Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: First Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron,' Brings Mass Destruction Along With Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Watch: 'Star Wars' Prequels Recut Into 2 Hour 40 Minute 'Turn to the Darkside: Episode 3.1' Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Edward Norton Says He Didn't Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More "Diversity" In His Film Roles Oscar Buzz: Who Could Be Set For Nods In The Supporting Actress Race? Oscar Buzz: Who Could Be Set For Nods In The Supporting Actress Race? Juliette Binoche Says Her Performance In 'Godzilla' Made Quentin Tarantino Cry Juliette Binoche Says Her Performance In 'Godzilla' Made Quentin Tarantino Cry Listen To Chvrches "Get Away" From The Rescored Version Of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Plus Check Out The Trailer Listen To Chvrches "Get Away" From The Rescored Version Of Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' Plus Check Out The Trailer The Essentials: The 10 Best Michael Keaton Performances The Essentials: The 10 Best Michael Keaton Performances George Lucas Says Studios "Don't Have Any Imagination And Don't Have Any Talent" George Lucas Says Studios "Don't Have Any Imagination And Don't Have Any Talent" Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 7 ‘Friendless Child’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 7 ‘Friendless Child’ Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 Short Film "The One That I Want" Starring Gisele Bündchen Watch: Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 Short Film "The One That I Want" Starring Gisele Bündchen WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting Gone Girls And Gone Boys: 11 Films That Dissect Marriage Gone Girls And Gone Boys: 11 Films That Dissect Marriage Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Recap: Heartstopping 'Breaking Bad' Midpoint Finale 'Gliding Over All' Is The Season's Best Episode

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage September 3, 2012 at 2:04PM

Heading into this week’s mid-season finale, we wondered how “Breaking Bad” might try to top last week’s devastating “Say My Name,” which saw fan favorite Mike Ehrmantraut murdered at the hands of the show’s (once) protagonist Walt. Actor Dean Norris slyly teased that this week’s episode would contain an “Oh, shit” moment and fans heads began to spin wondering just how they might top themselves this time. Well, it wasn’t another major death (though there were a record number of deaths) but instead the very beginning of the endgame that the series has been working towards since the pilot: Hank’s realization that his brother-in-law is the same man he’s been hunting down unsuccessfully for over a year. The episode’s title, “Gliding Over All,” is taken from a Walt Whitman poem whose final line reads “Deaths, many deaths I’ll sing.” Oh shit, indeed.
20
Breaking Bad finale 1

Heading into this week’s mid-season finale, we wondered how “Breaking Bad” might try to top last week’s devastating “Say My Name,” which saw fan favorite Mike Ehrmantraut murdered at the hands of the show’s (once) protagonist Walt. Actor Dean Norris slyly teased that this week’s episode would contain an “Oh, shit” moment and fans heads began to spin wondering just how they might top themselves this time. Well, it wasn’t another major death (though there were a record number of deaths) but instead the very beginning of the endgame that the series has been working towards since the pilot: Hank’s realization that his brother-in-law is the same man he’s been hunting down unsuccessfully for over a year. The episode’s title, “Gliding Over All,” is taken from a Walt Whitman poem whose final line reads “Deaths, many deaths I’ll sing.” Oh shit, indeed.

Last week we weren’t sure how Walt would possibly dispatch of Mike and his car before the authorities could find him but it turned out to be no problem at all. With Todd’s help, Walt is able to dispose of body and vehicle without breaking a sweat, it’s practically routine for them now. Much of the episode is punctuated by silence. Walt sits contemplatively and stares into space. Is he feeling any sort of regret for the things he has done or simply continuing to think a few steps ahead whatever still lay in front of him? Creator Vince Gilligan says, “I think Walt is reaping what he has sowed and the wind, so to speak, has gone out of Walt’s sails here. When Walt killed Mike, even he on some level was surprised by his actions. He’s crossed a bridge too far. And he no longer has Jesse and that hits Walt harder than he thinks.” When Jesse shows up, nearly interrupting the dirty work being done to his former friend, Walt ushers him away in a scene that’s played out several times during the series already. Once again, the pair are “broken up” as it were, the tenuous union built on lies had sustained them this half-season is once again severed, perhaps for good.

Walt meets with Lydia to get the names of Mike’s guys in jail. She in turn offers him what appears to be the devil’s deal: Ship to the Czech Republic to start making some real money. During the meeting, Walt seems at a distance with Lydia even though her deal seems like it should appeal to the megalomaniac in Walt. As she leaves we see that he’d brought the ricin capsule and was fully prepared to poison her. His demeanor was simply the result of him re-shifting the plan in his head as her offer rolled across the table. To get the ball rolling quickly, Walt meets with Todd’s connections, some neo-Nazi skinheads and presents them with their impossible mission. “Figure it out. It’s what I’m paying you for,” he bellows.

“Pick Yourself Up” by Nat King Cole begins to play and we enter one of the most bravura sequences in the history of the show as Gus’ 10 former employees are dispatched through truly brutal and shocking violence: stabbings, burnings and head-smashings in a two minute orgy of violence. Director Michelle McClaren says she took inspiration from “The Godfather” for this sequence which would even make Gaspar Noe flinch. Unforgettable. On the other side of this mayhem is Walt with his stopwatch and Hank who’s about to get the worst news of his professional career. Hank is beaten. In a quietly devastating moment, he tells Walt about a summer job concluding sullenly that “Chasing trees is a lot better than chasing monsters.” Our heart breaks for him.

This article is related to: Television, Breaking Bad, TV Reviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates