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Breaking Bad Wiki
This article is about the pilot episode of Breaking Bad. For the Better Call Saul pilot, see Uno. For other uses of "Breaking Bad", see Breaking Bad.

"Pilot" (titled "Breaking Bad" on the DVD and Blu-Ray release) is the first episode of the first season of Breaking Bad and the first episode of the series altogether.



1x01 - Pilot 21

Walter is recording a farewell to his family

In the New Mexico desert, a pair of khaki pants blow in the air, coming to rest next to a dirt road. A man wearing nothing but his underwear and a gas mask erratically drives an RV down the road. In the passenger seat, another man is passed out, also wearing a gas mask. In the back are two bodies sliding around in spilled liquid; one has a gun in his hand. After crashing into a ditch, the driver climbs out of the RV and dons a shirt hanging from the side view mirror. Retrieving a camcorder and pistol, the man records a message identifying himself as Walter White and bidding a cryptic farewell to his wife and son. Sirens are heard in the distance. Walt walks onto the road and awaits the approach of the sirens, gun raised.

Act I[]

1x01 - Veggie Bacon

Veggie bacon for Walt's 50th birthday

Three weeks earlier, it is Walt's 50th birthday. Inside his modest suburban home in Albuquerque, he wakes up before dawn and exercises while contemplating a plaque on his wall commemorating his contributions to research that won a Nobel Prize in chemistry. At breakfast, Walt's pregnant wife, Skyler, hands him a plate of eggs topped by veggie bacon spelling out "50". They banter with their son, Walt Jr., who has cerebral palsy. Afterwards, Walt drops off Junior at J. P. Wynne High School, where he also works as a chemistry teacher. In class, he explains to his apathetic students how he regards chemistry as the study of change as well as matter.

Act II[]

After school, Walt performs his second job as a cashier at a car wash. With his boss, Bogdan, being short-staffed, he is reassigned to wiping down cars. When servicing a convertible, the owner, a disrespectful student and his girlfriend, both from Walt's school, spot and ridicule him.

Returning home, Walt discovers that Skyler has organized a surprise birthday party. Among the guests is his gregarious brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, a DEA agent, as well as his wife, Skyler's sister Marie. Upon realizing the time, Hank is excited to turn on the local TV news, showing a report covering a methamphetamine lab bust where he is interviewed. Walt is impressed with the amount of money recovered from the dealers, and Hank mentions that $700,000 was confiscated. Hank then invites Walt to accompany him on another bust as a ride-along. Meanwhile, Skyler talks to Marie about her pregnancy.


Walt is given his diagnosis

While working at the car wash the following day, Walt suddenly collapses and is taken away by ambulance. At the hospital, a doctor informs a detached Walt that he has inoperable lung cancer and has a couple of more years to live at best. Upon returning to the car wash, Walt becomes angry when Bogdan asks him to wipe down cars again. He screams obscenities at Bogdan as he storms out of the car wash.

Taking up Hank's offer, Walt accompanies him to a bust along with his partner, Steven Gomez. While Hank and Gomez raid a meth lab belonging to local dealer known as "Cap'n Cook," Walt waits outside in their SUV. There, he unexpectedly spots a former student named Jesse Pinkman escaping through the second-story window of a neighboring house. Jesse and Walt lock eyes for a moment, recognizing each other. As Jesse flees the scene in his car, Walt realizes that he is the dealer whom Hank and Gomez are trying to catch. Later that night, Walt visits Jesse's house and blackmails him into letting him become a partner in his meth operation, with Walt offering his knowledge in chemistry in exchange for Jesse's knowledge in drug dealing.

640px-1x01 - Pilot 138

Walt stealing equipment from school

Act III[]

The following day, Walt steals boxes full of chemistry equipment from the high school and withdraws his entire bank account for Jesse to buy an RV that will be used as the duo's mobile meth lab, which Jesse later on spends mostly on a strip club ("Más"). Later, while shopping for clothes, Junior is mocked by bullies for his disability. Walt tells Skyler not to confront them and excuses himself. Before she does, he enters from the front door and attacks the main bully by kicking him in the knee and standing on his leg. Walt then challenges him to a fight, only for the bully and his friends to back down and leave the store.

