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“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green Review

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“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt”

“The Fault in Our Stars” follows the story of Hazel Lancaster, a teenage girl living with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs.  Because of this, Hazel lives her life knowing that her time is limited, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”  In a support group for cancer kids in Indianapolis, Hazel meets August Waters, a former basketball player who lost his leg to osteosarcoma.

Their relationship blossoms into young love when Augustus lends Hazel his favorite book, “The Price of Dawn,” a novelization of his favorite video game.  In return, Hazel gives him hers: “An Imperial Affliction” by Peter Van Houten, which follows a teenage girl diagnosed with cancer.  Van Houten ends his story abruptly mid-sentence with no conclusion.  “That’s part of what I like about the book in some ways. It portrays death truthfully. You die in the middle of your life, in the middle of a sentence.”  Hazel is obsessed with finding out the end to the story and Augustus, too, becomes obsessed with the missing conclusion.  They quickly bond over this and Augustus generously decides to use his “wish” from “The Genie Foundation” (Make a Wish Foundation), to send himself and Hazel to Amsterdam to interview Van Houten.  Hazel used her wish during the lowest point of her battle with cancer to go to a Disney theme park.  “Oh my god,” says Augustus “I can’t believe I have a crush on a girl with such cliche wishes.”

The beauty in this story lies in the realistic interpretation of what it’s like to be a kid with cancer.  The most riveting part of the story, for me, was when Hazel tries to prevent her inevitable relationship with Augustus.  “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties,” she declares.  Augustus, of course isn’t having that.  At first, he seems too good to be true.  He’s charming and smart, and seems to really care for Hazel, or as he refers to her, Hazel Grace.  As the story continues, we quickly understand that Gus’s illness has led to his deep investigation into the meaning of life and death.  For example, while in Amsterdam, Hazel and Augustus are treated to a fancy dinner by Van Houten’s assistant.  Augustus shows up in a sharp looking suit and he explains, “When I first found out I was sick–I mean, they told me I had like an eighty-five percent chance of cure.  I know those are great odds, but I kept thinking it was a game of Russian roulette.  I mean, I was going to have to go through hell for six months or a year and lose my leg and then at the end, it still might not work, you know?  So I went through this whole thing about wanting to be ready.  We bought a plot in Crown Hill, and I walked around with my dad one day and picked out a spot.  And I had my whole funeral planned out and everything, and then right before the surgery, I asked my parents if I could buy a suit, like a really nice suit, just in case I bit it.  Anyway, I’ve never had occasion to wear it.  Until tonight.”

Over the course of the novel, Green’s writing through Hazel’s narration is witty, funny, and a bit melancholy.  For example, Augustus frequently places a cigarette in his mouth throughout the story but never lights it.  When asked why a kid with cancer would make his situation worse with a cigarette he explains “They don’t kill you unless you light them.  And I’ve never lit one.  It’s a metaphor, see:  You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do it’s killing.”  It was the wit and directness of Green’s storytelling that kept me from saying oh my god, why did I do this to myself?! I’m reading a cancer book! Make it stop!

On that note, unfortunately the story does take a grim turn.  It is blunt about the medical realities of cancer.  There’s no miracle or rainbow at the end, it is a compelling description of pain, anger, and fear.  Green’s realistic portrayal of cancer, including explicit details about bodily fluids, only works to make the story more moving.  Green depicts real love through the eyes of two teenagers “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”  The love between Augustus and Hazel is a partnership, and it is accepting, they see each other through humiliating physical and emotional ordeals.  Noah and Allie have nothing on Augustus and Hazel.

The movie adaptation starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort is currently filming and will hit theaters in 2014.

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Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort on the set of “The Fault in Our Stars”

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Top 12 Worst TV Deaths Countdown

If you don’t already know, we here at RPW really enjoy a good countdown.  After discussing an entertaining evening of television on Sunday, and freaking out about the possible untimely and fiery death of Eric Northman during the True Blood finale, the idea for this list hit us.  We are counting down the 12 worst deaths in television history.  By “worst deaths,” we don’t mean the ones that made us sad because we loved the character or the ones that were heartbreaking to watch.  We mean the downright disappointing ones.  The ones that make you question the sanity of the writing team,  the ones that make you say, “Oh my gosh, are they really dead?  Did that seriously just happen?  They can’t be dead?  They deserve a much better death!”  If a major character is going to depart a show, the death should be gut-wrenching, appalling, and downright difficult to watch but it also needs to make sense.  And so our list begins:

12. Charlie Harper, Two and a Half Men

So we all knew the death of Charlie was inevitable after Charlie Sheen’s sudden departure from the show.  But being hit by a subway car?  Really?  Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Charlie to die surrounded by prostitutes?  We guess It was a nod from the creator that Charlie Sheen would never, ever return.

11. Russell Edgington, True Blood

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For being one of True Blood’s biggest and baddest villains, his death was shockingly boring.  He was killed by Eric Northman in the opening scene of Episode 5×12 but his death was ultimately way overshadowed by the death and rebirth of Bilith.  They really should’ve stepped up their game and given Edgington a more fitting True Death.

10. Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire

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Jimmy Darmody’s death still sparks debates among critics and RPW writers alike, so it wasn’t a complete disappointment.  But there is one thing that everyone can agree on – the ultimate success of this show was hurt by the death of Jimmy.  Michael Pitt was a stellar actor and his Jimmy was beloved by many.  It was too soon for the show to say good bye to the second lead character, and the third season was noticeably weak without him.  It also felt unfair to see Jimmy die at the hands of Nucky, his make-shift father, as Nucky’s other enemies (Eli and Manny, just to name a few) escaped with their lives.  The argument can be made that Nucky finally became a full gangster, but did he really?  Did he murder Jimmy and walk away without guilt?  Did he take out all of his enemies, or just the one that was easiest to target?

