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Season 4, episode 11: “Crawl Space”

06 Aug

Breaking Bad, 4-11: “Crawl Space”

Opener

We see surgical instruments being laid out on trays, and medical personnel getting needed objects from a glass cupboard. A phone rings. “Si…Listo!” Everybody get ready!

Outside, we see that we’ve been inside a plastic medical tent in a large, empty warehouse. The doctor and four nurses, all dressed in scrubs, await their patients. We hear a car honking madly, and Jesse drives up. “Rapido! Rapido!

The doctor takes a cursory look at Mike, almost unconscious in the passenger seat, then gets Gus out of the rear. The doctor gives him a shot in the mouth, as Jesse asks, re: Mike, “What about him?” He trails behind, bringing Mike, barely on his feet, into the hospital area, blood leaking copiously into one of his shoes. “Por favor! This man needs help!”

The doctor, busy with Gus, turns his head for a few seconds, and says, “This man pays my salary.”

Scene 1: the lab, the chicken farm

At the lab Walt asks Tyrus, “Are they back yet?” He pauses. “If Pinkman is gone, I’m done, do you understand? I quit.”

Later, with Hank, watching the chicken farm through binoculars, Walt asks if there’s any “cartel news.”

“Not much happening stateside. I hear rumblings about some big play down south…We’ll know more when the buzzards leave the bones…When we gonna talk about your face? If you’re in over your head on something, don’t you think I might be the guy to come to?” Hank mentions a buddy with a gambling problem, who “got on a ride that was rough to get off..I’m just sayin’ I’m here, if you want to talk about it.”

There’s a long pause, and Walt says, “I don’t want to talk about it – to you or to anyone else. I’m done explaining myself.”

Scene 2: the Mexican “hospital”

Mike’s been cared for, and is getting blood. “You think he needs more blood? Jesse asks the Mexican doctor. He’s standing by racks of blood bags, a shelf each for Gus, Mike, and Jesse. The doctor comes over. “A-negative, yes? Twenty-five years old, 70 kilos, allergic to erythromycin.”

“How do you know all that? Jesus, he thought of everything.”

The doctor grabs a bag of blood from Mike’s shelf. “O-negative, that’s what he needs.”

Gus comes out of the other hospital “room,” dressed in his street clothes. “It’s time to go.”

“What about Mike?”

“He won’t be ready to travel for at least a week,” the doc says.

“I’ll send for him,” Gus assures Jesse, picking Don Eladio’s “eye” necklace up from a table.

“You need protection, Gustavo?” the doctor asks in Spanish. “I wouldn’t have guessed.” He chuckles, and the two men embrace.

Gracias,” Gus says.

De nada, amigo.

Buen suerte.”

“Water and rest.”

Gus indicates with a slight gesture of his head to Jesse that it’s time to go. Outside, he asks Gus, “What happened to the plane?”

“There are many good ways south. Unfortunately, only one way north. It’s six miles to Texas. I’ve got a man there who will drive us the rest of the way.”

“Kinda liked the plane…Are you gonna make it? Six miles is pretty far.”

“I’m good. You did well down here. You also proved a point. I think you can run the lab by yourself now, don’t you?”

Jesse stops walking. “Let Mr. White go. Pay him off, or fire him. Don’t kill him.”

“You know that won’t work.”

“Then you got a problem.”

Gus turns and walks, Jesse trailing behind.

Scene 3: Ted’s house

Skyler goes to Ted’s house to urge him to pay the taxes he owes, but Ted returns her money, saying “paying my debt with illicit gambling winnings feels wrong.”

Skyler reminds him that he owes the federal government $617,000. “If you do not pay them, they will come after you, and then they will come after me, and audit my business and find out that Walt and I paid for it with close to a million dollars of untaxed gambling winnings. We’ll go to prison, where you’ll already be.”

“I think you’re overstating things. No one’s going to prison. Say I take your advice and pay the IRS. I’m still bankrupt. I’ve still lost my business and my home. Just because I pay a stupid fine doesn’t make my life any less ruined.”

“Ted, are you blackmailing me?”

“What? No! Blackmailing? God – I feel like I’m not explaining things right.”

“I think you’re explaining them fine.” Skyler looks at the check. “I notice this is for less than what I gave you, by the way.”

Ted says he’s planning to return the Mercedes as soon as his “iron-clad contract” allows, and promises to pay Skyler back.

“I don’t want you to pay me, Ted,” Skyler says, ripping up his check. “I want you to pay them!” She gets up and gets his checkbook. “Try it again. Write them a check!”

“Skyler – ”

“The same amount. Only this time make it payable to the Internal Revenue Service.”

“I can’t.”

“You have to.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Write it!”

Back in her car, Skyler calls Saul.

