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Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Gliding Over All”

September 2nd, 2012 by | Tags: , , ,

Sunday Sunday Sunday! We’re going to have a weekly chat about Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad. I buy mine off Amazon, so I’m usually a day behind, but every Sunday around showtime I’ll post an open thread. I’ll probably start linking the Breaking Bad podcasts and trailers and whatnot

If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, you should. You can find Breaking Bad:
-On AMC, Sundays at 10 eastern
-Seasons 1-4 on Netflix
-on DVD
-on Amazon Instant Video (my preferred method)

Rules:
-Don’t be a dick
-No spoiler warnings, so don’t come in unless you’ve seen the latest episode
-Feel free to hyperlink and youtube it up
-Liveblogging is cool, just be specific so we know why you’re going “WHOA DUDE WHOA WHOA BRO”
-Make sure your speculation is reasonable

This week is “Gliding Over All,” written by Moira Walley-Beckett and directed by Michelle MacLaren. Last episode of the half-season! Let’s see how crazy this is gonna get…

Sneak peek for this week:


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32 comments to “Breaking Bad Open Thread: “Gliding Over All””

  1. Yup. that was interesting. A lot of twists and turns I didn’t expect. Namely, that Walt’s hunger for an empire would be satiated, and he would actually make the decision to return to normal life.

    I didn’t expect Walt to even get that temporary respite, due to the show’s insane inertia (as Walt and Jesse addressed). I kind of figured that the whole thing would blow up in Walt’s face mid-criminal empire, and he’d wind up in that first scene of this season, 52 and on the run.

    I loved the reveal with the Whitman book. I didn’t like that Walt kept it in his home in the first place, because even the coincidence of it would be something I could see Hank taking notice in. At the same time, there are plenty of reasons for people to have Walt Whitman books in their houses. So even when Hank picked that book up, I was like, “Purely coincidence.” (I mean, I knew it was the end of the episode and of the season, so I was knew something had to happen right there, but I couldn’t in good conscience think that it was just the fact that Walt owns that book that would tip Hank off)

    But, holy shit. That transcription is pretty much the most incriminating thing ever. To my memory, I cannot recall Walt ever reading that transcription/we the viewers being shown that transcription before. Can someone confirm that for me? My memory is pretty fuzzy. I cannot even recall Gale gifting Walt that book. Either way, it was interesting how when Walt moved the book into the house with all his stuff at the start of the season, he just looked at it like, “Ha. I remember this book and the dead guy who gave it to me. Ha ha. Anyway, what’s else is in this box?” I doubt he ever even cracked that book open, let alone read Gale’s inscription or was aware of it. But who knows?

    Two things I noticed about Hank & Marie’s place (I love looking at their house, fyi, because of the color stuff). Namely, Hank’s bar: With hank facing the bar, to his left was a landscape photo/painting of a a sunrise/sunset. It was all oranges and purples. Those are totally the two colors I most closely associate with Hank and Marie! The second thing I noticed was the painting hanging directly over the bar of three western looking guys. I immdiately thought of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, and when applied to Hank, Heisenberg, and Walt, in that order, well, it practically sings. I’m not saying that painting is in anyway associated with Leone’s spaghetti westerns. The painting simply reminded me of it with the three men.

    I spoke of how this show is like a living, breathing comic book before, and this episode had so many call backs to past imagery in this show, mixed in with mirror panels and crazy, scene segue ways (like Walt in Hank’s house bending down out of frame and coming up his yellow cook garb, etc).

    I happened upon a write up for this episode when I was trying to confirm if we had seen Gale give Walter the Whitman book. A lot of commenters were sounding off on how much they hated the way Hank found out about Walt, and I can’t really sympathize with them. Hank finding out, literally caught with his pants down, was 1) funny, which the show is good at, and 2) pretty much perfect. Because that book is very incriminating, but it’s STILL circumstantial. Hank may know. But he still has to prove it.

