I have already consulted the original "fly scene" thread about this, but it doesn't exactly answer my question.

I'm asking about the "fly scene" that comes in season five of Breaking Bad when Walt is sitting in the Vamanos Pest office in Gliding Over All (episode 8). At the very beginning, Todd walks into the office and Walt is sitting in a chair in the middle of the room. A fly is flying around and Walt seems to either be watching it or just staring into space. Then Walt and Todd have a conversation.

Now, going off of the original thread, I'm assuming it has to do with his loss of control. But I want to think there is something more to this scene then there was to the first one in the lab.

Is there a difference here? Or is this just a kind of reminder of the theme they're pushing?

  • The exact reason is they had an issue with production, where they have to do a episode within 3 million to do that they used this episode.
    – user26978
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 6:01
  • I was so tempted with that episode. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 11:15

1 Answer 1


Although I know you've consulted your previous question and the answer provided there, I'm going to refer to that answer to (try) and answer this one.

In the Season 3 episode Fly, Walter states:

"This fly is a major problem for us: It will ruin our batch, and we need to destroy it and every trace of it so we can cook. Failing that, we're dead. There's no more room for error, not with these people."

Now, whilst out of universe it's well known that a key driving reason for the episode was a lack of budget (as Gilligan, the show's creator has stated in interviews), in universe Walt's comments show how it symbolises the perception of losing control.

Gilligan expands on Walt's comments in an interview with Vice, stating:

The reason in our minds that he was suffering with his own form of post-traumatic stress was that he had recently learned of his inadvertent responsibility in the shooting and wounding of his brother-in-law, Hank. He found out about Tuco’s cousins who were out to get him and he found out that Hank got in the way of their shooting and found out that indeed Gus Fring gave Walt’s brother-in-law to the cousins instead of Walt himself. In that moment of powerlessness, in that moment of shared responsibility and that moment of realizing just how culpable he was, and just how he would have to suck it up and grin and bear it to this very dangerous man who he thought was a very business-like, very rational man. Then he finds out this guy is rational to the point that he’s almost sociopathic. “My brother-in-law is now in danger and everybody is a pawn to this guy and I’m trapped here and I have to grin and bear it.” It’s the old Godfather line, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” So we had that episode in which he goes to Gus and says, “I know you essentially ordered a hit on my brother-in-law, and I know why you did it, and I want you to understand that I’m fine with it and I would have done the same thing." Of course he wasn’t fine with it, because then he got into his car and almost drove into an oncoming semi. That craziness you’re speaking of really all stems from that moment. It was a craziness that derives from “I’m really trapped here. I don’t like this feeling of being trapped. How the hell do I get out of this? How the hell do I live with this guilt?”

So clearly the fly in the episode The Fly symbolises a terrifying realisation on Walt's part that he is not in control and a fear of where this is leading him.

Now, relating that your question about the Season 5 episode Gliding It Over All, I would suggest it is to again symbolise a lack of control.

In the finale of the previous episode, Say My Name, Walter loses control and kills Mike Ehrmantraut. In the opening scene of Gliding It Over All, he is fully appreciating how significant what he has done is and realising that once again he has placed himself in dangerous territory.

This time though, unlike in The Fly, his lapse is very temporary. As soon as Todd enters, he begins to compose himself and is able to start conducting operations.

I believe this indicates that he still senses the loss of control (and even regret) over what he has done, but that he has come a long way from the person he was in The Fly and he is able to process these feelings and respond to them (in a ruthless manner).

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