Breaking BadEpisode 504

Hyphenated Review: Breaking Bad – “Fifty-One”

Summary: Walt and Walt Jr. get the old Aztec back from the shop. After spotting his Heisenberg hat in the back seat, Walt sells the Aztec impulsively and buys a Chrysler 300. Once he sees Jr.’s disappointment, he swaps his PT Cruiser out for a fresh Dodge Challenger. At Madrigal’s Houston offices, Lydia gets tipped off about a DEA visit just before Hank and crew show up. She leads them to Ron Forenall, and after they leave with Ron in custody, she calls Mike back to tell him she has no one to move the methylamine. Mike tells her he’ll send someone else. Walt gives Skyler more cash to launder and she responds by telling him she wants the kids out of the house. Walt blows her off and asks for a birthday party and a chocolate cake. The next day, Jr. has to beg Skyler to break Walt’s bacon into a 51. This also signifies that a year has passed in the series. Hank and Gomez are still trying to figure out the missing pieces of Gus’s empire and decide to follow Mike. Hank gets offered the ASAC job in Albuquerque and accepts. Walt leaves a cook with Jesse early so that he can attend his birthday party; Skyler instead fixes him a store brought meal. Marie tells  Hank about Skyler’s affair on the way to the White’s house. During dinner with Hank and Marie, Walt thanks them for their support over the past year; Skyler says nothing and attempts to drown herself in their pool before Walt saves her. Jesse goes to the Houston Madrigal to pick up the latest shipment of methylamine, when he and Lydia discover a tracker on one of the barrels. Marie and Hank agree to keep Jr. and Holly while Skyler recovers; Walt is livid that Skyler found a way to disobey him even though Skyler was trying to keep to keep the children safe from their criminal activities. Walt dares Skyler to figure out a way to stop the kids from returning home, and when she can’t, she says she’s only biding her time until Walt’s cancer returns. Walt gets a call from Jesse the next morning, who informs him Mike is ready to kill Lydia because he believes she planted the tracker. After a vote saves Lydia’s life, Walt says that the cooks must not stop. Jesse gives Walt a watch for a birthday present, which Walt uses to tell Skyler that she’ll come around as Jesse has.

Thoughts:

It’s pretty apparent after this episode’s cold opening that Walt is officially at zero fucks status. After returning (rather burning) Jr.’s flashy car in Season 4 because of Skyler’s protests, he is definitely beyond the point of caring about anyone other than himself now. Even though he still says things about his activities being for the family, he’s been completely won over by being the head of a criminal enterprise.

Lydia’s actions still seem super suspicious to me here. Even with just enough notice, she turns over her meth transport guy rather easily (and I’m sure he’s going to get added to the hazard pay roster). I have a feeling that she’s going to eventually turn on Walt, Jesse, and especially Mike, but she’s just biding her time until the right moment.

Skyler seems to be coming out of her early season coma as she starts challenging Walt about keeping the kids in the house. And actually, this is one of her more reasonable requests even though Jr. is sure to get pissy about it. Lord knows the Whites have had a hell of a year; them needing time to mend their marriage through everything that’s happened kind of makes sense…to everyone except Walt. He promptly smacks down the idea and instead asks for a party and a chocolate cake, like he’s not running a criminal enterprise and they’re just a normal happy family. Which in his mind, they sort of are.

Then for the third time in the series, we see Walt receiving a plate of bacon that gets broken into his age (this time at Jr.’s urging, Skyler ain’t have no time for that).

And we’ve reached the year point! 4 and a half seasons have taken place in one year’s time. This is a pretty ludicrous concept if you think about it. Mild-mannered Walter White goes from teacher and submissive husband to drug kingpin in a year? I’ll give you 18 months or 2 years, but not one! But in the world of Breaking Bad, nothing should surprise me.

At this point, Hank and Gomey are grasping at straws. None of Fring’s men will talk and the only lead they have is with air tight Mike. And I have a feeling Hank is going to cost himself his career over pursuing this case (and ultimately, his brother-in-law). He took the promotion but you know, Hank Schrader is one stubborn motherfucker.

