Gliding Over All (S5E8)

I went to check the title of this episode and started reading the Wikipedia summary, like barely started, just the introductory paragraph before the little contents tab, and it mentioned that Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (and presumably just Walt’s copy of it) is featured prominently in the series. Whether this is just addressing it’s relevance in this last season as the plot point that undoes Walt, or if poems by a dead guy who liked to sing about himself are a recurring theme, is something I will presumably have to wait to learn.

So anyways, this episode threw me for a bit of a loop in regards to the length of time Walt has had a professional relationship with many of these people. I already figured Walt and Todd had worked together cooking meth, but I didn’t have a concept of how long they had worked together. Presumably Todd was one of his students at school like Jesse, and just took over Jesse’s position after Jesse got out of the game. Additionally, characters like Lydia, and Jack and the nazis, seem to have only begun their working relationships with Walt as of this episode.  And Walt’s ridiculously huge cash pile was all the proceeds of this episode (and whatever length of time it encapsulated).

And of course there are characters like Mike that are asked about and referred to, besides Lydia’s referring to someone else that was distributing Walt’s product that is presently under investigation, and Gus Firing who must have been an extremely important character for a while even though I still know next to nothing about him. I was going to use this post to speculate about the corpse in Todd’s trunk, but again, spoiled that body’s identity by glancing at the wikipedia page for this episode (I obviously kept reading beyond the first paragraph, then promptly closed the tab after this second spoiler). I didn’t get a good look at the body, but is this the same guy whose family Jesse wants to give his money to? Jesse mentions a granddaughter, but I don’t remember enough about the body to say if it was an old looking corpse. I just remember that it was a beat-up looking white guy.

Whoever Mike was, Lydia was very concerned about him. Walt was a little cagey about telling Jesse exactly what happened to him. Is this going to be a grey morality type situation, where Jesse has a different view of Mike than everyone else? I mean I don’t know anything about what this guy did besides turn up dead in Todd’s trunk, but Jesse is not directly told  he’s dead. I didn’t write it down, but I think Walt tells Lydia Mike is dead in not quite as many words, but with a stronger implication of “Yeah, I whacked the guy, let’s get down to business.”

Did Walt dump Jesse as a partner because Jesse was developing a sense of wanting out? An earlier (later in the correct chronology of the series) episode had a flashback of Walt and Jesse cooking in a trailer, with Jesse kind of kicking sand in the background like he was mad at Walt. The discussion they have in Jesse’s awful living room about how unreliable their old RV was also seems to imply to me that perhaps their relationship was always a little tenuous. Walt makes it clear to Jesse in the beginning that Jesse no longer has any say in his activities. Was Jesse two ways about Walt from the beginning, or did he not start to want out until Walt began to rack up a body count?

I guess the phrase body count is as good a segue as any into the prison montage. That was a pretty brutal scene, and while I didn’t care to pay attention to this specific detail, I’m sure it was a two minute montage, like how it was only supposed to take two minutes within the world of Breaking Bad itself. It certainly felt like two minutes. Two really violent, bloody minutes. I don’t even think the execution of all the mob bosses in The Godfather was that long. A lot is made of the fact that Walt had all these guys executed in prison (three separate prisons) in the following episodes, but something I can’t help but think about is the fact that Walt’s not exactly responsible. He’s just the guy who paid for the hit.

The Aryan Brotherhood (or it’s in-universe equivalent), an enormously powerful and influential prison gang, was responsible for these murders. And apparently they only became Walt’s muscle in this episode. Lots of other references have been made to people Walt has killed, but how intimidating was Walt before he had Jack backing him up? I think he ran over a few guys, and apparently he’s pretty attached to ricin poisoning, but is that it? Todd just turns up with Mike in his trunk so I’m guessing he’s the one who killed him, and I’m still waiting to find out about the guy Todd shot off of a dirt bike, unless that was Mike. Does Walt just have a lot of murderous friends who build up this reputation for him?

The domestic situation is still muddled to me (I say domestic situation but obviously the domestic situation is very much effected by, and is perhaps a direct result of, the meth situation).  Marie talks to Skyler like she’s a recovering addict or something. Why are their kids living with Hank and Marie? Why did Skyler and Walt want to keep the kids someplace else, and what’s their cover story?  I’ve asked these questions before but they got brought back into the forefront here, and I think a lot of my questions are repeats anyways. I can’t stress enough how crazy it drives me that I don’t know more about guys like Mike and Gus who are already dead as of the episodes I’m watching.

Anyways, other questions:

Where did all of the money go before? There’s the car wash and Hank’s surgery. Is Walt’s deal with Lydia simply way more profitable than anything he was up to previously?

Walt asked Todd to introduce him to his uncle. He says to Jack, “It can be done exactly how I want it. The only question is, are you the man to do it?” Is this a bluff? Who else could Walt have approached about something that elaborate?

What was the deal with all the fumigation tents appearing over the neighborhoods? Do Walt and Todd break into empty houses to cook? And they’re fumigated later when authorities discover someone was cooking meth in there? This seems like it would be a really easy pattern for the police to catch onto so I’m guessing I’m mistaken or missing something on this point.

What’s the liquid in the drums they’re stowing the meth in?

What sort of treatment is Walt receiving? He looked like he was about to get radiation but he’s also on chemo. Do they do multiple kinds of treatment like that when treating cancer?

What happened to the paper-towel dispenser is whatever public men’s room Walt was in?

Random notes:

Walt’s stupid hat and giant old-person sunglasses

haha, “Rocks, right?” asks Hank when pouring a whiskey for Walt

Blood Money (S5E9)

The start of this episode threw me off a little, it being a flash forward to the events of the final episode, complete with showing Walt’s machine gun in the trunk of the car and him grunting out a “Hello, Carrol” to his neighbor, who promptly drops all her groceries in the street. I’m not going to check because I promised myself I wasn’t going to make this blog too much of a chore for myself (which is evident in my non-existent update schedule), but in the last episode, Skyler receives a phone call from a woman I’m pretty sure was Marie, in which she warns Skyler that someone saw Walt in the neighborhood. Was it this woman? It’d be kind of neat if the cold opens of the show had been steadily giving out little previews of the finale for a while.

Anyways, moments later it goes to the present and we see Hank coming out of the bathroom at Walt’s house all kinds of perturbed. I’m assuming the next episode will show me exactly why he went in there, and whether or not he was seriously ill or just feigning it because he somehow received an inkling that he’d discover a sample of Walt’s handwriting lying around in the box of things that are read in the bathroom.

(Do we really want to explore the reason that seminal American poet Walt Whitman’s most famous collection is considered bathroom literature in the White household? I’d prefer not to. But it may turn out to be a more important plot point than “a thing with Walt’s handwriting in it.”)

Things are slowly coming together for me, and I mean very slowly, because while these episodes are confirming little obvious hunches I had, like how the car wash is just how they’re laundering their money, it’s throwing all sorts of other new information at me, like who are these people Jessie wants to give money to? I think Mr. and Mrs. Sharp are the parents of some guy Todd killed, and Kayleigh … Ermentrout? Presumably him and Walt were somehow complicit in the murder of her grandfather.

I want so much to know more about Jessie as a character. Right now the only things I know about him are that he’s suffering and scared and feels incredible remorse over all the shady things he got into with Walt, but previously, from my ancillary exposure to the character from not even watching the show but just seeing commercials and little meme-type images around the internet, he just seemed like kind of a wigger-clown kind of guy who called everyone “bitch.”  He’s a relapsed addict, which is a reasonable enough reaction to hating one’s life and being told by everyone who could help you that there’s no real feasible way to make personal amends to your victims. In many ways he seems like a more complicated figure than Walt and Skyler.

He has an enormous amount of cash on hand, at least 5 million according to Saul, which is a small fraction of Walt’s total take from what I know at this point, unless there was more cash that he’s already spent. And judging from the crap dudes he hangs out with, 5 million would be much, much more than enough money to set Jessie up for life. And yet he can’t let it go. Walt doesn’t seem to have the same conflicts, but Walt also has the luxury of knowing that his time is limited, and that even with treatment he’s unlikely to live much longer. If Walt’s guilt is anywhere near as intense as Jessie’s, he’s able to hide it or cope with it much better.

The huge reveal in this one of course is Hank, who now knows Walt is Heisenberg, actually accusing Walt after Walt discovers his book is missing and that Hank stuck a tracker on his car. Walt remarks that he saw Hank use this same kind of tracker when they (they) were involved with Gus Firing. This brings up a question I’m still not clear on from Walt’s confession video. What the hell was their joint involvement with this business? Hank is a DEA agent, but as far as I know, Walt was a high school teacher. Was he working with Hank as a chemistry consultant? Was Walt already making/selling meth when this Gus Firing thing, whatever it was and however long it lasted, came about? Walt seemed really familiar and chummy with the guys dropping off all the files Hank requested, so was he a fixture around the DEA at some point? How much longer until all of this starts to come together for me?

Again, Walt doesn’t exactly admit to Hank that he’s Heisenberg, but basically implies it by saying that Hank can’t prove anything. Hank spent all day in the garage looking at what appeared to be every file on the Heisenberg case though, so why is it he’s never able to put together a case strong enough to convict Walt until he gets Jessie’s testimony later on? Is this something I should already know by now, some detail that I missed because I lacked context for it, or is the rest of the series just going to be a long chronicle of Walt covering his tracks so thoroughly that every episode is just going to end with Hank and Steve standing around scratching their heads over a bunch of corpses?

Questions:

Is Lydia in any kind of physical danger at the drop in quality of the meth she’s selling? Or just financial danger, danger to her reputation as a distributor of weapons-grade methamphetamine?

What does Marie do? She was leaving for work in what looked like a labcoat.

Random notes

The banter in the beginning when they’re all just kibitzing in the back yard while Hank stumbles out of the john sounded really natural, I liked it

Skyler looks to be a little taller than Hank in heels

I keep noticing more and more funny details every time I see Saul’s office, his constitution wallpaper, the variety of crap-people in his waiting room, Huell barely awake outside the door, etc.