Season 3, episode 6: “Sunset”

05 Aug

Breaking Bad, 3-6: “Sunset”


An Indian tribal cop gets a radio call to check on woman no one’s heard from in a week. He parks his truck and walks up to her house, in front of which are two parked vehicles and a flagpole with the cord banging. The cop looks in a window and sees a Santa Muerte shrine with a little scythe and the Heisenberg drawing.

Two dark shirts flap on the clothesline outside. The sun is close to setting. The cop knocks on the front door, and tries it; it’s locked. Following the sound of buzzing flies, he walks to an outbuilding. Behind the building, mostly covered with a blanket, is Mrs. Pakitewa’s body, her slender, slippered feet sticking out.

The cop pulls his gun, and gets to his truck, where he reports a homicide and asks for backup. Then he points his rifle at the house and says loudly, “Show yourself!” One of the cousins comes out, and is slow about following commands to raise his hands and get down on his knees because he can see his brother, wielding a scythe, approaching the cop from behind. He turns and bites into the apple he’s been holding in his hand, as the scythe does its grisly work.

Scene 1: Walt’s new apartment, Jesse’s house, Pollos, the lab

We see a painting of mountains on an apartment wall, then Walt getting a call from Skyler, asking about support. When he says he’ll provide for the children, Skyler says, “That makes me an accessory.”

“How do you think we’ve been paying our bills all these months? I’ve got to go.” Walt hangs up, and tells the man who’s been showing him the model apartment, “This one’s fine.” When the man objects that this apartment is the model, he smiles, and says, “Name one thing in this world that’s not negotiable.”

Jesse shows Badger and Skinny Pete a big blue crystal of the meth he’s made. “Heisenberg, who? That’s what I say!” exults Skinny Pete.

Sitting in a Papasan chair in light-colored pants and sweater over a black “T” with a big white dollar sign on it, Jesse encourages his friends, on the couch, to try the meth. After Badger approves of the product, Jesse asks the two if they’re ready to talk business, telling them they’ll be safe if they don’t get too greedy. Badger’s assigned to get his cousin Clovis to tune up the RV and install a buzzer for the ignition, and Skinny Pete’s given a list of supplies to get.

Then we see the three outside, and realize that Hank’s watching from his rear view mirror. “Brendan Mayhew,” he says, “I know you.”

Walt wakes up in his new apartment, and cheerfully gets ready for his first day of work at Gus’s lab. He makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cuts the crusts off it, and puts it in a paper sack with his name on it.

The cousins are at Los Pollos for the second time in a row, but Gus tells the manager not to call the cops. “They’re not doing anything wrong.”

A man lets Walt into the stairwell at the lab, and he has a key for the door to the next level. He meets his lab assistant, Gale Boetticher, who shows him his resumé, which includes studies in x-ray crystallography. Walt says, “I could talk about that for hours.”

“I’d love to,” an eager Gale responds.

“But, first, I’m curious about this.” Gale shows him the elaborate coffee-making device he’s created out of chemical tubing, and after Walt tries a sample, he says, “Hmph…Why the hell are we making meth?”

There’s a montage of the pair working together in yellow suits to happy jazz music. In the end, the product drips into multiple flat pans, which are then put into a large glass-doored fridge.

Walt and Gale sip red wine from plastic cups, as Walt says, “I can’t imagine we strike each other as criminals.”

Gale says, “Well, there’s crime, and then there’s crime. I’m definitely a libertarian. Consenting adults want what they want. And if I’m not supplying it, they’ll get it somewhere else. At least with me they’re getting exactly what they pay for – no added toxins or adulterants. I was on my way going through the proper hoops, but it didn’t turn out to be what I expected. I love the lab, because it’s all so magic. You know, chemistry – once you lose that – ”

“It is magic.” These two are kindred souls, despite what lies ahead.

Gale mentions “a great old Whitman poem, ‘When I Heard the Learned Astronomer,'” which he recites at Walt’s urging, concluding, “Yes, I am a nerd.”