And Skyler has gone from fear of Walt to total indifference in short order. From her “homemade dinner” to her after dinner swim to her smoking in the house at episode’s end, you can see she’s past her breaking point. All she wanted was the kids to be safe and Walt isn’t having it. It couldn’t have been that long ago in real time that Walt was ready to relocate the entire family. Maybe his cockiness is really shielding his fear of retaliation for everything he’s chosen to do in the past year?

As hard as it is for me to write these words, Skyler White was the star of this episode. The last thing I expected was for her to attempt to drown herself (poorly, but still). I expected her to act out somehow as she’s prone to do when she doesn’t get her way but spraying her family members with blood from slitting her wrist was probably a little overdramatic, even for her. But the line she delivered about waiting for Walt’s cancer to come back? STONE COLD. And it was one of the first times this season that Walt seemed truly affected by something going on around him.

Lydia is gunning for Skyler’s “Most Hated Woman on Breaking Bad” title and her “discovery” of a tracking device when Jesse arrives for the pickup only furthers her case. One of the amazing traits that Jesse has retained the whole series is his reaction when shit goes bad and this is no different here. I personally wish that Mike had been there (impossible with the tail and the fact he’s under suspicion as Fring’s right hand) just so he could’ve shot her in the head the moment she started freaking out.

But in order to stay in the meth business, they need Lydia, so I was super torn between Mike and Walt in their final confrontation of the episode. Walt winning out stays true with his invincibility mode he’s been flaunting all season but you still a get sense that this new meth partnership won’t be lasting much longer. This is probably another reason why Walt doesn’t want to stop cooking; he doesn’t want to start over with new partners and he wants to take as much advantage of their current situation that he can.

The watch was a classic Jesse gesture towards how much Walt means to him even though Walt continues to never reciprocate. But in what had to be the weirdest episode ending ever, the watch ticks loudly as Walt sleeps and then seemingly explodes as we fade to black. While Jesse (or Mike) could have planted some form of bomb in the watch, that just wouldn’t be Breaking Bad’s style.

The watch ticked down and blew up like bomb so it’s signifying the destruction of something or someone is the series.  Here are some thoughts:

  • The final break between Skyler & Walt
  • Jr.’s relationship with Skyler is ruined
  • Maybe Mike killed Lydia behind Walt’s back
  • Perhaps Jesse (or Mike) did plant a bomb in the watch
  • Maybe Walt’s time on top is over
  • The DEA finally broke the case open
  • Or something happened to Jesse while Walt slept

All of this is mere speculation however, we could get to midseason’s end and still not know what it meant. Or maybe that wasn’t a bomb exploding…was it a gunshot? Did someone shoot Walt in the head? Skyler?!

I hate you Skyler.[1. I know, midseason has been reached and we’re all waiting for an announcement for when the final episodes will air. But I’ve had this review partially finished for months now and I couldn’t just delete it. I’ll wrap up season 5 part 1 in one shot with the next Breaking Bad Hyphenated Review. You don’t want to miss it! Excelsior!

I always wanted to say Excelsior.]

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The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Get Over It!

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Pound your chest and get pumped for another edition of the best damn sports talk show around. Mike “the Buzz-Saw” Asti and George “the Howitzer” Gerbo combine to argue, spout knowledge, wax poetic on random asinine tales (mostly the adventures of Mike’s crazy life), and most importantly, entertain.

This particular program will feature the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and what has happened to a once prestigious event. Are all professional sports All-Star Games just doomed to suck? From there, they transition into the NBA Trade Deadline. Many big names have been surrounded by rumors. Will any actually be moved, as teams separate themselves from contenders to pretenders and vice versa?

Josh Hamilton did something that made the Buzz-Saw smile. Josh Hamilton decided to be mean and trash talk for basically no reason at all. The former Texas Rangers slugger professed his displeasure with any Ranger fans who may boo him when he travels back with his new squad, the rival Los Angeles Angels. He also stated the area his home fans reside is not a “baseball town.” Good luck digging yourself out of this one, Josh.

A bow is put on this radio gold with a conversation on a record breaking hot start by the Chicago Blackhawks. What does their explosion onto the 2013 NHL scene mean in the long run? Anything? Is Chicago the clear favorite for the Stanley Cup, or can they be beat, despite their early season dominance? Mike has appointed himself Marian Hossa’s defense attorney in the court of asinine public opinion.

All others pose, while the Howitzer and Buzz-Saw conquer sports radio, one day, at a time…


The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Get Over It!

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The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Buzzed With The Buzz-Saw: A Chamber Of Justice (Guest: Kelen “B Hyphen” Conley)

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Professional wrestling talk returns to the Howitzer and Buzz-Saw Show, and does so on the heels of another Pay Per View. The WWE’s Elimination Chamber is now in the books. Mike “the Buzz-Saw” Asti welcomes the ultimate “baby face” to his “heel” persona, as Kelen “B Hyphen” Conley steps back into the HBS ring. These two familiar foes go toe to toe recapping all the action. Expect candid analysis, occasional banter, predictions for what is to come in the coming months for World Wrestling Entertainment, and of course, hear how they would’ve done it all better. If CM Punk could lose his WWE Title, does that mean the Buzz-Saw could actually lose a sports talk session?!

Hear the guitar rip and soak in another installment of the HBS: Buzzed With The Buzz-Saw!


 The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Buzzed With The Buzz-Saw: A Chamber Of Justice

2. I View

The CD The DJ Will Have On Replay On D-Day: A Blake Allee Story

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Music goes beyond a hobby and becomes a way of life when you listen to hundreds of records just to find that elusive mix that strikes a perfect chord in you. I came upon Blake Allee’s My Best Friends Are Machines mixtape on DatPiff almost a year ago and it’s been cycling through my hip-hop playlist ever since! Now Blake is preparing to release his newest project Televisionn on February 27th and I knew I had to get the inside scoop.

Hailing all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana, Allee’s sound combines creative, post-apocalyptic commentary with amazing production skills. It’s easy to say that I’ve never heard an artist quite like him. With tracks titles such as “Purple iPod”, “Sunset Goggles”, “Wine and Dine a Dinosaur”, and “Wal-Mart Greeter”, you know you are in for some really unique material right up front. Indeed, one of Blake’s greatest strengths as an artist is being able to bring intelligent topics and wordplay into his art without taking his music too seriously.

Another striking trait is Blake’s ability to blend entertainment with social observation – you will clearly hear this in tracks such as “Mila” and “My Best Friends Are Machines”. The former describes a slightly bizarre romance scenario between human beings and technology and the latter details how new relationships are evolving based on the changing world around us. Other tracks such as “Zombies” and “Sunset Goggles” take on heavier topics such as the state of hip-hop and mankind’s natural laissez faire attitude in regards to eminent self-destruction.

Blake’s laid-back flow and distinct prose-style delivery are very solid and directive – in fact, his skit “Rain” showcases his style’s similarities with that of modern poetry. Another distinctive characteristic of his writing is attention to detail – you definitely won’t find any filler bars here! Each line is carefully crafted to tell a part of a story or direct the listener’s attention to a special insight or way of thinking. Fans who appreciate the lyricism of hip-hop will have plenty of quotes to choose from here!

Without further ado, I bring you TricycleOffense.com’s exclusive interview with Blake Allee:

Justin Umstead: So Blake, you are both a vocalist and producer. Which side of the business is more fulfilling for you? Do you enjoy production more or writing and performing vocals?

Blake Allee: It’s tough to choose so I’m going to take the easy way out and say both. Production is great because a good beat can relate to anyone; I feel like production can evolve much more than words. I can make a sound you have never heard, but I can only rearrange the same words you have already heard in a different order. Vocals – though – are how you gain true fans. People quote my lines and tweet my lyrics and that’s what makes people’s hearts and brains explode . Fans who I have never met feel like they know me just by the odd shit that I talk about.

2. I View

JU: Do you do all of your own mixing and mastering as well? What rewards or challenges do you face on the production front?

BA: Yep! I produce, record, mix, master, and also do the artwork – everything that results in the finished product. The biggest reward for me is giving someone a completely original creation. This music would not exist without me. Nobody else had a hand in it – so whether my listeners like it or hate it – there is only one person that’s responsible. The biggest challenge is that it takes a lot of time. Any mainstream artist you hear has outside production, mixers, and engineers who focus exclusively on mastering. It’s tough to compete with the best of the best in every category AND still hold down a job. But I like it! Very few can say they have done everything and it feels more real to me.

JU: Do you have a philosophy that governs what you like to talk about on a track? What are some of the rewards or challenges you face on the vocal front?

BA: My main focus is to push the boundaries of music. If I turned my lyrics into a book of poetry I want those high class intellectuals to respect it. At the same time, even if a rapper doesn’t like my style, I want them to have to admit my rhyme schemes are very complex. But I guess at the end of the day, I’m just saying whatever is on my mind.

3. I View

JU: Tell me a little about how you were introduced into the hip-hop scene. Did you start rapping or producing first? How long has your career been?

BA: I recorded my first rap in 5th grade – I’m not sure where it is but it’s still around somewhere. Hip-hop has always been a dream of mine! I started making beats in high school, but they were amateur at first – so instead I just rapped over video game beats. I was introduced into the hip-hop scene as a producer. I wanted to produce for other artists so when I started performing at shows people would already know who I was and that I could produce. Everybody needs a good beat but not everyone can make them – anybody and their mom can rap! At this point I would say I’m equally known as a rapper and a producer.

JU: My Best Friends Are Machines is largely a solo effort. Have you ever teamed up to do a group project?

BA: I’ve produced for many people and I’ve also been featured as a rapper on quite a few songs too. As far as a group project, the blog http://www.bringingdowntheband.com had a series called Beats and Breakfast. Basically, we would bring breakfast to Lonegevity’s place (who runs the site) and hang out while we wrote and worked on music. They released the songs as a compilation called #beatsandbreakfast Season 1. I think I’m on eight of the ten tracks.

JU: Can you give us an idea of what the rap scene is like in Indianapolis? What are some of the challenges you face? How is your local support system (are other artists supportive or are they more independent or indifferent)?

BA: Man, Indianapolis is such an odd scene . Literally nobody has ever broken this city. The radio will not play our top hip-hop artists (except for the ones with connections or money), the venues will not book a lot of hip-hop shows, and the same group of people seem to get all of the opportunities time and time again. Our main challenge is that people see us as “local” rappers. Your average person wants to go see the next big star and we don’t get a lot of opportunities to benefit from that. Even the bigger hip-hop blogs such as 2dopeboyz or Nahright refuse to post up anyone from here. There are a few people here, though, that are incredibly dope – I think it’s actually one of the most artistically advanced scenes around! Despite that, many of us support each other– and that’s pretty awesome.

JU: Could you tell us a little about Televisionn? Did you do all of the production for it? Do you have any interesting features? What sort of tracks can we expect?

BA: Televisionn! Yes, once again I did everything for this one. Features are an area I’m still debating, but as of right now Grey Granite, Pope Adrian Bless, and at least one more feature will be on there. The project itself is essentially done. I tweak, edit, and re-edit so much that I can’t honestly admit that I’m done yet. I’m so proud of this project! What to expect? Man, I can truly say this is one of the most forward-thinking projects I have ever heard in any genre – and I listen to music allllll day long. Not just “Oh, this is good” but more like “If you listen to this in your headphones in a dark room all alone, you may just rethink your life.” At the very least, the production is very different from most hip-hop and the story line and flow will convince you that I put serious thought into it. I hope people will let their guard down and open up their minds. If they do that, then they will get it.

