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Season 3, episode 7: “One Minute”

06 Aug

Breaking Bad, 3-7: “One Minute”

Opener

We see the cousins as children (age 10 or 11), playing in a back yard. Their uncle, Hector, sitting in a chair and watching them, answers the phone and speaks to the cartel boss about Gus. (All of the dialog in the opener is in Spanish with subtitles.) Hector doesn’t like Gus, calls him “the Chicken Man,” and refers to him (or possibly his father) as the “Gran Generalissimo.” “You have my vote,” he says. “Never trust a South American. They’re dirty people.”

As soon as Hector hangs up, one of the boys runs to him, crying, “He broke my toy!”

“He was just having fun,” Hector says. “You’ll get over it.”

“No! I hate him! I wish he was dead!”

Hector whistles the offender over, and asks him to “grab your old uncle a beer” from the tub of ice water on the ground. When the boy complies, Hector pushes his head into the water, and holds it there, asking, “Is this what you wanted? Your brother dead?”

“No!” The first kid pulls on Hector’s arm.

“You’re going to have to try harder than that, if you want to save him. How much longer do you think he has down there – one minute? Maybe less.”

Finally, after the distraught child punches Hector in the face, Hector lets the other boy up, and stands, announcing, “Family is everything.”

We see the cousins now as adults, one lighting the candles in their makeshift Santa Muerte shrine, the other propping a photo of Hank against one of the candles.

Scene 1: Jesse’s house, the DEA, a hospital room

The sun is setting as Jesse pulls up in front of his house. As he starts to go inside, Hank parks behind Jesse’s red car, and strides up the walk. “Hey,” shouts Jesse from the open doorway. “You got nothin’ on me, yo! You can call my lawyer, Saul Goodman. Call my lawyer, all right? I got nothin’ to say!”

Hank punches Jesse really hard in the face, knocking him down. He continues to punch him – all in the face – again and again, demanding, “How’d you know my wife’s name? Who are you working with?” When Hank finally stops hitting him, Jesse’s lying, unconscious, on the floor.

It’s dark by the time we see an ambulance arriving, presumably called by Hank.

The next day, at the DEA, Hank and Merkert are surrounded by Albuquerque cops. Merkert says to Hank, “We can hold them off till another time. Maybe you want to talk to a lawyer.”

In the hospital, Saul takes a picture of Jesse’s face, which is horribly bruised and swollen. His left eye, twice its normal size, is swollen shut. Saul’s jubilant: “They’re gonna have to give Master Pinkman a wide berth now, for fear of the poop storm that will rain down on them if this story ever gets out! This beating is the best thing for you – you’re home free!”

Walt comes in. “Oh, my God! Jesse, I’m so sorry for this. It shouldn’t have happened.”

“But it did,” Jesse says bitterly. “No thanks to you.”

“The plan did work. We’d have been locked up if we hadn’t lured him away. But I never saw this coming.” Walt asks Saul, “What happens now?”

Jesse, angrily: “What happens now? I’ll tell you what happens now! Your scumbag brother-in-law is finished – done! I will own him when this is over. I’ll dog him into a rat hole! I’ll dog his crusty ass till he puts his gun in his mouth. That’s what happens next.”

“That’s probably not a good strategy,” Saul says. “The DEA will hit back until they find everyone associated with you, present company included.” Agreeing, Walt tells Jesse to move on with his life.

Jesse will not be placated. “When I get out of here, I’ll get a new RV, and start cooking again.”

“But they’ll catch you!”

“So, what? I have a get-out-of-jail free card.”

“I may have overstated the power of your face,” Saul says.

“Not this,” Jesse says. “If the cops catch me, I give them what they want the most.” He turns to Walt. “You. They nab me, I make a deal to give up the great Heisenberg and his million dollar drug ring…You’re my free pass – bitch.” Jesse’s angry at Walt for not wanting to cook with him at the same time that he disparages Jesse’s product, won’t allow him to apply what he’s learned, and gets a percentage of what Jesse cooks. He may also blame Walt for the destruction of the RV (illogically, since it was evidence at this point) and for tricking Hank in a way that led to his beating. Walt always gets off scot-free while Jesse pays the full price.

