Breaking Bad "Gliding Over All" Mid-season Finale Review: System of a Frown

By Price Peterson

Sep 04, 2012

Breaking Bad S05E08: "Gliding Over All"

[While Tim's off enjoying his first few days of wedded bliss, I'm stepping into his size-1,000 gold-plated flip-flops to recap this episode of Breaking Bad. I will never be as smart as he is, but I'm at least as enthusiastic!]


A few episodes back, the special teams division of Vamanos Pest were cookin' the blues while a television played an episode of How It's Made. We know now that in every nook and cranny of Breaking Bad are hidden details intentionally placed, and this was a huge one. Despite its violence and mystery and pervasive, dramatic anxiety, Breaking Bad's life blood has always been its processes. In 4.5 seasons, Breaking Bad has lovingly detailed the following: The various ways to make meth (duh) as well as distributing it, profiting from it, and (DEA-wise) infiltrating it; long-distance computer erasure; clandestine train robberies; money laundering; and Cartel coups. But this A+ of a midseason finale also showed us how, among other things, one murders ten men in prison and also expands his drug kingdom overseas. Even more processes! It would all be so nerdy if it weren't so badass! Unfortunately, as Walter White discovered in "Gliding Over All," sometimes mastering a process means you're done with it. Some systems just can't last forever.

"Gliding Over All" served two main purposes: (1) Walt tied up as many loose ends as he could before expanding his business even further, and then (2) he quit. From the beginning of the episode we got the sense that he'd been thinking a lot about the past year, a sense of nostalgia hinted at through the call-back imagery of houseflies, Walt showering, that busted paper towel dispenser, Walt visiting the cancer center, and the presence of Leaves of Grass on his stack of bathroom readers. (That last item would prove to be more than just metaphorical foreshadowing, obviously.) But it certainly seemed that the murder and mayhem of late may have weakened Heisenberg's resolve and brought the old, decent, family man, back to the fore (at least temporarily). Fortunately for lovers of carnage and badassery, Heisenberg would not be abdicating the throne without one last, spectacular, bloody, showing: The systematic prison murders of ALL TEN of Mike's "guys" (including his lawyer!). In a word: Dang.

Aside: For my money, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (that name!) is the best new addition to Season 5. I don't know what it is about this lady—her pretension, her ambition, her awkwardness—but I can't take my eyes off her. We first met her as a shaky, paranoid, businesswoman who may or may not have willingly gotten involved in Gus Fring's meth empire. But at this point she seems to have accepted that any day now she could be assassinated or incarcerated, so rather than pull back from Walter's empire, she's broken bad almost as dramatically as he has. When Heisenberg arrived to meet with her at a local cafe (in an entrance so subtly terrifying it's no wonder a waiter never approached the table), what transpired was one of the best scenes of the season. After a general exchange of threats and untrustworthy promises, Lydia divulged the names of all ten of Mike's "guys" from memory. But on one condition: Walter would have to allow Lydia to help him expand his business into the Czech Republic where there was apparently a thirst for meth that would put the Southwest to shame. We could sense that Walter had no interest in further dealings with Lydia, but her promises of an international insta-empire proved too tantalizing to pass up. But the kicker was, after they shook on it and she fled the table, we saw that Walter had brought his vial of ricin! Now she may never know just how much her cold-blooded ambition saved her life that day.

And how about that montage? You know which one I mean. When Walter implied last week that he'd be murdering every last one of Gus' former associates, I had no idea he'd actually pull it off with such aplomb! We knew that one or more of them was about to spill—Hank was hard at work trying to get the most information from the lowest bidder—so it was clear Walter's plan wasn't rooted in the delusions of a power-hungry paranoiac. But after he arranged with Todd's shady uncle to have all the murders carried out within minutes of each other (at several different prisons!) it seemed that Heisenberg had officially entered the Pablo Escobar phase of his reign. That's a lot of murder spread over a lot of geography and all so that no one would be the final living witness who'd break. In all its terrible elegance, this was a shocker of a high point for this show, and I for one hope to never see another arterial shiv again.

