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Recap / Breaking Bad S4 E9 "Bug"

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Season 4, Episode 09:

Walt and Jesse Bug Out.
Written by Moira Walley-Beckett & Thomas Schnauz
Directed by Terry McDonough
Air date: September 11, 2011

Jesse: Everything that I have done for you- You put a bug on my car?
Walt: I'm sorry, after everything you've done for me? What you've done for me?! You've killed me is what you've done! You signed my death warrant! And now you want advice? Alright, I'll give you advice: go to Mexico and screw up like I know you will, and wind up in a barrel somewhere!

In a flashforward, Walt picks up his broken glasses from the floor as spots of blood drip onto his Wallabees.

Hank has Walt drive him out to Los Pollos Hermanos once more to retrieve the tracking bug placed on Gus' car. Thankfully for Walt, the bug only shows Gus travelling between work and home: nothing to implicate him in any criminal enterprise. As Walt leaves Hank's house, he sees Tyrus watching outside and calls the police to report a "suspicious man", forcing Tyrus to leave.

At the laundromat, Walt is surprised to hear Jesse say he's ready to cook. He has a "friendly" conversation with Jesse about what he does after work, confirming that Jesse is still lying to him about his recent meetings with Gus and that Jesse still has not poisoned Gus with the ricin cigarette.

The following day, Hank asks Walt to drive him out to the factory farm owned by Gus. Walt feigns illness in order to delay Hank, then calls Mike to tell him of Hank's plan, so that he and Jesse can hide evidence of Gus' drug business.

As Skyler cooks her books by pretending to ring up customers between actual customers, Ted Beneke pays the car wash a visit. He reveals that he is being audited by the IRS for his own book-cooking, scaring Skyler: since she was Ted's bookkeeper, the IRS would be able to investigate her as well!

Back at the factory farm, as Jesse attempts to subtly persuade Mike that it would he unwise for Gus to kill Hank, a cartel sharpshooter begins to fire on them, killing one of Mike's men. Mike saves Jesse by pushing him out of the line of fire. A furious Gus steps out and starts walking in the direction of the sniper, undeterred as the shooter fires warning shots around him. That night, Gus makes a call to give a message to the cartel: his answer is yes.

Mike and Jesse take the dead operative's body to the superlab to dispose of it. Walt is inside, and goes into a diatribe against Mike and Jesse, assuming Gus killed the operative. Mike rebukes him, and warns him against calling the police on his men again. After disposing of the corpse, Jesse thanks Mike for saving him and asks about why Gus "pulled that Terminator shit" at the farm. Mike explains that the cartel can't afford to kill him: they need his distribution center. Jesse is concerned that he and Mike could be considered acceptable targets by the cartel. Mike suggests asking Gus about the matter.

The next day, Ted is at the IRS office to explain the errors in his bookkeeping. Skyler arrives, obfuscating ignorance and pretending to be an airhead whom Ted hired simply because he wanted to sleep with her. With the IRS convinced that the errors in his bookkeeping were because of ignorance of the law rather than willful fraud, Skyler advises Ted to pay the IRS what he owes, but Ted claims that he has no assets left: his used subcompact, which he now drives in place of a BMW, is testament to this.

That evening, Jesse arranges to meet with Gus at his home for dinner. Gus is sympathetic to Jesse's concerns about the cartel, but wants to know if Jesse can cook Walt's formula. Realizing what this would mean for Walt, Jesse tells Gus that he would have to kill him if he wants to kill Walt. Gus clarifies that what he wants is not Walt's death, but to stop a war with the cartel...

Walt, having secretly placed Hank's tracker on Jesse's car, reads the data from the bug as Jesse calls Walt and asks him to come over for some advice. When Walt arrives, Jesse evasively explains that Gus is trying to prevent a war with the cartel and wants Jesse to come to Mexico with him to teach the cartel their formula. Jesse is afraid that he might die during the journey if he messes up the cook, and wants Walt to coach him. Walt asks him repeatedly if he had met with Gus. Jesse denies it, but Walt knows he is lying: the ricin cigarette has not been used, and he knew that Jesse had been to Gus' house for two hours and eighteen minutes, during which time he never used the ricin and likely had no intention to.

When Jesse asks Walt how he knew how long he was at Gus' house, Walt produces his tracking bug. Jesse is appalled and asks how Walt could place a bug on his car after all he did for him.

"What you've done for me?!" Walt barks. "YOU KILLED ME, is what you've done! You've signed my death warrant! Now you want advice?! I'll give you advice: go to Mexico and screw up like I know you will, and wind up in a barrel somewhere!"

An enraged Jesse throws the bug at Walt, hitting him in the head. Walt tackles Jesse into the wall and the two get into a bitter fist fight, with Walt throwing Jesse on the floor and kicking him in the face. The fight ends after Jesse gets the upper-hand on Walt by tripping him on the table after Walt calls it quits, punching him repeatedly in the face and accidentally breaking his glasses.