In the hallway, Walt says to Saul, “If he didn’t give up my name when Hank was beating him senseless, he’s never going to talk.”

Saul disagrees. “What do you think that was? He wants your brother-in-law! I’d take the case myself if it wouldn’t cause so much collateral damage. And him cookin’ again? Hey, when, not if, he gets caught and he’s facing twenty years, what’ll he do then? Believe me, there’s no honor among thieves. Except for us, of course.”

“He’ll come around.”

“If he doesn’t, there may come a time to talk options.”

“Options?” Killing Jesse? Will it ever come to that?

We see Hank at a DEA conference table with his lawyer and four of his superiors. The meeting concludes with Hank taking the 5th Amendment about what happened at Jesse’s. One of Hank’s superiors says, “Mr. Pinkman is pressing charges. His blood is clean – he’s even refusing doctor-ordered pain meds.”

In his darkened office Hank removes the ID card from his neck, and puts on his jacket. No one talks to him in the main room or the hallway. He presses the button for the down elevator, and when the door opens, Marie is standing in the car. The Schraders hug while the elevator descends, Hank crying on Marie’s shoulder, but when the door opens they’re standing straight, side by side: American Gothic. Hank says in a low voice, “We’re not talking to anybody about this, okay?” Marie agrees.

Scene 2: Walt’s place

Skyler comes to Walt’s place, the first time she’s seen his new apartment. “I guess crime does pay,” she says, looking around.

“I don’t suppose you just came by to insult me.”

“No, I came to talk. Did you hear about Hank? What happened to Jesse Pinkman? Is there any danger of that coming back to you?”

“No.”

“If Pinkman presses charges, Hank could lose everything. I thought maybe you could help him.”

“How?”

“Contact Pinkman. Get him to drop the charges.”

“Look, Skyler – I don’t know what kind of relationship you picture me having with this person. He’s not my friend. We’re not close.”

“But there must be something you could say. Hank’s your family.”

“Not currently.”

Scene 3: the lab

Gale greets Walt happily when he arrives late at the lab. He thinks he’s found his soul-mate, but we can tell from Walt’s expression that he’s decided not to pursue the love affair. There’s a scene of the cousins buying bullet-proof vests from an illegal arms dealer, then we back at the lab, Walt telling Gale he’s set the temperature too low on one of the gauges. “You said 75. I wrote it down,” Gale protests, wondering what’s gone wrong. Walt makes him dump the “ruined” batch.

Scene 4: the Schraders’ bedroom, Walt’s place, the hospital

Hank and Marie sit on the end of their double bed and talk about his upcoming interview with his superiors. Marie suggests that Hank tell them Jesse “attacked you, with a pipe…He resisted arrest, and muscle memory kicked in.”

“No. I’m not going to lie.”

“One mistake.”

“It wasn’t a mistake. I’ve been unraveling. I don’t sleep at night anymore. I freeze up. My muscles get so tight, I can’t breathe. I panic. Ever since that Salamanca thing…It changed me. I tried to fight it, but then with El Paso it got worse. What I did to Pinkman, that’s not how it’s supposed to be – that’s not me. I swear to God, Marie, I think the universe is trying to tell me something. And I’m finally ready to listen…I’m just not the man I thought I was. I think I’m done as a cop.” Marie puts her head on Hank’s shoulder.

At his apartment, Walt talks to Gus on the phone: “This is not an easy decision, but it’s one that I have to make. I’m sorry. This whole Gale situation…It’s just not working out…Yes. Now, it may sound unorthodox, but I think our best option is Jesse Pinkman…Hello? There’s a shorthand that exists between us…experience…at a level that I’m never going to reach with Gale…Look, Mr. Fring, when I accepted your offer, I was told that the lab is mine. And I know how to run it…Thank you…Yes, I will…I will…Okay –’bye.”

