REWATCH: Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 8 Recap: Gliding Over All
Aug 09 2013 12:28 pm CET

In the mid-season finale of Breaking Bad, Walt convinces Lydia to provide him the names of The Nine in exchange for a lucrative business expansion. Marie convinces Skyler to take the kids back. Hank makes a breakthrough in the Fring investigation. Also, Nat King Cole is ruined forever.

Previously on Breaking Bad: All Mike Ehrmantraut wanted was to get out of the drug trade, do his crossword puzzle and play Hungry Hungry Hippos with Kaylee. He managed to shake the DEA – even when they came knocking at his front door – and secured the remaining legacy payments for The Nine. However, Hank figured out the lawyer for The Nine has been working with Mike and put the kibosh on the money drops. Walt overhears Gomez and Hank discussing the case and tips off Mike. Walt meets with Mike to pass off getaway gear, but Walt wants the names of The Nine. You know who doesn't like being told "no"? Walter White. Walt shoots Mike as he makes his escape and then talks him to death, realizing too late he could have gotten the names from Lydia.

A fly lands on a lamp in Walt's office at Vamanos Pest. Walt eyes it with intensity, though not the same intensity as the last time he dealt with a housefly. A cab pulls up to the VPHQ driveway and Todd exits the vehicle. He comes in to the office and tells Mr. White Mike's car has been dealt with. Walt doesn't say anything, but Todd is not one for awkward silences. He starts talking about how cool the car-cubing process is at scrap yards. The two walk to Walt's car, which is parked in the garage. He pops the trunk to reveal Mike's corpse. "I don't want to talk about this," Walt says, "it had to be done." WRONG! Todd doesn't challenge this and begins grabbing the supplies for drumming the body. Dude, Mike deserves so much better than this. As Todd reaches for the jugs of acid, the garage door opens. Todd backs away from the fluids as Walt closes the trunk. Jesse walks in straight toward Walt. "I need to talk to you in private." Todd steps out and Jesse asks if Mike got out okay. Walt says he's no longer here. Jesse doesn't realize there are lines to read between, so he asks what happens with The Nine and what they should do. "We?" Walt asks. "Who's we? There is no we. I'm the only vote left and I'll handle it." Jesse doesn't challenge this, so Walt escorts his former partner to the garage door and closes it. Credits.

Hank and a district attorney meet with Dennis (the prisoner Mike and Dan Wachsberger visited a few episodes back) to discuss a deal in exchange for information. The lawyer for Dennis wants the charges dropped and blanket immunity. Both the DA and Hank scoff at this, particularly since there are eight other guys they can go to who would go for the deal they are offering. As the officers exit, Dennis decides to start talking.

We see Lydia at a coffee shop, adding three sugars to her beverage. Yes, that's what she needs: caffeine and sugar. Walt, in full Heisenberg garb sits at her table. "I think this would play better if you order something," she says nervously. Walt isn't thirsty or self-conscious and cuts to the chase. He wants the list of The Nine. Lydia explains she doesn't have a written list of The 10 (now that Wachsberger has been busted) because she is not interested in outliving her usefulness. Walt rolls his eyes and reminds her she had him swear on his children's lives to make sure nothing happens to her. She in turn reminds Walt that deal only involved protecting her from Mike. Then a light bulb goes off. "You wouldn't be asking for these names if Mike were still a factor." Lydia did not come unprepared: she proposes expanding operations to the Czech Republic. She explains she has contacts their and the purity level of product in Prague is only around 60%. "You'll blow their hair back," Lydia concludes. Walt is leery about expanding internationally since that is a whole slew of logistics he doesn't want to deal with. Lydia says Madrigal will be able to cover the logistics and Fring was in the final stages of creating the same deal before someone blew him up. Walt is leaning over the fence at this point, so Lydia goes into the financial details. He would only need to produce 25 pounds a week (half his current yield) and that would bring in about $2 million – less 30% for Lydia's cut. Walt is sold, but he wants the names. Lydia writes out the names on a napkin, they shake on the deal and she leaves. Heisenberg puts his hat back on and we see he was hiding the ricin capsule underneath.

Walt returns the ricin capsule to its hiding place behind the electric outlet cover in the Whites' bedroom. He then makes a phone call. "Todd," he says, "I think it's time I meet your uncle." We jump to a different bedroom at a sleazy motel. Guys with a number of tattoos of the swastika persuasion are discussing who can be where when and whether the plan would be possible. Walt sits in a chair thinking to himself as the rough looking guys discuss their own logistics. The lead tough, probably Todd's uncle, thinks the plan of wiping out 10 guys in three jails in the span of two minutes is beyond ambitious. Walt ignores the complaint, instead waxing philosophical on the beige art reflecting in a nearby mirror. Todd's uncle snaps his fingers in front of Walt's face. "It can be done," Uncle says, "just not the way you want it." Remember, this is Uncle's first dealing with Walt, so he doesn't understand the protocol yet. "It can be done exactly how I want it," Walt says, a testy tone in his voice. "The only question is are you the man to do it? Figure it out. It's what I'm paying you for."

We next see Walt back at his house, looking out the back window. He looks at his watch as it ticks down to the hour. Then we hear the dulcet tones of Nat King Cole reminding us to "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again." As the music plays, we see Lawyer Dan making a frantic phone call from prison. Then some guys walk up and start poking him with pointier-than-usual forks from the cafeteria. Dan falls to the ground. Come on Wachsberger, pick yourself up. Wachsberger? WACHSBERGER? I think he's napping. Anyway, we see a few other guys at other prisons also get the pointy-fork treatment. Dennis, who looks like he's in solitary for his own protection, sees some guys approaching with a jug of something. The guy with a jug opens the passthrough and splashes the liquid on Dennis and dumping the rest on the ground. A second guy lights a paper towel on fire and tosses it into the cell, immolating Dennis. This whole sequence is horrifically gruesome, but the soundtrack choice makes it downright barbaric. Following the carnage, Walt gets a phone call: "It's done." Walt stops the watch.

Later, we see local news coverage about the massacre, confirming that all the targets in the three prisons were killed in a well-coordinated attack. We see that the TV we're watching belongs to the Schraders as Walt plays and coos with Holly. Marie rushes into the living room and turns off the TV so Hank won't be bothered by the bad news (for his investigation) when he gets home. Walt places Holly – who is dressed in a purple-and-yellow ensemble that complements the purple/beige sectional – in her playpen. Hank comes in and looks shellshocked. Walt begins to excuse himself, but Hank offers him a drink. The two sit across from one another in the living room, stewing in an elongated silence. "I've been thinking about this summer job I used to have," Hank says, finally breaking the silence. He used to be the guy who would spraypaint x's on trees slated for chopping. "Sounds nice," Walt says, "being out in the woods all day." Hank seems to agree, saying "tagging trees is a lot better than chasing monsters." Walt tries to change the subject to camping, but Hank is lost in thought.

Walt bends down to set his drink on the coffee table, then rises into the scene of his next fumicook. Nice transition. Also nice: the soundtrack for this week's music video is "Crystal Blue Persuasion" by Tommy James & the Shondells. HOW HAVE WE GONE FIVE SEASONS WITHOUT HEARING THIS SONG? This particular montage shows a significant passage of time, with multiple cooks, Skyler cooking the books, and Lydia handling labeling of her international parcels personally. As the song ends, we see an overhead shot of an Albuquerque neighborhood with houses getting covered with fumigation tents. It reminds me of the beginning of each round of Paperboy showing which houses are still subscribers.

Back at the Schrader house, Skyler guides Holly through her first steps as she hangs out with Marie and Walt Jr/Flynn. Skyler asks Junior if he wants to watch a movie, but he gets a phone call about breakfast or something and heads out the door. Marie has noticed Skyler is in better spirits, telling her sister it's nice to see her smile again. Skyler agrees, adding "I'm hanging in there." Marie uses this as an opportunity to propose it might be time for Walt and Skyler to take the kids back. It has been three months at this point and Marie is worried she and Hank may be enabling the Whites' situation. "Maybe at this point the way to repair the family would be to repair the family, you know?" Marie hints.

Skyler returns to the White house. Unfortunately, I think Marie is right and the pretense for keeping the kids out of the house can't sustain itself. Skyler seems to understand this as well. Walt sits by the pool, staring out onto the water. Skyler walks up to him. "Take a drive with me," she says. The two arrive at a storage facility. Skyler opens one of the bays and the two step inside. Walt turns on the light and shuts the door and we see a large platform covered with a blanket. Once the door is closed, Skyler pulls off the blanket to reveal a gigantic pile of money. The stack is at least a foot-and-a-half tall and probably 6-feet-by-6-feet at a minimum. "This is it," Skyler tells her husband, "this is what you've been working for." She had to rent the storage space because the car wash not only couldn't launder it fast enough, 10 car washes couldn't launder that much money. "How much is this?" Walt asks. "I have no earthly idea," Skyler replies. "I just stack it up, keep it dry, spray it for silverfish." She says she tried to figure out the amount based on weight, but with all the denominations in play it would be impossible to measure. Even if all the bills were singles, the pile in front of them would have to be at least $2 million. "I want my kids back," Skyler says. "I want my life back. Please tell me how much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?"

We next see Walter entering the chamber for a cancer screening. We don't get any information on his prognosis. Following the screening he washes his hands in the hospital bathroom. As he dries his hands, Walter stares at the towel dispenser he punched out so long ago. The dispenser has not been replaced.

Jesse naps on his futon with a lit cigarette in his hand. The ash reaches his fingers, waking him up. As he bats at the couch to prevent a fire, there's a knock at his door. "Hi," Walt says, standing on Jesse's doorstep. He says he was in the neighborhood and wanted to say hello, because we're suddenly in Mayberry. Jesse invites Walt inside, telling him he heard from Saul about the prison massacre. "There was no other option Jesse," Walt says, "it had to be done." Jesse reminds Walt he's not coming back, then asks why Mr. White is visiting. Walt says he saw an RV similar to the one they first cooked in. They reminisce about the good ol' days ("good" is a relative term here) for a few moments before another awkward silence. "Hey, I gotta get going," Walt says. "I left something for you." Walt leaves and Jesse follows him to the porch, where a giant duffel bag sits. Jesse unzips the bag and finds the $5 million he was owed.

Skyler washes dishes in the kitchen. Walt enters and says hello. As usual, no response from Skyler. Walt walks over and turns off the faucet. "I'm out," Walt says. "I'm out." Walt leaves the room. Skyler considers the situation.

More time elapses and we see the kids have returned to the White household. Marie, Hank, Walt and Skyler chit chat at the outside dinner table. Hank might start homebrewing again while Skyler and Marie talk about the benefits of lemon juice as an additive in your hair. Speaking of hair, the ones on the back of my neck are upright because this level of complacency is going to be met with something horrific, I just know it. Hank excuses himself to use the restroom. He pops a squat on the loo to do his business. He reaches to the stack of reading material on the toilet tank. He passes over the magazines and flips through the pages of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. The dedication page features a handwritten note: "To WW, my star, gliding over all, GB." Hank recalls a conversation he had with Walt about the investigation of Gale Boetticher's murder. "You got me," is how Walt playfully ended that conversation. Play time is over.

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