    But back to the commenters hating the ending, it’s shocking so many people have a hard time following this show. A lot of them thought in this episode that Walt had punched up a brand new paper towel machine off screen, and then decided that was evidence of Walt’s cancer coming back. We just weren’t shown it. A lot of the commenters also did not realize during the 3 month montage sequence that Walt was producing meth for both Lydia’s distribution AND Declan’s, resulting in all that money he was bringing into the car wash which Skyler was then throwing in that storage locker. They just thought Walt had stiffed Declan. Good grief. Some said that just by the fact that Walt was getting checked for cancer again is testament enough that it’s back. When someone is dealing with cancer, they get check ups ALL the time. I’m not saying Walt will still be in remission by the time he’s 52. I’m saying that a cancer test scene in an episode of BrBa can be a stage for a good many things. Cancer tests are a staple of the show. In this episode, it felt like Walt was there reflecting on everything that delivered himself to where he is now.

    Regarding my prediction from last week about Walt screwing himself over by killing Mike, will have to get out of there before the 9 guys all flip for the DEA. I didn’t believe Walt would be able to get that stuff done, but, well, he totally did. Apparently when Walt wanted those names from Mike, Walt knew what he had to do. I didn’t take him seriously. That’s why I hate predicting. I just like to see how it goes. Get caught with my proverbial pants down, as it were.


  2. 1. Whoa.

    2. That jail killing spree made me more afraid of jail than anything ever. A simple, single stab doesn’t seem that frightening. 30 rapid stabs in the chest, plus one through your jaw… I can’t believe I slept after that.

    3. After the super purple scene with Skyler and Marie, Sky goes home to an all blue scene with Walt. That was really pretty, but I doubt it “means” anything.

    4. I can’t believe that they didn’t add a “plop” sound into the toilet right as the screen went black. I really thought that was going to happen.

    5. These next 8 episodes are going to be intense. I’m not sure what Hank will really do… doing his job would just destroy his family entirely. But he does love that job…


  3. I can’t blame people for not realizing the montage was reflecting the passage of time; there weren’t any calendars or spinning clocks, how were people supposed to figure it out? [/sarcasm]

    Actually, while watching that montage, I was marveling at the metonymy of it: they didn’t show big mounds of money, but Walt bringing increasing amounts of soda to the car wash. And each house depicted with an extermination tent represented another massive cook with another massive payoff.

    Even the fly seems to be a symbol of Walt’s conscience, officially a recurring motif as of this episode. At first it was a nagging unwanted presence, now it’s something to observe with detachment.


  4. Every time I saw that book, I knew it was trouble. Right now, if Walt were smart, he could play it off as being forced to be Fring’s cook and fearing for his life with all the deaths, but I doubt we’re going to get that scenario. Although I suppose it’s possible that ending up in witness protection is how we got that cold open to this season…


  5. There are already cats all over up in arms about the reveal in the last 5 of the mid-season finale. I read Hank’s “oh shit” moment as pieces falling into place. He’s been catching glimpses of this massive thing since Season 1 (beginning with lab equipment being stolen from Walt’s school etc.) He just couldn’t see the edges of what he was looking at. So him seeing Gale’s note was the last tumbler locking into place. As Karl mentioned above, what’s going to be dazzling to watch is him going back over everything to prove it. It’ll allow the writers to revisit the entire series in a fresh way through the eyes of a character. It’s going to be great!

    Random:
    -I loved Walt commenting on the painting in the hotel room during his meeting with Todd’s Uncle. There’s something haunting about motel room paintings (maybe it’s just me?) They are perfect for crime fiction somehow.

    -I think part of Walt’s “I’m out” move is that yes, his Cancer has returned. Though I don’t think it’s meant to be some revelatory moment. Not the sole reason, but that coupled with the grind of it all and Skyler’s reasoning…he’s tired.

    -It’s going to be fun to watch Walt squirm under Hanks gaze. I could see Walt spinning all manner of tales about why he cooked. I won’t speculate, but that Ep.1 cold open points in a direction. If this show has taught us anything, it’s that it zags when we expect the zig.


  6. @Morgan Jeske: Apparently that stock hotel room painting is also in Walt’s hospital where he gets his cancer treatments. I, too, liked his interest in the painting, and I liked how he recognized it but didn’t say/couldn’t place exactly where he had seen it before.