Intense murder montages aside, the episode also had some intense character-relationship moments. After Walter literally shut Jesse out of the operation at the beginning of the episode ("There is no 'WE'!") it was clear that the most crucial relationship on the show had seen better days. But as much as Walter often tries to pretend he doesn't need (or, you know, love) Jesse, it's right there in his reluctance to embrace Todd as a new partner. Unlike Jesse, Todd is seemingly remorseless, was born into a family of thugs, and can easily pass for wholesome, yet there's just something missing there. That's why Walter's surprise visit to Jesse's futon den was so powerful. He'd realized that he shouldn't have cheated Jesse out of his severance, nor, probably, have destroyed most of Jesse's personal relationships over the past year, so hopefully a few duffel bags full of cash might somehow right those wrongs. But of course the scene wasn't as heartwarming as it sounds: The whole time Jesse stared at Walter with the wild-eyed tension of a man who'd come face to face with the grim reaper. Jesse knew Mike was probably dead, and worse, that he himself as much a "loose end" as the ten inmates were. But in a reveal that nicely mirrored Walter's scene with Lydia, as soon as Walter left we realized Jesse had been fingering a hidden gun the entire scene. Once again a character walked a razor-thin edge between life and death but fortunately made it out alive.

The most satisfying pay-off in this episode revolved around Skyler. All season she'd been inhabiting her own personal horror film, but in this episode we saw her spontaneously smile and laugh with baby Holly as though her terrors had begun to ebb. Marie noticed this as well and suggested that, um, maybe it was time for Skyler to take her kids home? Almost three months had passed since Hank and Marie took the kids, which meant that the preceding montage of Walter's growing empire was the largest leap forward in the timeline we'd seen yet. So when Skyler arrived home to find Walter staring blankly into the swimming pool (who knew swimming pools could be so existential!) she spoke to him for the first time in probably a while: "I want to show you something." This "something" was a personal storage unit containing an enormous stack of cash. Over the past three months Heisenberg had made so much money that Skyler couldn't even count it, let alone launder it through their rinky dink carwash. Her hushed rhetorical seemed to hit Walter hard: When was it time to stop? The answer, he came to realize, was now.

By episode's end Walter had made up with Jesse (sort of), gotten his children back, made several hundred million dollars, gotten away with mass murder, and even shared a poolside smile with Skyler. A satisfying conclusion, right? Unfortunately this was only the MID-season finale, so we know there are still eight episodes of unbearable anxiety left and that they may involve an ENORMOUS MACHINE GUN. And I'm guessing the main impetus of those bad times began in this episode's final scene: Hank, excusing himself from a poolside hangout, decided to use the master bathroom where he came across Walter's copy of Leaves of Grass, inscribed to a "W.W." from a "G.B." Just like that the ghost of Gale Boetticher struck again: Immediately recalling his experiences pawing through Gale's journal, Hank now knew that Walter was the shadowy legend he'd been pursuing all along.

Yeah, I'll say it again: This was an A+ episode for me. If we're being real, even an unsuccessful episode of Breaking Bad is still a tremendous hour of television. But when it's firing on all cylinders it can be almost transcendently great. Like, I-forgot-I'm-in-my-living-room-merely-watching-TV great. I understand there have been some murmurs of disappointment with the first half of Season 5 so far, but I am not one of those murmurers. Those who have had misgivings about certain events in "Gliding Over All"—you're not wrong either. But that disappointment is merely a testament to just how high our expectations for this show have become. This episode definitely wasn't as horrifying as Hank's parking lot shootout, or disturbing as Walt's crawlspace meltdown, or cathartic as Gus' jack-o-lantern farewell, but it did contain almost everything we adore about this show all wrapped up in a package signed "Love, Vince Gilligan."

I want to go watch it again right now.

NOTES:

... How had "Crystal Blue Persuasion" NOT been used in this show before? And wasn't that particular montage so lovely? Not only did we see almost all of the essential characters in the context of their chain of command, the shots were so artfully matched and edited. That aerial shot alone of tented houses was just straight-up stunning.

... If this episode represented a false happy ending for the series, what do you think the REAL ending will be? I'm getting the sense that Walter's in for a pretty brutal comeuppance. But would be WHO would be responsible for it?

... Hank's speech about how much he longed for his old, terrible job of marking trees for deforestation was a real heartbreaker. The man is obviously not a genius, but he has been an extremely competent and driven agent who deserves better than he's gotten. Can't wait to find out how this new revelation will energize him.

... Not to worry, Tim Surette will be back later this week to give his thoughts on the finale. I'm just as excited about this as you are; his coverage has been one of the highlights of this season.


QUESTIONS:

... Ballpark guesses: How much money was that??

... What's been your favorite new character or element of Season 5?

... What processes featured on this show have been the most fascinating?

... Do you think Walter will die by season's end? If so, how?

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  • bahnan_abdi Jun 06, 2013

    Let me just point out some things I noticed that could well indeed be cases of foreshadowing.

    Remember when Walt first met Gus and their conversation at Los pollos hermanos. And Gus asked Walt why he works with Jesse, Walt said "because I can trust him" and Gus said "you can never trust a drug addict." I'm guessing Jesse will somehow betray Walt and cause the downfall for Heisenberg. Walt has so much trust and love for Jesse that it will end up biting him in the ads.

    Secondly remember when Walt was pulled over by the cop for having a broken windshield and he got arrested. So they must have Walt's fingerprints in the database so hank can definitely get Walt's prints off something connecting him to the manufacturing of the blue meth.

    Last but not least when Skylar said I'm waiting for the cancer to come back I think she might actually get that wish and Walt's cancer will come back and my prediction is that if the cancer does indeed come back Walt will remember that conversation and use the ricsin to kill Skylar because she wanted him dead all along.

    I can't let these little details slip by since Vince Gilligan is very detailed and loves using foreshadowing and if that is the case my predictions will be spot on!

  • Denim777 Sep 15, 2012

    very good!

  • rami24k Sep 10, 2012

    doesn't the first scene give you a heads up to season 6 lol that Walter will be on the run from his brother in law.

  • AyeDub Sep 11, 2012

    Why do you believe he can only be on the run from Hank and not someone else?

  • AyeDub Sep 11, 2012

    I don't think it's that cut and dried...there are many other possibilities:

    - He could be on the run from the DEA (but not his brother in law who he has considerable leverage over in terms of blackmailing)



    He could be on the run from any number of criminal entities that want him to continue to cook:

    - He could be on the run from Declan

    - He could be on the run from the Czech republic gangsters

    - He could be on the run from the Mexican Cartel (ok, this one is pretty unlikely)



    - He could be on the run from Lydia if she decided to put a hit out on him because he knows too much.

    - Similarly he could be on the run from Todd/Todd's Uncle if Todd has taken over the cooking and they see him as a "loose end" or "competition".



    - Finally he could be on the run from Jesse if Jesse ever finds out that Walt poisoned Brock and/or killed Mike.



    Point is there are MANY reasons he could be on the run...and I know the title of the episode is "Live Free or Die" which leads people to believe he's on the run from the law, but remember the Cartel wanted to basically hold him prisoner in Mexico and force him to cook meth but Gus repeatedly said "No"...such a scenario would also fit that title - in fact you could argue it fits it better.

  • pretzilm Sep 07, 2012

    The show will end with Walter dead... and the guys on storage wars opening the storage locker and trying to guess exactly how much is there :D

  • DinChild Sep 07, 2012

    Don't forget, this isn't just between Hank and Walter. Marie is Skyler's sister. Hank will no doubt implicate Skyler the moment he realizes the counting cards story is bullshit. Doing this will also mean serious consequences for Walter Jr./Flynn and Holly. Is Hank prepared to rip this family apart? Is there an overall reason why the kids have been staying with Hank and Marie this whole season?



    The more I think about it, the more obvious it is just how crappy a situation Hank inadvertently found himself in, and how much more I like the way the Heisenberg reveal came about. Yes, police work would have been a good idea. But think about it from Hank's perspective: all you wanted to do was have fun with your family. You may even brew a new batch of Schrader Brau. Life is good again. You go to take a crap, and now...the choices he has to make will ruin everything. For some reason, I don't think Hank is the one who's going to take Walt down.

  • rami24k Sep 10, 2012

    doesn't the first scene give you a heads up to season 6 lol that Walter will be on the run from his brother in law.

  • DinChild Sep 07, 2012

    I just notice the little link provided by tnetennba a few comments down. It basically says it all. Ugh! Can't wait...

  • AyeDub Sep 06, 2012

    So...something just occurred to me, not sure if anyone covered this and I missed it...



    Hank doesn't know that Walt paid for his rehab...much less realize it was paid for with drug money...I wonder what he'll think when/if he finds out (not to mention that Walt was basically responsible for him ending up in the hospital in the first place)...



