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Recap / Breaking Bad S 2 E 11 Mandala

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Walt talks about a certain "job" with the owner of Los Pollos Hermanos, and it's not frying chicken.
With their drug enterprise growing exponentially, Walt and Jesse start expanding into new territory in Albuquerque. Combo is conducting his business one day when he notices a pair of suspicious men eyeing him. He calls Skinny Pete and asks him to come help. Before he knows what's going on, however, he is shot to death by a young boy on a bicycle at the behest of the suspicious parties.

Walt and Skyler visit the doctor, who tells him that his tumor has shrunk enough that he can undergo surgery to have it removed. The surgery is risky, but without it, the tumor would eventually regrow. As such, Walt decides to go through with it, even though the surgery is costly.

Meanwhile, Jesse is struggling with the death of Combo. Skinny Pete believes their aggressive expansion played a large role in Combo's demise. Combined with Pete's probation and the fact that Spooge's girlfriend confessed to killing him, thus destroying Jesse's street cred, Pete opts out of the business.

Walt and Jesse meet with Saul, and the two get into an argument over who is at fault over Combo's death. Saul stops the bickering with a proposal: he has connections to a local businessman who is willing to buy Walt's product in bulk for a kingly sum.


That evening, Jane visits Jesse. Jesse asks her to leave, however: he admits that he's going to smoke some meth and doesn't want her around so she won't relapse. Jane suggests he join a support group, but Jesse refuses. Jane begins to leave, but ultimately decides that she prefers Jesse's company to sobriety and stays with him...

The next day, Walt and Jesse meet at a fried chicken restaurant, Los Pollos Hermanos, to meet with the businessman. Jesse, high and high-strung, is not enthused with the idea of meeting with a mystery benefactor and leaves. Walt stays behind to wait for the contact, but he never arrives...

As old flames are stoked between Skyler and Ted at his birthday party, Walt calls Saul, who informs him that the deal with the businessman was off: he didn't like what he saw and wanted nothing to do with him. Saul offers to look for other offers, but Walt persists on meeting with this businessman.


Walt returns to Los Pollos Hermanos to await the businessman again. As the day draws on, he begins to realize that the mild-mannered manager, Gustavo Fring, may be the man he is looking for. He asks Gus to sit down with him to discuss business. Gus denies that he is Saul's contact at first, but Walt presses on, stating that he understands Gus's hesitance, both of them being cautious men. Gus finally dispenses with the masquerade and corrects Walt, stating that he is not cautious for associating with a drug addict in his business. Walt assures Gus that he doesn't need to worry about Jesse; drug addict or not, he can trust him. He touts his product and offers to sell him his entire batch, a whopping thirty-eight pounds, at any moment.

Back at Beneke Fabricators, Skyler points out inconsistencies in Ted's financial reports. Ted tries to downplay the inconsistencies, but when Skyler presses him, he admits to cooking his books and committing fraud to keep the company from going under. Taken aback, Skyler states that even though she won't report Ted's activities to the police, she would not be party to his crimes.

At school, after a test, Walt checks his texts on his hidden second cell phone. He received a message from "POLLOS". He goes to the restaurant to meet with Gus, but learns that Gus isn't the manager of this restaurant: he owns the entire chain. An underling of Gus, Victor, approaches Walt with his instructions: thirty-eight pounds, truck stop, one hour. Make the delivery, or don't come back to the restaurant.

Walt rushes to Jesse's house, attempting to call him on his phone, but to no avail. When he arrives, he knocks on his door, but no answer. Desperate, he breaks in through his back door. He is horrified to find Jesse and Jane passed out, high on a speedball of meth and heroin. Even though Jesse is high as a kite and barely aware of his surroundings, he does tell Walt that their product is under his kitchen sink.

Walt ignores his phone ringing as he packs the meth into a trash bag. He eventually reads a text that Marie sent him: "BABY COMING!" Walt is torn between his desire to see the birth of his daughter and the need to complete his transaction. Ultimately, he decides to take the meth and head off to make the sale.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Brutal Honesty: After being informed that Walt and Jesse have a huge amount of meth but no way of actually moving it, Saul says it's time they faced up to the fact that while they may be extremely adept at cooking their product, they suck when it comes to actually selling it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • That polite fast food manager is a lot more important than he appears when he's first seen in an Establishing Shot inside the restaurant.
    • The two rival dealers and their extremely young assassin who murder Combo will become important characters late in the next season.
  • Child Soldier: The gangsters at the beginning of the episode use a little kid on a bike as an assassin.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Skyler goes into labor at just about the same time that Walter is told he has one hour to deliver his first shipment to Gus Fring. Walter makes the dropoff, but in doing so, misses the birth of his daughter.
  • Descent into Addiction: Once Jane falls off the wagon, she and Jesse start hitting the really hard drugs - heroin, specifically. When Walt sees him while trying to get the drugs to complete a trade, he is completely zonked out.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A variant: this episode contains the first reference to Mike, who goes onto play a prominent role in the series, when Saul mentions he "knows a guy who knows a guy who knows [Gus]"-later events make it clear that Mike was the first "guy" Saul was referring to.
  • Foreshadowing: Ted Beneke is shown having significant concerns about the company's future; later in the episode Skyler discovers that he's cooking the books.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Jesse calls Walt to inform him that Combo has been murdered. Walt, who has interacted very little with Jesse's posse, asks "Which one is he?" Jesse, appalled, calls him an asshole and hangs up.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Jesse prior to meeting Gus:
    So let me get this straight. He's allowed to know all our names, what we look like, but not the other way around?
  • Living in a Furniture Store: Averted. Usually played straight as Jesse has few to no possessions in his new house and it is usually spotless. In this episode, probably as a sign of his and Jane's drug addiction, it is depicted with the usual amount of mess you would expect to find in the home of a drug dealer.
  • Married to the Job: Walt has 38 pounds ready to distribute to Gus. But then, when he's leaving Los Pollos Hermanos, Victor stops him and tells him to get the meth delivered within the hour, or never show his face at the restaurant again. While retrieving the meth from Jesse's apartment, he gets a text message from Skyler saying "BABY COMING!" Walt chooses to go through with the sale to Gus, rather than attend to Skyler.
  • Moving the Goalposts: When he meets Walt at Los Pollos Hermanos, Jesse says that Walter will do this and come up with reasons not to leave the drug trade, that Walter will always want or need more money, no matter the risk.
  • Mushroom Samba: Jesse's first Heroin trip has him in his POV levitating off of his bed, while Jane passes out beside him.
  • Not So Different: Saul remarks that Gus seems to be a lot like Walt. Walt even brings it up when he talks to Gus face to face:
    Walter White: I was told that the man I'd be meeting with was very careful. Cautious man. I believe we are alike in that way. If you are who I think you are, you should give me another chance. [beat]
    Gus Fring: I don't think we're alike at all, Mr. White. You are not a cautious man at all. Your partner was late. And he was high.
  • Off the Wagon: After working hard to stay clean, Jane comes falling off the wagon, and she takes Jesse with her.
  • One Degree of Separation: The rival dealers who killed Combo in the beginning of the episode will later be revealed to in fact be working for Gus, who Walt and Jesse strike a deal with after said murder.
  • The Oner: Jesse on his heroin trip.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: When Walt is spending the day at Los Pollos Hermanos waiting for the drug buyer to show up. In the refection of the windows, Walt sees Gus looking in his direction, and he's scowling at Walt, not giving the friendly face he'd been putting on when Walt and Jesse had been there earlier. This tips Walt off that Gus is the distributor.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Between Combo's death, Badger leaving town to lay low, the loss of the crew's street cred, and the legal consequences if he gets busted again, Skinny Pete decides that selling the blue meth isn't going to work out and tells Jesse he's not going to sell anymore.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Combo's death is the first of many losses for Jesse.
  • Street Smart: Skinny Pete has repeatedly been established as Book Dumb, but in this episode he correctly states that Jesse and company are in way over their heads, and that trying to enter new territory to sell their meth was a mistake that made one or more of them getting killed inevitable.
  • Wham Episode: Combo gets shot and killed by gang members, Jesse becomes hooked on heroin and drags Jane back into her old addiction, and we meet Gustavo Fring, a drug lord with twenty years under his belt.

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