    @Chunky Style: I loved Walt focusing on the fly, just zoning out on it. It had the feeling of Walt’s whole world now being completely contaminated by Mike’s death and the weight of all of Walt’s criminal dealings. The fly also served the same purpose here as in the ‘Fly’ bottle episode: Walt gets transfixed/obsessed on a fly to escape his own brain (at the time of ‘Fly,’ he was troubled by everything from Jane, to Jane’s father, to the mid-air collision, to Hank fighting for his life after the attempted assassination at the hands of the Salamanca Twins). When Todd shows up, Walt’s exhaustion is palpable.

    @Billy: RE: #3. Colors on the show are plentiful and atmospheric, and Walt has been surrounded by/wearing blue blue ever since he took out Gus. S05E01, when Walt comes home, he changes out of his green shirt and into a blue one. Skyler and Walt have been sharing a lot of blue this season. The storage garage doors being meth-blue was also a great color nod. Lydia has been wearing blue this whole season as well. It’s even worth mentioning that Holly was in orange baby clothes while Skyler was teaching her to walk at Hank and Marie’s, fully assimilated into the Schrader household.

    One color bit I absolutely loved was Walt– now ostensibly Gus– waiting in his kitchen for news of success, and wearing a yellow shirt. This was the first time he didn’t physically get his hands dirty. Master Control. Kingpin. Heisenberg. He was Gus level in that scene.

    I also found it interesting that all of Fring’s associates, Mike included, were loose ends that Walt eventually wound up tying up one by one. Once he tied them all up he was finally free to produce meth for three months straight without a hitch (which was his original work agreement with Gus). Then Walt got out. ALMOST. But not quite. That stupid book.

    I also greatly enjoyed when Walt gave Jesse his $5 million. It was before we knew Walt was getting out of the business, so immediately after that scene I felt that Walt had only given Jesse his money because of how much he’s acquired but can’t launder. I’m sure that was at least a bonus if Walt’s notion was one of making amends and altruism (because the very next scene was Walt announcing he was out). I was scared for Jesse during that whole scene, and Walt gave him the money I immediately tried to figure out his angle (much like Jesse).

    When Jesse flung his pistol out across the floor and covered his face with his hands, it felt similar to Jesse agonizing over putting a gun to Walt’s head when he believed Walt had poisoned Brock with ricin, but then finding ‘the ricin’ in the roomba. Jesse was COMPLETELY justified in getting his gun! Who knew where Walt was coming from when he showed up? Jesse certainly aired on the side of caution. Thank god Walt was only there to reminisce on old times and give Jesse what he was owed.

    As a whole, what a great season. It was action-packed. We had capers involving magnets and trains, there were double-crossings, desert meet-ups, and assassination attempts, a myriad of amazing meth-cooking montages, and some classic dining sequences with guest pairings old and new.

    These next 10 months are going to be hard-going. Can’t wait to see how Walt goes on the run, and why exactly he needs that kind of fire power. Is it for a planned offensive? Is he on a rescue mission? A last stand? Merely preparing for the possibility of future, looming threats? Hmmm.


  7. Re the pushback over both Hank’s discovery and Walt being able to kill Mike, I have to wonder if the naysayers realize that Breaking Bad is, at its heart, a comedy. Granted, it’s a very dark one, and often has true dramatic moments that transcend its basic structure. But the driving engine of the series is how, as Walt rises and accumulates criminal power, he almost does it in spite of himself, while setting off a Rube Goldbergian chain of consequences that more often than not bite him in the ass. That’s a comedy premise.

    Last week, the argument went that Mike was so uber-competant that he should not have ever let Walt get the jump on him. And as detailed here and elsewhere, there are in-story ways to justify Mike’s letting his guard slip. I favor the meta explanation that Mike was doomed to die by Walt because he’s in the wrong story. In a straight-on crime drama he might have badassed his way to some sort of victory, or at worst, died in some grand, dramatic blaze of glory. But in Walter White’s story both success and failure are rooted in the mundane, and the best he could do is to die in silence, without Walt’s dim rationalizations bouncing off his eardrums as he breathed his last.

    It’s the same with Hank. In Walt’s world his success in exposing Fring leads to a promotion to paper-pusher, fighting over budget cuts. So of course he’s going to break the case by virtue of taking a dump at Walt’s. If Walt is an illustration of the banality of evil, Hank is the flipside, the banality of heroism. I can see how viewers would want the characters they root for be rewarded through their competence, but that was never Breaking Bad.

