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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Season 3, Episode 2: “Caballo sin Nombre”

Breaking Bad, 3-2: “Caballo sin Nombre”

Opener

Walt’s drives down the highway, feeling cocky, and singing along with Neil Young’s “Horse with No Name.” A cop going the other way turns around and flashes his lights. Walt pulls over, but leaves the music playing loudly till the cop insists he turn it off.

When Walt finds out he’s been stopped because of his cracked windshield, he argues, in effect, that as a victim of “Wayfarer 515,” the airplane crash that dropped debris on his house and car, he’s entitled to drive as long as he wants without repairing the damage. It’s as if he wants to keep the windshield as is, so that he can  see himself as one of the many victims of the crash, instead of the indirect cause of it. When the cop cites him, saying his car “isn’t safe to drive,” Walt gets out of the Aztek in a rage, despite an order to stay in and then return to it. Out of control, he spews abuse at the officer. “Hellfire rained down on my house! My house – where my children were sleeping! Body parts rained down in my yard!”

Finally, after saying, “Sir, this is your last warning,” the cop pulls a can of pepper spray from his holster, inciting Walt to even greater heights of anger. “You’re going to pepper spray me for exercising my 5th Amendment right to free speech?” Well, yes. The next time we see Walt, he’s crying, face red, in the back of the cop car.

Scene 1: the DEA office

Hank shows his team a photo of the burned hay/migrant truck, a “chicken run out of Juarez and Laredo,” that ended with nine illegals and the driver murdered. “It looks like high-end cartel work,” he says, “a message for our side of the border. Maybe one of those extra crispies knew something he shouldn’t. Keep your eyes open.” This is highly ironic from a later perspective, as the Salamancas will end up gunning Hank down and paralyzing him.

Hank and Gomez are both wearing dark shirts and have blue ribbons pinned on their chests. They confer together, agreeing that it’s been 29 days since they’ve seen “the blue meth” in Albuquerque. Then Hank’s phone rings – it’s Walt, calling from the police station.

Scene 2: in front of Jesse’s old house

A 45-day metal sobriety disc hangs from Jesse’s rear view mirror as he parks in front of a house “for sale” sign. Wearing a plain, dark, collared shirt over a white “T”shirt, and dark pants, he looks good.

We see a workman, then Jesse’s dad in the yard.

Mr. Pinkman: “Jesse?”

“Hey, dad. Fixin’ up the house?”

“Doin’ a little work, yeah.”

The house, a two-story adobe with a red-tiled roof, doesn’t look anything like our memory of Jesse’s old house, but we’re supposed to believe it is, extensively renovated. (This actually happened, apparently, during the second season.) It has a covered porch on one side of the front door, a small adobe-fenced courtyard on the other, and a red-tiled building (garage?) beyond that.

“That’s cool,” Jesse says.

“You doin’ okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good. I just happened to be drivin’ by, and saw that sign. So, you’re sellin’ the place…”

Mr. P., wearing the blue ribbon, says, “Yes,” and describes extensive renovations, including fumigating the basement and putting in a new upstairs bath.

“Right on,” says Jesse. “Resale value. That’s great, Dad. Think I could get a tour?” When Mr. Pinkman says it’s not a good time, Jesse nods, and backs off a few steps.

Hearing, “You’re looking healthy. I’ll tell your mother – she’ll be happy,” Jesse comes closer again, and says, “Thanks. You know, I could come by sometime for dinner or something.”

Mr. P. nods. “Sometime…”

Getting that this will be no time soon, maybe never, Jesse still manages to smile. “Okay. Later, Dad,” he says, walking back to his car.

Scene 3: an Albuquerque police station, Hank’s car

Walt’s handcuffed to a chair as Hank negotiates his release by describing his history and background. Walt gives the cop who arrested him an abject apology. In the car, he tells Hank that Skyler’s divorcing him. “She doesn’t want me to see the kids.”

“She said that?”

“Yeah.” Still red-eyed, Walt looks terrible.

Scene 4: the Beachcomber laundry room, Walt’s room

Saul comes in while Walt’s doing laundry at his new place, and they adjourn to Walt’s room. When Walt describes “disaster,” Saul says at least Skyler isn’t going to the cops. Apparently, she recognizes what the “blowback” of that could be, including the seizure of the White home. “She’s bluffing, and she knows it,” he concludes.

“Her going to the police is not the point, Saul. I’ve lost my family – everything I care about.”

“Hey, buddy. It’s bad. It’s a calamity. But we live to fight another day. And, after a decent interval of time – well, there are other fish in the sea. Get back on the horse, and get cookin’.”

“I can’t be the bad guy.”

“What?”

“I can’t be the bad guy.”

“Okay, we’ll revisit. Just promise me you won’t hang yourself in the closet.”

Scene 5: an Albuquerque park

We see Kaylee, Mike’s granddaughter playing, then running to him for money for the ice cream man. Mike’s the perfect crusty grandpa with the heart of gold. His phone rings. Saul tells him their client has “wife problems,” and gives Mike the Whites’ address.

Scene 6: Casa Blanca

We see the SaveWalterWhite website, then Skyler, Junior, Hank, and Marie, eating takeout at the dining room table. Skyler says, “Flynn’s looking for a part-time job.”

Junior reacts harshly, “My name’s Walter, Jr. What? You can’t even say his name?”

Skyler is calm: “If you’ve changed your mind about being called Flynn, all you have to do is tell me.’

“You know what? Dad didn’t even show until fourth period! And his eyes were all red, like he’s been crying or something…But you don’t even care! And now he won’t drive me home. He won’t say why, but I know it’s because you told him not to!” He stands. “You may not love him anymore, but I do! I mean…why do you gotta be such a bitch?”

Hank objects, and Skyler says, “It’s all right.” Junior slams his door, as Marie consoles Skyler.

Hank says, “Skyler, it’s none of my business, but – you don’t want him with the kids?”

Skyler, hurting and alone, but trying to be cool: “You’re right, Hank. It’s none of your business.”

Outside, Hank and Marie speculate about what’s going on. Hank thinks Walt’s been cheating on Skyler, but Marie thinks if it was “just” that, her sister would have told her about it. “It’s something more.”

Scene 7: Saul’s office

Saul gives Jesse his money, and Jesse asks Saul if he wants a job.

Scene 8: Walt’s place

Walt walks by the complex pool, then goes back and uses the skimmer to fish out the one piece of trash in it. Then he climbs the stairs with his briefcase. At the top is Junior, with all his stuff.

Scene 9: an Albuquerque retirement home

We see a mylar “Happy Birthday!” balloon and old folks dozing in front of the TV. Dumb music plays, as a white-haired lady drops one of the pieces of her “Two White Kittens” puzzle.

The Salamanca brothers are visiting Hector, who sits in his wheelchair, bell at the ready. One of them finds a Ouija board in a stack of games, and puts it on the table. With Hector dinging as one brother points to the letters, the other writes on a pad. The letters spell out “WALTER WHITE.”

Scene 10: Beneke and Walt’s place

Ted enters the meeting room where Skyler has work materials spread out on the conference table. Baby Holly, in pink, is in her car seat on the floor. Ted says, “I just wish you could be back full-time. You do brighten up the place.”

Skyler: “Listen – I can’t sign off on these quarterlies. If you’re gonna do this, it can’t be so glaring.”

Ted shuts the door and proposes pushing twenty odd thousand into “next quarter…Maybe you could sign it then.”

Skyler, carefully trying to avoid complicity: “All I’m saying is I can’t sign it as it currently exists.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

“What if, later, your kids find out?”

“I’ll say I did it to provide for them. But, really, Skyler, I haven’t thought that far ahead – I’m just trying to keep my head above water.”

Skyler gets a call from Walt about Junior. Walt says he’ll bring their son wherever she wants, and they agree to meet at home.

Next we see Walt and Junior sitting on the end of Walt’s bed, as Walt lovingly explains why his son has to go home. “Your mother has her reasons…There are two sides – always…This is just how it has to be – for now.”

“But it’s your house! You haven’t done anything wrong! And everybody’s on your side!”

“It’s not about taking sides…I love you and your sister, and you’ll come first always.” They hug, and then Walt, anticipating being able to win Skyler over, goes in the bathroom for a shot of mouthwash and a dab of aftershave.

Scene 11: the Pinkmans’ lawyer’s meeting room

Saul offers to buy the property at 9809 Margo for $400,000 cash, half the Pinkmans’ asking price. They’re about to walk out when he threatens to reveal that a meth lab used to be in the basement. “I applaud your cojones,” he says, “but I could file suit and encumber the property indefinitely.”

Scene 12: Casa Blanca

Walt brings Junior back, along with a giant pizza, but Skyler stonewalls him at the front door. Frustrated, Walt throws the pizza on the garage roof as he leaves.

Scene 13: Walt’s place the next morning

Walt’s lying on the floor in his underwear on top of spilled popcorn, surrounded by empty beer bottles. The eyeball watches from under the bed.

Skyler calls and leaves a message asking if he knows anything about a pizza on the roof. She says he needs to “calm down” and accept the status quo, or she’ll get a restraining order. Walt jumps up, trying – unsuccessfully – to get to the phone, bumping his head on the table. “Restrain this!” he shouts, grabbing his crotch.

Scene 14: Jesse’s old/new house

Mr. and Mrs. Pinkman are loading pots of flowers into the back of their car. “Poor Jake,” Mrs. P. says. “He had his heart set on going to space camp.” She sees Jesse driving up. “Oh, no! God!”

“Hi, Mom…Dad…How’s it going?”

“This isn’t a good time,” Mr. P. starts to say, as his wife adds, “Jesse, the house has been sold. The new owners are expected any moment.” Jesse’s headed for the front door. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“Bought the place,” Jesse says, holding up his keys. He goes inside.

Scene 15: Casa Blanca

After Skyler and Junior leave the house the next morning, Mike gets out of a blue car with a duffle bag and a metal suitcase. Noting the pizza on the roof, he goes around the house and drills a hole in the wall. He inserts something on a cable-type cord, then hides it with a potted plant.

Walt drives up and gets out of his car with a suitcase and a black duffle bag, as Mike does something to the outside wiring of the house. Walt tries to open the front door, but Skyler’s changed the locks, so he tries windows, and finally gets in through the crawl space, as Mike hides.

Walt crawls through cobwebs and enters the house through the utility closet. As Mike’s leaving, he sees a dark car pull up. The cousins, one wearing a metallic silver suit, the other a metallic zinc suit, get out of the car, one of them carrying an axe. Somehow managing to get in through the front door, they walk through the house.

Walt’s in the shower, singing. We see his surgery scar. The twins look at family pictures in the hallway, and Mike listens through his device to Walt singing “Horse with No Name.” Mike calls Victor at a commercial laundry, and Victor goes to Gus, who’s there looking at blueprints.

The cousins look in Holly’s room, then go in the master bedroom and sit on the end of the bed. They’re wearing black gloves, and the brother holding the axe taps his finger on the shiny side of its head. He picks the eyeball up out of Walt’s open suitcase, examines it, and tosses it back.

As Walt finishes his shower, still singing, the axe man feels his cell phone vibrate. He sees that the caller is “Pollos,” and shows the phone to his brother. Walt, toweling off, is obviously feeling cocky again. By the time he opens the bathroom door, the cousins are gone. He notices that the eyeball is in a different place in his suitcase, and, wearing the towel around his waist, looks down the empty hall.

Skyler and Junior are never to know how close they came to coming home to Walt’s mutilated body…

 

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Season 3, Episode 1: “No Mas”

Breaking Bad, 3-1: “No Mas”

Opener

We see a yellow-tinged, cloudy sky and a desert road, then a dog under a porch, a pick-up, and a Mexican man leading a donkey. Another Mexican man in a battered cowboy hat crawls on the ground, as the truck goes by. Soon we see other people crawling down the road in the same direction.

A fancy, dark car comes down the road, and two young, bald-headed men in dark shirts and fancy suits, wearing metal-skull-toed boots, get out. These are the cousins that Tuco was expecting just before his death: Leonel and Marco Salamanca. They get down on the ground and start crawling, too, as weird, suspenseful music plays.

