Wow, thank you so much! (I was wondering if that translation ever ended up happening… I guess it did!) Your work is really beautiful and I’d love to do a trade sometime.
1. Jack’s arrogance is a mask for his insecurity. His command over others is tenuous. It depends entirely on his image and he knows it. At some point, he was the runt in the litter and he hasn’t forgotten that time. Where matters of honor are concerned, as when Walt reminds Jack, “You owe me,” Jack knows that he has to follow through or risk the illusion of his power unraveling. Even in begging for his life, he frames it as if he’s the one with all the power by holding Walt’s money hostage. But in the moments before that, we see him quite desperate to prove that he doesn’t partner with rats. It isn’t Walt he’s reassuring, but his own men - who, you might notice, aren’t too quick to jump and follow his orders by this point.
2. Jack believes in personal responsibility. If you do the crime, you do the time. If you want something, take it. If you think you’ve been wronged, it’s up to you to stand up for yourself. The world doesn’t owe you anything you haven’t earned, though his definition of “earning” something is skewed. If someone steals from you, the fault is on you for allowing it to happen. The victim of any crime is to blame for not being strong enough to defend themselves. If he could make it in this world, he sees no reason why anyone else can’t also pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Every man for himself, and you deserve what you get.
3. Jack doesn’t trust the government. The government put him away for doing what it took to provide for his family, all the while giving handouts to people who were unwilling to do the same. The government tries to tell him where he’s allowed to smoke a cigarette and what guns he’s allowed to own and it forces him to fork over tax money just to live on his own land. He’s determined to show them he doesn’t need them, and neither does anyone else. If it were up to Jack, it’d be just like the Old West frontier again, and he’d be left to govern himself and his people. Because he knows best.
4. Family is everything to Jack - second only to his own survival. See, Jack isn’t much of a lone wolf. If he’s going to survive, he needs the whole pack to support him. And he supports them, in turn. He didn’t have to take his nephew in, but doing it makes him feel like a strong patriarch, and Todd’s accomplishments feel like his own. When everyone’s dying all around him, however, he’s thinking about himself above all. His nephew’s just been strangled but his primary concern is to save his own ass.
5. Jack values loyalty. He considers himself a loyal person and instills that value in Todd. Snitching is just about the worst thing you could do. And guess what? So is putting a hit on someone you consider “family”. Jack lost whatever respect he might have had for Walt when Walt made their arrangement, despite his sympathetic words. He stops taking orders from Walt and starts giving them, because he sees this guy as a worm from then on. A real man would face his partner mano-a-mano, not hire someone to shoot him in the back of the head unsuspectingly. It isn’t mercy, it’s pure cowardice.
So, to answer your question about 187, Jack himself wavered quite a bit. He originally intended it as another step in the plan, but I think he saw glimpses of the same thing Walt and Gus and Mike saw in Jesse: that this is someone who has the potential to be the most loyal follower of all, if he can be properly tamed. I think Jack struggled with his distaste for this rat’s past actions and the possibilities he saw, if he could just get this kid to care for his nephew and the interests of the gang.
1. Todd is essentially a three-year-old when it comes to emotional development. He has no internal sense of empathy or compassion. If he isn’t bothered by something, he doesn’t understand how or why anyone else might be bothered by it. This isn’t to say that he’s emotionless, but that he isn’t capable of putting himself in anyone else’s shoes.
2. Todd isn’t stupid. He actually quite perceptive and logical, which are traits that pinged Walt’s interest. Todd jumped to answer Mike’s questions when Walt and Jesse first began at Vamonos, and he thought to look for the nanny-cam during their first cook. And, of course, he took care of their problem after the heist in the most cold and logical way possible.
3. Todd is curious, not sadistic. Contrary to Jesse’s view of him, Todd doesn’t take pleasure in causing harm. If he’s pulling the wings off a fly, it’s because he wants to see what will happen, not because he enjoys making it suffer. When he volunteered to torture Jesse, it was a means to an end. He even said as much. And when his “family” is slaughtered around him, his instinct is to seek out the cause, because that’s more interesting to him than whatever emotional response he might have to loss.
4. Todd actually finds outbursts of emotion highly uncomfortable. He doesn’t know what to do with these situations, like when he’s watching his mentor wailing in sorrow. He isn’t sure what to do with his own intense feelings. His attraction to Lydia comes off as creepy and obsessive because he can’t display it properly, but it’s ultimately quite innocent in nature.
5. Todd’s politeness is a learned behavior. Someone at some point taught him that using certain words and affecting an air of deference would be the easiest way to get what he wants, so that’s how he behaves. He doesn’t have a sense of personal space or others’ autonomy, so I imagine he was unintentionally rude and pushy before he learned this.
Pick a character I’ve written and I will explain the top ~three to five ideas/concepts/etc I keep in mind while writing that character that I believe are essential to accurately depicting them.
As part of their routine to make Jesse feel disoriented and lose trust in himself, Jack and Todd drugged him and made him appear as if he’d been having fits and injuring himself. The symptoms he’s feeling when he wakes up (and several other times throughout the story) are the aftereffects of the drugs they used to keep him unconscious while they did these things to him.
And I’m going to miss posting it! Life feels strangely empty now… I hope everyone enjoys the sequel just as much, if not more.
It’s so nice to see all of you on tumblr! Hello!!
My spine sprung a leak so I was back in the hospital today getting that patched up with my own blood. Turns out that’s way more painful than the spinal tap itself. Very exciting. They tell me I’ll recover in another day or two. Sorry, everyone.
Everyone has been so sweet. Thank you for your kind messages. I still can’t really sit up or move much but I’m told the procedure went very smoothly and I don’t seem to have any major complications. Trying to recover as quickly as possible. It’s very boring just lying here with my phone. Love you all.
Thanks. It isn’t life-threatening or anything. About a month and a half ago I lost some feeling in the left side of my body and we initially thought it might have been a stroke (I have a genetic blood disorder that predisposes me to clots) but an MRI showed possible multiple sclerosis, and this LP is meant to confirm that diagnosis. tl;dr serious but not deadly
On that note, I’m awake now but not mobile. Hi, everyone!
Just a general notice to my readers: I’m going in for a spinal tap tomorrow morning. It may or may not affect 187's updates for the next few days. There's a chance I won't be able to sit upright until my cerebrospinal fluid replenishes, and I'll probably want to be unconscious as much as possible because I'm told it's very painful. So! There's that. Thanks for your patience.