    To that end, I’m eager to see what happens when Walt tries to break off from Declan and Madrigal. It’s a little ambiguous (as is whether Walt knows his cancer is back or not), but it seems that in the last few scenes of the episode Walt has just made the decision to get out; he hasn’t taken any active measures yet to do it, besides giving Jesse his cut.


  8. G.B also stands for Gretchin Black (she of Grey Matters). This could be one possible explanation Walt will use. Not saying Hank buys it, but that Waly will definitely go to that. Also brings the big lie back full circle.


  9. I love that the ripples caused by killing this silly man will undo everything. Somewhere, Gale dances on 25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lpmed2O2kq1qawh07o1_500.gif


  10. @Morgan Jeske: Good call on the initials being the same as Gretchen’s. Even if Walt uses that excuse (IF Hank even addresses his findings directly to Walt), Hank will immediately know it’s bullshit. He can still compare the handwriting and match it to Gale’s copious notes, but I don’t even think he’ll need to. Hank spent way too much time looking at Gale’s notes to not recognize the handwriting, or at least know that it’s not a woman’s handwriting.

    Good call though. That’s an awesome observation.


  11. @Karl Savage: Oh yeah, Hank will totally play it close to the vest until he’s 100% (given the string of bad luck he’s had with cases connected to Heisenberg) It’s going to be so fun to watch them interact now that he knows.


  12. If Hank blows Walt’s operation open, he loses his job–just like Merket before him, he’s too close to it, has benefited too much from meth money. It’ll also hurt the entire family, and Hank’s always put family over law (Pulling strings to get Marie out of burglary charges). I think the only thing he can do is try to shut it down, and try to force Walt to help him. And Walt just might (unless he lied to Skyler and is still running the operation). That puts him up against Todd, possibly Saul, and Declan’s entire crew. And Todd knows almost everything about him–his name most importantly.

    That kinda heat might be the thing to force Walt to take Saul’s nuclear option. That kinda heat might be the thing to force him to buy a machine gun.


  13. @Aryehhs: Nice. I agree, Hank is involved. On paper, it doesn’t look very good at all.


  14. Check out this video essay on the cinematography of Season 5.1 http://vimeo.com/48781235 (link via @mattzollerseitz)


  15. @Morgan Jeske: Oh shoot, you know what? Gretchen’s last name is Schwartz, which is Yiddish for Black. I forgot about that.


  16. @Karl Savage: Ah, damn. It was pretty thin anyway. That’s a great detail though. I’m going to be stealing from this show for years and years


  17. @Ales Kot: keep it classy


  18. @Ales Kot: FFS, man.

    Showing up late, as always:

    While Breaking Bad is still the best thing on television at the moment, and this episode was a phenomenal mid-season finish, I felt a little dissatisfied with two things:

    (1) It felt like two episodes stapled together. This episode encompasses not only the few days in which Walt contacts and hires the neo-Nazis to off nine witnesses simultaneously, but also the three months in which he rebuilds the meth empire and expands it overseas, as well as however many months it takes to restore the family to normal in time for the pool party in the final scene. Call it five to six months. That’s a lot of time, most of which happens in montage or off-camera!

    (2) I had a hard time buying Walt’s face turn. We’ve seen the megalomaniacal depths to which Walt will descend in order to get his precious dose of respect. And suddenly he’s swayed by … what?

    – Fatigue (he slumps onto couches a lot during the montage);
    – Return of the cancer? It’s not explicit, but I think that’s what we’re meant to take from it. Walt being wheeled into the treatment machine (is it an MRI?) and then the camera rotating around him, plus Walt using the bathroom and being greeted, once again, by the dented towel dispenser. These to me both imply “coming full circle” or “an inability to escape.” Walt’s magnificent empire can not free him from the limits of mortality.
    – Skylar showing off the money pile?

    If that’s what the writers are going for, I have a hard time swallowing it. Fatigue I can’t write off, but Walt’s always struck me as a man who enjoys being drained by a good day’s work. If the return of the cancer inspires him to quit, that runs contra to the arrival of the cancer which inspired him to cook in the first place. And that money pile is impressive, but Walt’s made clear that he thinks he’s entitled to a third of ten billion dollars (the market capitalization of Gray Matter). Is that pile three billion?

    This may be a case where production realities bumped up against narrative plans. This arc – Walt ascendant, Walt triumphant, Walt retiring gracefully – may have made more sense if the first half of the season had 1 or 2 more episodes. As it is, it felt rushed.

    That bitchin’ aside, here’s what I loved:

    * I can’t believe it took the producers that long to use “Crystal Blue Persuasion” for a montage. Were they saving it up?

    * Walt timing the executions with Jesse’s watch.

    * Jesse and Walt’s awkward reunion (with Jesse packing a gun in his waistband the entire time). Such a chilling contrast between the awkward chemistry teacher and the suburban punk of S1. And yet both of them clearly long to go back there.

    * Lydia’s packet of Stevia.

    * Also: Lydia’s instant assessment of Mike’s removal from the picture. She’s a smart one and Walt always has a hard time swallowing that.


  19. @Morgan Jeske: Yeah, I don’t know why he thought that would be okay.

    Thoughts on the episode later tonight/early tomorrow, since I’m just back from the movies. But the short version is… I liked that this episode felt so low-key, despite the stabbings. The main cast wasn’t the subject of the heart-rending tension, so I saw it at a remove. And then the last few minutes and it all comes crashing down… well done.

    Also, great commentary here. You folks have made watching this season even more fun than it usually is. Thanks for playing along.

    More later!


  20. Yeah, it just dawned on me this morning that, more than likely, Hank could simply walk away from this case and never be troubled by it again. If the bulk of the meth sales are in another country, it’s not really the DEA’s bailiwick, and there has probably not been much reason to pursue the case for months now. So Hank has to decide whether to let this go or not … nobody knows he stumbled onto the truth, nobody else COULD stumble onto the truth as he did, he has to decide whether to take this up and jeopardize his stability.


  21. And one small thing I can say about Walt: unlike Elliot and Gretchen, Walt made sure his partner (Jesse) was paid what he was owed. It’s not quite the same situation as with Grey Matter, because Walt’s brilliance got Grey Matter off the ground, while Jesse was not responsible for the Blue Sky process or even the badass reputation of Heisenberg.


  22. @Chunky Style: I do like this, that even if his motives may have been to show that he was better than his former partners, they still resulted in him actually doing something decent.

    This last episode really was so conflicting, because Walt’s been such a bastard. It’s not that he isn’t anymore, but I’d bet good money that he’s dying again and is trying to shift his priorities. I’m really interested in seeing how his and Skyler’s relationship changes, if at all.

    And I have to wait 10 fucking months for it. God dammit AMC.


  23. I’m not so sure Walt’s cancer has returned. My interpretation is, he’s looking at his life, and thinking that he’s beaten cancer and built his empire … and for what? He’s gotten what he thought he wanted, but lost what was important to him in the process.


  24. @david brothers: Ales Kot’s gif was uncalled for and inappropriate. It felt like such a ‘fuck you.’ I understand if he has an issue with the episode, but what the hell was that? I opened that link at work. Not cool.

    ANYWAY.

    Thanks for deciding to have these open threads! it has been great having a place to unload all of the Breaking Bad that builds in my head that I can’t expunge through conversation with my friends because they’re either not watching the show like dummies are are still milling about in season 4, playing catch up. I am highly anticipating your lengthier comment on the episode (and the half season as a whole?), seeing as I found 4thletter because of your work.

    One more thing about the BrBa finale, I loved how people flipped over Marie wearing yellow in the last scene, and even Betsy Brandt didn’t know exactly what was up with it. Apparently there was an interview with the wardrobe lady (it’s somewhere online somewhere, I think Vulture?), and she said the color was solely meant to be a ‘relief’ color for Marie, who will usually wear bits of yellow under her purple clothes. Considering the events of the past 4+ months of the show with the White household at its most dire, I could totally see Marie letting go of her security color and embracing the complimentary of it to hang out with her loved ones.

    But then again, who is to say Marie won’t get pregnant next season (as some have theorized)? Stuff happens on this show.

