In the present, Walt is called out into the desert by Mike and Gus to answer for his impulsive decision to save Jesse from getting killed in a shootout with two of Gus' dealers by running them over with his car. Walt repeats the advice Mike given him: "No more half measures". Mike is less than pleased.
Gus chastises Walt for jeopardizing everything for "some worthless junkie". Walt argues back that Jesse was angry about the dealers' murder of 11-year-old Tomás, suggesting that Gus was the one who ordered his death. Walt states that Jesse has gone on the run, and he has no idea where he is. Walt proposes two options for Gus: kill Walt and spend the next few months hunting down Jesse without Walt's 99.1% pure meth to sell, or proceed with business as usual. Gus chooses the latter option, but insists on choosing Walt's lab partner: Gale Boetticher, whom Walt had previously replaced with Jesse. In addition, Gus has the locks to the superlab changed, so that the only way Walt can enter is if Victor lets him in.
That night, a group of cartel heavy hitters take over a warehouse run by one of Gus' workers, Duane Chow. Mike dispatches the cartel men and wounds Chow for not letting him know of the situation. He later speculates to Gus that the cartel is trying to find a weakness in their operation. As to Jesse, Mike is still searching.
Later, Gus pays Gale a surprise visit to his home. Gus explains to Gale that Walt has cancer, and that he may not have long to live. As such, he wants Gale to be ready to take over the superlab when Walt passes away. Little does Gale know, Gus plans for Walt's death to be due to anything but cancer...
Mike interrogates Saul as to Jesse's location. He gives Mike the address of a home in a trailer park. Unbeknownst to Mike, the address leads nowhere: Saul and Walt are hiding Jesse at the laser tag arena Saul had suggested Walt buy to launder his money. Walt explains that he is safe only as long as it takes for Gale to build up the confidence to cook Walt's formula and run the lab on his own. Jesse suggests that Walt turn himself into the DEA and go into witness protection with his family in exchange for giving Gus to the feds, while Jesse skips town, but Walt refuses. Instead, he suggests that he can secure their safety if he is the only chemist. Jesse, realizing this would mean Gale's death, echoes a statement Walt made about him when he was originally conspiring to kill Gus's dealers: "I'm not a murderer". Walt offers to do the deed instead; all he would need from Jesse is Gale's address, since Victor is tailing Walt and he can't find it himself. Jesse is still reluctant to take part in the plan, but Walt reminds him that he saved his life and expects Jesse to return the favor. Jesse finally agrees.
That night, before Walt can carry out Gale's assassination, he is intercepted by Victor, who tells him there's a chemical leak at the superlab and that he needs to go there to investigate. When they arrive, Mike is there, waiting to kill Walt. Walt begs for his life, first offering to cook for free, then offering to give Jesse up.
Mike gives Walt a phone to call Jesse and arrange a meeting so they can find him. When Walt calls Jesse, however, he tells him that he's stuck at the lab and that Jesse has to "do it" in his stead. Jesse grabs his gun and runs out of the laser tag arena. Mike demands to know what Walt did. Walt coolly recites Gale's home address, and says that Mike can't afford to kill him now...
Gale is at home, making tea, when he hears a knock on the door. He answers the door to find Jesse, pointing a gun at him. Gale first assumes he is being robbed, but it slowly dawns on him that Jesse has other intentions. He meekly pleads, "You don't have to do this..."
Jesse, fighting back the tears in his eyes, hesitates for a few moments.
Then, he pulls the trigger.
This episode contains examples of:
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
- Walt begs Mike to just let him talk to Gus instead of killing him, no matter how many times Mike says he just can't do it. This prompts him to say he can give them Jesse Pinkman instead in exchange for his own life... which is just a gambit to get Jesse on the phone and have him kill Gale instead. As soon as the table is turned, he's cool as a cucumber.
- Gale is left helpless when Jesse arrives at his door, only able to meekly plead that Jesse doesn't have to do this. Unfortunately, Jesse goes through with it.