Finally, the cousins stand up and enter the shrine of Santa Muerte, Saint Death. The shrine contains all sorts of skull-headed god and goddess figures, one superhero figure, red candles, and one black candle. The main skull figure wears a lit rectangular crown.

The two brothers seem to be praying, and one pins up a crude but accurate drawing of Heisenberg, ripped from a spiral notebook. Apparently, they want help killing Walt. Wikipedia says that many Mexican criminals, including drug dealers, pray to Santa Muerte, often for help in the successful completion of a job.

Scene 1: various TV news stations, the Whites’, a lawyer’s office

KOB News reports one or two crashed aircraft on the east side of Albuquerque. Another station says it’s a Boeing 737 and an 8-seat KingAir 350. A third reports “a wide debris field” and a death toll of 167. Apparently, the crash was due to “improper air traffic control,” “a lone air traffic controller…Donald Margolis, a 19-year veteran who recently lost his daughter to a drug overdose.”

Walt, wearing a light gray robe, sits and throws lighted book matches into an already-debris-filled pool. “Better Call Saul” is on the inside of the matchbook cover. Suddenly, he gets up and puts bundled cash on the barbecue grill, douses it with lighter fluid, and sets it on fire. Then, just as abruptly, he has a change of mind, and tries to put the fire out with his hands. His robe catches on fire, and he throws the grill in the pool, then jumps in himself, throwing water out to douse the remaining flames on the pool edge.

Skyler, meanwhile, wearing a blue ribbon commemorating the plane crash, is consulting a female lawyer about divorcing Walt. “You’ve moved out?” the lawyer asks. “It’s best if you can maintain residency in the home.” Skyler tells the lawyer that she and Walt have been married for 16 years and have a 15-year mortgage on their house. The lawyer asks about other debts and assets, saying, “You’d be amazed at what I’ve seen partners hiding from one another.”

Hank’s dark blue SUV pulls up at Casa Blanca as Walt’s fishing the last of the cash out of his pool. As Hank calls his name, he finds the bear’s eyeball in the pool filter, and puts it in his pocket. His beard and moustache seem darker, stronger.

Hank: “Hey, buddy! It’s time…” Wearing a blue ribbon on his brown shirt, he helps Walt pack up his stuff. They fight over the sports bag containing Walt’s cash. “Hey, what you got in there? Cinder blocks?”

Walt, deadpan: “Half a million in cash.”

Hank laughs. “That’s the spirit!” He laughs again, grabbing the bag and throwing it in the back of his SUV.

Scene 2: Serenity, Casa Blanca, Walt’s place, the high school gym

Jesse, in a life-giving green long-sleeved T-shirt, is planting yellow flowers in a stone circle outside the chiminea-shaped building housing the hot tub pool. He looks good (healthy), but serious.

Then a therapy group is meeting in the same outside area: ten, including the leader. The leader/therapist, a middle-aged man, asks how many are there for “self-improvement,” and a few raise their hand, including Jesse. “See,” the leader says, “That’s your first mistake. You should be here to learn self-acceptance.” Jesse looks up.

At Casa Blanca, Skyler, holding pink-print-jammied Holly, asks a somewhat despondent Flynn if he wants another waffle. Walt starts to leave a phone message, giving his location (The Beachcomber), and Flynn picks up. “No, I’m not okay,” he says. “I want to know what’s going on! Nobody’s telling me jack around here! Whatever…I don’t even care anymore. Can you just give me a ride to school?” Skyler says nothing, though she’d planned to take Flynn to school herself.

Walt’s making a P, B, and J sandwich when his second cell phone, encased in plastic in a suitcase, rings. “Pollos,” he reads on the display. Dressed in brown pants and a black shirt, he cuts the crusts off his sandwich.

Later, there’s a gathering of students and faculty in the high school gym to talk about the plane crashes. Vice principal Carmen calls on a girl who asks why, “if there’s a God, He allowed all these innocent people to die for no reason?” She says she hears “that boom over and over again.”

Walt, standing with the other teachers and staff in the middle of the gym floor (the kids are in the bleachers), looks disturbed. He has little patience with this kind of soppy emotion, plus an incentive not to think too much about the crash. When Carmen asks him to speak, we’re reminded of his speech at the party celebrating his cancer remission: he completely misreads how other people are feeling, and goes with his own unique perspective, a version of “it could always be worse”: “I guess what I want to say is to look on the bright side. First of all, nobody on the ground was killed, and that’s gotta be a minor miracle. It was our country’s 50th worst air disaster – tied for 50th. No one even remembers the Tenerife crash of two 747s that was much worse, because people move on, and you will, too.” Carmen takes the mike.

Scene 3: back to the Mexican countryside

The Salamanca brothers converge on a poor family’s ranchito, and steal some clothes from the line, exchanging them for their fancy suits (they keep their boots, their guns, and their concealed shoulder holsters). They put their dark glasses in their pockets, as the tension mounts for the fearful family. One of the cousins hangs their car keys on the horn of a goat the little girl in the pink shawl is herding; then the two walk down the road. The relieved parents run to the child.

Scene 4: Casa Blanca, Serenity, Walt’s place

When Walt drops Flynn off after school, the boy goes inside and demands of his mother, “Why you gotta treat him like this?”

After he’s gone to his room, Marie says, “Outta the mouths of babes, huh?” When Skyler objects, she adds, “I can’t help you get through this, Skyler, if you won’t tell me what it is.”

“You know what?” Skyler responds. “I don’t remember asking you. If you want to be supportive without prying, that would be great…”

The Serenity therapy group sits around a fire in the dark outside area. The leader says, “It’s that voice inside your head – that sneaky bastard, 24-7 voice – that tells you you’re not good enough. To be what? President of the United States? But are you good enough to deserve your share of human happiness? Good enough to be okay with who and what you are? I say, yes!”

The fire sparks up, shockingly, in front of Jesse, wearing the green long-sleeved “T” we saw him in last and a plain light-colored jacket.

“But it doesn’t matter what I say,” the leader continues. “It’s your voice – you’re the only one who can fight it. Jesse, we never hear from you. What’s goin’ on? You can tell us.”

Jesse: “It’s, like, what makes you the experts?”

Leader: “I don’t think I ever said I was that.”

“But you’re the one sitting here, right? Telling us thus and so – be happy, forgive yourself – blah, blah, blah. Have you ever really hurt anybody?”

“I killed my daughter. July 18th – my birthday – 1992. I was high on cocaine and I was drunk. I was out of vodka, the stores were going to close in a matter of minutes, and my wife refused to make the run for me. So, I got in my truck, all mad. My 6-year-old daughter was playing at the end of the driveway…”

Jesse: “How do you not hate yourself?”

“I did for a long time. But it didn’t stop me from drinking and getting high. It just made it that much worse. Self-hatred, guilt – it accomplishes nothing. It just stands in the way.”

“Stands in the way of what?”

“True change.”

Walt, in his Beachcomber bedroom, looks at the eyeball and drops it. It rolls under his bed, and before he can retrieve it there’s a knock at the door. Skyler asks if it’s a “good time to talk,” they sit down, and Walt asks if she wants to start. “Okay…” She gets out a folder of legal papers.

Walt bristles. “Why are you doing this? Are you trying to punish me? We are happily married. I am happily married. We just…I love you, Skyler, and I would do anything for you. You bring me these papers, but there’s a whole other side to it. You haven’t heard my side yet.”

“You’re a drug dealer.”

“What?”

Skyler has tears in her eyes, and her mouth twists. “Yeah. How else could you possibly make that kind of money? You’ve been selling pot with that Pinkman kid…No? Oh, my God, Walt! Cocaine? No?”

“Methamphetamine…I’m a manufacturer, not a dealer per se.” Skyler gets up to leave. “There are angles to this – we need to talk it through!”

Skyler: “I’m going to make you a deal, Walt. I won’t tell Hank, and I won’t tell your children or anybody else. But only if you grant me this divorce and stay out of our lives.”

“No, Skyler.”

“Let me get the hell out of here before I throw up!”

Later the same day, Walt picks Jesse up at Serenity. Wearing a black jacket, T-shirt, and pants, he’s being discharged. Inside the Aztek, he says, “Your windshield’s broken.”

“Yep.”

They go to Walt’s, where Walt says he’s experiencing “a little friction in the marriage right now. Strictly temporary. I’m just taking a little break. That’s you – there.” He points to the couch.

Jesse looks like a waif with his little backpack, his hair sticking up, and his baggy clothes and dejected posture.

Walt continues: “Listen, uh – your money – Saul’s got it for you. So as soon as you’re feeling better.”

“I’m better.”

“You’re better. Really? The rehab helped?”

“Yeah. I’m not using.”

“That’s excellent. Very good, Jesse. Very good. You know, in spite of how bad things got, it really could be looked at as a wake-up call for both if us. I mean – just to get our lives together again.” Jesse sits on the couch, eyes closed, face upturned. “On the straight and narrow.”

Jesse: “You been following this airplane crash? You know it was Jane’s dad who accidentally crashed them together? ‘Cause he was so torn up.”

Walt: “Let me stop you right there.” He sits on the coffee table, close to and facing Jesse. “You – are not responsible for this – not in any way, shape, or form. All right? There were many factors at play. Collision radar on the jet may not have been working properly…It’s all 1960s technology. No, really – I blame the government.”

Jesse: “You either run from things, or you face them, Mr. White.”

“What exactly does that mean?”

“I learned it in rehab. It’s all about accepting who you really are.” Jesse is sincere, innocent, clear, and handsome – no longer a teeny bopper. “I accept who I am.”

“And who are you?”

There’s a pause, and Jesse says, “I’m the bad guy.”

Scene 5: Los Pollos

Walt sits waiting in his usual booth; Gus helps customers, then comes over. “Is the food to your satisfaction?”

“Very much.”

“It’s good to see you again.” They shake hands. “May I?” Gus sits down, wearing the blue ribbon that honors the plane crash victims, and tells Walt he has an offer for him.

But Walt cuts Gus off at the pass. “I’m done. It’s not you. I admire your professionalism. I’m just making a change. I’m at a kind of crossroads…I am not a criminal. No offense to any people who are, but – this is not me.”

“I’d like you to hear my offer.”

“It won’t change my mind.”

“Three million dollars for three months of your time. Three months, then out.”

“Three million?”

There’s a long pause, and Gus smiles. “May I take that as a ‘yes’?”

Walt says, “I have money. I have more money than I know how to spend. What I don’t have is my family. The answer is still ‘no.'”

Gus smiles pleasantly, and gets up. “Enjoy your meal.”

Scene 6: on the border

We see a gold-tinged desert landscape, being crossed by a hay truck with a dusty windshield. There are two rows of migrants seated on benches inside. “Texas!” a young male migrant exults. “I’ve crossed several times, and there are three bumps at the border.” He goes on and on about the job he has waiting, and the car paint jobs he can do. The silent cousins are sitting opposite him, wearing the clothes they took off the line. When the boy notices the decorations on the tips of their boots, and suddenly shuts up, they know they’ve been recognized.

We see a long exterior view of the truck again, and hear muffled gunshots. The driver pulls over and gets out, hollering, “What the hell’s goin’ on in there?”

The cousins get out and shoot the driver as he tries to run away. Then they shoot holes in the truck’s gas tank and light cigarillos. The gas streams out, and one of the cousins throws his cigarillo into it. The cousins walk away, and there’s a huge explosion and fire behind them.

Robin Pierson at TheTVCritic.org describes the cousins as “comic book figures,” and I agree. He doesn’t mind; I do, because I value realism – though, for all I know about the Mexican drug trade and Mexican folk religion, this could be realistic. It just has the flavor, as presented, of comedic exaggeration, even, almost of racism. Though, goodness knows, the news of drug violence south of the border gets worse every year.

