"Breakage" is the fifth episode of the second season of Breaking Bad and the twelfth episode altogether.



Two men carrying small bundles swim across a muddy river. Once ashore, one of them stumbles and turns to find he's tripped over a dental grill encased in a Lucite cube: Hank Schrader's souvenir from his encounter with Tuco Salamanca.

Act I

Following a chemo session, Walter White's doctor recommends he be cautiously optimistic about his chances. But Walt's optimism fades quickly when he sees the final bill for the treatment.

At home, Skyler White tells Walt that the three-day hospital stay following his fugue state cost an additional $13,000. She asks if this is something Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz could cover in addition to his cancer treatment. He tells her they will, and promises to handle it. That night, he counts his drug money, realizing that after everything he's been through he has almost nothing. Later, Walt retches into the toilet and finds it's clogged when he tries to flush. As he plunges, up floats a pack of cigarettes.

At the office the next day, Hank Schrader tells his boss George Merkert that so far no one has filled the meth-supply void created by Tuco's death, though agents keep hearing the name "Heisenberg" on the street. Praising Hank for his sharklike qualities, Merkert gives him a promotion to the Tri-State Border Interdiction Task Force. He'll now be splitting his time between El Paso and Albuquerque. On the elevator down to a congratulatory lunch, Hank suffers a panic attack, and struggles to breathe.

Act II

"You're even dumber than I thought," Clovis tells Jesse Pinkman when he shows up at the repair yard. Jesse pays him for services rendered and damages to his fence and toilet, then makes a deal to stash the RV at the yard and buys a used 1986 Toyota Tercel.

205 5

Searching for an apartment, Jesse meets Jane Margolis, a droll chick with blue eyes and longish black hair who manages a duplex. She asks Jesse to provide proof of employment and a former address to rent the space, but cuts him a break when he tells her about his parents kicking him out of his house because he's a disappointment. She raises the rent, though, and demands more money up front. "D.B.A.A.," she warns him. "Don’t Be An Asshole."

Marie Schrader expresses dismay when she discovers Hank has called in sick the day after his promotion so he can brew "Schraderbräu" beer in his "man cave," the garage. While he's capping bottles of beer, one shatters and cuts his hand.

205 4

Out in the desert, Walt and Jesse cook meth and quarrel about their partnership. Walt wants Jesse to sell small quantities again to avoid dealing with another distributor like Tuco. Jesse protests, saying the "DEA's up my ass," so he can't be out on the street himself and will not expose himself to the high levels of risk for "chump-change". Walt asks what he proposes they do and Jesse reveals he has bills that need paying which angers Walt who snaps that he has absolutely nothing to show for their meth operation due to his chemotherapy bills and financing the "world's most expensive alibi". Jesse contemplates and Walt reveals that they have only two options since throwing in the towel is not an option: go into business with "yet another homicidal lunatic," or Jesse selling small quantities. Jesse proposes a third option which Walt questions. "We got to be Tuco", they control production and distribution themselves and Jesse offers to bring guys in who can act as distributors for them while the two of them stay completely off the front lines. Walt rejects this strategy, claiming he is not comfortable bringing unknown entities into their operation however Jesse snaps that he doesn't get to vote this time. Walt is shocked and reminds Jesse that they are equal partners and Jesse claims he remembers and brings up their original arrangement in which production was Walt's job and distribution was his and angrily declares that's exactly how they should have kept things rather than going to Tuco; "I sure as hell didn't find myself locked in a trunk or on my knees with a gun to my head before your greedy old ass came along," Jesse says. Walt becomes silent and for once takes responsibility for his actions admitting to having had a bit of a learning curve and that he may have been overly ambitious in pursuing a partnership with Tuco which Jesse agrees. Walt claims that will never happen again and Jesse agrees since this time they will be doing business his way or he walks, leaving Walt speechless. "You need me more than I need you, Walt," Jesse declares.


