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Recap / Breaking Bad S 5 E 8 Gliding Over All

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Walt sits alone in the exterminators' office, deep in thought, until Todd returns to inform him that Mike's car had been disposed off. The two then open the trunk of Walter's car, which contains Mike's body, and prepare to dispose of it. They close the trunk when the garage door opens and Jesse enters, asking about Mike. Walt simply tells Jesse that he is gone. Jesse suggests taking a vote to determine how to deal with Mike's "legacy": the nine men he was paying off. Walt, however, states that because Jesse and Mike are no longer in the business, there is only one vote left: Walt's.

As Mike's associates begin to trip over themselves asking for deals with the DEA, Walt approaches Lydia to get their names. Lydia is reluctant at first, but when Walt informs her that she would be useless and disposable to him without those names, she makes him an offer: she can sell his "Sky Blue" meth in the Czech Republic, using her associates at Madrigal, and in exchange for a 30% commission, she could not only ensure Walt makes greater profits, but would give him the names so he can tie up loose ends. Walt accepts the offer, with Lydia proclaiming "We're gonna make a lot of money together."

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Unbeknownst to Lydia, Walt indeed had planned to dispose of her in the event that she would not play ball, having brought his phial of ricin just in case.

With the names, Walt meets with Todd's uncle: Jack Welker, the leader of a gang of neo-Nazis, to discuss the logistics of killing Mike's lawyer and nine associates. The following day, Jack uses his prison connections to arrange their murders. Within the span of two minutes, Jack's minions kill their targets: shanking them, strangling them, beating them to death, and in one case, burning them alive, all so those associates would not have a chance to ask for protective custody or spill the beans if they found out the others had been silenced. Hank starts looking into the murders shortly after they happen. When he and Walt meet during a family get-together, the two sit down together and Hank gives Walt a heart-to-heart about a summer job he had in college tagging trees for lumbering crews to cut down. He didn't particularly enjoy it, but thinking back on it, he admits that he finds it more appealing than "chasing monsters".

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Over the course of the next three months, Walt ramps up his meth production, running labs in several tented houses as Skyler continues to launder his money, Declan and Lydia distribute the product throughout the American southwest and Europe, and Saul ensures their operation is unimpeded by the DEA. As Skyler continues to worry about her family's safety, she takes Walt to a storage unit she's rented out. Walt is making so much money that she can't even launder it all. She doesn't even know how much he has made anymore! She asks him a burning question: how much larger does the pile of money need to be before it's enough, and her family can be made whole again?

After having a routine MRI, Walt pays Jesse a visit. Even though tensions linger between them, the two wax nostalgic about the "Crystal Ship", the RV they used as a mobile meth lab when they first started working together. Before Walt leaves, he tells Jesse he left him something. Jesse finds two duffle bags on his front porch, containing his buyout money: five million dollars.

His business with Jesse concluded, Walt tells Skyler: "I'm out." Skyler is relieved.

Afterwards, Junior and Holly return home as Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie enjoy a family get-together at the White residence. Hank leaves to use the restroom and finds a book to read: Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. Inside the cover of the book, however, he finds a message written inside: "To my other favorite W.W. It's an honor working with you. Fondly, G.B."

Realization begins to dawn on Hank: he thinks back to his discussing Gale Boetticher's murder with Walt, and how he found mentions of a "W.W." in his notes.

"Who do you figure that is, y'know?" Hank asked Walt. "Woodrow Wilson? Willy Wonka? .....Walter White?"

"You got me." Walt said sarcastically, his hands raised in resignation.

Slowly, but surely, Hank comes to a frightening realization: Walter White is Heisenberg.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: The episode is set somewhere in 2009, but Jack Welker mentions the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, which took place in 2011.
  • Call-Back:
    • The paper towel dispenser that Walt smashed in anger the last time he was in the hospital is still broken when he uses it again.
    • Seeing the "W.W" dedication written by Gale in Walt's book causes Hank to recall when he was reading Gale's lab notes and musing over the meaning of "W.W." with Walt in "Bullet Points".
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Walter was planning on killing Lydia by poisoning her drink, but he decides against it after she makes it clear that her help is vital to his expanding meth empire.
  • Continuity Nod: This episode possibly has more than any other.
    • The episode opens with Walt staring at a fly.
    • The painting Walt observes in the hotel room is identical to a painting he saw in a psychiatrist's office in season 2.
    • In the bathroom of the hospital, Walt sees the same metal napkin dispenser which he punched out of anger in "4 Days Out".
  • Chekhov's Gun: As Walt is getting out of the shower, the camera focuses on his "Leaves of Grass" book gifted from Gale sitting atop the toilet. At the end of the episode, Hank finds himself on the toilet and decides to take a peak at this book...
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Todd mentioned having connections back at buyout. Walter ultimately decided to take up his word.
    • Gale becomes one from beyond the grave. The dedication he left to Walt in the "Leaves of Grass" book he gifted him becomes the key to Hank finally realizing that Walt is Heisenberg.
  • Cliffhanger: Hank is starting to piece together that Gale's address to W.W. is Walter White.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: Most of the prison kills are done by inmates ganging up on their target and stabbing them with small shanks over and over and over again.
  • Exact Words: Jesse asks if Mike made it out safely. Walt simply replies, "He's gone."
  • Foreshadowing: When Lydia believes that Walt will kill her if she gives him the names, Walt is incredulous that she thinks he'd kill her so publicly, only to later reveal that he had a vial of ricin concealed in his hat for that exact reason. Spiking her tea with ricin is exactly how he kills her later on.
  • Funny Background Event: In a subtle piece of Black Comedy, the convict on the phone next to Dennis immediately hangs up the phone and walks away the second he sees the Aryans coming for him.
  • He Knows Too Much: With no hazard pay to compensate for Mike's trusted men, this becomes an immediate problem. Dennis even considered a plea bargain if he cooperates.
  • Hope Spot: After constantly living under the threat of death from various sources as well as increasing law enforcement scrutiny and a growing estrangement from his family, Walt finally seems to be free: Everyone who wanted him dead has been eliminated; he has killed everyone who would link him to the meth business; he has made enough money for several lifetimes, as well as securing means to launder said money; He has retired from cooking meth, opening the door to reconcile with Skyler. Too bad he left the last piece of evidence somewhere Hank could find it....
  • Internal Reveal: Hank finally begins to realize that Walt was Heisenberg all along.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Lydia, to Walt: "We're going to make a lot of money together." Tuco said the same thing, word-for-word, to Walt four seasons earlier, and that didn't end well.
    • Walt, to Lydia: "Learn to take yes for an answer."
  • Literary Allusion Title: To a poem in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.
  • Metaphorically True: When asked where Mike is, Walt simply says "he's gone."
  • Montage: Walt and Todd cook for over a period of three months.
    • Earlier, Walt had all nine witnesses, plus Dan Wachsberger, murdered in under two minutes, in real time.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hank's reaction to finding Gale's book.
    Walter (from a flashback): You got me.
  • Pet the Dog: Walter decides to give Jesse the five million he's earned. Needless to say, Jesse is distraught afterward.
  • Reluctant Retiree: After three months, and with Marie suggesting that the kids should return home, Skylar pleads with Walter one more time to get out of the meth business, especially with a storage unit full of cash. Walter decides to retire the next day.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Played with. When Lydia accuses Walt of intending to kill her after she hands over the list of nine names, Walt points out how absurd it is that he would murder her in the middle of a cafe in broad daylight. The end of the scene reveals that he had a vial of ricin concealed in his hat, meaning that not only was Lydia right after all, but this method is exactly how he kills her in the finale.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Pick Yourself Up" by Nat King Cole, aka a slow dance song, is put over a prison massacre.
  • Time Skip: A short one of 3-4 months where Walt eventually accumulates his vast amount of wealth.
  • Victory Is Boring: The real reason Walt finally calls it quits after months of rationalizing. Everyone who could threaten him is dead, he's made more money than he can possibly spend, much less need, and at this point his cooking is starting to feel like just another job.
  • Wham Episode: All loose ends were successfully whacked and Walt decides to leave the meth business. Then, Hank finally puts it all together and realizes who Walter really is. Good thing he was already sitting down. On a toilet.
  • Wham Line: A flashback version that Hank recalls:
    Hank: "To W.W. My star, my perfect silence." W.W. I mean, who do you figure that is, y'know? Woodrow Wilson? Willy Wonka?...Walter White?
    Walt: You got me.
  • Wham Shot: This episode is full of them.
    • Walt takes his Heisenberg porkpie hat off the table at the café, revealing his ricin vial.
    • Skyler pulling the tarp off of the enormous pile of Walt's drug money. Doubles as In-Universe for Walt, who had no idea his business had amassed so much money.
    • After Walt leaves Jesse's house, Jesse reveals a pistol he'd been concealing in his pocket, and tosses it aside, relieved.
    • And of course, the closeup of Hank's face as he realizes Walt is Heisenberg.

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