    In fact I wonder if Walt will try use that against Hank to try keep him quiet, because I'm guessing there's no way the DEA would believe Hank wasn't complicit in Walt's drug dealings because claiming "I didn't know" certainly isn't going to fly...I can picture's Gomie's response right now...

  • Swinglabacase Sep 07, 2012

    hence another good reason for Hank to switch side... :)

  • rami24k Sep 10, 2012

    doesn't the first scene give you a heads up to season 6 lol that Walter will be on the run from his brother in law.

  • AyeDub Sep 11, 2012

    I saw you post this up above, I'll copy my response here:



    I don't think it's that cut and dried...there are many other possibilities:

    - He could be on the run from the DEA (but not his brother in law who he has considerable leverage over in terms of blackmailing)



    He could be on the run from any number of criminal entities that want him to continue to cook:

    - He could be on the run from Declan

    - He could be on the run from the Czech republic gangsters

    - He could be on the run from the Mexican Cartel (ok, this one is pretty unlikely)



    - He could be on the run from Lydia if she decided to put a hit out on him because he knows too much.

    - Similarly he could be on the run from Todd/Todd's Uncle if Todd has taken over the cooking and they see him as a "loose end" or "competition".



    - Finally he could be on the run from Jesse if Jesse ever finds out that Walt poisoned Brock and/or killed Mike.



    Point is there are MANY reasons he could be on the run...and I know the title of the episode is "Live Free or Die" which leads people to believe he's on the run from the law, but remember the Cartel wanted to basically hold him prisoner in Mexico and force him to cook meth but Gus repeatedly said "No"...such a scenario would also fit that title - in fact you could argue it fits it better.

  • AyeDub Sep 07, 2012

    I don't really see:

    - hank voluntarily going along with walter

    and

    - hank being extorted into helping



    being the same thing at all.

  • Swinglabacase Sep 07, 2012

    well he's compromised with the DEA, has no way to prove anything, talking nostalgically about his old job... looks fedup an depressed...

    and if Walter is really out... why not have a piece of the cake and relax?

    Unprobable maybe, but possible.

  • DinChild Sep 06, 2012

    That's probably exactly what he'll use. It worked against Skyler.

  • tnetennba Sep 06, 2012

    That's a good point. Someone posted this link in a forum that I'm a member of:



    http://i.imgur.com/WSTvu.jpg

  • donaldnjoker Sep 06, 2012

    The only thing that would be stupid is to hide all that money in the same place.

  • Swinglabacase Sep 05, 2012

    My take:

    Hank may propose to Walter to join his business or, ask for a "cut" to shut his mouth then retire.



    The big gun scene at the beginning still feel very much like revenge. Something terrible may happened to Walter's family. From old Gus' associates? From the Chilean Cartel? From the Arizona guys? From the Czechs? I can't tell but I go for the later. They won't let Walter cut them off like this.

    Walter's cancer has come back, he lost his whole family, he has nothing to loose and nothing to gain: he's going to end everything in a bloody mess.



    That's my Scarface ending...

  • rami24k Sep 10, 2012

    doesn't the first scene give you a heads up to season 6 lol that Walter will be on the run from his brother in law.

  • XY Sep 06, 2012

    Since the beginning, Hank and Walt are two opposide sides of a coin. Hank is a man of principle and morale. He learned to lose pride due to his injuries and came out stronger dealing with it - unlike Walter. Walter really lost all his principles in the process and even though they've been different from the start and both characters developed, they both still represent completely different ways of dealing with obstacles in life.

    I would never buy nor like Hank turning himself 180 and changing everything he believes in just because of money.

  • rami24k Sep 10, 2012

    doesn't the first scene give you a heads up to season 6 lol that Walter will be on the run from his brother in law.

  • tnetennba Sep 05, 2012

    You're forgetting how much Hank hates Heisenberg. I don't think he would ever take a bribe to let a mass murderer get away, but it's even less likely that he would take a bribe from Heisenberg. There's no way that he would suggest it himself.

  • Swinglabacase Sep 05, 2012

    People change and tons of money changes people... but I don't stick to that scenario that much really: I wrote "maybe".

    I wrote before that the last season will probably be Hank/DEA vs Walter. There is still Jesse and Lydia whom Hank can hassle. And... Skyler!

  • AyeDub Sep 05, 2012

    I have stayed away from this thread...I was hoping to - after a break immediately following watching the episode I could go back watch it a second time and like the episode...Nope.



