Breaking Bad

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 20, 2008 on AMC

Episode Recap

Images of desert landscape fill the screen. Then, pants are seen falling through the air and an RV is seen plowing down a dirt road. A man in just his underpants is driving while things roll and move across the floor. The RV keeps going but loses control. It gets stuck in a small ditch. The man in his underpants comes out of the RV and screams in anger. He has brown hair, glasses, and a mustache. He puts on his green shirt and heads back inside the RV holding his breath. He picks up a gun from one of two unconscious bodies lying on the floor of the RV. In the front passenger seat, someone else lies slumped over. The man grabs a video camera and speaks into it. He says his name is Walter White. He says something on tape for his family. Skyler is his wife and Walter Jr. is his son. He appears to be in some sort of trouble. Then he puts his identification down on the desert dirt and waits for the approaching sirens. He pulls the gun he took previously and waits for the sirens, pointing the gun out in front of him.

Three weeks earlier. Skyler and Walter White are in bed, but Walter is wide-awake. There are gifts all over the room while Walter exercises. At breakfast, Skyler announces it's Walt's birthday. We also meet Walter Jr., a teenager, who wishes him a happy birthday. Walter Jr. says the hot water heater is broken. Walt drives his Pontiac Aztec to school with Walt Jr. There, he teaches chemistry. It appears to be one of the first days of because Walt introduces the to the subject. The kids don't seem very interested. A boy and a girl are talking in the back, and Walt asks the boy to move back to his seat. Next, we see Walt eating lunch and then later working as a car wash clerk. The car wash manager wants Walt to stay late, but Walt says argues that we talked about this and leaves to polish cars. The boy and girl from have spot him there, and laugh while taking a photo of him on their cell phone. Walt drives home, but is pleasantly surprised by a large crowd and Skyler. Skyler is pregnant, but it's early on. Those presents we saw earlier must be from a baby shower not too long ago.

A man holds out his gun while talking to a bunch of friends. He hands it to Walter Jr. while Walt watches over. The man makes a toast saying he's Walt's brother-in-law, Hank. Hank works in the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and he's on the television explaining how he got more methamphetamines off the street. He says he seized $700,000 in the bust shown in the segment on the news. Hank offers a ride-along for Walt. Later on, Walt and Skyler are getting ready to sleep again. Skyler is bidding on eBay. On Saturday he says he's going to be at the car wash and then he's going to go to a car museum. Skyler bugs him about painting the baby's bedroom. Back at the car wash, Walt is moving around a large barrel of cleaning detergent. He coughs several times and then suddenly faints. The siren from an ambulance sounds. Inside, Walt is talking to the paramedic, saying, "he feels fine". He says to drop him off at a corner somewhere because he doesn't have the greatest insurance. The paramedic is checking out his lungs, Walt says he's not a smoker.

Next we see Walt in a scanning machine and getting the results. The doctor is saying he has lung cancer, inoperable. The best-case scenario is that he lives a couple of years. Skyler is on the phone at home talking to someone about a payment that they never received. Skyler asks how Walt's day was. Walt says it was fine and we next see him working at the car wash again. The manager asks him to work outside to do wipe-downs. But, Walt storms out, quitting. At home, he is lighting matches and throwing them into his pool. He calls Hank for the ride-along. We see Hank, Walt, and another DEA agent in a van staking out a suspected meth lab. Hank says the suspect goes by the name "Captain Cook", a reference to "cooking" meth. He calls a team from another vehicle in to storm the place. Inside, the lab is clearly there and the suspect is listening to music while working. He can't hear anything from the outside until it's too late. Walt asks if he can go inside and Hank says okay but he has to wait. Walt watches a man come out of a second floor window, pulling on his pants. He rolls off the roof and the man runs off down the street. Walt recognizes him as "Pinkman", a former student of his. Pinkman gets into a car and races off in his red car - "THE CAPN" is the license plate.

We next see Pinkman being approached by Walt at his house. He asks about the meth production but Pinkman denies it. Pinkman recognizes Walt as Mr. White, his high school chemistry teacher and doesn't want to talk to him. "You know the business and I know the chemistry," says Walt and suggests they partner up. Marie, Hank's wife, is opening through gifts with Skyler. Walt just turned 50, but Skyler isn't even 40 yet. Meanwhile, Walt is gathering a lot of supplies from his chemistry department closet. He drives over to Pinkman's house to drop off the stuff. They argue over how to "cook" – it appears they have differing opinions. Pinkman says the stuff he cooks is the best. Walt says he will give him the purest form of meth he's ever seen. Pinkman suggests working elsewhere - he doesn't want to cook in his house. Pinkman suggests an RV, Walt says like a Winnebago. Pinkman knows someone who is selling one (his father), but needs money. Walt gets him the money (not even $7,000 to Pinkman's dismay) the next day. Pinkman asks why all of a sudden he would just "break bad". Walt says they start tomorrow.

Walter Jr. is trying on some new jeans, but needs a bit of help from Walt. Skyler waits outside and asks how they fit. Behind them, some kids are laughing at him and Skyler. Walt looks incredibly ticked off but appears to control himself. But he comes around the front and kicks one of the teens off his feet. The teens eventually back off. Walt Jr. and Skyler are surprised but smile. In the desert, Walt and Pinkman have started. First they check if anyone is around. Walt undresses because he doesn't want his clothes to smell. Pinkman hopes Walt is keeping his white underwear on. Luckily he is. Pinkman starts videotaping the process, but Walt says to turn it off. The "cooking" session ensues. Pinkman admires the results, calling it "glass grade". Pinkman wants to try it, but Walt says no, they need to sell it. Pinkman knows a contact that can buy the product. In the next scene, we see Pinkman handing the man (Crazy Eight) the sample of the product to try. But, Emilio, the guy who got busted back by Hank in the raid is also there (he made bail) and wants to know where he got it too. The next day, Emilio and Crazy Eight have brought Pinkman to Walt, who is getting ready to cook again. They want the product and have brought money to pay for it. Then, Emilio remembers that he saw Walt at the DEA bust and the two men start getting ready to shoot Walt and Pinkman. They both pull out guns and Emilio says to "cap 'em both". But then they stop, saying they admire the batch Walt made. Walt offers the recipe and cooking lessons for their lives.

Inside the RV, Walt is showing them both. Emilio is smoking and Walt asks him to put it out. He turns on a burner and pours a liquid into a pan. Then he grabs red phosphorous and throws it into the pan, causing a large burst of flames in a small explosion. The two men tumble backwards and Walt runs out of the RV, shutting the door and holding it closed. The gas is toxic. They fire 5 shots, making holes in the door. Walt continues to hold the door until the two men are dead inside. He unties Pinkman, but he's unconscious. There's also a fire from the cigarette, but doesn't have time to put it out. He puts a mask on Pinkman, puts him in the front passenger seat and drives, with a mask of his own. The same scenes from the beginning of the episode are shown. Walt is then seen with the gun pointing towards the oncoming sirens. He prepares to surrender and sobs. He's ready to shoot himself, but the gun doesn't go off. The safety was on. He shoots another round and the gun goes off – into the sand. Then he notices it's just the fire department, not the police, going to put the fire out! Walt moves off the road to let them pass, hiding the gun. He looks on after the trucks as Pinkman gets out of the RV, asking what happened. Red phosphorus in the presence of moisture releases phosphine gas, which is extremely toxic. Suddenly, Walt vomits and in a comical moment, says they have to clean this up. Back at home, Walt is pulling his money out of the dryer. He slips back into bed. Skyler asks where he was and why he is displaying such abnormal behavior (recall that it's been three weeks). Walt keeps quiet about his cancer and his adventures but suddenly decides to have sex with Skyler.