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Recap / Breaking Bad S1E2 "The Cat's in the Bag..."

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Visual proof of why hydroflouric acid and bathtubs do not mix.
Teaser: We pick up right where we left off in the pilot episode, as Walter and Skyler finish having sex, and Walt goes to the bathroom to wash up. We flashback to 12 hours earlier, as Walt and Jesse pay a Native American man to pull the RV from the ditch. As they are about to leave and agree to park the RV at Jesse's house, they hear a coughing noise and realize that one of the two men in the back is still alive. Cue opening credits.

After the title rolls, Walt wakes up on the floor of the bathroom naked, and joins his family for breakfast. Jesse calls, pretending to be a telemarketer, and Walt covers the obvious fakery while informing Jesse he has to go to work. Aftewards, Skyler redials and hears Jesse's voicemail filled with slang, leading her to investigate his website and ponder what a MILF is. Walt barely makes it through teaching while hallucinating students asking about murder, grabs some Hydrofluoric Acid from the closet and heads to Jesse's house. On his way, a half-blind Krazy-8 stumbles down the street, having escaped the RV. Upon seeing Walt, he sprints off only to collide with a tree. Walt and Jesse bring him back to the house and lock him in the basement, while Walt decides they need to dispose of Emilio's body with the acid. After a tense coin flip, it's decided Jesse will dispose of the body while Walter will kill Krazy-8. Walter instructs Jesse to find a plastic bin, specifying that it must be polyethylene plastic, which he is not successful in finding.


Walter ponders various methods of murdering Krazy-8 before making him a sandwich. Jesse returns to find both of them unsuccessful with their tasks. Walter leaves to meet Skyler for a pre-natal check-up, where she privately inquires about his connection to Jesse Pinkman. Walt informs her that he's a former student, and that he deals him weed, and to back off. Skyler later pays Jesse a visit as he is moving Emilio from the RV to the house, and tells him not to sell Walter weed anymore. Jesse barely avoids detection and manages to put Emilio in the bathtub upstairs, where he applies the acid. When Walter comes back, Jesse yells at him that Skyler came by and almost caught them, and mentions the bathtub. Walter, horrified, goes to the hallway where acid is leaking through the ceiling. Emilio's half-liquified remains then burst through the ceiling and completely cover the entire hallway. Walter tersely explains that polyethylene plastic is the only substance hydrofluoric acid cannot eat through, and glares at Jesse. Finally, in the desert, two children are playing, and one of them discovers Walt's discarded gas mask and puts it on.


This episode provides examples of:

  • Best Out of Infinity: After Walt loses the coin flip and has to kill Krazy-8, he sheepishly asks, "Best 2 out of 3?"
  • Black Comedy: When Walt sees Krazy-8 staggering through the middle of the street, he tries to wave him over. Krazy-8 recognizes him instantly and sprints away...directly into a tree, knocking himself out.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Jesse and Walt need to dispose of a body; Walt steals some hydrofluoric acid from his lab at the high school, gives it to Jesse and tells him to get a specific kind of plastic tub. Jesse doesn't see the reason for the second part and simply puts the body and the acid in an ordinary bathtub. As it turns out, the plastic tub was necessary because the hydrofluoric acid would dissolve anything else... including the bathtub. And the floor. The Rule of Drama applies in that what was once a human corpse falls through the ceiling in a chunky liquid form only after Walt shows up to make sure Jesse hadn't done anything stupid with highly toxic acid. The camera lingers on the gory mess long enough that there is some Squick factor, but (a) Walt's Oh, God, (b) the way they slooowly back away from the dripping ceiling (c), Jesse's expression as Walt, with exasperated patience, explains how the acid did what it did and (d) the cartoonish shot of them looking up at the bathtub-shaped hole in the ceiling are too funny not to get a laugh.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: Walter tells Skyler Jesse sold him weed.
    Jesse: And why'd you go and tell her I was selling you weed?
    Walt: Because somehow it seemed preferable to admitting that I cook crystal meth and killed a man.
  • Disposing of a Body: The first attempt to get rid of Emilio's corpse goes badly wrong when the hydrofluoric acid eats through the bottom of the bathtub and then the floor, dumping a vile pile of half-digested body bits and acid onto the floor below. If you don't vomit, you'll crack up. The later efforts at disposing bodies are less disastrous, thanks to barrels that resist the acid.
  • Epic Fail: Jesse disobeys Walt's advice of using plastic containers to contain Emilio's body for acid dissolving and instead uses the bathtub on the second floor.
    Walt: I'm sorry, what were you asking me? Oh, yes, that stupid plastic container I asked you to buy. You see, hydroflouric acid won't eat through plastic. It will, however, dissolve metal, rock, glass, there's that.
  • Fan Disservice: In the opening scene, we see Walt's bottom as he walks naked to the bathroom after sex with Skyler.
  • Heads or Tails?: Walt and Jesse use this to decide who takes care of Emilio and Krazy-8.
  • Hollywood Acid: Walt and Jesse need to get rid of a body. Walt tells Jesse — who at this point has not yet learned to follow Walt's instructions regarding chemistry to the letter at all times — to pick up a specific type of plastic tub, because the hydrofluoric acid they're using will dissolve any other container. So what does Jesse do? Takes a shortcut and dumps it in a ceramic bathtub. The result is a very... messy hole in the ceiling (the tub being on the second floor). Since the body, at this point, is no longer recognizable as human, the result, for those who are not completely disgusted, is Bloody Hilarious.
    • Hydrofluoric acid is actually deadlier than portrayed here. A fairly small amount of it landing on skin can lead to death fairly quickly by affecting calcium metabolism. Jesse shouldn't have survived his exposure in this episode.
    • However, while hydrofluoric acid is extremely good at making living tissue dead and gooey, it is not so good at making dead and gooey tissue liquid and watery. For this, other, stronger and less toxic acids such as sulfuric or nitric are recommended. Or, even better, strongly oxidizing ones, like Caro's acid (a.k.a. piranha acid; guess why it is called so?).
    • A 2013 episode of MythBusters revealed that the trope had actually been Played Straight. Adam and Jamie found that hydrofluoric acid wouldn't completely destroy organic tissues, so they switched to sulfuric acid with a dose of (what appeared to be) hydrogen peroxide (AKA special sauce) to boost its corrosive power (this combination is often called "piranha solution" in real life, because the aforementioned Caro's acid is formed when mixing these two chemicals, and is used for cleaning stubborn organic matter off of glassware). They put 35 pounds of pig carcass parts and 6 gallons of their acid mixture in a ceramic-coated cast iron tub; the acid destroyed most of the carcass, but did not eat through the tub or the floor below it. When they used 36 gallons of acid in a fiberglass tub, the carcass was reduced to a black organic sludge in a spectacularly smoky and violent reaction — but again, neither the tub nor the floor gave way under the acid's effects.
  • Of Course I Smoke: The amusing montage of Walt trying to roll a joint. The poor guy has to bend over and use the stove as a lighter.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Walt after Jesse tells him that he dissolved Emilio's body in the bathtub.
    • Jesse after Walt tells him that hydrofluoric acid will eat through a variety of things, plastic not being one of them.
  • Oblivious to Her Own Description: Skyler asking "What's a MILF?"
  • The Public Domain Channel: Jesse watches a The Three Stooges short while smoking meth.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Krazy-8 was originally supposed to die in the pilot, but the crew liked the actor so much they kept him around.
  • Totally Radical: Skyler's rather pathetic attempt at appearing threatening to Jesse has her briefly adopting some of his slang usage.


Example of: