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Recap / Breaking Bad S1E7 "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"

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Walt and Jesse's first big payday.

Skyler: Where...did that come from? And why was it so damn good?
Walt: Because it was illegal.

Jesse has recovered enough to go home from the hospital, and Walt comes over to give him his cut and inform him of the deal he has made with Tuco. Jesse is amused to see that Walt is now bald, and doesn’t believe at first that he has actually made a deal with Tuco. When he realizes that Walt is telling the truth, he gets angry, both because Walt has made a deal with the guy who beat him senseless and because Walt has promised to deliver Tuco two pounds of meth. He explains to Walt their supply line of pseudo is stretched too thin to produce that much meth.

Walt and Skyler go to a meeting with Walt's oncologist. Skyler says that Walt has been acting more healthy, and asks if alternative therapy could help him. The doctor says it’s fine as long as it doesn't interfere with his treatments.

Jesse and Walt meet with Tuco and his mooks in a junkyard. Tuco is extremely disappointed when Walt and Jesse can only provide him with a half pound of meth and blames it on production problems, but Walt requests a loan from Tuco so he can buy the materials to produce a total of four pounds, calling it "a capital investment." With this Walt convinces Tuco to give him the money, but Tuco makes sure to warn him that owing money to a guy like him is a bad idea.


Back at Jesse's, Jesse asks Walt how the hell they are going to get enough pseudo to make four pounds of meth, but Walt has a plan and tells Jesse that there is another way. He hands him a list of chemicals and asks him to gather the stuff. Jesse protests that he "can't even pronounce half this shit," but Walt encourages him to believe in himself, and he takes on the mission.

Walt and Skyler throw a baby shower, and Marie brings an extremely expensive gift; a baby tiara in white-gold, a bit to Skyler's discomfort. That night Skyler thinks about returning the tiara, but Walt switches the subject to alternative medicine and talks about going to a Navajo sweat lodge for the weekend, so he has an excuse to cook with Jesse.

Walt meets up with Jesse, who is happy to announce that he got all the supplies Walt asked him for, except for the methylamine, which turns out to be the key ingredient for Walt's new recipe. Jesse had found some professionals who were willing to steal it from a secure warehouse, but their price was too steep. Walt, however, devises a plan for himself and Jesse to steal it themselves: by breaking the lock with thermite, produced with aluminum powder extracted from "Etch-A-Sketch" toys.


Meanwhile, Skyler attempts to return the tiara to the jewel store and is almost arrested, as a woman matching her general description stole the tiara some days ago, but she manages to get away by pretending to go into labor. She realizes that Marie must be the one who stole it.

That night, Jesse and Walt sneak into the warehouse area, where they, in a stroke of luck, manage to trap the guard inside a porta-potty. Walt's plan with using thermite on the lock goes off without a hitch, and he and Jesse manage to get away with a whole barrel of methylamine. But the next day the RV won't work, so they start producing in Jesse's basement. The problem is that Jesse has had a real estate agent to arrange an open house that day, and he can't get a hold of her to cancel it. Walt tells him to keep the people who have shown up away from the basement. Jesse, after futilely trying for some time to keep the people from the basement door, announces the house isn't for sale anymore.

Skyler tries to confront Marie about her theft of the tiara, but Marie denies any knowledge and refuses to apologize.

Walt and Skyler come home, and Skyler, outraged, tells him that Marie stole something and denied it when confronted. Walt tells her that "people sometimes do things for their families." Skyler asks him if that justifies stealing, and Walt asks her what if it was him who did something criminal; if she would then divorce him and turn him in to the police. Both playful and serious, she replies, "You don't want to find out."

