The Orange Couch, Episode 5 of Breaking Bad: “Dead Weight”

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 9:44 EDT
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Sorry that this Orange Couch is a couple days late; illness plus travel made getting it done sooner an impossibility. But it’s well worth it, because we have some ideas I haven’t seen referenced in any other recaps, mostly regarding symbolism. Breaking Bad isn’t as adept with a symbol as Mad Men, but this episode actually made good use out of one very potent symbol.

My one question to you guys is this: What do you make of Todd being the trigger man? I mean, for the whole scene to end so abruptly, he has to be, because even Walt isn’t going to up and shoot an innocent kid without thinking about it. Indeed, as Lindsay Beyerstein points out, it seems for a moment that Walt and Jesse are committed to smoothing things over with the kid and telling him a lie that would cause him to forget about the whole thing. We’re meant to believe he’s a smart kid, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be duped pretty quickly with a bullshit story about how they were refueling the train or something.

That’s all well and good, but having Todd pull the trigger goes back to the writing problem that Marc and I discuss in the video, which is, what does it take to get the audience to start rooting against Walt?  Eventually he has to do something so unforgivable that they quit forgiving him, right? If you watch the video, you’ll see what Marc and I think about that question. But what’s interesting is that by having Todd be the triggerman, the writers put off the day when the audience that supports Walt has to really and truly grapple with what that means.

What do you think of the decision to have Todd be the bad guy in this scene? What do you think will happen next?

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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