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Recap / Breaking Bad S 4 E 3 Open House

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Walter White makes a complaint to his boss.

"Let’s just say I have a hell of a lot more on my mind right now than thinking about buying a damn car wash!"
Walter White

When Walt returns to work, he finds the superlab outfitted with surveillance cameras. With nowhere to hide from Gus' ever-watchful eye, Walt takes a moment out of his work to let Gus know exactly what he thinks of the surveillance, and him.

Skyler visits Walt's apartment after unsuccessfully trying to call him to discuss their goal to purchase Bogdan's car wash to launder their money, and is shocked to see bruises he got from Mike the previous day. Walt dismisses Skyler's concerns, telling her that he just got into an altercation with a co-worker. Skyler is certain that there is more to the injury than Walt is letting on, and makes him promise to tell her if he ever finds himself in mortal danger as a result of his work.

Hank is acting cold and abusive toward Marie as she cares for him after the cartel attack that left him paralyzed. To deal with her pain and frustration, she goes to open houses all over the city and tells the realtors made-up stories about her fantasy lives. She also falls back into kleptomania and steals mementoes from each house.


Walt vents about the surveillance cameras in the lab to Jesse. Jesse isn't concerned, though: they had suspected the lab of being bugged in the past, and the cameras mean they can stop speculating that they are being watched. He invites Walt to join him for go-karting after work, but he has other plans. Noticing Jesse acting strangely, Walt asks him if there's anything they should talk about, but Jesse sees Walt's black eye and claims he could ask Walt the same thing.

After work, Walt meets with Skyler and Saul at his apartment. Saul is convinced that the car wash is a no-go and touts a spa, but Skyler is determined to buy the car wash. At first, Walt doesn't seem interested in the car wash anymore, but Skyler turns him around to her way of thinking when she plays to his pride, mentioning the disparaging comments Bogdan made about him when Skyler offered to buy his business.


Meanwhile, Jesse goes to a go-kart track by himself and sadly drives around. When he returns home, his house is in a state of chaos as a result of a meth party that had spiraled out of control: addicts who flocked to his party are stealing his belongings, vandalizing his walls, having rough sex on the floor in full view of others, and starting fights. Jesse, however, doesn't care: the activity in his house helps to keep his demons at bay, so he simply lights a cigarette and takes in the chaos...

Marie finally gets caught stealing from an open house, drawing Hank's ire. She is taken to the police station, where Hank calls in a favor to get her off the hook. She breaks down crying as Tim Roberts, a detective with the Albuquerque Police Department, asks her if she's ready to go home.

A sanitation worker informs Bogdan that his wastewater containment systems have become faulty and need to be replaced, and his business has to shut down until it is repaired. Bogdan refuses to comply unless the sanitation worker can cite specific laws. He does, but what Bogdan doesn't realize is that this "sanitation worker" is Patrick Kuby, an employee of Saul Goodman, to whom Skyler is feeding lines through a Bluetooth earpiece.

Tim Roberts visits Hank, and asks him to return the favor he'd called in for Marie by helping Roberts on a peculiar case: the murder of Gale Boetticher. From the crime scene, Tim brings a notebook that Gale owned which seems to contain notes on a meth-manufacturing superlab. Hank is resentful of the "charity" the APD is giving him, but agrees to look into the case. After Tim leaves, though, he sets the notebook aside and continues to peruse his minerals.

At his house, Jesse is tossing handfuls of cash into the air to watch his "guests" scramble over each other trying to grab it. Tyrus watches from the street and reports back to Gus about Jesse's continuing downward spiral.

Back at the White residence, Walt and Skyler wait for Bogdan to call and accept their offer to buy the car wash. Walt is convinced that their gambit failed, but Skyler persists. Eventually, Bogdan calls. Skyler offers to buy the car wash, but at a discount, because she doesn't like Bogdan. Skyler hangs up on Bogdan, leaving Walt to think that she went too far, but he calls back and seems to accept Skyler's offer. The two celebrate their victory with a bottle of fancy champagne. When Skyler learns that the bottle costs over $300, she becomes cross with Walt, claiming that the bottle of fancy liquor contradicts their cover story of having modest means, which could spell disaster for them. As Walt pouts over the fact that he can't buy anything with his ill-gotten goods, Skyler quips how they should "destroy the evidence"...

While watching TV in bed, Hank decides to take a look at Gale's notebook...

This episode contains examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Do you want to go home?"
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Gus has installed surveillance cameras all over the lab. Not only does this display the depth of Gus' distrust of Walt, Gus now has the means to learn Walt's recipe and methods just by playing back some videotape to a replacement if he ever needs to get Walt out of the picture.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Walt: What are you doing?
    Skyler: I'm negotiating.
    Walt: Why??
    Skyler: Because I want to pay less.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Bill Burr portrays Patrick Kuby, the employee of Saul Goodman that Skyler uses to sell the water pollution story to Bogdan.
  • Curse Cut Short: Hank gets a call from Marie after she's detained for her kleptomania, and cuts short a Precision F-Strike.
  • Destroy the Evidence: Skyler suggests doing this for the bottle of $300 champagne Walt bought before imbibing in it.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers to Marie's visits to selling houses or Jesse leaving his door open for parties.
  • Dramatic Irony: Skyler saying violence is not who they are when Saul suggest strongarming Bogdan, unaware Walter is a murderer.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Skyler rules out using violence against Bogdan and refuses Saul's suggestion of calling an ICE raid on Bogdan, not wanting to get innocent immigrants in trouble.
  • Earpiece Conversation: How Skyler feeds Kuby the legal codes he needs to convince Bogdan that he's a legitimate inspector.
  • Flipping the Bird: When Walt sees that Gus has installed surveillance cameras in the lab, he displays a middle finger.
  • Foreshadowing: Walt, Skyler, and Saul discuss purchasing Bogdan's car wash. Saul's bodyguard Huell has a Potty Emergency and needs to use the bathroom while this is going on. After a lot of back-and-forth regarding what would be an acceptable "attitude adjustment" to get Bogdan to sell to the Whites, Saul sarcastically recapitulates the seemingly impossible restrictions they're imposing ("All we have to do is think of a non-violent, unsuspicious way to buy the car wash that protects the innocent and doesn’t cost us $20 million"). Then Huell flushes the toilet. Skyler eventually gets the idea to cite the car wash for phony water pollution violations, courtesy of an equally-phony environmental protection agent.
  • For Want of a Nail: Discussed. Walt and Skyler celebrate purchasing the car wash with expensive champagne. Once Skyler learns how much it cost, she and Walt argue about this trope — Skyler is insistent that, on paper, they cannot afford the champagne, and someone seeing Walt make the purchase could arouse suspicion and bring down the whole empire.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Played for Laughs. After buying the car wash, Walt (who had disapproved of the purchase all along) jokingly gives this one to Skyler, before sincerely praising her for her good work.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Once Marie is free to leave the police station, the detective asks her if she wants to go home. Ugly waterworks ensue.
  • Insistent Terminology: For the third straight episode, Hank isn't collecting rocks, they're minerals.
  • It's Personal: One of the reasons Skyler wants to buy Bogdan's car wash, specifically, is because she finds him rude and he insulted her. Walt is ambivalent until he learns that Bogdan insulted him as well, at which point he's on Skyler's side.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Jesse tries to decompress a bit by driving at a go-kart track. Several rapid cuts all show him dead-eyed to the world — except for one where he's letting loose a primal scream.
  • Motor Mouth: The guy at Jesse's house rambling on about zombies and whatever nuttery is running through his head.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Some of Saul's suggestions on dealing with Bogdan include calling an ICE raid on his likely illegal workers and even reporting him in as a terrorist.
    Saul: "Oh Agent Hoover, I've gotta tell ya, I've seen some real Islamic comings and goings over there at the car wash! I mean, guys in turbans pulling up in vans and stuff like that."
    Walt: Saul, Bogdan is Romanian.
  • Shame If Something Happened: One of a couple of avenues that Saul suggests when he, Walt and Skyler discuss how to get Bogdan to agree to sell the car wash for a lower rate.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: You wouldn't think go-karting could ever be so existentially horrifying, but when it's got Fever Ray's haunting "If I Had a Heart" pulsing in the background...