For the symbolic object, see Fly (symbol).

"Fly" is the tenth episode of the third season of Breaking Bad and the thirtieth episode altogether.



Over disjointed, extreme closeups of a common house fly, we hear Skyler White softly singing a lullaby to baby Holly White.

Act I

It's two in the morning at Walter White's condo. Walt lies in bed, staring up at his smoke detector's flashing indicator light.

Later, at Gustavo Fring's industrial laundry, workers punch a time clock. "I'm surprised he doesn't make us do that," Jesse Pinkman comments to Walt. Downstairs in the superlab, the partners scrub lab equipment as Jesse describes how hyenas acknowledge the pack leader's superiority by literally licking his "junk."

The maintenance complete, Walt pores over calculations. Their meth yields are consistently short, he concludes. Jesse suggests spillage, evaporation and condensation might account for the discrepancy. Walt rejects these hypotheses, though he admits that "the vestiges" left from their cooking process could possibly account for a portion of the missing meth.

After Jesse leaves for the day, a buzzing fly that's loose in the lab distracts Walt. Walt tries to kill the fly and his efforts become increasingly desperate and dangerous as he chases it all over the lab. Finally breaking an overhead lamp with his shoe, which gets stuck up in the ceiling. Balancing dangerously on the outer rail of the lab's catwalk, attempting to dislodge his shoe and maybe finally the fly, he lunges with a broom and falls to the concrete floor. Badly winded, as he lies on the floor attempting to recover, the fly lands right on Walt's spectacle lens - it sits there rubbing its front legs, almost as if purposely taunting him - Walt eyeballs it, utterly fuming...

Act II

Walt's car is still at the industrial laundry when Jesse arrives the next morning. Before exiting his own car, Jesse notices lipstick on an old cigarette butt in the ashtray left by Jane Margolis months before. He places it back, not willing or able to throw it out.

Jesse has to force his way into the lab; Walt has dramatically increased the air pressure to address the perceived threat. "There's been a contamination," Walt tells Jesse as he stalks the bug with a makeshift fly swatter. Jesse suggests the Ebola virus but Walt dismisses the idea, saying the contaminate is a fly. Jesse says incredulously to Walt, "So you're chasing a fly, and in your world, I'm the idiot!?

"We make poison for people who don't care," argues Jesse, who works furtively to keep their current batch of meth that is halfway through the cook process on track. Walt orders Jesse to cease all cooking activities until the fly is caught, and smacks him with the swatter when Jesse continues anyway.

After a scuffle, the fly lands on Walt's head. "Jesse, get it," Walt whispers, "can you see it?" Jesse, relishing the opportunity to 'swat' Walt back, swats hard. "Hurts doesn't it?," asks Jesse. Reeling, Walt crawls on the floor looking for the fly's corpse, but finds only a stray raisin. The fly contamination must be eradicated, an exasperated and half crazed Walt claims. "There is no more room for error. Not with these people."

Jesse convinces Walt that they should step outside and get some air. After Jesse passes through the doorway, Walt snatches Jesse's keys and locks himself in the lab. "If you're not gonna help me, stay out of my way!" Walt snarls. Jesse counters by shutting off the main circuit breaker to the lab and goes asking the laundry workers for an axe...


Later on, the power restored, Jesse shows Walt the assortment of pest control supplies he has purchased. Walt deems the nontoxic glue strips acceptable. The partners hang them throughout the lab.

Jesse prepares coffee and slips some sleeping pills into Walt's cup in an effort to force him to get some much-needed sleep. "Let the traps do the work," he says.

"Have you ever had like a wild animal trapped in your house?" Jesse asks while they sip. An opossum took up residence beneath his aunt's house, he continues, but even after it had been removed she insisted it was still there. Her obsession over it, Jesse explains, was a sign the cancer had spread to her brain.

"I'm still in remission," Walt replies. "I missed it," he adds. "There was some perfect moment that passed me right by." "Perfect moment for what?" asks Jesse, "Are you saying you want to die?"

"I'm saying I've lived too long," Walt responds, struggling through his own guilt and anger, expressing frustration that he cannot make Skyler comprehend his motivation for cooking. "You want your loved ones to have fond memories of you when you're gone," Walt says. "There must exist certain words in a certain specific order that would explain all of this," he adds. "But with her I just... I just can't ever seem to find them."

Walt ruminates further on when the perfect moment occurred. "It was the night Jane died," Walt concludes. After delivering Jesse's money, Walt reveals, he stopped at a bar, where he met Jane's father, Donald Margolis. "What did you talk about?" asks a floored Jesse. "Family," says Walt.

