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Scene by Scene Description of Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

Season 1 Episode 1 of the critically acclaimed series, Breaking Bad, begins with various desert vistas against the backdrop of a blue New Mexico sky. A pair of khaki pants flies through the air, and we see an RV barreling through the otherwise deserted terrain. A man middle-aged man drives the vehicle wearing nothing but a gas mask and his underpants. An unconscious young man, also wearing a gas mask sits shotgun while two unconscious bodies slide around the back of the vehicle in various liquids. The RV accidentally crashes and the man rushes out, gasping for breath. He hastily puts on a green button up shirt. Sirens sound in the distance. Out of breath and upset, the man quickly darts into the RV, grabs a gun from one of the unconscious men in the back, and his wallet and phone from the glove department. He records a message stating that his name is Walter White, and that his words are not an admission of guilt. He tells his wife Skylar that she is the love of his life and expresses his love to his son, Walter Jr., mentioning that everything he did, he did with them in his heart. He places the camera on the ground with his wallet, and walks to the rode. He raises the gun resolutely towards the sound of the oncoming sirens.

Title: Breaking Bad

A title card takes us back to three weeks earlier, and the home of Walter White. Walter lays in bed awake, next to his wife. The clock reads 5:02. Walter puts on his glasses and gets out of bed. He works out on a tiny step machine in a room full of baby presents. He coughs slightly. A plaque hangs on the wall that reads, “Science Research Center: Walter White…Contributor to Research Awarded the Nobel Prize 1985.” The next morning, his wife places a plate of scrambled eggs and veggie bacon in front of him and wishes him a happy birthday. She encourages him to not stay late at work. His son, Walter White Jr. walks into the room. He uses canes on each hand to walk. Walter Jr. argues with his mother about taking a cold shower because the water heater is broken, and exchanges smart alecky, but friendly banter with his father. (7:07)

Walter White and his son both get out of Walter’s car at the local high school. Walter teaches a chemistry class to a group of disinterested teenagers. He declares chemistry not to be the study of matter, but the study of change and compares this to life. Walter reprimands a boy, for sitting in the back at his girlfriend’s desk. The student responds by dragging his chair noisily across the floor to his own desk and crosses his arms, a veritable challenge to his teacher’s authority. Walter asks the student -Chad - if he’s done, and moves on with the lesson.

Walter works at the cash register at a car wash. Walter’s boss tells him a worker has failed to come in and that Walter must take his place outside washing the cars instead of manning the register. Walter shines the tires on an orange convertible. He hears laughter and looks up to find Chad and his girlfriend staring at him in gleeful disbelief. Chad holds up a phone to record Walter working. The girlfriend, on the phone with a friend, passes on the gossip that Mr. White from chemistry is washing Chad’s car. Walter coughs as he cleans the car.

Walter drives his mini van home. His glove compartment keeps opening and he keeps trying to slam in shut in frustration, but to no avail. Walter walks into his house and is greeted by a large crowd of people yelling, “Surprise!” His wife, Skylar greets him with a plastered smile and the whispered words, “You’re so very late.”

Skylar talks at the kitchen counter to her sister, Marie, whom she introduces to a women named Carmen. Carmen coos over the fact that the pregnant Skylar is barely showing. Marie snarkily remarks, “She’s showing.” In the living room area, Marie’s husband Hank shows off his handgun. He makes Walter hold the gun and makes fun of Walter by questioning his manhood when Walter expresses discomfort. Walter laughs along with the crowd. Hank gathers everyone around for a toast to Walter. Immediately after, he makes them turn on the TV to watch his report as a DEA officer describing the take down of a meth lab and the cash that was recovered in the bust. Walter is astounded at the amount of money. Hank offers to take Walter on a ride along to add a little excitement to his life. Walter replies, “Someday.”

That night, Walter gets into bed with Sklyar who works on her computer as she gives Walter a hand job. They discuss the weekend’s schedule, the need for Walter to paint, and Walter yawns as they continue to discuss the minutia of their lives while Skylar’s hand works under the covers. Skylar notices that nothing is happening and asks Walter what’s going on. He deflects, saying he’s just worried about the baby. Skylar tells him to relax and that they are just doing him tonight. She makes him close his eyes. She continues to work on her computer and is more engrossed in the work she’s doing on her laptop than the business beneath the sheets.

Walter pushes a machine down the inside track of the car wash. He coughs violently, this time. Walter collapses and lands face down on a steel vent. Walter sits in the ambulance, awake and attempts to convince the paramedic to drop him off because he’s sure he just has a bug and doesn’t have the greatest insurance. The paramedic asks if Walter is a smoker.

Walter gets an MRI. Walter sits in a waiting room, listening to a doctor speak. A stain on the doctor’s white jacket distracts Walter. He is in a daze. We don’t hear the doctor’s words, just a strained buzzing. The sound stops as the doctor asks if Walter understands. Walter replies with a stoically matter of fact, “Yes. Lung Cancer. Inoperable” Best case scenario, with chemo, he will live a couple of years. Walter tells the doctor that he has a mustard stain on his jacket.