Scene 4: the rec room at Tio‘s nursing home

Tio‘s watching a shoot-em-up on TV when Gus comes in. “Hello, Hector.” He puts a chair in front of Tio‘s wheelchair, and Hector shuts his eyes. Gus pulls out Don Eladio’s necklace, and says, “All of them, Hector. Don Eladio, Don Paco, Cesar, Reynaldo, Fortuno, Cisco, and Luis. All dead. As is your grandson, Joaquin.” He dangles the necklace in front of Tio‘s face as the disabled old man’s face contorts with emotion.

Jesse appears in the doorway, as Gus puts the necklace in Hector’s pocket. “You know who killed him? Would you like to see?” Hector looks. “This young man. Do you remember him? That young man shot Joaquin to death while I made my escape. I believe you have met him before.”

Gus turns Hector’s chair back toward himself, but Hector averts his eyes in Jesse’s direction. “It was just you and Joaquin. He was the only family you had left. Now the Salamanca name, it dies with you. Look at me, Hector. Look at me.” Mexican polka music plays, as Gus gets up and Hector shuts his eyes, his face twisting.

Jesse, seeming young, unsure of himself, and upset, takes one last look at the old man who’s supposed to be his enemy.

Scene 5: Another ride with Hank, the Schraders’

Walt drives his Aztek past Tyrus, pulls into Hank’s driveway, and honks. In the car, on their way, Hank thanks Walt, who says he enjoying the “chance to see how you work a case.”

“Like watching weeds grow. Yeah, this job can be boring as hell – until it’s not.”

“So, any more news on that thing in Mexico?”

“All the victims were cartel members…Walt, I want to take a detour. There’s an industrial laundry I want to check out. It’s owned by this company, Madrigal Electromotive, a big German conglomerate. The same company that owns Fring’s chicken joint.”

“Sounds like a real shot in the dark…The chicken farm seems right for clandestine activities. I don’t want to miss anything.”

Hank tells Walt about the filtration system from Madrigal on which Gale Boetticher took delivery. “It would be perfect for a meth lab.”

Unable to deter Hank any other way, a desperate Walt turns into oncoming traffic and has an accident.

We see Hank, wearing a neck brace, in bed at home, eating frozen yogurt with Skyler and Junior. Marie announces another visitor – Walt, with adhesive tape over his nose. “Hey, Mr. McGoo!” Hank chortles. “Watch out – don’t run into any walls or anything.”

Walt: “I’m sorry for all this. That guy just came out of nowhere.”

“Actually, he didn’t. I saw him comin’ a mile away. Hey, just mark it down as a brain fart and be thankful no one got killed.”

Marie pipes up: “Well, I’ll tell you one thing – your Hardy Boys routine is over. No more asking him to drive you on stakeouts. It’s too dangerous.”

“Marie’s right,” Hank says. “It was short-sighted of me. That’s why I caved and ordered me a gimpmobile. A regular Tahoe with hand controls.”

Skyler gets a call from Saul and leaves the room. “I don’t want anyone hurt,” she tells Saul. “I just want him to write a check.”

We see Saul in his office. “It’s gonna be fine. I’ve got my A-team on it.”

Scene 6: Ted’s, the laundry, the lab

Kuby, the guy who pretended to be a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency to trick Bogdan into selling the car wash, knocks on Ted’s door, Huell at his side. When Ted opens the door, they come in, and Kuby tells Ted to write a check for $617,226.31 to the IRS.

Ted: “Did Skyler send you?”

“It doesn’t matter who sent us.”

“Let me call her.”

But Kuby doesn’t, and once he has the check and signed forms in his briefcase, he tells Ted that Huell will stay with him while he takes the envelope to UPS, then “the three of us can hang out for the next couple days until the check clears.”

Ted gets up and runs into the kitchen, trips on the throw rug, and slams his head, into the bottom of the refrigerator door.

Walt arrives at the laundry in a cart inside a truck. Trying to get out without tipping the cart over, he asks Tyrus, “Does the laundry have to be dirty?”

“Nope.”

In the lab with Tyrus, Walt touches a tank and smells his fingers. “Someone cooked here.”

“You’ve been out of commission for four days. Think we’re gonna shut down the whole operation just for you?”

“Who cooked? Who was here?”

Scene 7: Jesse’s

Jesse plays a car chase video game with Brock, tickling him to distract him. Andrea comes in with a bowl of popcorn. When there’s a knock on the door, Jesse hands his controller to Andrea, saying, “Hey, keep it goin’!”

It’s Walt. “Jesse – ”

“What do you want? I’m busy.”

“We need to talk.”

“I got nothin’ to say to you, man.” He tries to shut the door, but Walt blocks it with his foot as Andrea and Brock watch.

“Jesse, please! I’m sorry! Just one minute, that’s all I ask.”

“Get the hell out of my house!” Jesse comes out, shutting the door behind him. He hits Walt.

“Come on!” Walt cries, backing up. “Hey, give me one minute!” Jesse pushes him down the walk. “Let me just explain!”

When they finally stop, Walt says, “I know that you’ve been cooking without me.”

