By Elliott Logan
An formidable interpretation of the significantly celebrated and generally renowned crime drama Breaking undesirable , this ebook argues that not just should still the sequence be understood as a convey that revolves round the dramatic stakes of dignity, yet that to take action finds - in new methods - significant elements of serial tv drama as an artwork shape.
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Additional info for Breaking Bad and Dignity: Unity and Fragmentation in the Serial Television Drama
He and a female colleague collate on a chalkboard all of the separate chemical elements that combine to constitute the human body, providing a distanced, scientific narration of chemical cohesion atop the images of bodily decomposition. As we hear Walt and his colleague express their astonishment at the low levels of calcium needed to make a human skeleton, we see Walt pick up and consider a fragment of jawbone, and toss it into a bucket. Iron is discussed next, and the image shows Walt find a slightly melted pistol, which is also thrown into the bucket, equalising the status of human bone and mechanical Introduction 19 tool.
Hank’s first speech in the pilot meets these expectations, sketching him for the audience – both in the room, and watching the show – as a man of action who’s quite casually been there and done that. Looking sideto-side as he speaks, canvassing the spread of the room as if everyone should be listening because they should all be interested, he draws the weapon and announces: ‘Glock 22. That’s my daily carry, ‘kay? I mean, unless you’re talkin’ plus, b-plus loads, you can forget the nine mil’, alright?
We are here seriously asked to consider and feel that Walt’s stance is in some sense preferable to his earlier state of powerless collapse. This is in the way that the camera is now so close to Walt that the bottom edge of the frame is above the hem of his shirt, denying his partial nudity that was in the previous shot so obvious and unbalancing, emphatically framing the posture of extraordinary self-possession that in comparison to his earlier state is an undeniably more dignified position. Yet at the same time, the way these final shots emphatically collude with Walt’s self-image suggests that his actions to protect himself from exposure are indeed only partial concealments, self-deceptions rather than complete reconstitutions.