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Recap / Breaking Bad S3 E8 "I See You"

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Season 3, Episode 08:

I See You
Jesse goofs off at the office.
Written by Gennifer Hutchison
Directed by Colin Bucksey

Walt: No, listen, I, uh...this attack on my brother-in-law, I don't understand it, I don't know what it means. Please, if you may have some knowledge that you can share with me. I fear for my family.
Gus: I'm sure they'll be fine. I am told the assassin that survived is gravely injured. It's doubtful he'll live. Now, thank me and shake my hand.

A heavily-bruised Jesse is wheeled out of the hospital by an orderly. As he waits outside for his ride, an ambulance arrives from the parking lot shootout with the cartel Cousins, carrying a critically wounded Hank. Jesse watches as the paramedics unload Hank from the ambulance and rush him to the operating room for immediate surgery. Jesse returns outside, where heís eventually picked up by Skinny Pete in his Thunderbird. When Skinny Pete sees Jesse's injuries and asks if he's okay, Jesse smiles and replies, "Actually, I'm great."

In the superlab, Walt tries to fire Gale without hurting his feelings. When Gale pushes for an explanation, Walt tried to use a musical analogy, saying that heís "classical" while Galeís "more jazz". At that moment, Gale's replacement Jesse arrives and loudly marvels at the setup in the lab, leaving Gale more confused. When Walt wants to get right to work, Jesse realizes that Walt is unaware that Hank has been shot.

Walt rushes to the hospital, where Skyler, Marie, Gomez and ASAC Merkert are assembled. Merkert gives Walt a quick rundown on what they know: Hank was attacked by two cartel hitmen, and he killed one of the assassins and critically wounded the other. Marie denounces Gomez and Merkert for making Hank surrender his gun after he beat up Jesse, leaving him unarmed for the attack. She further blames Walt, saying that Hank would've never even known who Jesse was if Walt hadn't supposedly bought pot from him. Skyler comes to Walt's defense, insisting it wasn't his fault. Crying, Marie apologizes.

As Hank's life lays in the balance, fellow cops and DEA agents offer to donate blood in support of him. An impatient Jesse calls Walt, who tells him to sit tight and not cook until he gets to the lab. After Walt hangs up, Skyler suggests they all get breakfast. In the cafeteria, Marie complains about the dirty silverware and declares the hospital a deathtrap. Sensing sheís about to spiral out of control, Walt intervenes. After relating his own anxieties before his surgery in the same hospital, Walt assures Marie, "I survived this place. And I'm not half the man your husband is."

At Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus receives a phone call from an angry Juan Bolsa. Bolsaís not happy, and contends that the Cousins would never have shot Hank without approval, accusing Gus of giving it to them. Bolsa backs down when Gus tells him that heís "not in the habit of picking [his] own pocket," since the increased DEA attention from the Cousins' attack will delay the cartel's next drug shipment to Gus, but Bolsa vows that he'll learn the truth about the attack from Leonel, the surviving Cousin. Gus, learning that Leonel has survived, hangs up, realizing he's got a loose end to tie up.

At the hospital, a doctor announces that Hank is out of surgery. On the way out to run errands for the family, Walt walks into the lobby to find Gomez and other DEA agents holding a vigil. Gomez invites Walt to join them in visiting Leonel's ICU room. There, Walt sees the injuries Leonel sustained during the shooting: after Hank crushed his legs between two cars, both of Leonel's legs have had to be amputated. Sensing the group's presence, Leonel turns to look at them, and recognizes Walt. He sits up, tears at the tubes attached to his body, and pushes himself onto the floor, all the while glaring up at Walt. Utterly seething, Leonel drags himself toward him, trailing blood from his stumps, before doctors subdue and drag him back onto the bed.

Stuck in the superlab, Jesse becomes bored and amuses himself by playing with the equipment, such as inflating a hazmat suit with an extractor tube. However, his fun is cut short when Victor catches him and asks why there isn't anything cooking. Jesse contacts Walt about Victor's visit, but a distracted Walt asks if he remembers Tuco mentioning his cousins coming up from Mexico during their captivity in the desert. Jesse thinks he does, but presses Walt about their approaching deadline.

Walt delivers toiletry supplies to his family in a waiting room, as well as a book that Hank gave to Junior about the agents who pursued Pablo Escobar. Walt is distracted by a phone call from Gus, lying to him about being "hard at work" and blaming his inability to meet the week's meth quota on Gale's mistakes. He promises to deliver 400 pounds by next week.

