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1-6: "Crazy Handful of Nothin'" 2008.03.02


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#1

Romantique

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Posted Oct 7, 2012 @ 9:19 PM

The Great Breaking Bad Rewatch continues with "Crazy Handful of Nothin'," the sixth (and penultimate) episode of the first season. Please be warned that this thread will include discussion of details from all aired episodes (4 seasons and half of season 5). For the full rewatch schedule, click here.

Let's continue the discussion!
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#2

littlespooge

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Posted Oct 8, 2012 @ 1:09 PM

I was hooked from The Pilot but 'Crazy Handful of Nothin' was the peak of S1 for me. Heisenberg may have emerged as the biggest villain of Breaking Bad but who didn't cheer at his first appearance, exploding Tuco's lair like that? Bryan Cranston is Emmy worthy in every single second he features in this episode, especially when clutching his money, blood dripping from his nose, growling in his car. WOW.

I love Skyler and Junior's reactions to Walt coming to the breakfast table with his newly shaved head. Skyler blanching and Junior's proud "Badass Dad". Perfect.

I also love the moment when Jesse sees the red dot on Walt's chest, realizes that his partner has cancer and kindly advises Walt to use an ice pack next time. It was probably Walt's first time seeing the compassionate side of Jesse, right before he gets Jesse put in the hospital. I always wonder if this was the episode where Jesse was originally supposed to die, murdered by Tuco? If that was the plan for Jesse's death, it really seems like a waste of a character who had been so central to the story so far. What a relief they changed their plans. Jesse getting beaten to a pulp was enough to make Walt feel guilty and shift him into a darker harder persona.
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#3

peeayebee

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Posted Oct 8, 2012 @ 7:00 PM

I always wonder if this was the episode where Jesse was originally supposed to die, murdered by Tuco?

In all the times I've heard Vince or others talk about the plan for Jesse to be killed, I don't think I ever heard anything specific about when or how, but what you said makes sense.

This is truly an outstanding ep. Seeing Jesse's reaction to discovering that Walt had cancer was great as it moved from anger to understanding (about Walt's motivation) to concern.

I also loved seeing Walt squirm as Hank checked out the school's lab inventory. Thruout the series it's been a real pleasure watching these two interact as each had a different set of knowledge, with Walt, of course, holding most of the cards, so to speak.

His emergence with a shaved head was a great scene. On the DVD this ep has a commentary track, and Vince pointed out that they filmed Walt shaving his head but wisely decided not to include it in the ep. (You can see it in the deleted scenes section.) Skyler's and Jr's very different reactions cracked me up.

So many good things in this ep. What a great introduction to a great character: Tuco. I love when actors create such indelible characters.

I don't know if this was mentioned before, but on the commentary they pointed out that in the scene where Walt is throwing up in the bathroom, the first shot of him in the stall was actually from an earlier ep (where he had a consultation with the cancer specialist) where he went into the bathroom and masturbated. I didn't think about it before, but it was strange that he's standing up to vomit. But since this wasn't used in the earlier ep, they were able to substitute the one they filmed with this one. In this ep the scene that was shot of Walt vomiting was deemed too gross -- a POV shot of the vomit going into the toilet -- so fortunately they had this footage.

Another bit of trivia was that Aaron got hurt when Tuco hit him with the bag of cash, which was actually filled with foam bricks. On the commentary track the other actors teased him about being a pussy for complaining about being hit with foam, but Aaron said it really hurt. I know in a later scene he was also injured when Ray Cruz (Tuco) threw him out the screen door. Cruz really gets into his character!
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#4

JOnanGoopta

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Posted Oct 9, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

I love pretty much everything about this episode. Walt going all-in with nothing is such a great parallel to blowing up Tuco's office.

I miss Tuco. He was such a crazy, violent character, but somehow, likable at the same time. He may have been the only antagonist in the show who, to some extent, actually liked Walt, too. I've always thought of Tuco, oddly, as being the one character in the show most like Walt. They have very similar motivations. Tuco appears to love the business because of the danger, and because of the fact that he is personally a lot of the danger. Walt, in his nerdier way, is also all about the danger, and he too wants to be the danger.