9. Matthew Crawley, Downton Abbey

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Many argue that Matthew’s death was unavoidable after Dan Stevens decided not to return to Downton Abbey, but it doesn’t make his death feel any less bogus.  After two seasons of waiting for him and Mary to get together, they finally get their happy ending…only for him to die almost right after.  #Disappointing.

8. Andrea, The Walking Dead

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No one was more pleased to see Andrea die on the season finale of The Wakling Dead than me.  But come on writers, there wasn’t a better way to do it?  In a horrendously stupid scene, where Andrea has to fight for her life against Milton using her (perfectly manicured) toes and a pair of pliers, Andrea finally comes up short and is bitten by a walker.  She then has all the time in the world to sit and bleed out and wait for Rick and Co. to show up and mercy-kill her.  It would have been 1000x better to see Rick & Co. arrive to find zombie-Andrea munching on someone.

7. Bill Henrickson, Big Love

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We have one giant complaint about the way Bill was shot.  After all the enemies he made through the years, it’s the neighbor that offs him?!

6. Robert McCallister, Brothers and Sisters 

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HE HAD JUST SURVIVED CANCER!… only to die in a car crash.  Everything about it felt SO WRONG.

5. John Locke, LOST 

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Our biggest complaint isn’t the fact that John Locke, the biggest believer in the magic of the island and most obvious replacement for Jacob, died before the series finale.  No, we can deal with that.  Our biggest complaint is the way Locke died!   The scene in which Ben pretends to want to help Locke and then suddenly turns on him to kill him was so sudden and so forced that it was almost unbelievable.  And it especially threw off the audience when Locke’s body was suddenly alive and well and perusing the Island.  In a series that posed more questions than it answered, this curveball was unnecessary and hurt the storyline more than it advanced it.

4. George O’Malley, Grey’s Anatomy

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He got hit by a bus and spent majority of the episode as an unrecognizable John Doe surrounded by his best friends as they half-assed operated to save his life.  When they realized that the John Doe was George it was too late and his actual death got wrapped up in Izzie’s almost-death.

Watch the clip below but be warned, you’ll probably feel annoyed just reliving it.

 

3. Lady Sybil, Downton Abbey

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Probably one of the most unexpected characters to be killed off on TV, Lady Sybil was a cast favorite.  Revolting against her families wishes and expectations, Sybil set out to form her own life.  After a difficult childbirth, the audience knew Sybil made it out alive, however toxemia claimed the best of her post-pregnancy, leaving TV viewers reeling the death of a beloved character.  Once word spread of the sudden, unexpected death of Lady Sybil, the ratings of Downton spiked, bringing in many new viewers just in time for them to be let down by the (expected) unexpected death of Matthew Crawley.

Watch the heartbreaking scene unfold below.

 

2. Rita Morgan, Dexter

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We get that the death of Rita was inevitable (she’s married to a seriel killer!).  And the shock factor for this death was definitely there.  No one, Dexter included, thought that Trinity would break his cycle and go after Rita.  All of that aside, I have some major beef with this death.  My biggest complaint is that the audience didn’t see it happen.  Rita was such a big part of the show and it felt unfair that we didn’t get to see her live her final scenes.  I get the shock factor wouldn’t have been there, but couldn’t the writers throw in a flashback somewhere?  Or even a flash of memory from Harrison?  Because we didn’t get to see the interaction between Rita and Trinity, we will never know if Rita died knowing the truth about Dexter.  #ThingsThatKeepMeUpAtNight

Watch the [disturbing] clip of Dexter finding Rita below.

 

1. Ned Stark, Game of Thrones

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Ned Stark’s death could be viewed as the best death ever on TV (I mean, who can argue it’s epicness?) or the worst death.  For our purposes, we think it was the worst.  Why?  Because Ned’s death meant that the Lannisters (AKA the dad guys) won.  Ned’s death was such a shock because it directly defied everything that viewers come to expect from a drama – the hero faces trials and tribulations, the hero suffers, the hero finds a way out, the hero is victorious.  Game of Thrones took the opposite route.  They killed off the main character and protaganist in the first season, throwing everyone for a major loop.  Not only that, but Ned’s death meant Joffrey won and who the hell wants that to happen?

Watch the chilling scene unfold below.


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Breaking Bad 5×10 Recap, “Buried”

WARNING – If you have not yet watched Sunday’s new episode of Breaking Bad, 5×10 ”Buried”, DO NOT READ THIS POST.  This article contains SPOILERS!

Sunday night’s episode of Breaking Bad continued this series’ pattern of delivering intense and emotional drama.  And I can’t even begin to give the actors on this show enough praise.  Anna Gunn was on point this episode,  Dean Norris was riveting.  It’s almost ashame that this show is coming to an end, as the actors reach the pinnacles of their characters’ storylines.  But all things must end, whether they be good or very, very bad.  So our recap begins:

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We open up with a lucky old man stumbling upon wads of cash courtesy our friend Jesse, who tossed his money all over Albuquerque last episode.  The man first spotted his own wad and then followed the money trail.  The trail ended with Jesse, who is really not doing very well so far this season, playing on a jungle gym with his car left abandoned a few feet away.

Cue loud harsh music and flashes of the periodic table.

