Breaking Bad Wiki
Breaking Bad Wiki

"Live Free or Die" is the first episode of the fifth season of Breaking Bad and the forty-seventh episode altogether.



At a Denny's restaurant, a man is served his breakfast: bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns. The man breaks his bacon strips in half, then arranges the pieces into the number 52, referencing the White family's birthday tradition. The man is revealed to be Walter White – in deteriorating health and sporting a different pair of glasses, a full head of hair, an unkempt beard and no wedding band. It is a year into the future.

Walt gives a false name and bears a fake ID from New Hampshire. Excusing himself to the bathroom, he meets with Lawson, his previous gun dealer. Exchanging an envelope of cash for a set of keys, Walt asks if Lawson has included instructions; Lawson replies that he printed some pages from the Internet. When concerned that "it" might leave the country, Walt gives his word that "it" won't even leave town. He exits the restaurant and goes to his car to retrieve a duffel bag. Then he locates the car that the keys from Lawson belong to. In the trunk, "it" is revealed to be an M60 machine gun. Walt looks around cautiously, drops his bag with the gun and closes the trunk.

Act I[]

Immediately following the death of Gus and the destruction of the superlab, Walt returns home and disposes of all the evidence linking him to the pipe bomb, then quickly remembers to also throw out the potted Lily of the Valley plant from which he took the toxin used to poison Brock. Skyler and Walt Jr. return shortly after and, although Junior is excited that Gus' death means Hank will be labeled a hero, Skyler privately tells Walt that she is now afraid of him. Walt takes a drink of celebratory whiskey, but suddenly remembers a detail he has overlooked.

Meanwhile, Hank and Gomez survey the charred remains of the superlab, noting that it was identical to the designs found in Gale Boetticher's notebook. Gomez remarks that the bodies found in the ruins, shot by Walt, have been burned beyond recognition, including their teeth. Hank notices the melted remains of the lab's security camera.


The meeting in the desert

In Mexico, Mike feeds chickens outside the makeshift hospital where he has been recuperating from the shootout with the Cartel. After Barry Goodman informs him of Gus' death, he immediately drives off in a fury. When he crosses paths with Walt and Jesse in the desert, he immediately pulls a gun on Walt but is compelled to stand down by Jesse. The duo asks Mike where Gus kept the footage from the security camera – reminding Mike that the footage would implicate all three of them. Unbeknownst to them, Hank is already at Los Pollos Hermanos and has collected Gus' laptop as evidence.

Act II[]

Mike fakes a call to the Albuquerque Police, finding out that the laptop has been placed in their evidence room. He tells Walt and Jesse that the laptop is now completely inaccessible and that their best option is to leave the city permanently. Walt suggests that they somehow plant an incendiary device in the evidence room, which Mike angrily resists. As they argue, Jesse suggests that they use a giant magnet to destroy the laptop. Acting on this idea, the trio meet with Old Joe at his junkyard to borrow a large industrial magnet he uses to move wrecked cars. Mike has doubts about the plan and wants to wash his hands of the situation, but Jesse convinces him the plan can only succeed if the three of them work together. Meanwhile, Saul visits Skyler at the car wash to inform her that Ted had an accident and has just woken up from a coma.

Act III[]

At the junkyard, Walt, Jesse and Mike conduct a preliminary test of by affixing the magnet upright to the interior of a moving truck, wired to twenty-one car batteries. After the magnet is activated, Jesse slowly approaches the truck with a laptop. After a few moments, the magnet causes the laptop's display to glitch before blacking out completely, then causes the laptop to fly out of Jesse's hands and smash onto the side of the truck. Everyone is equally surprised and elated to see that the test is a success, congratulating Jesse for his idea. Walt asks Joe for twenty-one more batteries to double the electrical current to the magnet.

5x1 Ted in hospital

Ted in the hospital

Meanwhile, Skyler visits the hospital and finds Ted, who has been fitted with a halo brace to treat his severe spinal trauma. Skyler, her face etched with guilt, can hardly find the words of apology she wants to say. Ironically, Ted exhibits the same fear for Skyler that she now has for Walt, having assumed that she had personally sent Huell and Kuby to threaten him. With that in mind, and mentioning that he has a family, he promises to never speak a word about what transpired. Seeing that the situation with Ted is now resolved, Skyler regains her composure and replies, "Good."

