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Breaking Bad Wiki

"Fifty-One" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of Breaking Bad and the fiftieth episode altogether.



At an auto shop, a mechanic goes over some recent fixes to Walter White's Pontiac Aztek, including cleaning some residue blood off the grill from that "deer" he had hit (which was not a deer, but the rival dealers). ("Half Measures") He jokes that at least the windshield didn't need to be replaced again. Walt looks inside and finds his pork pie hat in the back seat, which he greets with a smile. Just then he has a thought, he offers to trade his Aztek to the mechanic for $100 and immediately lowers it to $50. The mechanic thinks he's joking, as he's just replaced upwards of $1,900 worth of insurance paid parts. Walter White Jr. too asks his dad to slow down but Walt shrugs it off and trades in the car. Back at the White Residence, Walt drives home in a brand new shiny pitch black Chrysler 300. Walt Jr., in front of his Chrysler PT Cruiser gives him an uncertain look, politely smiling but clearly not feeling too excited, so Walt trades the PT Cruiser in for another red and black striped Dodge Challenger. They both beam at each other as they grip their respective steering wheels, elated with their new "toys".

Act I

At the Houston office of Madrigal Electromotive, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle nervously sits at her desk on a conference call with Germany. She realizes she is wearing mismatched shoes. She receives a tip-off call from Mike Ehrmantraut and seconds later the DEA arrive to question her. She leads them to Ron Forenall who is promptly arrested. Lydia calls Mike to tell him that the methylamine transport will be cut off due to Ron's arrest. Mike informs her he'll send someone else.

At the White residence, Walt and Jr. debate about who would win in a drag race in their new cars while Skyler White silently eats. In the bedroom, Walt gives Skyler $20,000 to launder. She is stunned, silently stating that Walt is back into the drug game.

She then feebly suggests that she wants the kids to leave the house for a period of time. Walt shoots down her idea and tells a silent Skyler that he would like a party and chocolate cake for his fifty-first birthday the following day.

Act II

During breakfast the next day, Skyler forgets to break Walt's bacon into a "51" and Jr. reminds her. She reluctantly obliges.

At the DEA office, Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez go over their diagram of Gus' Drug Empire. They're concerned that no one in prison is talking and that Blue Sky has reappeared on the streets. They figure someone is keeping them in line. They believe Mike is their best lead and agree to follow him. SAC Ramey, visiting from El Paso, enters, discusses the case, then talks privately to Hank, offering him the position of ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) for Albuquerque. Hank accepts the job.

At a house being treated by Vamonos, Jesse Pinkman and Walt break down the mobile lab. Walt asks if he can leave early for his birthday party and Jesse agrees. Walt arrives at home, expecting a party but finds Skyler preparing a store-bought meal. On the way to the White residence in Marie's car, Hank pesters Marie Schrader until she reveals that Walt told her Skyler had an affair. Hank and Marie arrive for dinner and chocolate cake. Skyler continues to be silent and noticeably sullen, but Walt doesn't seem to notice. Walt Jr. heads off to drive his new car and Walt gives Hank and Marie a speech about how grateful he is for their support during the rough past year. During the speech Skyler slowly walks deep into the pool and sinks to the bottom, apparently an attempted suicide. Walt dives in after her.


At the Houston Madrigal warehouse, Jesse arrives to retrieve a barrel of methylamine from a hesitant Lydia. While lowering the barrel, Lydia finds a GPS device attached to the bottom of it.

Back at the White residence, after Skyler has gone to bed, Marie and Hank suggest she seek psychological help and offer to take Jr. and Holly for a short time while Skyler gets some rest. Walt agrees after finding out that it was Skyler's idea.

In their bedroom, he insults Skyler for being shortsighted. Skyler demands that Jr. and Holly stay away from them as long as they are meth dealers and money launderers. Walt challenges her to tell him how she will stop their kids from staying at their home. She says she'll hurt herself again, to which Walt counters he'll just be forced to have her committed. Next, she threatens to say Walt beat her after finding about her affair with Ted. Walt points out that informing the police about Ted, his accident and IRS troubles would be bad for her too, and he scoffs off the idea that she's prepared to let Walter Jr. think he's a wife beater. Running out of ideas, she'll send Jr. away to boarding school, but Walt picks apart this plan too, as it would be unrealistic for him to go to boarding school with one year of high school left and leave his friends behind. In desperation, she tells Walt that she isn't as good at coming up with these plans as he is, that she's at a loss, just a coward and that all she can do is bide her time and wait. When Walt asks what she's waiting for, she replies that she is waiting for the cancer to come back.

Act IV

The next morning, Walt receives a call. Jesse tells Mike about the GPS device and Mike, thinking it too sloppily done to be the DEA, believes it was Lydia attempting to get out of their business. Mike prepares to leave to kill her, regretting having given her a chance already, but Jesse stops him and insists they vote on it. Mike stakes that Lydia is a liability who will get them caught. Jesse asks Walt for his opinion, and, after a long pause, Walt tells them that the cooks must not stop under any circumstances, and that they're only just beginning.