4. I View

JU: What is your primary goal with your music? Would you be more interested in building your own label or getting signed? Where would you like to take your music?

BA: The goal is to reach as many people as possible – I honestly don’t care about the money. It would be nice, though, to make enough money to live in a small studio apartment and support myself without a typical job – even if that meant eating ramen noodles for every meal. Saying “changing peoples’ lives” sounds so dramatic – so I will say “changing their perspective on what hip-hop – or music itself – can be”. At the same time having fun and meeting interesting people are definitely important to me. The only reason I would want to get signed is because being on a label puts you in a position where blogs, magazines, and other promoters will give you shine. It’s hard competing for attention with millions of rappers out there. On the other side of the coin, I hate the idea of people paying for my music! I always want my songs to be free and easily accessible to anyone interested in listening.

JU: You say you want to change music, how so? Which direction do you see hip-hop headed and how would you like to stem that?

BA: The self-contained artist – music as art. I do not want to be in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame….I want to be played on the speakers of the Louvre. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to make a mixtape/album that feels like a story, or even make all his own beats, but I believe if the right people hear Televisionn then music’s creative boundaries will be shattered. Honestly, think about how manufactured music seems! This guy maintains the image, this guy does the beat, this girl makes the artwork, this team tells you what songs to pick, and for safe measure you better throw in a ghost writer. That’s music? FFuuuucckkkkk that! I’ll make exactly what I want to make and I won’t have a million hands in it telling me whether it’s going to sell or be popular or not. I hope the future of music is people making music for the love of music and not for the money. I doubt that will happen though – money rules the world.

JU: Are there any other points you would like to add (new projects, new videos, exciting news, etc.)?

BA: Thanks for taking the time to listen to my music! Televisionn comes out February 27th!!

So there you have it folks! Make sure you catch the premiere of Blake’s new mixtape Televisionn and check out his latest news here: @BlakeAllee

Better In The Dark – Episode 144.5: Star Wars Crank’d, or Even JJ Abrams Has an Idiot Uncle

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In this Point Five Episode, we examine the News From A Land Far, Far Away that J.J. ‘Lens Flare’ Abrams is going to direct Star Wars: Episode Seven. Along the way Derrick and Tom discuss the hazards of The Casting Game, why society is producing so many snotty kids, and create the latest Jedi Knight sensation and his Light-Knuckles! Even Jason Statham has had to fail, so get to clicking!


Better In The Dark – Episode 144.5: Star Wars Crank’d, or Even JJ Abrams Has an Idiot Uncle

The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Valentine’s Day Asininity

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Love is in the air on this special Valentine’s Day edition of the Howitzer and Buzz-Saw Show. Mike “the Buzz-Saw” Asti and George “the Howitzer” Gerbo celebrate the holiday by showing love to all those they care about most, the fans. Hold up! Pump the breaks! Wait a minute! That’s not right. They hate all you fools. Never mind… In reality, this day means nothing to them and it will be business as usual. Asinine banter and sports talk.

With football officially behind us and the weather starting to cooperate, baseball is in the air. Spring Training has begun and this means another MLB season is just around the corner. Mike and George discuss which team had the best off-season, what to look for in 2013, and even give a few bold predictions.

Before baseball takes center stage of sports, there’s some madness that needs dealt with first. The college basketball regular season is nearing its end. Nearing an end or not, the title of best team is far from clear. Who the Hell is the favorite and truly best of the bunch? Which teams are actually built for the long haul? Is anybody?!

To conclude another epic broadcast, Mike soaks up the awesomeness that is the Vancouver Canuck goalie drama. Most notably Roberto Luongo’s head standing campaign. NHL resident heel, Matt Cooke will also go on trial. FYI: heels got heels backs (hint, hint). That’s just how it is.

Flowers and candy conquer the bank accounts on Valentine’s Day, while the Howitzer and Buzz-saw conquer sports radio, one day, at a time…


The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Valentine’s Day Asininity

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Promos By Hyphen: Elimination Chamber Blues

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I can’t get used to seeing The Rock with CM Punk’s belt around his shoulder.

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The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Sticks & Stones & Name Calling

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Mid-February can be boring in the sports world. The Super Bowl is over, the NHL and NBA are in a lull, and we are still weeks away from the madness. However, don’t despair, Mike “the Buzz-Saw” Asti and George “the Howitzer” Gerbo can always find that diamond in the rough.

Things begin with a wrap on Super Bowl XLVII and a look at the futures of both conference champions. After a record post-season and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, has Joe Flacco entered the NFL’s elite? Did San Francisco get screwed on the controversial “no call” in the endzone? How would Mike and George, two (non-blood) brothers, handle an epic battle against each other?

Need excitement? Need drama? Need asininity? No fear the Los Angeles Lakers are here! Kobe Bryant spoke. Kobe Bryant tried to lead. Kobe Bryant caused more problems. What else is new…? The Buzz-Saw has few (actually many) choice words for the Black Mamba.

Thought Tim Thomas’ retirement would hold thanks to the NHL Lockout? Well, maybe think again. The Bruin great has been traded to the New York Islanders. Why did the Isles make this move? What will come of, if anything, of this?

Oh and National Signing Day came and went. Teenagers, most who will be irrelevant, decided their college football fates. Too much made of this? Abso-freakin-lutely!

Even when the sports world is lacking, the Howitzer and Buzz-Saw conquer sports radio, one day, at a time…


 

The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Sticks & Stones & Name Calling

Moves Like Curtis: The Podcast – Episode #1: Richard Seymour and the Oakland Raiders (Guest: Kelen “B Hyphen” Conley)

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Welcome to the pilot episode of Thomas Deja’s Moves Like Curtis: The Podcast! Brought to you by TricycleOffense.com, this podcast will explore America’s most popular professional sport: the NFL! In this episode, Kelen “B Hyphen” Conley drops by to initiate Tom’s Synod of 32: 32 teams, 32 fans. As the offseason begins, Tom is on a quest to get to heart of every fan’s issues with their teams; from the lowly Jaguars (Gerbils) on up to the newly crowned Ravens. Kelen becomes the Raiders new GM and outlines what it will take to bring winning back to Oakland. Also: Richard Seymour eating chicken!


Moves Like Curtis: The Podcast – Episode #1: Richard Seymour and the Oakland Raiders (Guest: Kelen “B Hyphen” Conley)

The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Beware The Deer!

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Deer antler spray. Deer antler spray. Deer antler spray?! Yes, Mike “the Buzz-Saw” Asti and George “the Howitzer” Gerbo will be discussing deer antler spray. Just when you thought the sports world would go into a lull waiting for the Super Bowl, deer antler spray surrounds the headlines. A recent story came out stating Baltimore Ravens legendary linebacker, Ray Lewis used deer antler spray as performance enhancing drug, while trying to recover from an injury. How does this effect Ray’s legacy and will it have any bearing on the big game?

Don’t think the AFC Champion was hogging all the asininity. Randy Moss, who’s still seeking his first ring in his second career Super Bowl trip, decided to proclaim he is the greatest receiver in NFL history. While Randy has been great, another famous 49er receiver didn’t exactly appreciate Randy’s comments? Does Moss have any argument in his quest to be football’s receiving GOAT? Mike, a longtime Moss fan, will accept the challenge as “the Freaks” defense attorney.

Oh wait there’s a game to be played? No way….! Well as Kurt Angle used to say during his WWE days, it’s true, it’s damn true! Super Bowl XLVII is previewed in every possible way imaginable.

Football is front and center, but other sports have not gone into a hibernation. Expect an NHL update, now that the shortened season is a few weeks old. And maybe even a look at the college basketball landscape. Who the Hell is worthy of being #1? It’s a serious question, folks.

The Howitzer and Buzz-Saw don’t need no damn deer antler spray! They’re all natural, yet still conquer sports radio, one day, at a time….


The Howitzer & Buzz-Saw Show – Beware The Deer!