I also don’t think it was necessary for the cousins to kill everyone on the truck. After all, why would illegal migrants and/or a coyote betray them to the authorities? They’d be even less likely to try to send a warning to Walt (or Hank). This was just gratuitous violence – likely presented to show us the evil of the drug trade, especially in Mexico and along the border, and the power, violence, and malevolence of the Salamanca brothers.

Killing Tuco was bound to have consequences, but I don’t care for the way this element of Season 3 is used.

 

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Season 2 Summary

Season 2 Summary

Episodes 1-4

After Walt and Jesse witness Tuco’s murder of his henchman, No Doz, they become worried that he might try to kill them. Jesse buys a gun to kill Tuco at their next drug meet, but Walt convinces him that it would be better to poison Tuco with ricin that they make in Jesse’s basement. Tuco beats them to the punch though. He commandeers Jesse’s car, with Jesse as the driver, when he tries to leave town, then tricks Walt into coming outside his house, where he’s forced into the car as well. The two end up as prisoners at the rural home of Tuco’s uncle, Hector Salamanca. Tio, a longtime criminal and former drug lord, is now a stroke victim who can only communicate via his bell.

Tuco wants to take Walt – and Jesse, if he’s lucky – to Mexico when his cousins arrive, but before that can happen, the men fight outside the house. Tuco’s gut-shot and Walt and Jesse hiding when Hank arrives, looking for Jesse in connection with Walt’s disappearance. Hank kills Tuco, a wanted criminal, in a shoot-out, and Walt and Jesse trek across the desert to the nearest road. They get back to Albuquerque separately, and Walt pretends to have been in a fugue state for three days, while Jesse says he’s been shacked up with a prostitute. This lands Walt in the hospital and Jesse in a DEA holding cell, where he realizes that Hank has confiscated the drug money that was in his car.

After they’re released, each struggles with his family. Walt’s wife and son are estranged from him, because of what he’s put them through and their sense that he’s lying. Jesse’s parents take legal action to evict him from his aunt’s house, and, with little money and no friends who’ll shelter him, he goes through an ordeal at the repair lot where the RV is hidden, finally “stealing” it. He repeatedly insists that Walt should give him half his money, and, after berating him and getting into a physical fight with him, Walt relents.

Episodes 5-13

Walt’s finished his chemotherapy and has a lot of hospital bills. Hank, secretly suffering from post-traumatic stress, has been promoted. He’s sent to El Paso, where the Mexican drug cartel kills a DEA informant and a federale, and injures several agents in an IED attack.

Having forced Marie to apologize for almost getting her arrested, Skyler only has one relative – her husband – lying to her about his illegal activities. Relations between Walt and Skyler and between Walt and Jesse are strained, as Walt feels he’s losing control of both his wife and his partner-in-crime.

Jesse pays for the RV repairs and storage, buys a new, more modest car, and rents a nice little apartment. More assertive with Walt, whom he calls “Walt” for the first and only time, he has his friends sell the meth he and Walt cook in the RV. Walt gives Jesse his gun back, and says, “handle it” when a tweaker couple mugs one of Jesse’s dealers. Jesse gets a reputation as a tough customer when one of the tweakers kills the other. Actually, he’s shown his tender side with their young son and is traumatized by the tweaker dad’s violent death.

Walt and Gretchen Schwartz argue about Walt’s lies, and we learn that he feels the Schwartzes unfairly ousted him from Gray Matter Technologies, leaving him a relative pauper.

Skyler gets her old job and flirtatious relationship with Ted back at Beneke. When she discovers Ted’s been cooking his books, she agrees to help him, even though this means she’ll be involved in illegal activities herself. Skyler “breaks bad” in this way, because she’s tired of feeling so isolated and envisions having an affair with Ted.

When Walt tells Jesse they should capitalize on his new thuggish image and expand their operations, he does. Soon, however, one of his friends is arrested for selling meth to an undercover cop. Jesse introduces Walt to shyster lawyer Saul Goodman, who has ties with the criminal underworld, and Goodman gets Jesse’s friend off by paying a man to go to prison as Heisenberg.

Thinking he may only have a few more weeks to live, Walt talks Jesse into going out in the desert and cooking meth for four days straight. He tells Skyler he’s visiting his mother, and she drives him to the airport, where Jesse picks him up. Walt and Jesse cook forty pounds of meth, but almost die of exposure when they discover that the RV battery is dead and they’re out of water. Thinking he’s lying on his death cot in the RV, Walt has a flash of conscience and bemoans all the lies he’s told and the fact that he’s made his family suffer. Jesse revives him and gives him the idea of making a battery out of materials they have in the RV, and they make it back to civilization. They have some horrible fights during the four days, but also experience some incredible bonding moments.

Soon after this, Walt gets supposedly good news: he’s in remission, his tumors shrunk 80%. The family celebrates, but Walt’s upset that he missed his chance to go out as a hero. Now he has to live, and he doesn’t know how to do that. He can’t go back to being the fearful Walt, and he doesn’t know how to be confident and make free choices except in the context of committing crimes and hurting people. Skyler, after a day or so, is also depressed, because she’s left with the same doubts as before about Walt’s honesty, and no longer feels they have a real relationship. This is why she’s gravitating toward Ted.

Walt shows how difficult it is for him to go on without his hoped for “redemption as a man” when he encourages his 16-year-old disabled son to drink a large quantity of liquor in a short amount of time, just to deflect the boy’s attention from his macho and truly caring uncle. Nevertheless, the boy continues to love his dad, creating a website for donations for him (which lawyer Saul ingeniously uses to launder some of Walt’s money) and giving a TV interview in which he praises Walt to the skies.

When Jesse’s friend Combo is murdered for selling drugs in another gang’s territory, Jesse’s guilt and desire for human connection lead him to hardcore drug use with his new landlady and lover, Jane, who relapses into heroin addiction. He experiences even more guilt when Jane chokes on her own vomit while under the influence of the drug, thanks to Walt’s midnight “intervention.” As if doing penance, and feeling as fatherly toward his partner as he does toward his newborn daughter, Walt rescues a desolate and suicidal Jesse from a shooting gallery and puts him in rehab.

It’s notable – and noticed by Jesse – that Walt seems unconcerned about what happens to Jesse’s friends, Badger and Combo, and, potentially, Skinny Pete. Jesse’s friends aren’t real people to Walt, who despises them – and Jesse and Jane – as drug users. This is ironic, considering that it’s drug users who’re allowing Walt to amass the fortune he thinks he needs.

Walt’s connection with Saul Goodman leads him to Gus Fring, the real drug kingpin of the area, who’s able to distribute Walt and Jesse’s “product” to several neighboring states, thus making the pair each half a million dollars. In order to make the first deal with Gus, Walt misses the sudden birth of his daughter Holly, for whom he later seems to feel real tenderness, though he also seems to think that she’ll need all the money he’s piling up, ostensibly for her, Junior, and Skyler, more than she needs a truly good father.

Another new character is introduced: Mike Ehrmentraut, an ex-cop who works for both Goodman and Fring. Mike helps Jesse prepare for the arrival of the authorities when Jane dies, and shows Walt where Jesse’s gone later that day in despair.

Throughout the course of the season, Walt and Hank have encounters in which Walt either opposes Hank (of whom he is jealous) or toys with him. Hank doesn’t believe Heisenberg has been arrested, but he still has no suspicions of Walt, his supposedly innocuous brother-in-law.

Throughout the season – in “737,” “Down,” “Over,” and “ABQ” – we see opening teasers that hint at the plane crash that Donald Margolis, Jane’s grief-stricken air-traffic-controller dad, accidentally allows to happen over the city at the end of the season. The crash is both a metaphor for the unintended consequences of Walt and Jesse’s actions and a literal consequence of them. The difference between the two men is that Walt takes no responsibility for all this collateral damage and Jesse is tormented with guilt over it.

 

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Season 2, Episode 13: “ABQ”

Breaking Bad, 2-13: “ABQ”

Opener

The opener recapitulates all the images we’ve seen in previous teasers relating to the two planes crashing over Albuquerque: the dripping hose, squeaking wind chimes, and the charred pink bear’s eyeball going into the Whites’ pool filter. We hear a siren or sirens in the background, and go underwater with the bear. The sun shines through bubbles as we see a man peering into the pool from the bear’s point of view, and the bear is retrieved and placed in a large, clear plastic box in its plastic evidence bag, along with other similar bags.

The music slams as we see the shattered windshield of Walt’s Aztek again, and the two white body bags in the White driveway. There’s a muddy shoe caught in a bush, and a sign warning, “Evidence: Do Not Disturb.” A man in a white uniform searches the ground with a metal detector, the initials OMI in big capital letters on his back. A police radio crackles as we see the even larger initials NTSB on top of an official white van.

The teaser concludes with the view from the White driveway: houses, and behind them two plumes of black smoke against the brilliant blue New Mexican sky. The two planes have finally crashed.

We find out later that OMI stands for “Office of Medical Investigation,” and may already know that NTSB stands for the National Transportation Safety Board, “an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation,” according to Wikipedia. ABQ, of course, is airport-speak for Albuquerque.

Scene 1: Jesse’s, the Whites’

This scene is just as dire, on an individual level, starting with a shirtless Jesse doing frantic chest compressions on Jane’s dead body in the middle of his bed. He’s obviously just woken up. “Please! Come on!” he half cries, half sobs. “God! Oh, God!” Finally he stops, still kneeling over his lover’s corpse, crying in shock and disbelief, his fist against his mouth. We’ve seen Jesse in distress before, but this is the ultimate – the complete opposite of his and Jane’s peaceful, opium-induced sleep.

Skyler’s and Walt’s cars are parked outside the Whites’ house, and Walt’s inside with baby Holly, Skyler and Junior still asleep or otherwise engaged. The phone rings, and we know it’s Jesse when Walt says, “Yeah? Slow down…Take a deep breath…Now, what happened?” The baby fusses a little. “All right…All right…Now, listen to me…Are you listening? Everything is going to be okay…Listen…calm down…Just sit tight. I know who to call.”

Now a big black American car (the web says an ’88 Chrysler Fifth Avenue) pulls up in front of Jesse’s house, and an older bald man in black jacket and pants gets out: Saul’s (and Gus’s) “fixer,” Mike Ehrmentraut, whose name means “loyal, honorable man” in German. Jesse, in shock, is sitting/huddled on his front steps, in pajama pants and a black T-shirt with a white and red design on it. Mike, wearing dark glasses, says, “Saul Goodman sent me…Come on…inside.”

Inside, Mike takes off his sunglasses, and says, “Latch the door,” then “Where is she?” When Jesse doesn’t answer, having slumped against the wall in the living room, Mike walks slowly toward the bedroom, putting on a pair of purple disposable gloves. Surveying the room, he puts all the drug paraphernalia in a plastic bag, and wipes down one of the night tables. He throws Jesse’s belt on top of the open satchel of money, then picks up the bag and drops it on the living room floor.

Adding more drug stuff, including Jesse’s bong, he asks, “Any other drugs in the house?” No answer. “Think. Your freedom depends on it…What about guns? You got any guns in the house?” Jesse responds with a slight head shake, still slumped against the front living room wall near a red beanbag chair. Mike says, “Here’s your story: you woke up, found her, that’s all you know. Say it, please…You woke up and found her, that’s all you know.”

Jesse starts to cry, and Mike slaps his face just hard enough to get him to focus. He crouches in front of Jesse. “Say it. You woke up and found her; that’s all you know.”

“I woke up and found her; that’s all I know.”

“Again.”

“I woke up and found her; that’s all I know.”

“Again.”

“I woke up and found her; that’s all I know…I woke up and found her – that’s all I know!”

“Once you call it in, the people who show up will be with the Office of Medical Investigations. That’s primarily who you’ll talk to. Police officers may arrive, they may not – depends on how busy a morning they’re having. O.D.’s are not a high-priority call. There’s nothing here to incriminate you, so it’s doubtful you’ll be placed under arrest. However, if you are, you say nothing. Just tell them you want your lawyer. And call Saul Goodman…Do I need to state the obvious? I was not here…You put on a long-sleeved shirt, and cover those track marks on your arm.” Mike hands Jesse the phone. “Count down from twenty, then dial.” He zips the satchel and picks it up. “Hang tough. You’re in the home stretch.”

