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‘Breaking Bad’ Stars Reveal The Back Stories & Secrets Of Their Characters

As Breaking Bad ends its run, the stars of the series met the Television Critics Association one last time. Of course, they would not reveal what happens in the series finale, but the cast did reflect on aspects of their characters they’d explored as well as things that didn’t quite make it onto the small screen.

The cast of Breaking Bad

“I actually have some thoughts about Saul but I’ve never run them by [series creator] Vince [Gilligan],” Bob Odenkirk said. “I’ll tell you one thing, I think he’s from Chicago. I’m from outside of Chicago. A lot of Chicagoans love to go to the southwest, get out of the weather. They perceive everyone to the west of Chicago as being easy to manipulate. You can sell granola to those people! They eat raisins and crap that grows on trees! That’s the Chicago I know. That’s why he would be attracted to that part of the country. There’s so much manipulation that goes on, the government of Chicago is all backstage deals so it’s in the blood there.”

R.J. Mitte, who plays Walt Jr., has cerebral palsy in real life. Though the details weren’t portrayed on the show, he incorporated them into his character. “People don’t realize, when you have a disability that actually affects your muscle that you go through binding, and the binding process is not very pleasant,” Mitte said. “That’s not just a daily process. That’s a nightly process. So when I was creating Walt, Jr., I was thinking about everything that I went through with casting and binding and leg immobilizers and everything with that. So that was a big, big basis for Walt, Jr.”

Playing siblings Skyler and Marie, Anna Gunn and Betsy Brandt had some secrets about their character’s childhoods. “[We] would talk, ‘What the F are their parents like?'” Brandt shared. “What happened? Which was fun for us to talk about in hair and makeup.”

Gunn elaborated, “I always felt that and we always felt that these two did not have a happy childhood and so they had to stick together no matter what, and I always felt that Skyler in some way had to be the sort of mother figure. So my feeling about that was that Skyler learned to take care of things and deal with problems and just put her head down and get through things. She learned how to do that at a very young age. And that was sort of very, very important part of her character, and she learned that at a young age, dealing with whatever situation they had at home.”

Walter White’s cohort Jesse had parental issues as well. “Jesse was just in a constant search for some guidance in his life, and even though he maybe didn’t want to admit it, he was searching for maybe like a father figure in a way,” Aaron Paul said. “I think he found that in Walt because his parents kind of gave up on him years ago. So that comes with him wanting to kind of protect kids in a way. There’s episodes where we all know that he has this fondness for children. So I think he wants to protect those children because he just never really got that or at least he didn’t feel that he had that protection from his parents.”

Bryan Cranston concluded the session with a hilarious fake backstory for Walter White. “The turning point for Walter White was July 4, 1978, Coney Island, New York when he actually entered the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest and consumed 38 and a half hot dogs and was seriously considering going into the professional eating circuit as opposed to being a chemist,” Cranston deadpanned.

The final episodes of Breaking Bad begin airing August 11.

Photo Credits: AMC

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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’

TVD--Down the Rabbit Hole

I fall for The Vampire Diaries’ bait-and-switch every season.

In season two, Elijah threw coins through a coffee shop window, and I announced, to myself, “Here is the Big Bad of Season 2.” The writers introduced Klaus later that season and he would go on to kill Aunt Jenna, which was the show’s announcement of “Here’s your Big Bad.” Season three got a bit wacky. Plot threads split off into other threads that split into other threads. Stefan was brutally killing folk for awhile. Mama Original came out to play. Klaus seemed less of a Big Bad when his mom wanted to kill him until mama Original’s plan failed. The Originals were collectively the Big Bads of season three. So then comes season four and the introduction of Connor, a vampire hunter who kicks so much ass that I wanted him to become TVD’s Holtz. Connor wasn’t long for the show. The less cool Shane rose to prominence. The signs were there that he was a bit player in the end, a fool fooled by the hallucinations of ghosts, just another one of the many characters to be used and discarded in the series. Of course a super-powered badass would rise to power as the third act of the fourth season nears its beginning. The ol’ TVD bait-and-switch. Ah, I feel so foolish.