The next day, Walt and Jesse park the RV in a secluded spot in the desert. To Jesse's amusement, Walt strips down to his underwear and hangs his clothes on the side mirror so as not to contaminate them with chemical odors. When they cook their first batch of meth, Jesse is astonished with the chemical purity of the product Walt has produced. He takes a sample to Krazy-8, a mid-level drug distributor who happens to be the cousin of Jesse's partner, Emilio Koyama. Emilio, who was arrested in Hank's bust and is now out on bail, believes that Jesse ratted him out. Krazy-8 and Emilio drive Jesse out to the RV, where Krazy-8 asks Walt if he wants to work for him instead. Before he can answer, Emilio recognizes Walt from the bust, thinking he's a narc, and begins threatening him. Jesse tries to flee but trips and knocks himself out on a rock. Walt barters for his life by promising to reveal his meth formula.

Act IV[]

Emilio ties up Jesse, then joins Krazy-8 in watching Walt cook. As Walt prepares the ingredients, Emilio absent-mindedly flicks a cigarette out the window, starting a brush fire. Inside, with his captors watching his process intently, Walt mixes red phosphorus and hot water that produce a blinding fireball and a deadly vapor before he dashes out of the RV. Krazy-8 and Emilio shoot at the door of the RV over Walt's head, but are eventually overcome by the gas. Walt suddenly notices the brush fire and futilely tries to extinguish it. He dons a gas mask, puts one on Jesse, and props him in the passenger seat before making his frantic escape, tying into the opening scene.

Pilot 06

Krazy-8 offering Walt money

With the sound of sirens closing in, Walt tries to shoot himself only to find that the gun's safety is on. However, he soon realizes that the sirens he is hearing are not coming from police cars, but from fire trucks responding to the brush fire. Walt holds the gun behind his back while Jesse, sporting a black eye, regains consciousness and comes out to join him. Walt's first day as a meth cook leaves him spent, shaken, but also invigorated. Returning home, he meets Skyler's troubled queries with atypical sexual aggression, leaving her stunned.

Official Photos[]


  • Extended and uncensored on home video. After airing for the first time, AMC edited the episode so it could fit into an hour time slot (including commercials), meaning the episode was cut down to roughly 45 minutes, whereas the version on the DVD and Blu-ray release runs about 58 minutes. Occasionally, AMC will still run the 58-minute long episode. Uncensored on home video, Walt says, "Fuck you, Bogdan. I said, 'Fuck you.' And your eyebrows." Hank asks, "Do you work at the fucking Pottery Barn?" And, finally, Emilio says, "You rata snitch motherfucker." A detailed analysis of the additions in the extended version can found here.
  • When introduced to the audience for the first time, both Walt and Jesse are nude down to their underwear and are struggling to get dressed in a hurry. Walt had taken off his clothes before cooking in the RV and exits after crashing it, while Jesse is putting his clothes on as as he jumps out the "sexy neighbor's" window.
    • The episode also establishes their respective colour themes - the first piece of clothing that Walt has put on was his green shirt and Jesse wearing nothing but his red underwear.
  • The show was supposed to be set in Riverside, California. However, Albuquerque was giving incentives to the production crew to film there.
    • They still had the option of setting the series in Riverside, given the area's status as a center of meth production, but the need to always film away from the Sandia Mountains led them to choose Albuquerque as a both the setting and filming location.
  • Studio executives wanted the Walter White character to be played by John Cusack or Matthew Broderick but both actors turned down the role.
  • Originally, Walter White was to be 40 years old. AMC requested his age be changed to 50. They thought 40 was too young for the crisis that Walt was facing.
  • In 1985 (the year of Walt's Nobel Prize plaque), the winners of the chemistry prize were Herbert A. Hauptman and Jerome Karle, for their development of methods to determine crystal structures.
  • While Hank and Gomez take Walt on a bust, civilians are actually not allowed into DEA vehicles by law.
  • An actual DEA agent was on set to provide instructions on how to synthesize methamphetamine.
  • The cigarette brand, Morley, is a common prop shared by various TV shows. It is a parody of Marlboro, a.k.a. “Marley”. On The X-Files, where Vince Gilligan was an associate producer, they were the brand associated with the mysterious character The Cigarette Smoking Man.
  • The handicap license for Walt's car was registered on 27 December 2008.
  • The frame around Jesse's "THECAPN" license plate reads “Save a Tree, Eat a Beaver”.
  • Among some of the chemicals Walt was working with are: denatured alcohol, methanol, red phosphorus, iodine, ephedrine HCl, toluene, acetone and isopropyl alcohol.
  • With this episode, Vince Gilligan was nominated for an Emmy Award best direction in a series and won a WGA award for best dramatic episode. John Toll, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Cinematography in a series of one-hour.
  • "Pilot" can also refer to the pilot light used to light a stove and start the reactions needed to cook.
  • This episode starts and ends with sirens coming at Walt, coinciding with the series' ending for the same.
  • Walt has full grown hair on both the first and last episode.
  • For an unknown reason, Walt was exercising on some sort of a stairmaster. This stairmaster is only seen one other time, in a deleted scene from "Full Measure", along with the pilot, another episode written and directed by Vince Gilligan.
  • Due to budget constraints, it was not possible to hire additional extras to fill the school bus seen during the scene where Walter accompanies Hank on a drug bust. Co-executive producer Melissa Bernstein volunteered to play the last student in the bus.
  • Several major characters (Walter White, Skyler White, Jesse Pinkman, etc) and supporting characters (Steven Gomez, Carmen Molina, and Krazy-8) make their debuts in this episode.

Cultural references[]

  • Hank calls Walt "Keith Richards with a glass of warm milk." Richards was co-founder, guitarist, secondary vocalist, and co-principal songwriter of The Rolling Stones, and very hard living person considered an alcoholic. This is meant to suggest that Walt seemed very out of place with a gun.
  • Jesse sarcastically tells Walt that "this ain't Welcome Back, Kotter," a reference to a television show where a former high school teacher returns his high school and teaches a remedial class.



The whole series starts on Walt's 50th birthday, the date for which was September 7th, 2008. On that day it was Sunday, however, no explanation is given on why Walter and his son visited the school on the weekends.




  • Christopher Dempsey as Paramedic
  • Edward A. Duran as DEA Agent #1
  • Andrea Good as Laundry Worker
  • Sergio Kato as DEA Agent Tom
  • Benjamin Lax as Chemistry Student
  • William E. Marshall as Parent
  • Peggy Ann O'Neal as Pedestrian
  • Melissa Bernstein as Student in bus

Filming Locations[]

  • The A1A car wash makes its first appearance, located at 9516 Snow Heights Circle, Albuquerque in real life. It has been named the "Octopus" and the "Mister" by multiple owners.
  • The first cook location is at the same site Walter buries the money barrels. Its located just off trail 7089 on the Tohajiilee indigenous reservation. The real GPS coordinates are (35.101972, -107.137222).

Featured Music[]

  • "Unknown Track #1" by Unknown Artist (during the opening sequence)
  • "Cruisin" by Eric Chun (at the carwash)
  • "Come on Home and Have Your Next Affair With Me" by Stonewall Jackson (during Walt's birthday party)
  • "Unknown Track #2" by Unknown Artist (at the carwash)
  • "Unknown Track #3" by Unknown Artist (at the carwash the next day)
  • "Matches In The Pool" by Dave Porter (playing as Walter throws lit matches into his pool)
  • "Ride of the Valkyries" composed by Richard Wagner, performed by Dean Norris (as Hank) (during the DEA raid on Captain Cook's lab)
  • "Dirty South Hustla" by Carolina Slim (as the DEA carry out the raid)
  • "Tamacun" by Rodrigo y Gabriela (as Jesse escapes from the scene of the raid)
  • "Mango Walk" by The In Crowd (as Walt takes equipment from the school's lab)
  • "Dead Fingers Talking" by Working for a Nuclear Free City (during the first cook)
  • "A Gosar" by FDK (feat. Tori Papa) (Marc Ferrari, Jonaty Garcia, and Josh Kessler) (playing as Jesse goes to meet Krazy-8)
  • "Get Low" by Pudge (playing in Krazy-8's car as he, Jesse and Emilio arrive at the cook site)
  • "Apocalypshit" by Molotov (as Walt escapes the cook site with Jesse)
  • "Out Of Time Man" Mick Harvey (during the final scenes of the episode)