That night, Mike bypasses the gate control into the APD parking lot. Walt and Jesse drive the magnet-equipped truck alongside the exterior wall outside the evidence room. The magnet disables the guard's computer, confusing him. Slowly, items inside the evidence room are drawn to the wall, alerting the police. Determined to ensure that the operation will work, Walt cranks the magnet up to its maximum current, sending a force so strong it tips the truck over against the wall. Police burst into the evidence room to see all the metallic material stuck against one wall; they head outside to find the truck empty. Walt and Jesse escape with Mike in his car. Mike is doubtful of the scheme's success, but Walt insists that no fingerprints or traceable evidence were left behind. Mike questions why they should be so certain that it worked. Walt smugly responds: "Because I say so." Mike and Jesse are uneasy with Walt's comment.

Act IV[]

Season 5 Ep

The note behind the photo

As police clean up the evidence room, they find a smashed picture frame bearing a photo of Gus and Max Arciniega. Although the evidence bag is still closed, they notice that the photo has become dislodged from the matting, revealing a list of account numbers for a bank in the Cayman Islands.

The following day, Saul tries to explain to Walt why Skyler gave $600,000 to Ted. Walt reprimands Saul for allowing his wife to give such a large amount to a man she was sleeping with. Saul, exasperated by this ungratefulness, lambasts Walt for making him hold onto the ricin cigarette and becoming privy to the poisoning of a child. He attempts to sever all ties, insisting, "We're done." However, Walt rises out of his seat and backs Saul into a corner of his office, menacingly telling him, "We're done when I say we're done." That night, Walt returns home to a frightened Skyler and tells her that he knows what happened with Ted, saying, "I forgive you." She hesitantly accepts his hug.

Official Photos[]


  • This is the first episode in which the opening titles have been corrected to reflect the proper electron configuration of barium (Ba), 2-8-18-18-8-2. Previously, these numbers, 2-8-18-7, were erroneously copied from bromine (Br).
  • This is the first episode since "Crazy Handful of Nothin'" where Walt has a full head of hair, albeit only in flash-forwards.
  • The episode title "Live Free or Die" refers to New Hampshire's state motto and the license plate on Walter's car. Additionally, the motto is a foreshadowing that Walter's fate might either be a life of freedom, or death.
  • Walt's New Hampshire car is an older model Volvo, which happens to be the same brand of car Gustavo Fring drove.
  • Mike mentions that the police evidence room will have Halon because it doesn't destroy evidence. Halon fire extinguishing systems accomplish this by choking out the oxygen, not by water deluge.
  • Old Joe references String theory, a theory which is a candidate for a "theory of everything," and the "god particle," which is another name for the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson was actually discovered just 11 days prior to the airing of this episode; it was just a theoretical particle up until July 4, 2012.
  • The episode correctly shows the effects of a magnetic field on a laptop or computer. It would have little effect on the laptop components (barring metal reinforcements, which can be attracted), but will destroy a magnetic hard drive. Thankfully for the trio, Gus' laptop was an older model that doesn't use solid-state drives (flash memory), which are immune to strong magnetic fields.
    • The behavior of the magnet inside the truck and the tipping is correct as well. As electromagnets are not omnidirectional, i.e. they work in a specific direction, the truck elements did not cave in. Furthermore, the tipping was a result of the attraction to the ferrous metal rods embedded in the reinforced concrete walls of the evidence room. At maximum setting, the truck could not keep the magnet immobile and it tipped.
  • The truck used to contain the magnet is a 1977 Ford F-350.
  • Gus' laptop is a Samsung RV511.
  • The laptop that Walt and Jesse used to test the magnet is a Dell Latitude D630.
  • This episode confirms Saul had Huell take the ricin-laced cigarette from Jesse's pocket.
  • This is the shortest episode of the series at 42 minutes.
  • Marie Schrader does not appear in this episode.
  • This episode was the series' most-watched episode at the time of its airing with 2.93 million viewers, but was later passed by "Say My Name", which had 2.98 million.
  • The episode title "Live Free or Die" is a shout-out to The Sopranos episode with the same title name. Both are final season episodes referencing the New Hampshire state motto and depict a character on the run having breakfast at a diner.
    • Additionally, both situations happen after the characters' secrets are exposed to the public (Walt's "Heisenberg" identity and Vito being homosexual.)

