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Breaking Bad – “Half Measure”


 

Breaking Bad, a show were “a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer at the beginning of the series. He turns to a life of crime, producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine, in order to secure his family’s financial future before he dies, teaming with his former student, Jesse Pinkman.” [Wikipedia] The episode, Half Measure, starts with Jesse, who is a drug junkie and the main protagonist’s partner, being extremely angry at two drug dealers who had an 11 year old kid kill one of his friends. Jesse would like to exact vengeance upon those drug dealers. Jesse is also frustrated by the fact that there is a child working for the cartel, selling drugs. Jesse decides that he needs to kill these men using a type of food poisoning arsenic. Jesse asks his friend, Walter, to help him kill the men.

However, since the men have the same boss as Walter and Jesse, this is no able to happen. Mike Ehrmantraut, a key enforcer for the head boss talks about taking “Half Measures,” and advising against anything less than a full measure. Mike tells a story about a domestic violence case he had as a cop where the husband would be the wife weekly. Frustrated with the man, and being a cop at the time, Mike brings him to an open field, puts a gun in the man’s mouth and tells him that he needs to stop beating his wife, otherwise he’d do such and such. 2 weeks afterward, the husband had killed the wife from beating her brutally that a pipe went through her face. One cannot control other people. If they want to do something, one cannot manage, control or direct their lives. A man can only control himself and his own actions. The unique initial conditions and the unique final conditions will pervade, and the natural laws will govern everything. By the end of the episode, Jesse attempts to control the two drug dealers by telling them that they should not use kids to sell drugs. Because of this attempt to control, the drug dealers murder the 11 year old kid. When emotions and vengeance are put into situations, one is least likely to get the desired outcome.’

 

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2 Comments


Eddie Vinciguerra
10/20/14

I am curious to know how IMT would deal with the flip side of these two situations. I happen to be a huge fan of the show and I believe that if the two men were killed instead of Jesse warning them or Mike had killed that man out in the desert that they may have been considered “controlling” the conditions of someone else. It is interesting to think about that death may be the only way of control.


Nick Galles
12/08/14

This is a great connection to IMT Chuck. This scene really exemplifies the idea that you cannot control another person. Even creating the fear of death can only create a temporary extrinsic force that changes a person’s ways, but eventually intrinsic motivation and innate values will prevail once again. I really would like to watch some old episodes again and look for more connections to IMT concepts.

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