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Season 2, Episode 4: “Down”

09 Jul

Breaking Bad, 2-4: “Down”

Opener (black-and-white except for the pink of the bear)

The pink bear, underwater in the White pool, floats to eerie underwater sounds. We see light through bubbles, then the shadow of a man, who fishes the bear out and puts it in a plastic evidence bag alongside a row of other such bags on the edge of the pool.

Scene 1: a gas station Quik-Mart

Jesse rides up to the Quik-Mart on his motorcycle. He gets off, bumping fists with a homeless man who greets him as “Captain America.” He’s wearing a black T with a white skull with wings and something red/pink at the bottom. Inside, he takes off his beanie, and we hear Walt’s voice – evidently, he’s in the next aisle, facing Jesse over the merchandise.

“This is stupid,” Jesse says, as store music plays.

“Got a better idea? There will be no cooking till things settle down. I just put my family through an ordeal they’re only starting to accept. I can’t leave my house for more than 20 minutes without my wife worrying. I need time to mend fences.”

“Okay, so while you’re mending fences, how about me? You’re a-hole brother-in-law took all my money.” Walt gives Jesse an envelope he says contains $600. “What about the rest?” Jesse persists.

“Rest of what?”

“Half your money’s mine. We’re 50-50 partners.”

“Meaning what exactly – that I suffer for your carelessness?”

“You’re the one who wanted to work with Tuco.”

A cop comes in, and Walt says, “Just be cool. We’ll talk about this later. As for now, no contact.” Jesse rolls his eyes and starts to leave. “Where you going?” Walt demands. “I leave first.” Yeah, Walt, you’re so much more important.

Scene 2: Casa Blanca

Skyler wakes up. “Walt?”

“In the kitchen.” She sighs and lies back down.

When she comes into the kitchen, and sees Walt making pancakes, Skyler says, “You didn’t have to do this.” Later, cleaning up, Walt offers to go with Skyler to a writer’s seminar. He then tries to resolve the issue of the second cell phone by saying that what she heard “that night” was his alarm going off “as a medication reminder.” Skyler, not buying it, leaves the room. “Skyler?”

She’s driven off in her red Jeep with the fake wood paneling.

Scene 3: Jesse’s parents’ lawyer’s office

“Jesse Bruce Pinkman,” wearing a yellow hoodie, is “given notice to vacate premises located at 9819 Largo,” and when he objects that his aunt gave him the house, his dad says that’s not true.

Jesse: “We talked about this. We were going to sell the house and split the profits 50-50. What happened?”

“What happened is that you’re a speed manufacturer.”

Mom: “A DEA agent came looking for you, Jesse. He came to our door.”

“Because I’ve been helping them.”

Mrs. Pinkman shakes her head. “I saw your basement. I was worried. So, I went over there, and let myself in. I found your laboratory.”

Lawyer: “Manufacture of a scheduled substance is a felony. The government could take the house.”

Dad: “We can’t stop you from ruining your life, but you will not drag us down with you.”

Lawyer: “Vacate the house in 72 hours. Otherwise, your parents have authorized me to contact the authorities.”

Scene 4: Casa Blanca, evening, Walt’s car by itself in the driveway

Skyler says nothing when she comes in. Walt, who’s been waiting anxiously for her return, says, “Hey, I fixed the garage door.”

“Great.” She looks at her mail.

“Where were you today?”

“Out.” She goes into the bedroom, and Walt follows her. She sits on the bed.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah.” She smiles up at him. “Everything’s fine.” There’s a long pause, and Walt says he’s planning to go back to the cancer support group meetings. “Good.”

“You were right on the money about that. It’s good to – talk about things.”

“That’s great,” Skyler says, going into the master bath, shutting the door, and turning on the shower.

Scene 5: Jesse’s bedroom

We see an aquarium, and a picture of Jesse and his aunt, wearing a bandana on her head. Jesse’s curled up on the bed. His mom comes in, calling his name.

“What?”

“You haven’t answered your phone.”

He gets up, and puts on his pants. “I’ve been pretty busy.” He tells her he “gets it,” that it’s been a “wake-up call,” that he’s applying to business school, and that he’s glad they’re “starting a dialogue.”

“The time for talking is past, Jesse.”

Two men go by in the hallway, carrying a piece of Jesse’s furniture. “Hey! Hey! What the hell, yo?”

“We’re putting it in storage. When you decide to grow up, you can have it back.”

“Why don’t you grow up, Mom? She wanted me here. I was the one who took care of her. I took her to her appointments, and made her lunch every day. I earned this.”

“You did not make her lunch every day.”

“What’d you do? Huh? She’s lying there, dying, and where the hell were you?”

“Don’t start with me.”

“Now what? You’ve decided to make your eldest son homeless? Wow! Great family, Mom!” She slaps him. “What?”

