Breaking Bad, 4-3: “Open House”
Walt comes into the lab, and gets a mug of coffee from Gale’s apparatus, at which he smiles briefly. Wearing a dark red shirt, he turns on a machine. He looks up and sees a newly-installed camera, and mutters, “Son of a bitch…”
Scene 1: Walt’s place, a house for sale, the Schraders’
Skyler rings Walt’s doorbell, and calls, “I’m not leaving!” Then she calls him, and says loudly, “I can hear your cell phone ringing!”
Finally, Walt opens the door. We can only see half his face (he’s hiding the black eye Mike gave him), as Skyler says she’s left “23 messages.” When she sees the eye, she says, “Oh, Jesus! What happened? I’m coming in…” She does so, then asks, “Exactly what happened?”
“Are you in danger? Walt?”
“Let’s just say I have more on my mind than buying a damn car wash.”
“We can go to the police and tell them everything – tell them you’re a drug dealer afraid for your safety…If you’re in danger…”
“I never used that word.”
“Then where’d that come from?”
“I go two days without returning your phone calls, and now I have a minor little incident, and you’re telling me I should turn myself in to the police, for God’s sake!”
“What minor little incident?”
“I had an argument with a co-worker, okay?”
“We were in this bar, discussing a particular business strategy, and it got heated and out of control.”
“You were in a bar fight?”
“Yes, Skyler, I was in a bar fight.”
“So, you’re okay, really?”
“Yes, I’m okay, and I think in the end it may have been a good thing really, because we were able to clear the air…”
“Frozen peas,” Skyler says, heading for Walt’s freezer, only to discover no peas and no ice.
“I will get peas. I will get ice,” Walt says, anxious to have his wife off his back. “Peas and ice. I’m writing it down.” He isn’t.
“I need you to promise me that if things do get dangerous…”
“Absolutely…So…the car wash.”
Next we see Marie spinning a web of lies about her identity at a realtor’s open house. She has a 4-year-old named Eli that she’s home-schooling, and since she “works with clay,” is interested in the fact that the “casita” in the rear can be “pipe-fitted for a quarter bath.”
Later, she comes home to Hank, her cheery, caregiving mood still contrasting with his grumpy one. She’s gotten him his favorite moisturizer, a Fantasy Football magazine, and a bag of Fritos, and Hank complains that he asked for Cheetos, not Fritos, and says the magazine’s “useless,” as “the draft’s not for two months.” The last shot is of a little statue of a boy riding a pig that we recognize as having been at the open house.
Scene 2: the lab, Walt’s place
Walt shows Jesse the new camera, which he describes as a “violation of the work space.” When they’re done for the day, Jesse, wearing a red T-shirt, says, “Wanna do something?”
“Yeah, there’s a track down by the Coliseum. It’s pretty fun.”
“No, actually, I have a kind of meeting.”
“How you doin’?”
“Yeah? Feel good? Is there anything we should talk about?”
“How’s your eye? Is there anything we should talk about? For what it’s worth, getting the shit kicked out of you – not to say you get used to it, but you do kinda get used to it.” Jesse shuts his locker, and heads up the stairs.
Saul meets with Walt and Skyler at Walt’s place, trying to interest them in buying the nail salon, but Skyler insists that they’re “getting the car wash.” When Saul says, “Ya bombed on that – he wrestled you into submission with his eyebrows – it happens,” Skyler says she thinks Bogdan “just lacks the proper motivation.”
Saul, wearing a pink shirt, coat, and tie and still sporting the blue plane crash ribbon, offers some ideas. Skyler rejects getting the car wash owner in trouble over his taxes, illegal immigrants, and terrorism (“guys in turbans”), and Walt says, “Saul, Bogdan’s Romanian.”
Saul says they could threaten that something might happen to the place, to which Skyler responds, “That’s not who we are, right?” Like Walt at the beginning of his breaking bad career, she thinks their criminal enterprise can have elements of morality.
Scene 3: another house for sale, the go-kart place, Jesse’s house
Marie’s at another house for sale with her yellow shoulder bag, looking at a framed collection of little silver spoons. She introduces herself to the female realtor as “Charlotte Blackner,” a different name than she used at the last house, and mentions a brother in the Peace Corps and a husband with a stressful job at NASA. She emphasizes that she has no kids, says she does hand modeling, and admires the travertine countertops in the kitchen. After everyone’s left the house, the realtor notices that one of the silver spoons is missing.
Jesse’s relieving his stress – or trying to – at the go-kart place. We see him driving his kart around and around with the same empty, looking-at-the-ceiling expression he had at his house party. Both trying to zone out and not caring what happens.
When he returns home, a guy’s coming out of the house carrying what looks like a large toaster oven. Inside, there’s a new party thrashin’ at a much lower level than the previous one – really nasty. Guys are fighting, and people have spray-painted the walls. It’s a crack house. Jesse sits on the red couch with a cigarette, nodding his blue-lit head, and leaning back, as an appropriate “song” plays on his stereo.
Scene 4: the third house for sale, the Schraders’, a police station
Marie’s at yet another house for sale, giving a third fake identity to the owners, a nice, older couple. They’re expressing concern about her youngest daughter, Lucy, who suffers from endocarditis, when Marie sees the female realtor listening. Wearing a multi-colored, flashy print dress and carrying her yellow purse, she tries to leave, the realtor in full pursuit. “I just called the police!” the realtor shouts, adding, “You’re a thief and a liar!”
“Back off,” Marie counters. “My husband’s a DEA agent!” They struggle, and the yellow purse falls to the ground, spilling its stolen contents, including a silver-framed picture of the nice older couple.
Hank, still in bed, answers the phone. “You’re where? Are you seriously doing this to me again?” Then in a softer tone: “Would you stop crying? I’ll make a phone call. Just sit tight.” The balance is being restored – Hank can take care of his wife again, instead of it being all in the other direction.
Tim, Hank’s Albuquerque detective friend, sits next to Marie on a bench at a police station. “The homeowners aren’t pressing charges,” he says.
“Good!” she replies, defiantly. “Then I won’t either.” She’s trying not to cry.
“Marie? You want to go home?” She breaks down into bitter crying, as he comforts her.
Scene 5: Casa Blanca, outside the car wash
Watching the soapsuds go down the drain as she washes one of Holly’s bottles, Skyler has an idea about how they can get Bogdan to sell the car wash. She calls Saul, and, as if by magic, we see one of Saul’s operatives talking to Bogdan outside the car wash. “Sorry,” he says, looking at a test-tube of dirty water, “it’s the same as before.” He lists the chemicals contaminating the car wash’s wastewater, and tells Bogdan he probably needs a new filtration system at a cost of $200,000 and “downtime” of 4-5 weeks. When Bogdan objects and asks what law he’s breaking, the operative listens in his ear piece as Skyler, sitting with Holly in her car nearby, reads the relevant statutes.
Scene 6: the Schraders’
Detective Tim comes to see Hank, who asks, “What now? She rob a bank? Thanks again for the other day. This whole thing has been hard on her.” He describes his new mineral hobby, then asks, “What’s up?”
Tim says he could use Hank’s help on a possibly drug-related homicide, and asks if Hank’s ever heard of a man named Gale Boetticher. He hands him a copy of Gale’s lab notes, saying, “Take a look. It looks like it pertains to some kind of methamphetamine super lab.”
Hank’s suspicious. “What is this, some kind of charity thing? Want my advice? Take this to Steve Gomez.”
“Then it becomes a DEA case. What good does that do me? Thanks, man.” Tim leaves the lab book on Hank’s table.
Scene 7: Casa Blanca, Jesse’s house, the Schraders’
Walt says to Skyler, “Well, that was a good try. So…nail salon. Sounds promising.”
“He’ll call,” Skyler replies. “Just wait.” A minute later the phone rings, and she tells Bogdan that her original offer of 879 is now 800. “Why? Because you were rude to me, and disrespectful to my husband. That’s my final offer.” Click.
“What are you doing?”
“Do you know how much I make in a day?”
“We don’t want to arouse suspicion by not trying to get a good deal.”
“I’m going to call Saul.”
Skyler looks at the phone. It starts ringing, and she waits, picking up after the fourth ring. “Hello, Mr. Volonitz.”
Meanwhile, Jesse is throwing balled-up bills at partied-out people, including an unconscious and half-naked fat man. A young tweaker dude yammers a stream-of-consciousness paranoid rant. A scaggy man seated on the floor picks up a bill as another one plops into the fat man’s mouth. Jesse stands and throws a bunch of money up into the air, causing a mad scramble. It’s completely depressing, and reflects our young hero’s current view of human nature. He has no life right now, not wanting to contaminate Andrea and Brock or put them in danger, and having to work for Gus out of fear and loyalty to Walt. The money he’s earning means nothing to him, trapped as he is in this druggy hell.
Outside the house, we see Tyrus in his car, keeping an eye on things.
The Whites, in their bright, clean home, are celebrating with champagne. “To clean cars and clean money,” Walt toasts. “You see, I told you we’d get it. Seriously, really great work. Impressive.”
“Thank you…Oh, my God – this is truly amazing!”
“It better be – $320 a bottle. The favorite of Winston Churchill.”
When Skyler objects that, on paper, they’re supposed to be broke, Walt says, “I paid cash,” and adds that Skyler is “overreacting.” He’s proud of being able to provide this treat, but his wife is ruining it.
“That’s all it takes,” Skyler says. “The devil is in the details.”
Meanwhile, at the Schraders’, Marie is sleeping and Hank’s watching a city council meeting on TV. He reaches over, blue light on, and picks up the lab notes.