Gliding Over All

"Gliding Over All" is the eighth episode of the fifth season and the mid-season finale of the American television drama series Breaking Bad, and the 54th overall episode of the series. Written by Moira Walley-Beckett and directed by Michelle MacLaren, it aired on AMC in the United States on September 2, 2012.

"Gliding Over All"
Breaking Bad episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 8
Directed byMichelle MacLaren
Written byMoira Walley-Beckett
Featured music"Pick Yourself Up" by
Nat King Cole
"Crystal Blue Persuasion" by
Tommy James and the Shondells
"Up the Junction" by
Cinematography byMichael Slovis
Editing byKelley Dixon
Original air dateSeptember 2, 2012 (2012-09-02)
Running time47 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Say My Name"
Next →
"Blood Money"
Breaking Bad (season 5)
List of Breaking Bad episodes

The episode is named after poem 271 in Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, a book which is featured prominently in the series.


At Vamonos Pest, Walt and Todd prepare a barrel of hydrofluoric acid for Mike's dead body. When Jesse arrives, Walt informs him that Mike is "gone." When asked by Jesse how they will deal with Mike's nine henchmen now that they will not be receiving their hazard payments, Walt bluntly tells Jesse that he is no longer involved in the business and that Walt is "handling it."

Walt meets with Lydia at a coffee shop to obtain the names of Mike's henchmen. Suspecting that Walt will see her as a liability and kill her, Lydia proposes a partnership in which Walt expands his distribution overseas to the Czech Republic, which has a high percentage of meth users. When asked why she did not pitch this to Gus, she claims that he had approved her idea before he was killed. When Walt agrees with her proposal, Lydia provides him with the names. After Lydia leaves, Walt removes his hat from the table, revealing the vial of ricin from his and Jesse's plot to kill Gus, which he then re-hides in his house.

Gliding O'er All[1]

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.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Walt asks Todd to meet with his uncle, Jack Welker, a white supremacist, who has ties with several chapters of the Aryan Brotherhood operating in various prisons. Walt enlists Jack and his men to kill Mike's henchmen and their now-imprisoned lawyer Dan, insisting that they be killed simultaneously. In a period of less than two minutes and across three different prisons, the ten are killed. When Hank learns of the deaths, he is mortified. He confides in Walt that he yearns for a job that does include "chasing monsters".

For the next few months, Walt's meth production runs profitably and uninhibited, raking in millions of dollars. Elsewhere, Marie encourages Skyler to reconcile with Walt. Later, Skyler brings him to an enormous pile of money she has been collecting and maintaining in a storage unit. After explaining to a stunned Walt that there is simply too much money to launder through their car wash, Skyler pleads with him and asks him how much money will be enough before she can have her children back. Later, Walt tells Skyler that he will quit. Walt visits Jesse and the two reminisce about the simpler days of cooking meth in the RV. When his visit is over, Walt leaves behind two bags. Fearing for his safety, Jesse unzips the bags slowly, only to find them filled with cash. Relieved, Jesse disposes of a gun he had been concealing earlier.

Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) and Holly move back in with Walt and Skyler, and the family seems to be in repair, with everything now going well for Walt. During a lunch by the pool with Hank and Marie, Hank leaves to use the bathroom. Rummaging for reading material, he finds Walt's copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass under some magazines in the bathroom, the same copy given to Walt by Gale Boetticher. As he thumbs through the pages of the book, Hank finds a handwritten dedication: "To my other favorite W.W. It's an honour working with you. Fondly, G.B." Hank then recalls an earlier conversation (seen in the episode Bullet Points), in which Walt jokingly admitted to being the "W.W." found in a handwritten dedication in Gale's lab notebook. Hank is shocked, at last coming to the realization that Walt is Heisenberg.


This episode features several nods to earlier episodes, such as the fly at the beginning of the episode,[2] the painting Walt stares at during the planning of the prison murders (the same painting from Season 2, Episode 3), the damaged paper towel dispenser (caused by Walt punching it in Season 2, Episode 9) in the restroom of Walt's cancer clinic, and Lydia's telling Walt "We're gonna make a lot of money together," reiterating Tuco's quote from the first season finale.[3] Walt tells Lydia "Learn to take yes for an answer," which is exactly the same advice Mike gave him in the bar (Season 4, Episode 2). Series creator Vince Gilligan saw the ending somewhat as Gale's "poetic justice from beyond the grave."[3]

It was estimated that the pile of money measured 6 ft × 3 ft × 2 ft and that Skyler would have not needed a storage unit until she had upwards of $10 million.[4] In "Ozymandias," Walt tells Jack Welker that the buried pile equals $80 million; however, Gilligan expressed his doubts during an earlier podcast:[5]

"I asked prop master Mark Hansen, and he and his guys had tried, just for their own edification, to figure out how much that would be if it was roughly a half-and-half mix of twenties and fifties, and he guessed somewhere in the vicinity of eighty million dollars—eighty, eighty-five, ninety—that's a lotta dough. I don't know, we may have erred on the side of showmanship there instead of reality, I don't know if [Walt] could've made that much that quickly."

According to Peter Gould, the episode originally featured a scene where Walt is told by his doctor that his cancer is still in remission. However, the scene was cut so that Walt's current state would be left ambiguous.[6]



"Gliding Over All" was watched by 2.78 million viewers and received a 1.3 rating among viewers aged 18–49.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

The episode received highly positive reviews from critics. TV Fanatic's Matt Richenthal gave it a 4.8 out of 5 star rating, stating: "'Gliding Over All' still managed to shock, taking Walt to a place I never imagined he'd be prior to the big reveal: contentment. Happiness. A sense of satisfaction over a job well done, an emperor who no longer needed an empire." Richenthal particularly liked the two montages showing the prison hits and the time lapse.[8] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix called the episode "an absolutely gorgeous piece of work, in both the visual sense and the way it brought us to the next, final phase of Walter White's story."[9]

Michelle MacLaren was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for directing this episode.[10]

In 2019 The Ringer ranked "Gliding Over All" as the 13th best out of the 62 total Breaking Bad episodes.[11]


  1. ^ "GLIDING O'ER ALL. (LEAVES OF GRASS [1881-82])". The Walt Whitman Archive. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Amitin, Seth (September 3, 2012). "Breaking Bad: "Gliding Over All" Review". IGN. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Neuman, Clayton (September 5, 2012). "Vince Gilligan Answers Fan Questions (Part I)". AMC. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "Answers to 13 Nagging Questions about the 'Breaking Bad' Storage Unit". SpareFoot. September 12, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  5. ^ Dixon, Kelley. "Breaking Bad Insider Podcast - Season 5". AMC. Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Dixon, Kelley. "Breaking Bad Insider 509" (Podcast). Breaking Bad Insider Podcast. Event occurs at 46:15–47:10. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  7. ^ Bibel, Sara (September 5, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings: NASCAR Wins Night, 'Breaking Bad', 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Leverage', 'Hell on Wheels', 'Married to Jonas', & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  8. ^ Richenthal, Matt (September 3, 2012). "Breaking Bad Review: Down the Toilet". TV Fanatic. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (September 3, 2012). "Mid-season finale review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Gliding Over All'". HitFix. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "Breaking Bad". Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  11. ^

External linksEdit