The scene where we first see Heisenberg go full badass is perhaps the most satisfying. In its own way, this show portrays a very addiction-like progression. When Walt first breaks bad, his sex life improves, he has improved strength and creativity, and while there are consequences even early on, unleashing his id is incredibly satisfying to him. When he walks into a meth lord's headquarters, blows it up and then walks out with his money, plus the "pain and suffering" money for Jesse, his response is an angry, but ecstatic animalistic growl. Damn fine acting.

Just like any addictive drug, though, Walt's addiction to power not only stops giving him the initial satisfaction and takes that away, but then goes on to take everything else he has worth anything and leaves him with nothing, except a giant pile of money.

This episode was definitely where I decided I was with this show for the long haul.

Damn you, Vince Gilligan, for creating a show so addictive I will put up with a series of evil mindfucks for years to come, and come back wanting more.
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#5

bestever

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Posted Oct 9, 2012 @ 2:26 PM

I always loved the animalistic growl/scream that Walt does in the car after leaving (and blowing up) Tuco's headquarters. I remember later on I made the connection when they introduced Walt Whitman with Gale. Walt was using his "barbaric yawp", which Whitman describes in one of his poems. I thought it was so fitting and a nice parallel. Now of course, Walt Whitman has come back to bite him in the ass. ;)

I also loved the look on Walt's face when he sees Jesse in the hospital all messed up, and then he sits down and gets this look of anger "tell me more about this Tuco". I was like "aww, way to get justice for Jesse!" Like that was the point where he started looking out for Jesse and caring about what happened to him.
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#6

ReadIshmael

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Posted Oct 9, 2012 @ 4:48 PM

This is still one of my favorite episodes in the show's run. Walt blowing up Tuco's den is one of the coolest scenes in the series, and it's one that I don't have to feel that ambivalent about liking, because Walt is not just sympathetic but actually, in avenging Jesse, kind of heroic in that moment. It's a sign of scary things to come, and the episode knows that--they use the cold open to make that statement--but, my God, is it satisfying. And that explosion is seriously one of the most interesting-looking explosions I've ever seen on film. It is gorgeous.

This episode was also the one where I realized how invested I was in in Jesse and in Walt and Jesse's relationship, and that took the show to a whole other level for me.
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#7

stillshimpy

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Posted Oct 9, 2012 @ 6:44 PM

It's a sign of scary things to come, and the episode knows that


It really is a sign of things to come and whereas I still love the episode, I found it a little difficult to watch because it was bizarrely making me a little sad. I miss the Walter White who was so outraged that Jesse had been so badly hurt, he had to reach deep inside of him to find a complete badass to visit some destruction on Tuco. Now it's too much of the cold side of Walt and not enough of the Walt was so upset that Jesse had been hurt. Plus, it's hard to watch Walt being so concerned for Jesse, because there's a world of pain awaiting Jesse and much of it is due to his association with Walter White.

I don't know if this was the episode where Jesse was meant to die, but I'm assuming that if it wasn't, it was always going to be at the hands of Tuco in some respects. This also begins the Breaking Bad tradition of beating the living snot out of Jesse. Seasons later when we watched Box Cutter my husband and I were convinced that Jesse was going to be hideously maimed at the very least, because if VG has proven one thing, it is that he won't hesitate to make his characters suffer.

But it also the side-story with Hugo that is sad to watch. Walt's first unintentional victim. Just a good guy, who liked to smoke pot and cleaned up after Walt.

I'm personally so incredibly grateful that Raymond Cruz was not interested in being Breaking Bad's long-term villain. I don't know if Vince Gilligan and company just didn't realize he already had a steady gig on a show with strong ratings, or what happened, but I'm grateful to The Closer because it meant Cruz was unlikely to say yes. First of all, we wouldn't have had Gus (Gus was the replacement character Gilligan wrote when Cruz took a pass on continuing to recur...hmmmm...that was unintentionally redundant, but you know what I mean), but also man, it was hard to watch Cruz playing Tuco when I was used to him as the primarily stoic (if overly hound-doggish around women) Sanchez.