In the habit of picking up exactly where we left off, we catch back up with Walt and Hank concluding their extremely heated and threat-ladened conversation.  Walt races out of Hank’s house to call the one woman who can crush him – Skyler.  However, Skyler is already on the phone and won’t take his call.  In yet another magical moment with a garage door, Hank opens it to reveal to a stunned Walt that he is also on the phone…with Skyler.  Hank got to her first.  Walt heads to the car wash but, of course, Skyler already left without saying where she was going.

Skyler left the carwash and went directly to a small diner to meet with Hank.  He meets her with an embrace, but his look is hard to read.  How much does he know about Skyler’s involvement?  It becomes clear that Hank thinks Skyler is the victim of a “monster.”  Hank thinks she found out the truth around the same time she jumped into the pool earlier in the season.  Hank isn’t sure what Walt did to force Skyler to keep his secrets, but he’s ready and willing to help protect her and the children.  In return for his protection, he just wants her to tell him everything she knows.  Skyler asks about Marie, but is careful not to reveal anything or admit to anything.

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Hank takes out a tape recorder and asks Skyler to start from the beginning.  Skyler seems horrified about the location of the interview and Hank’s urgency to get her statement.  Hank persists but she continues to avoid saying anything.  Hank tells Skyler he needs something solid on Walt, whatever she knows, and mentions that they are running against the clock.  Not one to miss something, Skylar asks him to explain what that means.  Hank tells her that Walt’s cancer is back.  (Inner dialogue: Is she happy about that?)  He tells her that Walt said there wouldn’t be any time to even convict him, if what Hank thought was even true, because his cancer was back.

Hank essentially tells Skyler he has no case so far.  He has a lot of little pieces, but they don’t fit together, and he needs her help to figure it out.  She responds by telling Hank that she thinks she needs a lawyer.  Dismayed, Hank says that isn’t necessary and tries to argue his case.  But Skyler doesn’t believe him.  She thinks Hank wants to get Walt “at all costs” and wants someone there on her behalf.  Hank agrees but still tries to make Skyler leave with him therefore preventing her from speaking with Walt.  Skyler finally asks Hank out right,  “am I under arrest?” in the “Shutup! Shutup!” style to which he responds by grabbing her arm.  She continues to throw a tantrum to cause a scene and finally gets the hell out of there.

Walt, who is now doing everything he can to cover his tracks, has Saul’s men move the gigantic stack of cash.  After using the cashstack as a bed, Huell suggests that they take the money and run to Mexico.  “Guy hit 10 guys in jail within a two minute window, all’s I’m saying.”  That response sent chills up my spine; it’s clear that Walt is now feared by everyone.

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While Walt is waiting for the money, Skyler tries to get in contact with him.  Saul convinces Walt to avoid the call and he listens because Walt thinks that Skyler told Hank everything.  Saul tries to convince him that that’s probably not the case, but Walt doesn’t listen.  Then, Saul suggests that Walt send Hank on a “trip to Belize” or wherever it was that he sent Mike AKA Walt should kill Hank.  Walt adamantly refuses and reminds Saul that Hank is family.  Walt’s pure shock and clear disdain of the idea was very surprising to me.  It was the first of two times that Walt really surprised me this episode.

The men finally show up with the money and Walt decides to deal with it himself.  Walt instructs Saul to find Jesse before he heads into the desert.  Walt deals with the money by digging a gigantic hole and burying all six barrels in it, chemo-treatment and all.   He memorizes the coordinates and then breaks the GPS on a rock, leaving no evidence behind about his hidden fortune.

Hank enlists Marie to plead at Skyler’s sisterly heartstrings to break her of the truth.  Marie eventually convinces Skyler to open the door and the two of them head to the bedroom to chat.  In a carefully constructed conversation (and some MAGNIFICENT acting), Skyler manages to let Marie know that she has in fact known about Walt’s secret for much longer than Hank thinks while still admitting absolutely nothing to her.  It is right here that Marie realizes that Hank not only was shot because of Walt, but also received treatment with Walt’s drug money.   Marie and Skyler’s bond is broken with a harsh (and sort of deserved) slap in the face from Marie.

Marie then leaves and tries to take Holly with her.  In one of the most emotional and intense scenes of the entire series, Marie and Skyler fight (with the baby screaming in between them) until Hank convinces Marie to return the baby.  Marie leaves, her world shattered.  Hank joins her in the car and Marie ominously tells him that he has “to get him.”  The family is now broken.

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Walt finally returns home with the coordinates a la lottery ticket (nicely done, Mr. Gilligan) and we have The Confrontation.  Neither Walt nor Skyler have any idea what has happened to the other.  Skyler begins asking Walt a series of question but he literally collapses from exhaustion.  Physical activity has that effect on cancer patients.

Walt finally comes to and they talk about the cancer.  Walt asks her if she’s happy but Skyler admits she isn’t and hasn’t been in a long time.  Walt believes that she already told Hank everything.  He tells Skyler that it’s his fault that Hank knows, that he slipped up and it cost them.  He offers to turn himself in on one condition – she must keep the money and give his legacy to his children.  After all, that is the reason he did all of this.  This is the second time that Walt surprised me.  For two instances, we saw a flicker of the old Walt, the Walt we came to love and root for in Season 1.  It seemed like that person was gone, especially after the heinous crimes he committed earlier this season.  Is it possible that the old Walt is still in there somewhere?

Skyler then tells Walt again that she did not tell Hank anything.  In fact, she believes that Hank doesn’t even have anything to work with besides his suspicions.  In a moment that proves that Walt isn’t the only one on this show who has transformed, Skyler suggests to Walt that their best move is to stay quiet.  Hello, Mrs. Heisenberg.

