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

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4 thoughts on “Gliding Over All (S5E8)

  1. I’d just like to say I am really enjoying reading this as you go.

    Something I find interesting here is that you do not mention the last scene, especially since you had a question about it from Blood Money. I’m wondering if maybe you do not realize its significance because you do not know what does and doesn’t occur before it. I’m just interested in what your thoughts were watching it since the final seconds are important.

    Also in case you didn’t know, season 5 was broken into 5A and 5B. Gliding Over All was the finale of 5A and 5B didn’t premiere with Blood Money until almost a year later. The ending of this episode was a bit of a cliffhanger that we had a long time to speculate about.

  2. Honestly, I want to answer your questions, but the questions you ask are so good. You are clearly paying attention even to subtle things (like the paper towel dispenser). I promise it’ll make more sense and I’m sorry the Mike and Gus stuff is confusing, but you’ll get to know them.

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