Breaking Bad

Season 1 Episode 1

Runtime: 58 mins

Breaking Bad S1 E1

Plot Summary

Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode 1 


Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his pregnant wife Skyler and their teenage son Walter Jr., who has cerebral palsy. Walt supplements his low teaching salary by working part-time at a local car wash, where he ends up being humiliated in front of two of the students he teaches. On his 50th birthday, Walt returns home to a surprise party arranged by Skyler. The following day, he collapses at the car wash and is raced to the hospital, where he is told that he has developed inoperable lung cancer and has, at best, two years to live. Walt opts to keep this news from his family and from Skyler's sister Marie Schrader and her husband Hank, a DEA agent.


After returning to work at the car wash, Walt suddenly lashes out at his boss and walks off the job. Having earlier seen a news report showing a large amount of money recovered from one of Hank's drug busts, Walt takes up a previous offer to go on a ride-along as Hank and his partner Steven Gomez raid a known meth lab. As the DEA agents clear out the house, Walt observes his former student Jesse Pinkman sneaking out a back window. Later, Walt tracks down Jesse's address and blackmails him into helping him produce crystal meth without revealing why. Walt turns over his life savings to allow Jesse to purchase a Fleetwood Bounder RV to use as a mobile lab. Walt then steals supplies from the high school chemistry lab needed for the process.


Walt and Jesse drive the RV into the desert and begin to cook. Walt's expertise in chemistry enables them to create crystal meth that Jesse claims is the purest he's ever seen. Jesse drives back into town to show a sample to his distributor, Krazy-8 Molina. He realizes too late that Krazy-8 is a cousin of Emilio Koyama, his partner that was busted on the earlier raid and now free on bail. Emilio believes Jesse set him up to get busted, but Jesse promises to prove his loyalty by driving them to the RV. When they meet Walt, Emilio recognizes him from the raid and thinks that he is an informant, leading him and Krazy-8 to hold the two at gunpoint. Jesse tries to run but trips and falls and hits his head on a rock, knocking himself out. Walt barters for his life by offering to show them how he produced the meth. As they watch Walt inside the RV, Emilio flicks away a cigarette outside, which causes a brush fire to ignite. The two gangsters hold Walt at gunpoint and force him to cook meth, but Walt instead synthesizes phosphine gas with red phosphorus, which causes Emilio and Krazy-8 to pass out after they inhale it.


Hearing sirens in the distance, Walt quickly dons a gas mask and puts one on Jesse before pulling him into the RV's passenger seat, still filled with phosphine fumes. Walt frantically drives the RV away from the spreading brush fire. As shown in medias res at the start of the episode, Walt drives the RV into a ditch and stumbles out of the vehicle, discarding his gas mask. Believing that he is about to be captured by the police, Walt records a video message to his family before trying to shoot himself with a pistol, unaware the safety is still on. As the sirens near, Walt is relieved to find they are only fire engines responding to the fire, and quickly hides his weapon. Jesse wakes up and joins Walt as they watch the fire engines race by. The two have the RV extracted from the ditch by a Native American man with a front-end loader and then drive back into town, making sure Emilio and Krazy-8 are secured in the RV before leaving it at Jesse's home. Later that night, Walt returns home and meets his wife's troubled queries with a new sexual vigor, which leaves her asking, "Walt, is that you?"

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