Monday, September 23, 2013

My Favorite Breaking Bad Moments: The Pilot #BreakingBad

The one that started it all. The moment that Walt broke "bad". A man wearing nothing but underwear and a gas mask drives a Winnebago recklessly down a desolate road in the New Mexico desert. Another, younger man with a gas mask, unconscious, occupies the passenger seat. As the vehicle swerves down the dirt road, two bodies slide across the RV floor until the vehicle veers into a ditch. The hyperventilating driver, Walter White, climbs out with a video camera, wallet, and gun. He records a cryptic, handheld farewell to his wife, son, and unborn child while sirens echo in the distance. White steps onto the roadway, gun in hand.....

Three weeks earlier, Walt has his 50th birthday. It is shown that he is a committed but ineffectual high school chemistry teacher living in Albuquerque with his pregnant wife, Skyler White (Anna Gunn), and their handicapped son, Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte). Walt's work at the school pays poorly and he is forced to take a job at a local car wash for additional income.

Walt returns home where Skyler has organized a surprise birthday party for him. Among the guests is Walt's sociable brother-in-law, DEA Agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and his wife, Marie (Betsy Brandt). Later in the evening, Hank appears in a news report documenting his bust of a local methamphetamine lab. Walt, intrigued, asks Hank how much money was recovered at the crime scene, to which Hank replies "$700,000. Not a bad haul." Hank then invites Walt to accompany him on a bust as a ride-along.

The following day, Walt collapses at the car wash and is taken away by an ambulance. At the hospital, a doctor verifies that Walt has developed an inoperable lung cancer and has only a few years to live. Back home, Walt retains the news from Skyler. Following a mental breakdown at work in the car wash, Walt verbally assaults his boss and storms out. Walt then takes Hank's offer and accompanies him on a bust. As Hank and his partner sweep the scene, Walt waits in the squad car and spies one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), escaping through a window. Walt tracks Jesse to his home and tells him that he can either partner with Walt in making methamphetamine or be turned in.

Walt returns to the high school and steals beakers, flasks, and protective aprons from a chemistry stock room. Jesse arranges to buy a used Winnebago so that their base can be mobile and harder to detect. The two drive out to the desert where Walt strips down to his skivvies and, using his knowledge in chemistry, produces what Jesse calls the purest crystal meth he has ever seen.

Jesse takes a sample to Krazy-8, a drug dealer who happens to be the cousin of Emilio, whom Hank arrested in the earlier bust. Emilio, out on bail, believes Jesse ratted him out. To disprove him, the three drive out to the desert where Krazy-8 asks Walt if he wants to switch allegiances. Before he can answer, Emilio recognizes Walt from the police bust and threatens the duo. Jesse attempts to flee, but trips and knocks himself out on a rock. Walt barters for his life by promising to reveal his formula. In the Winnebago, as Walt prepares the ingredients, Emilio throws a cigarette out the window and unknowingly ignites a brush fire. Inside, Walt makes his escape by mixing chemicals that produce deadly phosphine gas before he dashes out. Walt shuts the door closed with the drug dealers inside, assuming that both of them are dead through intoxication.

Walt unties Jesse, shoves a gasmask onto him, and drops him in the passenger seat. With the sound of sirens closing in, Walt stands in the middle of the road and tries to shoot himself. To his dismay, the safety is on. He struggles with the gun and misfires. After a moment Walt is relieved to see that the sirens came from a fire truck, not police cars. Walt stashes the gun in the back of his underwear. Jesse, sporting a black eye, crawls out of the wreck to join him. Back at home, he meets his wife's troubled queries with atypical sexual aggression which leaves her asking somewhat stunned: "Walt, is that you?"

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