Skylar sits on the kitchen counter talking on the phone about a bill that needs to be paid. Walter gets a beer from the fridge. Skylar asks him about spending fifteen dollars at staples on their master card. She reminds him not to use it. She asks him about his day and he replies that it’s fine.

Walter looks out the window, in a daze at the car wash. He coughs. His boss comes over and tells Walter that they’re short-handed again so he needs to go outside and do some wipe downs. The boss is a gray haired man with dark bushy eyebrows. The boss asks Walter if he’s here to work or be “staring at the skies. Suddenly invigorated, Walter curses at the man, “Fuck you, and your eyebrows.” He grabs his crotch as he yells, “Wipe down this!” before storming out of the establishment.

Early morning, Walter sits by his pool in the backyard, wearing his robe. A beer can sits next to him on the table. The backyard area is a bit run down and the pool is filthy. Walter lights marches and throws them into the pool. He calls his brother in law, Hank. He asks if he can still come for a ride along.

Walter sits in the backseat of an SUV, wearing a bulletproof vest. Hank and his partner sit up front wearing official police vests. An informant previously disclosed the location of the house they are watching as a meth lab. Hank bets his partner the cook is Mexican, while his Hispanic partner declares that with a dopey alias like, “Cap’n Cook,” the perp is certainly a white boy. They both place money on the dash. A school bus clears the area and Hank calls it in to his back up. Another black SUV drives by them with DEA agents hanging on to the sides, wearing helmets, respirators, and carrying guns. The team scopes the house, shoots out a window, enters the house and apprehends the suspect who tries to run but only makes it into the next room. Hank radios the team to ask what race the suspect is. He is Asian, but since his first name is Emilio, Hank decides he wins half the money. Walter asks Hank if he can go inside and see the lab. Hank tells him that he and his partner will check it out first but he can come in, in a minute. They exit the vehicle and enter the house. Walter remains in the car and watches as a second suspect exits the house from the second floor, clad only in a pair of red underwear. The young man stands on the roof and quickly struggles into a pair of pants, but falls from the roof. More of his clothes fly down behind him. A naked woman throws them down. The young man quickly dresses and peaks around the corner towards the front door. He looks up and sees Walter White looking straight at him. Walter immediately recognizes the young man, and breathlessly says, “Pinkman.” Pinkman shushes Walter, runs to his own car. Walter watches the red car drive away, bearing a vanity plate that reads, “The Capn.”

That night, Walter shows up at Pinkman’s house to find him covering the car with a blue tarp. Walter tells Pinkman that he’s still in the files. He tells him he didn’t expect him to amount to much, but was surprised at his involvement in meth. Pinkman tells Walter that high school was a long time ago and he is in no mood for speeches. Walter points out that Pinkman’s partner is in prison and the DEA took all the money. He proposes a partnership because he knows the chemistry. When Pinkman looks incredulous at the idea, Walter gives him an ultimatum: either they partner up, or Walter turns Pinkman in.

Skylar hangs out in her kitchen with her sister, Marie. They wrap up knick-knacks that Skylar has sold online to ship to people. Marie asks her about her novel, and Skylar reminds her that she’s writing a collection of short stories. The air between the sisters is tense. Marie offers to critique the short stories, which Skylar quickly rebuffs. Marie asks why Walt has been so quiet lately, but Skylar chalks it up to his recent 50th birthday. Marie asks about the sex life and Skylar refuses to answer.

Meanwhile, in the school chemistry lab, Walter takes various beaker and tools and sneaks the supplies into his car. He drives to Pinkman’s house. Walter shows a reluctant Pinkman the stuff. Pinkman isn’t impressed. He tells Walter which flask he cooks and Walter rolls his eyes, asking if the kid learned nothing in his chemistry class. Pinkman reminds Walter that he flunked him. He also tells him that cooking isn’t chemistry – its art. Walter tells him that they are going to make an unadulterated product. He also tells him the will use lab safety equipment and have an emergency eyewash station. Pinkman disagrees. The put the stuff in the garage and Walter is surprised to find that Pinkman doesn’t want to cook at his house. They discuss the matter and Pinkman tells Walter an RV would be best. A mobile meth lab.

Walter leaves the Mesa Credit Union and walks to Pinkman’s red car. He hands Pinkman an envelope of money. Pinkman tells him there’s not even seven grand and his guy wants eighty-five thousand. Walter tells him its all the money he’s got in the world and that since he’s a drug dealer, he should just negotiate. Pinkman asks why Walter is doing this. Walter turns the question back on him. Pinkman says it’s for the money and Walter says it’s the same for him. Pinkman tells him it’s weird that he’s a straight-laced dude who has suddenly decided to break bad. If Walter has gone crazy or depressed, Pinkman wants to know. Walter tells him, “I am awake.” Walter wants to have the RV and start cooking tomorrow. He gets into his car.

Walter Jr. Puts in pants in a dressing room. He struggles with getting the jeans on, because he has to sit down as he does it. His canes lean against the wall. Skylar asks if he wants help from her or Dad. He asks for his Dad and Walter comes in. Walter Jr. leans on him for support while his father pulls the pants up. Outside the dressing room, Walter Jr. looks in the mirror and his mom talks about the jeans. Nearby a group of boys makes fun of Walter Jr. Skylar starts towards the boys, but Walter stops her. Walter goes out the back door. Skylar tells Walter Jr. to ignore the bullies. She starts walking towards them again, but stops short as Walter comes barreling through the front door of the store. He pushes the main bully to the ground and stomps on his leg. The dude cries out and finally Walter lets him up. The bully is a big dude and gets in Walter’s face. Walter doesn’t back down, and squares off, ready to fight. The bully’s friends pull him back and the three kids exit the store. Skylar and Walter Jr. watch the entire scene in disbelief.

Walter stands outside of the RV in the desert. Pinkman stands on top of a rock formation and looks around the desert. They decide it’s a good spot to cook. Walter takes off his clothes and puts them on hangers that he hangs on the RV. Pinkman asks what he’s doing and Walter tells him he can’t have his good clothes smelling like a meth lab. Pinkman pulls a camcorder out of his pocket and goes inside the RV, recording Walter as he starts to cook. Walter makes him put the camera away. They cook. Mostly, Walter cooks, while Pinkman watches. Pinkman examines the batch, in awe that its pure glass. For the first time, Walter calls him by his first name when he says dryly, “Thank, you Jesse, I’m glad its acceptable.” Jesse immediately moves to try some, but Walter tells him they only sell it, and shouldn’t use it. Jesse tells him he’s been watching way too much Miami vice. Walter asks what’s next. Jesse plan is to cook more, but he knows just the guy to sell to first.

Jesse enters a large living area where a man holds up a dummy to be ripped apart by his dog. Jesse tries chatting, but the man, Chris tells him to shut up and just show him the money. Jesse pulls out the bag and tells Chris that he’s not buying – he’s selling. Chris tells Jesse he isn’t sure that Jesse didn’t sell out his cousin, Emilio, who got sent up. Jesse tells Chris, he’d kick Emilio’s ass for even suggesting that. Chris, whose alias is crazy 8 says Jesse can tell him himself, as Emilio made bail this morning. Emilio enters the room and gets in Jesse’s face. Crazy 8 demands to know who cooked the crystal.

In the desert, Walter stands outside of the RV, adjusting his apron. Crazy 8 drives up in a car with Jesse and Emilio. He asks Walter to work for him and Walter says he’s willing to sell it. Emilio pulls out a zip lock bag full of cash. Emilio gets a good look at Walter. He gets out of the car, gun drawn and tells Crazy 8 that Walter was there when he got busted and is certainly DEA. Walter and Jesse try to run, but both end up at gunpoint. Walter offers to teach Crazy 8 the recipe. Emilio duck-tapes Jesse and leaves him lying on the ground outside the RV. Inside, Crazy 8 watches Walter cook. Emilio enters the RV, smoking a cigarette. Walter tells him to put the cigarette out and Emilio does so, when Crazy 8 commands it. He throws the lit cigarette out the window. The brush catches fire a bit. Walter pours something into a pan and intentionally causes an explosion that throws Emilio and Crazy 8 off guard. Fumes fill the air. Walter rushes out the door and closes it behind him. Inside, the two men struggle to get out. They cough and try to shoot through the door. We hear them collapse inside.

The small fire from the cigarette has spread throughout the dry brush. It’s out of control and Walter has no hope of containing it. He puts a gas mask on Jesse, who’s unconscious on the ground. We cut to Walter driving the RV and barreling recklessly down the road. Jesse rids shotgun. Walters’ clothes still hang outside the RV, blowing in the wind. His pants fly off the hanger and into the air. Walter wears a gas mask. Emilio and Crazy 8 slide around, unconscious in the back of the RV. We’ve arrived at the beginning of the episode.

Walter stands in the middle of the road, wearing only his green shirt, pointing Crazy 8’s gun towards the sound of sirens. The sirens remain in the distance. Walter cries. His hand drops. Suddenly he brings it back up, this time placing the gun beneath his own chin. He pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. He tries to check the barrel, but instead accidentally fires the gun. Finally, the sirens approach, closer. Walter peers into the distance and sees only fire trucks approaching. He steps to the side of the road and hides the gun behind his back. The fire trucks pass him by without stopping. Jesse stumbles out of the RV. He pulls of his gas mask and reveals a black eye, swollen shut. Jesse asks Walter what happened, and what he did to Emilio and Crazy 8. Walter gives him the chemical formula for how he created the explosion. Walter throws up. He tells Jesse they have to clean everything up.

Walter washes cash in a washing machine. He gets into bed with Skylar. She asks him where he was, but he doesn’t reply. Skylar tells him the worse thing he can do to her is shut her out. Walter leans over and kisses her, gently at first, and then with passion. They have sex. “Walt, is that you?” she asks.

TV Drama HBO


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