    What I like about the wardrobe colors on the show is that they usually reflect how the characters are feeling in that scene, either consciously or subconsciously. They don’t really telegraph future events, in my opinion. So Marie COULD be pregnant in that scene in her yellow blouse, but I wouldn’t personally interpret it as she is GOING TO GET PREGNANT BECAUSE she’s wearing yellow, if I were run with that type of foreshadowing, which I’m not.

    An example would be how Walt didn’t start wearing blue shirts and THEN he became King of Blue Crystal. He started wearing blue after he killed Gus and took the throne for himself. Or how Jesse didn’t wear black and change up his whole wardrobe and THEN killed Gale. He started doing that afterwards because black is somber and depressing and that’s how Jesse felt (and then it segued nicely into matching the colors of the company he then kept, hanging out with Mike and all of Gus’s men).

    So to that level, Marie, who has been wearing purple from the moment Walt got cancer, her dust-up with Skyler over her kleptomania, Walt’s fugue episode (just everything Walt-related), Hank’s experiences in El Paso, his suspension, the attempt on his life, him being in critical condition, his therapy (and his mental abuse during that time causing Marie to start stealing again), Skyler’s breakdown and Hank and Marie taking care of the kids for 4+ months, that’s been a lot of stuff for Marie to deal with as a family member in a family where her loved ones have been getting into some MAJOR shit. So the fact that Marie is wearing a yellow blouse at a happy, normal White household BBQ seems earned, earnest, and speaks to how picturesque this ‘ending’ is.

    Something tells me she’ll be right back to purple tho, come next year…


  25. Some quick thoughts, because I keep getting distracted and I’m working on a longer thing about Breaking Bad:

    -This episode felt slow to me, despite the stabbings. There were spikes of terror (Jesse and Walt speaking, Walt watching the fly, Skyler’s “Take a drive with me”), but since the danger generally wasn’t centered on the main cast, I felt more at ease watching this episode than I have any episode since like… season 3? Ages, at any rate. The montage, the conversations, all of it felt like old times, which I now realize heightened that last scene for me. I was expecting a big flare-up, something to really ignite and horrify our imaginations to send off the half-season, and just when I was sure it wasn’t going to happen, that Walt’s “I’m out” was the big moment, Hank goes to the bathroom and my eyes widened. I love that feeling, and I love that this show can surprise me, even when I spend a lot of time thinking about what’s coming.

    -I don’t buy that Walt’s out just yet. He made between 20 and 40 million bucks in 3 months (I think someone specifically says 3?), and that’s just his cut of an international drug ring. Lydia, Declan, and the Czech cats undoubtedly saw a major increase in profits, too. So… how does he just get to walk away? Maybe he can hand the biz to Todd and his redneck thugs, I guess. But that seems awful easy for a show that has been anything but.

    -If Walt is out… I love the timing of Hank discovering the book. That’s beautiful, really, and makes the entire situation even hairier. Walt finally hit that point of “enough,” but he was so driven and focused that he rode the train too long.

    -The scene with Jesse and Walt was heartbreaking. I think Walt and Jesse both know that bridge is burnt — Mike’s death was the last straw, maybe? — and it was so awkward to watch Walt stand there and try to reminisce with someone he knows he’ll never be close to again. They were real friends for such a short time, and now that’s dead. Jesse collapsing after getting his money, too. That hurt. I know he unloaded and pitched the pistol, but I get the feeling that seeing the results of his labors hurt him even more. Jesse seemed so sad and small, three months on. I like Jesse so much. Aaron Paul’s done an amazing job.

    -Skyler’s got steel! The storage scene was wonderfully shot and acted. And I love that even though she’d given up, at least to an extent, she was still strong enough to show Walt the fruits of his cooking and be like “Okay. Now what? Is this enough?”

    -My guess is the cancer is back. But not back, either — Walt was given two years to live at the beginning of the series. I’ve poked around, checked the wikia — when did they say the cancer went away? Was it remission, or did the chemo simple stave it off for a short while? My guess is the latter, and that forced Walt to finally choose between his new job and his family. And not in the “I’m the DANGER because this is for MY family” weenie sort of way, either. I mean legitimately choosing his family, for the short time he has left, over cooking. It’s weird how the cancer has been haunting the show this entire time. It’s easy to forget about.

    -Even odds on Hank having a long conversation with Jesse Pinkman next year. I don’t think Hank is going to slam out of the bathroom and throw Walt in cuffs, but he knows what’s going on, and now he has to prove it. I don’t think Hank would try to shield Walt, either, even if it costs him his job. Walt has enormously screwed up Hank’s life, and the lives of hundreds of other people. Family only goes so far, and I bet Walt timed those assassinations to hit at a specific time specifically so that Hank would have to deal with them. That was a boss move.

    -Ha ha, “quick thoughts.”

    -All in all, this half-season was nothing like I expected and pretty much everything I wanted. Constant surprises in each episode, earned bad feelings throughout, and great writing. I love that Anna Gunn got a chance to really really shine and that Aaron Paul kept up the high quality from season 4. I can’t wait to see the end.

    @Karl Savage: You know, I could actually see Marie being pregnant, though. All that talk about how her and Hank love the baby and wanna keep her… you can hear the gears turning in their heads. Hank just got a promotion, life is more stable than ever… why not take the next step and have a kid? But that’s 100% conjecture.

    @Chunky Style: Yeah, but Jesse was an integral member of the team. He was Walt’s connection, muscle, and friend. He’s definitely partially responsible for the blue.

    @Professor Coldheart: Lydia! She has been so good. I keep thinking I had her figured out and then she surprises me. “Oh no, don’t kill me! I’ll help! Whoops ha ha the DEA is tracking my stuff! No, really! Oh wait, no, let’s team up, you can steal some methlyamine from a train! Oh, and by the way, you should send meth to Europe.” Such a great character. I want to see a lot more of her. She’s so nervous and fidgety and impossible to read. She fits a certain type, visually and personality-wise. She’s like the one computer tech lady from 24 in appearance, but incredibly driven and intelligent on the inside. She’s a sneaky one.

    Oh, and I don’t know if Walt’s face turn is a face turn just yet! He’s still the man he was before the three months, and that’s a long time to abuse someone. His and Skyler’s relationship has to be irreparably damaged. She’s still waiting for him to die. The twist now is that she doesn’t have to be afraid of someone murdering her children.

    Which brings to mind the cold open: why would Walt, who is not trained on anything in that trunk, need that type of weaponry? Blaze of glory? Desperation?

    Such a great show :negativeman:


  26. @david brothers: I hear you on the Marie thing. i wasn’t discounting it by any means— there was mentioned of some sort of fertility drugs or something earlier in the episode, which was kind of the building blocks of that particular prediction— but at the end, with the information we have, a mention to prenatal stuff and a change in color only sparks conjecture. Until the story goes that way, I’ll remain pensive. I’m a wait-and-see guy! I’ve said it before.

    Here are one-sentence replies to your bullet points!

    – The episode was marinated and dripping with the past year’s experiences of the characters.

    – I buy that Walt’s out.

    – That is why Hank discovering the book is such great, Icarus-level timing.

    – Only Walt knows about Mike’s death, so if it was the last straw for someone, it’d be Walt (and it was, kinda).

    – Skyler grinned & bore it for three months, and that scene with Marie was very informative of the progress of her emotional state over that period of time, which was why that scene with Walt and the money was so powerful.

    – I believe the cancer was ever only in remission, meaning it is deemed he has no detectable, OR very little detectable cancer in his body, but with a chance of future cancerous activity roiling back up again.

    – Next (half) season, watching Hank strategize to bring the hammer down on Walt (or not, but something has to send Walt on the run, for sure) is going to be OH! so much fun to watch on the edge of my seat, and if Pinkman finds himself in Hank’s crosshairs, which I can’t think of one good reason why he wouldn’t, then so be it!

    AND, I have one more sentence (which was my original sentence about Hank and Jesse but then I realized I wrote this big long sentence about Hank and Walt):

    – What I loved so much about Hank’s and Walt’s conversation at the end of that long, tense day was how when Hank unknowingly referred to Walt as a monster, it became evident that after the myriad of heinous acts he committed— all the horror he has forced Jesse to knowingly and unknowingly endure, the murder of a child (STILL MISSING) on Walt’s watch, the senseless, SENSELESS murder of Mike— as well as all the love and friendship he shoved to the side to wither and die as he marched forward, that Walt had soured himself on his own reign, and it is all there on his face for one holy moment before he leans forward and the super-stylish Crystal Blue Persuasion montage kicks in with a tinge of “Time To Make The Donuts” crisis-free monotony that fast-forwards everyone three months to where Skyler can make her super-solid case and have it TRULY, sincerely strike a chord in Walt.

    TEN MONTHS! MY HEAD… IS… SPINNING :barf:


  27. @Karl Savage: I agree that Walt is genuinely out, but that he won’t be allowed to actually get out. That point you raised about his last stand actually being about him actively choosing his family over himself/cooking is bang on I think.


  28. I’m also struggling with Walt’s “out”ness – like Karl says, it’s structurally too perfect for him NOT to be, but yeah, how? From Declan’s point of view I guess he’d have to have cooked all the methlyamine at the very least – could he do that, in 3 months? But then I guess it will be his outness coming home to roost that has him buying a car full of guns – he’s on the run from the law, Declan, Lydia… Jesse?

    The fly and the towel machine I read quite simplistically – originally The Fly embodied his guilt, which he can now just stare at with unperturbed curiousity. He beat up the paper towel machine because the cancer was gone, and he’d ruined his life for nothing, but again, he’s too far gone now to register that kind of regret. That’s the biggest question I have left, I think: is Walt going to “come to”, before the end? Or is it just Heisenberg until the end of days, now.


  29. Holy shit. The ticking watch at the end of ‘Fifty-One’ wasn’t a bomb. The book it was sitting on was.


  30. I also didn’t realize that Lambert— Walt’s alias in the season opener— is Skyler’s and Marie’s maiden name.

    Nor did I actively realize how Walt takes little physical or behavioral bits and pieces from every death he’s been responsible for. Krazy 8 preferred crustless sandwiches. Jane’s death is reflected in the eye of the teddybear (as are the victims from Wayfarer 515). Gale loved Whitman and gave Walt ‘Leaves of Grass.’ Mike took his scotch on the rocks.

    I just read a fan theory extrapolating these ideas to include Skyler as Walt’s literal victim (re: she’s dead) 1 year in the future with him using her maiden name, not wearing his wedding ring, and spelling 52 with his bacon (something Skyler did).

    Enh. It’s a theory. I’m just never on board for all the Skyler-killing wishes everybody already has. I took the flash-forward of Walt and the bacon as a call back to when he had his family and wasn’t on the run, etc. So the victim would be his whole way of life and his family, and not Skyler’s death in particular. But yeah, it’s a theory. I like the parts (Walt’s mementos) more than the summation, which is lackluster and missing some conclusive parts that would give it credence.


  31. Just a thought on Walt’s ability to manage an empire … if Grey Matter was able to make it big, it probably succeeded because Walt WASN’T there to mess it up. His ego can’t let him recognize that right now, of course, but I wonder if he’ll have that epiphany any time before the end.

    Walter White, Destroyer of Empires.


  32. Re: A.L. Baroza on the banality of evil and banality of heroism

    I agree with what you’re saying but I think it goes even deeper than that. Walt is bored, fundamentally, profoundly bored. Given the highs and risks Walter has gone through, and the power hes enjoyed it seems impossible to me that he could actually enjoy that lunch scene with Skyler, Hank and Marie. Its even framed so that everyone is talking over each other, and they’re all talking about nothing.
    The speach he gives Jesse when he doesn’t pay him the $5mil, about what else is he going to do with his life, I think thats how Walt sees things. What is the point in the mundane?

    I don’t believe that hes out. For the reasons above and for the fact we still have half a season left. Its possible that Walt no longer has to cook (having trained up Todd). I dont see him being able to sit still.

    Then again, I didnt bet on Walt being able to have 9 guys (10, including the lawyer) just up and murdered like that. That scene was where I stopped rooting for Walt. The killings in Breaking Bad so far have been these theatrical, dramatic struggles off power so far, almost clean in how they came together, but this was horrific and messy and just monstrous.

    Im ready for Hank to take him down. :)