Breaking Bad

Season 5 Episode 3

Hazard Pay

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jul 29, 2012 on AMC
out of 10
User Rating
272 votes

By Users Episode Review


    Breaking Bad: Business Time

    In "Hazard Pay," Walter opened up shop in an unusual place, Skyler had an episode, and Mike took his share and more from the profits.

  • Episode Summary

    Marie confronts Walt over some of his recent actions. Meanwhile, Mike, Jesse, and Walt move forward with their newest business operation.

    Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    • A lukewarm appetiser for the episodes still to come

      Although the crystal cooking is on again, "Hazard Pay" is actually a lot more about the reactions of the characters to a new situation: Skyler is at this moment entirely unable to cope with the fact that her husband is a ruthless drug kingpin and murder, Marie gets the most confused after experiencing a sudden WTF "breakdown" by her sister, and Jesse's personal life is rearranged after a conversation with Walt. Therefore, this episode is a slower one again and is, at least partly, below the quality of the rest of season five.

      There are, however, some scenes that deserve to be singled out and really improve the final good and almost all of them involve the series' main subject: fabricating drugs. As the four amigos (copyright you guessed it is from Saul) are back in business again, their first official act is to inspect possible workshops and provide the episode's funniest dialogue through that. After Walt has another ingenious idea, the actual cooking starts and it's time for one of Breaking Bad's drug montages I love so much. With The Peddlers' "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" on the soundtrack as well as inventive camera angles, wonderful use of colours, and perfect editing, this one is certainly one of the series' best. Filling up the rest of the time are a heated discussion about the eponymous hazard pay to Mike's former colleagues in lock-up, unbelievably uncomfortable Walt and Brock time, and a delightful reunion with Skinny Pete and Badger (I've never thought I'd ever say that).

      All of this is nice to watch, but remains a lukewarm appetiser for the episodes still to come and is too uncomfortable to enjoy at times.moreless
    • Walt is God

      this season is perfect, I love all the characters, so this episode was very great. I like Skylar, Walt, Jessie and Mike this season, so much drama...
    • My Review

      This was probably the best episode of the season. I really enjoyed the character depth and thought the ending was especially spectacular!
    • Hazard Pay

      It pains me to say this, but the show continues to slip in quality in its final season. From the pretentious music playing during the cooking scene, to Mike being at the forefront yet again, Breaking Bad's attempt at creating "art" is hurting its ability to tell their final story in an entertaining way.

      I liked the scene with the money distribution, that was raw and what this show has always been about, but just did not like the majority of tonight's episode to be perfectly blunt.moreless
    • No Rest for the Wicked

      Mike takes it upon himself to visit the former employees of Gus who have had all of their assets frozen by the DEA and promises the first one that what happened to Chow was a mistake and nothing further will happen. The man expresses his concern about the others talking and Mike tells him that he has his word that his family will be taken care of. Mike has a really straight forward negotiating way of talking that make him trustworthy. Saul then takes Mike, Jesse, and Walt window shopping on new places to set up a lab but none are good without contaminating things around them or raising suspicion with the smell. Walt has a genius idea to team up with an exterminator crew who moonlight as thieves and make extra keys of the homes they fumigate and sell them off to other crews. Their plan is to cook inside a pavillion tent and have a mobile lab set up in band equipment carriers on the first day of fumigation and then when they're done nobody ever notices the smell. They all go along with it. Skinny Pete and Badger reapppear and buy the band carrying equipment engraved with "Vamanos Exterminators" on the side. Mike's pitch to the four who run Vamanos about Walt and Jesse only being "yes sir" and "no sir" was an authoritative and necessary to compartmentalize the new business. Also telling them to no longer steal from houses that they cook in to avoid raising suspicion was awesome. Jonathan Banks really knows how to run things as Mike and Walt and his butting heads, especially when Mike is cutting their cuts for Saul, the exterminators, the "legacy pay" as the payments going to Gus's former employees to not implicate them and something about 20% of their proceeds going to people moving their product onto the street lead Walt to refusing to pay it and Jesse to relieve the tension and give up his cut instead but Walt caves. Jesse spends more time with Andrea and Brock while Walt is over, showing the symbolism of Walt sitting next to a kid he nearly had killed to further his own agenda and betraying Jesse's trust. Jesse and Walt have a nice moment post-cook disucssing that if he wants to be with Andrea and Brock he will have to honest with her about it and the scene where he just sits there immobile, unable to tell her the truth show that Jesse isn't ready for such a thing and he breaks things off with her although he will still pay her rent and whatnot. Skyler, eating lunch at work, breaks down after a conversation with Marie, and Anna Gunn shows off her acting chops to the motormouth that is Marie with an ever-flowing stream of "Shut up, Shut up, Shut up!" at her. Marie goes to the Whites' house and confront Walt about why Skyler is so upset and asks if he's been gambling again and he says that her duress is caused by what happened to Ted Beneke and about his affair with Skyler and he urges her, cleverly, not to tell anyone (even Hank) because he doesn't want anyone thinking less of her. My heart really goes out to Skyler especially in the scene where she sees Walt as he is moving his things back in the sheer dread and fear on her. Especially all of that climaxing symbolically when she hears Scarface being played and Walt. Jr. and Walt and Holly watching it and inviting her to watch with them was eery. Especially since Vince Gilligan has always said that Breaking Bad has been about turning a super white milquetoast guy into Scarface over the course of the series. All of this capped by an excellent pondering of why Gus cut Victor's throat last season and how he may have been "flying too close to the sun," maybe the cooking isn't meant to be handled in the way they're doing it and what if Gus's message via Victor's death was more just a show of "I can do whatever I want to you anytime." And also finally seeing Saul sleaze it up with his showing of the places to potentially cook was nice since he's more often than not in his office talking to Walt or something, and his fear of Mike coming in when he had threatened to break his legs two seasons ago was funny how scared he was, although somewhat justifiably. We need to see more of Saul in action, which is why if Gilligan truly wants to launch a show solely about Saul after BB wraps, all the better.moreless
    Joshua Gomez

    Joshua Gomez


    Guest Star

    Kristin Hansen

    Kristin Hansen

    Security Check Deputy

    Guest Star

    Alex Knight

    Alex Knight


    Guest Star

    Matt L. Jones

    Matt L. Jones

    Brandon "Badger" Mayhew

    Recurring Role

    Charles Baker

    Charles Baker

    Skinny Pete

    Recurring Role

    Mike Batayeh

    Mike Batayeh


    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (4)

      • Walt finds Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman's book of poetry in a box as he moves back in to the house at the beginning of the episode.

      • Both Matt L. Jones (Badger) and Charles Baker (Skinny Pete) can play instruments in real life.

      • When Saul is showing the box factory, the trio talk about a corrugater machine. But Adam Bernstein, the director, notes on the podcast that this wasn't the real corrugater because it was out of place for shooting, but similar. Interestingly, Vince says he also worked in a cardboard box factory for a couple of days. The tortilla factory was not originally in the script, they found the location as they were scouting and Aaron added the part where he grabs the tortilla at the end. The crew had to buy out the factory during the shoot because of the cleanliness restrictions.

      • In the episode podcast, the team says that new hazardous materials suits were used in this episode because the Tyvek ones from the previous season were noisy and very hot. This was the result of the new costume department manager. According to Vince, they were still really hot but they shot all of the teaser images with them.

    • QUOTES (1)

    • NOTES (2)

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

      • Walt and his son watch "Scarface" near the end of the episode. Actor Mark Margolis, who played Hector "Tio" Salamanca throughout the previous seasons of Breaking Bad, also had a role in Scarface as Alberto the Shadow.