Walt and Jesse meet with Tuco again, and present the four pounds of meth as promised. Tuco is curious to know why the meth is blue, and Walt explains that they used a different process, but Tuco concludes that he is happy with the result regardless of the color, and tells Walt that he will gladly keep paying him as long as he keeps bringing him meth. The deal seems to be over, but one of Tuco's henchmen, No-Doze, decides to warn Walt and Jesse against crossing Tuco. Tuco is furious that an underling would presume to speak on his behalf, and beats the poor guy to a pulp in a fit of rage. As Tuco walks laughing away, Walt and Jesse looks on in shock at what just happened, realizing that they're in pretty deep.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Auto Erotica: Skyler and Walt get hot and heavy in their car, in the school parking lot no less.
  • Bad Boss: Tuco establishes he's not above pummeling his own men at the slightest provocation. Walt and Jesse take note.
  • BFG: The seemingly invulnerable one belonging to Those Wacky Nazis in Walt's anecdote.
  • Blatant Lies: Walt shows Skyler an advertisement of a Navajo sweat lodge ceremony to provide a cover for when he needs to spend the weekend cooking with Jesse. It succeeds partially because Skyler was herself inquisitive about alternative medicine with the doctor in a previous episode. Walt continues when Skyler smells the chemicals on Walt following the cook and asks what the smell is. His reply, "Sacred Navajo herbs."
  • Blood Knight: Last episode, Tuco had Jesse beat up to make a point. The end of this episode establishes he really does just enjoy it.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Tuco's henchman who didn't get his face smashed in doesn't emote at all except for a quick non-verbal "Just leave it alone" look to Walt and Jesse. That and his automaticity of calm dragging the body into the SUV make it clear this is far from the first time he's seen Tuco do this.
  • Covert Pervert: Walt Jr. casually video-tapes a party-guest's cleavage.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Walt's speech to Jesse encouraging him to make something of himself.
  • David vs. Goliath: Essentially the point of the above and below-mentioned story Walt tells.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tuco beats No-Doze within inches of his life for an offhand comment that Walt and Jesse should remember who they work for. In the following episode, No-Doze ends up dying of his injuries.
  • Down in the Dumps: Walt decides the meeting with Tuco and his crew should happen in a junkyard, much to Jesse's chagrin and Tuco's confusion.
    Walt: What's wrong with it? It's private.
    Jesse: This is like a non-criminal's idea of a drug meet. This is like, "Ooh, I saw this in a movie. Ooh, look at me."
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Jesse tells Walt the better way to conduct deals is in public spaces instead of behind abandoned areas or scrapyards. Walt doesn't take any of it, but once Tuco shows up, he asks why they couldn't have just met at Taco Cabeza or something, which makes Jesse shoot a glance.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Walt realises Tuco is ready to kill his henchman he tries to calm him down so that he doesn't go through with it. When he does both Walt and Jesse are horrified.
  • Evil Feels Good: While not quite evil yet, Walt's sudden confidence and satisfaction is noted by Skyler. His sex-drive in particular jumpstarts while listening to his crimes described to him in public, leading to him and Skyler having a quickie in the parking lot.
  • Evil Laugh: After Tuco beats up No-Doze, he tells Heisenberg to prepare him a new batch of meth next week. Tuco then lets out a laugh of satisfaction at Walter White.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Hank calls Cuban cigars this, while Walt notes the Irony of a DEA agent using what is technically an illegal drug.
  • Foreshadowing: In universe, as Walt drops subtle hints of his criminal double-life to Skyler and Hank.
  • Gallows Humor: When Hank fears he upset Walt by offering him a cigar, the latter just dryly notes that he's already got lung cancer and obliges in a cigar.
  • Get Out!: Jesse's able to get the prospective buyers out of his house.
  • Gone Horribly Right: After all Walt and Jesse's work and close calls, they succeed in bringing Tuco the required amount of meth. Then the ecstatic Tuco in a rage beats his own henchman to a pulp, and Walt and Jesse are reminded of exactly what kind of work they've signed up for.
  • I Have This Friend: Walt hypothetically asks what Skyler would do if he were in Marie's shoes.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Casual example when Hank asks Walt for something a little stronger than beer.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Hank quickly realizes his mistake when offering the lung-cancer stricken Walt a cigar, not that he appears to mind.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Walt engages in the tried-and-true Wicked Cultured cliche of telling a story referencing history or literature to make a point, in this case to World War II.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In addition to the above-mentioned car sex, shortly before that Walt brazenly engages in some foreplay while in the middle of the school meeting regarding the meth-equipment investigation.
  • MacGyvering: This episode, Walt blows even more shit up. The MacGyver factor is turned up higher this time around because he makes thermite out of old Etch-A-Sketches!
  • Mistaken for Thief: Skyler is mistaken for her shoplifting sister and nearly taken to the police.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Tuco, again, on No-Doze after he insinuates Walt and Jesse should respect Tuco more.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jesse and Walt's silent but very clear reaction to the aforementioned No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Jesse points out that most of his drug deals take place at restaurants or malls. Mainly so the event doesn't look inconspicuous, but more importantly, to discourage outbursts from people like Tuco.
  • Pet the Dog: Walt stays true to his word from the previous episode and gives Jesse an extra $15,000 to compensate for his injuries.
  • Point of No Return: If there was ever a clearer point for Walt and Jesse that they aren't exiting the drug trade easily, it would be seeing Tuco beat No-Doze within an inch of his life for the crime of speaking for him.
  • Rousing Speech: Walt gives one to Jesse when he tries to walk out on him when he can't pronounce the scientific names on the shopping list Walt wrote for him.
    Walt: Jesse, Jesse, Jesse, listen to me: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
    Jesse: ...What are you doing?
    Walt: This is the first day of the rest of your life but what kind of life will it be, huh? Will it be a life of fear? Of 'oh no no no I can't do this', never once believing in yourself?
    Jesse: [confused] ...I don't know.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Jesse sees Walt again after he shaved his head, he says he resembles another Bald Villain.
    • The title of the episode is a reference to the film Fargo.
  • Spanner in the Works: Jesse had no idea that his realtor planned an open house exactly when he and Walt are cooking in the basement.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sure, Walt and Jesse wouldn't be aware of the full extent of Tuco's Ax-Crazyness, but you would think No-Doze, someone used to working under such an unpredictable lunatic, would've known to be more cautious than to make a warning on his behalf right in front of him. While the total innocuousness of his error makes it mainly just highlight Tuco's sheer instability, it does give the impression he's much newer to the gang than his partner.note 
  • Uncertain Doom: No-Doze is either in critical condition or dead with that much head trauma.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Walter decides to make the deal with Tuco in a remote location rather than a public one, prompting Jesse to reprimand him for getting too many ideas from movies. Tuco's beating of No-Doze proves Jesse's point; Tuco could have just as easily killed them and gotten away with no witnesses.

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."