We then catch up with Lydia and get a glimpse into the world that was set in motion by Heisenberg.  Lydia, who looks utterly ridiculous strolling through the desert in heels, goes to visit the men that Walt left in charge.  She asks them to take Todd (Walt’s former mentee from earlier this season) back and allow him to cook a more superior product.  The men deny her but that doesn’t matter.  Soon after, Todd and his deranged family show up and kill all of the men in a firefight.  Lydia, the orchestrator of this whole thing, leaves the scene with her eyes closed to ensure she doesn’t have to live with the reliving the crimes she committed.  This story isn’t over yet.

We stop by the Schrader house one more time to find Marie and Hank now both playing hookie from work.  Marie tells Hank it’s time for him to go to the DEA with this case.  In a gut-wrenching scene, Hank finally admits a hard truth to Marie.  Once Hank tells the DEA that Heisenberg, the man he’s been chasing after and the man that destroyed his life, was in fact Hank’s very own brother-in-law, Hank’s career is over.  The least Hank can do for himself is to bring in solid evidence, so he is the man who takes Heisenberg down.  However, Marie tells him that if Hank hides the truth and the DEA figures it out without him, and realizes Hank’s role, he will go down with Walt.  That seems to change Hank’s mind.

He heads back into work and makes arrangements for a conference call.  It seems like Hank is about to open the can of worms.  However, in a brilliant twist of fate, Hank learns that Jesse Pinkman has been arrested and found with millions of dollars in unreported cash.  Booyah baby (at least for Hank).  As Hank convinces the cops to give him some time with the prisoner and heads into the interrogation room with a very much alone Jesse, the dorm slams shut and we cue the credits.

So there we have it.  We are now six episodes away from the series finale and we have no idea where we are headed.  The only thing we know is to expect one crazy ride with twists and turns to the very end.  Catch all new episodes of Breaking Bad Sundays at 9pm on AMC.


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Monday Man Candy – Brandon Flowers of The Killers

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On Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending The Killers concert in Maryland and as usual, they did not disappoint.  I can honestly say that they’re a band that sounds better live than they do on the album, and the album sounds pretty damn good.  A big reason of why they’re so good live is because the lead singer, Brandon Flowers, puts so much emotion into each performance.  In concert, the songs quickly take on new meanings.  As an audience member, it’s as if you’re hearing them for the first time.  It also helps that Brandon Flowers is pretty easy on the eyes.  With that in mind, enjoy the delicious photos below and the live clip that follows.

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If you’re interested, here’s a playlist with the set list so you can have you’re own little Killers concert at your desk.  Enjoy!


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Breaking Bad 5×9 Recap, “Blood Money”

WARNING – If you have not yet watched Sunday’s new episode of Breaking Bad, 5×9 “Blood Money”, DO NOT READ THIS POST.  This article contains SPOILERS!

In a brilliant episode, which not only answered many questions but also posed new ones, and spurred thousands of theory conversations all across the Internet, AMC delivered the final season premiere of Breaking Bad, episode 5×9 entitled “Blood Money.”  The full recap discussion is below.

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We open with skate-boarders having at it in the Walt’s abandoned backyard pool.  We then pan to the front to find a much scruffier and hairier Walt breaking into his condemned house.  We notice he’s driving the red car that he procured with the M60 in the trunk from the cold open of BB 5×1.

The house is completely empty and dilapidated, and the word “Heisenberg” is scrawled in graffiti on the wall.  The White’s have clearly been gone for a long time – how long, we do not know.  We can only guess it isn’t too far past Walt’s 52nd birthday, considering the car and his disheveled appearance.

Walt slowly takes everything in as he makes his way back to his bedroom.  There, he removes the Ricin from the outlet he hid it in during Season 5.  This is the reason for his return.  However, in an interaction with his neighbor, Carol, it’s confirmed that everyone knows who Walt is and they are very much afraid him

We jump back to The Moment, the one where Hank is reading the encrypted message in “Leaves of Grass” which confirms that his dear brother-in-law, Walter White, is Heisenberg.  This is the moment we’ve been waiting for!

Hank leaves the bathroom with the book in hand.  It’s too soon for a confrontation, so he sticks it in Marie’s bag and then feigns illness to get out of dodge.  Marie and Hank leave and then Hank, clearly reeling and very shaken after his discovery, suffers from a panic attack while driving home.  We have a quick moment in the hospital, so Marie can rule out a heart attack, before they return home.  When they get home, Hank asks Marie not to mention any of this to Skyler.

Hank heads to the garage and takes out the Gale Boetticher case files.  He tries to match the “W.W.” written in the Whitman novel with the “W.W’ written in Gale’s lab notes.  It seems that he’s found a match, but he needs to find more evidence.

We cut to the unknowing Walt, who is busy trying to come up with marketing tactics for air fresheners and assimilate into his “carwash owner” lifestyle, talking strategy with Skyler.  It’s here that Walt mentions “the story” and reiterates to her the importance of sticking to it.  I feel like this is important, since Vince Gilligan put it in the episode.  I guess we shall see.

Lydia stops by the car wash, which Skyler notices is pretty odd.  Lydia’s there to beg Walt to return to his laboratory, because the cook he left in charge is producing meth with purity levels at 68%.  She seems almost desperate, and mentions  “a lot of moving parts.”  Walt thinks this isn’t his concern and dismisses her.  How foolish of him.  Walter killed Gustavo Fring in 4×13, and he knows that Gus has many friends and connections, many of which would be happy to seek revenge against the infamous Heisenberg.   Plus, Gus’ military background as Generalissimo in the Chilean army, and the many mentions of his connections to Chile, make me think it’s too soon for Walter to stop watching his back.  However, Lydia leaves the carwash.  But not before Skyler gets an opportunity to tell Walt’s former business associate to never come back to their carwash again.

Hank stops going to work and begins having work brought to him.  He has all the case files on everything blue- and Gus-related delivered to his house.  He’s working to find connections between Heisenberg, Gus, and his brother-in-law.  Remember, Hank is the boss now so he can pretty much do whatever he wants.  We then have a scene montage where Hank is like the new Carrie Mathison, working the case crazy-timeline style.   It seems as if Hank isn’t going to find anything, until he stumbles upon the sketch of Heisenberg that appears to be a dead ringer for Walter White.

Then, it’s the second moment we’ve all been waiting for – the first sighting of Jesse Pinkman.  Jesse is hanging out with Badger and Skinny Pete, who are in the middle of an intense Star Trek conversation/smoke session.  Jesse seems disinterested and lost, and he’s not really paying them any attention.  Poor Jesse.  He was a wreck after the boy was shot and killed during the freight train heist last season and he doesn’t seem to have gotten over it.  Side note – Badger’s story was pretty funny.  Jesse suddenly goes and gets two huge black duffle bags and heads to Saul Goodman’s office.

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After growing impatient and smoking up in his waiting room, Jesse sees Saul.  He tells Saul the bags are each full of $2.5 million and he wants one to go to Mike’s granddaughter Kaylee, and the other to go to the parents of Drew Sharp (murdered boy).   Saul tries to talk Jesse out of it but he insists before leaving the office.  Saul then calls Walter to report on Jesse’s behavior.  Walt instructs Saul to hold on to the money.  We then see that as Walt is on the phone with Saul, he is also receiving chemotherapy treatment.  The cancer is back. 

We catch up with a distressed Jesse as he lies underneath his table, watching a huge bug scuttle across the glass.  I take it that this big bug is a symbol, representing or even foreshadowing contamination, as the fly has in earlier seasons.  I digress.  Walt then stops by to return Jesse’s money, and try to convince Jesse that they are still partners.  Walter reminds Jesse that he’s earned his money, which makes Jesse look even more sickened and distressed.  Walt tells a teary-eyed Jesse to let go of the darkness behind him and let go of the past.  It may be easy for Walt, but Jesse can’t seem to let go of his pain.

Jesse then tells Walt why he wants to help take care of Kaylee.  He knows that the only way Walt could execute all of Mike’s men (like he did in BB 5×8) is if Mike is permanently out of the picture.  Walt (of course) denies this and pretends like Mike left town alive and well.  Jesse doesn’t really buy it, and it seems Jesse has really come to hate Walter White.

Over family dinner, Skyler mentions that Hank still isn’t feeling well and hasn’t returned to work.  Walt then flees to the bathroom and covers up his vomiting, caused by the chemotherapy.  (PS – Notice in this scene he is sure to kneel on his towel, like Gus does in Season 4).   It is then that Walt first notices his Whitman book is gone.  He then heads outside to search his car and, much to his dismay, discovers a GPS tracking device attached to it.  It’s the same tracker that he himself stuck on Gus’ car on Hank’s behalf in Season 4.  Walt now knows that Hank is (finally) onto him.

Jesse then finds himself in the parking lot of a bar being solicited by a homeless man.  He pays it forward, and hands the homeless guy a huge stack of cash.  An idea then hits him and Jesse begins to drive through the streets of Albuquerque, tossing cash onto lawns, newspaper-style.

As Hank receives another shipment of files (I guess he’s having trouble building the case?), Walt shows up at the house.  Never one to avoid a confrontation, Walt heads right for the garage.  After dribbling around an awkward and forced conversation, Walt finally gets to the point.  He pulls out the GPS tracker and asks Hank if he knows anything about it.  In a move that I definitely didn’t see coming, Hank closes the garage door and punches Walt in the face.

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“It was you, all along. It was you, you son of a bitch.”  And then Hank begins to rattle off the hindsight moments that ate at him the most – Walt drove them into traffic to avoid the laundry, he faked a call about Marie in the hospital to avoid Hank finding him, he killed 10 witnesses to protect his name, he bombed a nursing home.  And then Hank calls him by his true name – Heisenberg.  Walt denies the “wild accusations” and tries to use the family card.  He then tells Hank that his cancer is back, and none of this will even matter in six months because he will be dead.  So according to Walt, there is no point for Hank to even pursue this, if there is even anything there.  And then, in the most perfect sentence that could be written to come out of Bryan Cranston’s mouth, Walt tells Hank, “If you don’t know who I am, then maybe your best course would be to tread lightly.”

And BOOM, there you have it.  The ground for the final episodes of Breaking Bad is laid.  And now the waiting begins.

As mentioned above, there are many different theories circulating the Internet right now about how Breaking Bad is going to end. Of all the ones I’ve read, this one here is my particular favorite.  In this theory, Walt murders his wife at some point between Hank discovering the truth and the cold open of Season 5.  In my opinion, this is perfect.  There is no greater way to symbolize the full circle that Walt has come – the transformation from Walter White to Heisenberg.  But, I don’t want to focus too much on theories.  I want to enjoy this final ride as it plays out, since this is the last time I’ll ever be enjoying new and unknown episodes of Breaking Bad.

New episodes of Breaking Bad air Sundays at 9pm on AMC. 


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New Promo Alert – Homeland Season 3

If we thought we were enjoying Christmas early this year with our 16 Top Fall TV Picks, now we know for sure that the holiday season is upon us.  The trailer for the new season of Showtime’s Award-winning drama Homeland dropped today.  Check out the emotionally-charged trailer and our breakdown below:

The Breakdown

– The trailer starts with the final scene from Season 2 between Brody and Carrie before diving into a series of (emotional) clips from upcoming episodes.

