In the half-season finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad, the creators gave us true cinematic beauty in the form of an everyday television series. The montages alone, with their uncanny consistency and witty tongue and cheek moments are worth the watch. This episode we were given “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James & the Shondells. And this wasn’t even the tip of the blue iceberg.
Creepy Todd helps Walt dispose of Mike’s abandoned vehicle and then prepares to dispose of his body. Jesse shows up just then, wondering if Mike made it out okay. Walt tells him that Mike is gone. Prior to this, Walt was fixated on a fly in the office, similar to his lab time with Gus Fring. When death happens Walt becomes numb, whereas Jesse becomes an emotional wreck.
Walt meets with Lydia to get the names of the ten guys, including Mike’s lawyer, who need to be killed so they won’t talk. Lydia makes a deal with Walt, making him a world trader in meth. He is now sending his supplies to the Czech Republic overseas, supplying his own market as well as his competitors market, taking a cut in each. And he comes home exhausted every night.
Meanwhile, Walt meets with Todd’s uncle and orchestrates a killing of the ten men in prison, all simultaneously and within one minute. Rolling Stone pointed out that rather than give audiences a simple, beautiful montage of glorified killings, the writers threw it in our faces and made sure we witnessed nearly every cruel, disgusting death with jagged sharpened shanks and all. Hank is especially discouraged by these deaths, especially considering he had someone willing to tell him everything only a couple days prior.
Skyler finally takes him to see a storage unit full of the money he has made. It’s more than she can count or launder. She tells him that it would take one hundred car washes to launder the money and not get caught. When will it be enough?
Walt visits Jesse, who is apparently a pothead once again, and delivers him the cool $5 million that he owes him. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was even more than that, with interest. Jesse sinks to the floor in tears, not only because he was afraid that Walt was coming to kill him, but also because he now has bags full of blood money and no desire to do anything with them.
After Skyler shows Walt the money, he decides that he is out of the game. Or so he claims. Things get a little happier. Skyler finally gets the kids back, no longer able to convince Marie that they need to live away from home. The families bond over dinner and the unintelligible conversation makes us uneasy. Walt Jr. aka ‘Flynn’ is pushing little Holly around the pool and we are wondering if fate will step in and some pool accident will occur. Or someone will bust through the back doors ready to kill Walt and accidentally hit the kids or Skyler instead. But nothing happens.
Hank needs to use the bathroom and for some odd reason, he uses Walt’s master bath. We’ve seen that ragged copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass sitting around and although we don’t completely understand the connection, we know it means something. Hank chooses that book to read while relieving himself. And upon reading the inscription, given to “W.W.”, Hank flashes back to the beginning of his investigation of Gus Fring. And realizes that Fring’s inside man was none other than Walter White, his brother-in-law.
The bottom line is this, all of Walter’s family and friends are completely broken down and degraded, forever changed from the toll this business has taken on them. Walt could never leave a completely clean trail behind him. It was something as simple as that book in that bathroom that he would look over after all the cluster cusses he has had to cover up in the past. And on top of this, Walt had a check up at the hospital. Not only is Hank going to destroy everything that Walt has created, everything he has sacrificed for, but it may be all for not, because Walt might be dying anyway.