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Recap / Breaking Bad S2E9 4 Days Out

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Cause when the war is over / The fight is done / We'll be lying in the sun...

Walt: I have it coming. I deserve this.
Jesse: Snap out of it. All right, first off, everything you did, you did for your family. Right?
Walt: All I ever managed to do was worry and disappoint them. And lie. Oh God, the lies...I can't even...can't even keep them straight in my head anymore...
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Walt undergoes a combination of chemo and radiation treatment to shrink his tumor. He won't know the results of his treatments for four days, though, and he is left to dread the outcome as the scan of his chest reveals a large white spot on his lung...

At Saul's office, Walt receives a crash course in money laundering, a practice that Saul is exceptionally good at. After the costs of dealing with Badger's arrest, Walt is left with only about ten grand. Convinced that he may not have long to live, Walt decides to cook one more time to ensure he has something to leave behind for his family. To that end, he tells Skyler that he plans to visit his mother, to ensure that she can leave something for Skyler should the worst come to pass.

On Saturday morning, Jane suggests taking Jesse to an art museum. Jesse is on board with the date, but Walt throws a wrench into his social life, telling him that they are to do nothing but cook until Tuesday. Jesse balks at the idea, but eventually agrees when Walt explains that the methylamine is losing its potency.

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Skyler drops Walt off at the airport that afternoon. After she leaves, Jesse picks him up in his RV, and the two drive out into the desert. Over the next two days, the two cook nonstop from dawn to dusk. They manage to cook up forty-seven pounds of meth, which would earn them well over half a million dollars each (approximately $400,000 each after paying Saul). Walt is determined to continue cooking, but Jesse, exhausted from working without rest, proposes taking the night off, checking into a motel, and having a meal at Denny's. Walt agrees to the break, but before they can depart, the battery in the RV dies: Jesse had left his key in the ignition for the last two days, draining the battery's charge, leaving Walt extremely cross.

The two try to use gas from the RV's tank to refuel the generator that powered their cook so they could jump-start the engine, but Jesse accidentally spills gasoline over the generator and causes it to burst into flames when he tries to power it up. Walt runs back into the RV to get the fire extinguisher, but Jesse dumps their remaining drinking water on the generator before he can put out the flames.

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Now stranded in the desert, Jesse tries to get a cellphone signal on his phone to contact Skinny Pete for help, but to no avail. Walt's phone has a signal, but he is reluctant to use it since he suspects Skyler checks his call logs. He eventually relents and lets Jesse call on his phone, so Jesse can give Pete directions to their location. Unfortunately, Pete gets lost, and the phone dies when Jesse tries to redirect him.

The following morning, Walt tries to trickle-charge the RV's battery by hand-cranking the generator. Jesse realizes Walt lied about the methylamine spoiling. The process is slow and exhausting, leaving Walt weak and coughing blood, and ultimately proving fruitless as the engine fails to start. Walt falls into depression, stating that he deserved to die for all of the lies he told to cover his illegal activities. Jesse begs Walt to stop being pessimistic and think of something scientific that will get them out of their predicament.

Walt eventually comes up with one idea: a mercury battery using coins, galvinzed metal, and chemicals. The idea actually works, and the RV comes to life once more. Jesse drops Walt off at the airport afterwards, promising to make sure his family got their share of the profits.

Four days after embarking on his biggest cook yet, Walt visits his doctor with his family to get the results of his medical examines. To everyone's surprise, the tumor had shrunk by eighty percent! The white splotch on his scan? Just inflamation from the treatments. His coughing up blood? A rupture in his esophagus from all of his coughing, which can be treated.

After getting the good news, Walt goes to the restroom. As he leaves, he sees his reflection in a paper towel dispense. In anger, he punches his reflection, bruising his knuckles...

This episode contains examples of:

  • Artistic License – Chemistry: Invoked by Walter to get Jesse to agree with his week-long cook; he claims the methylamine is going to go bad and that they need to make their product before then. Jesse figures the ruse out much too late.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The white spot and Walt coughing up blood? Lung tissue inflammation and a tear in the esophagus (respectively), not because of the cancer. His tumor is actually shrinking rather than getting worse like the scans would have the family (and the audience) believe.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Walt starts coughing up blood in this episode. Subverted by the end, which clarifies he's in remission and that the blood is from a torn esophagus, not a sign of imminent death.
  • Bottle Episode: An odd example, in that the episode was supposed to be this, and it bears most of the hallmarks of such an episode (it takes place almost entirely in one location, and involves very little action), but the unexpectedly high number of outdoor shots ended up making it one of the most expensive episodes of the second season.
  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: Justified since Walt's planning is grounded in hard science here, and it's Jesse's perspective in-universe; he encourages Walt do "something scientific" since he could "ma[k]e poison out of beans", and he gets the idea to improvise a battery from galvanized metals lying around with acidic drinks they have.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Walt coughs blood into his palm, mirroring the holy wounds. Note that he’s also fashioned a very biblical-looking headdress in this scene.
  • Cutting the Knot: Jesse forgoes all notions of subtlety and drives the RV directly to the airport to pick Walt up. Walt chastises him for doing this, and Jesse excuses himself by saying it was faster than having to drive back to get it.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Walter tells Jesse to not put the keys to the RV on the counter where they're cooking to avoid losing them so he puts them in the ignition which results in the battery dying. Then they try to use the generator to jump it but the generator catches fire (thanks to Jesse spilling fuel all over it) and Jesse uses the last of their drinking water to extinguish it right before Walter gets a fire extinguisher.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Stranded in the wilderness due to the RV's battery running flat, Jesse frustratedly tries to coax Walt into figuring out a means of escape by MacGyvering something together. Among several laughable suggestions — including building a robot or an alternate vehicle from the RV's chassis — comes the sensible (and actually doable) notion of building a new battery out of the assorted contents of their rolling lab.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: After surviving being stranded out in the desert in their mobile meth lab and bickering the whole way through, Jesse reassures Walter that his family will get the money they need.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: What does Jesse say in regards to his failed attempts at trying to start up the (gasoline-covered) generator? "It just needs to warm up a little." Then Jesse makes one last pull. Cue a spark.
  • From Bad to Worse: They're in the middle of the desert and drain the RV's battery as their generator runs out of gas. Then the generator catches fire and they lose the last of their water and destroy the generator putting it out. Then their phones die. Then they trickle-charge the battery by hand-cranking the generator and the RV starts! And immediately dies. They finally get it to work after going to great lengths to build a makeshift battery out of various chemicals, bits of zinc, and several kitchen sponges.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Having spent hours manually cranking the generator, Jesse tries turning the keys in the ignition again and actually gets the engine to start up... for all of two seconds before it dies again.
    • Inverted by the end on two different occasions.
      • At first, it seems like the makeshift battery doesn't work... and then the engine roars to life.
      • Walt and the family brace for the worst when hearing about the current status of Walt's tumor. The doctor actually clarifies that the tumor has shrunken, and while initially describing the normal percentage rate as a few single digits, he then drops that it has shrunken by 80%. Cue everyone smiling and cheering... except for Walt.
  • Internal Reveal: Jesse eventually figures out that methylamine doesn't spoil and that Walt needed an excuse to get him to help cook as soon as possible. Once Walt starts coughing up blood in the desert, Jesse also discovers Walt's situation has (seemingly) gotten worse and just why he was so desperate to start cooking again.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Walt and Jesse are stranded in the desert with no water and a flat battery.
  • MacGyvering: Want to learn how to make your own battery? This is the episode for you.
  • My Car Hates Me: The RV no longer starts up once the duo decide to take a break from cooking. Justified, because Jesse left the keys in the ignition and didn't know it would drain the battery out over the course of a few days. For added insult to injury, he tries starting it up one more time and it seemingly begins working, only for it to sputter out after a few seconds of celebration.
  • No Sense of Direction: Either Jesse gives bad directions or Skinny Pete is bad at following them, as he manages to cross a river when Walt and Jesse never came close to one.
  • Oh, Crap!: For most people, news of cancer remission would be a time of elation. For Walt, it means his terminal excuse for meth making is gone. And now he's a healthy criminal, in deep with bad people.
  • Product Placement: Jesse begs Walt that he wants a Grand Slam breakfast from Denny's.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Walt repeatedly punches his reflection in a bathroom tissue dispenser after hearing the news that his cancer is in remission. Ordinarily this would be good news, but for Walt, it means his "exit strategy" for getting out of the crystal meth business just vanished. There are multiple interpretations to his rage here, none of which are mutually exclusive. Along with the above, it also robbed him of a convenient excuse to continue doing criminal deeds.
  • Shout-Out: When Walt and his family get the news that he's in remission, Hank joyfully quotes The Godfather Part III:
    Hank: "Just when I try to get out, they pull me back in!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: Though they both survive this ordeal, Jesse kicks off the majority of this episode by leaving the keys in the RV's ignition, draining its battery and stranding them in the middle of the desert. When they try to start the generator up, Jesse suggests keeping it warm while it's covered in gasoline, setting the entire thing on fire. As Walt hurries back into the RV, Jesse panics and douses the flames out with their water cooler... just when Walt walks out with a fire extinguisher.
    Walter: I wasn't the one who dumped out the last of our water, that's what I know!
    Jesse: There was a fire! Excuse me for thinking on my feet.
    Walter: OH! Is—is that what— you were "thinking"? Now we have identified the problem. You and thinking, that's the problem!
  • Wham Episode: Walt's cancer goes into remission after he and Jesse cooked several pounds of meth in the desert.
  • Wham Line:
    • For Walt's family (and Walt especially): "Walt, I have your test results. You're showing signs of remission."
    • And later in the same scene: "Walt, your tumor has shrunk by 80%".
  • What Were You Thinking?:
    • Walter is dumbfounded upon seeing the RV roll in to pick him up, chiding Jesse for bringing a meth lab to the airport. Jesse counters by saying he just saved them a trip driving back.
    • After Jesse causes the Disaster Dominoes listed above, Walt angrily bickers over their situation with him having made things much worse.

 
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"Well Done Jesse"

Accidentally igniting their RV Battery in an attempt to manually charge it. Walt goes to find a fire extinguisher, only for Jesse to douse the battery with their drinking water supply. Walt is... flabbergasted by Jesse's idiocy.

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