03 September, 2012

Review - BREAKING BAD 5.08: 'Gliding Over All'

I reviewed the first episode of the season, so I feel it only seems fitting that I review what AMC is calling the mid-season finale. Though, it is just the mid-point of the season where they make us wait a year to see the rest. Like what was done with the final season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. I envy those who will watch either of the shows in 2013 all the way through without these ridiculously long breaks.

Anyway, unto the breach, dear friends.

The season has been pretty solid and Shawn Mahone has been guest reviewing it on this blog and seemingly digging it. I haven't always agreed with his assessments but I appreciate that he has put his thoughts into words when I didn't feel like it (I am lazy).

But the show saved its season best episode for last (or mid-last) by not giving us big shocking moments, like last week, but instead by suggesting shocking moments to come at every meeting. And that's essentially what this episode was.

A series of meetings.

A series of deadly or potentially deadly meetings.

And because the show didn't play cute little games with the story points --that inevitably end up with obvious story solutions- the episode played up the tension organically, leaving the audience holding its breath at every potential bad turn.

With Mike gone and Walt having to deal with the consequences of his former business partner's goon squad squealing, things kick into action at a simmering pace. Walt meets with Lydia to get the names of Mike's crew. She worries that his intention is to get those names and kill her. At the end of the scene we learn she was right but by then she has saved her life by offering Walt a larger scale distribution for his meth operation.

Walt then meets with: Jesse to reminisce and pay him his share, with Jesse terrified that Mr. White has come to kill him; Skyler, who reveals they are rich beyond their ability to spend and that she wants him out and the family back together; and a crew of bad guys with the ability to wipe out the individuals on Lydia's list.

The episode also hints at the fact that Walt's cancer has returned.

Mike's men are assassinated in a brutal montage (the episode also has another montage of Walt's now more advanced meth network in play).

Walt quits so that he can have his family back.

And then we get the best THE USUAL SUSPECTS type ending since... that movie. The family, including Hank and Marie, enjoying each other's company, as the audience feels the charge of doom in the air. Something is going to go wrong. Someone is going to die. Walt can't possibly just get out. There will be men walking in any second now to blow them away. Or maybe a bomb. Or a sniper? Something bad is about to happen and there is no way it won't!

It reminded me of the SOPRANOS ending.

The anticipation.

And then the payoff.

Hank, accidentally discovers the truth while taking a dump. Gale's signed "Leaves of Grass" to "W.W." calls back to an earlier conversation between Walt and Hank and poof, like that, the detective puts it all together.

Walt is Heisenberg.


Mind you, I've been saying for two seasons now that this show would end with Hank finding out and having to deal with the consequences and reality of what that means.

What does Hank do? Obviously he has to gather evidence but will he burn a family member? Hell, it will destroy his career having the mastermind behind all of this being someone that close.

I imagine he will do the right thing in the end, but that he will do what he can to not take the family down with Walt. And with Walt out of the game and dying, what is the thing that will bring him back into it? Why will he be arming himself to the teeth on his next birthday?

Many questions are left up in the air and we are a long way away from knowing the answers or even pieces. At least the show went out on a high note and earned every breathless moment of anticipation.

If I had to rate this episode, and Mike's rotting corpse says I do, then I'd give it:

98 out of 100

What did you think?


  1. I felt the scene set to Nat King Cole's "Pick Yourself Up" was every bit as riveting as the baptism scene in the Godfather.

    1. Yeah, I even thought about tossing that comparison into this article but realized I didn't remember the scene well enough to write about it. ;)

  2. I also liked that after it all went down Walter was bouncing his baby on his knee as they were reporting about it on the news.

    1. Yeah, Walt is totally disconnected from his responsibility.

  3. I liked when Hank is pouring out his heart and letting Walt know what this job is doing to his soul all Walt cod do is what he always does and make it about himself...."I love camping"...fucking magnificent bastard! Fucking magnificent hubristic, in denial, selfish monster! Long live the king!

  4. Because of the flash forward in the season opener, we know that Walt won't be in jail on his next birthday. So, Hank's arresting Walt doesn't appear to be in the near future.

    That's the big question to me. What happens between Hank's revelation here and then to keep Walt a free man?

    Sticking that flashforward in created more questions than if it had been left out.

    1. Yeah....they basically skipped 3 months past his 51st birthday and we have 9 months until his 52nd, ala Denny's big gun day. So the tension of Hank finding out is kinda flat...also Walt could bullshit how he got that book and say he knew someone else with the initials GB and who has the same hand writing or something else....interesting....

    2. I don't think Hank would confront Walt about it right away. He would first use this new information to focus his investigation. But at some point he would need to either protect Walt or do everything in his power to get Skyler and the kids away from him.

      And Shawn, this is not WHITE COLLAR. They didn't write this ending so they could take it back in a conversation in the next episode. This will be a big deal. Sure, Walt might try to explain it away but Hank isn't an idiot. He's just blinded himself to the truth because he didn't want to see it. Now he is sure of it. And we know that once Hank goes on the warpath, he won't be stopped.

    3. The problem with typing a message, lol. I did not mean for my previous comment to come accross as sarcastic or derogatory. I meant that Hank finding out the whole truth as you say is a long way off so we have time (like 9 months of show time) to see how and why things get really bad for Walt in New Hampshire. I do find the situation interesting, I have no idea how this is going to play out. Who will be the weak link? Jesse, Skyler, Lydia or the Pheonix crew or Todd. If Walt is out and not seeing any of his former associates then is the only clue left the storage locker money?

      Mea Culpa if my comment came across derisive, that was not my intention. Whereas all my comments about White Collar are derisive and deroggatory...White Collar reminds me of the scene in Full Metal Jacket when the hard ass instructor asks how tall a soldier is and the soldier responds and the instructure said "bullshit I did not know they stack shit that high"...every time I watch White Collar I can not believe it is possible for them to stack 44 minutes of shit that high...lol!

  5. I've always had this feeling since the beginning of the show that Walt would die at the end of the series.

    Since Walt's the main character of the show they had to have his cancer go into remission for a couple of years but now that the show is ending it will come back.

    Walt dies due to his cancer and Hank decides not to bust him for three reasons.

    1. He was just doing it to provide for his family.
    2. It would hurt his career more than help if anyone else knew.
    3. Hank likes Walt.

    Skyler doesn't love Walt anymore but will gladly use the money he made to live on for the rest of her life.

    RJ Mitte AKA Walt Jr. gets nothing to do as usual in these final 8 episodes.

    It sucks that AMC split the final season into two 8 episode seasons.

    I would have just started airing all 16 episodes in early June and wrapped it up instead of making every fan wait another year.

    1. It takes them 3-4 weeks to construct 1 episode! (Vince Gilligan said that in one of his Insider Podcasts on the AMC Website). So I think you would still have to wait a little longer...

    2. Actually, I think Skyler DOES love Walt. She also hates/hated him. Her perfect world would involve him out of the criminal world and living out the rest of their lives without any more trouble.

      After season 3 I said that I thought the final episode would involve Walt and Jesse dying and Hank left alive. As things have gone on, my feelings have only slightly changed.

      I think the logical path is to have Walt lose everyone he loves and to go on a mission of revenge. That means some have to die. Some have to leave him. And someone he cares about has to come after him.

      In can see Jesse dying. Maybe Skyler. And Hank and Walt ending it all in a shootout with the bad guys. Walt dies. Hank survives and raises the kids. The show ends as he finds the money. One final shot of him saying "Oh boy." Series over. ;)

      I canz fanfic!

    3. I would love that ending if it happened.

  6. Well, then Vince Gilligan and crew should have worked faster.

    That doesn't change my opinion that the show should have shot all the episdoes and AMC should have aired them this year.

    They normally do 12 or 13 episode seasons anyway.

    I have really enjoyed season 5 and i don't like waiting this long.

    or maybe air the rest this upcoming January.

    1. Have you ever read or listened to what Vince Gilligan has to say about his and writers process? lol! The guy admits to being a control and being anal and has to go over every last detail like a million times and has to know everything about everything. They spend like 2 months just throwing around ideas and getting it all together. The funiest thing I ever heard him say (on the Insider Podcast) was that when he spoke to the Person of Interest crew...when they told him that from the time the writers meet up to the start of production it was only 3 weeks he said he went white and felt like feinting, lol. I do not know how this man is going to last as a show runner on main network tv!