"The universe is random," Walt continues. But how can it be random that on the night Jane died he was having a drink with her father?

Walt, becoming groggy, says that earlier the same evening he had been watching TV. On the baby monitor he could hear Skyler singing Holly a lullaby. "If I had just lived right up to that moment, and not one second more," he says, "that would have been perfect."

The fly begins buzzing again. "I'm gonna get that bitch," says Jesse. He wheels over two steel carts, precariously stacks a ladder atop them and starts climbing.

"You're gonna break your neck," Walt warns wearily. Half-asleep, Walt clutches the ladder while Jesse swats. "I'm sorry about Jane," he says. "It's not your fault," Jesse replies. "I'm really sorry..." he repeats drowsily.

"Jesse, come down," Walt struggles to say. "We need to cook." "What about the contamination?" asks Jesse. "It's all contaminated," Walt mumbles, nodding off...

Descending the ladder, Jesse spots the fly and swats. The fly falls to the floor (tumbles down in close-up slow-motion) dead. Walt, asleep, misses Jesse's victory.

Later, outside the industrial laundry as Walt's about to drive off, he warns Jesse that if he's skimming meth and Gus finds out, "I won't be able to protect you."

Jesse denies having taken any - but then responds, "Who's asking you to?"

Act IV

Back at his condo, Walt wakes to the sound of buzzing, again... Staring up at the smoke detector, he watches a fly land on the blinking light. (Close-up on the fly backlit by red light.)

Official Photos


  • According to creator Vince Gilligan, this was a "bottle episode." Because the season was already "hopelessly over budget," it became necessary to create an episode with minimal production costs. By filming in one location and using the fewest number of actors in the series ever, "Fly" cost substantially less than the average episode. 
  • This episode aired the same day as the series finale of Lost on ABC, implying that they did not want to compete with the latter show's viewing numbers. 
  • The filming of the scene where Walt falls from the railing utilized a unique process. A stunt double initially fell and members of the crew took pictures of his landing. Cranston then assumed the same exact position and close-ups were taken of his face.
  • This is the only episode in the entire series not to feature Anna Gunn as Skyler. Although there is audio of Skyler singing a lullaby during the teaser, this was simply a reused clip from "Phoenix".
  • Much of the fly hunting scenes with Jesse and Walt mirror Moby Dick, with Walter playing the role of Captain Ahab and Jesse as Starbuck. (With the fly, of course, being the whale.)
  • The episode opens and ends (first and last scene) with close-up shots of a fly (also the flashing red indicator light) - coming full circle.
  • When Jesse gets locked out, and is in the search of a tool to break in, the scene resembles the one where Bruce Willis' character in Pulp Fiction is picking a weapon in the pawn shop.
  • There was a fly swatter on the table in Tuco Salamanca's hideout, which Walt grabs sarcastically in response to Jesse saying he should hit Tuco over the head with something. ("Grilled") Ironically it would be more suitable for the situation in "Fly".




Featured Music

  • "Hush, Little Baby" Traditional, performed by Anna Gunn as Skyler (during the teaser)
  • "Simplemente Amame" by Cumbre Norteña (in the laundry when Walt has locked Jesse out of the lab)

Memorable Quotes

"Yo, Gatorade me, bitch."
―Jesse cleaning the Superlab.

Jesse: "Dude, you scared the shit out of me! When you say it's contamination, I mean... I'm thinking like an Ebola leak or something."
Walter: "Ebola."
Jesse: "Yeah, it's a disease on The Discovery Channel where all your intestines sort of just slip out of your butt."
Walter: "Thank you. I know what Ebola is. Now, tell me. What would a West African virus be doing in our lab?"
Jesse: "So you're chasing around a fly and in your world, I'm the idiot."
―Jesse and Walter about the contamination.

"Look, I like making cherry product, but let's keep it real, all right? We make poison for people who don't care. We probably have the most un-picky customers in the world."
―Jesse to Walter.

"I’m saying I’ve lived too long. I mean–you want them to actually miss you, you know? You want their memories of you to be– But she just won’t–she just won’t understand. I mean–no matter how well I explain it these days, she just has this, this– I mean, I truly believe there exists some combination of words. There must exist certain words in a certain specific order that would explain all of this. But with her, I just I just can’t ever seem to find them."
―Walter to Jesse.

"No, no, no. That was the moment. That night. I should never have left home. Never gone to your house. Maybe things would have…. I was at home watching TV. It was some–some nature program about elephants. And Skyler and Holly were in another room. I could hear them on the baby monitor. She was singing a lullaby. Ah… If I had just lived right up to that moment and not one second more, that would have been perfect."
―Walter reconciling a moment in the past.
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