Breaking Bad Wiki
Breaking Bad Wiki

"Box Cutter" is the first episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad and the thirty-fourth episode altogether.



In a flashback, Gale excitedly unpacks new lab equipment in the superlab, making notes in a notebookGus visits the lab to check on Gale's progress. Gale tells him that the sample of blue meth he has been given to analyze is beyond the chemical purity that he, or anyone else he knows of, can produce. Gus politely demurs, saying the chemist responsible wouldn't make a suitable partner. Gale disagrees, saying they "have their work cut out for them" if that is their competition. Gale's comments cause Gus to reconsider.

Act I[]


Gale's corpse

In the present, Jesse stands in Gale's doorway, having just shot him. In a state of shock, he does not rush from the scene. Later, Victor arrives at the apartment complex, pushes his way through a small group of onlookers gathering outside the open doorway, and sees Gale's body. Outside, he spots a shellshocked Jesse in his car. Victor jumps in and orders Jesse to drive at gunpoint.

Victor takes Jesse to the superlab, where Walt and Mike are staring each other down. Walt initially assumes that Jesse failed, but realizes from his dazed emotional condition that he did in fact kill Gale. Mike takes Victor aside and asks if he performed a sweep of Gale's apartment. He replies that he couldn't on account of the people already there. When Mike asks if he was seen, Victor dismissively admits he was.

Early the next morning, Marie appears at the White residence with a stack of unpaid medical bills. Seeing Walt's Aztek in the driveway, she excitedly assumes that he and Skyler have reunited. After she leaves, Skyler moves the Aztek to a nearby street so Walt Jr. won't ask questions when he wakes up.

Back at the lab, Walt explains the new reality to Mike and Victor: like it or not, he is the only one who can keep up with their production schedule. In response, Victor switches on the lab equipment, having become familiar with the cooking process by watching Walt and Gale. Now the two face a potential problem: whether Victor can manage a cook by himself.

Act II[]

Saul is frantically scouring every inch of his office for bugs when he receives a call from Skyler asking about Walt's whereabouts. Returning her call by payphone, he falsely assures her Walt is fine; then he tells his new bodyguard, Huell Babineaux, that they might need to leave town. Meanwhile, Skyler drives with Holly to Walt's apartment. When no one answers the door, she summons a locksmith, Adam, and pressures him to illegally let her inside by feigning a panic attack. Searching the apartment, she finds no clues to where her husband might be.

Meanwhile, at the Schrader residence, a frustrated Hank is being put through physical therapy with a trainer. Marie gushes about Hank's progress but Hank dismisses the compliment, commenting that he only covered sixteen feet in twenty minutes. Humiliated and defeated, he asks Marie to help him use his bedpan.

Act III[]


Gus slicing Victor's throat with a box cutter

In the superlab, Walt watches Victor's cooking process and is dismayed when he doesn't miss a step. Gus arrives, quietly glaring at him and Jesse. As he wordlessly changes into an orange clean-up suit, an increasingly anxious Walt defends his actions and insists he and Jesse are the only two meth cooks he can rely on. Gus picks up a box-cutter and walks menacingly toward Walt and Jesse. He turns toward them, in front of Victor. Instead of attacking them, however, he turns, grabs Victor and slashes his neck, spraying blood everywhere. Walt can hardly look at the scene, and even Mike briefly draws his gun in shock, but Jesse glares back at Gus. Gus silently changes back into his suit. Before he leaves the lab, he says to Walt and Jesse "Well, get back to work."

Act IV[]

Walt and Jesse, with some assistance from Mike, squeeze Victor's body into a plastic drum and fill it with gallon bottles of hydrofluoric acid. Walt seals the drum, which is shipped off with a load of hazardous material. Later at a Denny's restaurant, a shaken Walt asks Jesse what their next move is going to be since, he believes, Gus will kill them at the first opportunity. Jesse says that Gus won't dispose of them, but thinks that his murder of Victor still sent a message: "If I can't kill you, you'll sure as shit wish you were dead."

Walt arrives at the White residence in a cab but can't find his Aztek. Skyler meets him in the driveway and tells him she moved it to avoid questions from Walt Jr. She doesn't ask where he's been; she simply directs him to his car and returns to the house. Walt smiles, optimistic that he's making some headway with Skyler.

Meanwhile, at Gale's apartment, the Albuquerque Police process the murder scene. Yet unnoticed, Gale's notebook sits in plain sight on the coffee table, boldly labeled "LAB NOTES."

Official Photos[]


  • When searching Walt's apartment, Skyler finds the Teddy Bear eye from Seasons 2-3.
  • A bedridden Hank is shown bidding on a magnesite crystal on a fictional auction site called "". The URL displayed in the browser is actually a local file on Hank's laptop: "C:\Users\Mad Props\Desktop\Mineral Emporium screen\ebay hero.html". in fact redirects to and that redirects finally to[1]
  • The box cutter Gus uses to kill Victor is presumably the same one used by Gale to cut open the boxes containing the equipment at the beginning of the episode. Its later use is foreshadowed in the earlier scene and is an example of “Chekhov's gun”, the dramatic principle of using details established earlier in a story as catalysts for later events.[2]
    • The production designer says he and Gilligan chose the type of box cutter on purpose: the green color was easy to see on the red floor.
    • The box cutter model used in episode is the RSG-383 QuickBlade Safety Grip by Pacific Handy Cutter, Inc.[3]
  • Gus's killing of Victor in front of Walt and Jesse may contradict Gus’s previous statement (in "Green Light") that he does not find fear to be an effective motivator. Whether or not this is true depends on whether Jesse’s later assessment of Gus’s reasoning is accurate.
  • During a scene when Gale's neighbor calls police to report his murder, a clock in Gale's apartment reads 10:13. This is a deliberate reference to the number 1013, which frequently appeared in The X-Files, where Vince Gilligan worked as a writer and producer. It refers to the October 13 birthday of X-Files creator Chris Carter.
  • During this scene Walt and Jesse are wearing matching T-shirts with country music singer Kenny Rogers on them. The T-shirts are deliberately not explained in the episode, but Vince Gilligan said he believed Mike simply bought the first articles of clean clothing he could find for Walter and Jesse after their clothes were soaked with Victor's blood.
    • Walter's t-shirt still retains the adhesive label with the size "Large".
    • There's a very subtle double joke here. Kenny Rogers became known as "The Gambler" as a result of his 1978 hit song of the same name. This is a clever little nod to Skyler's tale to Marie how Walt made money by gambling. However, even deeper than this, while Rogers became known as "The Gambler," in the original song, he wasn't really the gambler - he merely met up and received advice from the gambler, a subtle nod to the fact that that wasn't really how Walt made his money.
  • When Mike asks if the hydrofluoric acid will work, Jesse says, "Trust us," referring to their use of hydrofluoric acid to dissolve Emilio Koyama's body in "Cat's in the Bag...".
  • In the previous episode, Gale makes a comment about Victor to Walt suggesting he doesn't recognize him, yet the opening flashback in this episode establishes Victor supervised Gale setting up the lab.



Featured Music[]

  • "Bringing It Back" by Tee-Double (playing in Walt Jr's room in the morning)
  • "Eyeball in the Drawer" by Dave Porter (while Skyler snoops around the Beachcomber)
  • "I Don't Mind" by Jamie Dunlap, Scott Nickoley, and Stephen Lang (in the diner while Jesse eats)
  • "Unknown Track #1" by Unknown Artist (in the diner while Jesse eats)
  • "Truth" by Alexander Ebert (as Walt walks to get his car and the police examine Gale's apartment)

Memorable Quotes[]

"Alright, let's talk about Gale Boetticher. He was a good man and a good chemist. He didn't deserve what happened to him. He didn't deserve it at all. But I'd shoot him again and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. When you make it Gale versus me, or Gale versus Jesse, Gale loses! Simple as that. This is on you, Gus, not me, not Jesse. I mean really, what'd you expect me to do? Just simply roll over and allow you to murder us? That I wouldn't take measures – extreme measures – to defend myself? Wrong! Think again."
―Walter to Gustavo Fring.

"I walked sixteen feet in twenty minutes, which is up from like fifteen-and-a-half yesterday. And I had maybe this much less shit in my pants. So, yeah, Marie, if you and him and everybody else in America secretly took a vote and changed the meaning of the entire English language, yeah, I guess I broke new ground."
―Hank while recovering from The Cousins' attack.

"Gus. You do this, all you'll have left is an $8 million hole in the ground. This lab... This equipment is useless without us. Without... Without Jesse and myself, you have no new product. You—You—You have no income. Your people out there will not be paid. Your distribution chain collapses. Without us... you have nothing. You kill me, you have nothing. You kill Jesse, you don't have me. You won't do this. You're too smart. You can't afford to do this. Please. Let us just go back to work. We're here. Let us work. We're... We're... We're ready to go to work. We'll just pick up right where we left off..."
―Walter's anxious speech to Gus while he walks towards them with a box cutter.

"Well? Get back to work."
―Gus' response to Jesse and Walter after killing Victor.


  1. Mineral Emporium
  2. Chekhov's Gun
  3. [ RSG-383 QuickBlade Safety Knife]