Memorable Quotes[]

"My name is Walter Hartwell White. I live at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87104. To all law enforcement entitles, this is not an admission of guilt. I am speaking to my family now. Skyler, you are the love of my life. I hope you know that. Walter Junior, you’re my big man. There are going to be some things–things that you’ll come to learn about me in the next few days. I just want you to know that no matter how it may look, I only had you in my heart. Good-bye."
―Walter recording a cryptic, handheld farewell to his wife and son as sirens can be heard in the distance.

Walter Jr.: "So, how's it feel to be old?"
Walter: "How does it feel to be a smart ass?"
―Junior teasing his father.

"Technically, chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change. Just think about this. Electrons. They change their energy levels. Molecules. Molecules change their bonds. Elements. They combine and change into compounds. Well, that's all of life, right? It's the constant, it's the cycle. It's solution, dissolution. Just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation. It is fascinating, really."
―Walter introducing chemistry to his students.

Walter: "Hank, how much money is that?"
Hank: "It's about 700 grand. It was a pretty good haul."
Walter: "Well, that's unusual, isn't it? That kind of cash?"
Hank: "Mm. Well, it's not the most we ever took. It's easy money, till we catch you. Walt, just say the word and I'll take you on a ride-along. You can watch us knock down a meth lab, huh? Get a little excitement in your life."
Walter: "Yeah, someday."
―Walter and Hank at Walter's birthday party.

Dr. Belknap: "You understood what I've just said to you?"
Walter: "Yes. Lung cancer, inoperable – best case scenario with chemo, I’ll live maybe another couple of years."
―Dr. Belknap informs Walt of his diagnosis.

Walter: "Fuck you, Bogdan."
Bogdan: "What?"
―Walter to Bogdan.

Walter: "You lost your partner today. What's his name - Emilio? Emilio is going to prison. The DEA took all your money, your lab. You got nothing. Square one. But you know the business and I know the chemistry. I'm thinking...maybe you and I could partner up."
Jesse: "You, want to cook crystal meth? You. You and, uh...and me?"
Walter: "That's right. Either that...or I turn you in."
―Walter blackmailing Jesse into cooking meth with him.

Walter: "Did you learn nothing from my chemistry class?"
Jesse: "No. You flunked me, remember?"
Walter: "No wonder."
Jesse: "Prick! And let me tell you something else. This ain't chemistry – this is art. Cooking is art. And the shit I cook is the bomb, so don't be telling me."
Walter: "The shit you cook is shit. I saw your set-up. Ridiculous. You and I will not make garbage. We will produce a chemically pure and stable product that performs as advertised. No adulterants. No baby formula. No chili powder."
Jesse: "No, no, chili P is my signature!"
Walter: "Not anymore."
―Walter dismayed by Jesse's laboratory and his method of cooking his drug.

Jesse: "Nah, come on! Man, some straight like you, giant stick up his ass, all of a sudden at age, what, 60, he’s just going to break bad?"
Walter: "I’m 50."
Jesse: "It’s weird is all, okay? It doesn’t compute. Listen. If you’ve gone crazy or something I mean, if you’ve if you’ve gone crazy or depressed, I’m just saying that’s something I need to know about. Okay? I mean, that affects me."
Walter: "I am awake."
Jesse: "What?"
Walter: "Buy the RV."
―Jesse, incredulous about Walter's motivations and explanations.

"Walt, is that you?"
―Skyler expressing her surprisment over Walter's atypical behavior