Season 4, Episode 1

Box Cutter

Walt and Jesse face the deadly consequences of their actions. Skyler deals with a puzzling disappearance, as Marie struggles to help Hank with his recovery.

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In a flashback to the original set-up of the superlab, Gale excitedly unpacks sterling new high-tech lab equipment, making notes in a distinctive journal labeled "Lab Notes." When Gale praises the blue meth Gus gave him — it's beyond the purity that he, or anyone else he knows of, could produce — Gus politely demurs, saying the chemist responsible wouldn't make a suitable partner. Gale pushes the issue because this meth is that good, and Gus reconsiders; Gale has just talked Gus into hiring Walt White.

Back in the present, we find Jesse in Gale's doorway pointing a gun at him. Jesse shoots Gale and flees. Moments later, Victor pushes his way through a small group of neighbors, including one on the phone to 911, and finds Gale dead. Outside, Victor spots a shell-shocked Jesse in his car. Victor jumps in and orders Jesse to drive at gunpoint.

At the lab, Walt and Mike stare each other down. Victor returns with Jesse and it's clear he failed; Gale is dead.

Mike asks if Victor performed a sweep of Gale's apartment. Victor replies that he couldn't because people were there. When Mike asks if he was seen, he admits he was, but is certain they mistook him for "just another looky-loo."

Early the next morning, Marie appears at Skyler's house with a stack of unpaid medical bills. Seeing Walt's car, she assumes Walt and Skyler have reunited. After Marie leaves, Skyler moves Walt's car to a nearby street so Walter, Jr. won't ask questions when he wakes up.

Back at the lab, Walt explains the new reality to Mike and Victor: like it or not, he's the only one who can maintain the meth production schedule. In response, Victor switches on the equipment. "We ain't missin' no cook," he says. Now Walt and Jesse have a new problem, if Victor can manage a cook by himself.

Saul, scouring his office for bugs, receives a call from Skyler asking where Walt is. Returning her call by payphone, Saul lies and assures her Walt is fine; then he tells his new bodyguard, Huell, that they might need to leave town.

Skyler drives with Holly to Walt's condo. When no one answers the door, she convinces a locksmith to let her inside by feigning a panic attack. Searching the apartment she finds no clues to Walt's whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Marie gushes about Hank's progress in physical therapy. Hank dismisses the compliment; she's exaggerating, since he only covered sixteen feet in twenty minutes. Embarrassed and humiliated, he asks Marie to help him use his bedpan.

At the lab, Jesse remains nearly catatonic while Walt waits and hopes for Victor to miss a step in the cook. He doesn't. Gus arrives and Walt immediately tries to defend his and Jesse's actions. Gus wordlessly changes into one of the lab's orange clean-up suits. As he becomes more nervous and agitated, Walt blames Gus for Gale's death: did Gus really think that Walt wouldn't take "extreme measures" to defend himself? Gus says nothing and Walt, panic mounting, taunts Victor with rapid-fire questions pertaining to the chemistry of the meth-making process.

It's called "a cook" for a reason, counters Victor. He knows the recipe. But Victor doesn't know the chemistry and can't fix problems that come up, Walt challenges. Without him and Jesse, says Walt, the lab is just "an eight million dollar hole in the ground."

Gus picks up a box cutter and walks menacingly toward Walt and Jesse. "You kill me," says Walt, "you have nothing. You kill Jesse, you don't have me."

Gus crosses to Victor and slices his throat. The blood sprays on Jesse and Walt. Walt can't meet Gus' icy stare. Jesse locks eyes with Gus until, his face covered in blood, Gus pushes Victor's dead body to the floor. He walks past Walt and Jesse, dropping the box cutter. After washing up, Gus silently changes back into his street clothes.

"Well?" he tells Walt and Jesse, calmly. "Get back to work."

As Mike watches, Walt and Jesse squeeze Victor's body into a plastic drum then pour in hydrofluoric acid. "You sure it'll do the job?" Mike asks. "Trust us," Jesse replies. Walt seals the drum, which is shipped off with a load of hazardous material.

Later at a diner, Jesse eats ravenously, while Walt appears shaken. Walt asks Jesse what their next move should be, "given the fact that at his first opportunity Gus will kill us." Jesse disagrees; if Gus wanted them dead, he would've done it at the superlab. Walt replies that they merely bought time until Gus finds another chemist.

"Good luck with that," laughs Jesse, eerily unaffected, adding that everyone is on the same page now: "The one that says if I can't kill you, you'll sure as shit wish you were dead."

Walt arrives at Skyler's house in a cab but can't find his car. Skyler meets him in the driveway and tells him she moved it to avoid questions from Walter, Jr. She does not ask him where he's been, she simply directs Walt to his car and returns to the house.

At Gale's, the Albuquerque police process the scene. Gale's "Lab Notes" journal sits in plain sight on his coffee table. It's only a matter of time before someone looks at it and discovers Gale's notes on the superlab.