“Breaking Bad”: Season 5, Episode 8

Warning: SPOILERSspoilersSPOILERS!!!!!!

Once you break bad it is damn near impossible to break away from the life you chose. The words “I’m out” do not grant immunity from previous choices. Complications arise, loose ends remain untied. Meth kingpin Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, seems oblivious to this in the final “Breaking Bad” episode of 2012, “Gliding Over All.” He has piles of cash that would make Scrooge McDuck envious, a healthy family, and an international drug distribution ring (i.e., everything he’s ever wanted).

Such is White’s ego that he believes when he says “I’m out” he is really out. Show creator Vince Gilligan showed through the plights of White’s co-conspirators Jesse and Mike that is not how the game works. It won’t work that way for Walt, either. He just doesn’t know it yet.

“Gliding Over All”‘s final scene destroys Walt’s myth that he will make a clean break. How will Hank use his newfound knowledge his brother-in-law is Heisenberg? We’ll have to wait until 2013 to find out. Thank the TV gods the NFL and “Boardwalk Empire” are coming to fill the Sunday night void.

Here are more thoughts from “Gliding Over All”. Shout-out to Robert “Silver Fox” Zullo!

A) The ghost of Gale pumps his fist in triumph. Hank’s discovery of Gale’s signed message to Walt in his copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass throws the show into turbulence. As my friend Matt “Don’t Call Me, Joey” LeBlanc astutely pointed out last night, Hank used Walt’s money to pay for treatment for his leg injury. If Hank goes forward with his investigation does this factoid compromise his career? Not going forward with his knowledge Walt is Heisenberg obviously compromises his career too. Classic Catch-22.

B) Walt’s cancer is back. That’s how I interpreted the bathroom scene. He punched the paper towel dispenser. That’s why the director Michelle MacLaren showed the audience the dispenser’s dent. Right? Is there any other way to view this?

C) I am no Sister Cleo but I called Walt’s using Todd’s relatives to wipe out Mike’s nine henchman. The show is unpredictable to a fault (i.e., use of magnets, train robbery, etc.). This plot development felt predictable and unbelievable. I’ll give the show a pass because it is fiction, after all. The scene illustrated once again how Walt’s pride has pushed him to take increasingly dangerous chances in order to maintain his kingdom.

D) Walt’s payment of Jesse is a necessary act of closure for his retirement. It’s the honorable thing to do but I don’t believe Walt did it for honorable reasons. He paid Jesse, in my opinion, to allow himself to die in peace. Walt looked like he wanted to tell Jesse something (i.e., my cancer has returned). Did inertia really cause them to become the biggest meth distributors in the southwest United States?

E) Walt has played a role in the murders of at least 14 people since the Season 4 finale. Why did he not kill Jesse? Is there still a slice of humanity that remains in him that wouldn’t allow him to kill his ultimate frenemy, his sidekick? Probably not. Jesse wisely packed heat just in case. Would Jesse kill Walt to avenge Mike if he knew Walt killed Mike? Would he kill Walt for any number of reasons? (i.e., Jane’s death, Brock’s poisoning, etc.) Yes.

F) So if I had to bet money I would bet that Walt’s association with Todd brings him down in some way. I know, Hank already knows Walt cooked with Gale. But Hank does not have any other evidence, at this point, to link the two. Hank’s DEA boss has told him to drop the Fring case. How does Hank solidify his case? I doubt it’s via Lydia, although that would be ironic if she turned, given Mike’s desire to kill her. My guess though is there’s something seriously amiss about Todd – besides the whole “he killed a kid and showed no remorse” aspect.

G) Let me return to the first point for a second: Since Hank’s boss has ordered him to drop the Fring case couldn’t he just require Walt and Skyler to pay a fee and then keep his mouth shut? Or does that put him at risk, in terms of someone fingering Walt as Heisenberg, and then Hank is screwed? I don’t think Gilligan and Co. cover that much ground in the final eight episodes. If anything, Hank faces off with his arrogant, know-it-all brother-in-law.

H) So we, the audience, are left to believe Walt can just walk away from the game without any consequences from his distributors? Has Todd learned his craft that quickly? Will the distributors also come looking for him? Is that why he purchased the gun in the Season 5 premiere?

I) Speaking of the 52nd birthday scene in the season premiere, “Live Free or Die”, I am still stumped about what causes Walt to move to New Hampshire, celebrate his birthday on his own, and purchase a gun. I am not sure “Gliding Over All” offered any specific clues. Of course he could receive cancer treatment there. Or he could adopt a secret identity via his attorney Saul Goodman, as my friend Matt suggested. Or anything else could happen. Did I mention this show is unpredictable? And I love it.

One thought on ““Breaking Bad”: Season 5, Episode 8”

  1. The punched paper towel dispenser shot was a reminder of season two, when Walt actually did punch it following news of his cancer’s remission.

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