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Recap / Breaking Bad S 4 E 10 Salud

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As Gus, Jesse, and Mike make their way to the Cartel's base of operations in Mexico, Skyler tries to contact Walt about their birthday present for Junior. Since Walt isn't picking up his phone, she decides to give him his present, herself: a PT Cruiser. Junior politely accepts the gift, but compared to the Challenger he had before, it's just not as exciting...
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As Saul contacts Ted Beneke to inform him that he had earned an "inheritance" from "Great Aunt Birgit" to the tune of a little over $600,000, Gus, Jesse, and Mike arrive at the Cartel's laboratory, where Gaff and the Cartel's scientists would determine the quality of Jesse's cook. The chief chemist is less than enthused with working alongside someone as young and seemingly inexperienced as Jesse, his concerns becoming all the more poignant when it becomes apparent that Jesse doesn't know how to synthesize phenylacetic acid, an ingredient in Walt's formula that Gus had always provided at his own superlab. As the chief chemist berates him and Gus, Jesse, in an unexpected show of courage, tells the chemist (who speaks perfect English) that the only way they would learn his cook is if it's done his way; there would be no cooking until the lab was clean and he had his phenylacetic acid. Both Gus and Mike are surprised but pleased at Jesse's bravery.

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Junior drives his new PT Cruiser to Walt's condo, concerned after not seeing him all day. Walt reluctantly allows Junior, who is shocked at his father's injuries inside. Junior prepares to call Skyler, but Walt, groggy from a long night, begs him not to, explaining that he had been "gambling" again. He breaks down in tears in front of his son, who helps him back to bed. Walt asks Junior if he likes his birthday present. When Junior politely says he does, Walt sleepily replies "That's good, Jesse..." before passing out.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, Jesse finishes his batch of meth. Members of the Cartel watch and record on video every tense moment of the cook, with the Cartel chemists taking a sample of the meth to a gas chromatograph to measure its purity. The final result is 96.2% purity; not as high as Walt's cook, but enough to put the Cartel's own cooks to shame. As everyone celebrates Jesse's cook, Gaff claps him on the shoulder and says "The first of many", clarifying for Jesse that with this cook, he now belonged to the Cartel, leaving Jesse worried...

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Back in Albuquerque, Saul visits Skyler at the car wash. He had been reluctant to give Ted some of the money Walt had earned to help Ted pay off his debts, and his suspicions were confirmed when his private investigators learned that Ted used the money to lease a Mercedes a scant three hours after receiving it, completely blowing off his debts and his obligations to the IRS.

Walt awakens in his condo, finding that Junior had stayed the entire time after he fell asleep by telling Skyler he was staying with a friend. He plays off his sorry state from the previous night as the result of "beer and painkillers". Afraid of what Junior thinks of him, Walt tells him a story about his own father, Junior's grandfather; when Walt was young, his father suffered from Huntington's disease, a degenerative illness of the brain. Walt had always heard stories about the kind of man his father was from those who knew him, but the only memory of him Walt had was when he visited him in a hospital at a very young age. At that point, the disease had progressed into its final stages; he was barely recognizable, his breathing heavily labored and his eyes seeing his son, but not appearing to recognize him. Walt's father died not long after, and Walt did not want Junior to remember him as a pitiable, sick man. Junior, however, says he wouldn't mind remembering him like that; he was more afraid of remembering him as acting so strangely over the past year, and that at least the previous day, he seemed "real"...

After sending Junior back home, Walt is approached by Tyrus, who simply asks: "Somewhere you should be?"

At Beneke Fabricators, Skyler sees Ted in what remained of his office after his business was liquidated. She asks him about his finances, and Ted talks about starting his business back up thanks to an unexpected "cash infusion". Skyler urges Ted to pay his debts to the IRS, reiterating that she would be found culpable in his willful tax evasion and they would both be in prison. Ted continues to brush off Skyler's advice, leaving her incensed; before she leaves, she asks him if he really got that money from "Great Aunt Birgit", revealing to him exactly where that money came from...

Back in Mexico, Gus, Jesse, and Mike are standing poolside at Don Eladio's estate, with Mike assuring Jesse: "Either we're all going home, or none of us are." Don Eladio, accompanied by his men, greets Gustavo and embraces him, happy to see that he had finally seen reason. After introducing Eladio to Jesse, his new chemist, Gus offers a gift to celebrate their new friendship; a bottle of Zafiro Añejo, a rare premium tequila. Eladio decides to share it with Gus and all of his friends (except for Jesse, whom Gus explains is an addict who must stay sober), and they share a toast.

Afterwards, Eladio throws a poolside party. He sits down with Gus and tries to explain that there was no ill will for him; everything, from his disrupting his meth business to the death of his friend Max, was "just business". Afterwards, Gus excuses himself to the restroom, where he turns on the sink, then forces himself to vomit into a toilet.

Shortly afterwards, Don Eladio's men begin to drop dead, one by one. As Eladio begins to feel weak, Mike strangles Gaff with a garrot as Gus returns to the now ending party, Eladio's men dead around him. Eladio realizes that he and his men had been poisoned by Gus and lurches towards him, but the last of his strength finally leaves him and he collapses, dead, into his pool.

After Mike takes Eladio's necklace, Gus begins to feel weak as well; he had poisoned himself with the tainted Zafiro Añejo as part of his plot to destroy the Cartel and took measures to prevent himself from dying, including taking an antidote and purging some of the poison in the restroom, but some poison managed to find its way into his bloodstream. With support from Jesse and Mike, Gus yells his ultimatum to any Cartel members within earshot:

"Don Eladio is dead! His capos are dead! You have no one left to fight for! Fill your pockets and leave in peace...or fight me, and die!"

With that, the three make their escape. Jesse finds a car he can use to make their getaway. One lone Cartel gunman opens fire on them, hitting Mike before Jesse fires back and kills him. With Mike wounded and Gus dying of poison, Jesse makes a hasty escape with them in tow...

This episode contains examples of:

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Beforehand, Gus took an antidote and later activated his gag reflex to avoid the effects of the poisoned drink. Downplayed, as he is still weakened by its effects.
  • All There in the Script: Fuentes' full name isn't stated in the episode.
  • Asshole Victim: Every last one of the dons, who drop dead thanks to Gus' Unspoken Plan Guarantee with the poisoned tequila.
  • Badass Boast: After murdering the entire Juarez Cartel, Gus says this:
    Don Eladio is dead. His capos are dead. You have no one left to fight for. Fill your pockets and leave in peace, or fight me and die!
  • Bullying a Dragon: Joaquin goes after Gus, Jesse, and Mike even though Gus warns the Cartel they'd die.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In the span of 5 minutes, Don Eladio finds out that Jesse doesn't know any Spanish, is not a chemist, and is a former addict. But he doesn't care if Jesse's a pig farmer, as long as he can cook well.
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: Gus acts as translator between the English-speaking Jesse and the Spanish-speaking cartel men. That is, until Jesse calls the cartel's chief chemist an asshole. This prompts the chemist to reveal that he can speak English. Jesse is unfazed and still intimidates the men into complying with his method of cooking Walt's meth.
  • Decapitation Strike: Gus obliterates the cartel's entire leadership in one fell swoop, leaving the surviving members with no one to fight for. Most of them take the hint and flee.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Gus has Mike rip off Eladio's necklace when he falls in the pool, so he can later taunt Hector with it.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Don Eladio gives Benicio Fuentes, the cartel's chemist who is hostile and arrogant toward Jesse, a thorough put down, pointing out that Jesse could cook way better meth than him despite his lack of college degrees.
  • Lack of Empathy: Gus' murder of three of Don Eladio's most loyal subordinates hardly seems to faze him, given that he immediately throws a party for Gus after being sufficiently convinced of his unconditional submission. Similarly, during the party, he offhandedly threatens a servant pouring him a shot of rare tequila with amputation if he spills "even one drop" (with a festive smile on his face, no less). Later while speaking with Gus, he coldly "advises" him to let go of any personal grudges he has (including the cartel's murder of his beloved partner) and submit to his authority for the sake of "good business."
    "Gustavo, cheer up, man. Gustavo, I'm not angry. I had to spank you. But what choice did I have? Look, once every twenty years you forget your place. There's no place for emotion in this. You of all people should understand. Business is business."
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Even after witnessing Gus poisoning Joaquin's bosses, and when Gus was giving the opportunity for any surviving cartel members to leave, Joaquin still chooses to attempt to kill Gus, Jesse, and Mike.
  • Perfect Poison: Gus uses the same bottle of tequila to dispatch Don Eladio and all his capos. Not only do they all die instantly and virtually simultaneously, but Gus (who also partakes of the poisoned tequila in order to allay suspicion) is able to time the onset of the poison so perfectly as to allow him to excuse himself to induce vomiting and purge the poison from his own system, ensuring his survival.
  • Properly Paranoid: Before Don Eladio even opens Gus' "gift" he looks at Gaff to make sure the case is safe to open. He then makes Gus take the first shot of the rare tequila, in case it is poisoned. It is. Gus drinks it anyway. (Earlier, he's seen taking some pills that likely slowed or dulled the poisons working, and when he uses Eladio's bathroom later, he induces vomiting in himself, thus preventing the poison from running its course.) And finally, when Gus is going to leave his sight, Eladio has his bodyguard go with Gus to keep an eye on him. Eladio really didn't trust Gus and tries to be careful not to give Gus any opening to use against him. He is right to be paranoid, he just isn't quite paranoid enough.
  • Reality Ensues: Knowing that he will have to drink the tequila he poisoned, Gus swallows a pill beforehand and then induces vomiting to get the tequila out of his system. Despite these preventative measures, Gus is still badly effected by the poison and nearly dies without the proper medical care he receives in the next episode.
  • Recovered Addict: Gus purposely invokes this trope to Don Eladio to prevent Jesse from drinking the poisoned tequila, saying that Jesse's a former addict and needs to be kept sober to keep him cooking. Eladio takes the drink out of his hand, indirectly saving his life.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Jesse is not surprised by Fuentes knowing how to speak English and continues to boldly insult him to his face. It disarms Fuentes enough that Jesse quickly gains the upper hand in the conversation and gets to cook for the Cartel.
    Fuentes: I speak English.
    Jesse: Then you know what 'asshole' means
  • Rule of Drama: Eladio is seemingly the last person to succumb to the poison; he of course manages to linger just long enough for Gus to come back out and non-verbally let his nemesis put two and two together before dying. He is also one of the biggest guys present, so maybe the dose wasn't big enough to knock him out early.
  • Self-Poisoning Gambit: Gus brings a rare and expensive bottle of tequila (which is of course poisoned) to the meeting with the heads of the Cartel where they think Gus is going to surrender to them. Don Eladio, who is Properly Paranoid, refuses to drink until after Gus does so. Gus apparently anticipated this, as shortly before the toast he takes a pill of some kind and shortly afterward he excuses himself, goes to a bathroom, and vomits up as much of the poison as possible. Gus is still affected by the poison and would have died without prompt medical care, but he fares better than the heads of the Cartel, who drop like flies within minutes.
  • Skewed Priorities: Having purposefully drank a poison, Gus makes himself vomit to get the poison out of his system. Before working towards literally saving his own life, however, he still takes the time to remove his jacket, fold it properly, and then place a towel on the floor under his knees, and then he finally vomits.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Fuentes is so arrogant that you get the feeling he still would've acted the same way had Walt or Gale been there instead of Jesse (though Walt or Gale would at least have been able to make phenylacetic acid).
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Joaquin doesn't even have any dialogue, but if it weren't for his last ditch effort to kill Gus, Mike would have never been wounded and would have been present for Gus' showdown.
  • Volatile Second Tier Position: Jesse is arguably the second-most important component of Gus's plan, and the pressure is on for every minute of the job.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Skyler lends the money to Ted to fix his problems with the IRS by pretending it's a bequeathal from "great-aunt Birgitte". Saul admits he didn't think that would work.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: All but lampshaded.
    Jesse: What is this shit? I don't get a vote? I'm supposed to just stay down here forever?
    Mike: I promise you this: either we're all going home or none of us are.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Walt accidentally calls Walt Jr. "Jesse" after he drifts off on painkillers.
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