Season 4, episode 2: “38 Snub”

06 Aug

Breaking Bad, 4-2: “38 Snub”


Walt’s in a motel room with a gun seller. We see them in the dusty mirror, as Walt settles on a 38 special, snub nose, 5 shot automatic. The dealer gives him a little leather holster for the gun, and he practices drawing. The gun will cost Walt five times what he’d pay in a gun store, but he likes the fact that the serial number’s been erased. The dealer, one of Saul’s contacts, says, “Just don’t be caught with it…Are we talking defense here?”
“Yes, absolutely.”

The gun dealer wonders why Walt doesn’t just buy a gun in an aboveboard fashion, saying, “It’s the West. Self-defense is okay here.” But Walt isn’t necessarily buying this gun just for self-defense.

Scene 1: a restaurant/bar, Jesse’s house, Walt’s place, the Schraders’

Mike, having a cup of coffee after Victor’s murder, discovers a spot of blood on the cuff of his jacket.

Jesse, at home, tries out his new stereo system, complete with colored flashing lights. A rap song that seems to be about “money, money, money” plays so loudly he can’t hear a knock on the door. A Roomba vacuum roams the room. Jesse shows off his new sound system to Badger and Skinny Pete: “Eighteen-inch woofers…the tweeters are killer, too…It hits 120 decibels without breakin’ a sweat. Hold your hats, bitches!” They dance to the music.

Then Jesse’s crushing and cutting cocaine. Pete says, “Thanks, man, but 12 steps and all that.” Badger accepts “a liitle bump,” and next thing we know both he and Pete are high, comparing regular and “Nazi” zombies. Skinny Pete asks Jesse where he comes in “on all this,” and Jesse, sitting on his red couch says, “Agree, totally.” The Roomba passes Badger’s head as he lies on the floor. “You know what this place needs?” Jesse says, and the next thing we know his little living room is full of random party guests, Jesse dancing with a young blonde woman, his head turned druggily toward the ceiling. “Stop this crazy game,” the music goes, and the sound turns to a loud ringing in the ears.

Meanwhile, Walt sits alone in his neat apartment, facing an empty chair and practicing his draw.

Late that night, Hank’s in bed looking at one of his minerals under a blue circular light. Marie’s side of the bed cranks up mechanically, and she takes off her blue eyeshade. “You okay?”


“Can’t you sleep?”

Hank gives a sarcastic answer and adds that “there are four bedrooms in this house…if I’m keeping you awake…”

Marie hides her tears beneath her mask and reclines back.

Scene 2: Walt’s, Jesse’s, the lab, the car wash

The phone rings as Walt puts an apple in his paper lunch sack. He starts letting his machine take a message from Skyler, then picks up and criticizes her for mentioning the car wash.

At Jesse’s people are sleeping on the floor as the Rooma roams and someone throws a tennis ball against the wall. Jesse wakes Badger, who says, “I could use a brain transplant about now.” Badger wakes Skinny Pete, as Jesse says, “The hell with cleaning up – just go out and get everybody breakfast, stock up on the liquor – keep this party goin’!” He hands them money, turns on the music, and, dressed in black, leaves for work.

We see him in the lab, wearing ear buds and listening to the same song he started playing at his house as he works. Walt checks the gun in his pants as he gets ready to leave. They’re about to weigh the yield when Tyrus, Gus’s new black Victor, comes in.

“Hello,” Walt says, looking up at the balcony.

Jesse: “You the guy?”

Tyrus: “You got something for me?”

They’re giving the yield as “201.6” when Mike comes in and says, “Give it a second weigh if you would. New policy. What, Walter?”

“Where’s Gus?”


“I would like to speak with him, clear the air.”

“Walter, you’re never gonna see him again.”

Skyler, in her car, feeds Holly a bottle and takes notes on the car wash business.

Scene 3: the Schraders’, Jesse’s

Hank’s on his walker, doing therapy in the hallway, therapist at his side, Marie cheering him on. At the end there are high fives all around, Marie’s from Hank a beat too late. “It’s an honor, my friend,” the black male therapist says to Hank, then at the door to Marie: “One day at a time.”

“You’ve got a real way with him,” Marie tells him. Back with Hank, she talks cheerily about what she could cook that night.

Hank says gruffly, “Marie. Get out.”

She leaves, tears in her eyes.

Huge uncut pizzas are delivered at Jesse’s. Then Andrea’s at the door, and Jesse goes outside to talk with her. “So, how you doin’?” he asks.

“I’m doin’.”

“How’s Brock?”

