Breaking Bad-“Gliding Over All”

As the final episode until next year, this episode did tie together loose ends while also loosening an exciting new one.

The moment that stands out to me the most is the conversation that happens between Hank and Walt after Hank comes home a couple of days after the deaths of Mike’s nine men. Hank tells Walt that he’s thinking of a job that he had during the summer breaks from college. He would mark trees to be cut down, putting a large orange mark on them, a mark that was probably the same color as the prison uniforms. He marked the trees in a grid pattern. Hank says that he never appreciated this job, that it was a lot better than chasing monsters. Walt replies by saying that he likes to go camping and the scene smoothly cuts to Walt getting up from another couch in his plastic meth cooking uniform. Then another cool sequence shows how business is booming. Planes take off to the Czech Republic, money is distributed, and most notably meth cooking tents spring up on placid neighborhoods all over Alburquerque.

The scene where the prison murders are planned is notable for the appearance of Damon Herriman who plays Dewey Crow on Justified. They brainstorm how 9 men can be killed within two minutes at three different facilities. The murders are gruesome. Someone is burned alive, several people are repeatedly stabbed, and blood drips from a weight lifting bench in one indelible moment.

Skyler takes Walt to the storage facility where she is keeping their excess money. She tells Walt that they can’t spend that money in 10 life times. Near the end of the episode, he tells her he’s stopping, but we don’t really believe him. Before they take their drive, she found him staring by the pool, the same pool she waded into at the beginning of the season.

Walt also gives Jesse his $5 million. In my second favorite moment of the episode, they reminisce about the early days of their business. They seem nostalgic for the RV. Walt may have enjoyed the fight of the early days, the not knowing and the exciting anxiety of running out of gas and dealing with day to day problems. Those days appear simple and almost quaint now.

Hanks finds a fragment of an answer sitting on the toilet. He picks up Leaves of Grass and connects Walt to an earlier moment in the series. I hope this is the start of a whole new set of theories backed up by facts for Hank. I want him to see Walt for who he really is in the final eight episodes next year. I want him to catch the monster.


Breaking Bad-“Say My Name”

In the first season of Breaking Bad, Jesse and Walt met Tuco in the junkyard and they had no power in that negotiation. They were meth up-starts seeking a share of the business. Now Walt emerges victorious from any negotiation. When the Phoenix meth crew initially refuses Walt’s offer for a share of the business, Walt tells them to “Say my name.” Heisenberg. Walt obtains the recognition he so desires.

Todd emerges as Jesse’s replacement in this episode. He’s a young, eager student ready to take notes and learn. He even refuses an offer of money until he’s truly learned the business.

The most memorable scene in this episode was the last image of the beautiful river, a great outdoor western scene for Mike’s death. “Just shut up and let me die in peace,” he tells Walt who is still talking about how it didn’t have to be that way, although we know it did. Mike’s death represents the loss of the main person who would challenge Walt. Mike stood for how crime was done in the past, with a sense of what was right even in the midst of doing everything wrong.

Breaking Bad-“Buyout”

Walt is in the meth business to build empires. He tells Jesse this when they are at his house, an invitation Jesse was surprised to receive. In the most deliciously awkward part of the episode, Jesse attempts to make small contact with Skyler. He complements her food and then she states in an icy tone that it just came from the Albertson’s deli. She has just found out that Walt told Marie about her affair with Benecke. I believe this is only the second time in the series that Jesse and Skyler have been in the same scene together.

In the wake of the boy’s death, Jesse is distraught and angry. Todd has no regrets. He simply says, “Shit happens,” and comments on the smell of the chemicals they use to dissolve the boy’s body. The opening sequence shows them unearthing the boy’s dirt bike slowly from the back of the truck and then we saw his hand in a moment that is truly horrifying. Todd also kept the tarantula in the jar.

Walt also appears to have no regrets. He whistles in the meth tent after Jesse and him see a news story about the missing boy.

Walt may be low on regrets, because he will not let this fortune get away from him as he did Gray Matter, the company that is now worth billions of dollars. This information rewards viewers who remember the birthday party scene from early in the series when Walt goes to the house of his former partner. We still don’t know the full reason Walt sold his part of the company.

Breaking Bad- “Dead Freight”

In the tradition of great westerns, Walt, Jesse, Mike, and Todd (the new edition to the crew who spotted the nanny cam in an earlier episode) rob a train to gain a flood of methelmine. The robbery takes place in an open area of New Mexico desert and a combination of tracking and point of view shots make it feel like a classic movie robbery.

One of the most shocking moments of the season so far happens at the end of this episode. Todd shoots a little boy riding his dirt bike, because he witnesses the robbery. He does it without thinking. The same boy riding his bike opens up the episode. We watch as he gathers a tarantula into a glass jar. At the end of the episode, the tarantula is still crawling around and waiting for a possible escape.

