With one trip to the bathroom and one sentence read, Hank stumbled on to his brother-in-law's secret on this week's midseason finale of Breaking Bad, setting the stage for eight episodes in 2013 that will bring this incredible series to a close.
But that's for next summer. For now, Round Table panelists Matt Richenthal, Dan Forcella, Chris O'Hara and Lisa Palmer are here to breakdown "Gliding Over All" and to wonder who, if anyone, will still be a live one year from now...
What was your favorite scene from the episode?
Matt: Walt and his family just sitting around the pool, seemingly happy and content for the first time in ages. You just KNEW something would break that up, but you had no idea what it would be. Holly falling in to the pool? An assassin taking someone out? Unbelievably tense all around.
Dan: Watching as Walt and Jesse reminisced about the good ole days when they ran into all that trouble. After all the two of them had been through, it was so enjoyable to see them look back on those times as fondly as the audience does.
Chris: Like Dan, I too enjoyed the R.V. trip down memory lane and even more so when you realized how intense for Jesse that must have been, given that he thought Walt was there to kill him. For my money, though, the final scene took the prize. Funny when you think Hank had to sit on the throne to find out who the meth king was. The flashback to the conversation he had with Walt when he asked his brother-in-law who he thought W.W. was followed by Walt saying “you got me” was a great touch. It was a real Kaiser Soze moment.
Lisa: The last scene was perfection. I couldn't have asked for any better of a way for Hank to figure it out. It makes complete sense to me that Walter was so careless as to leave his Gail inscribed Walt Whitman book around. An ego like his makes him believe he's untouchable. And that's what made that last scene all the more powerful. Plus, Hank was doing such a normal, unglamorous act; he didn't figure it out staring at a bulletin board or brainstorming with his force, but by sitting on the toilet. I loved it.
Cooler montage: the prison murders or the meth cooking?
Matt: The prison murders. Can I call something like that "beautiful?" It may be the wrong word choice, but the two-minute scene made the deaths so violet, the blood flow so freely and the screams so primal that it was impossible not to be reminded of the toll on human life Walt's choices have taken.
Dan: More frightening? The prison murders. The speed at which those dudes stabbed was absolutely scary. But cooler? Probably the Crystal Blue Persuasion
Chris: I thought the shiv-fest was edgy, but while we have seen numerous meth cook scenes over the years, the addition of the inflow of money made last night’s one of the best. I have long been a sucker for scenes like this, where the bad guys get rich, be it Blow, Goodfellas, New Jack City, you name it. It’s like 50 Cent rapped on We All Die One Day: “I watch gangster flicks and root for the bad guy and turn it off before it ends cause the bad guy die.”
Lisa: The killing montage was actually a little difficult to watch. The other montage was highly satisfying because of the amount of time it covered without us having to wait for next season. It allowed us into the idea that meth production can actually be a bit monotonous.
What made Walter get out of the meth business?
Matt: A combination of many factors, highlighted by Skyler's speech. Walt is a man of reason and a man of ego. She appealed to both of those when she simply asked: How much is enough?
Dan: The man was in the empire business. He wanted to be on top. He wanted the money, the power, the satisfaction of being the best at something, and doing something with that talent. Once he had that for a while, I think he was fulfilled.
Chris: Is he really out? He just set up distribution networks with the guys in the desert and overseas. Wouldn’t there have been some kind of sit down to discuss the terms with the latter? We’ve seen how hard it is to get out of the game once you are in and Walt has never been in deeper. Last but not least... all of a sudden Walt is honest with Skyler? I’m not buying it. If he is indeed out, I’m going to feel a little cheated at how quickly they just zoomed to that fact. Hank knows that to catch the big guys you have to follow the money and as long as Walt is sitting on that storage unit full of cash, he is not really out.
Lisa: What more could Walt need? He is finally validated. He's making more than he's ever made. And he's running a smooth operation for a change. He even feels so validated, he's willing to pay Jesse what he owes him. I loved seeing that making meth becomes as repetitive as being a chemistry teacher for 20 years. Why work so hard when he doesn't have to? Now that his ego is soothed, it's back to family time.
List the following in order of most likely to die next summer: Walt, Jesse, Hank, Skyler.
Matt: I actually think Walt will be the only to go. And Jesse will take him out.
Dan: 1. Walt has to die before this thing ends. 2. Jesse. 3. Skyler. 4. Hank. Isn't Hank kind of the hero in all of this? Wouldn't we be disappointed if he doesn't come out on top?
Chris: Walt, Skyler, Jesse, Hank. I agree with Dan about Hank being the hero in all of this and also wouldn’t have a problem with him coming out on top. He has been one of the unsung standouts of this show. The question, however, is who will be the one to take Walt out. Will it be one of the three others mentioned here or some random person, like the way Omar got killed off on The Wire?
Lisa: Hopefully Hank will be one of the last to go. The final scene of this episode set up all of next season. How will Hank handle this news? How much does he know? He's not one to be underestimated. But he'll die before Walt, right? Walt will be in it until the end. First to go? Jesse. Then Skyler. Then Hank, if Hank ends up dead at all. I think he'll make it out of this alive. How could he not? After "One Minute," I'm convinced Hank can do anything!