Breaking Bad

Season 5 Episode 5

Dead Freight

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Aug 12, 2012 on AMC
out of 10
User Rating
333 votes

By Users Episode Review


    Breaking Bad: Loco Motives

    Season 5 has been a clinic in teaching us the drug trade, but in "Dead Freight" our morals were put to the test.

  • Episode Summary

    Mike and Lydia work to get the methylamine delivered for the operation. Walt and Jesse try to work through several ideas to keep undercover.

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    • The eponymous freight isn't the only thing ending up dead in this splendid Breaking Bad episode

      Season five's opener "Live Free or Die" was a very small-scale hint of what was about to happen in this episode, as the unlikely trio consisting of Walt, Jesse, and Mike can now tick off 'robbing a train' from their criminal to-do list. The decisive factor for this absolutely bad-ass endeavour was methylamine, precursor for the group's product, and scallywag playing hard-to-get since the series' very first season. Yet everything's a bit bigger than it was when the high school chemistry teacher and the junkie snaffled a drum each of it from a warehouse this time around, a thousand gallons change hands and the actual recipients mustn't ever know.

      With the most beautiful Western vibe and a little help by a distracting Patrick Kuby and a slightly too enthusiastic Todd, "Dead Freight" stages this immense exploit the best way possible, but not before warming audiences up with the three interrogating Lydia in a wonderfully shot and hilariously scripted scene, Marie and Hank being even greater than usual while housing Holly and 'Emo McGee' (I like that more than Walt Jr or Flynn or whatever), and an ambiguous pre-credits sequence that isn't going to be fun to watch for arachnophobes. However, what is going to be much less fun to watch for everyone in general is the final shot of this episode, a jaw-dropping turn of events that reminds you again that Breaking Bad isn't about entertaining peril in the style of the train robbery, but the criminal life and what uncomfortable things accompany it. Writer and first-time director George Mastras struck home with this unsettling twist that very interestingly showcases the differences between the characters in the succeeding episode.

      The great thing about "Dead Freight" is that there's more than just this one thing you're going to remember about it, as the whole episode includes outstanding bits of writing, acting, and filming (I very much approve of the train-cam).moreless
    • Train Wreck indeed

      This is the episode where they finally lost me. I am a little surprised about people not asking the electric chair for Walter at least after the fourth season.

      Killing a kid should be this episodes shocker? Really? My wife missed the episode and asked me if she missed something important. My laconic answer without thinking much about it was "They now killed a little innocent kid, Walter didn't care much but it pushed Jesse into another crisis - I am sure he will get over it".

      Yeah, I get bored. They both killed a kid in season 2 or 3 (I cant remember exactly). Yeah, they killed it by cooking meth and I am sure they killed some more they and we don't know about. That kid might have been slightly less innocent, but the hypocritical rage they killed the (physical) killers of that kid turned my stomach much more than Gus killing Victor.

      Yes, after season 3 I just felt hatred for both of them. This is at least an emotion, yes, and sure planned by the producers, but I don't think it worked for more than half a season. Protagonists you can't find likeable don't really help a show as you can't feel satifaction any more when the antagonists get their punishment. And not caring for the protagonists suddenly makes the series pointless (for me).

      I kinda hoped the final season would be exclusively about Hank hunting down our "heroes". When instead they decided to cook meth again I just thought "Please, not again".

      I know I am pretty alone with this opinion, but I hope I can live with it. I gave the episode a 5 as still the series is produced very well with great actors and inventive scripts. It is just when you stop caring about the main protagonist, all the witty plot twists get uninteresting and with this epiisode I kinda lost the rest of interest.moreless
    • Train Wreck... (spoiler)

      This show is exactly like a train wreck that I can't stop watching. I'm horrified and morbidly interested in what happens next. I so wanted to root for Walter in the beginning and I kept having hopes that he would somehow redeem himself. I'm not sure how I kept holding out that hope after Jane and Gale - but he's crossed the line of no return with Brock and the little spider collecting boy. I just keep waiting for someone to realize that the carnage isn't worth the money. The end of this episode and the beginning of 'Buyout' had me crying like I'd lost my own child. My hat is off to Vince Gilliam, the writers and crew for yanking these emotions from me but I'm going to have to take a break and mourn this little boy before I jump back in and root for Walter's demise... and his death bed redemption.moreless
    • Electric chair for Walt