– Saul and Carrie are both subjected to official investigations (and seem to be put on trial) after the events of Season 2. Can we just talk about how excited we are to see these powerful scenes unfold??

– Carrie is a mess after losing her precious Brody and winds up in a mental institution (we think).  After she miraculously got her job back in Season 2, do you think it’s possible Carrie will ever be back in the CIA?

– Brody seems to be in the Middle East or another country (definitely not America) and he’s being hunted by the CIA Abu Nazir-style (cue maps with hundreds of lines, photos, and connections).  He is now bald, and recovering from a gun shot wound in a deteriorated building AKA not in too great of shape.

– Meanwhile, his family isn’t handling the whole situation very well.  Brody is now the infamous American Hero-Turned-Terrorist, making his family a target for paparazzi and news faccets.  In addition, Dana is now a Muslim (or trying to become one), and is sending nudie pics to someone. Boy, is it too much to ask that we focus on Chris this season instead of the annoying child?

– Rupert Friend is back.  Need we say more?

– What’s the song in the trailer that you just can’t get enough of?  We thought you might ask.  Listen to “To Build a Home” by the Cinematic Orchestra here.

There is a lot going on in the trailer and it definitely tugs at your heart-strings.  What part has you the most excited?  Do you think Season 3 can live up to the hysteria that surrounds the first two seasons of Homeland?  Can Season 3 make up for the lack-luster Season 2?  We here at RPW only know one thing – we literally can’t wait for the premiere.  Is it September 29th at 9pm yet?


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Fall Picks: The RPW Breakdown

The Crazy Ones

For Rock Paper Watch, the fall premiere season is up there with Christmas.  To celebrate our holiday season we are counting down the most exciting new shows.  To summarize, it seems that NBC has the most exciting line-up for the fall season.  After cancelling most of it’s shows in 2013 to make room for more promising pilots, one would hope they have some killer debuts shows ready for release.  After a thorough review of promos and plot summaries, it seems that NBC has finally found its footing following the format established by Parenthood and Hannibal — high quality, plot driven, dramatic shows.  Will it work?

CBS has a few interesting shows in the mix, breaking their usual format (see The Crazy Ones and Hostages).  ABC is continuing it’s theme of soapy, female-targeted dramas.  Surprisingly enough, FOX is expanding on it’s comedies, instead of offering thrillers similar to The Following.  The CW is broadening its horizons with a variety of content-driven pilots, no real unifying theme here.

What shows are you most excited about?  Are there any missing from our list that you can’t wait to watch?

1.  The Crazy Ones (CBS)
Thursday, September 26 at 9pm

A single-camera, half-hour workplace comedy about a father-and-daughter team in the world of advertising. (Oscar winner Robin Williams plays the dad, while Sarah Michelle Gellar is the daughter.) Ally McBeal’s David E. Kelley will write the pilot and executive-produce with Arrested Development’s Dean Lorey and McBeal’s Bill D’Elia. James Wolk, Amanda Setton and Hamish Linklater will also star.

Reasons to Watch – It’s Robin Williams in his first regular TV role since Mork & Mindy.  If you need another reason, majority of the show is improvised.  Also, I love seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar back and judging by the promo, these two already have amazing chemistry.  Did we mention James Wolk?  Anything with him and I’m in.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s on CBS, which tends to skew older.  This means great things for attracting an audience via Robin Williams, but what about the younger crowd?  Will it be “crazy” enough to keep their interest?  Majority of the promo follows this overly sexual jingle that Kelly Clarkson wants to perform, and it does seem a bit risqué.  If they can keep that tongue-in-cheek humor it might work.  Also, I’d watch for a glimpse into the advertising world.  Bad news, it competes with the powerhouse Grey’s Anatomy and three other shows on our list.

2. Reign (CW)
Thursday, October 17 at 9pm

Watch as a 15-year-old Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) arrives in France, betrothed to Prince Frances (Toby Regbo). She must survive fierce foes, dark forces and a world of sexual intrigue. Outlaw’s Stephanie Sengupta and CSI: Miami’s Laurie McCarthy will write and executive-produce. Celina Sinden, Torrance Coombs, Jenessa Grant, Anna Popplewell,Megan Follows, Rossif Sutherland and Caitlin Stasey will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Going through period-drama withdrawals since the end of The Tudors?  Me too.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s competing with Grey’s Anatomy, The Crazy Ones, and The Michael J. Fox Show.  The good news is that it has a great lead-in with The Vampire Diaries.  It’s on the CW, which means a younger audience with little competition.  But is the plot too “old” for the viewer?

3. Master of Sex (Showtime)
Sunday, September 29th at 10pm

Michael Sheen and acclaimed actress Lizzy Caplan star in a new drama series that chronicles the unusual lives and romance of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the pioneers of the science of human sexuality. Their research took them from a midwestern teaching hospital in St. Louis to the cover of Time magazine and nearly a dozen appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. Created by Michelle Ashford, the series also stars Caitlin Fitzgerald, Nicholas D’Agosto and Teddy Sears. Beau Bridges, Allison Janney and Margo Martindale will recur.

Reasons to Watch – This one is easy.  It’s Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen and sex.  What more do you really need?

Reasons to be Skeptical – I don’t have any skepticisms.  It’s true that some audiences might not have an interest but the show is being recognized for breaking barriers and tackling taboos.  I’ll be watching, will you?

