Breaking Bad Wiki
Breaking Bad Wiki

"Half Measures" is the twelfth episode of the third season of Breaking Bad and the thirty-second episode altogether.



The episode opens to a musical montage sequence of Wendy's daily routine as a prostitute. As she meets with the rival dealers to give them a bag of burgers and to buy meth, Jesse sits nearby in his car and watches the deal go down.

Act I[]

Walter rides in his car's passenger seat while Walt Jr. practices for his upcoming driving test. When the two arrive home, Skyler privately presses Walt about their car wash scheme. Walt uses the opening with Skyler to negotiate four nights of family dinners a week, claiming that them buying a car wash would be more plausible if they seemed reconciled. He tries to negotiate returning to his own bed, but is rejected.

After work, Jesse takes Walt to a bar and shows him the blue meth he purchased from Tomás and the rival dealers responsible for Combo's murder. Jesse asks Walt for ricin, planning to have Wendy give poisoned burgers to the dealers the next time she buys meth. Walt dismisses the plan, reasoning that he and Jesse lost a simple turf war, and that killing the dealers at this point won't achieve anything. Jesse says that he will kill them, with or without Walt's help.

Act II[]

At the hospital, Marie, Hank, and Walt Jr. are playing a card game. Hank asks if Walt has returned to work, to which Junior responds that both his parents have taken time off from work. Hank then wonders how the family can afford that, prompting Marie to interrupt the conversation and inform Junior that the doctors say Hank is well enough to be released. Hank, however, continues to insist that he will not leave the hospital until he can walk again. Junior challenges Hank, asking if he thinks that wheelchair-bound people, or people with crutches like himself, should be kept in hospitals.

Walt and Saul wait for Jesse to show at Saul's office. Desperate to find a way to stop Jesse, Walt suggests having him arrested temporarily, reasoning that Jesse will have time to calm down if he's off the street. Meanwhile, at the Crystal Palace, Jesse tries to ease Wendy's qualms about the murder plot by appealing to her maternal instincts; she has a son named Patrick, around the same age as the kids the rival dealers take advantage of.

Mike surprises Walt with a visit to his home to tell him that neither he nor Saul will be pursuing any suggestion of getting Jesse arrested. Mike reveals that he also works for Gus, who would "take it as a problem" if Jesse landed in jail. He then tells Walt a story from his time as a police officer, when he confronted a chronic wife abuser. Mike intervened, and almost killed the wife-beater, but gave in when the abuser promised to change his ways. Shortly thereafter the man beat his wife to death. Mike admits that his mistake was to take a half measure (scaring the man) when he should have taken a full one (killing him). "No more half measures, Walter," he says, presumably alluding to removing Jesse as a problem.

Act III[]

At the corner, Wendy sits nervously in Jesse's car clutching a bag of poisoned burgers, but the dealers are not present. Mike and Victor then arrive and whisk Jesse away to Gus's chicken farm. There, he is brought before Walt and Gus, sitting side by side, as well as the rival dealers. Gus concedes that his employees "acted rashly" in murdering Combo, but that contends that it was not unjustified since Combo was selling on their territory.

When Jesse accuses Walt of ratting him out, Gus tells him that Walt is the only friend Jesse has in this room. Without him, "I would be dealing with this in a very different way." Gus orders Jesse to make peace with the dealers, but Jesse refuses on the grounds that they use kids in their business, and mentions that he thought Gus was a rational businessman, adding "Is this how you do business?". Gus then tells the dealers, "No more children," and orders Jesse to shake their hands to make peace, which Jesse does. On the drive away from the chicken farm, Walt tells Jesse that his actions affect other people and that compromise is sometimes necessary. Jesse, furious, doesn't respond to Walt.

At the hospital, Marie gives Hank a sponge bath and playfully bets him that if she can arouse him with a handjob, he would have to leave the hospital. Certain that nothing will happen, Hank agrees to return home if she succeeds. Apparently finding success, the scene cuts to Marie smiling victoriously as she wheels an annoyed Hank out of the hospital.

That night, Jesse and Andrea are enjoying each other's company in bed when the phone rings. Andrea becomes hysterical as she is told bad news by her grandmother. The couple rush to a playground, where Tomás' bullet-riddled body has been found.

Act IV[]

The next day, Jesse is absent from the superlab, prompting Walt to repeatedly call him, getting only voicemail. That night, Walt is getting ready for family dinner when he sees a TV news report on Tomás' murder. Realizing what is about to happen, Walt abruptly leaves his house.

Meanwhile, Jesse is parked at the corner and snorts some meth to get his confidence up, thus breaking his sobriety. Spotting the dealers' car, Jesse retrieves his gun from under his seat and steps out of his car. The dealers, also armed, notice Jesse approaching them and prepare for a confrontation. Just as they draw their guns, unseen from the side, Walt suddenly plows into the dealers with his Aztek. One is killed instantly, having been run over by the wheels, while the other is thrown over the car and badly injured. Walt exits the car and rushes to the surviving dealer, takes the gun from his reach and shoots him in the head, killing him. Walt looks up at the horrified Jesse and utters one word: "Run."