“Why are you like this? Why?” Mrs. P. walks away, picking up the picture of her sister. “You have two sets of keys and the padlock to the garage. Leave them on the kitchen counter when you leave.”

“Where am I supposed to go?”

“I don’t know, sweetheart. But, please, turn your life around.”

Jesse, wearing a black T with a big white dollar sign on it, says, “Yeah. This is gonna help big-time with that. Bitch!”

Scene 6: Casa Blanca, Jesse’s house, Jesse’s friend’s house, etc.

Walt’s making a breakfast omelet for the family as the doorbell rings. It’s Junior’s friend Lewis, who says, “Me and Flynn got to get going.”

“Who’s Flynn?” Walt turns to Junior, who’s come up behind him. “Flynn?”

“Yeah,” Junior says, as the boys leave.

Walt goes into the master bedroom. “Flynn?”

“Don’t take it personally,” Skyler tells him, combing her hair.

“Do you think he told Lewis about me – about the blackout?”

“Lewis is his friend, Walt. And your disappearance upset him.”

“Hey, I made omelets.” The phone starts ringing.

“I’m going out. Thanks though.”

“Where you going?” Walt asks.

“Can you get the phone please?”

“Yeah, absolutely.” He goes to the kitchen. “White residence.”

“Yo, it’s me,” Jesse says. “Is this a good time?”

“What part of ‘no contact’ didn’t you understand?”

“I know, but there’s a problem.”

“I don’t care. We agreed – ” Skyler’s coming down the hall. “No amount of pay-per-view channels is gonna – Honey? We’re happy with our cable provider, right?” Skyler nods. “Yeah, we’re happy.” He hangs up. We see Jesse, in his kitchen, hanging up, too. “Skyler! Sky!” She’s going out the door. “Where are you going? Can you at least tell me that?”

“Out.” The phone rings. “You should probably get that, Walt. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

Walt answers the phone, “What?”

“Yo, I get that I shouldn’t call, but I’m in a situation over here, and I need my money.”

“I just gave you $600.”

“Yes, and thank you, Daddy Warbucks, but that was before my housing situation went completely testicular on me, okay?”

“You smoked the entire $600, didn’t you?”

“What? No!”

“Look, Jesse. Your problems are just that – your problems. No contact – do not call here, ever. When the moment is right, I will call you.”

“But, Mr. White – ” Walt hangs up. “They’re gonna kick me out of my house!” A man behind Jesse is boxing up the contents of his fridge.

Walt, furious, starts throwing the omelet away. Jesse calls again, and Walt throws the phone across the room. Jesse bangs his phone on the kitchen counter. Both men are at the end of their ropes.

Jesse turns, and the moving man is taking the phone. “Thank you! Thank you so much! Oh, hey! You forgot something!” He throws a green plastic ice tray from the otherwise empty fridge in the man’s direction. “You forgot the ice trays! Don’t forget the ice trays!”

Outside, there’s a big truck in the driveway with “Joe’s Moving” on the side.

Next, we see Jesse, on a different street, unstrapping a plastic crate containing the few possessions from the back of his bike. Then we’re in his friend’s house, as Jesse raps to his friend’s guitar: “Black is the color, but beauty is the game. The beasties come to get me, but I don’t feel the pain. The fallacies, fallacies, fallacies, fallacies…We should get Twaughthammer up and running again.”

“Yeah, man. That was tight!” Jesse’s told his married-with-little-kid friend that he needs a place to stay for a few nights because the exterminator’s at his house. The friend, who thinks Jesse’s “living the dream,” encourages his son to eat his carrots.

“Too hot!” the child says, smiling sweetly.

“Hey, you still having mad relations out there?” the friend asks, enviously.

“I can’t lie,” Jesse says. “It’s pretty hectic, female-wise.”

“Damn!”

“That’s why we need to get the Hammer up and running, yo – get you out of the house. Track down Chivo and Anthony and demo up. Get back in the scene…”

Friend’s wife comes home, and asks him to help her with something. Friend comes back out and says he forgot that his “in-laws are crashing this week-end.”

“That’s cool. I got tons of people to call,” Jesse says. But when he tries to call them from a pay phone, they all have excuses. He bangs the phone handset repeatedly. Around the corner, his bike’s been stolen, the U-lock that killed Krazy-8 cut and lying on the ground.

The homeless man says, “Someone took your bike, man. Not cool.” Jesse’s about to cry.

It’s dark now, and Jesse arrives at the lot where the RV is. We can see it, but the gate’s padlocked. Jesse climbs the fence – over barbed wire – and steps onto the top of a Porta-Pottie. The Pottie tips, then rights itself. But Jesse, small as he is, is too heavy for the roof. He falls in! We see blue water leaking out, as he gasps and struggles inside. Finally, he falls out the door, lying in a pool of blue water and shit. He almost throws up.

