Breaking Bad, 2-7: “Negro y Azul”
Los Cuates (“Homies”) de Sinaloa, three Mexican musicians in black cowboy hats with guitars, are in the desert, singing a narcocorrido about Heisenberg. According to Wikipedia, a narcocorrido is a Mexican ballad tradition heard on both sides of the border, with an accordion-based polka rhythm. It’s been compared to gangster rap.
In the supposed music video, we see Walt and Jesse’s RV, and a man dressed up as Heisenberg, walking down a road littered with dead bodies. The song’s lyrics tell us that Heisenberg owns the market, and the cartel’s mad. It warns that “no one’s escaped the fury of the cartel yet,” and says, “that homie’s dead, though he doesn’t know it yet.” The last thing we see is a sneakered foot on the presumably dead body of Heisenberg, and his black pork pie hat flying up in the air against the blue desert sky.
Scene 1: Walt’s classroom
Walt talks to a student named Barry who’s flunked a chemistry test by two points. When Barry asks Walt to “let him slide,” since he was “close,” so he won’t have to go to summer school, Walt says “close” means nothing in science – you’re either “right or wrong.” Barry, a stand-in for Jesse, continues to plead, and Walt concludes the discussion by saying, “Don’t bullshit a bullshitter. No. Next time, apply yourself.”
After the kid’s gone, Walt gets up on a table, loosens a ceiling panel, and retrieves his new second cell phone. Calling Jesse, who doesn’t pick up, he says, “This is the third time I’ve called you. Call me in the next 15 minutes. And about that thing I told you to ‘handle,’ don’t. Let it go.”
Scene 2: Jesse’s
Walt knocks impatiently on the door of Jesse’s new home. “Jesse, open the door! I know you’re in there; the car is here.”
Jane comes out her door. “Can I help you?”
Walt knocks on Jesse’s door again.
Jane: “Well, I’m the manager, so can we stop with the pounding please?”
“You’re the manager? Yes, you can help me. I very much need to get inside here, so if you have a master key…You have a key, right?”
“Yeah, I have a key.”
“Look – the person who lives here – it’s very important for me to see him.”
“And you knocked, right?”
“He didn’t answer – which means?”
“Look, I’m his father, all right?”
“You’re Mr. Jackson?”
“Yes. That’s me: Walt Jackson. And you are?”
“Jane.” They shake hands.
“Jane – very nice to meet you, Jane. Now, if you – ”
“Mr. Jackson, I’m happy to let you use my phone, if you want to call him.”
“No, no. As I said, I’d like you to let me inside here, so that I can check on my son’s well-being.”
Jane: “Look – whatever’s going on between the two of you is family. I don’t get involved in family. If Jesse doesn’t want you in there, you’re not getting in. Period.”
At this point, a sleepy T-shirt and pajama-clad Jesse opens the door. “Come on in,” he says. “Dad.” To Jane: “Thanks.”
Jane: “Are you okay?”
Inside, we can see that Jesse’s been sleeping on the floor, his bong at his side.
Walt: “Jesse Jackson? Ah…I see you have a telephone at least. You know, that blinking thing I’ve been calling you on?”
“Whatever, man.” We can’t see him, but we hear the bong bubbling as he takes a hit.
Walt grabs it. “I will break this! Damn druggie idiot! Is this what you’ve been doing the whole time I’ve been trying to reach you?”
“No! I’ve been taking care of business.”
“What business? The business you put me on, asshole! What? You already forgot?” Jesse goes into the kitchen, and gets a gun out of a drawer. He lifts it up. “This business. That jog your memory?”
Walt, on the living room side of the pass-through, puts the bong down. After a minute, he touches the gun, now on the counter. “You didn’t?”
“You said, ‘handle it,’ so…”
“I meant fear and intimidation. I meant get your money back. I certainly didn’t mean – ”
“Kill somebody? Well, too late. Dude’s dead, all right?”
“Way dead. Oh, and hey! Hey!” Back in the living room, Jesse gets a roll of money from the corner cupboard and tosses it to Walt. “$4,660 – your half. Spend it in good health, you miserable son of a bitch!”
Walt picks the money up off the floor and puts it on the counter. Then he picks up the gun, opens it, and dumps out all of its five bullets. Jesse: “I didn’t say I killed him.”
“Tell me what happened.”
“The dude’s wife crushed his head with an ATM machine right in front of me…Oh, my God! The sound, it’s still in my ears…And the blood – everywhere…So much you would not believe. Would you just please – ” Jesse grabs the bong. “Give me my weed. It helps with my nausea.” He lights it and takes a hit.
“You did not kill anyone. Does anybody think you killed anyone?”
“I called the cops.”
“You called the cops?”
“Yeah – I called them, I split, and they came in and busted her…God – she was so zapped out of her mind! She didn’t feel, like, nothing! He told her she was a skank…But, yo, she was a skank!”
“Can this person identify you as being there?”
“She couldn’t identify her left ass cheek. She had this – God, she had this kid – ”
“I’m a little fuzzy on the mechanics here. Could you not stop this woman from killing this man?”
“She had a gun on me, all right?” Walt picks up the gun. “Yeah, my gun – mine. Go ahead: say it: I ain’t no Tuco or Krazy-8!” Walt’s bending over the counter, with his back to Jesse, who continues, “Come on – point made, man! Point made – yes!”
The phone rings, and Jesse makes no move to answer it. We hear his new greeting: “Yo, if I know you, leave a message.”
“Hey, it’s Badger, man. Huh? What?” We hear a muffled voice saying, “Don’t use your real name!” Then Badger continues, “Yo – we got those pants you wanted – 32 large, right? Just for you, jefe! Let’s do some business, yo!”
Walt turns to face Jesse. “So…Are you gonna get back on that horse?”
“You get on it, right?” Jesse lies down and covers himself with a blanket. “I just want to forget.”
There’s a long pause. Then Walt says, “All right,” and leaves.
Scene 3: the DEA office in El Paso
Hank stares at a small plaster head, and asks, “What’s that?” When his new office-mate says that it’s the “patron saint of Mexican drug dealers,” Hank responds, “I know who it is, okay? Those scumbags – kneeling down and praying to him…” He imitates a prayer in a stupid accent, but the joke falls flat. “I’m just sayin’ – why is he on your desk? Goin’ after neo-Nazis you don’t wear swastikas, right?”
Vanco, the office-mate, who has the desk in front of Hank’s, turns around and hands him a smaller head. “Sun Tzu – 6th century Chinese general who wrote The Art of War. ‘If you know your enemy is yourself, you’ll fight without danger.’ It makes sense.”
The office head comes in: “Agent Schrader! Glad to have you on board!” They shake hands. “Everybody gettin’ you settled in?”
“Yeah! Great group of guys…and gals.”
“You couldn’t have picked a better time to arrive! We’re about to put a big dent in the cartel. Right?” He turns to Vanco, who answers in Spanish, which Hank doesn’t understand. They bump fists and laugh. More Spanish is spoken, and everyone in the office, except Hank, laughs. Finally, pretending to laugh, Hank sits down and looks at the Sun Tzu head.
Scene 4: A video store
Jesse’s three buddies are looking at TVs, as Walt comes in dressed as Heisenberg. “Hi, there. I’m Heisenberg.”
Badger: “You’re Heisenberg?”
Skinny Pete: “Hey, I remember you! You’re the cook.”
Walt: “Let’s just get this over with.”
“Where’s Jesse?” Pete asks.
“Hey that’s cool,”
They exchange shopping bags – money for drugs, and Skinny Pete says, “Hey – it’s all there, man. Every dollar. In case you want to, like, count it…Just sayin’…”
Combo, who has a short, bleached Mohawk, and studs in his ears and lips, is in awe of Heisenberg, too. “Just sayin’, yo – we ain’t got no confusion or interpretation as to who we work for.”
Pete: “That’s the church, yo. For real.”
Walt takes off his sunglasses. “What have you heard?”
Badger: “Did Jesse really – I mean, uh – I heard he squashed that dude’s head with an ATM machine.”
There’s a long pause. Then Walt asks, “Who’s saying that?”
“Hey, man,” Pete answers. “It’s all over town. Everybody’s sayin’, like – wow – snap! Usually I gotta chase dudes down for their money, but today everybody’s payin’ up.”
Combo, wide-eyed and mouth half open: “True that.”
Badger: “Serious. But, like, he really did it?”
There’s a long pause, then Walt lifts a cautionary index finger, and stares at them meaningfully. “You didn’t hear that from me.”
Scene 5: Beneke
Skyler’s filling out a job application at the place where she used to work – in the accounting department – four years ago. She ends up talking to the boss, good-looking Ted Beneke, who enjoys seeing his old co-worker, in her cute black maternity dress.
We find out that Ted’s taken over the business from his deceased father and that he has young twin daughters. Then, instead of the data entry job she’s applying for, Ted gives Skyler her old job back.
Scene 6: Jesse’s
Walt unfolds a map of Albuquerque on Jesse’s pass-through counter, and says, “This is our territory, right?” He snaps his fingers in Jesse’s glazed-over face. “Hello? We can expand your crew. Each of your three guys should have three – six – nine sub-dealers working for him. Exponential growth!”
Jesse frowns. “It’s not our territory, man! We go rolling into these neighborhoods, other crews ain’t gonna take kindly.”
“Sure. They won’t like it. But I say they’re not gonna do a thing about it. The game has changed. The word is out…And you – are a killer!”
“What are you talking about?”
“Apparently, it’s all over town. Somebody crossed you; you got angry. You crushed their skull with an ATM machine.”
“That’s not how it happened!”
“Who cares? Just as long as it’s our competitors who believe it and not the police. You see how great this is?”
Jesse’s gotten back onto his bed-on-the-floor. Walt goes to him, and says, “You are a blowfish.”
“A blowfish. Think about it. Small in stature, not swift, not cunning. Easy prey for predators, but…the blowfish has a secret. What does the blowfish do, Jesse?”
“I don’t know.”
Walt, in full teacher mode – his only effective, non-Heisenberg mode with other people: “The blowfish puffs himself up four or five times larger than normal. Why does he do that? It makes him intimidating. So that the other fish are scared off. That’s you – you are a blowfish! Don’t you see? It’s all an illusion!” Jesse’s sitting up now. “You see? It’s nothing but air. Now…Who messes with the blowfish, Jesse?”
Jesse, whose oversized T-shirt (and clothes in general) makes him look like a little boy: “Nobody.”
“You’re damn right!”
“I’m a blowfish.”
“You are. Say it again!”
“I’m a blowfish.”
“Say it like you mean it!”
“I’m a blowfish! Blowfish!”
The scene ends with Jesse reaching for his bong, Walt coughing, and the sound of the bong bubbling.
Scene 7: An El Paso motel room
Hank and a group of his El Paso co-workers are talking with a drug informant – a ponytailed Mexican sitting on a motel bed, dressed in a white bathrobe and cowboy hat. Speaking in Spanish, he asks for the SkyMall catalog. Then: “Hey, white boy! Better learn español, right? This ain’t Missouri. Know what? I’ll teach you. Spanish, it means ‘let’s make a deal.’” He lights up a big cigar, as Mexican music plays.
Vanco bargains with the Mexican over how many of each of the catalog items the DEA will give him, as another agent writes down the information. The reward is for leading the DEA to a big drug meet. Suddenly, Hank shouts “Hey! How ’bout you stop jerkin’ us off here? Where’s the meet? When’s it goin’ down?”
Mexican: “White boy don’t like ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ eh?”
Hank: “White boy’s gonna kick your ass you don’t stop wastin’ his time!”
“Schrader,” cautions one of the other agents.
Mexican: “Hey, white boy! My name’s Tortuga. You know what that means?”
“If I had to guess, I’d say that’s Spanish for asshole.”
“Tortuga means ‘turtle.’ That’s me. I take my time. But I always win.”
Hank sighs, and goes back to leaning against the dresser facing the bed, as Tortuga orders another item from the catalog.
Scene 8: Casa Blanca
Marie, drinking a glass of wine as Skyler makes a salad, says she’s not going to El Paso. “Hank’s too busy with a hush-hush operation.”
“That sounds exciting. He’s being safe, right?”
“He says it’s mostly riding a desk, which, between you and me, is just the way I want it.”
“Speaking of riding desks, I got myself a job today.”
“You did not! As big as you are – ”
“You did not! Is Mr. Grabby-hands still there?”
“Marie, that was one time at a Christmas party, and he was so drunk he was practically slurring his words. He apologized profusely. Plus, he’s married with a family, so I’m sure he doesn’t want to get sued for sexual harassment. It will not happen again.”
“Is money that tight?”
“You know, we can always help out – ”
“No, Marie. You know Walt.”
Walt comes in, greets the two women, and goes down the hall. We see him vomiting in the master bedroom bathroom.
The next morning, Junior, seated at the dining room table, looks at a box of cereal, and says, “This is Raisin Bran, not Raisin Bran Crunch.”
Skyler: “That’s okay.”
“It’s not the same thing.”
Skyler gets up. “Well, I’ll tell you what – why don’t you do the grocery shopping? Then you can get whatever you want.”
“It’s not that hard, Mom. It says ‘Crunch’ on the box.” Skyler’s in the kitchen now, and Walt’s coming down the hall.
Junior: “Mom got a job.”
“A job…Why? Is that a good idea?”
“It’s just an office job, sitting on my butt.”
“Beneke. Back in the accounting department.”
“What about the welding fumes? Isn’t that why you had to quit in the first place?”
“They’ve gone green since then. I didn’t smell anything. Ted’s running things…Got to go – ‘bye!”
Scene 9: in front of Jane’s and Jesse’s
Jane’s sitting on the steps, drawing on a sketch pad, as Jesse comes out. “You got your TV?” she asks.
“Yeah.” He’s wearing a black T-shirt with a huge white skull on it, under the usual black and white jacket, and the Peekaboo beanie. “What’cha drawin’? He looks. “Damn! That’s good! Make a hell of a tat.”
We see the drawing: a beautiful woman with devil horns. “That’s the plan,” Jane says, adding that she works part-time at “ABQ Ink.”
“You’re a real good drawer.”
“You used to be a drawer, too, huh? What stopped you?”
“Uh – you know. So, tell me something? What kind of a tat artist has no tats?”
Pause. “That’s way too big of a commitment.”
Jesse smiles, then raises an eyebrow at the sound of a loud vehicle approaching. It’s a guy on a Harley with longish hair and no helmet, who shouts, “Hey, man! You’re Pinkman! You’re the man! Everybody’s been talkin’ about you!”
Jesse lowers his head bashfully. “Yeah.”
“Go on, man! Keep it real!” Jesse waves, as the guy guns off.
“Pinkman, huh? Thought your name was Jackson.” Jesse walks off without answering.
Scene 10: a dry southwest Texas plain, surrounded by brown, treeless mountains
Hank ribs the other agents on the stakeout, saying they should offer Tortuga another catalog – maybe Sharper Image – to get him to show. They talk among themselves in Spanish, asking “Where’s this guy from?” “Politics, man, politics…He’s supposed to be some kind of hero.” “Hero from Albuquerque maybe. Maybe it don’t take much up there.”
“Somethin’ I need to know about?” Hank asks.
“What? Oh, no, man! They were just singing your praises. Glad to have you! Welcome aboard.” Even the radio transmission is in Spanish.
Hank looks at a dirt road in the distance through binoculars. “Hey, is that your guy? What the hell’s he doin’ down there?” We see Tortuga’s head on a tortoise, as tense music plays.
Three DEA pickups arrive at the scene. The agents’ vests say “Policía” – even they’re in Spanish. The tortoise approaches, with Tortuga’s severed head somehow fastened on top of its shell. Hank runs back to his truck as if he has to vomit. “Hey, where you goin’?” an agent yells. All the agents laugh. “Hey, ese! What’s the matter? You act like you’ve never seen a severed human head on a tortoise before!” Hank starts to get in the truck. “Hey, welcome to – ”
Suddenly, the tortoise and the head explode, sending agents flying in all directions. They’re all dead or severely wounded. Hank ties a tourniquet around the stump of Vanco’s severed leg.
Scene 11: the video store where Walt met the guys
Jesse, to the guys: “Game’s changed, yo. This is our city! All of it! The whole damn place – our territory. We’re staking our claim – that we sell where we want, when we want. We’re gonna be kings, understand? Well, I’m gonna be king – you guys will have to be princes or dukes or something.”
Badger: “I wanna be a knight.”
Jesse: “But first things first. We get more dealers, right? Foot soldiers. Now, they’ll be workin’ for you. You’re working for me, and they’re working for you. You follow me? Layered – like nachos. Exponential growth. Now that’s success with a capital S.”
Combo and Skinny Pete both say, “Straight up,” and Badger says, “Friggin’ awesome.”
Four-way fist bump.
Scene 12: the desert
Jesse gets into the passenger seat of Walt’s Aztek. “The boys are ready for some mad cheddar, yo! Dead presidents…Cash money…We got all of the city!”
Walt: “We’re not charging enough.”
“Corner the market, then raise the price. Simple economics.”
Scene 13: Skyler’s desk at Beneke
Ted comes in as Skyler’s unpacking her things. “All set up?”
“It’s perfect. Thank you.”
“I need you.”
“We split up a year ago.”
“Anyway…Just wanted to welcome you. See you around the vending machines!”
Then Ted comes back. “We should have lunch one day – like old times.”
Skyler smiles, and nods. “Sure.” She looks at a framed photo of her family.
Scene 14: Jesse’s
Jesse, sitting in a lawn chair in his living room, drinks a beer as he sets up his satellite service. Hearing Jane entering her apartment, he gets up and listens at the living room wall. But Jane’s outside on her back patio, smoking a cigarette. Jesse comes out on his patio, and lights up, too. Lifting his head, pretending to notice Jane for the first time, he says, “Oh – hey!”
“Listen, my name’s not really Jesse Jackson. It’s Jesse Pinkman. And that guy you met – he’s not my dad…You’re not gonna kick me out – are you? ‘Cause I actually really like it here.”
“I don’t make it my business what you do.” Jane’s been looking forward into the back yard distance, but now she turns her head toward Jesse, visible to the waist over a little adobe wall, adding, “As long as you don’t do it here.”
Jesse: “So, hey – I got this kickass new flat screen. Want to see it?”
We see them in the two lawn chairs inside, watching the blue “searching for a signal” screen in silence, their backs to us. Jesse talks about the TV’s features, then says, “I don’t know what the hell’s taking so long.”
Jane gives him a sidelong look, which he doesn’t see, then, faces the TV again, and reaches out and lightly grasps his dangling right hand with her left. Mexican wedding music plays.