4.  Dracula (NBC)
Friday, October 25 at 10pm

Inspired by the classic Bram Stoker novel, this drama stars The Tudors’ Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the title role. Based on a script from co-executive producer Cole Haddon, this version finds Dracula in London posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. But his true plan — to seek revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier — is thwarted when her falls hopelessly in love with a woman named Mina (Jessica DeGouw ), who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. Dracula will be executive-produced by Colin Callender, Tony Krantz (24), Gareth Neame (Downton Abbey) and Anne Mensah.

Reasons to Watch – Remember when we said we missed The Tudors?  Well this show brings Jonathan Rhys Meyers back for another period drama, just more fangs and less wives (that we know of).  Remember that time he ate the pomegranate in season one of The Tudors?  I feel like this show is going to a lot of that and I’m perfectly fine with it.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Friday night death slot, never good.

5. The Originals (CW)
Premieres Thursday, October 3 at 9pm, airs regularly Tuesdays at 8pm

This Vampire Diaries spin-off focuses on the show’s Original Family. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returns to New Orleans — a town he helped build centuries ago — to reunite with his diabolical former protégéMarcel (Charles Michael Davis). Diaries executive producer Julie Plec will write and executive-produce, alongside Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniella Pineda, Leah Pipes and Danielle Campbell will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Producer Julie Plec says where Diaries was a coming-of-age story, “this is a show that is not about struggling to be a vampire, it’s about embracing vampirism. It’s about reveling in it. … We’ve graduated high school and went to college, and they’re getting their master’s degree in The Originals.” Oh, and did we mention Klaus? HOT.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a spinoff.  However, many show’s have had very successful runs as spinoff’s. Especially in the vampire category. Look at Angel for example, it had 6 successful seasons as a spin off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and continues to have a cult following. We are a bit skeptical about the show taking some of our favorite characters out of play, but that does open up the door for crossover episodes. PLUS Julie Plec has not ruled out the option of a Klaus/Caroline reunion…of sorts. We vote YES.

6.  The Blacklist (NBC)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm

The world’s most wanted criminal (James Spader) mysteriously turns himself in and offers to give up everyone he has ever worked with. His only condition: He will only work with a newly minted FBI agent (Megan Boone) with whom he appears to have no connection. Perfect Stranger‘s Jon Bokenkamp will write and executive-produce with AliasJohn Eisendrath. Ryan Eggold, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix and Ilfenesh Hadera will also star.

Reasons to Watch – James Spader.  What’s interesting about this show is that it has this Silence of the Lambs Hannibal/Clarice feel without being Hannibal by adding a dash of White Collar, basically it’s a mash-up of really great pop culture with Steff from Pretty in Pink.  Really, what more could you want?

Reasons to be Skeptical – Is it too formula?  Will it get old fast?  With a lead actor like James Spader, can the practically unknown Megan Boone counter his on-screen brilliance?  Only time will tell.

7.  Hostages (CBS)
Monday, September 23rd at 10pm

Toni Collette plays a surgeon who is recruited to operate on the president (James Naughton), an assignment that propels her family — Tate Donovan, Mateus Ward and Quinn Shephard— into a grand political conspiracy. Dylan McDermott is an FBI agent tasked with helping the family. Based on an Israeli series, the pilot is written and executive-produced by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow). Jerry Bruckheimer will also executive-produce. Sandrine Holt, Rhys Coiro and Billy Brown will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Political Dramas are hot right now (Scandal, House of Cards) and CBS has some big shoes to fill. Hostages has a stellar cast of Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, plus with the extra fire power of Jerry Bruckheimer, the series is bound to be a thrill ride. Will she murder the president for her family? What is McDermott’s motive?

Reasons to be Skeptical – Where exactly can this plot go? It seems kind of dead ended, however, it seems like writers can take plot lines anywhere they want nowadays. It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if this show did tank. We do love Dylan McDermott on American Horror Story…(hint, hint).

8. Us & Them (Fox)
Mid-season

A couple’s (Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel) long-distance, budding romance is constantly disrupted by their friends and family in this comedy based on the British series Gavin and Stacey. David Rosen (I Just Want My Pants Back) will write and executive-produce. Dustin Ybarra, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Jane Kaczmarek, Kurt Fuller and Ashlie Atkinson will also star.

Reasons to Watch – There’s nothing more we LOVE than a good RomCom and Jason Ritter. Also, I think we’ve all experience or know someone who’s experienced the pain of online dating, so we are hoping the show will be something people can find relatable. I mean, not everyone can be an an Agent in S.H.E.I.L.D….because thats relatable.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Bledel can kind of come off pretty flat as an actress. Also, chemistry is key to this show. Will they, or will they not have it? Here’s hoping!

9.  Marvel’s Agents S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
Tuesday, September 24th at 8pm

Based on Marvel Universe’s fictional and secret law-enforcement agency. Avengers’ Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen will write and executive-produce. Clark Gregg will reprise his Avengers role, joined by Ming-Na, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker and Chloe Bennet.

Reasons to Watch – Did you see The Avengers last summer?  Of course you did.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It seems like a cheap ploy to attract a built-in audience.  Will it last?

10. The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC)
Thursday, September 26th at 9pm

Michael J. Fox returns to TV as Mike, a former New York news anchor who goes back to work but still manages to find time to drive his wife (Betsy Brandt) and three kids crazy. The show is executive-produced with Fox by Sam Laybourne and Will Gluck and also stars Conor Romero, Juliette Goglia, Jack Gore, Kate Finneran and Wendell Pierce.