As another evening falls, Walt asks Gomez if the DEA knows who was behind the shooting, and whether other assassins could be on their way. Gomez assures Walt that the attack on Hank was their one attempt and they failed. Gomez's cell rings, and he spreads the word that food is on the way: Gus is personally delivering fried chicken for every cop in the building. Walt turns pale at the turn of events, knowing Gus will see him.

Walt watches Gus console Marie, knowing that Gus is now aware that he had lied about his whereabouts. Walt's family and ASAC Merkert thank Gus for offering a $10,000 reward for information about the shooting, while Gus mentions that he previously met Hank during a visit to the DEA field office and discussed Walt's cancer. Walt accosts Gus as he walks out, realizing that he knew all along about his brother-in-law being a DEA agent. Gus retorts that he investigates everyone with whom he does business. When Walt asks if Gus' presence is a message to him, Gus says, "I hide in plain sight, same as you." Walt expresses fear for his family's safety, but Gus assures him that there's nothing to worry about, for he's heard rumors of the surviving assassin possibly taking a turn for the worst. He asks Walt to thank him and shake his hand before returning to his restaurant.

Just as Gus leaves, thereís a fervor of activity: Leonel's vitals are plummeting. Walt, Gomez, and the other cops rush upstairs, where the doctors are frantically trying to resuscitate him, but to no avail: he has died. The officers quietly celebrate his demise. In their glee, none of them notices Mike slipping away, depositing a syringe in a trashbin.

Upon returning to Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus receives another call from Bolsa, who complains that pressure from the U.S. government in the wake of Hank's shooting has brought the Mexican Federales to his residence. Bolsa accuses Gus of betraying him, threatening to pay a visit when things calm down. However, Bolsa will never get that chance: the federales make their move at their moment, and gun down everyone in Bolsa's home, including Bolsa himself. Gus smiles with a smug sense of satisfaction as he ends the call to the sound of gunfire claiming Bolsa's life, before snapping his burner in half and throwing it away.

Walt sits with his sleeping family in the waiting room. The doctor enters to inform Marie that sheís finally permitted to see Hank. Marie insists that Walt, Skyler, and Junior accompany her. The family solemnly enters Hank's room. As the Whites look on, Marie kisses Hank's forehead and takes his hand.

This episode provides examples of:

  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • Considering the beatdown Hank delivered to him in the previous episode, Jesse takes it pretty well when he learns that Hank has been shot after the initial surprise wears off.
    • Gomez himself is pleased to see that Leonel has died, and some men in the background are smiling and nodding.
  • Back for the Dead: One of the cousins, Leonel, turns out to have survived the fight and gets a chance to stare down Walt personally, but then is covertly killed by Mike while in the hospital. Originally, both brothers were to die in the shootout with Hank, but Vince Gilligan realized it would be bad storytelling if at least one of them didn't live to see Walt face-to-face.
  • Blatant Lies: When Gus calls Walt, who he knows perfectly well isn't in the megalab, Walt unconvincingly tries to spin a story about how Gale screwed up their last batch of meth and thus they won't be able to make the week's quota. Gus is clearly unhappy that Walt's lying to him, but knows he isn't in a position to call Walt out, seeing how his own actions in getting the Cousins to make an attempt on Hank's life are the very reason why Walt isn't in the lab.
  • The Cassandra: Marie tells Walt, "None of this would have happened if you hadn't bought pot from that Pinkman kid!" However, this is inverted since Marie wasn't believed when she said things that were true.
  • The Chessmaster: The full context of Gus' plan is revealed and he shows himself to be far more ruthless and pragmatic than he first appeared.
  • Contrived Coincidence: After the cousins' attack on Hank, he's brought to the same hospital in which Jesse was recovering from the beating Hank gave him. And Hank's ambulance just happens to arrive while Jesse, just discharged, is waiting outside in a wheelchair to be picked up by Skinny Pete.
  • Death Glare: Leonel has a nasty one when he turns his head to see none other than Walter White looking upon him.
  • The Determinator: Leonel was just crushed by a car and had both legs amputated. When he sees Walt, he unhooks himself from his IVs, rolls out of his hospital bed, and drags himself toward Walt by his bloody stumps, death-staring him the whole time. While Walt was surrounded by half a dozen cops.
  • Dirty Cop: Even the South American military going up against hardcore crazy drug dealers observe common legal proceedings. The federales raiding Bolsa's place act more like an execution squad.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Leonel is able to recognize Walt at the hospital and attempts to kill him, and also plays on the term "ICU".
  • Establishing Character Moment: This is the first episode to establish Gus as the conniving Magnificent Bastard hiding underneath the Affably Evil calm persona.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Skyler might be distrusting and openly hostile to her husband at the moment, but she immediately jumps to Walt's defense when Marie begins blaming him for Hank's condition by way of Insane Troll Logic.
    • Similarly, Gustavo Fring is clearly displeased to see that Walt straight-up lied to him when he tried to justify why his shipment of meth will be delayed, but he doesnít express it to the man since he understands that it would be rather hypocritical for him to do so when Hank's attempted assassination was something he ordered.
  • Fanservice: Opening scene. For once, itís Jesse thatís topless, not Walt.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Walt speaks to Gus about his concerns for his family's safety, Gus tells him not to worry about it as he has heard that the surviving cousin has taken a turn for the worse. Sure enough, just after Gus leaves, Leonel starts to flatline.
  • Free Wheel: Jesse is goofing off in the lab and doing some very irresponsible things with an office chair. One shot sees him rolling across the floor on it, and losing his balance briefly before going offscreen, at which point you hear an Offscreen Crash and Jesse groaning in pain. Cue a single chair wheel rolling across from the side he crashed.
  • He Knows Too Much: Gus has Mike kill Leonel at the hospital so that Bolsa would not be able to find out who allowed the cousins to attempt to kill Hank.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Leonel's rage at Walt results in him getting sedated, meaning that he is unconscious when Mike gives him a lethal injection.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: Hank as he is rushed in from the ambulance.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Played with when Marie starts going around accusing people of being to blame for Hank's shooting. While her anger at Merkert and Gomez is understandable, Merkert's taking away Hank's sidearm was just a case of supremely bad timing (there was nothing stopping Hank carrying a gun of his own other than the fact that he just hadn't had the time to pick one up), and Gomez wasn't able to defend Hank because he was in Texas doing the job that Hank himself had turned down. Then Marie accuses Walt of being to blame for what happened to Hank, which is technically correct (albeit in a very indirect way), but the actual argument she offers is so thin that no-one believes her.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: A minor case: as Jesse discovers, Walt has yet to learn that Hank has been shot.
  • Mood Whiplash: It cuts from Leonel dragging himself across the floor towards Walt on bleeding stumps with fury in his eyes until heís forcibly subdued by medics to a bored Jesse goofing around in the lab.
  • More Dakka: How Juan Bolsa is greeted at his door.
  • Not Quite Dead: After the confrontation with Hank, Leonel survives and loses his legs, but is determined to kill Walter. That is, until Mike finishes him off.
  • Oh, Crap!: Walt's silent reaction to hearing that Gus is paying the hospital a visit.
    • Similarly, Jesse gets this look when he sees Hank being rushed to the hospital.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Walter tries his best to comfort Marie about her husband's condition.
    • When he fires Gale he tries to do it in the nicest way possible without hurting his feelings.
  • Punny Title: "I See You," play on the initials "ICU", or "Intensive Care Unit".
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Marie is right to blame Walt for indirectly playing a part in Hank's hospitalization, since Walt's activities are what led Hank to Tuco in the first place and brought the cousins across the border, and he is also directly responsible for the actions which led to Hank beating Jesse and getting suspended and disarmed. However, Marie doesn't know about any of that, instead falling back on the assumption that Walt simply bought drugs off of Jesse and put him on Hank's radar. It's clear from Walt's face that he understands the irony of this (although he doesn't yet know the cousins are after him).
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Juan Bolsa attempts to invoke this trope during his last phone conversation with Gus to downplay the threat posed by the federales, before threatening him. Unfortunately for him, itís at this point that they storm his house and gun him down.
  • Sickbed Slaying: Leonel survived getting his legs crushed during the parking lot attack. So that he can't get word to Juan Bolsa that Gus orchestrated the attempt on Hank's life, Gus distracts the cops with a personal delivery of fried chicken from Los Pollos Hermanos while Mike sneaks into Leonel's room to administer a lethal injection.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Gomez gives Leonel a touching eulogy after he succumbs to Mike's lethal injection.
    Gomez: Burn in hell, you piece of shit.
  • Switch to English: Bolsa has to because Gus has so little respect for him that he refuses to respond to him in Spanish.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Bolsa has an angry one over the phone to Gus when he realizes what his plan was. It ends when he gets gunned down by the federales.
  • We Do Not Know Each Other: Gus pretends that he only knows Walt through the charity fundraiser Hank had been running for him at the DEA.
  • We Need a Distraction: Gus bringing chicken to the cops at the hospital serves as this, as Mike is able to sneak in to administer a lethal injection to Leonel. Then as all the cops are milling about when Leonel dies, Mike is able to dispose of his syringe in a sharps bin.

"We're all family."