Dripping over to the RV in his wet, stinking clothes, Jesse opens the door. Lying on a piece of cardboard, looking at his blue hands, he almost throws up again. He reaches for a gas mask, puts it on, and, crying softly, falls asleep.

Back at Casa Blanca, the next morning, Walt seems to have slept in a living room chair. Junior comes in. “Morning. Where did Mom go?”

“Out.”

“Where’s breakfast?” For the first time in this boy’s life, breakfast, the sacred meal of the White household, isn’t laid out for him in all its glory on the table.

Walt gets up. “Let’s go do something!” “Something” turns out to be a driving lesson that’s disastrous, because Walt won’t let Junior drive his Aztek using his left foot on the brake and his right foot on the accelerator at the same time – and that seems to be the only way the boy can do it with his disability.

Meanwhile, Badger’s cousin comes out of his trailer, and sees the blue-water trail to the RV. He opens the door, shotgun trained on Jesse, and shouts, “Hands up, asshole!” Jesse can’t convince Clovis to let him take the RV without paying him “$750 for the repair, a grand counting the toilet, and the five you already owe me.”

When he threatens to sell the RV’s “inventory,” Jesse says he’ll pay him “two grand in two days. Just don’t take my cook stuff. That’s all I got left.” Clovis, adamant, kicks Jesse out. We see him on the phone, saying, “That much?” and Jesse climbing the fence in full sight of his window. In the RV again, our hero starts it up, and drives it through the locked gate.

That night, Walt and Skyler are home alone, and Walt thinks they’re finally going to be able to “talk things out.” He apologizes for everything that’s happened, says he loves her, and pleads for “contact.” She thanks him, but still isn’t talking. Walt says, “I feel like you’re upset with me, because you think I’m up to something.”

“Like what?”

“I have no idea. I’m having an affair? Is that what you think?”

“I don’t know.”

“So, ask me.”

“Why? Would you even tell me?”

“Yes, I would, and, no, I’m not having an affair. What do I have to do to prove that to you? Swear an oath?”

“I heard you, Walt. You’re not having an affair. Congratulations.” She gets up.

Walt gets up, too. “No – congratulations to you, Skyler. I mean, what do I have to do? I’m trying to talk to you, and – ”

She turns on him. “Just don’t talk, Walt! Shut up, or say something that isn’t complete bullshit! You want to know what you have to do? You have to tell me what’s going on. Today. No more excuses, no more apologies, no more of these obvious, desperate breakfasts. You don’t want to lose contact with me, Walt? Good. Then tell me. Now.”

Long pause. “Tell you what?”

Skyler shakes her head, and leaves, Walt following her outside, shouting, “We’re not done here! Skyler!” He raps on her rolled-up car window. “Skyler! You know what I’ve done for this family?”

She doesn’t hear him. Her Jeep backs out, and we see the RV parked on the street in front of the house. Walt knocks on the RV door, then barges in.

Jesse: “Look, I’m really sorry, okay?”

“What’s wrong with you? Why are you blue? Uh…”

“I’m sorry. It starts with my parents being greedy, kleptomaniac douche bags.”

“Are you actually this stupid?”

“No, I know this isn’t an optimal – ”

“You come to my house and park on my street, driving this vehicle. What the hell is wrong with you? I’m really asking.”

“Nothing. I’m sorry. I – ”

“What was the plan, genius?”

“I don’t know.”

“You know why you don’t know? Because you don’t think. You never figured out how to think.”

“Look, I said I was sorry. I just need my half of the money, and I will go.”

“Your half? There is no your half of the money! There is only my half of it. Do you understand?” He pushes Jesse. “Why should I be penalized because of your sloppiness?”

“Look – that’s completely uncool, all right? We’re 50-50 partners.”

“Partners in what? What exactly do you do here? Because I’m the producer, right? I cook. But from what I can tell, you’re just a drug addict – a pathetic junkie, too stupid to understand and follow rudimentary instructions.”

Jesse pushes Walt against the RV counter, and Walt pushes back. Then Walt’s down on the floor, with Jesse’s blue hands around his throat. Choking him with his left hand, Jesse brings his right hand back to punch, but can’t. Finally, he falls on his back beside Walt, half crying, half panting.

They go in the house, Walt saying, “Try not to touch anything.” He gets slightly less than half the money out of the vent, puts it in a Diaper Genie bag, and brings it into the kitchen, where Jesse’s washing his hands at the sink. “Want some breakfast?” Walt asks the partner he just berated. They’re all each of them has left.

Final scene

Skyler’s just gotten something at the convenience store. Back in her Jeep, she listens to a happy country music song: “It’s such a pretty world today – look at the sunshine! It’s such a pretty world today, knowin’ that you’re mine…” She’s about to light a cigarette – a pack of cigs is what she bought – when she gets a dirty look from the woman in the next vehicle. She lights up anyway, taking a delicate but satisfying drag, and exhaling, in prim-pretty, but doggone it, Skyler-White fashion.

 

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