Season 2, Episode 2: “Grilled”

09 Jul

Breaking Bad, 2-2, “Grilled”


We’re in a trashed desert environment, and there’s a loud pumping sound. The camera pans over a baby’s rattle, shotgun shells, and empty bottles hanging from a tree – even a discarded washing machine that once made sounds like what we’re hearing. We see the shadow of the thing that’s making the sound, then the thing itself: Jesse’s car bouncing up and down.

Scene 1: a meeting of Hank’s DEA team; Casa Blanca

Hank announces that Tuco Salamanca’s headquarters have been raided, netting “some of his lieutenants.” He gives a list of crimes for which Tuco’s believed to be responsible, including the murder of Krazy-8. Tuco’s fingerprints are on the bodies of his dead henchmen, No Doz and Gonzo, and “El Paso says he’s got some kind of cartel connection.” After Hank gets the team cheering, “Hell, yeah! Hell, yeah!” signifying that they want to and will arrest Tuco, he tells his partner Gomez privately, “Guy’s in Mexico by now. Appearances, Gomie. It’s all about appearances.” He then tells Gomez he needs some personal time – Skyler’s called to tell him that Walt is missing.

At the White residence, Hank checks Walt’s car over, inside and out, then meets inside the house with Skyler, Junior, and Tim, an Albuquerque police detective friend of his. Skyler tells Tim that Walt’s 5’11” and 165 pounds, and that he’s been “withdrawn.” She adds that “last night he was agitated and upset,” and when asked what was wrong, said “I don’t know where to begin.”

Skyler asks that Hank and/or Tim check phone company records to see who called Walt during their conversation and tells them that there’s no report of any activity on their credit cards and that she’s checked with hospitals, police stations, and morgues in a 50-mile radius. She hopes Tim, “being the expert,” can find out more. She breaks down, and Hank and Junior comfort her.

Outside the house, when Hank tells Tim that there’s no record of a call at that time to Walt’s regular cell phone, Tim mentions the possibility of a second phone.

Scene 2: Tuco’s desert casa

Tuco’s outside, in the desert “yard” we saw in the opener, taking the batteries out of Walt and Jesse’s cell phones and throwing batteries and phones into a field. He has an automatic rifle slung on his back.

Next we see Walt, coughing, and Jesse, staring helplessly, inside the trunk of Jesse’s car. We think the car was moving up and down in the opener because of their struggles to get out, but later realize that it was because someone or something set off its hydraulic pump (Jesse’s car is a wannabe “lowrider”).

As Tuco opens the trunk, Walt momentarily thinks a beatific Skyler is rescuing him, saying, “I understand.” Tuco throws him onto the ground, and slams the trunk down on Jesse, then opens it again, and throws Jesse on the ground, too. “Get up!” he growls, rifle pointed.

“Don’t do this, Tuco!” Walt begs.

Tuco jerks his head toward the house.

Next we see Skyler and Marie are posting “Missing” flyers with Walt’s picture on them all around Albuquerque. “Red Moon” by the Walkmen plays: “And the night is cold/and the clouds go by/Tomorrow morning/I hope to be home/by your side.” Sitting in their car, Skyler thanks Marie, who starts in about the tiara, which she still denies stealing. “Not now,” Skyler says…Junior’s in the baby’s room printing out more flyers, while the diaper box with Walt’s cash and Jesse’s gun in it sits three feet away.

Back at Tuco’s, we see ants crawling around outside, and hear TV audio from inside the house. Then we see the TV picture – a black and white drama in Spanish. Walt and Jesse are sitting on a couch beside the TV, and an old man in a wheelchair is at an angle to them.

Tuco hangs his rifle on the wall and hands a plastic jug of water to his captives. Walt grabs it away from Jesse, and drinks. Tuco kisses the old man’s head, and sits down, saying, “Empty your pockets.” Walt and Jesse put their wallets – and the little plastic baggie of ricin – on the coffee table in front of them. Tuco examines the contents of Walt’s wallet. “Thought your name was Heisenberg.”

“Heisenberg is a business name.”

