Season 1, Episode 6
Crazy Handful of Nothin’
Walt and Jesse cook more meth although Walt is plagued by the side effects of chemotherapy. Jesse's accomplice, Skinny Pete, makes an important introduction, and Walt strikes a surprising deal. The DEA's investigation intensifies.
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Walt, back in business with Jesse, says he wants to be the "silent partner," and his "realm" is only the chemistry and Jesse's is the street. "No more bloodshed." Intercut with their conversation are shots of a bald man calmly walking through a group of bikers on a street littered with smoldering debris. He is holding a white bag with a red stain on it.
Later, Walt is receiving treatment in a chemotherapy room. Skyler's with him, but he convinces her to leave. Before departing she expresses concern about the check their friend Elliott was supposed to send to pay for the chemo. Walt says he received and deposited it but later asks the clinic's clerk not to deposit his own check until Monday.
The next day Walt uses the example of fulminated mercury to teach his class how rapid chemical reactions can cause otherwise harmless substances to explode. Before he can finish his explanation, Walt abruptly leaves to vomit in the men's room, after which a custodian named Hugo assists him.
At a support group of cancer patients and family members, Skyler tells Walt she feels he doesn't want her around and that she and Walter Jr. wonder where he disappears some afternoons. Walt says he needs to be alone sometimes, that he goes on nature walks.
As Walt speaks we see images of desert vegetation, but also of smoke from his meth lab. Wearing a respirator as he cooks, Walt struggles to breathe, eventually stumbling out the RV's door. Jesse jumps up and assists Walt, who says he's just dizzy.
"Cancer. You got it, right?" Jesse asks, saying he recognizes the mark on Walt's chest from his aunt's bout with cancer. "I'm your partner, man," he says. "You shoulda told me."
When Walt can't continue cooking he tosses the respirator to Jesse, who offers this advice before heading into the RV: "Put an icepack on your head during chemo. My aunt said it helped with the hair loss."
Meanwhile, Gomez, Hank's DEA partner, meets him in a motel parking lot and hands him the respirator they discovered at Walt's original cook site. The crime-lab report indicates the respirator comes from Walt's high school.
Later at the same motel and elsewhere around the city Jesse sells the new meth batch, occasionally partaking himself.
In the desert the next day Walt is dissatisfied with the $1,300 Jesse hands him. Jesse replies that it isn't easy selling meth "one tenth at a time." Walt says they have to "move our product in bulk now" and asks if Jesse knows any distributors.
"Yeah, I used to. Until you killed him," Jesse says, referring to Krazy 8. Jesse later tells Walt a "badass" named Tuco replaced Krazy 8.
"You can't just bum rush some high-level iceman and start cutting deals," Jesse protests when Walt demands he go meet with Tuco. He says they should stick with the less-risky approach of selling small quantities.
At the clinic, Walt undergoes treatment again. "Wait till Monday again?" the checkout clerk asks. "Yes," Walt replies.
Later at school, Walt vomits again. Hugo offers him a stick of gum. Back in his chem lab he gets a surprise visit from Hank, who holds up the respirator Gomez gave him, saying it was used to cook meth. When Hank inventories the lab's storage room, he finds two respirators missing, along with some glassware.
Walt's cell phone rings. It's Jesse, who says his friend Skinny Pete was in jail with Tuco and will introduce him.
"We're haulin' a pound to the dude right now," Jesse says.
Walt returns to Hank, who says "some meth monkey had a feeding frenzy" in the lab and warns Walt to guard it better. "We don't want people to start worrying about you." Walt stares blankly before Hank breaks into a big grin.
Across town, Tuco snorts some of Jesse's meth and jumps up, exclaiming, "This kicks like a mule with his balls wrapped in duct tape."
Jesse names his price, $35,000, but Tuco tells him he's running a "consignment operation" so Jesse will have to wait.
"Tough sh——" Tuco replies when Jesse says he wants the money now. Jesse grabs the meth and bolts, but Tuco's associates catch him. Tuco puts some money in a canvas bag but as Jesse reaches for it Tuco smacks him to the floor with it and kicks him.
"Nobody moves crystal in the South Valley but me, bitch!" he shouts.
Back at the high school one morning, Hank's DEA agents handcuff Hugo. Over a poker game in Walt's living room a few days later, Walter Jr. asks why Hank arrested Hugo. Hank says Hugo "fit the profile," but they only found pot in his truck, they didn't find the chemistry gear. Walt says Hugo seemed all right, but Hank laughs him off: "Nothing personal, Walt, but you wouldn't know a criminal if he was close enough to check you for a hernia."
Hank says Hugo will lose his job "like he should" and do time in county jail, but Hank's real focus is Walt's hand. Walt bets all his chips, causing Hank to fold. He looks shocked when Marie shows him Walt had "a handful of nothing."
In the shower the next morning, Walt's hair falls out in clumps. After calling Jesse again he finds out from Skinny Pete that he's in the hospital. When Walt arrives at the hospital, Jesse, wearing a neck brace, is asleep. Walt asks Skinny Pete to tell him about Tuco.
The next morning, Walt shaves his head completely. Carrying a bag of crystal, he talks his way into Tuco's headquarters. When Tuco asks him what he wants, Walt says $50,000: "Thirty-five for the pound of meth you stole, and another fifteen for my partner's pain and suffering."
Tuco laughs, then puts out a cigarette on his tongue. "Let me get this straight. I steal your dope. I beat the piss out of your mule boy. And then you walk in here and bring me more meth?"
"You got one part of that wrong. This is not meth," Walt says, hurling a crystalline nugget to the floor. The ensuing explosion blows out the windows.
"You got balls. I'll give you that," Tuco later says. He gives Walt the money and they make a deal for the next meth batch.
"What is it?" Tuco asks about the explosive crystal.
"Fulminated mercury," replies Walt. "A little tweak of chemistry."
As Walt walks away it's a repeat of the opening shot of him leaving the scene of mayhem. In his car, Walt clutches Tuco's money, grunting loudly before driving away.