Breaking Bad, 5-8: “Gliding over All”
A fly lands on what looks like a metal bar, then we see it on top of a desk and hear it buzzing. Todd gets out of a yellow cab pulled up to the Vamonos Pest yard gate. He comes in the garage, calling, “Mr. White! Hello?”
Walt’s sitting motionless at the desk, his back to Todd, while the fly – telling him things are far from perfect – continues to buzz. “Mr. White,” Todd says, “the car has been dealt with.”
Walt asks, without turning around, “No one tailed you?”
“Did Joe ask any questions?”
“I told him ‘RV job’ like you said, and he totally knew…It’s pretty cool the way they do that – turn a car into a cube. So, shall we do the other thing now?”
We notice that Walt hasn’t been wearing his glasses when, now, he puts them on. “Yeah, sure.” He’s been looking at a fly chart.
The two men open the trunk of Walt’s car, and stare at Mike’s body (which, thankfully, we can’t see). Walt says, “I don’t want to talk about this.”
“It had to be done.”
Walt gets the white plastic barrel and Todd the first jug of acid, then all of a sudden the garage door opens. Todd shuts the trunk as Jesse comes in, saying (to Walt), “I need to talk to you – in private.” Todd leaves. “So, what’s the story? You get to Mike?”
“He get out safe?”
“All right. Those nine guys got no reason not to talk now, so we need to vote.”
“We? Who’s ‘we’? I’m the only one with a vote left, and I’ll handle it.”
Jesse nods, gives Walt a long look, turns, and goes. Walt closes the door.
Scene 1: Casa Blanca, a jail meeting room, a high-end coffee bar
We see Walt showering, the Leaves of Grass book on the back of the toilet.
Then we see Dennis, the laundry guy, and his lawyer, trying to negotiate a deal with Hank and another DEA agent. The lawyer says they want the charges dropped and immunity, and Hank offers “queen for a day” and reduced charges. Then he gets up to leave, saying, “It’s a buyer’s market. I’ve got eight other guys and Dan the Douchebag lawyer.”
Lydia sits at a window table in a high-end Albuquerque coffee bar, opening a package of stevia to add to her classy red mug. Walt comes in wearing sunglasses and his Heisenberg hat. Taking them both off, he sits opposite Lydia. Declining to order anything, he asks to see “the list,” which Lydia says she has in her head. She seems reluctant to give Walt what he wants, and he asks, “Am I not tying up loose ends for our mutual benefit?”
“You’re tying up loose ends, and I don’t want to be one of them. If I give you that list, I’ve served my purpose, and then I might just be one more person who knows too much.”
“I guaranteed your safety already – on my children’s lives.”
“From Mike. You wouldn’t be doing this if Mike were still a factor.” Their eyes meet. “Yeah – that’s what I thought.”
“What do you want exactly? Because if you don’t want to give me that list, then I’ve truly got no use for you.”
“I can grow your business exponentially.”
“Give me the list.”
“What do you know about the Czech Republic?”
“The Czech Republic?”
“Do you know there’s higher meth use there than anywhere else in Europe? Ten percent of its ten million people, which is roughly the population of the Southwest from west Texas to Phoenix. By adding an overseas market you can more than double your profits. And the average purity there is only about 60%. They’ve never seen anything like your product.”
“Shipping internationally seems like courting disaster.”
“Not if you do it via Madrigal.”
“Madrigal is under investigation by the DEA.”
“The restaurant division mostly. We’ve got 46,000 employees across fourteen divisions. And once Mike’s people are no longer involved, this should tie up nicely. This is what I do, you understand. I move things from point A to point B all over the globe – 1.2 million metric tons a month.”
“The Czech Republic – who’s there on the other end?”
“People I’ve worked with for years – they’re professionals.”
“If this is such a slam-dunk, why didn’t you pitch it to Fring?”
“I did – he said ‘yes’ – we were in the final stages of working it out when somebody killed him. You don’t think Gus Fring built his distribution network all by himself, do you? I’m thinking 25 pounds a week.”
“With Fring my end was going to be 30%, which I think is more than fair.”
“Okay.” When she tries to add one more selling point, Walt says, “Lydia, learn to take ‘yes’ for an answer [Mike’s line to him at a an earlier point]. First things first.” He passes her a small piece of paper, she writes the list of names down, passes it back, then offers her hand. They shake.
“We’re going to make a lot of money together,” Lydia says, a callback to what Gus said to Walt when they started as partners. She puts her Jackie O sunglasses on and leaves. Walt lifts his hat, which has been sitting on the table, revealing the vial of ricin underneath.
Scene 2: Casa Blanca, a cheap motel room
Walt puts the ricin back in the wall outlet behind his night table.
Walt and Todd meet with Todd’s uncle and several of the uncle’s men in a cheap motel room. Several of the men, who all seem very skanky, have swastika and/or prison tattoos. On one wall is the same picture that we saw in Walt’s hospital room when he had his surgery: the family saying goodbye to a man in a rowboat on his way to a large ship. Only this picture is old and tattered. Soon after Todd’s uncle says he isn’t sure that nine men in three separate jails can all be killed within the same two-minute period, Walt says, “It can be done exactly how I want it. The only question is are you the man to do it?” One or more of the men look at Todd, standing in a dark corner of the room, and he nods, as if vouching for ‘Mr. White.’ “Figure it out. That’s what I’m paying you for.”
Back at Casa Blanca (on a different day, surely), Walt looks at his expensive gift watch and starts its stopwatch going. Let the shankings begin…Walt sees his reflection in the watch face, as the nine ‘legacy’ men are brutally murdered to some incongruous music (Nat King Cole singing “Start All over Again”). Dennis, the last to go, is locked in a room, gasoline poured on him, and a lighted match tossed in. Gruesome.
For a moment, we see Hank at the DEA meeting with a girls’ sports team, and we realize how hard this news will hit him. Then Walt’s phone cell phone buzzes. “Yes?”
“It’s done.” Walt clicks off.
Scene 3: the Schraders’, a montage of Walt’s life for the next 3 months
The TV news is on at the Schraders as Walt plays with Holly, who wears a monkey hat with ears. Hank comes home, limping noticeably, and pours himself and Walt whiskies at the wet bar. Hank sits quietly, thinking, for a while, then tells Walt about a summer job he had in college marking trees to be cut with orange paint. This made me think of men in orange jumpsuits being “cut down.” Hank says it was “a lot better than chasing monsters.”
“I used to love to go camping,” Walt says. He starts to get up, then we see him getting up from a different couch wearing his yellow protective suit after a break. “Crystal Blue Persuasion” plays as we watch a montage of cooking with Todd, bags of meth being dropped in barrels of oil, Lydia, planes taking off, and piles of money being counted and banded. Walt wheels a dolly of soda with money hidden behind the cans into the car wash, and meets with Lydia at the same coffee bar, where she kicks a bag of money toward him. Walt showers, Skyler’s cup turns into Lydia’s mug, and we see Walt falling asleep in a living room chair at home and waking up there in the morning. The montage ends with an aerial view of tented houses scattered throughout an Albuquerque neighborhood.
Back at the Schraders’, Skyler’s walking Holly over to Junior, who plays peekaboo with her. “You’re really good with her,” Skyler says. Of course, the baby has to be wearing an orange jumpsuit (am I the only one who notices these things?). We finally see Skyler’s face – she’s smiling for the first time in a long while.
“It’s nice to see that,” Marie tells her, adding that she and Hank think it’s time for Skyler and Walt to take the kids home and “repair the family.”
Scene 4: Casa Blanca, the Whites’ storage unit, the hospital
It’s dark when Skyler gets home, and she finds Walt sitting outside by the lighted pool. Standing by his chair, she says, “Take a drive with me.”
They go to a storage facility, where Skyler’s put a four foot by five foot by four foot high stack of money in a rented unit. “This is it,” she says. “This is what you’ve been working for.” When Walt asks “how much?” Skyler says she has “no earthly idea.” She says she’s been spraying the stack for silverfish, and adds, “There’s more money here than we could spend in ten lifetimes. I certainly can’t launder it at the car wash…Walt, I want my kids back. I want my life back. Please tell me how much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?”
We see Walt getting a PET scan on a table that rotates 180 degrees (get it?). Afterward, he’s washing his hands in the restroom, and we see that the towel dispenser that he banged up over a year ago still hasn’t been replaced (unrealistic in any but the poorest hospital).
Scene 5: Jesse’s house
We see Jesse’s hand holding the stub of a burning cigarette as he nods out on the couch. The cigarette burns his hand, waking him, just as someone knocks three times on the door. It’s daytime. Jesse, wearing a T-shirt with a dancing skeleton on it that has two long chains in place of each arm, peeks out the window. Five knocks. After disappearing off-screen for few critical seconds, Jesse opens the door cautiously.
“Hi,” Walt says.
“I hope I’m not disturbing you or anything. I tried calling, but…”
“Tossed all my burners.”
“And you didn’t answer your home line.”
“It’s disconnected. Or unplugged. So, what’s up?”
“I was just in the neighborhood, so I thought I’d drop by and say hello.”
“You – uh – want to come in, or…?” Jesse looks distrustful and a bit scared.
“Sure – thanks.” Walt smiles as Jesse picks his bong up off the coffee table and stashes it in a corner.
“I’d offer you a beer or something, but I’m out.”
“Thanks. You didn’t wind up moving, I see.”
“Didn’t have to. Saul told me what you did. Anyways, I’m not in jail – you’re not either, so there you go.”
“There was no other option, Jesse. It had to be done.” Walt could have paid the men off with some of the money in the storage unit, but he would have had to keep doing it for years, with the DEA constantly looking for the money connection, and one of the men still might have talked.
“I’m not comin’ back.”
“Why are you here exactly?”
Walt shrugs. “It’s funny – I saw a Bounder yesterday.”
“Our RV – the Bounder.”
“Oh – same one as ours?”
“Yeah – well, within a couple of years, I guess – early ’80s. Certainly in a lot better shape than our old hunk of junk. No bullet holes in the door.” Walt’s reminiscing fondly about the days when he and Jesse struggled to learn the meth business and stay alive in the process – the days when his life was exciting and not just hard work. He also misses the guy he sometimes loved and sometimes hated, his ex-partner.
“That was a nightmare, huh?” Jesse says now.
“Huh. It was primitive.”
“I remember how I used to pray it wouldn’t crap out on me.”
Walt smiles again. “Yeah, and then suddenly it would have that screeching sound, just out of the blue.”
“Power steering belt – that’s what that was…We had money. Why’d we keep it? Why’d we have the world’s shittiest RV?”
“Yeah, yeah. Inertia.” There’s a long pause. “So, hey – I gotta get goin’. I’m supposed to meet a friend.”
“I gotta – ” Walt heads for the door, “get goin’ as well.” He opens the door and turns. “I left something for you.” He leaves without closing the door.
Jesse walks slowly to the door, peeks out, and sees a black sports bag, which he opens carefully, as if expecting a bomb. Inside is his five million dollars. Back in the house, he pulls a handgun out of his back pocket and, sitting on the floor, slides it toward the viewer. The camera pans up for an aerial view of the room.
Scene 6: Casa Blanca
Skyler’s washing a plate at the kitchen sink, and the interior of the home still looks dark, even in the daytime. Walt comes in, says, “Hey,” and turns off the water. He looks longingly at his wife, and says, “I’m out.”
Unable to believe him or take it in, Skyler looks out the window over the sink.
Time lapse photography of the city’s streets and skies shows us the passage of time – night to day. Then we’re in the Whites’ backyard patio/pool area, looking at images we’ve seen before: a hose dripping, a wind chime, a black bug (the bug may be new) – images that seem comfortingly normal, but which seem somehow eerie and may have been associated with negative events in the past.
We see Holly, a pacifier in her mouth, being pushed in a little car by her older brother while the adult Whites and the Schraders sit talking around the table. They’re conducting two separate conversations: Walt’s talking to Hank and Skyler to Marie. Both conversations appear to be pleasant and happy. Skyler breaks off and asks her son, whom she calls “Flynn,” to put more sunscreen on the baby. Walt and Skyler smile at each other, putting the icing on the cake of this “they all lived happily ever after” moment.
Then Hank goes inside to use the bathroom, going into the master bath because he’s afraid of stinking up the communal hall bathroom. He lowers his pants, sits on the toilet, and reaches behind him for a magazine, then for the book underneath, the copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass that Gale gave Walt. He flips through it, then stops at the flyleaf, on which Gale has written: “To my other favorite W.W. It’s an honor working with you. Fondly, G.B.” Hank flashes back to the conversation he had with Walt about the W.W. Gale mentioned in his lab notes, and we see and hear him reading, “To W.W. – my star, my perfect silence,” then asking Walt who W.W. could be. He finally says, “Walter White,” and Walt says, “Ya got me!” Hank interpreted that as a joke at the time, but now he really does have Walt, and his face shows it.
A DVD extra, “Chicks’n’Guns,” written by writers’ assistants Gordon Smith and Jenn Carroll, is a prequel to the last scene between Walt and Jesse. In it, Jesse, anticipating being arrested at any moment, since the legacy nine no longer have any reason to keep silent, has hired a stripper to dance at his house. He and Skinny Pete, high on pot from the bong, appear to be enjoying the stripper’s moves when Saul (who knows the stripper) stops by to tell Jesse about Walt having “taken care of” the nine legacy guys and Mike’s lawyer. Now Jesse’s scared of Walt instead of the cops, and realizes that Mike’s dead, too. Saul’s brought Jesse a gun in a paper sack so he can protect himself from “bears – or a bear – that may have gotten used to the taste of human blood.” As Saul says, he and Jesse know more than the ten dead men ever did. All of this explains why Jesse’s so scared of Walt when he comes to bring him the money.
A funny line early in the scene is Skinny Pete trying to say “Carpe diem” and not being able to remember the second word. He says, “Car-pay, car-pee,” and Jesse says, “What? Are you having a seizure?” The stripper, evidently an educated woman, supplies the phrase.
This is a good place to say that as someone who’s been more into Jesse than any of the other characters (he’s like a son figure to me), I’m disappointed with the development of his character (or lack of it) in this season. Or, perhaps another way of saying it would be that his character is inconsistent. Doing more than just cook for Gus, successfully cooking meth on his own in Mexico, and bringing his two wounded cohorts to safety seems to have given him added confidence. And, at his age, one would expect him to be gaining in maturity and insight, especially in view of the harrowing experiences he’s gone through. He contributes great ideas – the magnet to destroy Gus’s computer and the siphoning of meth from a train tanker car – that some viewers have thought of as almost too smart, considering that Walt’s supposed to be the brains of the duo. But Jesse is smart, and has an inner moral compass that Walt, or at least the Walt of this series, lacks. Why then is he so unable to see Walt for the ogre he is? He goes along with all his plans, gives him an expensive birthday present, and seems to allow a lot of manipulation by his dysfunctional dad.
This reminds us of Jesse’s other father figure – Mike. If he really does think Walt’s killed Mike, why isn’t he angry about it when Walt comes to give him the money? As Mike said about him, Jesse is intensely loyal – to a fault with Walt. He should be loyal to Mike, who looked out for his welfare far more than Walt, even after his death.
Perhaps these questions will be answered, and Jesse will show his full maturity in the last eight episodes. I hope so…People have speculated, especially after seeing posters for the last eight, that Jesse will team up with Hank to catch Walt. The only problem with this idea is that Jesse conceived an intense dislike for Hank after the latter beat him up. Also, Jesse doesn’t believe in being a rat. I’ve seen signs that Jesse might team up with Skyler – I think he would be willing, but could she lower her snooty nose long enough to see Jesse’s value? We shall see.