Breaking Bad

Season 3 Episode 12

Half Measures

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 06, 2010 on AMC
out of 10
User Rating
654 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jesse has an issue with the way Gus is running things. However, although Gus seems to negotiate a fair deal, this isn't the case and when Jesse takes matters into his own hands, Walt has to take drastic action to intervene.

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  • Getting you ready for the phenomenal season finale

    In my opinion, Breaking Bad was boring throughout most parts of season three and the first half of "Half Measures" doesn't significantly deviate from that. However, after a certain point, as the mood goes down and the intensity goes up, the season's penultimate episode started to really impress me, just to then throw me for a loop with one of the best cliffhangers in all of the series' episodes.

    First things first, "Half Measures" commences with a montage of the dull routine that Breaking Bad's most prominently featured crack addict, Wendy, faces every day. As it wasn't just done for kicks, but to establish Jesse's situation in this episode, these amusing one and a half minutes are well done in every way and once again show Vince Gilligan's weird but great way of telling stories. Jesse then illustrates what fatal plan he has in mind for the two drug dealers that killed Combo one season earlier both to Walt and the audience, which makes for some very good conversation time between the series' two protagonists. While the Jesse scenes are generally way more entertaining than the Walt scenes in this episode, there are also some nice debates to be experienced as the camera turns to the White household. Nevertheless, Jesse is the man this time around and Aaron Paul advances to hitherto unforeseen acting magnitude in this and the succeeding episode.

    The previously mentioned turning point somewhere in the middle of "Half Measures" comes when Jesse is abducted by the unamused Mike and Victor and ends up encountering his boss, Gus Frings, for the very first time. With Breaking Bad's most talented cast members in one room, Mr. Paul is again the one standing out as the goosebumps have already kicked in. They wouldn't have stopped until the episode's final shot, had the writers not had the awkward idea to put a prolonged scene of Marie "getting [Hank's] groundhog to see his shadow" right in the middle of it. After these misplaced but decent minutes and some Jeopardy! on the White's TV, time is also ripe for real life jeopardy and, I can only repeat it, an incredibly awesome cliffhanger that prompts you to continue watching. Not only is it the most unexpected and thrilling, it also serves as the perfect premise for an outstanding season finale that is sure to follow.

    All in all, "Half Measures" does a precise job at boosting the stakes for "Full Measures" in its final moments and entertains in the rest of the 47 minutes. It may not be flawless, but definitely the best season three got up to that point.

  • 312

    If Hank getting pleasured in a hospital bed sounds like your cup of tea then this was the episode for you. The ending did surprise me a bit and I have to commend the show for respecting its viewers by having key events from the show's first and second seasons play a part in the third season. But Walt killing someone? I just cannot wrap my head around how they will justify this, but I have faith in the crew to explain it.

    This was mostly a setup for the season finale, it was like the relief pitcher who comes in in the 8th inning and keeps the lead before handing it over to the closer. I am fine with that as long as the finale is good though.moreless
  • perfect

    Jesse is mad when he realizes that the two drug guys working for Gus use kids to do their bidding. He reaches a boiling point when he learns that the kid they used who killed Combo was murdered, and so he takes matters into his own hands. Will Walt come to the rescue?

    Good episode. Shocking ending. I couldn't imagine what was going to happen, and when it ended I was really surprised. This show is really good at keeping the audience wanting more, and this ending is a prime example of that. Overall grade is an easy A+. Perfectmoreless
  • Jesse goes after the people who murdered Combo and Walt tries to keep a reign on Jesse

    I'm very methodical and careful when it comes to rating episodes. I never give something a 10 unless it's absolute perfection or unless it's an episode where something so momentous happens it's impossible to label with anything but a perfect score.. There are people who won't give 10's to anything and rate things super low for no reason other than to make a statement. However, for me, the last two episodes of this season of "Breaking Bad" were about as close to perfect as it will get. It may have been perfect. Either way, besides a few scenes that dragged their feet a bit and slowed things down, this episode was all build up to the final incredible scene.

    The whole plot with Jesse, at first, seemed slightly interesting but as if it might not go into new places, but it opened up an entire new plot: the sudden realization that her younger brother was responsible for killing Combo as a gang initiation has caused him to become unhinged. I'm not sure I understand exactly how important Combo was to Jesse, but if there's any way to show him losing control, this is a great one.

    We also find Mike, the P.I/hitman, visiting Walt and telling him a story about half measures and full measures. It's a crazy little story and gives us some background into Mike, one of the only supporting characters I've wished I could know more about, and also sets up the events in the final moments of the episode.

    Honestly, you can't talk about this episode without mentioning the final scene. Jesse and Walt are ordered by Gus to not touch the two men who ordered the woman's son to kill Combo. Jesse sees this as a tragedy and plans to kill them himself. Walt knows Jesse's instability prevents him from doing the right thing and he knows Jesse will end up being killed. As a result, Walt does what he thinks is right for Jesse, somebody who he has caused guilt and emotional strain: he kills the two men. That final scene where Walt runs the two men over and shoots them both in the head finds Walt finally getting his hands completely dirty. We've seen Walt do things in order to keep himself safe and in never in a physical way.. however, we've never seen him kill anybody. Everything changes from here on out.

    And that final line: "Run." Simple yet sums up everything about where the show could go from here on out. Just an excellent hour of television and sets up the finale perfectly.moreless
  • 312

    These kind of episodes is exactly why I watch this show. It had a slow burning style with an amazing payoff in the end. I love how the writers are bringing things up that happened in season 1 or 2 and using them perfectly in this season. Like Wendy for instance, I thought we'd never see this girl again, she played a big part in this episode, and I enjoyed it very much.

    The cold opening was absolutely hilarious. I could not stop laughing, and the song was perfect for the scene. In this episode, Jesse wants to kill the two drug dealers that are forcing Andrea's brother to kill people. He tells Walt only to have his idea rejected. He decides to do it by himself until Gus steps in.

    We got some character development with Gus, it looks like he has great respect for Walt, I was surprised at what he said. The two drug dealers and Jesse make up in the end until the little boy, Thomas, gets killed. Wow, that was unexpected, not as unexpected as the very end though.

    The final scene, wow. One of the best scenes I've ever seen on television. It was wildly unexpected and disturbing. Jesse ready to kill the two drug dealers only for them to get killed by Walt. GREAT setup for the finale, and I just can't wait for the next episode.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Running Gag: Walt has his windshield broken for the third time this season. Previous culprits were aircraft damage and Jesse (throwing a concrete block).

    • Goof: When Jesse is transported to the chicken farm the car stops in front of a black vehicle. The camera point of view changes and the black vehicle is missing. Also the sun shades changed, indicating that between arrival and exit some (real) time passed. Additionally the distance between the parked cars alters.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (With Skyler becoming more receptive to Walt, the two negotiate Walt's involvement with the family.)
      Walt: But I'm noting a little hole in your plot, though. Why would your estranged husband by doing all this for you?
      Skyler: Because he loves his family, and desperately wants reconciliation, though it may be hopeless and futile. Then again, he'd try anything.
      Walt: I'm just not buying it. You know, I think it would be better if the husband were no longer estranged. Maybe if he were back sleeping in his own bed.
      Skyler: Wow! It suddenly a fantasy story!
      Walt: I am at least gonna be a part of this household! Dinner with the family every night of the week.
      Skyler: Not every night, no.
      Walt: Six nights a week; you get one night off.
      Skyler: Dinner two nights, not weekends, with 24 hours notice.
      Walt: Five nights a week, with no notice.
      Skyler: Three. Six hours notice.
      Walt: Five nights a week with two hours notice.
      Skylar: Four. Don't push it.
      Walt: And I want my own key to the house.
      Skyler: No.
      Walt: For emergencies and appearances, yes. I am going to babysit my own daughter; I am going to help my son with his homework. I am going to be a part of this family. And that is how we'll sell your little fiction.

    • (Jesse confronts Gus with Walt about using children to sell the product.)
      Gus: Listen to me. You have one friend in this room: this man [Walt]. Those men outside are my trusted employees. And when I learned what you intended to do. If it wasn't for [Walt] and the respect I have for him, I would be dealing with this in a very different way. Don't look at him, you look at me! This is what happens now: my men will come back inside, and you will shake their hands and you will make peace, and that will be the end of this.
      Jesse: No.
      Walt: Jesse!
      Gus: Pardon me?
      Jesse: They use kids! These assholes of yours, they got an 11 year old kid killing for them. You're supposed to be some kind of reasonable businessman? This how you do business? You okay with this [Mr. White]? You got anything to say here?

    • Marie: I tell you what: if I can get the "groundhog" to see his shadow –
      Hank: It's not gonna happen, I'm sorry.
      Marie: I'm betting it will. And if he does, you check outta here.
      (Cuts to Hank being wheeled out of the hospital, Marie smiling as she pushes him.)

    • Jesse [about drug dealers using kids to sell methamphetamine]: Hearts and minds, right? Get them young and they'll be yours forever.

    • (Walt careens into the two rival dealers killing one instantly. The other goes over Walt's car and hits the ground but is still alive. Walt takes care of this dealer by shooting him.)
      Walt: (To Jesse) Run!

  • NOTES (2)