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Recap / Breaking Bad S 4 E 6 Cornered

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All together, now: "I am the one who knocks!"

"You clearly don’t know you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger."
Walter White

While cartel men hijack a Los Pollos Hermanos truck carrying fry batter (one bucket of which concealed blue meth), Skyler listens to the voicemail Walt left her telling her he loved him while looking up what information she could on Gale Boetticher's murder. Afterwards, she questions Walt about his drunken proclamation to Hank that Gale wasn't smart enough to have been Heisenberg, his suspicious voicemail, Gale's murder, and his employers' involvement in it. Walt, no longer drunk on wine but heavily hungover and still drunk on his growing ego, dismisses her concerns. When Skyler suggests Walt could be in danger of opening his door and being shot on his front step like Gale, he lays down the cold hard facts as he sees it:

"I am not in danger, Skyler, I am the danger! A man opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No...I am the one who KNOCKS!"


Fearful both for and of her husband, Skyler takes Holly on a drive.

Walt goes to the car wash by himself in order to complete the transfer of ownership from Bogdan to himself. Bogdan tries to explain to Walt that a boss has to be tough on his workers, like he had been on Walt when he worked for him. Before leaving, Bogdan takes a picture frame containing the first dollar he had ever made. Walt, however, tells him that the agreement they made was for him to buy the car wash "as is", forcing Bogdan to relinquish his one memento of his business to Walt. Once Bogdan has left, Walt cracks the picture frame open, takes Bogdan's first dollar, and squanders it on a can of cola.

At a diner, Mike is having a meal while Jesse drinks coffee. Mike notices Jesse's hands trembling and asks how he's doing. Jesse states he "isn't using": he is struggling with withdrawal. Mike lets Jesse have his meal, then receives a phone call and departs. Jesse offers to accompany Mike, but Mike says he can handle it.


Back at home, Junior is moody over Skyler's disappearance and anger at Walt, assuming she's angry with him because of his "gambling addiction". Walt tells him that his "addiction" doesn't control him and that he stands by the choices he made. While driving Junior to school, Walt decides to lighten the mood and take a detour, so that he can buy a car for his son. Junior, taking advantage of Walt trying to "buy him off", uses the opportunity to ask for the car of his dreams: a red 2009 Dodge Challenger.

Walt and Jesse meet outside the superlab, where Walt grills Jesse about his jobs with Mike. Walt finds it hard to believe that Jesse is being made to guard Mike. Jesse acknowledges that the situation probably started with Mike needing to "babysit" him to keep him from being a liability, but claims that he saved Mike from a robbery and is proud of his work. But Walt states that the real reason Gus is having Jesse work with Mike is because Gus can't kill Jesse, since Walt won't work without him. Thus, instead of having Jesse killed, he's trying to drive a wedge between them and must have set up the robbery to make Jesse feel like a hero. Jesse, upset by Walt's self-centeredness, doesn't believe him and skulks off to the lab.

Partway through their cook, Jesse is called away by Mike, to Walt's chagrin. Refusing to clean the lab by himself, he heads up to the laundromat to enlist the help of a few migrant workers. At first, the women are scared to go down to the lab, but Walt manages to convince them with some cash incentive, silently gloating to Gus via the surveillance cameras while the women clean.

Skyler arrives at the Four Corners Monument with Holly. She flips a coin at the center of the monument and it lands in Colorado. Disappointed, she flips it again, and again it lands in Colorado. After a moment of hesitation, Skyler drags the coin back into New Mexico with her foot.

Mike and Jesse make their way to a house occupied by tweakers who had gotten a batch of blue meth, but not from Gus. Mike tells Jesse that they are to watch the house, but Jesse insists on getting the meth back quickly. He first tries knocking on the door and asking for the meth, pretending to be an addict himself; but is rebuffed. Insisting that he knows junkies to Mike, Jesse then gets a shovel and starts to dig a hole in the front yard. When one of the tweakers sees what he's doing, Jesse convinces him to keep digging, distracting him so he can go inside. Another junkie is inside, and points a shotgun at Jesse in his paranoia. When Mike enters from the back door and distracts him, however, Jesse gains the upper hand and knocks him out.

Mike and Jesse retrieve the bucket of fry batter and the meth. The bucket has a message written on it in marker: "¿Estás listo para platicar?": Ready to talk?

After the superlab is cleaned, Walt and the migrant workers return to the laundromat, only to be confronted by Tyrus, who orders the women to board a bus to "take them back to the Honduras". Walt begs Tyrus not to take them away and have Gus blame him instead, but Tyrus tells him "he already does".

Mike and Jesse debrief at a diner. They are joined by Gus, who excuses Jesse for a minute while he discusses matters with Mike. Mike relays the message on the bucket, from the cartel, to Gus. Mike wants to have more operators on hand so they can retaliate, but Gus wants to settle matters without going to war, and instead wants to arrange a meeting. Before leaving, Gus asks Mike to tell him how Jesse did.

As Gus leaves, he praises Jesse. When Jesse asks why him, Gus tells him that he likes to think he can see things in people. Jesse doesn't know what to make of this, but his spirits seem to be lifted.

Skyler returns home, and sees the Dodge Challenger in her parking lot. After Junior leaves to take his new car for a ride, Skyler tells Walt he has to return it the following morning: such a costly car would contradict their ruse of being of modest means and having just bought a car wash. Walt says he's worried Junior would blame Skyler, but Skyler is already resigned to the fact that she would be blamed for taking from him a gift his loving father gave him. She leaves him with a few piercing words: "Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family."

This episode contains examples of:

  • Artistic License – Cars: In the opening scene the robbers use the truck's exhaust gases to suffocate the guards inside the cargo bay. This wouldn't work for several reasons. First, the vast majority of trucks in the US run on diesel fuel, not gasoline, and diesel soot is not poisonous. It even contains a high amount of breathable air. Therefore it would neither poison nor suffocate the guards. If they wanted to achieve this, they should've piped the exhaust from their own SUV into the truck, as a normal gasoline-powered car's exhaust contains a lot of carbon monoxide. Or simply bring a large can of nitrogen and pump that into the cargo bay which would kill the guards instantly, especially if they are lying prone on the floor. The other reason why it wouldn't work is that the cargo bay is hermetically sealed (being a refrigerator truck) and the exhaust can not push air out of the enclosed space. It would increase pressure for a while, then probably just stall. In any case, the guards would probably have a bad time, even get a migraine, but wouldn't be killed.
    • The guards shot up the doors in an effort to escape, the resulting holes (of which there were many) would have broken the seal and allowed the exhaust gases to circulate freely.
  • Badass Boast: When Skyler suggests Walt may be in danger due to his work, Walt lays out the facts as he sees them; that he is far too invaluable to the people he works for to be disposed of, and that he is not in danger, but the danger.
  • Batman Gambit: It turns out that Jesse really does know methheads. All he has to do is take a shovel and start digging outside the house, tell the guy who comes outside to see him that it's important, ask him to take over, and then ask to use the bathroom to get inside. If the guy he was trying it on was smarter than a box of crayons, this plan would fail at the first step. With the methhead, it works flawlessly.
  • Call-Back: The episode opens on another scene of people riding in the back of one of Gus' refrigerated trucks to protect the meth. In fact, some of the camera angles and cinematography are identical. This truck's driver/guardians aren't nearly so fortunate as Mike was.
  • Cassandra Truth: Walt is absolutely correct that Gus is trying to separate Walt and Jesse and that Gus sent the two men after Jesse himself. For obvious reasons, Jesse doesn't believe it for a second.
  • Cool Car: Walt finally gives in and buys Junior a car — a brand-new Challenger.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Jesse puts this one on himself, apparently having achieved Gus' favor and Mike's protection. He tells Walt in no uncertain terms that he sees himself as a hero of Gus' empire, and that he plans to continue being one.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Walt bribes some of the non-criminal cleaning staff to clean the secret hi-tech meth lab for him, drinking a toast towards the camera while he does so, and seems surprised when there are repercussions for them. If the audience is surprised by anything, it's that Gus goes to the trouble of deporting them instead of simply killing them (if that is indeed what he did).
    • To perk up Junior after being bummed out that he wasn't moving back in, Walt decides to buy him a car. Junior takes advantage of his generosity to coax him into buying a hot red Challenger. Unfortunately, as Skyler points out, buying such an expensive car was a very bad idea when they were trying to maintain a cover story of being of modest means and having used the bulk of an otherwise unimpeachable windfall of money to buy a car wash.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The methheads that Jesse and Mike investigate show some of the worse effects of the drug; diminished mental capacity, rotting teeth, and very bad skin.
  • Exact Words: Skyler unwittingly attracts this when she asks Walt about who killed Gale.
    Skyler: Was it the people you work for?
    Walt: Definitely not.
  • Every Man Has His Price: The promise of $50 up-front, and more after the work is done, is enough to get three line-workers at the laundry to overcome their fear of breaking the rules of their employment and help Walt clean the lab in Jesse's absence. Gus is not amused, and has the three ladies put on a bus back to Honduras.
  • Evil Is Petty: Walt insists on taking his former boss' framed first dollar, breaking the frame to do so, then promptly spends it on a soda. The man isn't even present to witness this last bit of humiliation, so it's purely for Walt's own vindictive satisfaction.
  • Flipping the Bird: Walt is definitely suspicious of all the positive attention Jesse is getting from Gus and Mike, and asks Jesse whether that registers as somehow odd. Jesse takes offense, and...
    Jesse: Register this.
  • For Want of a Nail: Skyler is pissed and revisits this one after Walt buys Junior a sweet Challenger.
  • Gas Chamber: A bunch of Cartel hitmen kill two of Gus' guys by redirecting the exhaust fumes of the truck into the storage compartment. Which, incidentally, is a method actually used by the Nazis before they switched to Zyklon-B.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Jesse successfully distracts and bypasses the guy guarding a drug den by giving him a shovel.
  • I Am the Noun: Walt gives his famous "I am the Danger" quote when Skyler asks him to tell everything to the police.
  • It's All About Me: Verbatim from Walt, once he pieces together that Gus and Mike put the hit out on Jesse. (See Properly Paranoid below.)
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: After buying out the car wash from Bogdan as a means to launder money, Walt refuses to let him hang onto his framed first dollar he had made. Once he walks away, Walt breaks out the dollar and uses it to buy a coke.
  • Pet the Dog: Mike giving Jesse his dinner.
  • Properly Paranoid: Walt figures out that Gus and Mike set up the robbery, and believes they're building Jesse's ego up in order to set Jesse and Walt against each other and drive them apart. Jesse thinks Walt's ego is out of control again, but the audience knows Walt's absolutely right.
  • Oh, Crap!: A small, subtle one at the end of Walt's famous "one who knocks" speech; just as he finishes it, he gets a sudden look of uncertainty on his face and backs away embarrassedly. It's worth remembering that he began the speech attempting to reassure Skyler of their safety, but by all but confessing to murder, he's done anything but.
  • Robbing the Dead: After the cartel goons shoot the truck driver and lock the guards in the back to suffocate, they eat the driver's food.
  • Stunned Silence: Skyler's reaction after Walt's famous rant introduces her to Heisenberg for the first time.
  • Taught by Experience: The Juarez Cartel learn a thing or two about how Gus protects his trucks, and don't make the same mistake this time.
  • Time for Plan B: Jesse can't figure out why Mike plans to wait out the meth-heads currently in possession of some stolen blue meth, when a much simpler solution seems to be called for. Mike justifies his plan by calling on his experience as a private investigator. Jesse isn't sold, and sets his own plan in motion: walk up to the house pretending to be a buyer... which doesn't even get him through the door.
    Mike: Guess we'll go with Plan A, then.
    • Double Subversion follows when Jesse realizes that, while Mike knows private investigation, Jesse knows that meth-heads are not capable of thinking straight, and concocts a Plan C: start digging in the front yard to lure one of them out of the house.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Skyler wonders if Walt and the rest of the family are safe from the same fate that befell Gale. Walt replies by ranting at-length to Skyler about how important he is to the meth empire.
    "Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly-up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger! A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A shorter version than most, yet no less biting:
    Skyler: Yes, once again his bitch mother takes away something his loving father gave him, so thanks for that.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: A variant, courtesy of Skyler, who lays down to Walt just how much she really trusts him to keep their family out of trouble with this final line:
    "Someone has to protect this family from the man who protects this family."