I don't know, watching this in the capacity of a rewatch, this episode is still fun, but it also feels like the episode in which Walter White officially begins to die. Not physically, just in a lot of the essentials. Initially the appearance of Heisenberg was fantastic, but now it's just sort of ominous, because that's the side of Walt that allows him to do some of the things that made and still makes me cheer on his comeuppance and maybe even his actual demise.
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#8

peeayebee

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Posted Oct 9, 2012 @ 8:51 PM

But it also the side-story with Hugo that is sad to watch. Walt's first unintentional victim. Just a good guy, who liked to smoke pot and cleaned up after Walt.

This really was so sad. It was very touching seeing Hugo take care of Walt, and also to see that Walt so appreciated him. It's funny that before rewatching, I was remembering that Hugo somehow knew Walt had set him up, but that's not what happened. Walt, of course, had plenty of guilt about it.
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#9

littlespooge

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Posted Oct 10, 2012 @ 1:50 PM

Walt blowing up Tuco's den is one of the coolest scenes in the series, and it's one that I don't have to feel that ambivalent about liking, because Walt is not just sympathetic but actually, in avenging Jesse, kind of heroic in that moment.


The only thing that tinges it for me is that right after Walt took revenge for the stolen meth and Jesse's pain and suffering he then made a deal to continue cooking for the man who broke Jesse's ribs. I'd love to say that Jesse's beating was the sole motivation for Walt unleashing his inner Heisenberg and going after Tuco, but you can see at the end when Walt is relishing having all that money in his hands that Walt's need to win and profit from his cooking was a major part of it. Jesse protests in this episode and the next one that Tuco is too dangerous to work with, but Walt is too impatient and greedy to listen to Jesse's warnings and it leads to them both being kidnapped and almost killed in the upcoming episodes.

That said, I do think that Walt was genuinely shocked, upset and enraged when he saw Jesse lying in that hospital bed. Even now (in S5) I think Walt still feels protective of Jesse and would mercury blast (or machine gun?) any rival drug dealer who hurts or threatens Jesse. I think Walt knows deep down that he does the most harm to Jesse himself by dragging him into deeper levels of criminality than Jesse can cope with. I guess it's possessive thing. Like a kid who bullies his little brother all the time but if some other kid in the playground bullies his little brother, he'll make him pay for it. It's like a 'Nobody is allowed to be mean to Jesse but Walt' thing.

I'm personally so incredibly grateful that Raymond Cruz was not interested in being Breaking Bad's long-term villain.


I'm glad Tuco wasn't a long term character too. The Tuco arc was incredible (this episode and 'Grilled' would easily make my Top 10 favorites list) but I don't think I could cope with such a terrifying intense character for too long. Tuco was so draining to watch. In the first scene where Jesse attempts to sell the meth to Tuco, I felt like I was Jesse in that moment, experiencing how very uncomfortable and nerve-wracking it is just to be in the same room as Tuco. The tension is so brilliant but if they'd tried to keep it up for a full season I think Tuco would have become exhausting and overwrought. He's an epic short-term character though. Much more frightening than the Cousins (two of the very few BB characters who didn't work for me) I thought. I actually loved Tuco's "You gotta rob to keep your riches" line because it showed he wasn't stupid or a mindless thug; Tuco robbed and bloodied Jesse because he was protecting his own legend and territory.

Edited by littlespooge, Oct 10, 2012 @ 1:55 PM.

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#10

Romantique

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Posted Oct 28, 2012 @ 1:20 PM

It really is a sign of things to come and whereas I still love the episode, I found it a little difficult to watch because it was bizarrely making me a little sad. I miss the Walter White who was so outraged that Jesse had been so badly hurt, he had to reach deep inside of him to find a complete badass to visit some destruction on Tuco.


I agree, stillshimpy...Walt is literally dying with the chemo being pumped into him and his humanity is being stripped away. Also, not only is Walt able to bluff Hank during that poker game, he is also able to bluff his way from the missing lab equipment with Hank (with Hugo as the unwitting victim), and bluff his way through paying for his treatments (asking the woman to hold the check until Monday and telling Skyler he got a check from Elliott). So while the Walter White we knew in the initial episodes is dying, Heisenberg is born in that final scene. It's as if all the lies and subterfuge in the previous episodes, led up to this...a dying man who is able to put the scare on one of the scariest characters in the series.

I agree with all of the comments about Raymond Cruz being fortuitously not available to be a long-term character...it is interesting to consider that both with the writers' strike and his tenure on The Closer helped define the length of his character's arc in a good way. Even not knowing the external reasons why, what unfolded (or will unfold as we rewatch these episodes) makes perfect sense. I'm with littlespooge, Tuco is exhausting to watch, and I actually remember what my thoughts were when I first watched this episode: ...whoa, this guy is really intense, if he's going to be putting out cigarettes on his tongue and beating up Jesse with a sack of cash, what are we going to see next?! And then that cathartic roar in the car...just pitch perfect.

I remember feeling badly for Hugo when I first watched this episode, but when rewatching, I felt even worse...here he was cleaning after Walt's vomit and even offering him gum, making sure he gets back to teaching the kids. But he was the first victim of many. The episode began with Walt telling Jesse that there would be no more bloodshed and violence...famous last words...and he didn't consider then the other kind of collateral damage.
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#11

JOnanGoopta

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Posted Jun 30, 2013 @ 7:39 PM

I just re-watched this.  Damn.  This has to be one of the best episodes of anything ever aired in the history of ever.

 

It has all of Walt's worst traits as a monster and best traits on full display.  He blatantly let Hugo go down for his own crimes.  Disgusting.  Evil.

 

But when Jesse got beat down by Tuco, he did not hesitate in the least.  He wasn't going to put up with that shit.  He was going to get immediate revenge, against someone he had no chance against, and then he actually did it!  Walks right into a drug kingpin's inner sanctum, alone, blows it the fuck up, takes the guy's money, and sets it up to do biz.  

 

Okay, this probably wouldn't happen in reality, Walt would be eaten by buzzards in the desert somewhere, but this was truly awesome TV.

 

Tell me it ain't so.


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#12

Grasonville

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Posted Jul 30, 2013 @ 11:58 AM

Is it just me or in the very beginning of this episode - when Walter is first sitting in the recliner getting chemo (minutes 2:24-2:58) on his right hand side is a "woman" also getting chemo. "She" looks a LOT like Giancarlo Esposito (Gus) - same glasses and profile. Would someone look and see if this is correct? Of course - when this first aired - we had not yet met Gus.
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#13

beaugard

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Posted Jul 30, 2013 @ 3:32 PM

Yes, it looks vaguely like him, but not sure why they would put him in drag and sit him by Walter.

 

http://i41.tinypic.com/161dlit.png

 


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#14

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Posted Jul 30, 2013 @ 4:59 PM

I think it becomes an "inside" funny just like Bryan C wearing a horrid wig was passed out on the floor of a Jesse party in a future episode - the more I look the more I think it is him.
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#15

ReadIshmael

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Posted Jul 30, 2013 @ 8:16 PM

I'm pretty sure the invention of Gus and the casting of Giancarlo were a long, long way off when this episode aired. This was pre-writer's strike, when they were still planning on having Tuco around throughout all of season 2.


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#16

Grasonville

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Posted Jul 31, 2013 @ 6:58 AM

Check out the mini photo - and if you can - re-watch - I am convinced it is Gus.

Will look in the AM for a cast list of that episode.

Can't find a reference to that "character" in the cast list - maybe an IMBD expert can look this up.
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