Meanwhile, Hank still sits outside Jesse’s house, waiting to be led him to the RV. He talks to Marie on the phone and she suggests that Walt might know something. Hank calls Walt, who’s at his new place, reading Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and asks him if Pinkman ever had an RV. Walt calls Jesse, but hangs up before speaking, afraid his partner’s phone is bugged. Then he calls Saul, who tells him the obvious: they need to get rid of the RV.

Scene 2: Clovis’s vehicle yard, Jesse’s, Los Pollos, a hospital

Badger’s helping Clovis, who’s under the RV, when Walt drives up in a panic, telling them the DEA is hot on the RV’s trail. Clovis says, “Get it out of here,” but Walt convinces him that if he “goes down, we all go down.” Clovis says, “I know a guy that’ll wipe this off the planet,” and Walt says to call him.

Unobserved, Badger calls Jesse, who runs outside, still on the phone, yelling, “Find out where they’re taking it!” Hank follows Jesse.

The manager at Los Pollos tells the cousins “these booths are for paying customers only,” after a woman with a child, looking for a table, asks them if they’re leaving soon. A minute later, Gus asks them in Spanish, “What can I do for you?”

“You know.”

“At sunset.”

Back at the vehicle yard, Walt pays the owner, Old Joe, to obliterate the RV. He goes inside for one last look, and finds a bag of Funyons (Jesse’s favorite snack), touches the folding chair hanging on the wall, and uncovers Jesse’s new equipment. Then Jesse bursts in. “What the hell do you think you’re doin’? This is mine just as much as it is yours!” Seeing Hank pulling into the lot, Walt pulls the curtains, and says, “You led him right to us.”

Hank tries the windows and doors of the RV as Walt and Jesse cower inside. “Mr. Pinkman,” Hank says, “You’d better come out now, if you don’t want to add resisting arrest to your other charges.” Hank sticks a pry bar in the doorframe, as Walt pushes back and Jesse looks horrified.

Outside, Old Joe asks Hank if he has a warrant. He claims the RV is a domicile rather than a vehicle, and thus subject to the Fourth Amendment restriction on unreasonable searches and seizures. “How do you know it even runs? You’re just out here fishing.”

Pulling pieces of duct tape off the bullet holes in the door, Hank says, “A firearm was discharged inside this ‘domicile.'”

Walt whispers to Jesse to say, “How could you have known they were there before you took off the tape?”

Old Joe: “That’s right. Probable cause needs to be readily apparent.”

Then Walt tells Jesse to say, “This is my own private domicile. I will not be harassed!” He grimaces when Jesse adds his own personal touch: “Bitch!”

Hank gives a dry chuckle. “All right. We’ll get you your warrant on a little satin pillow.” He gets in his car and calls Merkert.

Jesse: “Let’s start it up, hit the shit out of his truck, and make our escape!” Then: “What’ll we do? Please – tell me you got something!”

“Yeah, I got something,” Walt responds. He calls Saul, and pretty soon Hank gets a call (from Saul’s receptionist) telling him that Marie’s been in an accident and is at a local hospital. Hank jumps in his car and leaves. We see him at a hospital yelling, then hear the jaunty ring tones of Marie calling him. “Just checking in. Should I cook dinner? You okay? Hank?”

A Mexican love song plays as a huge forklift demolishes the RV while a sad Jesse and an impassive Walt look on.

Scene 3: the desert, near sunset

We see Gus’s car on a dirt road in the desert, as the same or a similar Mexican love song plays. He stops, gets out, and meets with the cousins, their dialogue in Spanish. “I told you before not to kill Walter White till my business with him is finished.”

“We won’t wait any longer.”

“The decision isn’t yours to make. Anyway, why Walter White? He may have betrayed your cousin, Tuco, but he’s not the one who murdered him.”

“Bolsa says the DEA is off limits.”

“North of the border is my territory. As a show of respect, I say, ‘yes.’ The agent’s name is Hank Schrader. May his death satisfy you.”

The sun sets, and we barely hear the whistling of the wind.



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