"How much is enough? How big does this pile have to be?"
What a fascinating "midseason" finale. Not jaw-dropping, Gus Fring terrific, but still -- we've been waiting for that final moment for a long, long time.
The reason for having Hank as a character in this show is the constant fear (or hope, by this point) that he would eventually realize that his nemesis was right under his nose. And he just did. Walt's arrogance in keeping that trophy, Gale's inscribed copy of Leaves of Grass, was what finally gave him away. And I loved that Hank realized his own brother-in-law was Heisenberg while sitting on the toilet. It was so Breaking Bad. But I wanted to see the next scene, damn it. And now we have to wait nearly a year? How lame is that?
The rest of the episode went from horrifying and shocking, to sort of quiet, to sort to stunning. The simultaneous jail executions, especially the overkill multiple stabbings, were gruesome and oddly sad, and the jaunty music was pretty much perfect ("Start All Over Again"). And since I'm talking about use of music, "Crystal Blue Persuasion" during the time-passing montage? Best song for this show, EVER. Seriously.
I was expecting Skyler to do something desperate -- to kill herself, to try to kill Walt, to go to the cops. Instead, she managed to get her quiet life and her kids back simply by making Walt see the truth -- they did finally have enough money. That scene in the storage facility was quietly awesome. Just the image of that small, empty room, that huge, stunning stack of cash. Although I wonder if the real reason Walt stopped had to do with his visit to the hospital. I keep waiting for Walt's cancer to come back. Has it?
I absolutely knew Walt was going to kill Lydia after he got the names from her, so the tube of poison under the hat didn't surprise me. She was smart enough to figure out the same thing and realized how to stay alive -- by offering Walt a brand new market in the Czech Republic. But I was surprised at how they left the situation with Lydia and Todd unresolved at the end of the episode. (The woman with no conscience and the child-killer -- perfect new partners for Walt.) How did they take the news that Walt was quitting?
All through this episode, I had no idea what Walt was feeling or thinking. The episode opened with Walt sitting in the Vamonos office staring at a fly. I wondered if he was actually upset about killing Mike, or was he just seeing Mike as that annoying fly that needed swatting (possibly with his especially created flyswatter)? Walt also spent other parts of this episode sitting quietly, staring at something. What was he thinking?
I was especially worried about what Walt was thinking about Jesse. Walt was careful that Jesse not see Mike's body in the trunk of the car. At the end, when Walt just happened to drop by Jesse's place to awkwardly reminisce about the fun old times in the RV -- I thought Walt was finally going to kill Jesse. (Apparently, so did Jesse -- he was ready. And he broke down and cried when it was over.) Walt still cared enough about Jesse to finally pay him that money. As much as I'd like Aaron Paul to be in the final episodes, part of me wants Jesse to stay out of it and go make something of his life, at last. I doubt it, though.
The title of this episode, "Gliding over all", is another Walt Whitman poem from Leaves of Grass.
Gliding o'er all, through all,
Through nature time and space,
As a ship on the waters advancing,
The voyage of the soul -- not life alone,
Death, many deaths I'll sing.
It's perfect, isn't it? And it also evokes that painting of the man rowing away from his family that we saw again in this episode. It was in Walt's hospital room a couple of seasons ago, and he spent a lot of time staring at it. Again, what was Walt thinking?
-- In this week's dirty water imagery, we got lots of shots of liquid and water dripping. And another Walt naked in the shower scene with an odd camera angle. Actually, there were lots of fascinating camera angles in this episode, like the world was off-kilter.
-- I hated the fact that Mike ended up in one of those barrels. Hated it.
-- In the hospital bathroom, the paper towel holder that Walt smashed is still dented.
-- Dan noticed that the interior of the White house has gotten darker and darker this season.
-- The color theme for this episode was, appropriately, meth blue and blood red. It was everywhere, particularly during the prison murders and when Walt and Skyler went to the storage facility.
-- Three months passed. Holly was walking, and Marie was finally ready to let the kids go home. Don't worry, Marie. I have a feeling you're going to get them back.
-- Marie was taking prenatal vitamins for her hair? That seemed weird.
-- I liked the aerial shot of all those Vamonos tents springing up all over the suburbs. It reminded me of the first few seasons of Weeds.
-- The huge, square pile of money in the storage facility was very like a critical scene in The Shield. And the coordinated kills were much like a famous sequence in The Godfather.
-- I liked Hank's scene at the house after the murders. He was talking about his college job tagging trees, and how much easier it was than what he was currently doing. "Tagging trees is a lot better than chasing monsters." But when you think about it, choosing which trees got taken out of the forest is similar to his current job of removing the bad trees from society, isn't it?
Except for the fact that they're leaving us mid-season for the next ten months, this was an excellent episode. Four out of four prenatal vitamins,