“That’s right. So what?”

“So what? Isn’t it obvious to you what Gus is planning? He’s going to use you to replace me. He doesn’t think you need me anymore. Jesse, Jesse – if you agree to replace me, he’ll kill me!”

Jesse smiles, apparently enjoying Walt’s suffering in this turnabout-is-fair-play moment. His smile disappears as he says, “You brought your brother-in-law to our lab! What the hell’s wrong with you?” He turns to go.

Walt grabs at his estranged partner. “That’s not my fault! You gotta help me!”

“Last time I asked for your help, you said, ‘I hope you end up in a barrel buried in the Mexican desert.'” He pushes Walt, hard, and goes back in his house.

Tyrus appears. He tases Walt, who falls, writhing and crying to the ground.

Scene 8: the desert

We see sunshine on dirt, then Walt sitting on the ground, hands tied behind his back, and a black bag over his head. The camera pans out, revealing a desert plain with low blue mountains and a puffy-white-cloud blue sky. In the distance are two cars – Tyrus’s black sedan and Walt’s white subcompact rental. The young man with Tyrus during Walt’s tasing must have driven it here. Another car’s coming, lights on: Gus.

When Gus pulls Walt’s hood off, he’s momentarily blinded by the light. “You are done,” Gus says. “Fired. Do not show your face at the laundry again. Stay away from Pinkman. Do not go near him, ever. Are you listening to me?”

“Or else you’ll do what?” Walt asks in a low, but clearly undefeated voice.

“What did you say?”

“Stay away from Pinkman, or else you’ll do what? Kill me? If you could kill me, I’d already be dead. But you can’t. You can’t kill me. Because Jesse wouldn’t cook for you if you did. That’s it, isn’t it?” Walt coughs. “No matter how hard you tried to turn him against me, to screw with his head so that he would hate my guts, and he still won’t let you do it!”

“For now. But he’ll come around. In the meantime, there’s the matter of your brother-in-law. He is a problem you promised to resolve. You’ve failed. Now it’s left to me to deal with him.”

“You can’t.”

“If you try to interfere, this becomes a much simpler matter. I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.” The look on Gus’s face is chilling.

The wind whisper-whistles, as Gus leaves and Tyrus cuts Walt’s bonds. Walt falls over, he’s been tied up so long.

Scene 9: Saul’s office, the Whites’

Saul talks with the A-team. Huell refers to Ted’s accident as an “act of God,” and Kuby says, “The check’s in the mail at least.”

When Walt comes stumbling in, Saul tells Huell and Kuby to go. “What happened to you?” he asks.

Walt says, “Gus is gonna murder my whole family.” He wants the disappearer.

“Christ!”

“I need him now!”

“How are you going to sell this to your wife and son?”

“I’ve got no choice.”

“It’s going to cost at least half a million.”

“I’ve got the money! Now, come on!”

Saul gives him the card, and says, “Have your family packed and ready to go before you make the call.”

“Call the DEA and tell them Gus has a hit out on Hank!”

“Buddy – I gotta go on livin’ here!”

“Call anonymously!”

“You call anonymously!”

“I can’t. I’m practically in the DEA family. They know my voice! Please! You gotta do it for me – I’m begging you! My brother-in-law doesn’t deserve to die because of this!”

“There’s no way I’m mentioning Gus. I’ll say it’s the cartel.”

“Say whatever you have to say! Just give me an hour – I need to collect my wife and kids. Just give me an hour, and then you make that phone call – don’t forget! Please!” Walt starts to run out of the office, but stops at the door, and says, “Thank you, Saul.”

At home, Walt’s in panic mode, lifting the cover to the crawl space. He seems confused to find only one bag, but opens it, and grabs bundles of money in each hand.

“Walt!” Skyler calls.

“Down here!”

“Walt, what did that phone call mean?”

Walt’s lying in the dirt, looking up, still holding the bundles of money. “Where is it?” he asks, desperately. “Where’s the rest? The money, Skyler, where is it?”

Skyler stands at the edge of the hole, her face expressing silent shock and horror, as Walt continues, “The money, Skyler, where’s the money?”

Skyler closes her eyes, then opens them again. “I gave it to Ted.”

What?”

“Walt, I had to – for us – for the family! I swear, Walt – ”

“You gave our money to Beneke…”

“Walt! Please! Just hear me out!”

Now Walt closes his eyes. Having dropped the money on the ground, he raises his empty hands over his face and screams. Then he cries. Then, coughing a little, he begins to laugh hysterically.

The phone in the kitchen rings repeatedly, as Skyler continues to stand, looking down. We hear Marie’s voice, saying, “Skyler? It’s happening again! The DEA called. They got a tip from an informant. The cartel – they want to kill Hank!”

Skyler picks up. “Marie, I’m here. Tell me exactly what happened.”

The episode ends with the camera slowly panning up from Walt, still lying in the crawl space dirt, laughing crazily.

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