Breaking Bad- “Fifty-One”

In this episode, Walt celebrates a fifty-first birthday that features Skyler wading into the swimming pool fully clothed. The camera centers on her skirt billowing out underwater. Skyler wades into the water with Hank, Marie, and Walt watching. She needs to show Hank and Marie how much she needs help so they will take the children away. Boarding school in Arizona isn’t the best option.

The women of Breaking Bad are increasingly desperate. Lydia tries to escape by seemingly attaching a GPS censor to the barrel Jesse is supposed to pick-up. However, Mike catches on and says he will kill her. Walt halts the plan, because they need her supplies. Escaping for the women is a challenge not yet met.

In one of the best scenes in the episode, Walt Jr. asks why Skyler didn’t spell the numeral of Walt’s birthday out using bacon. When Skyler comes up short on the 1, she takes the bacon from Walt’s plate. Families must collaborate to survive, Walt says. Jr. doesn’t realize that this isn’t the time to ask Skyler to carry on family traditions. The bacon scenes also echoes the starting scene of the season. We know Walt’s 52nd birthday will be celebrated alone at a Denny’s.

Walt also caresses his Heisenberg hat throughout the episode. The hat seems to take on totemic powers similar to Raylan’s hat in Justified. Every cowboy, whether bad or good, needs a hat.

The episode concludes with the camera focusing in on the watch Jesse gives Walt for his birthday. Walt tells Skyler that Jesse once wished him dead as well and now he’s giving birthday gifts. The seconds tick away on Breaking Bad and Walt’s business venture.

Breaking Bad- Hazard Pay

In this episode, we had two great references to the West. First, Friday Night Light’s Jesse Plemons appears as Todd, a member of a crew of insect exterminators. Just as Walt and Jesse are about to start a cook in a house that’s been closed for extermination, Todd points out the nanny cam. I believe he will play more of a role in later episodes.

Near the end of the episode, Walt watches his stack of money disappear, because Mike needs to pay hazard pay to a variety of people, including Gus’s former employees. Mike tells Walt, “You may have shot Jesse James, but that doesn’t make you Jesse James.” It’s nice to see great western outlaws mentioned as Walt descends further into a world beyond laws. However, Walt will never possess the charisma of many onscreen outlaws. At this point, his downfall would be a satisfying thing to watch, because of the way he treats everyone around him. When Walt questions the reasoning behind Mike paying off the employees, Mike says, “It’s just what you do.” For Walt, there is no code. At the end conclusion of the episode, Walt mentions Victor to Jesse. Victor was the employee who was killed by Gus with a box cutter. Walt is starting to understand the other motives Gus may have had in running his business that way.

Scarface also makes an appearance in this episode. Possibly as a way to advertise for AMC’s Mob Week. However, it also shows the nightmare visions of Skylar. Skylar breaks down in front of Marie. There appears to be no place for her to turn. 

Walt also manipulates Jesse into breaking things off with Andrea. At one point, Walt sits on the couch with Brock, the kid he poisoned. Jesse now has nobody else besides Walt.



Madrigal, Breaking Bad

According to Walt, there is gold in the streets of Alburquerque and it’s just waiting to be scooped up. In this episode, Walt is in full intrepid miner mode and takes steps to relaunch the meth making business.

Most of the episode’s best scenes center around Mike. At the start of Madrigal, Mike attempts to relax with a movie and a beer, but Mike can’t stay out of the action no matter how hard he tries to separate himself. He’s called into be interviewed as part of the DEA’s investigation. Hank mentions that Mike left the Philadelphia Police Department under dramatic circumstances, but we don’t know what those circumstances are. Hank attempts to use the money in his granddaughter’s name as a means of getting Mike to talk, but it doesn’t work. We also get to see Mike playing with Kaylee, his granddaughter. I always enjoy the scenes that create even more sympathy for Mike.

In one of my favorite scenes in the episode, Lydia, one of Gus’s employees, meets Mike in a diner. However, she doesn’t understand how to order a drink in this kind of establishment. She goes through a list of teas that they simply don’t have. Lydia wants Mike to kill the 11 people on her list who could possibly link her and Mike to Gus. Mike declines, but Lydia hires someone different to do the killing. Near the end of the episode, Mike nearly kills Lydia with her daughter in the next room-a scene that contrasts against the earlier moment of Mike playing with Kaylee. Instead of killing Lydia, Mike uses her to get more chemicals for the cook process.

The episode’s opening also deserves mention. We see a Madrigal employee sampling different flavors of dipping sauce, things like Cajun Kick Ass and Franch, a combination of French Dressing and Ranch. A team of chemists eagerly await his verdict. Instead he’s called out because the police force is here and he ends up killing himself in the bathroom. The sauce scene is a humorous departure that ends in Breaking Bad style violence. The show’s ability to move between those areas is one of its greatest strengths.