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Recap / Breaking Bad S3 E1 "No Mas"

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Season 3, Episode 01:

No Mas
It's a pretty crappy day in Mr. White's neighborhood.
Written by Vince Gilligan
Directed by Bryan Cranston
Air date: March 21, 2010

"I have money. I have more money than I know how to spend. What I don't have is my family."
Walter White

In the Mexican countryside, a group of people are seen crawling along an adobe road. They are joined by two men arriving in a Mercedes, dressed in sharp suits. They eventually arrive at a shrine made for Santa Muerte, the Mexican saint of death, where they make an offering with a crude sketch of a man with a mustache dressed in a pork pie hat and sunglasses: "Heisenberg".

Albuquerque is shaken to its core as a result of the midair collision between Wayfarer 515 and a charter plane, caused by Jane's dad's grief-related distraction as he worked as an air traffic controller. Everyone onboard both planes died instantly, and debris from the collision rained across the city, causing yet more destruction and pain.

As a guilt-ridden Walt is unable to go through with disposing of his drug money, Skyler meets with a divorce lawyer to discuss ending her marriage to Walt after finding out about the extent of his lies. When asked about their finances, Skyler pauses as her lawyer points out that she has seen many couples hide such information from each other.

Walt moves out of the house and Junior is continually distraught over his mother's perceived mistreatment of his father. Hank and Marie act supportive of both Skyler and Walt, but are clearly confused and dying to know what's going on between them.

Walt attends an assembly at his high school that's supposed to allow students to share their feelings about the plane crash. He gives a guilty speech in which he declares that they should look on the bright side and move on, because it was only the 51st worst plane crash in history and they would all forget about it one day. Meanwhile, the two men from the cold open approach a fearful rural family in Mexico and exchange their suits for the family's more modest clothes hanging out to dry, leaving their car in return and continuing on foot.

Jesse attends group therapy at the rehabilitation center. Angry at the group leader's insistence that they accept themselves, Jesse asks him if he's ever actually hurt anyone. The leader admits that he killed his daughter, having accidentally hit her with his car in the days when he abused cocaine and alcohol. He once hated himself, the same way Jesse hates himself because of Jane's death, but eventually decided that self-loathing interfered with "true change".

Skyler visits Walt at the apartment he moved himself into after being kicked out of the house. She reveals that she's figured out Walt is a drug dealer, and first assumes that he sold weed. Walt finally admits to her that he makes methamphetamine, shocking her. She states that she will not contact the police, but only on the condition that he sign their divorce papers and stay away from them.

Walt picks Jesse up from rehab. Jesse, who blames himself for Jane's overdose and by extension the plane crash, tells Walt that he's learned to accept himself for who he is, and that he's the bad guy. Afterwards, Walt visits Los Pollos Hermanos and sits down with Gus. Walt declares that he is retiring from making meth to repair things with his family. Gus tries to make him an offer of three million dollars for three months' work, but Walt declines, stating that he has plenty of money, but he doesn't have his family.