Back at the White house, Cheerios are being poured into a bowl, and we hear Walt ask, “Two percent or skim?”

Skyler: “Two, I guess.” She’s in her robe, nursing baby Holly.

Walt calls, “Junior!”

Skyler smiles. “Flynn.”

“Flynn!”

Junior, from a distance: “In a minute!”

Skyler: “You all right?” Then: “Flynn, get your butt in here!”

Flynn/Junior’s voice again: “Oh, my God! Mom! Dad! Come in here – you gotta see this! Seriously…”

Walt and Skyler, still holding the baby, enter Flynn’s room, where $490 has been contributed on the Save Walter White website. There are also encouraging messages like “Hang in there, Walt!”

Flynn: “Isn’t this awesome?”

Walt, still in the doorway: “Wow – that is something.” Skyler has to urge her husband to thank his son. “Thank you, son – it’s a big help.”

Jane’s dad, Donald, is in his car, leaving a phone message for her. “I’m on my way, and you’d better be on your porch, bag packed, and ready to go. No excuses.” He pulls up and sees the ambulance, back door open, and knows instantly what’s happened.

In Jesse’s bedroom, Donald watches two men put Jane’s body into a black plastic bag. “Sir,” one says, “You may not want to watch this.” But – zip, over Jane’s face – Donald stays. Then returns to the living room, where Jesse’s being questioned by a female medical investigator. “Date of birth?” she asks Donald.

“April 4, 1982; Phoenix.” He picks up the “Apology Girl” drawing and looks at it, then says he can drive and will meet the crew at the hospital.

“Are you both coming?” the woman asks, and Jesse shakes his head.

Jane’s body is taken out, and Donald follows, shutting the door behind him.

Back at the Whites’, Flynn and Skyler are watching the donations come in and laughing while Walt fishes his plastic-bagged second cell phone out of the master bedroom toilet tank. “It’s me. Are you there? Just checkin’ in…Our friend says he thinks everything went well. That’s good. So, listen – call me, all right?” Having taken Jesse’s life, such as it was, away from him, Walt’s determined now to stand by his older “son.”

We hear Skyler calling, “Walt! You gotta come in here! We just broke a thousand!”

Scene 2: the DEA, the Whites’, the shooting gallery

Hank is raising money from his officemates for Walt, offering a six-pack of Schraderbrau for the biggest donation. He then switches to a review of the blue meth investigation, using photos tacked to the wall. He puts up one of Combo’s dead face, saying, “Christian Ortega, a.k.a. ‘Combo.'” There’s a red question mark on Krazy-8’s face, and red X’s on Tuco’s, No Doz’s, and Gonzo’s.

Walt and Jesse’s meth, which the DEA calls “Blue Sky,” has suddenly vanished from the city and state, but is cropping up in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. “I guess they’ve stopped shitting where they eat,” Hank concludes. “I say Heisenberg’s still out there!”

Walt’s on his second cell in the White master bedroom telling Saul to “shut up and give me the address.” Someone has tracked Jesse to a local shooting gallery.

Next, Walt’s in Mike’s car in an alley. “I don’t recommend it,” Mike says. “APD’s been known to sit on this place – keep an eye on the comings and goings.”

“Are they here now?”

“I don’t see any sign, but that’s the point. Police could be the least of it. You could just get mugged or shot. How ’bout you go home, Walter? Let me handle this.”

No – this is Walt’s second son. He gets out of the car, crawls through a hole in the chain-link fence, and braves ranks of tweakers and addicts to enter and search the drug house, a disgusting and scary place. He finally finds Jesse, lying on his back, unconscious. Crouching and holding Jesse’s head on either side, he calls, “Jesse! Look at me, son! Wake up! Wake up!” Jesse mumbles something, then tries to fight. “Jesse, it’s me – it’s Walt!”

Jesse, eyes still shut: “Yeah…”

“Come on – let’s get outta here!”

“No – no – no – no – ” Jesse’s still in a (bad) dream world.

Walt, still holding his partner: “Help me out now!”

Jesse mumbles, “I’m good, I’m good.”

“Listen, Jesse,” Walt says, being as tender as we’ve seen him with Holly. “You are not good right here. You are not good at all. Put your arms around me. Come on – stand up. Come on – we’re gonna walk out of here, okay? We’re gonna take you someplace nice and safe. Now, let’s go – here we go…”

Jesse is hugging Walt around the waist now, his head on Walt’s chest. Eyes still closed, he starts to cry like a child. He sobs bitterly, as Walt, a bit unsure, strokes his head with one hand and pats his back with the other. “Sh…sh…sh…”

“I killed her!” Jesse cries. “I killed her!”

Walt: “Come on, Jesse – look at me! You didn’t kill anybody.”

“I loved her! I loved her more than anything…” The acting here is incredible; I’m crying as I type these words, remembering it.

Walt shakes his head, looking a bit horrified at what he’s done. He hugs his still crying boy to him, as Jesse sobs, “No…no…no…no…”

Scene 3: Jane’s apartment, the Whites’, the DEA

Donald looks around at the beautiful remains of his daughter’s life: a picture of her dark-haired mother on the wall, books, and drawings. There’s a dreamy painting of a blue-toned goddess or angel covering one wall. Then he’s on his cell phone to someone – Jane’s mom? – talking about the service for Jane. “There’s no yellow dress here – it’s all black and gray. How about blue?” He finds a dark blue dress in Jane’s closet. “Dark blue…no cleavage…long sleeves…it’s nice.” He lays the blue dress on Jane’s pink bedspread.

Then we see little baby Holly lying on a pink blanket on the floor of the White living room, Walt changing her diaper and talking to her. Flynn’s still cheering from his bedroom, and there’s a repeated “ching!” sound.

Walt, holding Holly, from Flynn’s doorway: “Would you mind turning that thing down or off?”

Flynn: “That – it’s money.”

“Please – the noise is disturbing the baby.”

Skyler appears, saying that the newspaper wants to interview Flynn about the website; there are more hits, and Walt is forced to say, “Wow…”

At the DEA, Hank’s boss, Merkert, introduces him to the three businessmen underwriting “this year’s fun run.” One of them is Gus Fring. Hank describes his job as investigating methamphetamine production. “It’s a growing problem in the country.”

“Terrible,” Gus says. He notices the picture of Walt taped to the donation jar, and asks, “Is this one of your agents?”

“No, no – it’s my brother-in-law. He has a health issue.”

“What sort of health issue?”

“Cancer.”

“Oh…” Gus puts money in the jar.

Scene 4: Serenity, Jesse’s rehab; Casa Blanca; Walt’s surgery

Walt’s visiting Jesse, a fragile figure in a green robe and matching slippers, sitting in a lounge chair by the pool. Flute music plays as Walt says, “Just so you know, I won’t be back for a while. Got to have my surgery on Friday. I’m hopeful it’ll go well, but, if not, Saul will take care of things. He’s got your money – he’s keeping it for you.” Jesse, looking down, says nothing, so Walt continues, “Look, Jesse…Lingering on things doesn’t help, believe me. Just try and focus on getting better, okay?”

Jesse finally looks up, the light completely gone from his face. “I deserve this.”

“What?”

“What you said in the desert – I get it now…What you meant…I deserve whatever happens.”

Arriving home, Walt sees a TV truck parked in front of the house. Inside, the an anchorwoman interviews Junior, with his parents and baby sister on camera. Junior says he’s raised $6,630 so far.

“Your dad must be quite a guy.”

“He is – the best.”

“And you don’t want to lose him.”

“None of us do. We love him. He’s a good man – a great father, a great teacher, and he knows everything there is to know about chemistry. He’s patient and always there for you. He’s decent. He always does the right thing.” Walt grimaces. “And that’s how he teaches me to be.”

“Would you say that your dad’s your hero?”

“Yeah. Yes, ma’am – my dad is my hero.”

In the next scene, Walt’s in the hospital, having been given a relaxing drug before going in for his lumpectomy. Skyler and Junior bend over to hug him, and Skyler says, “We’ll be here when you wake up.”

“I’ll be looking for you.”

Skyler takes Walt’s glasses, and asks if he brought his cell phone.

“Which one?” he asks groggily, and she turns away.

Seeming to sense something wrong, Junior says, “I’m pretty sure he didn’t bring it, Mom,” but the damage is done.
Toward the end of the surgery montage, we see two little dark red lumps being deposited in a stainless steel basin, followed by a large, liver-like mass.

Scene 5: Dr. Delcavoli’s office, the Albuquerque airport tower, the Whites’

Dr. D., Walt’s surgeon, Walt, and Skyler meet in Dr. D.’s office. Walt, wearing a teddy-bear hot pink sweater over a white shirt, shows the doctors a picture of Holly, age seven weeks. The surgeon says Walt’s margins “look good. You bought yourself some real time here.”

Skyler asks if Walt can go back to “his normal routine” and work. Yes, in a few more weeks. “So, he can be on his own – more independent?” She’s already planning their separation.

Donald encounters a co-worker in the break room at his work. “I’m doing okay,” he says. “After a certain point, time off doesn’t help…so, I figured I’d rather be here. Focus on work.” In the tower, we see several planes, represented by moving circles, on Donald’s screen.

Walt, still in his pink sweater, looks in mirror at his new, bleached-looking, scraggly beard. “I think I may just keep this. Sky? What do you think?” No answer. He comes into the bedroom, where Skyler’s packing a suitcase, the baby in her car seat on the bed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to Hank and Marie’s for the week-end…I’m taking the baby with me. Marie will pick Walter, Jr. up from school. You’ll have the house to yourself for two days. Why don’t you pack your things and leave?”

“Why would I do that?”

“I want you gone by Monday morning.”

Walt, fondling sleeping Holly’s little hand, “Okay. Can you at least tell me why?”

Skyler, wearing a low-cut white top and a black sweater, turns. “Because you’re a liar, Walt…Two cell phones after all.”

When she explains, Walt says, “I was medicated.”

“I think you accidentally told the truth.” Skyler recounts all of Walt’s “strange behavior, not the least of which was the disappearance – your fugue state. I had to believe that, didn’t I? I had to find a way. I mean, who would lie about such a thing?”

“You tell me exactly what you think I’m lying to you about.” Skyler laughs bitterly. “I’m having an affair – is that what you think? With whom?”

“Well, my guess was Gretchen Schwartz. Something was going on between you.”

“Jesus, Skyler! Get me a Bible to swear on, if that’s what it takes!”

“Oh, I know – I know you’re not. ‘Cause I asked her. It took me forever to get in touch with her. She was ducking my calls for weeks. So, I finally left a message: ‘What exactly is going on between you and my husband?’ I thought that’d get her attention, and it did. So, she called me back, and she finally told me. The money? For your treatment? Gretchen and Eliot didn’t give you a dime. They paid for nothing. You refused every offer they made you. But that didn’t make sense, ’cause I checked with Dr. Delcavoli and the hospital, and not including your surgery, we’re nearly paid up. Over $100,000. Out of where?” The two are close now, and Skyler pushes Walt away. “Then I called your mother. Yeah. Oh, thanks for that, too. It turns out that not only didn’t she even know that you had cancer, you never went to see her. I took you to the airport and picked you up four days later, and she swears you were never there.”

Skyler won’t let Walt touch her. She turns away. “Lies on top of lies on top of lies.”

As Skyler leaves the room with her bag and the baby, Walt calls, “Skyler!”

She turns. “Could you – just once – do me the courtesy of not denying it?”

Outside, as she’s getting in her car, Walt calls her name again. “Skyler, don’t do this! Skyler! Please don’t go!” he grabs her door as she tries to shut it. “If I tell you the truth, will you stay? Stay, and I will tell you everything.”

“Whatever it is, I’m afraid to know,” Skyler says, shutting the door, and going.

Back at the tower, we hear Donald say (a mistake), “Jane Mike 2, 1.” He seems distracted. We see two planes overlapping on his screen and wonder why he doesn’t, but, of course, by then it’s too late.