I don’t know if every show should take as long to get going as The Vampire Diaries did this season, but oh my goodness the last two episodes have been awesome. These episodes tempered my fears that Julie Plec and her writers were running out of steam. They kept up a intense narrative pace for three years. Something had to give. Now the show is running on all cylinders. Every major character, except Matt, is involved in the story, integral and important to it. The classic surprise deaths feel like surprises again, specifically surprise Jeremy deaths. TVD killed Jeremy so many times that it resembled The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I’m still skeptical of the finality of Jeremy’s death because he’s been killed by one character or another more times than Damon uttered a quip. Regardless, the mere fact I wondered whether or not Jeremy had the ring on his finger suggests I’m more inclined to believe TVD went for broke to break the hearts of TVD fans across the globe. Big Bads don’t rise to power without killing a major character during his or her ascension.

“Down the Rabbit Hole” is the best episode of the season since “Memorial.” “A View to a Kill” was pretty great, too, but “A View to a Kill” suffers from its role as a transition episode, a set-up episode, etc, whereas “Down the Rabbit Hole” is all forward momentum. The cure won’t cure all of vampirism; the cure will cure just one vampire. Rebekah snaps Stefan’s neck to stop him from wasting the cure on Elena. Vaughn, Damon’s new hunter friend, wants to cure Silas and then kill him. Once Elena learns about the cure’s small size, she wants to go home and use it on Klaus. The revelation of the cure’s limited use seemed inevitable since a story about vampires, without vampires, would be complicated. The one-and-done aspect of the cure inspires a terrific conversation between Elena and Stefan. The former couple shares another great conversation earlier in the episode. The conversations share a theme: Stefan’s concern for love, as well as his consistent love for her. Stefan won’t take the cure for himself. Elena asks for his friendship. The real progress comes from Elena’s admission that her vampire self is her self now. The human Elena may not cope too well with what vampire Elena’s done. She can’t go back. She doesn’t want the cure. Who does want the cure?

Katherine wants the cure. My favorite villainous vampire comes back in blistering fashion, knocking Elena out and tricking Jeremy into thinking she’s Elena. Katherine opes Jeremy’s veins to feed Silas. Silas thaws. Katherine takes the cure. Silas snaps Jeremy’s neck. Vaughn the hunter already stabbed Bonnie, so Bonnie’s dying on the rabbit hole floor. Rebekah’s out of commission after Vaughn stopped her. Damon didn’t do much during the episode except for threatening the new vampire hunter. Shane’s above ground nursing a broken leg, feeling like a piece of crap until his deceased wife tells him that it’s all okay, that every act he committed mattered. The visions of the dead are manipulations of Silas. An argument can be made that TVD borrowed the idea of The First from Buffy for Silas. Silas uses the dead to get what he wants the way The First used the dead to manipulate the Scooby Gang. Silas is the oldest evil. Rebekah called him an “ancient evil.” The First were around before evil had a name. If the similarities are a coincidence or intentional, whatever it is, I hope TVD doesn’t botch whatever they plan with Silas the way Buffy botched its final season with a horrible arc about The First. Ancient evils are dicey prospects in genre shows. I think the only fictional ancient evil entity I love is ANGEL’s Wolfram & Hart. Sauron’s cool and all but he’s just a giant eye for ten hours.

Klaus cracks the crypt-text that blows the whole mission wide open out of love for Caroline. The B story is as close to a Valentines Day story TVD gets. Joseph Morgan cracks me up more and more each week. Klaus is a brutally violent character, but he had great moments in “Down the Rabbit Hole.” Tyler has to flee town once the truth about the cure emerges. Caroline buys him time to run before Klaus catches and kills him. Meanwhile, Klaus tries to get Caroline to love him. The help he provided doesn’t amount to anything. Caroline rejects him. Klaus walks away with an expression on his face similar to the one one makes after drinking Real Lemon juice. It’s hard to love and be loved in this world, isn’t it, Klaus?

TVD works amazingly well when its characters work together for a common goal. The series runs into problems when the story is scattered, but put them all together and it’s one of the best shows on television, including cable. Episodes such as “Down the Rabbit Hole” are worth watching the entire series to get to. It feels like a reward sometimes when shows produce episodes that are just so awesome you’re glad you never stopped watching (not that I considered that; I’m thinking more along the lines of early Treme, I suppose). I just hope TVD keeps the momentum going, keeps the awesome going.

Other Thoughts:

-Bonnie and Jeremy’s romance never worked for me. It felt like they were put together because the writers had nothing else for them, like the time Dawson’s Creek put Pacey and Jen together briefly in season three before Pacey fell in love with Joey and Jen gave freshman Henry a chance. Their loaded scene of magic and earthquakes was totally flat as a result. That’s a scene for Damon and Elena. It’d make the fan girls faint.

-Shane’s arc will end in one way. Lackeys never get out of what they built alive. Knox brought Illyria back; Wesley shot and killed him. Since Damon’s wanted to kill Shane for awhile, Damon’s probably going to kill him. Mr. Friendly, aka Tom, from LOST, stole Walt from the boat, shot Sawyer, made his life hell for the duration of Sawyer’s time in the cage, and Sawyer killed him in “Through The Looking Glass.” Sawyer’s last words to Tom are fantastic: “That’s for taking the boy.” I wonder what Damon will say to Shane.

-Jose Molina wrote the episode. Chris Grismer directed it.

Photo Credits: The CW

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‘Bones’ Star Emily Deschanel Previews ‘The Shot in the Dark’

Bones

Tonight’s episode of Bones, “The Shot in the Dark,” is a major one for the long-running FOX series. After an incident in the Jeffersonian lab, Dr. Temperance Brennan gets a chance to come face-to-face with her past, quite literally. BFTV recently spoke with Brennan herself, star Emily Deschanel, about what happens in “The Shot in the Dark” and what it means for Brennan, Booth and audiences.

(SPOILER ALERT – This interview contains spoilers for tonight’s episode of Bones.)

“After watching the episode, I think that viewers will have a better idea of why Brennan behaves in the way that she does, is kind of hyper-rational and has cut off her emotions in many ways, even though she’s over the last few years opened up after knowing Booth,” explained the actress. “It shines a light on her behavior and maybe encourages her to change a bit.”

The episode sees Brennan hospitalized – and while she’s fighting to recover, the anthropologist has a long overdue conversation with her late mother (guest star Brooke Langton). “She’s transported to her childhood home, and she sees her mother,” said Deschanel. “Her interactions with her mother reveal things from her past, and also it affects Brennan now, encourages her to have a different perspective on her behavior.”

“It’s an interesting thing to do a series for this long and to play a character that things are revealed at eight years in,” she continued. “I felt like it was in line with things that I had in mind, and it didn’t contradict anything that I had kind of imagined for her past, but it’s certainly new information to me, and I really enjoyed doing the episode because it shed light on Brennan and her past.

“I also really enjoyed having the interaction with her mother. That’s always been kind of a huge missing piece for Brennan, her mother being gone and being able to talk to her mother about how she disappeared before she died and all of that.

“Brooke Langton did such a great job, and I really enjoyed working with her. She’s just very inventive as an actor, very giving, and it was a really good experience working together. It felt right to have her play my mother, and I really enjoyed that.”

Like her character, Deschanel is herself a mother, and shared her insight on what Brennan is going through as a new parent without her own mom in the picture. “The minute you become a parent, I think that you’re always going to wonder if you’re doing something wrong, and I certainly experience that on a daily basis,” she said. “You have to trust your instincts and do what feels right for you.”

“Brennan is going through that in the beginning of this episode,” she continued. “Booth and Brennan have a fight. Brennan believes that Booth is criticizing her parenting style, and runs out and ends up in the lab again at night to go finish working on this case. It’s quite fitting that Brennan is dealing with her own issue of being a mother herself and, at the core of that, is missing her own mother.”

1 of 2Next pagePhoto Credits: FOX

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