The first part of Breaking Bad's final season ends on a phenomenal note a twist audiences have feared since the character of Walter White was introduced in 2008, but have stashed away in the subconscious after more than 50 episodes of the series. "Gliding Over All" sets up so many possibilities and a whole new direction for the final eight episodes of the series and makes predicting the end of this amazing story an impossible endeavour.
To rephrase one of Walt's lines in this episode, last things first: the ultimate scene in "Gliding Over All", that simple yet momentous and jaw-dropping epiphany for one of the characters, wouldn't be as great as it turns out to be if it weren't for the perfect lead-up to it. The intensity is lacking for most parts of this episode, but that turns out to be the perfect calm before the storm a storm that one could also describe as the best season-ending cliffhanger of the series. However, my 9.5 rating isn't the result of merely one remarkable scene, since there are loads of other things to praise in this episode. Firstly, there are Breaking Bad's best two minutes of non-stop violence in the most beautifully (not inappropriate to say, right?) shot murder montage. If such bloodshed isn't your cup of tea, there's still the drug cooking and contributing, getting stretched out to a three-minute chain of the whole process, set to contrasting music, looking purely amazing, and impressing with more match cuts you could ever expect to find in any other episode of any TV series.
Fans of subtlety will find a lot to admire about "Gliding Over All" too, with hints to episodes quite a while ago and the little disguised murder contemplations (Walt's ricin, Jesse's gun) being present in these 50 minutes, which may not be the series' most intense or thoroughly entertaining, but are artistically made and opening an outstanding new story for the series, making it the best episode of this half of the fifth season.