|Season 4, Episode 1|
|Air date||July 17, 2011|
|Written by||Vince Gilligan|
|Directed by||Adam Bernstein|
|Images from "Box Cutter"|
In a flashback to the original set-up of the superlab, Gale excitedly unpacks sterling new high-tech lab equipment, making notes in a distinctive journal labeled "Lab Notes." When Gale praises the blue meth Gus gave him — it's beyond the purity that he, or anyone else he knows of, could produce — Gus politely demurs, saying the chemist responsible wouldn't make a suitable partner. Gale pushes the issue because this meth is that good, and Gus reconsiders; Gale has just talked Gus into hiring Walt White.
Back in the present, Jesse is in Gale's doorway pointing a gun at him. Jesse shoots Gale and flees. Moments later, Victor pushes his way through a small group of neighbors, including one on the phone to 911, and finds Gale dead. Outside, Victor spots a shell-shocked Jesse in his car. Victor jumps in and orders Jesse to drive at gunpoint.
Mike asks if Victor performed a sweep of Gale's apartment. Victor replies that he couldn't because people were there. When Mike asks if he was seen, he admits he was, but is certain they mistook him for "just another looky-loo."
Early the next morning, Marie appears at Skyler's house with a stack of unpaid medical bills. Seeing Walt's car, she assumes Walt and Skyler have reunited. After Marie leaves, Skyler moves Walt's car to a nearby street so Walter, Jr. won't ask questions when he wakes up.
Back at the lab, Walt explains the new reality to Mike and Victor: like it or not, he's the only one who can maintain the meth production schedule. In response, Victor switches on the equipment. "We ain't missin' no cook," he says. Now Walt and Jesse have a new problem - if Victor can manage a cook by himself.
Saul, scouring his office for bugs, receives a call from Skyler asking where Walt is. Returning her call by payphone, Saul lies and assures her Walt is fine; then he tells his new bodyguard, Huell, that they might need to leave town.
Skyler drives with Holly to Walt's condo. When no one answers the door, she convinces a locksmith to break the law and let her inside by feigning a panic attack. Searching the apartment she finds no clues to Walt's whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Marie gushes about Hank's progress in physical therapy. Hank dismisses the compliment; she's exaggerating, since he only covered sixteen feet in twenty minutes. Humiliated, he asks Marie to help him use his bedpan.
At the lab, Jesse remains nearly catatonic while Walt waits and hopes for Victor to miss a step in the cook. He doesn't. Gus arrives and Walt immediately tries to defend his and Jesse's actions. Gus wordlessly changes into one of the lab's orange clean-up suits. As he becomes more nervous and agitated, Walt blames Gus for Gale's death: did Gus really think that Walt wouldn't take "extreme measures" to defend himself? Gus says nothing and Walt, panic mounting, taunts Victor with rapid-fire questions pertaining to the chemistry of the meth-making process.
It's called "a cook" for a reason, counters Victor. He knows the recipe. But Victor doesn't know the chemistry and can't fix problems that come up, Walt challenges. Without him and Jesse, says Walt, the lab is just "an eight million dollar hole in the ground."
Gus picks up a box cutter and walks menacingly toward Walt and Jesse. "You kill me," says Walt, "you have nothing. You kill Jesse, you don't have me."
Gus crosses to Victor and slices his throat. The blood sprays on Jesse and Walt. Mike, dumbfounded, watches as his partner bleeds out. Walt can't meet Gus' icy stare. Jesse locks eyes with Gus until, his face covered in blood, Gus pushes Victor's dead body to the floor. He walks past Walt and Jesse, dropping the box cutter. After washing up, Gus silently changes back into his street clothes.
"Well?" he tells Walt and Jesse, calmly. "Get back to work."
As Mike watches, Walt and Jesse squeeze Victor's body into a plastic drum then pour in hydrofluoric acid. "You sure it'll do the job?" Mike asks. "Trust us," Jesse replies. Walt seals the drum, which is shipped off with a load of hazardous material.
Later at a diner, Jesse eats ravenously, while Walt appears shaken. Walt asks Jesse what their next move should be, "given the fact that at his first opportunity Gus will kill us." Jesse disagrees; if Gus wanted them dead, he would've done it at the superlab. Walt replies that they merely bought time until Gus finds another chemist.
"Good luck with that," laughs Jesse, eerily unaffected, adding that everyone is on the same page now: "The one that says if I can't kill you, you'll sure as shit wish you were dead."
Walt arrives at Skyler's house in a cab but can't find his car. Skyler meets him in the driveway and tells him she moved it to avoid questions from Walter, Jr. She does not ask him where he's been, she simply directs Walt to his car and returns to the house.
At Gale's, Albuquerque PD processes the scene. Gale's "Lab Notes" journal sits in plain sight on his coffee table.
- Bryan Cranston as Walter White
- Anna Gunn as Skyler White
- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
- RJ Mitte as Walter White Jr.
- Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
- Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring
- Johnathan Banks as Mike
- A bedridden Hank is shown bidding on a magnesite crystal on a fictional auction site called "MineralEmporium.com". The url displayed in the browser is actually a local file on Hank's laptop: "C:\Users\Mad Props\Desktop\Mineral Emporium screen\ebay hero.html". In reality MineralEmporium.com redirects to the official AMC Breaking Bad web page.
- The box cutter Gus uses to kill Victor is presumably the same one used by Gale to cut open the boxes containing the equipment at the beginning of the episode.
- During a scene when Gale's neighbor calls police to report his murder, a clock in Gale's apartment reads 10:13. This is a deliberate reference to the number 1013, which frequently appeared in The X-Files, where Vince Gilligan worked as a writer and producer. It refers to the October 13 birthday of X-Files creator Chris Carter.
- During this scene they are wearing matching T-shirts with country music singer Kenny Rogers on them. The T-shirts are deliberately not explained in the episode, but Vince Gilligan said he believed Mike simply bought the first articles of clean clothing he could find for Walter and Jesse after their clothes were soaked with Victor's blood - Walter's still retains the sticker with the shirt size - "Large".
- During the final scene of "Box Cutter", when Walter walks back to his condominium, the Alex Ebert song "Truth" plays in the background.
- The production designer says Gilligan and him chose the type of box cutter on purpose: Because the green color was easy to see visibly on the red floor.
- "Bringing It Back" by Tee Double
- "Truth" by Alexander
Breaking Bad Episodes
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