Setting out pretzels and soda in his new apartment, Jesse presents a business opportunity to Skinny Pete, Badger, and Combo. He'll front them each an ounce at a time of "the best schizz ever" and they sell it for $2,500. $2,000 goes to Jesse, their cut is $500. "This is the ground floor," he tells them. "D.B.A.A., Mo Fos."

Walt's family visits Hank and Marie. Alone with her sister, Skyler demands she apologize — "now or never" — for stealing the baby tiara and nearly getting Skyler arrested. Marie resists at first, but tearfully apologizes when Skyler says, "I need my sister back." Meanwhile, Walt listens as Hank regales Walter Jr. with the story of his confrontation with Tuco. Hank compares criminals to cockroaches: If you see one, "you don't think about it. You stomp him down."

Badger, Combo, and Skinny Pete sell Jesse's meth all over town. Everything goes fine until Skinny Pete is held up by a pair of junkies who make off with an ounce of meth.

Act IV

Jesse later asks Walt "What the hell do you want me to do?", arguing that they need to accept a little "breakage" as the cost of doing business — "like K-mart." "You think Tuco had 'breakage?'" Walt asks. "I guess it's true. He did. He broke bones."

Back at his house, Walt shows Skyler the crumpled cigarette package he retrieved from the toilet, and accusingly asks if she knows anything about it. "Perhaps," she responds. "And then again, perhaps I don't, Walt. Perhaps I smoked them in a fugue state."

Skyler admits to having smoked three-and-a-half cigarettes before disposing of the pack and says that of course she feels ashamed. "This is so unlike you," Walt says. "How would you know?" she replies.

That night, Hank and Marie are awakened to loud gunshot-like pops coming from inside the house. Gun drawn, he heads to the garage, visibly shaken, only to his relief to find that it's just the sound of his Schraderbräu bottles exploding due to the pressure.

205 8

Walt shows up at Jesse's apartment, handing him the gun Jesse bought to defend himself against Tuco. "You asked me what I want you to do," Walt says. "I want you to handle it."

In daylight, Hank stands at a river's edge, takes a deep breath, and heaves Tuco's grill into the water.

Official Photos


  • The title of the episode comes from the conversation between Jesse and Walter, during which Jesse explains that Skinny Pete's incident was "Breakage." It is also a symbolism of Walter's change into a Tuco figure, insisting that revenge be taken, and his inevitable resemblance to Gus. Heisenberg has broken loose. It is also symbolism of Hank's mental breakdown from post traumatic stress disorder stemming from his shootout with Tuco, as well as Skyler's smoking problem.
  • In the scene where Jesse discusses the new business arrangement with Skinny Pete, Badger and Combo there is a slight continuity error. Combo takes the cap off the soda and as the camera cuts to behind Combo the lid is back on the soda. It then cuts back to in front of him and the lid is off. Then the camera cuts again and we see Combo take the lid off again.
  • Jesse tells his friends: "Apply yourselves!" Walter White wrote "Apply yourself!" on his high school chemistry test.
  • The scene where Hank believes there is an intruder because of his exploding Schraderbrau bottles is reminiscent of the scene in "Seven Thirty-Seven" where Walt believes there is an intruder because nobody is home, only to find Skyler taking a bath. Both of them nearly shoot their wives in self-defense.



Featured Music

  • "Hook 'Em Horns" by Johnny Ringo (playing in Jesse's new car as he pulls up outside Jane's apartments)
  • "Schraderbräu" by Dean Norris (as Hank) (Hank sings as he bottles his home brew, Schraderbräu, in his garage)
  • "Lonesome Road" by Big Jack Johnson (with Kim Wilson and Pinetop Perkins) (in the background, outside at Hank and Marie's house)
  • "Peanut Vendor" by Alvin "Red" Tyler (during the montage where Badger, Combo, and Skinny Pete sell the meth)

Memorable Quotes

Jane: "And in addition to first and last, I want two more months. D.B.A.A. fee, non-refundable."
Jesse: "Yeah, of course. Non-refundable. D.B.A.A. Obviously. Yeah., uh...what's D.B.A.A?"
Jane: "Don't Be An Asshole."
―Jane and Jesse.
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