Episode References[]

  • Walt's arranging of "52" with bacon mirrors Skyler arranging "50" with veggie bacon in the "Pilot".
  • True to other season premieres, the first few seconds of the episode overlap with part of the previous season's finale.
  • However, this is the first season premiere to not feature any characters being killed.
  • Ted Beneke describes his memories of the accident with "I tripped and fell. That is all I know", which is very close to "I woke up; I found her; that's all I know." told by Jesse in "ABQ" to the police.
  • The opening scene where Walt hands over his ID from New Hampshire to the waitress alludes to the events of "Granite State."


According to Vince Gilligan in an interview, their original plan for the outcome of the M60 question was for Walt to use the M60 to save Jesse from Jack's gang. The plan was for Jesse to be arrested, convicted and heading to prison, and Jacks' gang would be on the way to kill him while he was in a prison bus. However, they scrapped the idea because they knew that Walt "wasn't Rambo."[1]




  • James Harris as Duty Officer
  • Monique Candelaria as Waitress
  • Gail Starr as Nurse

  • Uncredited

  • Breanna Perera as Woman in Denny's
  • Todd Sopher as Magnet Guy #2

  • Filming Locations[]

    • A flash forward shows Walt having his 52nd birthday at a Denny's. The Denny's where this was filmed has since closed, as well as the Valero gas station in the background. As Walt walks to the Cadillac, the "Columbia" street sign is focused for a second. It is now a Chipotle Grill located at 2608 Central Ave in Albuquerque.
    • The police station where Walt, Mike, & Jesse use a magnet to wipe the laptop in the evidence locker is the real NW Area Command police station located at 10549 Cibola Loop NW. Filming was done at the back gate and roof. The location where the truck was parked can be seen from outside the gate. The sign shown in the scene does not exist (although it was accurate so it may have been removed).

    Featured Music[]

    • "Love is Running Through Me (aka "Running Through Me")" by Javaroo (during the teaser in Denny's)
    • "Music for Your Soul (aka "Conversations")" by David Castle (during the teaser in Denny's)
    • "Cleaning House" by Dave Porter (as Walt cleans up the bomb making equipment & Lily of the Valley from his house)

    Memorable Quotes[]

    Walter: "So are you going to talk to me here? Are you going to show some kind of–I don’t know–some kind of mild relief that I’m alive?"
    Skyler: "I am relieved, Walt. And scared."
    Walter: "Scared? Scared of what?"
    Skyler: "You."
    ―Walt and Skyler in their bedroom.

    Mike: "Son of a bitch. Son of a bitch!"
    Jesse: "(Mike draws gun on Walter, and Jesse blocks his way) Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up! Hold up!"
    Mike: "Get out of my way, kid."
    Jesse: "Wait! Wait a minute, all right? Let him talk."
    Mike: ""Let talk?" I am done listening to this asshole talk. Now get out of my way!"
    Jesse: "He's got something you need to hear, all right?"
    Mike: "What'd you do, Jesse? Do you even know? Do you even know what you've done?!"
    Walter: "Yeah, he saved his own life--"
    Mike: "One more word."
    Jesse: "Mike. Mike. If you kill him, you're gonna have to kill me. Come on."
    Mike: "Oh, Jesse. Jesus. What is it with you guys?.. Honest to God."
    Mike expresses his disgust of Walter and Jesse.

    "Keys, scumbag. It’s the universal symbol for keys."
    ―Mike to Jesse and Walter.

    "You know, I can foresee a lot of possible outcomes to this thing, and not a single one of them involves 'Miller Time.'"
    ―Mike to Jesse, Walter, and Old Joe

    "Yeah, bitch! Magnets!"
    ―Jesse after his plan works.

    Mike: "Well, you got all the answers. So you tell me, Answer Man, did all that even work just now?"
    Walter: "Yes. It worked."
    Mike: "And I'm supposed to take that on faith? Yeah? And why? How do we know?"
    Walter: "Because I say so."
    ―Mike and Walter about the ploy's success.

    "We're done when I say we're done."
    ―Walter to Saul after Saul tried to quit.