Gray Matter


Walt and Skyler attend the birthday party of an affluent former colleague. Jesse attempts to go straight. Skyler organizes an intervention to convince Walt to seek treatment, but the financial burden weighs heavily on him.

Breaking Bad Season 1 Episode 5 “Gray Matter” – [Official Text Credit]

~ Favourites ~

Favourite Walt Jr line – “No, its not” – “You’re a pussy, you’re like ready to give up”

Favourite Skyler line – – “Why is he doing this, what is he, like 8 years old?”

Favourite Hank line – “Somebody want to take this thing?”

Favourite Marie line – “Me personally, I think you should do whatever you wanna do.”

Favourite Walt line – “Alright, I’ve got the talking pillow now… Okay?” –

Favourite Jesse line – “Technically it says Curriculum Vitae, which I think is more professional, but uh, you know, same thing, pretty much” – “You really opened my eyes to the possibilities”

Favourite Badger line – “Helicopter Bitch”

Favourite Jesse/Walt exchange –

Interestingly, Jesse and Walt do not have an actual exchange this episode. At the end of the episode, Walt appears and says to Jesse – “Wanna cook”.

Favourite scenes –


Jesse trying to go straight;


our intro to Badger;


Skyler – “Jesus, I guess we didn’t get the Beige memo”


the huge pile of NO gifts;


Skyler and Walt leaving the party;


Cooking with badger montage (love the music for this);


Jesse and his displeasure with what he has made;


the RV fight scene; helicopter bitch!


the “intervention”


Skyler and her talking pillow.

Notable Music – “Uh” – (Uh on Youtube) by Fujiya & Miyagi plays during the Jesse and Badger cooking montage. This is another of my favourite songs on the show. You should listen to the whole thing, the lyrics are fantastic.

As with many of the songs on Breaking Bad, the lyrics fit in so well with the show. “I’m putting out fires, all over the place” is essentially the essence of Breaking Bad.

Ending Song – Silence, then the credits, then the actual Breaking Bad theme by Dave Porter plays.

Jesse Lightbulb Moment #5 – Throwing the red phosphorus at Badger and then kicking him out of the RV and taking off.

Notable Shots –


A few time lapses this episode. In the next episode on the DVD commentary track for Crazy Handful Of Nothing, Vince Gilligan mentions all the time lapses are done by a couple of guys with a Nikon camera, not by the crew of the show.

Episode Running Time on DVD – 46min 14secs

DVD Extras – Two deleted scenes on the dvd “Walt and Skyler arriving at the party” and “Target Practice” where Badger is using the crossbow outside the RV.

Links to other reviews of this episode – AV ClubAlan SepinwallThe TV Critic

Snoskred Notes –


We’ve already met Gretchen – now we meet Elliott. There is a lot of history here – some of which we are told during this episode. From the last episode it seemed clear that Gretchen and Walt had a relationship but now we find out that Elliott and Walt started a company together called Gray Matter, which has gone on to be very successful but Walt is no longer involved with it.

The whys of that, we are still unaware of. But it seems like things were left on good terms, with Elliott offering Walt a job in this episode purely for the healthcare, and then offering to pay for his treatment.

Walt, stubborn as he is, does not accept, but it is useful to him to let his family think he has accepted it to explain where the money for treatment is coming from.

Walt decides to earn that money himself, by cooking meth. And he needs Jesse. And by the end of the episode, here we are again.

Future Commentary Track Note – On the commentary track for Season 5 Episode 5 “Dead Freight” Vince Gilligan tells a story from this episode about shooting the party scenes at the Elliot and Gretchen house.

Vince mentions that sometimes when you are filming at locations people can be a real pain in the rear, and shooting the party scenes for Gray Matter was one of those occasions. Every time action was called, the next door neighbour would start up their wood chipper, ruining the scene. It got so bad that the entire cast and crew were told – we’re swapping the words around – action means cut, and cut means action. So they managed to shoot the party scenes that way.

The science of Breaking Bad – Gray Matter

Episode Count –

Five episodes down – 57 episodes to go.


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