At the DEA's offices, Hank briefs his colleagues on the status of Tuco's crumbling drug empire; the DEA has managed to effectively dismantle the organisation, and only needs to arrest one last suspect, Tuco himself. Despite ensuring his team that they will find him, he privately remarks to Gomez that Tuco in all probability is already out of their reach across the border. Hank then goes to meet with the rest of Walt's family, who are searching for Walt after he went missing last night. Hank, knowing that Walt has had contact with Jesse in the past, decides to check up on him and ask if he knows where to find Walt.
Walt and Jesse, meanwhile, try to figure out a way to kill or incapacitate Tuco so they can make their escape. To make matters worse, Tuco believes that Gonzo is the guy who ratted him and his gang out, and Walt fears that the moment that he finds out the truth - that Gonzo is actually dead - he will no doubt blame either Walt or Jesse for his downfall. On top of that, Tuco's cousins will be joining up with him in a few hours, meaning that however they are going to get rid of Tuco, they have to do it quickly.
Having kept the bag of meth poisoned with ricin in his pocket, Walt attempts to coax the constantly drug-snorting Tuco into taking some of it. Tuco, however, notices that the sample smells weird. Jesse quickly improvises a sales-spiel and manages to convince the skeptical Tuco that it's a new special recipe of Walt's, but makes a mistake as he says that it contains chili powder. Tuco scoffs at this, and commenting that he hates chili, he decides to leave the bag alone.
Hank continues his hunt for Jesse and visits his parents. Mrs. Pinkman is worried that Jesse is in trouble with the law, but Hank assures her that his reasons for wanting to talk with her son are purely private. She informs Hank that Jesse no longer lives with her and her husband, and directs him to his current address, the house of Jesse's aunt. Being unable to find Jesse there either, Hank decides to check up on his car, since Mrs. Pinkman told him that Jesse drives a red Monte Carlo that he converted to a lowrider. He calls Gomez to find out if Jesse installed a LoJack car-tracking system, and, if so, to try to get a fix on the vehicle's location.
Walt now tries to sneak the poisoned meth into Tuco's food, but Tuco's uncle, Tio, interferes and knocks the plate off the table. Noticing his uncle's strange behavior, Tuco tries to ask him what is wrong, and Tio, despite being old, wheelchair-bound, and only capable of communicating by ringing a bell, manages to convey to Tuco that Walt and Jesse are up to no good. Furious, Tuco grabs Jesse and drags him outside, overhearing Walt's protests and pleas for Jesse's life. Pointing a gun at Jesse, Tuco demands that Walt tell him what he is up to. Noticing that Jesse is about to pick up a rock, Walt attracts Tuco's attention by admitting, with no shortage of spite, that he tried to poison him, and tells him through gritted teeth, "You're an insane, degenerate piece of filth. And you deserve to die."
Walt's distraction works, and Tuco takes his eyes off Jesse long enough for him to slam the rock down on Tuco's head. During the ensuing scuffle, Walt grabs Tuco's assault rifle and Jesse ends up with his pistol, shooting the drug dealer in his side. He proceeds to kick the wounded Tuco into a hole, but Walt tells him to leave him there to bleed, as they head for Jesse's car.
But they soon realize that they don't have the keys to the car, and then spot an approaching vehicle. Believing it to be Tuco's cousins, Walt drops the assault rifle as he and Jesse decide to get away as quickly as they can. But as they have gotten to a vantage point at a distance, they can't see that the arriving car is actually Hank. Tuco, meanwhile, has managed to drag himself out of the hole and hobbles bleeding over to Jesse's car to lean against it. Hank disembarks from his car and addresses him, believing him to be Jesse, but then realizes that the person front of him is actually Tuco. Hank and Tuco are for a short moment stunned in mutual disbelief, but Tuco snaps out of it first and quickly grabs the dropped assault rifle and fires away at Hank, who jumps into cover and returns fire.
Tuco, however, is too wounded to shoot straight, and Hank manages to shoot and kill him. Walt, watching from a distance as his brother-in-law emerges victorious and unharmed from the firefight, grabs Jesse's arm and the two run into the desert. As Hank walks over to inspect Tuco's body, he suddenly hears the ringing of a bell...
This episode provides examples of:
- Asshole Victim: It's outright cathartic to see Walt and Jesse get payback on Tuco, and even more so when Hank kills him.
- Ax-Crazy: Tuco.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: Tuco fires off his assault rifle at random desert animals while cackling.
- Bait-and-Switch: After shooting Tuco in the abdomen, Walt and Jesse look towards the railroad tracks and notice a car approaching and kicking up dust. Due to the vegetation on the ground and the geography, not to mention the bungalow proper, they can't get a good enough look at the car to see who it is, so they hide, thinking the car is Tuco's cousins coming to kill them. They can't see that the arriving car is Hank until the shooting stops.
- Boom, Headshot!: Tuco's fate at the hands of Hank.
- Bottomless Magazines: Both Tuco and Hank fire more bullets than their respective guns hold without reloading.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: Tuco tells Walt and Jesse that he has his cousins coming to smuggle them into Mexico. By the end of the episode, Hank pulls up and murders Tuco... with the cousins still nowhere to be seen. They would later go on to become major antagonists in the first half of season 3.
- Dirty Old Man: Implied, when Tuco assumes that Hector's anger at Walt and Jesse stems from their changing the channel from his "Mamacitas".
- The Dog Bites Back:
Walt: We tried to poison you...because you're an insane, degenerate piece of filth, and you deserve to die.
- While both Jesse and Walt were living in fear of Tuco, Jesse was on the receiving end of all his abuse, and thus fittingly hits him in the head with a rock and shoots him with his own gun (and kicks him in the stomach a few times, for good measure).
- Walt also gets in on this in his own way moments before when he lays out the plain and simple truth for Tuco.
- And to cap it all off, rather than kill him on the spot, Walt tells Jesse to let Tuco bleed out to death.
- Double-Meaning Title: The episode's title references both Tuco's grill and the fact that he is grilling Walt and Jesse on whether they played a part in the DEA making a move on him.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Tuco dotes on his elderly crippled uncle, good-naturedly accepts to switch plates with him, and, knowing that despite being physically diminished he's still of sound mind, instantly listens to him when he tries to warn him against Walt and Jesse plotting his death.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jesse suggests to Walt that he follow through with this trope in order to kill Tuco, using the argument that he is suffering from cancer as is. Walt is not amused.
- How We Got Here: The Cold Open shows Jesse's car bouncing around and the immediate aftermath of Hank's gunfight with Tuco.
- Humiliation Conga: The circumstances leading up to Tuco's death.
- Hypocrite: Walt asserts to Tuco that he has a family he can't leave behind, and Tuco just retorts, "So? Get another one." This coming from the man who we later learn was taught by his uncle that family comes before everything else.
- Missed Him by That Much: Hank's search for Walt leads him to Tuco's compound. He pulls in just as Walt and Jesse (who have spotted his car from a distance and think it's Tuco's cousins coming to kill them) hide near the back of the compound. After Hank kills Tuco in the ensuing gunfight, he fails to notice Walt and Jesse fleeing on foot while he advances on Tuco's body.
- Nerves of Steel: Hank is shown to have very quick reflexes in a firefight.
- Obfuscating Disability: Not to the point that he isn't truly wheelchair-bound and mostly immobile, but Walt and Jesse discover the hard way that old Tio isn't nearly as senile as they thought.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Hank's face when he realizes he's stumbled upon Tuco, not Jesse.
- Walt and Jesse when they realize Hector knows what they're doing.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Tuco's actor, Raymond Cruz, was both uncomfortable playing the character and busy with other acting work. Thus, Boom, Headshot!.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Walt's short but brutal speech to Tuco shown above.
- Rule of Symbolism: Tuco accidentally turns on the bouncing hydraulics on Jesse's car when he opens fire on Hank. After Hank kills him, the car bounces more and more slowly until it stops completely, not unlike Tuco's heart as he lay dead.
- South of the Border: Where Tuco plans on taking Walter to make him cook in a Mexican Superlab.
- Stalling the Sip: During lunch, Walt attempts to poison Tuco's burrito with some poisoned meth. After a particularly tense moment where Walt frantically folds the burrito back up while Tuco's back is turned, Tuco finally gets ready to eat the burrito... when his disabled uncle, Hector, who Walt had assumed was senile, begins frantically ringing the bell on his wheelchair. Tuco initially ignores this and almost bites into the burrito again, only for Hector to ring the bell even more. Finally, Tuco assumes that his uncle wants the burrito, and gives it to him instead. Hector then musters enough strength to knock the burrito to the floor, ruining Walter and Jesse's plans and finally cluing Tuco in that something is afoot.
- Wham Episode: Hank shoots Tuco, the established Big Bad of the show, with Walt and Jesse about fifty yards away.
- Worf Had the Flu: Tuco's stomach wound prevents him from being his most dangerous when he fired on Hank.