Talking to Jesse in the hospital, Walt tells him “something’s come up…a good opportunity as my lab assistant.”

Jesse, still angry, says, “I already did my time. Why don’t you just get yourself a monkey?”

“I don’t want a monkey. I want you.”

“Oh, gee – thanks. Well, not interested. I got my own thing going on. But nice try – savin’ your brother-in-law.”

“That’s not why I’m here, Jesse. There’s more. It’s more than an assistant. Partner. We’ll be partners again. Split everything 50-50 – just like before. $1.5 million each.”

“No.”

“I don’t think you heard me.”

“I heard you fine. I said, ‘no.'”

“Let me understand this. You’re turning down half a million dollars…”

“I’m not turning down the money!” Jesse says, angrily, half rising from his bed. “I want nothing to do with you! Ever since I met you, everything I’ve ever cared about – it’s goneruined – turned to shit, dead…Ever since I hooked up with the great Heisenberg!” Jesse’s battered face is twisted with emotion. “I’ve never been more alone. I have nothingno one – all right? It’s all gone! No, no…Why would you even care – as long as you get what you want, right? You don’t give a shit about me! You said I was no good – I’m nothing! Why would you want me, huh? You said my meth is inferior, right? Hey! You said my cook was garbage!” Walt stands at the window, looking out, as Jesse finishes by saying, “Screw you, man! Screw you.”

Walt turns. “Your meth is good, Jesse – as good as mine.” He leaves, as Jesse lies back down, in tears.

Back at his place, getting out of the car, Walt hears his phone. “Yeah?”

“Fifty-fifty,” Jesse says, flatly.

“Yes, 50-50.”

“Okay. Partners.”

“Good.”

We see Jesse, in his hospital bed, shutting his red phone. He looks at the pain assessment chart on the wall, focuses on a sad face, and shuts his eyes. He must know he’s making the wrong decision, trusting Walt again, but he doesn’t know what else to do.

Scene 5: the DEA, a busy parking lot

Hank’s with his lawyer and superiors again. One says, “This is the statement you want to give…”

Hank’s lawyer says, “You don’t have to.”

Hank: “I do.”

“You’ll sign it?”

“That’s the way it happened. I accept the consequences.”

Merkert tells Hank he has to suspend him without pay, and Hank says, “Yes, sir.” He hands over his gun and badge.

He’s about to get in the elevator when Merkert calls, “Hold up!”

“Yes, sir?”

“Pinkman isn’t going to press charges.”

Later, a much relieved Hank is returning to his car after buying a bouquet of purple flowers. He has a gift bag in his other hand. On the phone to Marie, he says, “I think we may be okay…Okay…I love you, too.”

Starting his car, he gets a phone call, the voice sounding as if it’s being disguised. “Schrader…Listen very carefully. Someone is coming to kill you. You have one minute…They’re coming.”

Not knowing what to do, Hank just grips the steering wheel, as his Jeep’s clock moves from 3:07 to 3:08. Then he sees what are the cousins’ heads reflected in a windshield ahead of him. One cousin, Leonel, shoots out his rear window without hitting him. Hank accelerates, hard, in reverse, pinning him against another vehicle. Marco shoots out the vehicle’s side window, reaches in, and lets the brake off, as the severely wounded Leonel says, in Spanish, “Finish him.”

A car horn blares repeatedly, as we see Marco’s skull-headed boots moving. He shoots an innocent man just for looking at him, and a woman runs screaming. He reloads.

Finally, we see Hank, with a gun in his hand. He shoots Marco in the arm, and is shot down by him. Marco stands over Hank, about to finish him off. Then he says, in Spanish, “No. Too easy.” He goes to get his axe, as Hank reaches for a bullet the arms dealer gave Marco, which he’s dropped. We see the boots and the axe moving inexorably toward Hank, as the latter tries to load the bullet in his gun.

Hank shoots as Marco raises the axe over his head to strike.

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