- Ambiguous Situation: Gus coats his job for Gale in language that implies Walt is only about to die from the cancer, rather than revealing that Gus intends to have Walt killed and have Gale replace him. This leads Gale to quickly amend his timetable for how fast he can take over the gig, but it's not stated outright whether Gale sees the writing on the wall and is going along with it or genuinely thinks Gus is just preparing for Walt to die from his cancer.
- Analogy Backfire: In the previous episode, "Half Measures," Mike explained his Start of Darkness to try to talk Walt out of a half-measure attempt to save Jesse. In this episode, Walt references it again after killing the two men Jesse wanted dead, but Mike is less than pleased.Mike: Funny how words can be so open to interpretation.
- Bait-and-Switch: Saul and Walt are in Saul's car going to check out the laser tag place he keeps mentioning as a money laundering site. After they go in, we see that Victor is following them. It cuts to inside, where Saul is still shilling the benefits of the laser tag place, only for Walt to stop him and say that they're okay now, revealing that they knew they were being followed and played up an act in case Saul's car was bugged.
- Bilingual Bonus: When Mike asks for Chow to check if his secretary is still present, Chow asks, and she responds angrily in Mandarin. What she's saying is "Of course I'm still here! Where else can I go?! What is going on?! I have a husband and kid at home, I have to go home and take care of them! You do not pay me enough, somebody got killed right in front of me!"
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Invoked by Walt. Early in the episode, he staves off possible summary execution by appealing to Gus's pragmatic business sense — he knows Gus needs him around to keep cooking the meth in spite of all the drama and death that he and Jesse have brought to the organization.
- Could Say It, But...: When Mike tries forcing Jesse's location out of Saul, he refuses... at least until Mike tries to attack. This prompts Saul to mention the "possibility" of having written it down in his day planner before excusing himself from the room, asking Mike not to touch anything while he's gone. The address in the planner goes nowhere.
- Deadly Euphemism: Mike gives one to Walt when instructing Walt to go down into the lab under the pretense of investigating a chemical leak while intending to execute him.Mike: Walter, the sooner you figure out what this is, the sooner we all go home...
- Dirty Coward:
- Saul quickly gives up Jesse's location when Mike makes it clear he's willing to kill or harm Saul to get the information. At least, he makes it look that way. He's actually buying time for Jesse and Walt through feeding Mike false information.
- Walt also fakes being one, pretending to sell Jesse out when actually he's ordering him to kill Gale instead over the phone.
- Double Tap: After the One-Hit Polykill listed below, Mike adds a little insurance to both Mooks.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mike is shown sincerely doting on his granddaughter early in the episode.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Despite the danger it could put him in Saul doesn't betray his clients and lies to Mike in order to protect them.
- Face Death with Despair: Gale spends what appear to be his last moments trying to talk down Jesse, who's also on the verge of tears, not to shoot him.
- False Reassurance: Walt tells Gus that Jesse suspected Gus of ordering the hit on Tomas, and implies that he agrees with Jesse's suspicion. Gus is insulted, and asks Walt point-blank, "Are you asking if I ordered the murder of a child?"Walt: I would never ask you that.
- Fingore: Mike shoots Chow in the hand for not informing Gus about being held captive by the cartel hitmen.
- Flashback: The opening scene shows Walt and Skyler getting ready to buy their house. Skyler is pregnant with Walt Jr.
- Hollywood Silencer: Mike sports one when infiltrating the chemical distributor the Cartel has seized from Gus. Oddly, it plays this trope better than most, as it still makes a loud noise.
- Improbable Weapon User: Mike weaponizes the balloons his granddaughter gave him earlier that day during the assault on Gus's compound by releasing them straight into the power lines, cutting off the power inside.
- Ironic Echo: When Walt realizes Mike is going to kill him, he pleads "You don't have to do this." Gale also says this, verbatim, before Jesse kills him.
- It's All About Me: Walt could do the right thing for his family and go to the DEA about Gus, getting them witness protection, but refuses as this means he'll have to leave the meth business behind. Had Walt done this, a lot of murders later on in the series could have been avoided.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Invoked by Jesse, who pleads with Walt to turn himself over to the police for the witness protection instead of killing Gale. As the former option would require Walt to stop cooking meth, he refuses.Jesse: Maybe it's better for you to just go to the cops. All right? I mean, I can't believe I'm saying that and all... but for your family. The DEA would love you, all the shit you could tell them. Federal witness protection, that's a good deal. As for me, I'll hit the road, yo. I mean, I'll make it. We had a good run. But it's over.
Walt: Never the DEA. The cook can't stop.
- Kick the Dog: Mike's threat to break Saul's legs if he doesn't give Jesse up to Gus.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Discussed by Walt about the way he'd deal with Gale, provided he could give Victor the slip.
- Meaningful Echo: Both Walter and Gale beg "You don't have to do this". Unfortunately for them (but especially for poor Gale), both Mike and Jesse do (know they have to do it, that is).
- Offering Another in Your Stead: Walter starts begging for his life and offers them Jesse's location in exchange for his safety. Given that Fring's original dispute was with Jesse, Mike allows Walter to call Jesse in order to lure him into the open. It's all a ploy: Walt uses this opportunity to give a pre-planned order to Jesse, resulting in him assassinating Gale.
- Oh, Crap!: One of the few times you'll ever see a "Oh, fuck!" expression from Mike is when Walt reveals that he just ordered Jesse to kill Gale.
- One-Hit Polykill: Mike takes out two Cartel men with a single bullet.
- Stalker Shot: Saul takes Walt to a laser tag arena that he's trying to get Walt to buy. Before they enter the building, a red car can be seen driving in the background and coming to a complete stop, and as they enter the building, the camera remains focused on the red car. The camera changes shot of the car to reveal Victor is tracking Walt as his reflection can be seen in the side view mirror. It turns out Walt and Saul suspected they were being tracked and only went to the arena to meet Jesse where he's being hidden so they can think up their next plan.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Saul dismisses himself after reuniting Walt and Jesse at the arcade, and with him brings any kind of comedy the episode had.
- Shoot the Dog: Walter does this by ordering Gale's death to save himself. While this is the only way he can survive Gus's machinations without turning himself in, Jesse makes it clear that he really would prefer it if Walt turned himself in.
- Too Dumb to Live: A more cautious criminal would have their burner phone on them at all times, have a peephole and/or chain lock on their door in case an assassin, rival dealer, or police came to their home, and possibly have a gun on them as a last means of personal defense. Gale just goes on his merry way listening to music while leaving his phone on vibrate on a table so he can't hear it go off when Mike tries calling to warn him about Jesse. He also swiftly answers the door letting Jesse walk in instead of peeking through or even asking "who's there?" and is completely unarmed leaving himself at Jesse's mercy.
- Translation: "Yes": When Chow, on Mike's demand, asks his assistant if she's still there, she gives a lengthy, panicked reply in Chinese (see Bilingual Bonus above). Chow simply tells Mike: "She says yes".
- Wham Episode: To prevent Gus from killing them both, Jesse goes to Gale's apartment to kill him. The final shot of the episode is Jesse pulling the trigger.
- Wham Line: "So what do we do?" "...you know what we do."
- Later, when Mike has Walt call Jesse to get him to come to the meth lab, Walt talks to Jesse about how he was unable to "do it", and now he has to. And in case it wasn't clear what Walt was getting across here:Walt: (on the phone) Listen to me. You're closer than we are. You'll have about a twenty minute lead. They've got me at the laundry and they're gonna kill me. (Mike grabs the phone; Victor grabs Walt) JESSE, DO IT NOW! DO IT! DO IT FAST!
- And then, after Mike hangs up and points a gun at Walt:
- Later, when Mike has Walt call Jesse to get him to come to the meth lab, Walt talks to Jesse about how he was unable to "do it", and now he has to. And in case it wasn't clear what Walt was getting across here:
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Gus is tired of the drama Walt and Jesse bring to his empire. He has Gale working in the lab to learn Walt's recipes and methods, so as to nullify Walt's Bunny-Ears Lawyer status. He even tells Gale outright that he'll be taking over for Walt soon (though couched in language to make it appear Walt is about to die from his cancer). Walt had already figured out the plan, and has Jesse execute Gale as a counter-measure.