. The second half of Roberto Rossellini's 1952 film, Europe '51, may seem like overwrought melodrama but the idea that a society woman would be called insane for suddenly befriending and working for the poor sadly does not seem all that far-fetched. The film is beautifully shot and Ingrid Bergman gives a wonderful performance as the protagonist, her beauty and talent irresistibly drawing the viewer into her perspective as woman trying to swim against the current of a society where the idea of greed as a virtue is so deeply embedded.

She's not quite so alone at first--one aspect of the film that ensured it could never have been made in 1950s America is Irene's (Bergman) Communist cousin, Andrea (Ettore Giannini), who takes her on a tour of Rome's slums to show her some of the people his organisation assists. He presents arguments about the impossibility for many people to afford basic, essential healthcare. It's only when he begins to argue the need for a violent government overthrow that he and Irene part ways ideologically.

Irene is the wife of a wealthy industrialist named George (Alexander Knox) and we're introduced to the two as they're busy preparing to host an expensive dinner for some well-connected friends. We learn that their lifestyle might be causing them to neglect their young son, though one of the things I liked about the movie is that it's not clear that the parents are really bad to the kid or if he's being unreasonably needy. When he dies after complications due to an act of self-harm, Irene's guilt leaves her with a desire to embark on selfless endeavours, which prompts Andrea to take her under his wing.

It's not long, though, before Irene is going back to the slums on her own. Even among the poor there's a hierarchy, as the otherwise friendly families in the slums turn their noses up at a prostitute who's dying from tuberculosis. Of course Irene cares for her--Irene even works a shift for another woman at a factory, a place which Irene later describes to Andrea as Hell.

The circumstances that lead to Irene being committed to a mental institution don't really make sense but the senselessness with which people respond to her tireless altruism is all too credible. In one especially insightful scene, Irene finds herself arguing with a priest who awkwardly tries to tell her that empathy should only be confined to one's social circle while couching his words in rhetoric that still sounds godly and generous.

The ideas put forward in this film weren't only difficult for its characters to confront, the film itself was censored in a variety of ways in Italy and the U.S. Criterion has released a very nice restored blu-ray edition that includes both the English and Italian versions. The English version is much better--in the Italian version Bergman's voice was dubbed by another actress--though the people in the slums really don't seem like they should be speaking English. The blu-ray menu handily lets you switch between the two versions at any time.

Twitter Sonnet #996

The kilts at prices cut to knees suspend
All claims to bony fists exchanged for fun,
No thought received for glasses which depend
On moonless fungi slapped to risk the sun.
Some centuries'll pass before the dust
Can break the jackets hugging books at home,
At school, at work, about the angry bust
Of man unknown but bald to show his dome.
The heated case absorbed the counter late
So far beyond the setting sun a veil
Withdrawing showed a lack of face, the pate
A blank, an empty page to log the sale.
A tranquillising pulse usurps the red
There's hotter things to-day that must be said.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Disappearing Jimmy

Better Call Saul continued on a very good, solid streak with Monday's new episode, which finds Jimmy in the aftermath of a victory that turns out to have been a bit Pyrrhic.

Spoilers after the screenshot.

I really love the way the show is slowly cooking Jimmy's (Bob Odenkirk) slow decent. For some reason Kim (Rhea Seehorn) is keen to shed the extra expense of the law offices she shares with Jimmy so now he's faced with the hopeless endeavour of holding up his half of the rent when he was barely making ends meet as it was. His scheme to make money by making commercials for people doesn't seem like it's going to pan out and he has to deal with community service at the same time. By the time he breaks down in the insurance office, it does feel like he's having a death from a thousand cuts.

But how real was that break down? My guess is Jimmy was using his real emotions as a tool to get back at Chuck in some little way. Though the ugliness of what actually happened emphasises that Jimmy's not terribly justified in revenge. Kim, who can afford the introspection with her cushy Mesa Verde job, is accruing feelings in the opposite direction of Jimmy's.

It's harder to enjoy this show now after Twin Peaks since the minor characters are so important in Better Call Saul and Twin Peaks outshines it so totally. I thought the makeup girl trying to give her money back to Jimmy was sweet but no-one has that peculiar roundedness that every minor character seems to have on Twin Peaks. Anyway, I have to stop, I need to tell myself I'll be able to talk about Twin Peaks again in two weeks, one if Showtime puts up episode five on its web site a week early.

Where was I? I love the balancing act they're playing with Jimmy. You can see his heart dying under the weight of cynicism and resentment piling up. It's a much more delicate and complex moral dilemma than Walter White had though it is fundamentally similar. I'm both looking forward to and dreading Jimmy's downfall.