    I've been one of this shows biggest fanboys, but I can't say this episode was any good at all....In fact I really really disliked the episode. It felt rushed, out of character and down right insulting to Hank's character in the way he just stupidly stumbles upon the key evidence. It's "The Killing" quality police work that this show use to be better than.



    Now I get to read the rest of the comments expecting gushing love for it (like the review had)...I hope I'm wrong.

  • EtaCarinae Jul 30, 2013

    I can't agree, really...the police and even the dea only "find" a small amount of drugs supplied every year...And even that seems often to be just by sheer luck. Not that they don't do their job but it just isn't an easy one. Sure, Walter often enough was exceptionally lucky as well and was clever enough not to leave many tracks in between...
    Also, like others said. That book is a hint, no evidence. Possibly there are fingerprints of Gale in it but that doesn't make a case. Hank would still have to find real evidence what might be difficult if Hank can really stay out of it without being disturbed by his ex-companions still alive.

    In any case, Hank will have much to do for the next 8 episodes, either to find evidence or to protect his family.

    I can't wait to find out! Also now he has a choice...if he had found one piece after another he wouldn't be only one to know and therefore had no choice as to get Walt or(/and?) be arrested as well.

    At least I like him to have the opportunity to think really hard what to do to protect himself and his family, even if he doesn't consider Walt as a part of it anymore and goes after him.

  • katikool Sep 06, 2012

    I agree. Hank is at his best when he's slowly getting closer to the truth and I really wish he'd been doing exactly that the last 8 episodes! It would have built up tension like crazy, but instead all we got was that lame lucky discovery out of nowhere. That last scene should have been a season's worth of tension exploding all over the place and instead it was just meh

  • AyeDub Sep 06, 2012

    Yeah...I guess I just see it for what it could have been, but the writers - this season - just didn't want to tell the Hank story I wanted to see.

  • DinChild Sep 06, 2012

    I figured I'd beat a dead horse just one more time before dropping it: the season isn't done yet. Yes, we have to wait a while, but that's nothing new. Having said that, Hank's badass story is only beginning. I'll eat my words if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. The writers are better than we are. They've proven this time and time again :-) Perhaps what they have in store is better than what you wanted to see. It's been the case for me, that's for sure. Either way, fun discussion. I don't want the episode to end :-(

  • AyeDub Sep 06, 2012

    without question it will be a grind waiting all the way until next summer...

  • DinChild Sep 06, 2012

    @Aye - I think we can both agree, we can't wait to find out.

  • AyeDub Sep 06, 2012

    That's true, and Hank definitely does have work to do actually proving it's Walt...I'm just real skeptical right now that it will be better this way than it could have been if Hank had suspected Walt sooner.

  • tnetennba Sep 05, 2012

    I don't think it was a bad episode, but I agree about the two points you made. It felt rushed (like they needed to get to this point by the end of this episode just to have a "season finale"), and it was disappointing that Hank discovered it by dumb luck (and ridiculous stupidity on Walt's part) instead of by solid police work. Hank isn't an intellectual, but he's smart in the sense that he understands how to follow the evidence. This is how he tracked down Jesse in season 3. I was hoping for something more like that.

  • AyeDub Sep 05, 2012

    Yeah, I just felt like the jump in this episode from "Empire Business" to "Completely Out" felt a lot like the Episode 3 jump from "The Emperor is bad news, mkay!" to "I AM KILLING YOUNGLINGS" in terms of how much it felt unearned...and that's on top of the fact that I find it hard to buy that Declan, Todd and his uncle and Lydia would just let him leave seemingly so easily.



    Sure, people are claiming that Walt maybe really isn't actually out, but if there is ONE THING we know about skyler is that she won't put up with big blocks of time where she doesn't have any idea what Walt is doing...I feel like it's only in her character to accept that he's totally out if she knows completely what he's up to for a while as he SLOWLY earns back trust...and that sort of "silent partner" where he doesn't even cook seems like it wouldn't fly in most criminal organizations.



    Then Hank...you say he's not an intellectual, but he's amazing cop that does GREAT police work, besides tracking down Jesse in Season 3 he spent almost ALL of Season 4 being a complete bad ass working Gale's murder. Everything he did to track things back for Gus, I definitely felt like this show was building toward Hank figuring out Walt via awesome police work and not dumb luck...I was REALLY hoping we'd have a scene where it was clear Hank suspected Walter but wasn't sure until the final piece fell into place...In stead Hank luckily tripped over that piece through the dumbest of luck. Completely anti climactic.

  • safibwana Sep 05, 2012

    It was always going to be the family connection that caused Hank to find Walter out. If it was down to good police work the characters wouldn't need to be family in the first place. I can't believe you're surprised by this. It was always going to be because Walt was stupid enough to be a meth kingpin right under the nose of his DEA brother-in-law. From episode one. This wasn't Hank's battle to win, it was Walt's to lose. It absolutely had to be this way all along. I find the particular slip up to be particularly moronic, but this never ended with Hank outsmarting Walter, it always ended with Hank stumbling onto some evidence due to general proximity.

  • EtaCarinae Jul 30, 2013

    agree, but if you remember...he wasn't that stupid about doing it under Hanks nose as he did get saved on occasion by getting info from hank about the state of his investigation...that will probably stop now but hank also doesn't know Walt quit the game (if he really was able to like that episode made us believe)

  • DinChild Sep 06, 2012

    @Aye: in that case, yes. Absolutely. That would have been another way of finding out. However, they already drew the line in the sand when Hank was rapping at the door in season 4 with those questions about Gale's quote. It was a more poetic and artistic approach to unveiling the revelation by having Hank remember that he already correctly guessed who Heisenberg was, whether he knew it or not. The whole episode was based on earlier season call-backs, and that one, while Hank was going through Gale's notes, was the most important.



    And again, sense of humor people! :-) (We WILL get that scene! Vince knows it's too good an opportunity to pass up.)

  • FritzGroes Sep 06, 2012

    imo you got it wrong, the family connection is what blinds hank from finding out about walt, there would be so much more evidence on walt then there ever was on gus for example



    it started when the chemical equipement was missing from his school, if that had been anyone, he surely would have looked into it a bit more, than the w.w. stuff, the naked wandering in the desert, the times he wasnt at home, the gambling, the car wash, the ridiculiously expensive new cars



    the only thing that prevents hank from making that connection, is the image of the whiny coward walt was in the past, and for me that was the beauty of that show

  • AyeDub Sep 05, 2012

    @ tnetennba - +1 to you, you speak truth.



    @ Din - I know and I REALLY WANT TO SEE THAT SCENE, that immediate follow up after Hank finds out. Now if I get to it won't be for a full year...I really hope we do get to see it but I kind of don't think we will...



    As for having nothing on Walt, that's not entirely true. Hank knows to look into the finances behind the cars the car wash maybe even the watch (that he doesn't yet know is a gift from a kid he beat the shit out of). While Skyler is good but maybe she missed something...



    Anyway, regardless, I'm totally with tnetennba - if they'd instead gone with something like Hank seeing Walt in a surveillance photo with Lydia or Jesse (that he knows is connected to the blue meth) or even Saul (since Hank was following lawyers already) would have been a MUCH stronger way to go to get Hank thinking "maybe it is Walt". Only to be confirmed by something he finds in their house would have been a lot stronger. I think the audience deserves the smart Hank they saw in season 3 and 4, not a lucky Hank.

  • tnetennba Sep 05, 2012

    There are lots of other ways the family connection could have been used. For example, suppose that the DEA puts Lydia under surveillance, and at some point they see Walt go into the same building as her. If this is a public place, they wouldn't make anything of it. But if Hank (the family connection) sees the photos of the people going in, it could be one coincidence too many. It makes him suspicious, but he still doesn't know. So he uses his position in the family to gain access to Walt's house and look for evidence without a warrant. Now he finds something...not something so obvious as a hand-written note in Gale's hand writing that says "Walter White is Heisenberg", but something like the key to the storage unit.



    This is just ONE idea. I'm sure there are plenty of other ways that this could have gone down that doesn't require Walt to be *that* stupid.

  • DinChild Sep 05, 2012

    I like to think of it this way...Imagine the tension in Hank. He was a different man going into that bathroom than he will be coming out. He knows he has his man. He's right there, sitting at the very same table with the rest of his family. All he has to do is subdue Walt, and make the call. But he can't. He has no proof. He has nothing. If anything, it may be smarter to play it cool, calm, silent. Sure, the cat's out of the bag as far as Hank is concerned...but this just became a battle of wits. Hank has to find something solid. Some empirical evidence linking Walt to Heisenberg. He has to catch Heisenberg in the act. No easy task, especially if Walt has his guard up. Personally, I think this is going to make for some of the most brilliant episodes of Breaking Bad ever.



