Soooo much happens in this episode!
Walt starts his treatment and shaves his head.
We get one of Hank’s most famous lines: “Chick’s got an ass like an onion, makes me wanna cry.”
Jesse finds out about Walt’s cancer.
We meet Tuco.
This episode really sets an arc for the next several. Now that Walt and Jesse are back in business and ready to cook again, they must have a new rival to fight against, and it’s Tuco. Jesse was trying to sell the meth himself in little tenths but he wasn’t moving it fast enough for Walter’s tastes. Walter is starting to pay for chemo now, after all. He’s got bills.
There are several instances in this episode where we see that Jesse, though he seems pretty badass at times, almost a hardened criminal, he’s still fairly innocent, for all his talk and posturing. One of these instances is the argument that Walt and Jesse have about finding a distributor. “Who do I look like, Scarface?” Jesse yells at Walter, which is interesting given how the two of them end up seasons later. The fact that Jesse knew Emilio since third grade really puts a point on what they did to him. Another instance is how eager Jesse is to help Walt when Walt is all coughing and unable to cook because of his cancer.
This is also the first time we hear about Jesse’s aunt who died of cancer. This also adds a depth to Jesse’s character, because as awful as he probably was to his parents, you get the feeling that he and his aunt were really close. She left the house to him, and he knows lots of details about her cancer, just giving the impression that he has had his own close family ties, and loss.
But then we get the, “Yo, I been out there all night slingin’ crystal” side of Jesse and all is well again.
Speaking (sorta) of Krazy 8, Walt finds out during Hank’s visit that Krazy 8 was a snitch. If Walt hadn’t murdered him, and Krazy 8 had lived and not killed Walt and his entire family, at the very least, Walt would have been caught by Hank. Game over.
Hugo the janitor, who helps Walt a few times when Walt is puking due to his chemotherapy treatments, gets caught as the suspected “meth monkey” who had a “feeding frenzy” in Walt’s lab. It’s later found that Hugo doesn’t have the glassware but does have a lot of pot. He gets fired. Another, different, kind of casualty of Walt’s decision to break bad.
Going back a bit, there’s some great intercutting in this episode. Early on, when Walt tells Jesse that he will do all the chemistry, be the silent partner in the background and leave the distribution to Jesse, and that there has to be no more bloodshed, there are some intercuts of flashforward snapshots of Walt after his confrontation with Tuco. Then later, as Walt is with his family, explaining that what he does in his free time away from them is go on walks because he “likes the nature,” there are intercuts of the cook site, smoke billowing out of the RV.
And there’s another beautiful freakin’ time-lapse in this episode. Can’t get enough of those.
So, Tuco. What a crazy mofo, and so enjoyable as a rival for Walt and Jesse. He’s totally f’ing nuts, but he’s funny, and there is something magnetic about his craziness. He puts out a cigarette on his tongue! He snorts meth off a bowie knife! He says the new meth “kicks like a bull with its balls in duct tape.” He beats the living crap out of Jesse and breaks his ribs. Crazycakes. “Nobody moves crystal in the south valley but me, bitch!”
But Tuco’s not the only bad guy in town. Walt is working on his bad guy persona now. He changes his look by shaving his head and sitting down for a meal with his family and saying, “pass the butter,” as if nothing’s happened. He bluffs big time in his poker game with the family, surprising Hank most of all. And let’s not forget he’s recently killed people, disposed of bodies, blown up a car and cooked some pure grade crystal meth. So he’s working himself up to this turning point. He asks Skinny Pete, in Jesse’s hospital room, to tell him everything about Tuco.
So Walt and Tuco have their confrontation. Tuco laughs at Walt and taunts him, and Walt shows him who’s boss by throwing the fulminated mercury. He gets the money he wants for the meth and for Jesse’s pain and suffering, and an ongoing deal. Aferwards, Walt grunts and pounds his fists in his car, clearly rushing with what he’s just done.
There is really no going back now.
- Breaking Bad Pilot Episode
- Breaking Bad Episode 102 “Cat’s In the Bag…”
- Breaking Bad Episode 103 “…And the Bag’s in the River”
- Breaking Bad Episode 104 “Cancer Man”
- Breaking Bad Episode 105 “Gray Matter”
- Weak Interactions – The Science of Breaking Bad: Crazy Handful of Nothin’