Breaking Bad Wiki
Breaking Bad Wiki

"Dead Freight" is the fifth episode of the fifth season of Breaking Bad and the fifty-first episode altogether.



An adolescent boy rides through the empty desert on a dirtbike. He stops to play with a tarantula, which he then places into a jar. When he gets back on his motorcycle, Drew hears a freight train in the distance and rides off to follow it.

Act I[]

Walt visits Hank in his new office at the DEA, where Hank remarks on Walt's expensive new watch. As they talk, Walt breaks down in crocodile tears, stating that Skyler no longer loves him and thinks he's a bad father. Uncomfortable with displays of emotion, Hank quickly excuses himself to fetch coffee for the two of them. With Hank gone as he had intended, Walt plants an inline transmitter into the ethernet port of Hank's computer and a receiver within a family picture frame on his desk. When nearly interrupted by Hank's return, Walt feigns to be coveting the loving relationship depicted in the photo of Hank and Marie.


Mike giving Lydia instructions

In Houston, Lydia is taken into the basement of an abandoned building by Walt, Jesse and Mike. Under threat of death, Mike forces her to call the DEA to sort out the origins of the tracker, supplying her with a prepared script. Listening in to Hank's phone communications, the trackers are revealed to have not come from the DEA's Albuquerque office. Intentionally within earshot, Mike and Walt vote to kill Lydia, despite her insisting that she hasn't crossed them. Just as Mike approaches her, the bug picks up a call from the DEA's Houston office confirming to Hank that they placed the trackers, vindicating Lydia. Eager to prove useful to the group, she tells them that they can find an "ocean" of methylamine in the form of a rail-based shipment that passes through New Mexico every week.

Act II[]

Lydia demands a percentage of the trio's profit after providing key transport details for stealing the methylamine, which will include the exact position of the tanker car carrying it in the freight train's configuration. Mike is skeptical of their ability to pull off the heist without killing the locomotive crew, which he thinks is the only viable way to get away "clean."

At the Schrader house, Hank and Marie play with Holly; Walt Jr., again calling himself "Flynn," sullenly refuses to socialize with them. Meanwhile, at Jesse's house, Mike and Walt argue about how or whether to produce meth without methylamine. The discussion becomes heated, with Walt accusing Mike of being content to merely scrape together the hazard pay for his jailed associates, and Mike in turn suggesting that Walt is hesitant to go through with the train heist. Jesse interjects with an idea: that involves stealing the methylamine from the train, but done in way that nobody realizes that the train was robbed.

Act III[]

In a remote area of McKinley County, Mike, Jesse, Walt, and Todd measure an 800-foot stretch of railroad track, the length to reach the tanker car carrying the methylamine. They discover that the length aligns perfectly with a small trestle; the operation can be completed and be well-hidden from the locomotive crew. The four excavate the ground and bury two 1,000-gallon chemical tanks near the trestle. Todd fills one with water, its weight approximately 90% of the weight of the methylamine they intend to steal, and the other remains empty. The plan is to replace the methylamine with water as the tanker drains, giving the appearance that the Chinese supplier watered down the product and covering up any indications of theft. Walt and Jesse stress to Todd that no one is to ever know that the heist occurred.

Back at the White residence, Walt comes home to find that Junior has returned and is refusing to come out of his room until he is told what is going on. Wanting to win Skyler over, Walt curtly tells Junior to return to the Schraders'. When Junior flatly demands a reason for the situation, Walt simply states "because we are your parents, and you are our child." After Junior leaves, Skyler insists that she will never change her mind about Walt and proposes a bargain: if he agrees to keep the children away from the house while he's engaging in the drug business, she'll launder his proceeds and act as his accomplice without question. Noticing the dirt on his pants, she asks, "Out burying bodies?" He replies, "Robbing a train."

Act IV[]


Jesse during the train heist

On the day of the heist, Kuby blocks the railroad crossing with a dump truck full of dirt, forcing the locomotive crew to halt the train. Mike signals to Walt as the crew assist Kuby. Jesse scrambles under the tanker car with a hose and begins draining methylamine into the empty tank, while at the same time Todd climbs atop the car with another hose. When a meter indicates that over 300 gallons of methylamine has been siphoned into the first tank, Walt turns on a pump to push the water from the second tank.


Jesse, Todd and Walt moments before Todd shoots Drew Sharp

The plan appears to be working until a good samaritan offers to push Kuby's truck off the tracks; Mike warns Walt to wrap things up. Walt waits until the last possible moment to finish the operation, forcing Todd to jump off the moving tanker car and Jesse to lay down flat on the tracks as the train passes over him. As the train leaves, Walt, Jesse and Todd celebrate their successful heist. However, the mood dampens when the three see the boy on the dirtbike, who has witnessed everything. Without warning, Todd pulls out a gun and shoots the boy dead as Jesse yells in protest.

Official Photos[]


  • A scene of Walter calculating the gain from the heist (nearly 300 million USD), compared to all historical train robberies is deleted but released on Blu-ray and the Italian version.
  • Jesse James is once again mentioned in this episode, this time by Jesse Pinkman when he says that boosting the methylamine from a train is just like "Jesse James." Jesse James was previously brought up when Mike Ehrmantraut compared Walter White's murder of Gustavo Fring to Robert Ford, Jesse James' assassin, saying "Just because you shot Jesse James, don't make you Jesse James." ("Hazard Pay")
  • The movie Hank says he has on blu ray, Michael Mann's Heat (1995) is a heist film. During the opening heist in which Neil McCauley's crew stages an armored car robbery, one of the thieves, Waingro, executes a guard unnecessarily, and is subsequently dumped by the gang. This parallels the ending of this episode when after the train heist, Todd Alquist shoots the boy, much to the dismay of Mike and Jesse.
  • The scene where Mike, Jesse, and Walt are interrogating Lydia is very similar to the scene in the Season 3 episode, "Half Measures" when Gus has the meeting with Jesse and the two drug dealers that Walt ends up running over. In that scene, Gus tells Jesse that Walt is his only friend in the room, and when Jesse turns to look at Walt Gus tells him: "You don't look at him, you look at me." In the scene with Lydia, Mike tells her that Jesse and Walt are being kind to spare her, and when she turns to look at them Mike tells her: "Look at me, not them." 
  • Hank refers to Walt Jr. as "Emo McGee" which could be a play on the fact that he called Walter White "Mr. Magoo" in a previous episode.
  • The shot of Jesse underneath the train was achieved by visual effects, with two separate shots combined: the train moving and revealing the tracks, and Jesse on the tracks.
  • Many crew members working on the episode have said it was very tough to film.
  • At one point during Lydia's interrogation, she mentions the train will be travelling through an area of poor reception, referred to in the train industry as "dark territory". In 1995, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, featuring Jonathan Banks in pretty much the role he has during the methylamine heist, shows a team of terrorists hijacking a train.
  • During the scene where Walt bugs Hank's office, on Hank's desk sits a black "Function First Collection" gooseneck table lamp. This may be a subtle reference to The Sopranos, in the episode "Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood," where the F.B.I. plants a bug in the exact same type of lamp owned by Tony Soprano.



Filming Locations[]

  • The train heist was filmed at a location just off US-285 & Spur Ranch Rd. This location is probably one of the furthest from Albuquerque other than the 4 Corners scene. (excluding stock footage) The train bridge is located at 35.498818, -105.916618 and the train crossing where they stall the truck is a few hundred feet away.

Featured Music[]

  • "Dead Freight" by Dave Porter (as the gang rob the train)

Memorable Quotes[]

Jesse: "I hate to say it, but she's right, Mike. She saved our asses by finding that thing."
Mike: "She's saving herself. She's a loose cannon. I am telling you, she will turn a gun or a badge on us the first chance she gets. The woman put a hit out on me."
Walter: "Seriously?"
―Jesse, Walter and Mike discussing the captured Lydia.

Lydia: "Hey! You still need methylamine, don't you? Right? You wanna talk methylamine? Then tell your partner to stop threatening me, and let's talk."
Walter: "Talk about what? You heard. You can't even get us a single barrel."
Lydia: "Who said anything about barrels? I'm talking about an ocean of the stuff."
―Lydia bartering with methylamine for her life.