    Back to A...true, it's the mid-season finale. But come on! It's Hank on a toilet! After all the work he's put in; the gun shots he took and the car crashes he endured, all he needed was a bowel movement. It's perfect! And at least to this viewer, that doesn't detract from the hurricane of potential the last 8 episodes have.

  • AyeDub Sep 05, 2012

    @Din - Thank you.

    A) Because it's the mid season finale...no more episodes for almost a year...

    B) Right...he hasn't found anything, but he should have suspected and whatever he finds in the finale should have just solidified it for him.



    Yeah, I've heard the "Walt planted it" theory...perhaps if they played it straight...but the use of the season 4 footage makes me think that's not very likely...



    That scene in season 4 you reference is a perfect example...that's the point in which Hank - who gets a professional opinion that Gale wasn't Heisenberg that he really turned on to Gus and really kicked ass thinking through that angle...I just feel it's a really weak way to turn Hank on to Walt.

  • DinChild Sep 05, 2012

    Aye, I respect your opinion, but this is simply an premature opinion. A) this show has always had a sense of humor. Why NOT have Hank find out while on the toilet? B) Hank hasn't found out anything. All he's done is discover Walt's identity. While that may seem like a big deal (and it is to a degree) it means nothing in the eyes of the law. It's purely circumstantial evidence that points the finger to nobody. Hank's intelligent work is forthcoming, don't you worry.



    Safibwana is right, it's the family connection. And this revelation was built on that framework. But again, this is a premature argument you're throwing out considering it's half of a season. Sure, we have to treat it differently considering the wait for the next one, but in the context of the story, we still have a lot to learn.



    And who knows? Few have said Walt planted it there, and while I certainly don't subscribe to that notion, it does make a peculiar amount of sense considering Walt may just be bored playing it straight. His pride unquenchable. I recall the dinner scene in season 4 when Hank thought Gale was Heisenberg and a drunk Walt gave him every reason to abandon that thought process.

  • AyeDub Sep 05, 2012

    I guess I prefer the smart Hank in seasons 3 and 4 to the lucky one here. There's no way you'll convince me that the ONLY way this thing could go down was to have Mike find evidence in the home...



    Walt had a brother-in-law in the DEA simply to facilitate Walt going on a DEA ride-along on a meth bust in the pilot...that particular plot point then had the benefit of raising the stakes as people found out their connection over the next several seasons. It didn't speak at all to how he would be busted (early on).



    Simply put, they were building Hank up as someone who could figure out it was Walt on his own. Using the fact that he's so close to Walt could have easily been why he didn't want to believe what his gut was telling him at first (like he totally believed his gut all along investigating Gus).



    It also could have been (had they pained Hank slightly differently) that knowing it's Walt could have made a hard decision for Hank, because he wants to bust Walt, but he has to consider the lives of family he loves - particularly the kids - that are mostly innocent bystanders.



    Yet another way the character COULD have gone is after his near death experience in season 3 the writers deciding to maneuver Hank in a way that he becomes Walt's "Mike".



    You claiming that the "only way" the story could have gone is this way is simply short sighted folly. It COULD have gone many other ways, and would have been a lot more satisfying had they done so.

  • katikool Sep 05, 2012

    Honestly... I wasn't a fan of this episode. I know, blasphemy! It just felt like it belonged to a different show. The huge time jump, breaking up the show's core relationship (Walt and Jesse, duh!) and not much happened.



    I was left wondering, what was the point of the last 8 episodes? All the awesome story lines they set up, like Walt going off the rails, have been reset to zero.



    Except of course for that last scene, which just felt tacked on. I wish the last 8 episodes had been Hank slowly growing suspicious- then that last scene would have felt like a bombshell. Instead it all felt too happenstance.



    Of course, a less good episode of Breaking Bad is still a great episode of television. It's just that this one gave me a case of the sads :(

  • Nickylucas Sep 05, 2012

    Like you said, a less good episode of Breaking Bad is still a great episode of television. I forced a friend that's never seen Breaking Bad to sit through this episode with me and he really liked it.

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