Brock, in the back seat of Andrea’s car, wants to get out, but his mom tells him the grownups need to speak. “Guess you know I’ve been calling,” she says to Jesse, who makes an excuse about work. “I know you have other things going on, but I wanted to ask you about this.” She holds up a fat envelope, containing money she says was left at her house the night the two drug dealers were shot/run over. “This was you?” Jesse just looks at her, so she says she doesn’t want to know all the details, “just – is someone gonna come looking for this?”


“What exactly am I supposed to do with it?”

“Use it to get you and Brock out of that shithole of a neighborhood. Or you can go out and spend it on glass, and I’d have no way of stopping you. But I gotta believe you won’t do that.”

Andrea puts the envelope back in her pocket, turns, and walks back to her car. Brock waves at Jesse as she pulls away, from the side window, and then, turning, from the back. Jesse almost takes his hand out of his pocket to wave back, then sighs and goes back in the house.

Scene 4: outside Gus’s house, the car wash, Mike’s bar

Walt drives to Gus’s house that night. He parks, and we see his Heisenberg hat on the seat beside him. He puts it on, opens the door, and starts walking toward the house, as tense, clacking music builds to a crescendo. Then his phone rings. He answers, and a voice says, “Go home, Walter.”

At the car wash the next day, Skyler asks Bogdan, otherwise known as “Eyebrows,” how much he wants for the car wash. He says, “You want to buy my car wash? I’ve spent the past 30 years building this business from the ground up.”

“Is there a figure you can quote me?”

“Ten million dollars.”

Skyler offers him $879,000, a carefully researched figure based on “19 cars an hour…extras…minus overhead, estimated cash flow, the market value of the real estate, and an extra $50,000 so as not to be insulting.”

“Twenty million dollars. That is the price for Walter White…Oh, yes! You don’t think I know who you are? I remember.” Bogdan reviews Walt’s sins, ending with “not man enough to come in here and face me himself.” He asks Skyler to leave, and she zips the three zippers on her little leather notecase snappily.

Mike’s having a whiskey on ice at the bar as Saul’s ad reminding victims of the “aviation disaster” that they can get “justice” plays on the TV. Walt comes in as a sports broadcast takes over. “You might want to learn how to tail better, if you’re plannin’ on making a habit of it,” Mike says.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“Why not? You make a helluva lot more than I do.”

Walt, having the same as Mike, minus the ice, says, “I feel like I need to explain myself. There are some actions which I took that I want you to understand. I didn’t want any of this to happen. Everything I did I did out of loyalty to my partner. And then later, of course, purely out of self-defense. I hope you can appreciate that. Just like I appreciate that when you were going to kill me, you were simply following orders. I get that, completely. And I harbor no ill will.”

“That’s a load off my mind.”

“Mike, I’m trying to tell you – ”

“I get it. Fine. Drink up, Walter.”

“Helluva last couple of weeks. Makes a man wonder exactly where he stands.”


“I mean, I cannot be alone in feeling this way. Not after what happened to Victor.”

“So, what’s with the piece inside your waistband? I noticed it the other day at the lab. You wear it if it makes you feel better, but if push comes to shove, it’s not gonna help.”

“Mike, do I have to come right out and say this? You and I, we’re in the same boat.”

“Drink your drink.”

“If it happened to Victor, it could happen to you, and what the hell was that anyway? I mean – he cuts a man’s throat just to send a message?”

“You won, Walter. You got the job. Do yourself a favor, and learn to take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

“I got the job, but for how long? Get me in a room with him, Mike! Just get me in a room with him, and I’ll do the rest.”

There’s a long pause, and then Mike says, “You done?”


Suddenly, before we know what’s happening, Mike gets up and punches Walt in the face, so hard he falls off his stool. He kicks him hard in the torso twice. Walt coughs. Mike gets his jacket, puts it on, and says, “Thanks for the drink.” As a horse race is called, he steps over Walt, and leaves.

People are leaving Jesse’s party, and he tries to convince Badger and Skinny Pete, at least, to stay. Badger says he has a cat to feed, and Pete says, “We have mad love for you – there’s nothin’ but good days ahead, but we need time to pace out…”

Badger: “Next week…”

Jesse: “Sure, man.”

Pete: “We cool?”

Jesse: “We are cool.” Fist bumps all around.

Jesse, wearing a gray T-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it, shuts the door. His place is trashed. The music goes, “did-did-did,” and he turns it up, sits down by the speaker, and looks like he’s hanging on for dear life.

Walt’s trying to convince himself and anyone who will listen that everything he’s done is justified, while Jesse is wracked with horror and guilt in the wake of having killed Gale. Walt carries a concealed weapon, hoping to be able to defend himself, and Jesse, not caring what happens to him, just tries to get through the days and nights in the company of others. He uses as many drugs as he can and still work. Both men are slaves to Gus’s system – if they don’t produce 400 pounds of meth a week, they’re dead.


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