The two men from the beginning of the episode are crossing the US-Mexico border on a wagon with a group of other immigrants. When one of them recognizes the cartel symbols on their shoes, the men kill the entire wagon and rig it to explode.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: People crawling through dirt implies something really sinister is happening, like they're wounded, or being forced to do so, or hiding from some shooters, or practicing for a border crossing. The Cousins' ominous arrival only reinforces the assumption that something terrible is going on. Except that both immediately join the other crawlers, and this turns out to be merely a ritual of abasement to the god of death.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: The cousins live and breathe this trope.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "No Más" means "No More" in Spanish.
  • Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with somebody crawling down a dirt road.
  • From Bad to Worse: Walt's position in this episode is already pretty unenviable; Jesse's in rehab, Skyler intends to leave him and knows he's peddling meth, and he remains unsure of what he's going to do with his money. Then The Teaser happens and shows us that he's become a target of the Salamanca Twins.
  • Call-Back:
  • Double-Meaning Title: Walt wants "no more" business with meth making, and Skyler wants "no more" association with Walt.
  • Heel Realization: Jesse comes to this after getting out of rehab, following Jane's death, which came after he tempted her into relapsing.
    Jesse: I'm the bad guy.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Jesse, upon coming to the Heel Realization, decides to embrace it.
  • Injured Self-Drag: The Cousins massacre a truck load of smuggled Mexicans, alongside their coyote driver, who survives being shot and tries to drag himself away from the scene. The Cousins being who they are, it doesn't work. They shoot him dead and burn the other passengers and his truck.
  • Insistent Terminology: Walt refers to himself as a drug manufacturer, not a drug dealer ("per say") to Skyler, as though that somehow makes it more acceptable. Funny enough, Skyler does actually refer to Walt specifically as a manufacturer and not a dealer to her lawyer, two episodes later, when she's trying to justify to herself not revealing his crimes.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: The principal tells the assembly of students, "You can say anything and everything that's on your mind." One of the students then immediately stands up and asks "if there's a God and all, why does he allow all those innocent people to die for no reason?" The principal asks her to "keep it secular."
  • Internal Reveal: Skyler has put together most of the clues about Walt's lies she discovered in the last episode to conclude that he's a drug dealer. Walt issues the one correction and finally fully admits to her that he manufactures meth.
  • It's All About Me: Barry, who got a 58% on a test in Walt's chemistry class, tries exploiting the airliner crash and applies Insane Troll Logic to his speech defining the air crash as a reason to give students with emotional hardships because of this incident an automatic A. The microphone is confiscated from him by the principal.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The cousins shoot all the immigrants in the truck smuggling them after a young man identifies the two as gangsters by taking a look at their shoes.
  • Money to Burn: Played for Drama. Walt piles his drug money into the BBQ grill and lights it on fire after Skyler finds out the extent of his lies. About five seconds later, however, he comes to his senses and dumps the money in the pool to put out the flames (and himself) and salvage it.
  • Never My Fault: During a wake at the high school, Walt attempts to downplay the tragedy of the plane crash in order to rationalize his role in the accident. Inversely, when Walt picks up Jesse from rehab, Jesse fully accepts responsibility for Jane's death and the resulting plane crash.
  • Newscaster Cameo: The newscasters in the Wayfarer 515 broadcast montage include Ashleigh Banfield, Dana Cortez, Marla Tellez and Jeff Maher, all of whom are actual news anchors.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The young Mexican guy who is crossing the borders with The Cousins notices their boots and, since he has a big mouth, talks them and realizes that they belong to the Cartel and immediately shuts up. The Cousins decides it is probably best to kill everyone there to leave no witnesses.
  • Oh, Crap!: An eager young man crossing the Mexican border continually chats up the Cousins until he takes a look at the silver skulls on their boots, and immediately shuts up.
  • Pet the Dog: The twins make a tense, but unusually peaceful trip to the residence of a small rural family, taking the father's clean clothes but depositing their expensive car and leaving without any violence.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Hank lifts Walt's duffle bag full of money and asks "What do you got in here, cinder blocks?" Walt pauses, looks him straight in the eye and says "Half-million in cash", deadpan. Another beat, and Hank laughs, complimenting Walt on keeping a sense of humor.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When one of the immigrants riding with the Cousins while crossing the border notices the silver skulls on their boots, his look changes from eagerness at the prospect of coming to America to one of defeated resignation, for he knows what's coming...
  • Too Dumb to Live: The truck driver should've played dead after getting shot the first time instead of trying to drag himself away.
  • Unflinching Walk:
    • The cousins after they murder everyone in the truck they are using to cross the border into Texas, after which they set fire to the aforementioned vehicle.
      • This had to be done in one take, and Bryan Cranston, who directed the episode, basically threatened the actors into not flinching, and also suggested a casual cigarette-drag as they walked away. It worked.
  • Wham Line:
    • Skyler reveals she's figured everything out between seasons: "You're a drug dealer."
    • Jesse after returning from rehab, still feeling guilty about Jane's death and by association the plane crash.
      Jesse: I accept who I am.
      Walt: And who are you?
      Jesse: I'm the bad guy.

"What the hell's going on in there?"


Video Example(s):


"Half-million in cash."

While helping Walt move out of his home, Hank ends up stopping him from lifting a heavy bag due to his doctor's previous suggestions. When asking what's in it, Walt gives an honest answer without a hint of irony, which Hank just laughs up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / SarcasticConfession

Media sources: