AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 3, Episode 7: “One Minute”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Thomas Schnauz
* For a review of the previous episode, “Sunset” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “I See You” – click here
We get a flashback of the Salamanca brothers as boys, their Uncle Hector (Mark Margolis) sitting in a lawn chair outside while they play. He talks on the phone, definitely about Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). When the boys get into a fight over a toy, uncle decides to teach them a lesson. When one of them grabs a beer from the cooler for him he holds his head under the water. Teaching a lesson on death, life, all the important things, before one brother saves the other.
And now, they’re nasty psychopaths, headed directly for DEA Agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), inadvertently due to Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Ah, the random, absurd chaos of the world.
Hector: “Family is all”
Jesse (Aaron Paul) heads home after all the shit he and his old partner have been through. Not long after Hank shows up, angry beyond belief. He beats the young man within an inch of his life for the call made about Marie (Betsy Brandt); yet another inadvertent casualty of Walt’s criminal life. Instantly realising what he’s done Hank stops, knowing this could cost him his job. An ambulance is called and his career’s now on the line. Between this an El Paso, his boss George Merkert (Michael Shamus Wiles) isn’t sure what is going on anymore.
But Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) paints a great picture: “Best thing for you.” He tells Jesse that he’s home free now, after this beating. At the hospital, Walt sneaks in to see his former partner, who isn’t particularly thrilled to see the Paul to his Ringo, as their lawyer puts it. Walt isn’t King Midas, nor is he King Midas in reverse. He’s King Shit; everything he touches turns to absolute diarrhoea. Then there’s Jesse, keeping his eye on the prize: ruining Hank’s life. And cooking meth again. If anything goes wrong? He gives up Walt, even if the older of the two thinks he won’t go that far.
Hank is taken through the legal process, giving his statement to Merkert and other law enforcement. He explains the call about Marie, his bad judgement in going to Pinkman’s place. Furthermore, there are charges being pressed and Jesse looks squeaky clean, no drugs in his piss, not even taking pain meds at the hospital. Looking worse for ole Agent Schrader. When Marie comes to meet her husband he lets out a quick, rare fleet of tears. Just long enough for the elevator ride.
When Walt sees Skyler (Anna Gunn) again she asks if there’s anything he can do for Hank. She doesn’t realise how touchy the whole thing is, nor does she know the extent to which Walt is involved, either. How deep his finger is pressed on the pulse of it all. If the guy didn’t have cancer before this whole thing would give it to him.
At work things are well. Gale Boetticher (David Costabile) has coffee ready, he’s dressed professionally and has everything prepared for the cook. He isn’t so used to the help. Yet something about it pisses him off.
On the road the Salamancas meet a man with wares to sell. He has bullets, guns, bulletproof vests, explosives. They want vests, but need to test them. So they put a bullet in the seller who’s wearing one. Oh yeah – they work! The boys are gearing up for something nasty.
Walt nitpicks the temperature settings Gale used on their latest batch. He claims a different reading than what Gale wrote down. He acts very sour, shutting down production to start over. What is it bugging him so bad? Is there a purpose to the way he’s acting? Might be.
And today, Hank must face the music. His wife would rather him lie. He can’t do that, though. He made a mistake, and as an honourable man he’s got to own up to that. No matter how much it hurts. He admits that since the shootout with Tuco, he’s changed, and may be finished with law enforcement.
Hank: “It wasn‘t one mistake. I‘ve been unravelling, y‘know?”
So now we know, Walt feels Gale isn’t working out. He wants to bring Jesse into the fold. Ahh, it makes sense! Bring him in on the operation, pay him, he keeps quiet on Hank’s assault. Walt argues for him best he can, that they have a “shorthand” way of working. He pleads with Gus without seeming TOO desperate. For the time being his request is granted. We’ll see how the whole thing works out. Isn’t always so easy. He presents it to Jesse, 50/50 split on the cash. Except the young man’s finished with Walt. He’s lost everything in his life that’s good, because of their relationship. After all this he’s discovered that Mr. White only cares about himself. As always, using a slithery way of speaking, the former chemistry teacher convinces him to come back to work.
Jesse: “I‘ve never been more alone, I have nothing, no one.”
With all the information at hand, Hank’s statement official statement given at full risk of the consequences, the DEA suspends Agent Schrader; no pay. He hands over his gun, then prepares to go on a forced vacation, of sorts. He heads down to the parking lot with one good bit of news: no charges being laid from Pinkman. One bit of hope.
On the way to his car he receives a call. Someone tells him there are men coming to kill him in one minute. He looks around, knowing he’s without a gun. In the distance come the Salamancas. They fire on him. He squashes one between his trunk and another vehicle. The other fires again, he takes a bullet in the lower back. With one of their guns in hand, Hank hides from the other brother still able to walk. Hank takes another two bullets. Instead of shooting him, the remaining Salamanca goes for his axe. Hank manages to chamber one last bullet and blows the back out of the guy’s skull, before passing out from blood loss.
CHRIST! One of the more intense episodes of the whole series. Can’t wait to review the next one titled “I See You” and there’s so much about to happen, between the fallout of this latest event with Hank and Gus Fring + Walter’s relationship changing fast.