In the parking lot, Jesse compliments Walt on his good idea, presumably, of how to deal with Lydia. Jesse gives Walt a brand new TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph watch and wishes him a happy birthday. At home, Skyler smokes again, using Walt's birthday mug as an ashtray. Walt tells her the children are staying away another day. He then tells her about the watch and how Jesse wanted to kill him a few weeks prior, but came around. He tells her she'll come around too.

Walt falls asleep to the watch's ticking, which escalates to almost the sound of a gun chamber revolving.

Official Photos


  • The episode title appears to be a reference to the age of Walter White, 51. It could also refer to the fact that the balance of Heisenberg/Walter White is teetering.
    • Skyler also uses an "Area 51" mug as an ashtray late in the episode.
    • The time of Walt's watch is exactly 11:51 PM at the end of this episode.
  • The watch that Jesse gives Walt is the Tag Heuer Monaco, a watch forever linked to and made famous by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans (1971). Steve McQueen died of a rare, inoperable lung cancer.
  • The ending scene of the episode with Walt's watch ticking is almost a metaphorical meaning that his time is running out.
    • Walter puts the watch on Whitman's Leaves of Grass book.
  • Saul Goodman does not appear in this episode.
  • This is the fiftieth episode altogether, and Walt turns fifty-one.
  • Jr. gets the same type of car (Challenger) as he did in "Cornered". 
  • Walt says that Marie and Hank are watching Ratatouille. Somewhat humorously, the film is based on the irony of a rat becoming a chef. This, along with the character Gusteau's famous motto in the film "Anyone can cook!" could be seen as poking fun at Walt's uncharacteristic decision to cook meth in "Pilot".
    • Also there's the Gusteau, Gus element to the reference.
  • During this episode, Walter says: "The methylamine keeps flowing, no matter what... Nothing stops this train," which foreshadows the next episode's train heist.
  • As Walter returns home and finds Skyler smoking on the couch, the smoke from the tip of her cigarette drifts upwards from the bottom left to the top right of the frame, while the smoke she exhales blows from the bottom right to the top left, creating a giant X over Walter's place in the shot.



Featured Music

  • "Good and Lonely" by Easterling & Gildersleeve (in the background at Benny's garage)
  • "My Good Thing's Gone" by Mark Denny Preston (aka Mark D. Preston) (in the background at Benny's garage)
  • "Bonfire" by Knife Party (as Walt and Walt Jr. arrive home with their new cars)

Memorable Quotes

Hank: "What about that Lydia what's-her-name? Lady Banjo-Eyes at the warehouse?"
Gomez: "In this world? No way. Too uptight. Too together."
Hank: "Maybe. She was wearing mismatched shoes. How together can she be?"
―Hank and Gomez discussing Lydia's involvement.

"Sorry, but I'm not gonna apologize for being careful - with all that's been happening, for all I knew you were one of those undercover people they send into high schools, so, yeah, I'll take paranoid any day over getting gang-raped by prison guards."
―Lydia talking to Jesse.

Walter: "You didn't set out to hurt anybody. You made a mistake, things got out of control, but you did what you had to do to protect your family and I’m sorry, that doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you a human being."
Skyler: "I don’t need to hear any of your bullshit rationales. I’m in it now, I’m compromised, but I will not have my children living in a house where dealing drugs and hurting people and killing people is shrugged off as ‘shit happens!’"
―Walter and Skyler arguing.

Walter: "Oh. Now here's the conversation: "So honey, I know you've only got one year left in high school, but I would love it so much if you would drop everything, leave all your friends behind, and go to boarding school in Arizona." Do you have any other ideas? Because I'm not hearing a solution to your problem. How are you going to save our kids from this "terrible" environment?"
Skyler: "I..."
Walter: "What are you going to do? What, are you going to run off to France? Are you going to close the curtains, change the locks? This is a joke. Come on, Skyler! You want to take me on? You want to take away my children? What’s the plan?"
Skyler: "I don’t know! This is the best I could come up with, okay? I—I will count every minute that the kids are away from here—away from you—as a victory. But you're right. It's a bad plan. I don't have any of your magic, Walt. I don't know what to do. I'm a coward. I—I can't go to the police, I can't stop laundering your money, I can't keep you out of this house, I can’t even keep you out of my bed. All I can do is wait. That's it, that's the only good option. Hold on. Bide my time. And wait."
Walter: "Wait for what? What are you waiting for?"
Skyler: "For the cancer to come back."
―Walter and Skyler arguing.

Mike: "You don't know this woman like I do. I had a chance to deal with this before, and I gave her a pass. That's what I get for being sexist. Now if you'll excuse me..."
Jesse: "Mike, you can't, just—Look, that's our precursor. We need her."
Mike: "Kid, if we have to ramp down for a while, so be it. It beats working with a lunatic who's gonna get us arrested or killed."
Jesse: "Look, she didn't seem crazy to me, you know? She just seemed, like, uptight."
Mike: "And now you're being sexist. Trust me, this woman deserves to die as much as any man I've ever met."
―Jesse and Mike discussing Mike's plan to kill Lydia.