After the two have a moment to catch their breath, Jesse asks if Walt can walk. When Walt nods, Jesse tells him...

"...then get the fuck out and never come back."

This episode provides examples of:

  • Boom, Headshot!: Gaff manages to paint the walls with the brains of one of Mike's guys in his efforts to draw out Gus.
  • Brutal Brawl: Tensions finally boil over between Walt and Jesse and they engage in a furious fistfight, wrecking Jesse's living room. Surprisingly Walt gives as good as he gets, throwing Jesse across the room and giving him a vicious kick to the face. In the next episode, Jesse sports visible facial bruises and Walt is bedridden from being beaten.
  • Call-Back: For the second time, things between Walt and Jesse escalate to an all-out brawl. Once again, Jesse ends up on top of Walt, but this time he doesn't hesitate to punch him in the face.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Gus is this to the cartel because they still need his distribution, hence why he steps out in front of his men arms open wide, to halt the cartel sniper.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Hank shows Walt how he used a GPS tracker to determine every location Gus' car visited, which later gives Walt the idea to use one on Jesse.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Walt gets in a few fair solid hits despite Jesse winning overall.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title of the episode refers to people bugging others (putting devices on their property to get information). Hank bugged Gus by planting a GPS on his car to learn more about him. Meanwhile, Walt revealed to Jesse that he bugged his car to let him know he knew Jesse was at Gus' house.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Jesse feels betrayed when he finds out Walt put a GPS on his car. This is subtlely implied to be Walt's feelings as well when he confronts the former about lying about not seeing Gus since the diner in "Cornered".
  • Get Out!: "Can you walk?" "Yeah." "Then get the fuck out and never come back."
  • Handicapped Badass: It doesn't mean he won, but Walt can throw down pretty well for a late middle-aged man with cancer.
  • Implied Death Threat: Mike gives one to Walt after he calls the police to stop Tyrus from spying on Hank.
    Mike: Just get the barrel. And if you ever plan on calling the cops on one of my guys again, you go ahead and get two barrels.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: Jesse makes the classic "Don't they speak Mexican in Mexico?" faux pas.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: No matter how foolish and self-sabotaging Walt was when revealing the bug to Jesse, he isn't wrong to be furious at his partner for deliberately lying to him about not seeing Gus to the point he lost enough trust to plant the bug in the first place. The two were established partners by that point but Jesse, after claiming he would kill Gus, continued to make excuses and lie that he hadn't had any contact with Gus since their encounter at the diner. Walt ultimately loses the argument when he spitefully snarls at Jesse to go off to Mexico and get killed since his screwing-up is inevitable and subsequently gets his butt handed to him by Jesse.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Even when an exhausted Walt decides to call a ceasefire to their battle, a still enraged Jesse is not having it and continues beating him even when Walt cannot defend himself anymore.
  • Oh, Crap!: Skyler has this when she realizes that if the IRS is auditing Ted, she would be found culpable in his book cooking.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In order to save Ted from a major audit, Skyler adopts a Dumb Blonde persona and convinces the auditor that she left income unclaimed because she's unqualified to be an accountant. It works.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Walt and Jesse beat the shit out of each other near the end.
  • Precision F-Strike: After Walt and Jesse's brawl.
    Jesse: Get the fuck out and never come back.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Twofold. After all the insults from Walt over the series, both towards his (admittedly boneheaded on occasion) actions and intelligence, plus revealing to him that his car was being bugged for days, Jesse has had ENOUGH. He angrily tosses the bug at Walt's scalp, which in turn, makes an overwhelmed and outraged Walt turn his aggression physically onto his partner and the two brutally go at it. Jesse is the winner and orders Walt to get the fuck out of his house and life forever.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Hank's singing of "Eye of the Tiger" Deteriorates Into Gibberish soon after the first line of the chorus.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Walter should have realized on his ride over to Jesse's home that revealing to the person you've been tracking (Jesse) is not a wise move given that it will more likely than not completely destroy any semblance of trust or loyalty your partner has towards you. Hell, it causes the worse brawl between him and Jesse so far. Of course, Walter might very well be too angry at Jesse's gradual shift toward's Gus' side and his outright lying to him about not seeing the kingpin to even care about Jesse's feelings.
  • Unflinching Walk: Gus walks out into the crosshairs of a sniper, maintaining a brisk and pissed stride as the assassin fires shots around him. He was able to do so confidently, according to Mike, because the cartel needs him and his distribution network.
  • Villain Respect: The cartel hitman, Gaff seems privately impressed that Gus was willing to step out and stare down his sniper rifle.

"...Then get the fuck out and never come back."