Finally, we see Walt sitting in a far corner of the patio, still in his pink sweater. There’s an explosion, and he looks up, and sees the planes crashing. Then we have a plane’s-eye view of the city, turning and falling. And something – the pink bear – crashes into Walt’s pool. We also see a pink Kokopelli, the hunchbacked Anasazi fluteplayer, which we remember from earlier scenes, painted on the patio wall.

Walt’s world is crashing down around him, and it’s all, or largely, his fault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 2, Episode 12: “Phoenix”

Breaking Bad, 2-12: “Phoenix”

Opener

Daytime, Jesse’s bedroom. We see Jesse and Jane in bed, and the works on the table. Jane stirs as her phone rings. “Dad! I was in the shower. Hey! I overslept. I’m running late, but I’ll be there.” She hangs up, and says to Jesse, “Baby, I gotta go.” She kisses him, then looks at the mess the room is in. “Somebody broke in.”

Jesse sees the bedroom door, and goes in the kitchen, which looks like a bomb hit it. “Oh, no!” he shouts. “No, no, no, no!! Damn! Oh, God! Oh, Christ!”

Scene 1: a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and a restaurant

Jane is at the meeting with her dad, and we get the impression that he’s been forcing her to attend meetings for months. She twists her 18-month sobriety chip in her hands, looking nervous and bereft.

Later, at a restaurant, Donald says, “You look tired.”

Jane says she’s been working hard on a complex new tattoo, and asks her dad about his job.

Donald: “Are you seeing anyone?”

“No. You?”

“What about that guy next door?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he seemed to have some expectation of you introducing me to him the other day.”

“Dad, he’s our tenant. End of story. Why would I get involved with a tenant?” She looks about to cry.

“Okay.”

Scene 2: Casa Blanca, Jesse’s

Beautiful, innocent little Holly is home in her bassinette, with Mom and Dad caring for her. The phone rings, and Junior answers. “Nobody there,” he says.
When it rings again, Walt grabs it. “Oh, hi, Carmen,” he says, and talks about the baby. Outside, he says, “You junkie imbecile! What the hell are you calling me at home for?”

“I’m trying to tell you, man! Last night – somebody broke into my place, yo! I got robbed! Yeah. Somebody got our stuff – all of it.” He’s panting. “You get me? The blue stuff. It’s uncanny. They knew exactly where to look! I mean, say something, man! Yell at me or something! Come on! Mr. White!”

When Walt hangs up, Jesse sees the number four on his answering machine message counter.

Later, there’s a family party on the White patio at which Pollos Hermanos chicken is served. Hank and Marie offer to pay for a pool alarm system to prevent injury to baby Holly, and Walt and Skyler refuse. Skyler says she’s going right back to work, and Walt objects that the baby needs her at home.

Later, Walt, lying awake, hears the baby crying, and says, “I’ll get her.” He carries his “good little girl” out to the garage, where he’s hidden the money behind the wall insulation. “Want to see what your daddy did for you? Daddy did that for you.”

Scene 3: Walt’s classroom

Jesse, wearing a red shirt, a plain gray jacket, and gray pants, comes into the classroom. “This place looks exactly the same,” he says to Walt, who’s wearing his dark red shirt. “Why don’t you have computers and shit? It’s the 20th century.”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“You! Took the stash. I heard all those phone messages, and I figured it out.”

“Figured it out, huh? Well, congratulations, Einstein.”

“You left me to freak out all day long, like I dropped the ball or something, and you were the one who took it.”

Walt locks the door. “Like you dropped the ball? When have you ever not dropped the ball, Jesse? Blasted out of your mind on whatever the hell that was – what was that? Heroin? Jesus.”

“I was on my day off, man. What I do on my day off is – ”

“We were on call, you junkie. On call for the biggest deal of our lives [did you tell him that?]. I just managed to pull it off by the skin of my teeth – no thanks to you. And you – ” he pushes him, “made me miss the birth of my daughter [no, he didn’t!!]. Son of a bitch!”

“How much?”

“How much what?”

“How much did you get for the deal?”

“1.2 million.”

“$600,000 each.”

“$480,000. Saul’s cut is 20%.”

“So, where’s my money?”

“You are joking, right? If I gave you that money, you’d be dead inside of a week.”

“Yo, man. I’m off the heroin. I didn’t like it anyway – it made me sick. And the meth, you know – I can take it or leave it. I’m clean, Mr. White – for real.”

Walt throws him a glass beaker. “Prove it. Pee in that.”

“How gay are you, seriously?”

“Pee in it! They’re selling testing kits at the drug store. If you’re clean, I’ll give you every last dime. No, huh? Well, I guess until then you’ll just have to depend on the kindness of strangers to get high. That and your little junkie girlfriend.”

Jesse throws the beaker at Walt, and it shatters against the blackboard. We see them in a long shot, standing across the room from each other. Then Jesse walks out.

Scene 4: Casa Blanca

Marie and Walt are putting Holly down for a nap, and Walt inserts a rolled-up towel behind the baby’s back to keep her from rolling onto her back, spitting up, and choking. Skyler comes in. “Your son is unbelievable,” she tells Walt. “Come see what he’s done.”

Junior’s in his room at his computer. The walls are painted the same life-giving green as the bottom of his sister’s walls, with a similar border at the top. We see the same nice, out-of-character-as-we-know-him picture of a beatifically smiling Walt that was on his missing poster on the computer, then some family pictures.

Marie says, “Flynn, it’s beautiful.” He’s created a website called SaveWalterWhite.com. There’s a “Click her to donate” link, a PayPal account, and everything.

“No,” Walt says.

Skyler: “Walt – ” She leads her husband out of the room, and begs him to let Junior go ahead.

“It’s charity.”

“Why do you say that like it’s some kind of dirty word?”

Scene 5: Saul’s office, Jesse’s, the Whites’, and an NA meeting

Saul’s trying to come up with ways to launder Walt’s drug profits, and Walt’s shooting down all his ideas. “It can’t be blind luck or some imaginary relative that saves us. No. I earned that money – me.” He tells Saul about Junior’s website, and asks, “Do you have any idea how that makes me feel?” Saul goes to the site on his desktop computer, as Walt adds, “Cyberbegging – that’s all that is. Rattling a tin cup to the entire world.”

Saul says, sarcastically, “No deep-seated issues there…Walt, I’m looking at the answer right here.”

“No! I’m not going to have my family think that some mystery benefactor saved us!”

“Not some mystery benefactor singular – that would raise too many questions.” Saul tells Walt about a computer hacker he uses from Belarus who can make “twenty or thirty thousand little donations from all over the U.S. and Canada” come in to Junior’s website.

At Jesse’s place, Jesse says to Jane, “He’s an asshole – always judging me.” Wearing his red sweatshirt, he’s getting the heroin ready to inject this time, with Jane’s coaching. “Like who is he? First off, I taught him. He’s acting like I’m his indentured servant.”

“I don’t understand why you need him anyway.”

“Exactly.”

“How much does he owe you?”

“480.” Jesse’s nodding off.

“I’d be mad, too, if somebody owed me 500 bucks.”

“No – four hundred and eighty thousand.”

“What? What? Not on your back, baby, in case you throw up. On your side.” Jane stuffs a pillow behind Jesse’s back.

We see Donald at an NA meeting, an empty chair beside him. When he calls Jane, she says she overslept again, and that she’s on her way. But Donald’s parked in front of the apartments, and sees Jane coming out Jesse’s front door. He rushes into Jesse’s bedroom, sees the works, and throws Jesse on the floor, as Jane shouts, “No! No! Dad!”

Jesse: “Come on!”

Donald, getting ready to call the police: “I have tried ten years of love and understanding. Maybe what it takes is you drying out in a jail cell.”

“Dad – no!” Jane says she’ll go to rehab the next day, as soon as she finds someone to water her houseplants. She begs and pleads till Donald relents.

After Donald’s gone, Jesse asks Jane, “You meant all that?”

“I don’t know. I just think that if we had enough money, nobody could make us do anything.”

The phone rings at the Whites’ as Walt and Skyler play with Holly on their bed. Skyler goes into the kitchen to answer it, coming back to tell Walt that one of his old students needs “a recommendation.”

While Skyler’s off feeding Holly, Walt hears, “Hello, Walter White. It’s Jane – of Jesse and Jane. Jesse’s junkie girlfriend…”

Walt, having taken the phone outside, demands, “How did you get this number? Did Jesse give it to you?”

“I just want what’s coming to him – no more, no less.”

“What are you talking about?”

“$480,000.”

“He told you about the money…”

“He told me everything.”

“So, what is this, some kind of blackmail?”

“This is me telling you to bring Jesse what you owe him. I don’t call that blackmail.”

“I do. Dialing my number, talking to my wife…How much heroin does half a million dollars buy? For your information, I’m holding Jesse’s money for him, and he’ll receive every last dollar of it. He will – not you – at a time when I see fit. But I will not contribute to his overdose.”

“You know, Mr. White, I take that back. This is blackmail. ‘Cause what I know about you – high school teacher with a brother-in-law in the DEA – that’d make a hell of a story – national news I’ll bet. Do right by Jesse tonight, or I will burn you to the ground.” Jane hangs up.

Jesse and Jane go outside in back of the apartments, and Jane says, “He’s a high school teacher – what’s he gonna do, give you a B minus?”

“You wouldn’t really go to the cops, would you?”

“No. He’ll pay.”

“Well, what if he doesn’t?”

“Jesse, it’s your money. You’re in the right here; he’s in the wrong. He’s not stupid. He’ll pay. What is it, really? You don’t want your half million dollars? You want to renounce your possessions and become a monk?”

“No, it’s just – I’m not the kinda dude who rolls. And neither are you. I mean, he’s my partner.”

I’m your partner.” Jane walks back up the steps and goes inside.

Walt’s watching a nature video about elephants, while listening to Skyler singing Holly to sleep on the baby monitor. Skyler comes out, and asks Walt to go get some diapers. We see him in the garage, getting stacks of money.

Walt knocks at Jesse’s door. Jane answers, and grabs for the satchel in Walt’s hand. “Jesse, not you,” Walt says.

Jesse comes to the door, and before he releases the bag, Walt tells him, “Nice job of wearing the pants. How do I know she’ll keep quiet?”

Jane: “Guess you don’t.”

Jesse: “You’ll never hear from either one of us again.”

Walt: “You’re not seeing straight, Jesse.” Jesse’s starting to listen, as Walt continues, “You’re making a mistake,” but Jane slams the door in his face.

Inside, Jane unzips the bag. “Do you know what this is? This is saying I can go anywhere I want! I can be anybody! Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? South America? Australia?”

Jesse: “Is New Zealand part of Australia?”

“New Zealand is New Zealand,” Jane answers, counting the money.

Jesse’s in a daze. “Right on! Yo – that’s where they made ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I say, let’s move there, yo, and you can do your art and paint like the local castles and shit, and I can be a bush pilot!”

Jane: “Yeah, New Zealand! I can get behind that! But I guess I’m good anywhere.” She grabs Jesse and hugs him. “But first we gotta get clean – and not because anybody’s telling is to – just for us, right?”

“Yeah – for us.”

Jane picks up the satchel. “All this here – we’re not just going to shoot this up our arms, Jesse – we’re not!”

“No, no, no – we’re better than that.”

“We’re way better than that! I say we flush what we’ve got left, and start tonight.” They go in the bedroom and see the works on the table and the red candle burning, as Jesse says, “Yeah, we can do that. Definitely.”

Scene 6: a bar

Walt stops at a bar. His phone rings, and he tells Skyler he’s having trouble finding newborn diapers. After hanging up, he gets into a conversation with, of all people, Donald, about the discovery of water on Mars.

Donald, who’s overheard what Walt told Skyler, asks, “So, what’d you have?”

“A little girl.”

“I have a daughter.”

“How old?”

“Old enough to know better. Twenty-seven next month.”

“Any other kids?”

“No.”

Walt asks Donald if he has any advice about raising a daughter, and he says, “Just love them. I mean, they are who they are.”

