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Season 1, Episode 3

23 Jun

Breaking Bad, 1-3: “And the Bag’s in the River”

Opener

Walt and Jesse, in full protective gear, are cleaning Jesse’s hall floor. Walt flashes back to an earlier time in his life, when he was romantically involved with a beautiful dark-haired woman we’ll come to know in the present by her married name: Gretchen Schwartz. In the flashback, Walt and Gretchen are in a big, windowed room – kind of an observatory/ivory tower – trying to list the chemical elements in the human body. Walt’s current partner Skyler’s no dummy, but Gretchen appears to have been his soul- and mind-mate.

Meanwhile, Walt-in-the-present’s on his hands and knees with a scrub brush, coughing, and Krazy-8, still locked to a post in the basement, is watching an ever-widening circle of red forming on the floor from a ceiling drip. Walt dumps a bucket of red gore into Jesse’s toilet.

Scene 1: Casa Blanca

Skyler and Walt, Jr. are painting the baby’s room life-giving green and pale coral pink, while Marie frets over the new pair of white uniform shoes she’s wearing (she’s an x-ray technician).

Junior gets a call from his friend Lewis and leaves after a bit of repartee with Skyler that ends with her saying, “Please don’t say ‘yo’ – you can’t know how much I hate that.” Using her creative writing as an excuse, Skyler then asks Marie about personality or mood shifts caused by smoking marijuana. Marie jumps to the conclusion that Walt, Jr.’s on the stuff.

Scene 2: Jesse’s place, outside

Walt and Jesse, still in their protective gear, stand in inflatable kids’ wading pools hosing each other off. Then we see Jesse retrieving the plastic bag of meth they’ve cooked from the under-sink cabinet in the upstairs bathroom. He sits on the toilet in his yellow shirt, black and white jacket, black pants, and green beanie, smoking meth in his crack pipe, and trying to relax. At the same time, Walt’s emptying Krazy-8’s shit bucket into the basement toilet.

8 looks beaten down. “Look at me,” he says. “Turn around and look at me. I wouldn’t treat my worst enemy this way. This is degrading….Kill me, or let me go.” He starts coughing, then cries, “Walter!” when Walt starts to leave.

Walt turns sharply. “How do you know my name?” 8 says Jesse told him. “What else did he tell you?” Everything – that he’s a chemistry teacher, that he has a handicapped son…

“Your partner has a big mouth.”

“So, I should just let you go?”

“It’s that or cold-blooded murder…Besides, your real problem is sitting upstairs.”

Walt races upstairs and bangs on the second-floor bathroom door. “Occupied,” Jesse says, and when Walt keeps banging, “Can you give me a little privacy here?”

Walt kicks the door in (the first of many times he’ll do this to Jesse), and rants about how 8 knows his name, “where I work, about my son…” He tries to flush the bag of meth down the toilet, and the two fight furiously over the bag, which Jesse finally throws out the open window. They race downstairs, Walt slowed by a coughing fit, then fight and argue at Jesse’s car.

“I didn’t ask for any of this!” Jesse cries.

“It all happened because you didn’t follow my instructions.”

“Well, heil Hitler, bitch!” Jesse concludes by reminding Walt that “coin flip is sacred. Your job is waiting for you in that basement, as per the coin.” He drives off.

Scene 3: a fancy women’s shop

Marie is trying on a pair of deep purple heels, while the shop girl talks on her cell phone. Hank calls Marie on her cell. He’s corralling some Hispanic prisoners somewhere in the city, and trying to return his wife’s call at the same time. “What’s the big emergency, babe?”

“Skyler says Walt, Jr.’s on marijuana!”

“She said that?”

“Well, she inferred it. I want you to talk to him – tell him some horror stories, show him some autopsy photos – ”

“Of a pot overdose?”

“Hank, he respects you.”

“Okay – I’ll go over there after work.”

The shop girl tells Marie she has to be wearing “footies” if she wants to try on shoes. When she goes back to her phone call, Marie keeps trying the shoes on anyway. Then she puts her white shoes on the display stand in the window, and walks out without paying for the purple shoes she has on.

Scene 4: the parking lot in front of the “Crystal Palace” motel

The lot is full of scags and bag people. Hank has brought Walt, Jr. here in his black SUV cop car to show him what pot use can lead to. Junior interrupts Hank’s “Does this look like a nice place?” questions to say mildly, “I thought we were going to Coldstone Creamery.”

“First we’re taking a little detour. This place is where the meth heads hang out. They got started with pot – that’s the gateway drug.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“‘Cause I love you, you little bastard!” Hank calls Wendy, a meth head/prostitute over.

She comes to Hank’s side of the car, and says, “I ain’t holdin’, okay?” Hank tells her to go to Junior’s side. “I ain’t doin’ him – he’s a kid.”

Hank makes her show Junior her teeth. “The pipe, definitely.” He asks Wendy if she ever smoked pot.  Then, after Wendy’s gone, he asks, “What do you think?”

“Cool.”

Wendy goes back to her room. Jesse’s there, freaking out about the cops. He takes off his pants, and Wendy gets on his lap with her back to him.

Scene 5: Jesse’s house

Walt’s sitting on the upstairs toilet, compiling a “pro and con” list on whether he should kill 8. On the “Let him live” side, he’s written, “Want to live with yourself” and “Murder is wrong.” Back on the main floor, he calls Skyler. “I’m so sorry – I had to work late. Bogdan had me doing inventory. You’re right – I gotta learn to say, ‘No.'”

“You’re at the car wash?”

“Yes.”

“I seriously doubt that, since you quit two weeks ago. I called Bogdan looking for you, and he gave me an earful.”

“I’ll come home, and we’ll talk about it.”

“Wherever you are, why don’t you just stay there?”

“Walter!” 8 shouts from below. Coughing, Walt makes him a sandwich, cutting the crusts off and putting it on a yellow plate.  He coughs all the way down the stairs, and, having gotten to the bottom, faints, dropping the plate. A few minutes later, he wakes up, the side of his face covered with gray basement dust. “How long was I out?”

“Ten, fifteen minutes…I’ve never seen someone knock themselves out just by coughing. You breathe the same fumes as me?”

“I’ve got lung cancer.”

Walt goes upstairs, puts the pieces of the plate in the trash, and makes another sandwich. Giving it to 8 downstairs, he says, “It’s safe – no poison.”

“That’d be a safe way, if you wanted to kill me.”

“I suppose.”

“You being a chemist and all.”

Walt’s also brought down a six-pack of beer. Now he rolls a can to 8, and, sitting a safe distance away, opens one for himself.

“What’s your real name?”

“Domingo.”

“That’s Sunday.”

“Yes.”

“I’d rather call you that, if you don’t mind.”

“Whatever. I never liked it much.”

“You from around town?”

“You getting to know me isn’t going to make it any easier to kill me.”

“You don’t think I have it in me, do you? Maybe I don’t. I’m looking for a reason not to.”

“I’d forget all about what’s happened – you’d be safe. Of course, anybody in my place would promise you that. It’s true in my case, but you’d never know for sure…I’m from here. Studied business administration at UNM.”

“That must come in handy in the drug trade.”

“I wanted to study music originally, but Pops said there was no money in it.”

“What does your dad do?”

“He owns Tampico Furniture on Menaul.”

“I know that place.” Walt and 8 get almost chummy, laughing about the store’s late-night TV ads, its jingle, and Walt’s having bought Junior’s crib there, possibly from 8.

Walt: “Small world.”

“It is.”

“The paths we take, uh?”

8: “Jesse know you got cancer?”

“No one knows but you.”

“Not your family?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not a conversation I’m even remotely ready to have.”

“That’s why you’re cooking meth – to get money for your family. I’ll write you a check right now, if you let me go…This line of work doesn’t suit you. You should get out before it’s too late.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Yeah, you do.”

“I’ll get the key.”

Walt gets the bike lock key from its magnetic holder under a kitchen cabinet. Then he throws his beer can in the trash, sees the plate pieces, and starts thinking. He gets them out and puts them together like a puzzle on the counter. One long, jagged piece is missing. Not wanting to believe that 8 has it, he goes through the trash again. Finally, he goes downstairs, slowly, holding the key.

8 stands up. “You’re doing the right thing, Walt.”

Key in hand, Walt motions for 8 to turn so that they’re not face-to-face. “So, you’re not angry?”

“What do you mean? Angry? Live and let live, that’s my motto.”

“That’s very understanding.”

“Whatever, man. I just want to go home.”

“Me, too.”

“Unlock me, Walter.”

Hand grasping the lock, Walt asks, “If I do, are you going to stick me with that broken piece of plate?”

8 tries to, getting Walt in the leg as Walt pulls back on the lock, choking 8 to death. Afterward, Walt crouches against the pole in back of 8’s dead body, saying, “I’m so sorry.”

So, Walt’s killed two men, drug dealers who were trying to kill him, by the end of the third episode. It’s unclear what he did with 8’s body, but, in the seventh and last episode of this season, Jesse mentions two bodies having been reduced to “raspberry slushie” and flushed down his toilet.

Scene 6

Jesse’s neighborhood, morning, people engaging in normal activities

Jesse drives up and parks in the driveway. Warily, he goes inside. The blinds are drawn, and no one seems to be there. At the top of the basement stairs, he calls, “Hello? Anybody down here?” Eerie music plays. He goes downstairs, and the only sign that 8 was ever there is the U-lock, placed on a ledge. Jesse picks it up and studies it.

Walt’s classroom

Kids are milling around and talking. The principal comes in and settles them down. “Mr. White is a little under the weather, so we’re going to watch this important video on carbon.”

The desert

Hank and his team investigate Walt and Jesse’s cook site, recognizing it as such, but thinking the culprits were Mexicans because of the low-rider yellow car left behind. The camper’s tracks are spotted. Inside 8’s car, Hank ribs Gomie: “What the hell? You guys used to be conquistadors for Christ’s sake.” Finding a secret compartment in the dash containing a sample of Walt and Jesse’s meth, he holds it up and describes it as “too damn white.” Evidently, there’s a new meth operation in town. Meanwhile, an Indian woman and her kids have given the rest of the team Walt’s gas mask.

Scene 7: a highway overpass

Walt’s parked on the overpass, thinking about the past again. Walt-in-the-past: “Something’s missing.”

Gretchen: “What about the soul?”

Walt-past leans in to kiss her, saying, “There’s nothing but chemistry here.”

Present Walt drives home, dejected. Going in the house, he finds Skyler sitting on their bed, her back to him. It looks like she’s been crying. “Skyler,” he says, “there’s something I have to tell you.”

 

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