Tuco looks at a picture of Walt, Skyler, and Junior. “I like doin’ business with a family man. There’s always a lotta collateral.” Getting up, he grabs Walt by the ears. “Can I trust you?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

Sitting down again, Tuco tells the two that the DEA hit his “place of business this morning. The cops were looking for me. But you haven’t been talkin’ – right? I couldn’t get Gonzo on the phone yesterday. He’s been acting all pouty on account of No Doz.” Concluding that Gonzo ratted him out, Tuco rages, driving his knife into the coffee table.

“They’re out there lookin’ for me right now!” Tuco shouts. “I need to get high!” He sniffs the ricin. “Smells like head cheese.”

Jesse: “No – it’s killer. Seriously.”

Tuco wants to take Walt and Jesse to Mexico. “We’ll set you up in a super lab and do nothing but cook 24-7. And no federales are gonna mess with us, because I got my people there.” When Walt protests that he has a wife and family, Tuco says, “So, what? You’ll get another wife.”

Walt: “I can’t just uproot my life like that.”

Jesse: “Yeah – me neither.”

Tuco to Jesse: “Who’s talkin’ to you?”

Jesse: “You need me, man, ’cause I cooked that scanté in your hands. Stink or no stink – one bump, and you’ll be flyin’ high for days. It’s a new product him and I been workin’ up. It’s like a 12-gauge when it comes on. It’s got a secret ingredient.”

“What secret ingredient?” Tuco asks, about to taste the ricin on his finger.

“Chili powder.”

“I hate chili powder.” Tuco pulls out a little bag of the blue meth, and crows, “We’re gonna rewrite history with this!” He snorts some, then pulls a handgun out of his pants and aims it at Jesse.

“I need him,” Walt says. “I need him very badly. He’s my partner. And if he doesn’t go, I don’t go.” Walt will maintain this position for a long time; he does feel a need to have Jesse at least potentially at his side – for various reasons at various times. True caring for Jesse – at least in my humble opinion – is rarely at the top of that list. It isn’t even always on it.

Tuco says to Walt, “I’ll tell you this. My cousins are driving up. They’ll be here by sunset. And you’re gonna be on that truck, or you’ll be dead! And, you [addressing Jesse] – you better hope they got room in the trunk!”

Scene 3: Albuquerque, starting at Casa Blanca

Junior’s headed to the train station with a friend to hand out flyers. Hank and Marie think Skyler should rest. When Marie spills the beans about Walt having a second cell phone, Skyler doesn’t understand, and Hank explains that Walt must have “a secret.”

“An affair? Walt? Please,” Skyler says.

“What about the marijuana?” asks Marie. “Maybe he’s addicted to it, and owes his drug dealer a lot of money.”

“People don’t get hooked on pot like that.”

Marie tells Hank he needs to “question this drug dealer person. He may know something.”

We see Hank questioning Jesse’s mom outside her home. He tells her that Walt and Jesse have stayed in touch over the years, and she remembers that “Mr. White” tried to “motivate” Jesse. “He was one of the few teachers who cared.” Hank tells Mrs. Pinkman he needs to ask Jesse if he knows where Walt might be. “Are you with the police?” she asks, suspiciously.

“No, the Drug Enforcement Authority.”

“Is my son in trouble?”

When Hank reassures Mrs Pinkman that he’s just trying to find Walt, she tells him she hasn’t seen Jesse in over a month and doesn’t expect to see him “anytime soon.” She says that if Jesse had used half the money he’s spent on “that ridiculous, bouncing car” for his education, he’d be doing much better today.

Hank responds, “Lowrider, huh?” Leaving the Pinkmans’, he calls Gomez and asks him to run a check on an ’89 Chevy Monte Carlo, “low jack.” Hank has guessed that, having equipped his car with expensive lowrider equipment, Jesse’s also purchased a lojack GPS system that will enable the cops to recover the vehicle in the event of theft. Sure enough, this eventually enables him to track the car to Tuco’s ranchito.

Scene 4: Tuco’s

Tuco fries onions and meat, and snorts more meth. The old man in the wheelchair’s frowning.

Walt (sotto voce): “Chili powder. Did I not already tell you how moronic that was?”

