Nerdwriter’s Video Essay “Breaking Bad: An Episode of Reactions” examines the third to final episode of Vince Gilligan’s television hit “Breaking Bad” and its use of reactions and eyeline matches to convey the final stages of Walter White’s (Brian Cranston) development as a character as the show reaches conclusion. The author concentrates on the title of the episode “Ozymandias” as it is taken from an 1818 poem that discusses the significance of one’s power and one’s characteristics as well as contemplates how one individual’s perception of another can be clearer than that person’s perception of themself. He ties this into “Breaking Bad”by explaining how significant Walter’s various realizations of how his empire is falling apart and is affecting the livelihoods of his family and loved ones are shown through reactions via facial and body expression and eye contact between characters.
Videographically, the author successfully draws upon this aspect of the episode by simply supercutting the most dramatic and expression-filled moments from the episode and discussing how they allude to the poem from 1818. He even repeats some of the more important moments in order to convey additional ideas about them or to express his ideas more complexly. Another aspect of this video essay I found fascinating was how Nerdwriter tied in the history around the poem and its main character Ozymandias or Ramses II, whose empire collapsed and faded into the Egyptian sand. In juxtaposing a map of Ozymandias’ vanishing empire and Walter White standing alone with the vastness of the desert expanding out in all directions, Nerdwriter is able to visually clarify his point about how the world has fallen apart around Walter. The effects of this collapse on his family are shown through close-ups of their faces as they come to realize what has occurred. He often bounces back between shots of Walter and shots of his family reacting and makes it very clear the importance of reactions in the episode.