Then Walt, thinking of Jesse, starts talking about a problem nephew. “He’s an adult. But you can’t infantilize them. You can’t live their life for them. But still, there’s that frustration that goes along with ‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I do know what’s best for you, so listen.'” Donald nods. “But, of course, they don’t. I mean, what do you do with someone like that?”

Donald shakes his head. “Family.”

Walt thinks a moment. “Yeah…family.” Jesse is his surrogate son.

“You can’t give up on them,” Donald says. “Never. What else is there?”

In a supremely ironic event, Walt, inspired by Donald, goes back to Jesse’s to try, again, to save him from Jane’s influence. And ends up putting Jane in a position to die, and letting it happen, killing Donald’s special family member in an effort to save his own. And, of course, his reasons for wanting to save Jesse aren’t entirely loving. Maybe, in fact, that’s the least of it. Despite Jesse’s mistakes, occasional foolishness, and sporadic drug use, Walt doesn’t want to face the big, bad world of the drug trade without his odd-couple partner. In other words, he wants to use Jesse, treating him, as Jesse’s just said, as an indentured servant. Neither Walt nor Jane is healthy enough to want what’s best for the young man they claim to love. Jane is also a legitimate threat to Walt.

Walt knocks, fairly gently, on the living room door. “Jesse, it’s me.” He knocks again. “Jesse – I just want to talk.” Then he goes around to the back, takes the cardboard off the broken door, and sees Jesse and Jane in bed. He goes inside, and, dressed all in black (angel of death?), he sits on the bed and shakes Jesse’s shoulder. “Jesse, wake up!” Jesse groans and turns on his back, rolling Jane onto her back. Walt looks at the needle, picks it up, and throws it back on the night table.

When Jane starts vomiting and choking, Walt runs instinctively to her side of the bed, saying, “No! No! No!” He’s about to turn her, but suddenly stops. He stands there, in some conflict, but pretty sure of his decision, as she continues to choke, then stops. Her eyes roll open. Walt puts his hand over his mouth, and cries one tear.

Does he turn Jesse back on his side? We don’t see that, so maybe Jesse’s lucky he didn’t vomit, too.

 

 

 

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Season 2, Episode 11: “Mandala”

Breaking Bad, 2-11: “Mandala”

Opener

A kid rides a bike in a not-so-great Albuquerque neighborhood. He passes a homeless guy with a shopping cart, then Combo, dressed in white, selling meth. A dark car pulls up at the curb, and Combo goes over. The two thuggish guys say nothing.

Combo: “Whatchu need? Yo – you buyin’?” Finally, he shows them the gun at his hip, and calls them “punk bitches.”

We see the dark car park around the corner, watching Combo, who pulls out his phone as the kid rides around him. “Bounce, little man!” Combo says, leaving a message for Skinny Pete: “Yo – I’m getting’ eyeballed, hard. I got a bad feelin’, man. I need some back-up. Get your ass up here now!”

Kid: “Hey, what’s that thing in your ear?”

“Hey, what’d I say? Get outta here! What you waitin’ for? Go!”

The car, still there, honks, and the kid shoots Combo in the midsection. He turns and runs, the kid, a terrified expression on his face, still shooting. Combo falls in the middle of the street, blood coming out of his mouth. The kid rides off; the car leaves.

Scene 1: Dr. Delcavoli’s office, Walt’s classroom, Jesse’s

Dr. Delcavoli’s brought in a surgeon, who advises Walt and Skyler that a lumpectomy, costing $170,000 to $200,000 would improve Walt’s chances of survival. Walt agrees on the spot, and the surgery is scheduled for two weeks after Skyler’s due date, four weeks on.

Walt retrieves his second cell phone from the classroom ceiling, and calls Jesse, who picks up, and asks, “Where the hell were you? I called twenty times!”

“Working. What is it?”

“Combo’s dead. Shot.”

“Which one is he?”

“You did not – just say that to me.”

“Jesse, listen – ” Jesse hangs up.

Later, at Jesse’s, Skinny Pete and Jesse talk. Jesse’s wearing a dull black “T” with a faded white skull and a red cloud on the front. Seems like things never go well with these skull shirts…

Jesse: “What’s the word on the street?”

“No one’s droppin’ names. Combo rang before it went down – said a couple of dudes were mad-doggin’ him – tryin’ to run him up off the corner. That’s all I know…Why’d we have to go pushin’ into new turf, yo? I mean, what do you expect?”

Jesse lowers his head and shakes it sadly. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Is that all you got?”

“I’ll do right by Combo’s people…Make sure you bust up your cell and toss it – all right? We’ll figure it out.”

“I appreciate what you’re sayin’ and all, but with Combo gone, and Badger layin’ low out in Cali…I’m on probation, man. Fast track to Los Lunas.”

Jesse lowers his head again, then looks at Skinny Pete. “We’re on the verge of making some serious coin. You gonna jump ship now?”

“This game we been playin’? We don’t got the street cred to survive it. When everyone thought you killed Spooge, we were doin’ okay, but that ATM to the head thing – junkie bitch copped to it. Whole town knows it wasn’t you.”

“Everyone knows? Why didn’t you say something?”

“I don’t know, man – ’cause we like you and all.”

“Just sit tight. We’ll get by – we’ll make it…”

“I can’t, Jesse. I’m out.”

Scene 2: Saul’s office

Walt and Jesse sit at opposite ends of Saul’s T-shaped sofa. “We had a bit of a setback,” Walt tells Saul. He turns to Jesse. “I’m sorry, but that’s an accurate description. What else do you want me to call it?”

Jesse’s smoking a cigarette. “How ’bout your fault?”

“Don’t lay that on me – you’re in charge of distribution.”

“You say expand the territory – ”

Saul, from his pulled-up armchair: “Guys, hey! Who do I look like? Maury Povich? I’m not your marriage counselor. You’re professionals. Act like it. Now – setback – go!”

Walt: “One of our dealers was murdered. Some kind of turf dispute. We lost, and everyone quit on us. We have no distribution.”

“Is there any way any of this can be traced back to you? No? Well, there’s your silver lining. How’s the health situation?”

“Better…” To Jesse, regarding the cigarette smoke: “You mind? I may have more time than I thought.”

Saul: “Outstanding.” To Jesse: “Now, as to your dead guy: occupational hazard…What about product on hand?”

Jesse, dully: “Thirty-eight pounds.”

Walt: “You did say, ‘Make hay while the sun shines.'”

Saul: “Why the long faces here? You’re sittin’ on a gold mine!”

Walt: “A gold mine we can’t sell. We need a proper infrastructure. We need foot soldiers. And we need dealers on the street level that are rock solid. We need muscle. We need enforcers. God…the entire process has been so – it’s always been one step forward and two steps back. We need your help.”

“So, let’s start with some tough love. You two suck at peddling meth. So, give up on trying to do it yourselves. I’m amazed you got this far.”

Walt: “We’re not going to deal with another high-level distributor. We’ve been down that road.”

“What? Some tattooed speed freak? No. What you two need is an honest-to-God businessman – somebody who treats your product like the high-margin commodity it is. Somebody who ships out of town, deals only in bulk – someone who’s been doin’ this for 20 years and never been caught.”

Walt leans forward. “You know someone like that?”

“Let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy, who knows another guy. Let me make some calls – see if I can get a meeting.”

“What’s his name?”

Saul, back at his desk: “I have no idea. He’s very low profile – he’s careful like that. From what I do hear about him, he sounds a little like you.”

Scene 3: Jesse’s

Jesse and Jane are watching TV, and Jane reaches for Jesse’s hand. He turns to her and says, “Maybe you should leave…There’s some stuff about me you don’t know.”

“Like you’re a drug dealer? I kinda got that. You paying in cash and using an alias…”

Jesse, head in hands: “One of my guys – a guy who worked for me – got murdered. I was involved. I put him on that corner. I’m gonna smoke some crystal. I just think you should go…I mean, you’re in a program and all, and – ”

“You could come with me to a meeting.”

“No.”

“We could just get outta here. It [doing drugs] won’t help.”

“Yeah, it will, and I don’t need you telling me that it won’t. I just – ” Jane looks like a little girl here, loving Jesse, and trying to help. Jesse gets up and walks toward the bedroom, then turns. “I really need you to go.” He goes into the bedroom and shuts the door.

Her hand on the front door, Jane leans her head against it. Finally, she walks back to the bedroom door, pauses a moment, and goes in, having decided that her need to be with Jesse is greater than her need to remain sober.

Scene 4: a Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant

We get our first sight of drug kingpin Gus Fring, in a yellow shirt and glasses – humbly, quietly, and efficiently working. Walt’s in the restaurant, too, looking around with narrowed eyes and grim, thin lips, scrutinizing every man in the place.

Jesse comes in, wearing red, black, and white, and looking strung out and jittery. He sits down opposite Walt in the window booth. “You’re late,” Walt says.

“Oh, yeah – we’re in the big time now…So, let me get this straight. He’s allowed to know our names and what we look like, but not the other way around.”

“Why don’t you get yourself some food?”

“So, we can just sit here suckin’ up Happy Meals, lookin’ like a couple of chumps?”

Gus comes over. “Gentlemen…Is everything to your satisfaction?”

“Fine. Thanks,” Walt says. Gus leaves.

Jesse: “I don’t get you, man. A week ago you were talkin’ like you were all ready to hang it up.”

“We’ve got forty pounds we need to sell.”

“Yeah? What about after? Then you’re gonna pick some new magic number? ‘I got bills, I got bills; I gotta make more…'”

“Like you say, Jesse, things have changed.”

“Oh, I know. We got a guy killed.” There are tears in his eyes. “This is bullshit. I’m outta here!”

“Hey!” Walt calls after him, but Jesse is gone, and Gus has observed the entire interaction.

Scene 5: Skyler’s doctor’s office, Jesse’s, Beneke, Walt’s classroom

Skyler’s female obstetrician shows her the latest ultrasound. Walt comes in late, blaming traffic. “Oh, my God – look at her,” he says, looking at the picture. Skyler, saying her last labor was “pretty tough,” schedules a C-section a week or more hence.

Outside, Walt marvels, “So, we have a birthday…” Skyler’s going back to Beneke for Ted’s birthday surprise party, which doesn’t please him, but the two kiss good-bye.

At Jesse’s, the place is trashed – beer bottles all over, and Jane still in bed. Jesse rubs her naked shoulder, and kisses it. “Let’s get outta here,” he says. “Go do something. You know that museum in Santa Fe you talked about? Let’s take a drive.”

But Jane loads up the meth pipe, apparently a more hardcore drug user than Jesse once she’s fallen off the wagon.

At Beneke, Skyler does a Marilyn Monroe imitation, sexily singing “Happy Birthday” to Ted at his party. He kisses her, and says, “Fantastic!”

Walt uses his second cell phone to call Saul from his classroom. “He wasn’t there,” he says.

“Oh, he was there all right.”

“What do you mean? I sat there for two hours – nobody came.”

“All I know is, my contact said he was there. Are you sure you were at the right restaurant?”

“Yes. I’m positive. Where was he?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he sat out in the parking lot, took one look at you, and decided he didn’t like the cut of your jib. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now, because my contact says it’s a no go.”

“What? How can he make that decision without ever meeting me?”

“He’s very cautious who he does business with.”

“Call him back.”

“Hey – first of all, I never called him. I called a guy who called a guy who called a guy. Second of all, it’s over. Understand? With this particular individual all you get is one shot…Look, I’ll see if I can scrape somethin’ else up. But don’t get your hopes up. No one else handles that kind of bulk.”

Scene 6: Pollos Hermanos

Walt gets some food, and sits in the same place as before, looking out the window. There are no men in the restaurant except the manager and one employee. Walt eats, and time passes. Finally, Walt gets up and goes to the counter. “Can I help you, sir?” Gus asks.

“A Diet Coke, please, and five minutes of your time.”

Gus brings the soda to Walt’s table. “What can I do for you?”

“Have a seat. Please…I would like to know why you wouldn’t meet with me yesterday.”

“I’m sorry – I’m not following.”

“I sat here yesterday waiting to meet somebody. I believe that person was you.”

“I think you’re confusing me with someone else.”

“I don’t think so.”

Gus turns and looks at the counter. “Sir, if you have a complaint, I suggest you submit it to our e-mail system. I’ll be happy to refer you to our website.”

“I was told that the man I would be meeting with is very careful – a cautious man. I believe we’re alike in that way. If you are who I think you are, you should give me another chance.”

“I don’t think we’re alike at all, Mr. White. You are not a cautious man at all. Your partner was late, and he was high.”

“Yes. Yes, he was.”

“He’s high often, isn’t he? You have poor judgment. I can’t work with someone with poor judgment.”

“Are you familiar with my product?”

“I’ve been told it’s excellent.”

“It is impeccable. It is the purest, most chemically sound product on the market anywhere.”

“That is not the only factor.”

“You could charge twice the current rate for what I provide, and your customers would pay it – hands down. Who I choose to do business with on my end is not your problem. You won’t see him. You won’t interact with him. Forget he exists.”

“I have to ask, why? Why him?”

“Because he does what I say. Because I can trust him.”

“How much product do you have on hand?”

“Thirty-eight pounds, ready to go at a moment’s notice.” Gus gets up, and Walt asks, “Will I hear from you?”

“I have your number…You can never trust a drug addict.”

Scene 7: Beneke

Going over accounts with Ted, Skyler tells him, “There are seven accounts in which revenue’s being underreported. And I only just started to look into it.”

Ted says something about rolling overages into the next order. “The money’s coming in eventually.”

Skyler responds that she’s gotten old bills of sale out of storage, and “most of the time, there’s no backup for the reported revenues at all. In a few cases I found xeroxed copies with the dates changed. Ted…”

He gets up. “All right – you got me.”

Skyler: “We’re talking nearly a million dollars of undocumented revenue. What are you thinking?”

Ted talks about business being terrible, and trying to save the company and people’s jobs.

“Ted – people go to prison for this.”

“My dad started this company from nothing. The people who work here are like family. I can’t let that all fall apart because of a couple of bad years…Sky – don’t report this…Please.”

“I’m not gonna turn you in, Ted. But I can’t be a part of it.”

Scene 8: Jesse’s

Jesse, smoking a cigarette, is looking unhappy. The phone rings, and he lets the answering machine pick up a message from Skinny Pete: “We missed you at the funeral today. The whole crew was represented. Even Badger came all the way from Fresno. Combo’s people – everyone was all choked up…Anyway, guess you had somethin’ bigger goin’ down.”

Jane comes in, locking the door behind her. She’s carrying a brick-shaped package, which turns out to be heroin and the works to shoot it. In the bedroom, Jane ties Jesse off. He’s wearing a black “T” with little yellow skulls on it. “What’s it feel like?” he asks.

“It’s a chill. You’ll forget about this. You’ll see.” She kisses him. “I’ll meet you there.” She looks into his eyes before injecting him with the drug, and he gives her a quick nod. He drops back on the bed as “Enchanted,” sung by the Platters, plays (lyrics below). Through trick photography, he appears to float above the bed, mouth open, eyes glazed, right hand on his heart.

Enchanted

Living is a dream when you make it seem enchanted.

Lovers take for granted – all the world’s aglow; they ought to know…

When you touch a star, then you really are enchanted

Find a seed and plant it. Love will make it grow.

Chorus: It’s really grand when you stand hand in hand with your lover

And thrill to the wonders of night.

Days, too, will amaze you, and soon you’ll discover

Your dreams run to dreams in continuous flight.

Love is ecstasy – it’s divine to be enchanted

When your dreams are slanted through a lover’s eyes.

Scene 9: Beneke, Walt’s classroom, Pollos Hermanos, Jesse’s

Ted’s still in the Beneke office when Skyler returns. She stops her car, thinks for a minute, and gets out, Ted watching.

Walt’s administering a test to a chemistry class when everyone hears a phone vibrating against something. “Phones off, please,” Walt says before realizing that it’s his ceiling cell. “Pipes, I guess. Eyes on your paper.”

After the class has left, he gets the phone and sees that the caller was “Pollos.” He goes to the restaurant and asks for the manager. A young woman says she’s the manager, and that Gus, whom Walt has just described, owns fourteen Pollos Hermanos restaurants “between here and Nevada.” She says she can’t give out his number.

As Walt starts to leave, he’s accosted by Victor, a young male employee of Gus’s. Victor tells Walt to bring the 38 pounds of meth to a truck stop at Exit 13 “on the 25” in one hour, in return for $1.2 million. “Are you in or out?” he asks.

“In,” responds Walt. “Absolutely. But I just need a little more time.”

“One hour. If you miss it, don’t ever show your face in here again.”

Outside the restaurant, Walt tries to call Jesse. “Pick up! I’m coming by…I need the product! I need the product now!” He peels off, driving dangerously.

Meanwhile, Skyler, looking at the Beneke screensaver on her work computer, feels labor begin.

Arriving at Jesse’s, Walt sees his car is there. He bangs on the door, shouting, then bangs on the window. His phone rings; it’s Skyler, but instead of answering, he runs to the back and shouts and pounds on that door. He kicks at it, grabs an outdoor statue and breaks open an upper panel. Inside, Jesse and Jane are out cold on the bed. Walt shakes Jesse, shouting, “Jesse, wake up! Where’s the product?”

“In the kitchen…under the sink,” Jesse mumbles, without opening his eyes.

Walt tears into the kitchen as his phone rings again. He pounds on the sink cabinet till its false top comes down, and the bags of meth tumble out. He throws the kitchen trash on the floor so he can use the plastic bag, frantically stuffing the meth bags inside. His phone rings again, and he reads Skyler’s text message, saying she’s in labor. “No, not now!” he protests, lifting the trash bag over his shoulder. He goes out the front, leaving Jesse’s back door open.

We don’t see the drug meet, just Walt pulling over afterward into the parking lot of an abandoned motel. He talks to Marie, listens, then says, “Oh, thank God! Is she beautiful? I’m staring at brake lights on the 40 – some accident up ahead…No, let her rest. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” He throws out the Aztek’s spare tire, presumably to make room to put all the money in the trunk.

Scene 10: Skyler’s hospital room, Casa Blanca

“Skyler, I’m so sorry.”

“Meet your daughter.” Walt takes the baby, and coos over her, taking minutes to realize (like us) that Ted’s in the room. Again, Walt’s supplanted by another male in his fatherly duties! Ted leaves after congratulating Walt and kissing Skyler, who thanks him for bringing her to the hospital in time.

“Are you okay?”

“Just wish you’d been here.” Hank, Marie, and Junior are downstairs.

“Anything I can do for you?” Skyler asks him to get her overnight bag.

In the driveway at home, Walt looks at all the money – amazed and worshipful. He puts it in the vent space.

 

 

 

 

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Season 2, Episode 10: “Over”

Breaking Bad, 2-10: “Over”

Opener

We hear labored breathing, and through a haze see men in protective suits and boots walking around outside the White house. The men, wearing respirators, put the pink bear (again, the only color) in a large plastic box along with other evidence bags. A man takes a picture of the shattered windshield of Walt’s Aztek to drum music. Finally, we see two white body bags lying in the driveway (with bodies in them).

Scene 1: Casa Blanca, master bedroom, early morning

Walt sits on the edge of the bed, cracking the knuckles of his right hand and looking at the red, sore skin covering them. He coughs, and uses an inhaler. In the master bath, rusty-looking water runs into the sink, and he begins to shave his head. When he comes to breakfast, wearing a green T-shirt with a red sun over the heart, Skyler suggests that he take the rest of the week off, so he can enjoy a small party she’s planning that week-end to celebrate his remission.

Next we see Walt propped up in bed and Skyler bringing him a glass of something to drink. “Now,” she says, “what are you supposed to do today?” She’s dressed for work in a form-fitting white top and navy skirt and jacket.

“Nothing.”

“Excellent,” she says, kissing the top of his bald head. “Excellent. Brownie points for taking a nap.” I’m wondering how Skyler and Junior have failed to notice Walt’s injured hand.

We hear the front door open and shut. Walt looks at a book and some magazines, then places a call on his cell phone and hangs up immediately. This must have been a prearranged signal, because right away his phone rings. Walt answers with, “Can you meet?”

Scene 2: a cafeteria-style restaurant

We hear Walt and Jesse talking, then see them from a distance.

Jesse: “I thought maybe you might have quit – signed off. I was even checking the obits.”

“No such luck.”

“So, where do you stand…what’s the upshot?”

Now we see the two close up. “The upshot is that I have radiation pneumonitis.”

“Damn.”

“It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s fairly common, easily treated. In fact, the news is all good.”

“Like remission ‘good’?”

“Remission. Not to imply that I’m cured. I still have cancer. But there’s been significant reduction in the tumors.”

“How significant?”

“Eighty percent.”

“Dude! No way!” Jesse’s as elated as Walt’s family was in the doctor’s office.

“I’m not out of the woods yet, but ‘options’ is the word they keep bandying about.”

“That’s awesome! That’s great, man! I mean – my aunt – she never – I mean, at your stage, I didn’t think something that good could happen. Mr. White – you kicked its ass, yo! You must be so psyched!”

“Of course, I am,” Walt says, though we know he’s disappointed that he isn’t going out in a blaze of glory.

“Okay,” Jesse says. “Now we – I mean, what do we – Oh! I almost forgot!” He puts a paper sack of money on the table, and the camera goes long again. “So, how do you want to proceed, in light of this kickass news?”

“We’ll take some time, be cautious, sell off what we have, and then – uh…”

“Well?”

“Then I guess I’m done.” Sick smile. Jesse lowers his head for a moment, then nods.

Scene 3: the Whites’ patio

We see clear, greenish crystals…ice for the frozen margaritas Hank’s making.

Skyler, looking pretty in a dress and new hairdo, makes a toast in which she thanks everyone, including the Schwartzes, for their support. “It’s been a challenging time, but Walt’s come through it like a champ.”

Walt’s standing in the background, in back of Marie, wearing a dark red shirt.

“Honey,” Skyler continues, “I’m so proud of you!” Walt blows Skyler a kiss. “For the first time in a long time, we’re excited about the future…”

Hank calls, “Hey, how about the man of the hour?” and the other guests agree: “Yes!” “Speech!”

Walt brings the mood down several notches: “Well, it’s kind of funny. When I got my diagnosis, I said, ‘Why me?’ And then the other day when I got the good news, I said the same thing…Anyway, thank you for coming – and, enjoy!”

Later, Hank, Junior, and Walt are sitting at a table together, Junior wanting to hear about Hank’s “adventure” in El Paso. Hank rambles on in a macho way about the exploding turtle, as Walt looks increasingly disgruntled at being upstaged as a man in his son’s eyes. Suddenly, he grabs Junior’s cup (something non-alcoholic), tosses its contents in the bushes, and pours him a double shot of tequila. Junior smiles, and Walt says, grimly, “Go ahead.”

Hank: “Better not let your mom see.” He pats Junior on the back as he drinks and coughs. Walt frowns as Hank tells a story about an acquaintance drinking mescal. He tops everyone off, giving a lot to Junior.

“Hey, what are you doin’ there?” Hank asks.

“What does it look like I’m doing?”

“The kid’s sixteen. Are you the father of the year?”

Junior looks at Hank, and Walt, overtly angry, asks, “What are you looking at him for?” He points his finger and makes a grim Walt-face. “We’re celebrating. Come on!” Junior drinks.

When Walt goes to pour again, Hank puts his hand over Junior’s cup. Walt pours anyway. Hank, to Junior: “I’d take a pass on that one, if I were you.” He gets up and takes the bottle. “I think we been bogartin’ this puppy long enough.”

Walt yells, “Hey! Bring the bottle back.”

Hank’s far enough away now that people turn and stare. He half-turns. “Sorry, buddy. No can do.”

Walt gets up. “My son – my bottle – my house.” Everyone’s watching now.