Jesse: “At least I tried something. And you boosting my gun? First you take it, then you leave it at your house. My gun.”

“How was I supposed to know you were chauffeuring Tuco to my doorstep?”

“At least he wants you alive.”

The TV news comes on, with pictures of No Doz and Gonzo, and Walt manages to change the channel without Tuco noticing. He picks up the ricin. “We’ve got to get him to take this.”

Tuco puts plates of food on the table, saying. “Eat. We got a long ride ahead of us.” While he has his back turned, Walt sprinkles ricin in his burrito. Having seen this, Tio dings his bell before his nephew can take a bite.

“I’ll feed you,” Tuco says. “I eat first. That’s the deal.”

Ding! Ding!

“What?” Tuco laughs. “Greedy old bastard!” He switches plates with Tio, who, with great effort, knocks his plate to the floor. He points his shaking finger at Walt and Jesse, sitting opposite him at the table. Later, he rings his bell as Tuco snorts more meth. “What do you want? Don’t tell me you’re hungry!” Tio looks pointedly at Walt and Jesse. “Are you mad-doggin’ them, Tio? You don’t like them? Why don’t you like them? You don’t trust them?”

Ding! (“Right!”)

“Tuco, come on…hey,” Walt says. “He’s not lucid.”

But, automatic rifle in hand, Tuco gets up and goes to his uncle. “They do something to you, Tio? Something you don’t like?”


“What did they do to you?” Tuco turns on Walt and Jesse. “What did you do to my tio?” he hollers.

“Nothing,” Walt says.

“Bullshit! My tio does not lie.”

“I swear – I don’t know. Maybe – I did change the channel on the TV.”

“That’s it!” cries Jesse. “He was watching one of those tele-novels with all the ripe honeys on it – he was really into it. I told you not to change the channel, man! Dude needs his eye candy. That’s it!”

Tuco laughs. “Is that it, Tio?” Silence. “You ain’t talkin’, Tio. Did they fuck with me?”


Tuco, who’s been crouching by the wheelchair, duck walks toward Jesse, banging the stock of his rifle menacingly on the floor with each step. Jesse, horrified, cries, “No, man!” Tuco grabs him, and throws him bodily out the screen door, which falls off its hinges from the impact. He goes outside and starts kicking Jesse.

Walt runs out, too, shouting, “Tuco, no!”

Tuco picks Jesse up and bangs him twice against a fence, then chokes him and hits him in the head with the gun. Jesse crawls away on the ground, as Tuco comes after him, ready to shoot. “No! God, please! No!” Jesse begs. “I don’t want to die!”

“Tell me what you did, Walter!” Tuco shouts, gun still trained on Jesse.

Jesse’s right hand scrabbles in the sand for something, as Walt says in a low voice, “We tried to poison you. We tried to poison you, because you’re an insane, degenerate piece of filth, and you deserve to die.”

Jesse, who now has a rock in his hand, rises up, and hits Tuco in the mouth with it. Tuco falls to the ground, and Jesse’s on him. Walt grabs the rifle, but can’t shoot – the men are too close together. Jesse gets Tuco’s handgun from his waist, and shoots him in the stomach. He stands, kicking Tuco into a waist-high dry well. Walt and Jesse have the rifle and gun trained on their tormenter. Jesse cries, and Walt turns away, saying, “Let him bleed” in a growly Heisenbergian voice.

They run to Jesse’s car and get in, then realize they don’t have the keys. A car approaches – the cousins? Walt and Jesse run and hide behind an embankment.

Tuco climbs out of the well, and staggers to Jesse’s car.

Hank gets out of his SUV, and addresses the figure at the Monte Carlo: “Jesse Pinkman…Hard man to find.” Then he sees it’s Tuco eying the rifle in the car. “Easy…”

Tuco gets the rifle, and a gun battle ensues, Hank firing his handgun from behind his open car door. Jesse’s car starts bouncing, and Hank shoots Tuco down. As he rounds the bouncing car, determining that his adversary is dead, Walt runs further away, Jesse following. Hank still has his gun on Tuco, the car still bounces, Tio starts dinging repeatedly, and an incredibly dramatic episode is over.




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