In a flashback to roughly 16 years ago, a real estate agent shows a younger Walter White and Skyler White (pregnant with Walter White Jr.) the house where they'll eventually live. Walt, then working at the prestigious Sandia Laboratory and envisioning a bright future with three children, worries they aren't setting their sights high enough with this house. "We've got nowhere to go but up," he says.
Walt sits in his car in the desert. An SUV arrives. Mike Ehrmantraut phones and instructs Walt to walk toward it. "I was out all night cleaning up after you," chides Mike after frisking Walt. "You said no half measures," Walt replies. "Yeah. Funny how words can be so open to interpretation," adds Mike.
Gustavo Fring emerges from the SUV. "Some worthless junkie," he says. "For him, you intervene and put us all at risk." Jesse Pinkman was angry, Walt explains, because Gus's dealers killed Tomás, and perhaps he thought Gus had given the order. "Are you asking me if I ordered the murder of a child?" asks Gus, nearly shaking with fury. "I would never ask you that," Walt responds.
Walt tells Gus that Jesse is on the run and suggests that Gus has two options: Kill Walt and spend months searching for Jesse, which seems rather pointless - Or, "consider this a lone hiccup in an otherwise long and fruitful business arrangement." Gus accedes, but insists on choosing Walt's new lab assistant.
Later that day, four cartel hitmen go to a warehouse owned by Gus's chemical supplier Duane Chow, and take him and his secretary hostage. Mike shows up and effortlessly kills all four of them. He shoots Chow through the hand and orders him to have his assistant drive him to the hospital -- the wound is Chow's penalty for not informing Gus about the situation. At Gus's office, Mike and Gus examine the gunmen's passports. "It's cartel, all right," says Mike. "Probing for weakness," replies Gus. "What about Pinkman?" Gus asks. "I'm making inquiries," says Mike.
Down in the superlab, Walt and Gale cook while Victor observes from the catwalk. Gale questions why Victor is always on watch now. "We had a little drama with the person you replaced," Walt explains. Gale promises to follow Walt's instructions exactly and to be the perfect lab assistant. Walt assures him that he's doing fine.
Later, Gus surprises Gale at home and tells him Walt is dying of cancer. "I intend to keep Walter on as long as he wants," Gus assures Gale. Nevertheless, he continues, "I must prepare for the worst-case scenario." Gale estimates that mastering Walt's system would require "at least a few more cooks," but under Gus's stern gaze concedes that one more cook should be sufficient.
Mike heads to Saul Goodman's office and demands to know Jesse's whereabouts. Saul invokes attorney-client privilege, but when Mike threatens him, Saul lets Mike sneak a peek at a notebook containing the name of a trailer park in Virginia.
Saul drives Walt to the laser tag arcade. Victor follows, but stays in his car. Once inside, Walt says it's safe to talk freely as the arcade could not possibly be bugged. As Jesse appears, Saul warns both of his clients that the clock is ticking and Mike will soon realize the Virginia address leads nowhere.
Saul leaves Jesse and Walt alone to talk. Walt says that he is only safe until Gale feels confident enough to take over the lab.
"So what do we do?" asks Jesse. "You know what we do," Walt replies.
"There's got to be some other way," says Jesse, who suggests Walt turn himself over to the DEA for witness protection. "We've had a good run, but it's over."
"Never the DEA," Walt responds. Gus can't afford to stop production, Walt reasons, which gives Walt the leverage he needs to save their lives — "If I'm the only chemist that he's got," Walt emphasizes.
"I can't do it, Mr. White," says Jesse, "It's as you said, I'm not a..." "I'll do it," Walt replies, "but I need your help." Jesse resists, but Walt holds firm. "When it comes down to you and me versus him," Walt says, "I'm truly sorry, but it's gonna be him."
With Victor watching Walt closely, Jesse will have to follow Gale home and get his address. With Jesse still reluctant, "I saved your life, Jesse," Walt says. "Are you gonna save mine?"
Later, Jesse calls Walt with Gale's address. "Don't do this, Mr. White," he says. "Please? Go to the cops."
That night after dinner with his family, as Walt is leaving his house to go kill Gale, Victor pulls up. "There's some kind of chemical leaking in your lab," he says. "You gotta come with me."
At the industrial laundry, Walt sees Mike and knows he's about to be killed. "I'll cook for free, and I won't be any more trouble," Walt pleads. "If I could just talk to Gus, I know I could make him understand." "I can't do it," Mike replies.
Walt offers to give up Jesse. "I'll take you right to him," he says. Mike demands to know Jesse's whereabouts, but Walt explains that since Jesse moves around, Walt will have to call him and arrange a meeting.
Jesse, back at the arcade, is about to smoke some meth when Walt calls. "Have you done it?" Jesse asks. "You'll have about a twenty-minute lead," Walt says, while Mike listens in. "They've got me at the laundry, and they're going to kill me now." Mike, cottoning on to Walt's ruse, grabs the phone... "Jesse, do it now!" screams Walt.
Jesse cuts the call, grabs the gun sitting next to him, and runs off...
Mike and Victor draw guns on Walt. "You might want to hold off," Walt says. "Your boss is going to need me." Walt then recites Gale's address.
As the two recognise the address, Victor immediately runs off (to attempt to intercede) as Mike calls Gale, but music and a noisy teakettle prevent Gale from hearing his phone vibrate. As he pours himself a cup of tea he hears a knock on his front door. He answers... It's Jesse.
A shaky Jesse pulls out his gun and points it at Gale's head. Gale, at first thinking it's just a hold-up, offers he take whatever he wants, adding he has large amounts of cash; but it soon dawns on him that none of that will do... "You don't have to do this," insists Gale, begging for his life. His eyes tearing, fighting back every impulse not to do this... Jesse reluctantly fires the gun.
Cut to blackout...
- This is the first episode to be directed, but also both written and directed, by Vince Gilligan since the "Pilot".
- Walt donning the signature black pork pie hat of his "Heisenberg" persona was Bryan Cranston's idea - (donned at first to keep the desert sun off his newly shaved head whilst on set.)
- The flashback teaser in this episode is the only time in the series that we see Walt without any facial hair whatsoever.
- The Mandarin translation of the exchange between Chow and his Secretary: "Peng, are you still there?" "Of course I'm still here! Where else can I go?! What is going on?! I have a husband and kid at home, I have to go home and take care of them! You do not pay me enough, somebody got killed right in front of me!"
- Last episode was named "Half Measures", in which Mike gave a speech about how he took a half measure and something bad happened because of it, causing Mike to tell Walt not to take any more half measures, so, as the title reads, Walt took a full measure.
- The song "Crapa Pelada", which can be heard in Gale's apartment, is about a bald Italian cook.
- This is the first episode to feature "The Long Walk Alone (Heisenberg's Theme)", which becomes a staple theme.
- Unknown actress as Stacey Ehrmantraut
- "308 Negra Arroyo Lane" by Dave Porter (as Walt & Skyler look around their future home and as Walt sits at home feeding Holly)
- "The Long Walk Alone (Heisenberg's Theme)" by Dave Porter (as Walt walks over to meet Gus and at the start of the end credits)
- "Shambala" by Beastie Boys (as Mike breaks into the Golden Moth warehouse and takes out the cartel henchmen)
- "Crapa Pelada" by Quartetto Cetra (in Gale's apartment when Gus visits)
- "America the Beautiful (Reprise)" by Pat Boone (in the reception of Saul's office)
- "滿場飛 (Man Chang Fei)" by 張帆 (Zhang Fan) (in Gale's apartment when Jesse arrives)
- Mike: "You know I haven't slept since Thursday? I was out all night cleaning up after you. I need my sleep."
- Walter: "You said no half measures."
- Mike: "Yeah. Funny how words can be so open to interpretation."
- —Walter and Mike about the half measures.