Hank turns to the others. “It’s all right.”

“What are you waiting for?” Walt thunders. “Bring it back.”

Junior drinks from his cup as his dad and uncle face off. Hank moves back toward Walt. “Why don’t we just call it good?”

“The bottle. Now!”

Hank reaches out to settle Walt, and Walt knocks his hand aside. Skyler, who’s just noticed the contretemps, approaches, asking, “What’s going on?”

Junior stumbles out of his chair, makes it to the pool edge, and vomits. Hank rushes toward him; Walt just stands there. Then Hank puts the bottle on the table, as Skyler tends to her son. Walt sits down and starts raising his glass. With a coldly satisfied look on his face, he takes a drink, as we hear the sound of Junior continuing to vomit. All for your family? Or all for your male pride?

Scene 4: Jesse’s

Jesse’s frying eggs in a glass pan, which we see from the bottom at first, as he says, “This is your brain…This is your brain on drugs.” He’s making Jane breakfast in bed.

She comes in. “Wow…Need some help?”

“Just have a seat.”

“At least let me do this…”

“I don’t want you to have to do anything.” They kiss.

Jesse serves up huevos rancheros on square red plates like the ones at his parents’ house. He gets forks as Jane surreptitiously picks an eggshell off her beans. “So,” she asks, “What are you up to today? Working? Whatever that means…”

“No,” smiles Jesse. “I’m all yours.” They’re both adorable: blond and blue-eyed, and dark bangs and brown eyes.

“Really…” They kiss across the pass-through counter.

Scene 5: the White master bedroom, Beneke, and Builder’s Supply

Walt sits naked on the edge of the bed, head in hand. Skyler’s at work when Walt calls from the White kitchen, wearing a gray T-shirt and sweat pants. She doesn’t pick up, and we hear his message: “I just wanted to say…We’ll talk tonight, but I just wanted to say – I’m not exactly sure who that was last night, but it wasn’t me. And I’m sorry. Love you – ”

We see rusty water running in the kitchen sink and Walt looking in the utility closet. It’s a mess, with rusty water a couple of inches deep on the floor – leakage from taped pipes.

Skyler’s in the Beneke lunch room, looking fetching in a black maternity dress. Ted comes in. “Who brought the churros?”

“That would be me,” Skyler says, telling Ted about the party, Walt’s cancer, and his remission.

Walt, in a dark shirt and khakis, buys a tankless water heater at Builder’s Supply for $1,200, pulling back a bill with blood on it.

Scene 6: Jesse’s

Jesse and Jane are in/on the yellow-sheeted, black-blanketed bed in the bedroom of Jesse’s apartment. There are red and gold candles on the black bedside table. Jane’s smoking a cigarette and looking at drawings of super heroes in the sketch pad Jesse took from his childhood bedroom.

Jesse: “That’s Hoverman. He can surf, skate, or glide, because he’s always got a six-inch cushion of air under his feet.” Reggae music by Yellowman plays.

“That’s cool. Great lines.” Jesse smiles. “And this guy? What’s his secret power?”

“That’s, uh, Kanga Man.”

“Kanga Man – half man and half kangaroo.” Jane points at the little kangaroo poking out of Kanga Man’s midsection. “Who’s in his pouch?”

“His sidekick, Joey. He rides around in his pouch, and fights crime.”

“That makes Kanga Man a she. Only female kangaroos have pouches.”

“Yeah, I know. But he’s definitely a dude. He’s a product of experimentation.”

“Kinda hot, I guess. Nice haunches.” Jesse laughs. “And this is?”

“That’s Backward-o. Oh, no – I changed it to Rewind-o. He goes backwards – he can make everything go in reverse.” We see a manga-style face and hair, strong arms and legs, and a cape.

“Like time?”

“No, he just walks backwards.”

“Is that a super power? What good is that?”

“He does it like really fast. Say someone’s coming at him with a knife, right? Then he can just zip backwards away from him.” Jesse still seems invested in these fantasy visions of himself, and what he’s just said reminds us of how Tuco and Spooge each threatened Jesse with a knife.

Jane: “Okay…”

“Yo – I was a – kid – when I drew all these. It was, like, four years ago.”

“They all look like you.”

“What?”

“It’s all you in these.”

“No…”

“I wonder what a shrink would say, if he saw them.” She moves back beside Jesse, as he says, “Oh, shut up,” and nuzzles her. “Like you never wanted a super power.”

We hear knocking, and Jane, suddenly alert, asks, “Is that your door or mine? Sounds like mine.” She jumps up and dresses. “I gotta go!”

“Where? Hold up!”

Jane runs out Jesse’s back (bedroom) door, as Jesse calls after her. He goes back inside and puts on his pants.

We see Jane’s dad, Donald, knocking on Jane’s front door. He’s about to open it with his key, when Jane, who’s come in her back door, opens it. “Oh, there you are,” he says. They hug. Jane says she was working with headphones on, as Jesse peeks from behind his front curtain. He comes out as Donald’s asking his daughter out to lunch.

“Hey, yeah – ” Jesse greets the two. “This your dad?” He’s wearing a baggy blue sweatshirt.

Jane introduces him as her “new tenant,” gives him a “shut up” look, and adds, “I’m sorry – did you need something?” She hustles her dad inside her apartment, as Jesse, disappointed at not being included, goes back into his.

Scene 7: Casa Blanca

Walt’s installed the new water heater by the time Junior comes home, seemingly glad to see his dad, and happy to have clear hot water. When Walt tries to apologize for what happened at the party, Junior says he’s sorry about the pool.

“No, that was my fault. Your old man embarrassed himself.” When Junior asks about his uncle Hank, Walt says, “Everything’s fine – I called him this morning. But, son, I owe you an apology. I should have used better judgment.”

Junior smiles. “But I kept up, right?” Walt’s upset at this, but slaps Junior on the shoulder and goes to put away his tools. Then he finds the dry rot in the utility closet floor that will become his next obsession.

Scene 8: Jesse’s

Jesse’s in bed, smoking a cigarette. There’s a knock at the door, and he puts it out.

Jane comes into the living room, with its new dark red leather loungers. “Hey!”

“Uh – yo – ”

Jane goes into the kitchen and opens the fridge like she lives there. “You want to catch a movie later?” The red plates with the remains of the huevos rancheros are still on the counter.

“Yo – ”

“What?”

“What was that all about?”

“What?”

“At the door, with your dad.”

“It wasn’t about anything.”

“Okay, so – uh – I totally just misread your total diss…”

Jane’s eating a yellow popsicle. “If anything, I was just doing you a favor.”

“A favor…”

“Yeah. I told you – he’s a hardass.”

“He seemed cool to me.”

“Yeah – well…”

“So, what’s the deal?”

“There’s no deal. I was helping you out, okay? Protecting you.”

“How’s that?”

“I mean, I’m letting you smoke in here and everything.”

“I bought a filter!”

“And I figured the less he knows, the better.”

“You acted like you didn’t even know me!”

“So?”

“So…”

“You think I’m gonna be like, ‘Hey, dad – meet the stoner guy who lives next door, and, by the way, I’m sleeping with him’?”

“That’s all you think you’re doing?”

“Why do you even care about my dad?”

“I don’t!”

“Great! Then I don’t know why we’re talking about it.”

Us. I’m talking about us.”

“Us?”

“Yeah – you and me.”

“Who’s you and me?”

Jesse: “I’m outta here!” He grabs his jacket, goes out, and gets in his car. He looks back at the apartment, but Jane doesn’t come after him. He turns the key in the ignition, rap music plays, and he’s off.

Scene 9: Builder’s Supply, Casa Blanca, Beneke, and Jesse’s

A day has passed, and Walt has a big shopping cart at Builder’s Supply.

Back home, he’s cutting away the floor over the crawl space, ready to wipe out all his past mistakes, and get a fresh start on his project of portraying himself as a powerful, protective man.

Meanwhile, Skyler’s in her office, discovering dry rot in the Beneke accounting system.

Ted: “Hey, go home already!” Skyler tells him her concerns, and he says they’ll “figure it out tomorrow… or not.”

Suddenly, Skyler starts to cry. She shakes her head, blaming it on “hormones.”

Ted: “What’s wrong?” He may not care about accounting problems, but he cares about Skyler, in a way Walt doesn’t (just as Hank cares about Junior in a way that Walt doesn’t).

“I guess it’s just – it doesn’t feel any different.”

“The good news…”

“Nothing’s really changed – just postponed. There’s supposed to be a light at the end of the tunnel, but lately it just feels like – ”

“More tunnel?” Ted tells Skyler how he got an incapacitating case of the flu right after getting good news about his dad’s health. “Being that rock takes everything you’ve got.”

“Yeah.”

Ted takes Skyler’s hand. She withdraws it to get a tissue, but then takes it again.

The next day at Casa Blanca, Skyler and Junior are eating breakfast when Walt, already working on the dry rot, stops to grab a few bites of toast. “Are you going to work today?” Skyler asks.

“Skyler, there’s rot.” Still standing, Walt takes a drink of juice. “Goin’ back…”

Jesse, in his living room, lights his meth pipe, and coughs. He’s wearing a black jacket and looking really sad. A drawing pad is slid under his door: a picture of “Apology Girl” wiping a tear from her eye. Jesse smiles, and we cut away, seeing sunlight on his grass-green rug.

Skyler, in her office at Beneke, purposely knocks something off her desk as Ted passes by. He stops to help her.

Walt, back at Builder’s Supply for paint, sees some amateur meth stuff in a cart belonging to a tall, clueless-looking guy in a Peruvian knit hat like the one Badger wears. “You’re buying the wrong matches,” Walt tells the guy. “And don’t buy everything in one place.” Freaked out, the guy flees the store.

A few minutes later, Walt leaves the paint cans on the checkout counter, and goes outside, where the meth guy and another man are arguing outside a camper van. Music plays (“DLZ” by TV on the Radio, lyrics below) as they spot Walt, and hat man says, “That’s the guy.”

The second man, a bald, wrestler-built toughie, faces off with Walt, who stands his ground and adds, “Stay out of my territory!” Like a shadow of Walt and Jesse when they first started, the two get in their vehicle and leave. Walt continues to stand in the parking lot, smiling faintly. Heisenberg’s back…

DLZ

Congratulations on the mess you made of things

I’m trying to reconstruct the air and all that brings

And oxidation is the compromise you own

But this is beginning to feel like the dog wants her bones

Say, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,” etc.

You force your fire and then you falsify your deeds

Your methods dot the disconnect from all your creeds

And fortune strives to fill the vacuum that it feeds

But this is beginning to feel like the dog’s lost her lead

Say, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la,” etc.

This is beginning to feel Like the long-winded blues of the never

This is beginning to feel like it’s curling up slowly and finding a throat to choke

This is beginning to feel like the long-winded blues of the never

Barely controlled locomotive consuming the picture

And blowing the crows, the smoke.

This is beginning to feel like the long-winded blues of the never

Static explosion devoted to crushing the broken

And shoving their souls to ghost, eternalized, objectified

You set your sights so high

But this is beginning to feel like the bolt busted loose from the lever

Never you mind, death professor: Your structure’s fine, my dust is better

Your victim flies so high – all to catch a bird’s eye view of who’s next

Never you mind, death professor/Love is life, my love is better

Your victim flies so high/Eyes could be the diamonds confused with who’s next

Never you mind, death professor/Your shocks are fine, my struts are better

Your fiction flies so high/Y’all could use a doctor who’s sick, who’s next?

Never you mind, death professor/Electrified, my love is better

It’s crystallized, so am I/All could be the diamond fused with who’s next

This is beginning to feel like the dawn of the luz of forever

This is beginning to feel like the dawn of the luz of forever

This is beginning to feel like the dawn of the luz of forever

This is beginning to feel like the dawn of the luz of forever.

Pretty dire, with Walt, we presume, cast as the “death professor.” But he cares not – if his family, having pushed him into therapy, has caused him to live longer than he planned, they’ll have to take the consequences of his not being able to shed his new, deadly persona.

 

 

 

 

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