The episode opens in a Denny's restaurant, across the street from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. A man, sitting alone at the counter, is served his breakfast: bacon, two eggs sunnyside up and hashbrowns. The man breaks his bacon bits in half, then arranges the pieces into the number "52 ("Pilot")." This man is revealed to be Walter White, full head of hair, an unkempt beard and no wedding band. We are a year into the future.
A waitress tries to make conversation with him, but Walt is not very compliant and begrudgingly answers her benign questions, giving her a fake name (Lambert, which is Skyler White's and Marie Schrader's maiden name) and shows her an ID from New Hampshire. Excusing himself to the bathroom, Walt then trades an envelope of cash for a set of keys in the bathroom with Lawson, his previous gun dealer ("Thirty-Eight Snub"). Lawson asks Walt for his word that "it" won't be crossing the border. Walt assures him that "it" won't be leaving town. Before exiting the bathroom, Walt lets out a slight cough. He pops a pill.
Leaving a $100 tip under his breakfast for the waitress, Walt exits the diner and locates the car that the keys belong to. Opening the trunk, "it" is revealed to be an M60 machine gun with ammunition. Walt looks around cautiously, then puts his bag in with the gun and slams the trunk shut.
Returning home following the explosion at Casa Tranquila ("Face Off"), Walt disposes of all evidence from the pipe bomb and Lily of the Valley poison. Walter White Jr. and Skyler return shortly thereafter and, although Jr. is excited that Gustavo Fring's death means Hank Schrader would be labeled a hero, Skyler is terrified of her murderous husband. Walt takes a drink of celebratory whiskey, but is startled as he remembers the security cameras inside the destroyed superlab.
Hank and Steven Gomez survey the charred remains of Gus' superlab, noting that it was identical to Gale Boetticher's designs. Gomez remarks that the corpses - who were shot by Walt - are unidentifiable due to the fire. Hank notices the remains of the security camera with great interest.
In Mexico, Mike Ehrmantraut feeds chickens outside the temporary medical clinic where he had been recuperating from the shootout with the cartel. After learning of Gus' fate, Mike drives the cartel's car to go kill Walt. However, he is intercepted by Walt and Jesse Pinkman in the desert, and after a heated argument they agree to find a way to destroy the laptop which held footage of them all in the lab.
Mike fakes a call to the Albuquerque Police Department, finding out that the laptop had already been placed in the APD's evidence locker. Mike and Walt argue about creating a bomb to destroy the laptop when Jesse hatches an idea to use a giant magnet. The three meet with Old Joe at his junkyard to purchase an electromagnet from his junkyard, which they hook up to 42 car batteries inside a moving truck.
Saul Goodman visits Skyler at the Car Wash to inform her that Ted Beneke had an accident. She fears for his death, but Saul insists that he is still alive, having just woken up from a coma. She visits Ted at the hospital where he is in a spinal neck brace being treated for severe head trauma. He promises her he will never speak a word of the events that transpired. "Good," Skyler replies.
That night, Mike hot-wires the gate into the APD parking lot. Walt and Jesse drive the magnet-equipped truck next to the building to the wall outside the evidence room. The magnet disables the guard's computer, alerting the police. In desperation, Walt cranks the magnet up to its maximum voltage, sending a force so strong it tips the truck over. The police security guard finds the evidence room destroyed by the magnet and sends officers outside to apprehend the crooks, but Walt and Jesse escape with Mike, leaving the truck behind. Mike is dubious of the ploy's success, but Walt responds it worked "because I say so."The police officers clean up the evidence room and find account numbers of a bank in the Cayman Islands behind a picture of Gus and Max Arciniega.
Walt visits Saul's office where Saul explains what transpired in regards to Skyler giving Ted $600,000. Saul attempts to sever all ties with Walt but Walt backs him into a corner in the office and menacingly responds, "We're done when I say we're done."