      Good episode - but if our hero's now intend to kill mothers of 10 year old girls, and kill 11 year old boys who wave at them, then I think it best this series ends with Walt sitting on the electric chair.
    • The Great Train Robbery (Spoilers Ahead)

      The cold open of the show shows a little kid on a dirt bike going through the desert and picking up a tarantula and putting it in a glass. With the kids out of the house Walt and Skyler continue their doomed relationship dance and Walt even has to sternly tell Flynn, who insists on staying at the house, that Skyler and he need to work things out that's all he needs to know. Walt's scene breaking down in Hank's office solely to bug his computer and his picture of him and Marie was masterfully sociopathic. But it allowed them to prove Lydia was innocent of planting the device on the methalomine. Gotta say, that indeed caught me by surprise when it turns out that law enforcement was dumb enough to put it on the bottom of the outside. But with that now being untouchable and Lydia wanting to bargain for her life she offers the trio a whole "ocean of methalomine" that they can get off of a train. The details of no security and only an engineer and a conductor really made Walt, Jesse, and Mike put their heads together. Every detail was thought out and Jesse's plan no doubt was to not have to kill anybody and to not have anybody ever know that they were there. This was really strung out and high tensity as the plan to stop the train was innocent and so many factors going into making the methalomine just look watered down and more diluted from China than usual with the digging and hiding the weaker methalomine compound under a reservoir of the bridge where they stop the train. But the action thriller angle really made it pass and Walt's high risk of not stopping when Mike's guy got his truck finally taken out of the way of the rails and not dislodging until the last possible second made it look a little too good to be true. The exterminator crew/thief guy Todd was their main helper too. But the soul crushing part was when after all that planning the little boy on the bike is sitting there on his bike and saw the whole thing go down and simply waves. Before Jesse can stop him Todd puts a bullet in the kid to silence him from telling anybody about what he saw. This was truly the death of their innocence particularly because all of the people they've had to kill before were involved in the drug business from Tuco to Gus to the guys Walt shot last year in the lab, even Gale was still a meth cook and Krazy 8 was trying to kill Walt in Season 1 and the two guys in Season 3 had killed a kid and were scum and about to kill Jesse until Walt intervened. This was the death of a true innocent by their hands who had nothing to do with drugs and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's heartbreaking but it's what this show is all about. Taking "good people" and corrupting them elegantly into the other end of the spectrum to wrong-doers. I don't see this sitting well with Jesse or even Mike for that matter at all. Phenomenal episode and seeing where the fallout of this will be truly engaging I hope.moreless
    Joshua Gomez

    Joshua Gomez


    Guest Star

    Miguel Martinez

    Miguel Martinez


    Guest Star

    Ryan Begay

    Ryan Begay

    Good Samaritan

    Guest Star

    Jesse Plemons

    Jesse Plemons


    Recurring Role

    Laura Fraser

    Laura Fraser


    Recurring Role

    Steven Michael Quezada

    Steven Michael Quezada

    Steven Gomez

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (3)

      • There are actually specific areas of track called "dark territories" where the trains lose all signal contact and could potentially be in danger of attack. The original title for this episode was Dark Territories, but it was changed to Dead Freight because it is a train term describing an empty freight car, which you usually have to pay to ship anyways. One of the boxcars was visibly empty because the crew could not get the rusted door cover to close on the train.

      • The train engine, built in the 1950s, broke down on the first day of shooting and set back production. In addition, the production crew ordered 12 boxcars to use and they were expensive to rent. When they came in from Texas, they were covered in graffiti. At first, they thought it would be too much to paint over, but then they couldn't get clearance (from the artists!) to leave the graffiti as is, so they ended up painting over it.

      • Original ideas for the train heist involved a helicopter flying over to the depot where the train car was held to suck out the methylamine midair. They didn't think the train idea was going to work for budgetary reasons, however, the estimates for robbing the methylamine out of a truck was almost just as expensive.

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (1)

    • ALLUSIONS (0)