Reasons to Watch – In 2009, with Michael J. Fox: Adventures Of An Incurable Optimist Fox erased any cynicism about his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease by charming the world with his innate likability.  Furthermore, the actor has dominated the small screen lately with his guest appearance on The Good Wife.  The Michael J. Fox Show promises to make light of Fox’s everyday struggle and hopes to create a dialogue among viewers about optimism when struggling with the effect’s of Parkinson’s.  Bring it on Marty McFly.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Against Grey’s Anatomy, it has tough competition for it’s demo.  Do you think viewers are ready to watch the side effects of Parkinson’s every Thursday night?  Even though it’s a comedy, will it make people uncomfortable?

11.  About a Boy (NBC)
Mid-season

About A Boy

After writing a hit song, Will Freeman was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. Now he’s single, unemployed and loving it.

So when Marcus (the oddly charming 11-year-old next door neighbor) stops by, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend… until Will discovers that women find single dads hot. Well, that changes everything. A deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son, and in return Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house, playing ping-pong and gorging on steaks – something Marcus’ single, needy (and very vegan) mother would never allow.

Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy Marcus’ visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. Could it be that maybe there’s something to be said for being a (sort of) responsible adult – at least in a young boy’s eyes?

Starring Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting”) and David Walton (“Bent”), based on the best-selling book by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) and written/produced by Jason Katims (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) comes a different kind of coming-of-age story. Half-hour comedy (single-camera).

**Description from Huffington Post

Reasons to Watch – David Walton is fantastic and one of the most underrated actors on tv.  I loved the show he did with Amanda Peet a few years back, Bent.  It was cancelled before ever really given a chance so I’m hopeful that this show will find its footing with Walton in the lead role.  Also, with Jason Katims producing you know its going to tug at your heartstrings.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It hasn’t been given a premiere date yet by NBC.  With the right promotional campaign it could go far, I guess it is in NBC’s hands.

12.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 9:30pm

A group of detectives — including Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher,Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Melissa Fumero — form an odd family in a police precinct in the outermost neighborhood of New York City. Parks and Recreation’s Mike Schur and Dan Goor will write and executive-produce with 30 Rock’s David Miner. Samberg will also produce.Stephanie Beatriz and Chelsea Peretti will also star.

Reasons to Watch – If Andy Samberg in a speedo isn’t enough to watch I don’t know what is.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s sharing the night with 3 major Fox comedies, 2 of which are heading into a sophomore and junior seasons with high ratings. If it doesn’t bring the people in with its time slot, it will have the axe in no time.

13.  Crisis (NBC)
Mid-season

Washington’s most powerful players, including the president, find themselves blackmailed into an international conspiracy by an unlikely puppeteer. The FBI and a rookie Secret Service agent (Lance Gross) must unravel the mystery. Life’s Rand Ravich will write and executive-produce with Far Shariat. Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Dermot Mulroney, Max Martini,Michael Beach, James Lafferty, Halston Sage, Max Schneider, Joshua Erenberg and Stevie Lynn Jones will star.

Reasons to Watch – It has a stellar cast!  With this kind of line-up, it’s hard not to have high expectations.  And as a girl who grew up watching One Tree Hill I love seeing Nathan (James Lafferty) back on the small screen.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Past the initial kidnapping, where can the show go?

14.  Dads (Fox)
Tuesday, September 17th at 8pm

From Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, this live-action comedy stars Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi as two successful thirtysomethings who have their lives turned upside down when their fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in with them. Vanessa Lachey, Brenda Song and Tonita Castro also star. Alec Sulkin, Wellesly Wild, Mark Cendrowski will executive-produce alongside MacFarlane.

Reasons to Watch – This needs no convincing. Its Seth McFarland, Seth Green, and Giovani Ribisi.  Remember the scene in Ted when Giovani Ribisi is dancing in front of the TV to Tiffany’s, ‘I Think We’re Alone Now?’ How could we forget? A match made in comedic heaven.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Vanessa Lachey?…Unless its a major failure in the plot department I don’t think there are any vices. It has a great time slot around New Girl and The Mindy Project. PS-did you guys see how fab Mindy Kaling looks on this week’s issue of EW?

15.  Believe (NBC)
Mid-season premiere

An unlikely relationship develops between a young girl (Johnny Sequoyah) with a gift and a man (Jake McLaughlin) sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evildoers who covet her power. Harry Potter’s Alfonso Cuaron and The Forgotten’s Mark Friedman will write and executive-produce with Lost’s J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, Sienna Guillory, Arian Moayed and Jamie Chung will also star.

Reasons to Watch – Critics are raving about how gorgeous the imagery is on this show.  It’s not set to premiere until 2014 and is already getting a lot of attention.

Reasons to be Skeptical – It’s a mid-season premiere and the biggest name attached is J.J. Abrams as executive producer.  Jake McLaughlin is great, I remember him from a few minor roles but is he strong enough to carry a show?

16. Mind Games (ABC)
Mid-season

From Awake’s creator Kyle Killen, the project is a provocative workplace ensemble about the complicated relationship between two brothers — Steve Zahn and Christian Slater — who head an agency that uses the real science of human motivation and manipulation to solve its clients’ problems. Megalyn Echikunwoke, Gregory Marcel, Wynn Everett and Cedric Sanders will also star. Ron Rifkin will guest-star.

Reasons to Watch – It’s from Awake creator Kyle Killen.  Awake was acclaimed for being one of the most innovative pilots in 2012.  After watching the promo, the chemistry between Christian Slater and Steve Zahn seems to be incredible.  It’s like a twisted version of Scandal.

Reasons to be Skeptical – Christian Slater hasn’t had the best luck with tv shows lately, it doesn’t seem like hopes are high.

All plot summaries were gathered from TV Guide.

The list was constructed by Rock Paper Watch authors Elizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster.  Feel free to reach out with comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!