Walt returns home to a frightened Skyler and tells her that he knows what has happened to Ted and that he forgives her. She hesitantly accepts his hug.
- Bryan Cranston as Walter White
- Anna Gunn as Skyler White
- Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
- Dean Norris as Hank Schrader
- Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader (credit only)
- RJ Mitte as Walter White Jr.
- Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
- Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
- Christopher Cousins as Ted Beneke
- Steven Michael Quezada as Steven Gomez
- Jim Beaver as Lawson
- Larry Hankin as Old Joe
- JB Blanc as Barry Goodman
- James Harris as Duty Officer Jacocks
- Monique Candelaria as Lucy
- Gail Starr as Nurse
- This is the first episode in which the opening titles have been corrected to reflect the proper electron configuration of barium (Ba), 2-8-18-18-8-2. Previously, these numbers, 2-8-18-7, were erroneously copied from bromine (Br).
- The episode title "Live Free or Die" refers to New Hampshire's state motto and the license plate on Walter's car. Additionally, the motto is a foreshadowing that Walter's fate might either be a life of freedom, or death.
- Walt's New Hampshire car is an older model Volvo, which happens to be the same brand of car Gustavo Fring drove.
- Mike mentions that the police evidence room will have Halon, because it doesn't destroy evidence. Halon fire extinguishers accomplish this by not producing any type of residue afterwards.
- Old Joe references String theory (a theory which is a candidate for a "theory of everything") and the "god particle" which is another name for the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson was actually discovered just 11 days prior to the airing of this episode; it was just a theoretical particle up until July 4, 2012.
- The episode correctly shows the effects of a magnetic field on a laptop or computer. It would have little effect on the laptop components (barring metal reinforcements, which can be attracted), but will destroy a magnetic hard drive. Thankfully for the trio, Gus' laptop was an older model that doesn't use solid-state drives (flash memory), which are immune to strong magnetic fields.
- The behavior of the magnet inside the truck and the tipping is correct as well. As electromagnets are not omnidirectional, i.e. they work in a specific direction, the truck elements did not cave in. Furthermore, the tipping was a result of the attraction to the ferrous metal rods embedded in the reinforced concrete walls of the evidence room. At max setting, the truck could not keep the magnet immobile and it tipped.
- The truck used to contain the magnet is a 1977 Ford F-350.
- This is the shortest episode (43 minutes) of the series.
- Marie Schrader does not appear in this episode.
- This episode was the series' most-watched episode at the time of its airing with 2.93 million viewers, but was later passed by "Say My Name ", which had 2.98 million.
- When Bryan Cranston visited Conan O'Brien on his talk show, Conan called the episode "amazing".
- Walt's arranging of "52" with bacon mirrors Skyler arranging "50" with veggie bacon in the "Pilot".
- True to other season premieres, the first few seconds of the episode overlap with part of the previous season's finale.
- However, this is the first season premiere to not feature any characters being killed.
- Ted Beneke describes his memories of the accident with "I tripped and fell. That is all I know", which is very close to "I woke up, I found her, that's all I know" told by Jesse in "ABQ" to the police.
- "Love is Running Through Me (aka "Running Through Me")" by Javaroo (during the teaser in Denny's)
- "Music for Your Soul (aka "Conversations")" by David Castle (during the teaser in Denny's)
- "Cleaning House" by Dave Porter (as Walt cleans up the bomb making equipment & Lily of the Valley from his house)
|Breaking Bad -- Season 5|
|#01 "Live Free or Die"||#07 "Say My Name"||#13 "To'hajiilee"|
|#02 "Madrigal"||#08 "Gliding Over All"||#14 "Ozymandias"|
|#03 "Hazard Pay"||#09 "Blood Money"||#15 "Granite State"|
|#04 "Fifty-One"||#10 "Buried"||#16 "Felina"|
|#05 "Dead Freight"||#11 "Confessions"|
|#06 "Buyout"||#12 "Rabid Dog"||<< Season 4|