After a year-long wait and months of making idle conversation with acquaintances about how excited we were for Breaking Bad to come back, we’re finally here at the start of season five. And it feels wonderful! And, as always with Breaking Bad, by “wonderful” I mean “incredibly stressful and generally very bad”! Walter White is reigning at the top of the wheel of fortune and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. (That his wife is going to die and then he is going to die?) (Breaking Macbadth.) It looks like it’s going to be a season full of Walt acting like a cocky jerk while everyone at home secretly prays for him to get knocked down a few pegs, and then Walt ultimately getting knocked down ALL the pegs when he accidentally shoots himself with a semiautomatic because the instruction manual in the trunk was a little vague. Or maybe not? Who knows. What am I even saying. Episode one, you guys! #Magnets! #CaymanIslands! Let’s talk about it!

The episode opens with a flash-forward to one year(ish) in the future, Walt’s 52nd birthday. I guess? For some reason we are forced to believe that he has chosen to list his real birthday on his fake ID, and also that he has chosen to name himself after Adam Lambert. Whatever. To each his own! Originally I thought that he was making a penis with his bacon:

But then it was revealed that it was just his age:

You may remember Skyler spelling his age out with veggie bacon when he turned 50 in season one. Finally, some real bacon to spell your age out with LIKE A CHILD WOULD. The waitress asks why he is doing that with the bacon, like a child would, and he tells her that it is his birthday. She explains that at Denny’s, your meal is free on your birthday. “Even if I was like rich, free’s always good,” she says, because Breaking Bad is a very good TV show, and that sentence will probably turn out to be the theme of the entire series. So Walt shows her his New Hampshire fake ID with his real birthday on it and then goes to the bathroom to buy a car with a gun in it from a man.

And here is the gun:

After the guy gives him the keys in the bathroom the guy says, “Well, good luck. I guess.” Uh-oh! The scary guy is even unsure of what Walt is doing! WHAT COULD HE BE DOING? After we see the gun in the trunk, we are flashed back to the present, where Skyler is talking to Walt about how Gus Fring is dead and Walt is taking forever to answer her, before finally saying that he won. “I won.” After getting off the phone, he puts a bunch of evidence into the trunk of his car — including the Lily of the Valley plant — and changes from a green shirt into a nice blue shirt. Looking good, Mr. White! Now you can finally drink that drink you poured, congrats.

Soon Skyler and Walt Jr. and Baby come over, and Walt Jr. goes on and on about how Hank is going to be thought of us such a hero, and how he’s known about him for a long time, and about how they went to the restaurant together one time, and blah blah blah. When Walt Jr. came in and immediately asked why the TV wasn’t on I thought that it was just because maybe Skyler didn’t let him watch TV and he thought that if you WERE in a position where you were allowed to watch TV, you should definitely be watching it all the time. Hahah. In case you thought my brain retained information from one moment to the next moment. IT DOES NOT. Walt goes into the bedroom to talk to Skyler and be adorable to the baby and tell her that he missed her and call her “sweet pea,” and it is so cute.

While he is being cute with the baby, Skyler tells him that she is afraid of him, which makes every bit of sense. He is terrifying! I was scared for THE DENNY’S WAITRESS earlier, let alone someone who’s close to him and who has hurt him in the past! You’re right to be afraid, Skyler! Take that face of yours and go someplace else and start fresh, you don’t need this bologna and also you aren’t that fun to watch! When Skyler leaves the room, Walt looks at himself in the mirror for a beat and then says, “Oh, shit.” “OH SHIT” WHAT!!?!? It could be so many things! But then we are taken to the exploded meth lab, where Hank and pals are exploring, and we find out what he was oh shitting about:

THE CAMERAS! D’OH! You a little bit wonder why Walt never thought of the camera thing, since they were always such an annoyance to him in the last season, but I guess he did have a lot on his mind at the time and let’s just let it go. So: the camera thing. That is a thing. That’s a big thing, but for now let’s go back to the episode WHERE WE GET TO SEE MIKE AGAIN, HOORAY! ALL OUR OLD FRIENDS! He’s at his desert hospital tent, feeding chickens, saying something inaudible that sounds like “weeshablen eat nobody eats,” when a male nurse comes up to tell him that Gus is dead. Then he nearly teethface drives himself DIRECTLY INTO THE CAR WITH JESSE AND WALT IN IT:

JK. It was a cheap camera trick! They didn’t drive into each other at all! But they do meet in a desert, naturally, so Mike can yell at Walt about killing Gus. “DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU DID?” he says. Jesse calms him down, though, with his beauty, and the gang decide to stay a gang because they’re all in it together and then Mike gives “the universal sign for keys” and Jesse and Walt just have no clue at all:

DUMMIES! While the boys are arguing with each other about what the universal sign for keys is, Hank is back at the restaurant where they are taking Gus’s laptop in as evidence. D’OH! TOO LATE! Hank looks at is as though he has never seen a laptop in his life:

His face made me think that he had already seen some of the videos on the laptop, because why else would he be so upset and confused at this laptop? Right? Did anyone else think that? IS THE JIG UP ALREADY? We don’t know if the jig is totally up already, but back in the Buddy Den all the buddies are trying to figure out their MO. Mike pretends to be a USPS official and calls the APD about investigating meter fraud as a means to obtain information about the laptop and I still have no idea how or why that would have worked, but, in any case, it did. (But seriously, how? What? Why did they give him information about a laptop obtained from a druglord murder victim because he said he was from USPS?) (Were they video chatting? Did he see the laptop in the background?) (HOW STUPID AM I, EXACTLY?) They have the laptop and Mike thinks that there’s no way to get it back, but Jesse wants him to give Walt a chance. “He’s good with this stuff.” Aww, JESSE I LOVE YOU WHY ARE YOU MARRYING THAT BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMAN IN REAL LIFE. Mike and Walt argue about how to go about destroying the laptop from the inside, while Jesse flails around in the background yelling about how they should maybe use a magnet, and when they finally pay attention to him he does this GIF:

ADORABLE WE GET IT. So they decide to go with the adorable magnet idea because who could say no to that face. They go to a junk yard and talk to that character actor who’s in a million things about getting a magnet, and Mike doesn’t think it’s going to work and he doesn’t want to help, but Jesse says the only way he knows it won’t work is if Mike doesn’t help, so Mike decides to help because, again, who could say no to that face. Also Walt has to borrow money from Jesse. Oops.

Elsewhere, Saul comes to talk to Skyler at the carwash and decides to open with the thought that the police may be calling her. SMOOTH MOVE SAUL! You know how 2 talk 2 a lady. She guesses that Ted is dead, and EVERYONE IN THE WORLD is shocked when Saul reveals the true answer: Ted had just woken up.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! I thought he was dead already! What a shock. Skyler goes to visit him in the hospital and he is looking a lot like the “jump to conclusions mat” character from Office Space:

Yikes. He seems very scared to see Skyler walk in, and promises that he won’t say a word. Great! See you never, Ted, I’m sure! Get well soon!

Back at the magnet yard, the boys are testing out their high-powered magnet on a Dell Laptop. It doesn’t work from 40 feet away, but DOES work when Jesse walks closer, and then it flies out of his hands and his the truck and explodes like in the GIF that Jesse did earlier.

NYCE! Then Jesse says the magnets quote that everyone immediately posted on a social networking site as soon as they heard it. They discuss how this is going to be very noticeable by anyone inside the station, but Walt says, “Doesn’t matter. In 60 seconds will be gone.” And I say, “GONE IN 60 SECONDS. LIKE THE MOVIE.”

That night the gang puts their plan into action. Mike breaks open the gate while Walt and Jesse drive their magnet vehicle in. Jesse has to drive over a small embankment, which is a little tough for him. Poor guy. Finally they turn on the magnet and the police officer inside notices something weird is happening, and then his computers get erased, and then a paperclip movies, and then a tricycle moves across the floor slowly, and then BANG BANG BANG BANG! All the things fly around everywhere. The police rush outside to the van, but — as Walt noted — the boys are already outta there.

Jesse is celebrating, but Mike isn’t convinced. When he asks Walt why he should believe the laptop thing even worked, Walt says, IN THE BITCHIEST WAY EVER, “Because I said so.” Ugh, gross. First (later) the bacon, and now this? HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY WALT, YOU ARE ANNOYING. (Stay safe!) When the officers are assessing the damage in the evidence locker, they note the computer’s screen has been smashed. I’m not sure if that means it worked or if that means it didn’t work, but as we’ve seen with Ted, ANYTHING CAN COME BACK TO LIFE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT. So we’ll see. The bigger thing, I suppose, is that the magnet damaged a photograph of Gus and his guy and behind the photograph there was this address:

Earlier the character actor mentioned the God particle, and now Gus has a secret bank account in the Cayman Islands? When did Vince Gilligan write this episode, LAST WEEK? Anyway, so, now there is that to look forward to. Lots of secrets. Lots of exciting show.

Later, Walt visits Saul and Saul explains all the wheeling and dealing he and Skyler did with Ted behind his back. He is visibly upset, but doesn’t say anything and walks out of the office calmly and gets a caffeine-free soda at a gas station and watches a little TV when he gets home and then goes to bed. JK! He’s very mad and Saul gets mad back, and then we see the ricin cigarette he took from Jesse! ALL OUR OLD FRIENDS, INDEED! Saul confirms that whatshisname took the cigarette from Jesse, and tells Walt that he never knew Brock would end up in the hospital, and that he doesn’t want to work for him anymore. Then Walt goes in for the big smooch:


The episode ends with Walt coming home to find Skyler changing the baby on the bed (gross). He embraces her, and in a total dick power move tells her that he forgives her. It’s better than what I thought he might be doing, though, which could have been ANYTHING! That guy is scary!

Soooo. WHAT DID YOU GUYS THINK? A lot of tying and untying some loose ends, and setting stuff up for the future in this ep. Which makes sense. It was good, obviously. What else is there to say. Can’t wait for the next one. What do you think? Huh? MAGNETS, BITCH?

Comments (89)
  1. Can’t wait to be post-op Ted for Halloween this year.

  2. Mike feeding the chickens: <3

  3. In case we were on the fence on whether or not Walt was still a good guy, that “I forgive you” was some straight up Michael Corleone shit.

    • Agh, I don’t know if I love that line or if I don’t like it. It felt maybe a little over the top psycho and more Stepfather II than Godfather II, but I can’t make up my mind on that. But damn, what a season opening. Loved all of Old Joe’s lines the most.

      • His acting like Corleone fits right in, I think. He’s been roleplaying and this is just what his new idea of the character he’s become would say.
        Another of his formulas.
        His hubris is taking over though. He’s finding his new character more real than old Walt.

        Skylar’s a pretty annoying pos, though.

    • Physically uncomfortable. I think I started yelling at Skylar to run. Blerghh.

  4. Wow – it’s super lame to care about this – but I’ve never been the first to comment on one of these recaps (and probably won’t by the time I finish typing).
    Anyway – “he thought that if you WERE in a position where you were allowed to watch TV, you should definitely be watching it all the time.” Totally thought that as a kid about candy – like – man, adults are stupid. Don’t they realize they can just buy a ton of candy at any time?
    Great opening – bearding Walt was off-putting. Still kinda hate Skyler. I was shocked when Walt Jr. came in and didn’t ask for pancakes – fucking character development!

  5. I ALSO THOUGHT MIKE HAD ALREADY SEEN SOME OF THE VIDEOS ON THE LAPTOP!!! great scene. GREAT scene…because you can’t tell!


    i could not get over that line.

  7. According to Davidcxr, that gun is an M60. It’s designed to be shot while lying down with the front of it resting on a tri-pod. It’s also the gun used in the trecnh scene in The Hurt Locker when the dudes were sniping the building that was about a mile away. So what would he need an antitank gun for? Think about it…anti tank anti HANK. Ahh? Hey, where you guys going?

    • Yes and no. Yes, that looks like an M60, and yes you fire it lying down with the front resting on a tripod, bipod, or sandbag. I believe you can mount it to vehicles as well. No, it’s not the big sniper rifle from The Hurt Locker (which is some sort of big sniper rifle, .50 cal probably), and no, it’s not an antitank weapon (and neither is the one in The Hurt Locker). It’s a fully automatic machine gun, and you use it to shoot lots of bullets at people.
      And yes, I feel uncomfortable about being the “well, actually, blah, blah, accuracy, blah, guns,” guy.

  8. For the record I have a feeling that the cold open didn’t actually take place on Walt’s 52nd birthday, because what kind of dummy would seriously put their real birthday on their fake ID?

    I feel like it’s probably meant to distract us and make us think it’s going to be further in the series than it is, because the episode “51″ thats coming up makes me think that it’s gonna be birthday time for Walt soon. Given that this show took 4 seasons to get through only a years worth of events, I doubt we’ll get ANOTHER years worth of events of the course of the next 15 episodes. Unless that scene is literally the second to last scene in all of Breaking Bad.

    • Also, the gun is on a tripod behind a stack of money in this poster. HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS GUN?!?!

    • Yeah, this makes me think that the birthday thing and the bacon 52 and the $100 tip are all part of a clever ploy to make the waitress remember him, perhaps in order to frame someone for whatever dastardly deed he’s about to commit? When I watched it the first time it seemed like he was genuinely down on his luck and maybe heading towards certain doom and kind of sad and regretful about the choices he’s made, but I’m not sure if Walter White is capable of feeling regret anymore.

      • Just imagine him ordering that many pieces of bacon to make sure he could spell out ’52.’

        “Okay, the number ’52′ is made up of 10 lines, so I’ll order the Grand Slam but request 5 pieces of bacon. Then when it comes I’ll take the 5 strips and break them in half. Clap snap voila. 10 pieces of bacon.” -Walter White, Criminal Mastermind

  9. I miss Teethface!

    Also I love how this recap is a poorly veiled love letter to Aaron Paul.

  10. I think what’s cool is that despite the fact that the only reason they hung out was a set-up by Gus to drive a wedge between Jesse and Walt, and despite all the shit that’s gone down since then, Mike seems to now have a legitimate affection (as much as he can show something affection) for Jesse.

  11. I’m callin the finale. Walt feels he has to but totally doesn’t have to kill Jesse. He arrives at his house with the gun and is all…

    -”Knock knock.”
    -”Who’s there?”
    (shoots Jesse through the door)
    -”Su pollo hermano.”

    Walt walks away in slow motion. Best TV finale of all time.

  12. I’m excited to see what those flash-sideways are about. 52? 50 + 2? Two 50′s equals 100. Bacon. Bacon comes from pigs. Pigs are cops. GASP

    100 cops are after Walt!!!

  13. Leaves $100 tip on a free meal. What is this? Puccini’s Smiling Teeth?

  14. I haven’t seen this episode yet because I just moved and I don’t get cable installed until Thursday (LAME) but I couldn’t stop myself from reading the recap before I watched the episode (I know, LAME) but now I really want to know what the magnet line was that everyone posted on their social networks??

  15. I spent way to much time over-analyzing the opening scene.
    -It’s one year in the future, does that mean Walt doesn’t get killed or maybe that the entire season is going to span a year.

    -He has hair so he isn’t doing any more Chemo but then he coughs in the bathroom so maybe he’s still sick.

    -He’s not wearing a wedding ring so did he and Skylar split? Is she dead? Is he just in character? Are Hank and Marie raising Walkt Jr and the baby? Is Marie still shoplifting?

    -He has a Vermont license and car, did he flee to Vermont and is just coming back to ABQ?

    • I wouldn’t say OVER analyzing since it’s New Hampshire, not Vermont, but you bring up some good points.

    • i thought he was shaving his head and hadn’t been in chemo for awhile. which i quite possibly could have imagined.

      • You’ve got it right. He continued to shave his head well after the chemo. The doctor comments on his shaved head when Walt and Skyler are visiting after his tumor surgery. He’s wearing the fuchsia sweater and has finally grown his iconic full goatee and mustache, and he says something along the lines of he’s become used to the shaved head, or some such.


  16. Both the show and this re-cap were very fun. :)

  17. The state logo “Live Free or Die” on the car ties in with the thing the waitress said…this season more than anything that went before is going to play with the idea of free will versus fate.

    • I don’t know how much is going to be about fate or free will, but I certainly think we’ll see Walt (and everybody else, really) either embrace or struggle to escape the path they’ve been set down.

  18. I love Walt’s hubris over what is essentially a failed crime. YOU LEFT A VAN WITH MAGNETS ON POLICE PROPERTY!

  19. As a Masshole, I appreciated the shoutout to the Science Museum. It really is quite excellent.

  20. Isn’t it possible that Adam Lambert from the beginning of the episode is actually Walt’s twin brother who happens to be into gun smuggling? So… nothing’s up?

  21. “Waitress sees a bacon 52. Kelly sees a bacon penis. Nerdy commenters see a bacon mushroom cloud. Sometimes a bacon number is just a bacon number.” -Freud

  22. Walt is back and so scary! I loved the episode and thank you Kelly for the recap! My random musings, in no particular order:

    - The scene with Walt and Mike arguing with Jesse mumbling then shouting “magnets” over and over was great comedy.

    - Was that Walt Jr. speech the longest sustained monologue in the whole episode? I couldn’t believe how long it went on for (and as someone mentioned upthread, without one word about pancakes).

    - I loved that after Skyler told Walt she was afraid of him, she visited Ted, who was obviously PETRIFIED by her, and she used that fear to her advantage. (That’s how I interpreted the scene, but to be honest, Ted was hard to understand so tell me if I’m wrong.)

    - I wonder if Walt could still have Hank carry a bag of money for him, then tell him it’s a bag of money, only to have Hank laugh at him and not even check inside. I mean Hank is blind to Walt as Heisenberg because sure, Walt’s his brother-in-law, but also because he sees Walt as this harmless, ineffectual guy. There is no way Walt gives off that vibe anymore.

    Who knows what will happen next week, but I’m looking forward to it. Whee!


  24. Fucking magnets, how do they work?

  25. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  26. Can I just say it’s great to have a recap to check neurotically for upvotes? It’s been so long since Mad Men or Game of Thrones.

  27. Well, recapped, Ms Conaboy. I had not considered that Hank may have already seen stuff on the laptop. And, why would Walt assume that he hadn’t? Because, really, why would you let a key piece of evidence languish in a storage room without at least taking a cursory look at it? Anyway, here’s a little movie starring a fresh-faced Mike about his girlfriend’s first period.

  28. Unrelated, but I kind of love how AMC’s new official slogan appears to be “Fuck DISH.”

  29. Was I the only one who thought Ted looked like Darth Vader with his mask off? Ted, no offense, but you look terrible. Is Ted the new Hector Salamanca? Ted? Can you hear me Ted? Ding once! DING ONCE!

  30. Very good and funny recap! Regarding Mike calling the police pretending to be from the USPS, he doesn’t directly ask about the laptop. He asks if they have the postage meter from the restaurant, which they say they do, so they have already been to the restaurant and therefore have already taken the laptop.

    Also, if they follow proper procedure they would not have looked at anything on the laptop on the scene. The forensic team will basically clone the laptop and work off of that. Since Hank was there I assume they followed proper procedure.

  31. Ol’ Bedroom Eyes Pinkman strikes again! No but seriously Kelly, I think Jesse Pinkman could recruit me into a cult. When he was pushing meth on that gas station girl:


  32. I’m probably extremely late to the party, but this is why he’s so scary:

    Also, you’d better believe I’m using this line: “You know when they say it’s been a pleasure? It hasn’t”.

    • I thought that might be a quote from an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, so I looked it up:
      “And don’t think it hasn’t been a little slice of heaven…’cause it hasn’t.” (Hair-Raising Hare, 1946)

      …Probably not?

  33. “Originally I thought that he was making a penis with his bacon”, get your mind out of the gutter kelly, THIS IS A FAMILY RESTAURANT

  34. Did anyone else notice that the bullets were tracer rounds? Or at the very least, since that was a belt-fed gun, that every 5th bullet or so will be a tracer? What does that portend, do you think? Tracer rounds can ignite flammable substances from a distance. I don’t know why Walt would need tracer rounds. Maybe it was just a loss leader type “free with purchase” thing that Walt had no control over. Oh, how I’m concerned by the tracer rounds! hash tag husband who went to military school end hash tag

  35. Breaking so, so Good

  36. I read this recap yesterday on my phone…I came back today just to read the photo file names.

    bb_whatsalaptop and bb_yikested tie for the win this week.

    Nice work Kelly!

  37. I actually thought Walt was making a skull with his bacon. Like, now that I’m a supercriminal I need a cool logo, or something. Ok now that I wrote it down, it sounds stupid.

  38. “For some reason we are forced to believe that he has chosen to list his real birthday on his fake ID”

    It makes sense for him to use his real birthday– if he hands the ID to someone who is suspicious about his identity, he’s very likely to be asked when his birthday is. Instead of memorizing a new birthdate and then trying to nonchalantly pretend it’s the real one, you just naturally give your actual birthdate.

    Jeez, haven’t any of you ever gone into hiding under a new identity before?

  39. It wasn’t “In 60 seconds will be gone” it was “In 60 seconds we’ll be gone”. Sorry, can’t resist. I’m that critical.

  40. Actually, yeah.

  41. Gus is definitely the type of guy who would definitely encrypt his drive anyway.

  42. So they just stroll up with a van and break in that easy? That was my biggest fault with the show. I can’t get over that. Yes, A LOT of the other stuff takes a leap of faith, but that seemed to be a big leap of faith. No cops out front?
    Also – leaving the van and not caring – old Walt would be freaked. New Walt is too cocky!

  43. Other than that Walt is 52 years old, 52 is also the number of weeks in a year. Maybe they were just being emphatic in that that scene was one year later?

  44. A little food for thought. In the movie Reservoir Dogs, Mr Pink gets out alive and Mr White gets shot up by the cops. Whatchall think.

  45. the scary dude in the bathroom is the same arms dealer that sold Walt his .38 in the fourth season.

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