Breaking Bad, 2-6: “Peekaboo”
Jesse plays with a black beetle while he waits on the corner for Skinny Pete. When Pete arrives, he crushes the beetle with his foot. Jesse shows his relative tenderness and unwillingness to hurt other creatures on the very day he’s tasked with threatening two customers. He’s also dressed in a new color: a dull purple, accented with blue and yellow.
Pete gives Jesse the address of the couple who robbed him. The man’s name is Spooge. “I’d go do it myself,” he says. “It’s just that I’m on probation and all…So, you gonna do it?”
“Right on. These two need to get gone.”
We see Jesse smoking meth in his car. He gets out with his gun and heads to a house, as spooky music plays.
Scene 1: The Spooge house
Jesse comes up the walk, panting nervously. He bangs on the door and steps back against the wall, gun ready, practicing what he’s going to say: “Where’s my money, bitch?” repeated in every possible way.
When there’s no answer, he bangs and steps aside again. “I will mess you up! That how you want to play this? Huh? Your call. Your funeral, Jack. You mess with me, and I will bury you, ’cause I’m crazy. Loco. Do not diss me!”
Seeing the mail lady – a black woman in uniform shorts – coming, Jesse hides the gun behind his back. “Honey, you blockin’ the mailbox,” she says, pleasantly. “Nice day, huh?”
“Yeah – high 70s!”
“You have a great day!” She smiles and leaves.
“Right on! You, too.”
Finally, Jesse breaks a window and climbs in. There’s so much trash strewn all over the living room floor he trips on it. He goes through the house with his gun out. “Anybody home? Hello?” He’s sitting on the living room couch when a smudge-faced, redheaded little boy in a pajama top and underpants comes out, turns on the TV, and sits on the other end of the couch.
“Is anybody else home?” Jesse asks the child. “Are your folks here?” No answer. “What’s your name? My name’s – uh – Diesel.”
An interminable infomercial about kitchen knives rambles on. “Don’t you want to watch something else? Like, ‘Mr. Rogers’?” Jesse gets up and switches through the channels, but the Shopping Network is all there is. “So, when are your folks getting home? Your dad – Mr. Spooge – when’s he getting back?”
The boy finally speaks, saying brightly and cryptically, “I’m an only.”
Scene 2: Casa Blanca
Skyler’s listening to the messages on the kitchen answering machine. There’s one from Marie, then Gretchen Schwartz comes on. Skyler calls Gretchen, who’s in her car. She tells Gretchen that Walt’s at work (it’s his first day back), and thanks her, going on and on. Finally, she says they should get together.
Gretchen: “How about this afternoon?”
Scene 3: Walt’s classroom
Walt lectures his class about carbon, seeming angry as he talks about H. Tracy Hall, who made GE “a fortune” by inventing synthetic diamonds, for which the company gave him “a $10 U.S. savings bond.”
At the end of the day, Walt and Junior discover one of the “Find Walt” flyers under the Aztek wiper with “I’m buck naked” written on it. Protective of his dad, Junior wants to see it, but Walt throws it away, then jokes about how they’ll torture the kid responsible for it.
Scene 4: the Spooges’
Jesse’s fixed some food for the boy. He shows him how to play peekaboo, and gets a big smile. Then there’s the sound of people coming in. Jesse carries the boy to his room, tucks him into bed, and tells him to stay there.
The Spooges are fighting in the living room. Jesse knocks the man down, and Mrs. Spooge starts screaming. “Shut up! Shut up!” Jesse shouts till she does. A dog barks outside.
Scene 5: Casa Blanca
Pulling into the driveway, Walt and Junior see Gretchen’s dark blue Bentley parked behind Skyler’s Jeep. Inside, Skyler introduces Gretchen to Junior, and Walt and Gretchen greet each other. Junior thanks Gretchen for the financial help she and Eliot have given Walt. “Thanks, Mrs. Schwartz. Thank you so much for what you’ve done for my dad.”
Making her goodbyes, and saying she needs to “beat the traffic,” Gretchen almost forgets her purse. Walt goes outside, ostensibly to walk her to her car, and knocks on her rolled-up window. “We need to talk…Can you not do or say anything to anyone until then?” Gretchen turns the key in the ignition. “Please – ” She peels off.
Scene 6: the Spooges
Jesse: “Where’s my money, bitch?”
Spooge: “Told you, Diesel – we ain’t holdin’.”
Mrs. S: “Yeah – we shot it all.”
Jesse: “You shot an ounce in a day and a half? Both of you – pull it out of your butts right now, or I go grab a flashlight and some pliers and go exploring.”
The Spooges pull baggies out of the backs of their pants and put them on the table.
“Where’s the rest of my meth?”
Spooge: “Yo, for real? She up and lost it, yo.” The Spooges start fighting again.
The boy comes in, and Mrs. Spooge calls “sweetly,” “Come here, baby.”
Spooge tells Jesse, “We got your money in the back yard.” Outside, there’s an ATM machine covered with a tarp.
“Yo, that’s my bank!” objects Jesse.
“It’s FDIC insured, man,” Spooge assures him. “A victimless crime.” He says they got the ATM from “a bodega,” and “no one even noticed,” but we see footage of the store with a man sitting on the floor, perhaps dead, with a bloody midsection.
Back in the living room, Spooge takes a sledgehammer to the ATM, and the Spooges squabble again. Jesse: “You: get that thing open. You: sit still…Where’s the kid? The little kid?”
Mrs. S: “What’re you askin’ me for?”
Jesse finds the boy in his room, in bed asleep. He touches his shoulder gently. Back in the living room, he asks Mrs. Spooge, “What kind of mother are you?”
“How ’bout you feed the kid a decent meal now and then? Give him a bath. Put some baby powder on him. Give him some decent TV to watch. I mean, what is this shit? Are you serious?”
“Give me one hit, and I’ll be any kind of mother that you want.”
“Yeah,” Spooge agrees. “This whole thing would go a lot easier if we all had a little taste.”
“Get out of the way!” Jesse shouts, giving the ATM five whacks with the sledgehammer.
Scene 7: a fancy restaurant in Santa Fe
We hear Walt and Gretchen talking for several minutes before the camera zeroes in on their table.
Walt: “So, you didn’t tell Eliot yet.”
Gretchen: “That’s a determination I’ve yet to make.”
Walt: “Fair enough. I can appreciate that. First, let me apologize for involving you in this. This entire thing was unfortunate.”
“And I apologize deeply.”
“Thank you. Now please tell me why you did it.”
“That’s not really at issue here.”
“I thought you told me your insurance was covering it. Was that a lie? You won’t take our money, and the insurance isn’t covering it…How are you paying for it?”
“This is not an issue that concerns you, Gretchen. Okay?”
“Excuse me, Walt. It does concern me. It concerns me greatly. You tell your wife and son that I am paying for your cancer treatment. Why are you doing this?”
“I will clear this up with them. Just please allow me to do it in my own way, in my own time. I will explain the whole thing to them.”
“And while you’re at it, explain it to me.”
“I don’t owe you an explanation. I owe you an apology, and I have apologized. I’m very sorry, Gretchen. There – I’ve apologized twice now. I’m humbly sorry. Three times.” Walt is glaring at her, grim Heisenberg face, steely blue eyes.
“Let me just get this straight.” Gretchen recaps what’s happened, saying that the offer of help is “still good. Then, without our knowledge, you involve us in your lie. And you sit here and tell me that it’s none of my business?”
“Yeah. That’s pretty much the size of it.”
“What happened to you? Really, Walt – what happened? Because this isn’t you.”
“What would you know about me, Gretchen? What would your presumption of me be exactly? That I should go begging for your charity? And you waving your checkbook around like a magic wand is going to make me forget how you and Eliot cut me out?”
“My hard work, my research – and you and Eliot made millions off it.”
“That cannot be how you see it!”
“Beautifully done! Oh, you are always the picture of innocence.”
“You left me.”
“That’s your excuse to build your empire on my work?”
“How can you say that to me? You walked away. You abandoned us – me.”
“Rich girl – adding to your millions.”
“I don’t know what to say to you. I don’t even know where to begin.” Gretchen shakes her head, tears in her eyes, as Walt looks back, cold and angry. “I feel so sorry for you, Walt.” Because now it’s clear that he’s been unhinged from reality all these years.
Then Walt, still glaring at this lovely, gentle woman, says the most ugly thing he can think of: “Fuck you.” She leaves.
Scene 8: the Spooges’
The boy comes out, and Jesse asks if he’s hungry. He doesn’t answer, just starts a game of peekaboo. Mrs. Spooge sneaks up behind Jesse and hits him in the head with a heavy object. When he regains consciousness, she has his gun trained on him. She kicks her husband, who’s lying next to the ATM machine. “I got him! I got him!” Spooge takes the gun, and Mrs. Spooge says, “Bedtime!” and puts the kid back in his room. By the time she comes back, Spooge is rifling Jesse’s pockets and threatening him with a knife.
Scene 9: Casa Blanca
Walt’s getting a beer out of the fridge when Skyler comes out. “Should I ask where you’ve been? Never mind – we’re long past that…Gretchen called. About an hour ago. Walt, we need to talk.”
They sit on the couch, and Walt says, “Just say it.”
Skyler sighs. “They’re cutting off the money.”
“What did she say exactly?”
“Not much. It was something like, ‘I’m sorry, we can no longer continue…I wish you the best,’ and that was it.”
“Yeah. She sounded apologetic. It was quick – she got right off the phone. I was stunned! I called her back, and she didn’t pick up…What do you know about this? I mean, she and I had a perfectly nice visit this afternoon, and then you come home, and all of a sudden she’s in a big hurry to leave, and the two of you are talking in the driveway…What do you know that I don’t? Where were you tonight?”
“I drove up to Santa Fe. I was with Gretchen and Eliot. She just couldn’t bring herself to tell you today. She couldn’t tell me either really. There was a lot of hemming and hawing and beating around the bush from both of them.”
“Tell us what?”
“She could’ve told me.”
“They’re prideful people.” Walt reassures Skyler that they’ll “be fine,” puts his arm around her, etc. She’s worried and still wondering, but accepts her husband’s comforting, which makes him happy.
Scene 10: the Spooges’
Spooge is going after the ATM with an electric drill, and he and his wife are fighting over what’s left of the drugs. Jesse’s awake and trying to reach a weapon surreptitiously when Mrs. Spooge, tired of her husband repeating over and over again that she’s a “skank,” turns the ATM machine over on him, crushing his skull. Jesse jumps up, and while he’s wiping his fingerprints off the ATM, money starts pouring out of it. He stuffs it in his pockets while Mrs. Spooge rifles her husband’s pockets for more drugs.
Going into the kitchen, Jesse wipes off more prints and dials 9-11. He goes in to the boy, and they play a bit more peekaboo. Then he tells the kid to keep his eyes closed, and carries him out to the front porch. “You wait right here,” he tells him, as sirens approach. “Don’t go back inside.” Finally: “You have a good rest of your life, kid.”