Season One – Episode One: “Pilot”
A high school chemistry teacher resorts to selling drugs in order to provide for his family.
Unassuming high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) discovers he has lung cancer. Desperate to secure his family’s financial future and finally free from the fear that had always inhibited him, Walt teams up with a former student to turn a used RV into a mobile drug lab.
Formerly a successful research chemist at a prestigious government laboratory, Walter White has been reduced to teaching apathetic high school students in Albuquerque while holding down a part-time job at a car wash in order to make ends meet. Along with his wife, Skyler, who has carved a modest career out of buying and selling items on eBay, he’s raising a son, Walter, Jr., a strong-willed seventeen-year-old whose cerebral palsy challenges the family. Yet all of these difficulties pale in comparison to Walter’s latest discovery. The day after his fiftieth birthday party where his brother-in-law, DEA Agent Hank Weld, steals the show with anecdotes about life on the front lines of the drug war, Walter collapses at the car wash. Ending up in the emergency room, he’s diagnosed with cancer and given two years to live, but chooses to keep the bad news to himself.
With his family’s future as his top priority, Walter seizes upon an offer to ride along with Hank for a meth lab raid. After seeing a former student, Jesse Lee Pinkman, narrowly escape arrest at the ramshackle drug lab, and recalling Hank’s tales of the large amounts of cash confiscated during the raids, Walter approaches the skeptical Jesse with an offer to become partners. So, after raiding his high school stockroom for some first-rate equipment, he cashes in his retirement fund to buy a used RV to use as a mobile lab that can operate out of view of nosy neighbors, their competition, and the police.
Although it isn’t long before the pair possesses the purest crystal meth that Jesse has ever seen, things quickly sour once Jesse turns to a local drug dealer, Krazy-8. While Krazy-8 is eager to make a deal, his cousin Emilio, who took the fall when the old lab was busted, is bent on revenge. And things only get worse when, after taking Jesse hostage and returning to the RV, Emilio recalls seeing Walter with the DEA on the night he was arrested. Facing the end to his audacious plan before it can get off the ground forces Walter to think fast. With a fearlessness borne from the knowledge of his death sentence, he calls on his chemist’s experience and engineers a daring escape – one that leaves Krazy-8 and Emilio dead and Walter and Jesse repairing their damaged lab before resuming their quest to become drug kingpins.