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



We open to a musical montage sequence of Wendy turning tricks outside "The Crystal Palace" - and how it's become a repeat daily grind, day after day. Her finances replenished, she exchanges cash and burgers for blue meth with the rival dealers. Jesse Pinkman, nearby in his car, watches the deal go down... and ponders.

Act I

Walter White sits in his car's passenger seat while Walter White Jr. practices for his upcoming driving test. When the two arrive home, Skyler White privately presses Walt about the car wash scheme. Walt uses the opening with Skyler to negotiate four nights of family dinners a week, claiming that the new family car wash business would be more plausible if they seemed reconciled.

At a bar after work, Jesse shows Walt the blue meth he purchased from Tomás Cantillo and the dealers responsible for Combo's murder. "They work for our guy," deduces Jesse. Referring to Tomás, he says, "They used this little kid like some puppet. They used him to shoot my friend."

Jesse asks Walt for ricin, the slow-acting poison Walt suggested they use on Tuco. Jesse plans to have Wendy slip the dealers tainted burgers when she next buys meth. Walt calls the plan "ridiculous," reasoning that he and Jesse lost a simple turf war, and that murdering Combo's killers at this point won't achieve anything. "I'm doin' it," a furious Jesse replies, "with or without you."

Act II

At the hospital, Marie Schrader baits Hank Schrader by mentioning to Walter, Jr. that the doctors say he is well enough to be released. "I can't move my legs," Hank angrily retorts, countering that he should not leave the hospital until he can walk. Walter, Jr. asks if Hank is suggesting that everyone in a wheelchair or crutches should be hospitalized, "Should I be in a hospital then?" "That's exactly what I'm saying," Hank grumbles, as he deals another round of cards for them to play.

Walt and Saul Goodman wait in the law office for Jesse, who doesn't show. "He is going to do it. Or try, at least," says Walt, referring to the ricin plot. Desperate for a way to stop Jesse, Walt asks Saul "Could you get him arrested?", reasoning that Jesse will have time to calm down if he's off the street on some minor community service type thing.

Over at the motel, Jesse tries to ease Wendy's qualms about committing murder by appealing to her maternal instincts — she has a son named Patrick. "These guys using kids like that?" he says, "they gotta go."

Mike Ehrmantraut surprises Walt with a visit to his home to tell him that neither he nor Saul will be pursuing Walt's suggestion of getting Jesse arrested. "My boss. Your boss," he says, revealing that he also works for Gus, would "take it as a problem" if Jesse landed in jail.

Mike then tells Walt a story about confronting a chronic wife abuser back when he was a beat cop. 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's mistake was to take a half measure when he should have taken a full one. "No more half measures, Walter," he says referring to Jesse.


At the drug corner, Wendy sits in Jesse's car clutching a bag of poisoned burgers, but the dealers aren't in their regular spot. Mike and Victor take Jesse and Wendy by surprise and whisk Jesse away to the Los Pollos Hermanos Factory Farm.

Walt and Gus sit side by side. The rival dealers are also present at this ad hoc summit. Gus concedes that his employees may have "acted rashly" in murdering Combo, but that "the man was selling on their territory. There is blame on both sides."

Jesse accuses Walt of ratting him out. "You have one friend in this room," dismisses Gus, adding that without Walt, "I would be dealing with this in a very different way."

Gus orders Jesse to make peace with the dealers. Jesse refuses. "They use kids," says Jesse. "You're supposed to be some kind of 'reasonable' businessman. This is how you do business?"

Incensed by Jesse's insolence, but committed to finding a resolution, Gus tells the dealers "No more children," and orders Jesse to shake their hands.

Jesse leaves the farm in Walt's car. "Your actions, they affect other people," rationalizes Walt. "Sometimes compromises have to be made." Jesse doesn't respond - furious, he doesn't even look at Walt.

Over at the hospital, Marie gives Hank a sponge bath and playfully bets him that she can arouse him using her hand. Certain that nothing will happen, Hank agrees to return home if she succeeds. "You got one minute," he says. It's clear that she succeeds, since the scene cuts to Marie wheeling an annoyed Hank out of the hospital with a victorious smile pasted on her face.

Jesse and Andrea Cantillo are post-coital and enjoying each other's company in bed when the phone rings. Andrea becomes hysterical as she listens to her grandmother's news. They rush to an abandoned playground, where Tomás's bike lies on the ground, and his dead, bullet-riddled body lies nearby.

Act IV

The next day, Walt impatiently calls Jesse from the lab but gets only his voicemail.

That evening at Skyler's, Walt sneaks to the bathroom to call Jesse, but again gets his voicemail. "I hope you're not waiting for an apology, because I did not rat you out," says Walt defensively.

After the call, Walt hears a TV news report describing Tomás's death as another casualty of Albuquerque's gang/drug war. Walt, concerned, abruptly leaves the family dinner.

Jesse, parked at the drug corner, snorts some meth to get his confidence up. Spotting the dealers' black car, he picks up his gun from under the car-seat and walks toward it. The dealers, also armed, notice Jesse and menacingly walk toward him.

Just as Jesse draws his gun, and the dealers draw theirs, suddenly Walt plows into the dealers with his car. One is killed instantly under the wheels. The other, badly injured, reaches for his gun. Walt rushes over, grabs the gun, and shoots the dealer in the head.

Walt looks up at the horrified Jesse and utters one word: "Run."

Official Photos


  • This is Wendy's first appearance since season 2's "Bit by a Dead Bee", an absence of 22 episodes.
  • 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.
  • This episode marks the first time Jesse and Gus have spoken to each other.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The trivia show Walter and his son are watching asks a question regarding Walt Whitman.
  • 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".
  • "Windy" by The Association appeared in an episode of Malcom 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 story 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 s___ 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 s___ 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.
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