Official Photos[]


  • This episode is the exact halfway mark in the Breaking Bad series.
  • This episode marks the first time Jesse and Gus have spoken to each other.
  • Skyler reads the Wikipedia page on Money laundering. Based on the version of the article she reads, the shots of her computer were filmed between March 5, 2010 and April 19, 2010. (None of the differences between these versions of the article are visible on-screen.)
  • The episode of Jeopardy! that Walt and his son watch is an actual episode, which aired on October 16, 2009.
  • After Breaking Bad completed production, Aaron Paul had the words "No Half Measures" tattooed on his biceps.
  • This episode marks the first time that Walt has killed someone directly since Season 1's "...and the Bag's in the River".
  • This is Wendy's first appearance since Season 2's "Bit by a Dead Bee", an absence of 22 episodes. It, ironically, also marks as her final appearance chronologically in the timeline.
    • The filming for the intro was interrupted at one point when a non-cast member attempted to pick up Wendy's actress, mistaking her for an actual prostitute.
  • Gus sneers at Jesse, "don't look at him, look at me" as he looks at Walt, echoing what Walt says when Walter Jr. looks to Hank in "Over".
  • When Jesse meets with Gus and Walt at the farm, the vegetable platter usually present during Gus' meetings is absent. This alludes to an unwillingness to negotiate with Jesse as seen in previous meetings at the farm.
  • When Mike is explaining an anecdote about his past to Walter, he mentions that a person in the backseat of his car was humming the song "Danny Boy". This is a reference to a ballad that was originally written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly in 1913.
  • Jonathan Banks says the scene where he gives the 'Half Measures' speech was one of his favorites, because it showed he still had passion and belief towards Walter when his character was saying it.
  • Whilst talking to Walter about her involvement in his secret business, Skyler mentions "Bonnie what's-her-face", which could be a reference to Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (Bonnie & Clyde).
  • "Windy" by The Association appeared in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, also starring Bryan Cranston (S06 - Ep17 Butterflies). In the show, "Wendy" is also the name of Malcolm's love interest. A man living in the grocery store gives Malcolm dating advice, but his cover is eventually blown when Lois turns off the music and he continues whistling to the tune of "Windy."



Filming Locations[]

  • The exterior of the bar where Walt and Jesse meet is shown to be "Paul's Monterey Inn", a real restaurant/bar in Albuquerque which closed in 2015 and was razed in 2016. It was located at 1000 Juan Tabo NE.

Featured Music[]

  • "Windy" by The Association (during the teaser)
  • "Softly Baby" by The Red Garland Trio & Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis (in the background while Jesse & Walt meet in a bar)
  • "Waltz Trio Session" by Jazz Session Trio & Quartet (in the background while Jesse & Walt meet in a bar)
  • "La Marseillaise" by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (performed by Betsy Brandt as Marie) (while Hank, Marie & Walt Jr. play cards in hospital)

Memorable Quotes[]

Mike: "This is a professional courtesy. No one knows I’m here. Understand? But our employer would find out, like always. And if Pinkman were arrested, he’d take it as a problem. Walt, you got a good thing going here. We all do. You wanna risk it all on one junkie? Now, I realize you two have a history, but this kid’s been on the bubble a while now. It’s a long time coming."
Walter: "What is?"
Mike: "Um... I used to be a beat cop a long time ago. I’d get called on domestic disputes all the time. Hundreds, probably, over the years. But there was this one guy, this one piece of shit that I will never forget. Gordie. He looked like Bo Svenson. You remember him? Walking Tall? You don’t remember? … Anyway, big boy, 270, 280, but his wife–or whatever she was–his lady–was real small. Like a bird. Wrists like little branches. Anyway, my partner and I’d get called out there every weekend, and one of us would pull her aside and we’d say: “Come on, tonight’s the night we press charges.” And this wasn’t one of those deep down, he loves me setups. We got a lot of those, but not this. This girl was scared. She wasn’t going to cross him. No way, no how. Nothing we could do but pass her off to the EMT’s, put him in a car, drive him downtown, throw him in a drunk tank, he sleeps it off, next morning, out he goes. Back home. But one night, my partner’s out sick, and it’s just me. And the call comes in and it’s the usual crap. Broke her nose in the shower kind of thing. So I cuff him, put him in the car and away we go. Only that night we’re driving into town and this sideways asshole is in my back seat humming “Danny Boy.” And it just rubbed me wrong. So instead of left, I go right, out into nowhere. And I kneel him down and I put my revolver in his mouth and I told him, “This is it. This is how it ends.” And he’s crying, going to the bathroom all over himself. Swearing to God he’s going to leave her alone. Screaming–much as you can with a gun in your mouth. And I told him to be quiet, that I needed to think about what I was going to do here. And of course, he got quiet. Goes still and real quiet. Like a dog waiting for dinner scraps. And we just stood there for a while. Me acting like I’m thinking things over and Prince Charming kneeling in the dirt with shit in his pants. And after a few minutes, I took the gun out of his mouth and I say, “So help me, if you ever touch her again, I will such and such and such and such, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”"
Walter: "It was just a warning?"
Mike: "Uh huh. Of course. Just trying to do the right thing. But two weeks later, he killed her. Of course. Caved her head in with the base of a Waring blender. We got there, there was so much blood, you could taste the metal. Moral of the story is–I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter."
―Mike warning Walter not to take half measures regarding Jesse.

―Walter to Jesse after he kills the Rival Dealers.