WARNING: Spoilers from Breaking Bad Seasons 1-5 follow
Tuco’s brutal double-gesture of authority sends Walt and Jesse into the pits of fear as they desperately plan to get rid of him once and for all. Meanwhile, Skyler gets a glimpse of the darker side of her husband.
AN IMPENDING DISASTER (The “fly” effect)
The cold opening gives us the first piece of the season’s trail of premonitory breadcrumbs, in ‘Schindler’s list‘ fashion, through black and white stills from the White residence backyard and only a half-burnt teddy bear colored in pink with one if its eyeballs floating around the pool. Of course by 2.13 we realize that these pieces where in fact leading us to the tragic consequences of the chain reaction set in motion indirectly by Walt. The titles of the episodes which share parts of this sequence (2.01, 2.04, 2.10 and 2.13) make up the message: 737 Down Over ABQ .Referring to the collision of two planes (one of them, a Boeing 737) over Albuquerque in 2.13.
- The flashes show the fallen wreckage on Walt’s backyard on the surface, yet convey a deeper message regarding the role of Walt’s choices in his quest for authority and the question of predetermination. Was this tragedy bound to happen? Is Walt truly responsible for the lives lost in the incident? And most importantly, is it a coincidence that children tend to be the prominent victims of Walt’s business (hence the pink teddy bear)?
- Much like how the seemingly harmless fly from episode “Fly” causes Walt to recall the actions leading to Jane’s death and regret the choices he’s made, even the smallest choice or misstep in Walt’s symbolic ‘wonderland’ can cause a disastrous chain reaction. Interestingly, the final sequence of “Gliding Over All” begins with strikingly similar shots to the ones from the opening of this episode, only different that they’re all in color and everyone is having a good time in the Whites backyard. (The snail, although, is replaced with a bug.) The colored sequence, while soothing and optimistic on the surface, leads to Hank’s realization about the identity of Heisenberg:
- We’ll get to the significance of the eyeball later, but the appearance of the half-burnt teddy bear itself could have been later symbolically incorporated in the show; we see a half-orange/rusty mask in Gale’s apartment in 4.01 which resembles Gus’ fate when he loses half his face plus an eyeball in 4.13. Whether it’s been a direct foreshadowing or not, the similarities are noteworthy. Also, in “Bug”, Gus walks right towards the cartel sniper, like an invincible superhero, causing Jesse to ask Mike why he “pulled that Terminator shit”. Ironically in the end, Gus receives a facial injury much like the iconic image of Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in the Terminator franchise with half its prosthetic face peeled off and the robotic skull revealed:
- The episode follows up on the gone-wrong deal with Tuco from 1.07, as we see yet another instance of the themes of predetermination and coincidence: All the money Walt needs to leave for his family amounts to $ 737,000, symbolically fitting the episode title. Meanwhile Jesse is playing with his little skull keyring (representing death?) and Walt with a roll of cash (Far-fetched, but speaking of Fate vs. randomness also note Jesse’s red dices hanging over the Hail Mary figurine):