Breaking Bad Season 3 (2010)

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in episode 6 of Breaking Bad's third season

The third season of Breaking Bad premiered on March 21, 2010 and concluded on June 13, 2010. It consisted of 13 episodes, each running approximately 47 minutes in length. AMC broadcast the third season on Sundays at 10 pm in the United States. The complete third season was released on Region 1 DVD and Region A Blu-ray on June 7, 2011. Season 3 saw actors Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks, who play Saul, Gus and Mike respectively, upgraded to main cast status after guest starring the previous season.

The third season received numerous awards and nominations, including seven Emmy Award nominations with two wins. Bryan Cranston won his third consecutive award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Aaron Paul won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series after being nominated the previous year. The series received its second consecutive nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. Michelle MacLaren was nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for “One Minute”. Michael Slovis was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a One Hour Series for “No Más”. Skip MacDonald received his second nomination for Outstanding Single Camera Picture-Editing for a Drama Series for “No Más” and he was also nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing for “One Minute”.

The series received four nominations for the Television Critics Association Awards, winning for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were each nominated for Individual Achievement in Drama, with the series being nominated for Program of the Year. Cranston received his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Cranston also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and won his third consecutive Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series, with the series winning the award for Best Drama Series for a second year in a row. Paul was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

The series received four nominations for the Saturn Awards, winning the award for Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series for a second year in a row. Cranston was nominated for Best Actor on Television, Paul and Dean Norris were nominated for Best Supporting Actor on Television, and Giancarlo Esposito was nominated for Best Guest Starring Role on Television. The series received three Writers Guild of America Award nominations, for Best Drama Series, George Mastras for Best Episodic Drama for “I.F.T.” and Gennifer Hutchison for Best Episodic Drama for “I See You”.

James Poniewozik of Time named “One Minute” as the fourth-best television episode of 2010. He also included “Fly”, “Half Measures” and “Full Measure” on his list of honorable mentions. The Futon Critic listed “Full Measure” as the sixth-best episode of 2010, saying that «no show has played with the expectations of we’ve come to expect from television more than Breaking Bad». IGN named Breaking Bad the best television series of 2010.

Plot (spoiler)

Albuquerque and the rest of the country is in shock after the mid-air 737 collision at the end of the second season. Walter tells Skyler about his involvement in the meth business, further increasing tension in their marriage. Walt is initially hesitant to take up Gus on a lucrative offer to continue cooking meth in a high-tech “superlab”, but later discovers that Jesse, out of rehab, has cooked a batch of the blue meth himself using Walt’s techniques. Walt, furious, accepts Gus’s offer, while leaving Skyler with signed divorce papers that still list him as the financial provider for the family. Skyler refuses to sign the papers, as she herself is an accessory to Walt’s crimes. However, she begins to work with Saul Goodman to find a legitimate business to launder Walt’s drug money through to keep the family’s take clean. Skyler also begins a sexual relationship with her boss Ted.

Hank, despite orders to go to El Paso, follows a tenuous lead on the “Heisenberg” case, and ends up linking Jesse and his RV to the blue meth. Walt quickly races to warn Jesse, but as they are preparing to destroy the RV, Hank arrives at the junkyard where it is being kept. Walt, with Saul’s help, has Jesse claim rights against illegal searches and draws Hank’s attention away with a feigned emergency call regarding his wife, giving them time to crush the RV. Hank is furious and assaults Jesse at his home, leading to his temporary suspension from the DEA while investigation on his behavior continues.

Meanwhile, two Cartel assassins arrive in Albuquerque to avenge the death of their cousin, Tuco Salamanca. The semi-invalid Hector Salamanca directs his two nephews to Walt, but Gus calls them off just outside of Walt’s shower. Gus asserts that Walt works for him and is essential to his current operation. In compromise, Gus gives the assassins the name of Tuco’s actual killer, DEA agent Hank Schrader. Leaving his disciplinary meeting, now on suspension with no badge or firearm, Hank is warned anonymously (by Gus) minutes before the axe-wielding assassins arrive. Hank uses his SUV to pin and crush the legs of one but then he is shot, although not fatally, by the other. Moments before the shooter would have driven a fire axe through Hank’s skull, Hank uses the injured cousin’s gun to shoot the axe-wielding cousin.

As the authorities investigate Hank’s attackers, Gus uses the situation as a pretense to arrange the ‘execution’ of Cartel leader Juan Bolsa by the Federales, thus ending the Mexican meth pipeline into the area, now putting him in complete control of all operations there. Walt realizes that the assassins were meant for him and the end goal of Gus’s involvement. Walt is initially very pleased with Gale, the assistant he is given to operate the superlab. However, when Walt realizes he needs Jesse back under his control, he claims dissatisfaction with Gale, and is able to negotiate for Jesse to replace Gale.

When Gus successfully blocks the Cartel’s drug trade, he offers Walt $15 million annually to continue cooking, an offer not extended to Jesse. Jesse skims a small portion of the meth to sell on his own, an action that both Gus and Walt are aware of but do not discuss. Jesse has been seeing Andrea through his rehab sessions, but soon discovers that her younger brother Tomas killed Combo on orders of Gus’s street-level dealers. Walt is able to convince Gus to end the involvement of children in drug trafficking to assure his continued participation. However, Tomas is soon found dead and Jesse surmises that Gus’s agents are responsible. Morally outraged, he plans a reckless revenge. Milliseconds before a potentially fatal shoot-out ensues on a dimly-lit, barrio street-corner, Walt slams his green Aztek into both street-thugs and then point-blank executes the surviving, injured thug. A now terrified, yet stoic, Walter warns the now incredulous, open-jawed Jesse to “run”.

Gus secures the lab, reinstates Gale as Walt’s assistant, and puts his henchman, Victor, into overseeing all lab activities. From Gale’s questions about the meth cooking process, Walt surmises Gus has plans to kill him once he has outlived his usefulness. Meeting Jesse in secret, Walt believes they need to kill Gale to assure Walt’s usefulness to Gus as a meth cook, and has Jesse locate Gale’s residence. Some nights later as Walt prepares to kill Gale, he is instead brought to the lab by Victor on the pretense of a chemical spill. When Walt sees Mike, Gus’s “cleaner” there, he realizes his time is up, and offers Jesse’s current location to save himself. He calls Jesse under the pretense of luring him in, but instead tells Jesse to kill Gale, knowing that Gus’s men will not be able to arrive in time to stop it. Jesse goes to Gale’s apartment and the season ends with Gale’s pleas and a gun-shot.

Episodes (spoiler)

Episode 1: No Más
All of Albuquerque is in shock in the aftermath of the mid-air plane collision. Walter White is living in his home alone, at least for a while longer. His wife Skyler has moved out with their son and newborn daughter to give Walt a chance to pack his things. She speaks to a divorce lawyer about making the split permanent but seems unsure when the attorney says she will uncover any money Walt may have hidden. When she confronts Walt about the divorce, she also uncovers for the first time just how he made his money. Walt’s former business partner, Jesse Pinkman, is in rehab trying to overcome his addiction. He feels remorse over the events that led to the mid-air collision and learns not to shy away from them. When all is said and done, Walt decides to get out of manufacturing and tells his principal contact, Gus, that he’s getting out of the business. Gus has an attractive offer however. Meanwhile, two dangerous looking men cross over into the US from Mexico.

Episode 2: Caballo sin Nombre
Walt is having difficulty adjusting to his new life. He doesn’t want to be the bad guy and refuses to get into drug manufacturing again. He has an encounter with a police officer but manages to avoid charges courtesy of brother-in-law Hank’s intervention. Skyler still won’t let him set foot in the house and Walt Jr. in particular is having trouble understanding how his mother can treat him this way. His sleazy lawyer-partner Saul Goodman wants him to start producing meth again and takes steps to encourage him in that direction. Unbeknown to him, the Mexican cousins now know where he lives. Jesse meanwhile stops by his old house to find that his parents have had it renovated and have put it up for sale. Relations are still cool between them but Jesse approaches Saul with a plan.

Episode 3: I.F.T.
Walt moves into the house and tells Skyler he has no intention of leaving. She won’t hear of it but Walter Jr. is thrilled that his Dad is back. It doesn’t stop her from calling the police however in an attempt to have him thrown out. She also decides to pursue her own interests. Jesse is still having trouble coming to terms with his girlfriend’s death but has moved back into his house and seems ready to get down to work. Unbeknown to Walter, Gus has arranged a meeting with his Mexican cartel counterparts and makes it clear that he wants him left alone, at least for now. Hank is still stressed and lashes out in a bar. Skyler sleeps with Ted and gleefully informs Walt.

Episode 4: Green Light
Jesse exchanges meth with a cashier to pay for gasoline. Meanwhile, Walt makes a scene at Skyler’s workplace while confronting Ted, but Mike removes Walt before police can arrive. Saul tries to convince Walt to continue producing meth, but Walt refuses the offer and loses Saul’s help laundering money. Walt loses his job and is met by Jesse with a new batch of meth. Walt rejects the substandard meth, and Jesse resolves to sell the product to Gus himself. Gus reluctantly agrees to the purchase, anticipating that Walt’s pride and financial need may convince him to accept his business proposition. Jesse only receives half the payment, while the second half is delivered to Walt. Meanwhile, Skyler continues her affair with Ted, and Hank forgoes his transfer to El Paso in order to pursue a new lead at a gas station.

Episode 5: Más
Gus tries to lure Walt back into the business with a high-tech superlab. Skyler doubts her new relationship and Marie is concerned for Hank’s well-being. Hank finds a link between the R.V. and Jesse.

Episode 6: Sunset
Walt settles into his new surroundings. Walt, Jr. wants answers about his parents’ relationship and Walt realizes that Hank has found out where Jesse has kept the R.V. and therefore meets up with Jesse, however Hank finds the R.V. with both Walt and Jesse locked in it, and the two play a game together to keep Hank away from entering and finding Walt inside.

Episode 7: One Minute
The game Walt and Jesse played forces Hank to confront Jesse and knock him out cold. Skyler pressures Walt to make a deal. Gus, realizing that Tuco’s two cousins want to kill Walt, lures them away as Walt works for him. He leads them to Hank. Hank’s gun is confiscated due to the attack on Jesse, and unguarded, Hank receives an anonymous call telling him he has one minute before someone comes to attack him. Tuco’s two cousins arrive and shoot Hank multiple times. An injured Hank manages to wound one of the cousins in the leg and kills the other by shooting him in the head.

Episode 8: I See You
As Jesse is released from the hospital after Hank’s attack on him, Hank is admitted in critical condition with four gunshot wounds. His wife Marie is not taking it well and lashes out at Hank’s boss and partner when she hears that they had taken his gun away, leaving him defenseless. She’s also less than happy with Walt whom she blames for getting Hank on Jesse Pinkman’s case in the first place. Back at his new underground lab, Walt has to tell Gale that he’s no longer required. With Walt spending his free time at the hospital, Jesse is left on his own in the lab and he’s growing increasingly worried about meeting their quota. At the hospital, Walt sees one of the Mexican cousins recovering from his wounds and realizes they were probably after him as well. Gus decides to pay a visit to the hospital.

Episode 9: Kafkaesque
Walt and Jesse are now in full production in the new lab and are easily producing the 200 lbs per week of meth, as agreed. In fact, they’re producing a few pounds more than required and Jesse can’t quite understand why they’re just “giving it away”. He decides to take advantage of the situation. Walt’s brother-in-law Hank is still recovering in the hospital and Marie is at a loss about what to do when she learns that their health plan will not necessarily provide the quantity and the quality of physical therapy required for Hank to fully recover the use of his legs. Skyler proposes that she and Walt pay the bills and has an interesting story to tell about how they can afford it. As for Walt, he realizes that his life was in danger and that it was only Gus’ intervention that saved him.

Episode 10: Fly
Walt is suffering from insomnia, worried about the choices he has made and the direction his life has taken. Unaware that Jesse has been skimming a bit of their product, he is also worried that the numbers in his formulas don’t add up and that they always seem to be somewhere between a quarter and half a pound short of what the batch should have produced. The meticulous Walt is also concerned – to the point of paranoia – when he discovers a housefly in the lab. Worried about contamination, he goes to extreme lengths to kill it. Jesse comes to his rescue in an interesting way. Near delirium from sleeplessness and the sleeping pills Jesse put in his coffee, Walt repeatedly refers to Jane and the night she died, but stops short of telling Jesse that he witnessed her death and took no actions to save her life.

Episode 11: Abiquiu
Skyler gets the first of Hank’s hospital bills and decides the time has come to get more involved in Walt’s business affairs. She’s particularly concerned that the money be laundered correctly and that it absolutely cannot be traced back to Walt’s illegal activities. Walt introduces her to Saul the lawyer but she thinks the investment he’s lined up is ludicrous and has a better idea. Jesse meanwhile is still trying to peddle the meth he’s been skimming at the lab and fed up with the slow pace, decides to show how it’s done. At the hospital, Marie is thrilled at the prospect of Hank returning home but he doesn’t seem anywhere near as pleased. Walt’s employer, Gus, invites him to dinner and dispenses sage advice.

Episode 12: Half Measures
Jesse is ready for revenge when he realizes that the drug dealers who killed his friend are not only peddling their blue meth but are using an 11 year-old to do the work. He’s prepared to kill them and wants Walt to help him out. Walt refuses but realizing the danger Jesse has put himself in takes steps to protect him. Jesse’s demands that they stop using children leads to unintended and tragic consequences. At home, Walt tries to lay down the law as it pertains to his role in the family but Skyler holds her ground and refuses to give him everything he wants. Hank meanwhile is still reluctant to leave the hospital and go home, even though his doctors have told him he’s free to leave at any time. Marie gets him to agree. Jesse finds out that the drug dealers have killed that 11 year-old boy, and decides to finish the two dealers off. Walt hears this news on TV, and realizes Jesse is up to something. Jesse confronts the dealers, and as he gets his gun ready, Walt shows up in his car and runs the dealers over. A shocked Jesse stands watching, as Walt jumps out of his car, picks up a gun, and shoots one of the dealers in the head, telling Jesse to run.

Episode 13: Full Measure
In the aftermath of killing the drug dealers, Walt has a tense meeting with Gus who makes it quite clear that his patience has reached its limit. Walt professes not to know the whereabouts of Jesse, who, he claims, has fled the state. Gus chooses Walt’s new assistant, who turns out to be Gale. Walt knows that as long as he’s the only cook available, Gus will have to keep him alive.

Cast and characters

  • Bryan Cranston as Walter White (13 episodes)
  • Anna Gunn as Skyler White (12 episodes)
  • Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman (13 episodes)
  • Dean Norris as Hank Schrader (11 episodes)
  • Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader (10 episodes)
  • RJ Mitte as Walter White, Jr. (11 episodes)
  • Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman (10 episodes)
  • Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo “Gus” Fring (11 episodes)
  • Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut (6 episodes)
  • Jeremiah Bitsui as Victor (7 episodes)
  • Daniel Moncada as Leonel Salamanca (6 episodes)
  • Steven Michael Quezada as Steven Gomez (6 episodes)
  • Charles Baker as Skinny Pete (5 episodes)
  • Christopher Cousins as Ted Beneke (5 episodes)
  • Luis Moncada as Marco Salamanca (5 episodes)
  • David Costabile as Gale Boetticher (4 episodes)
  • Michael Shamus Wiles as ASAC George Merkert (4 episodes)
  • Jere Burns as Group Leader (3 episodes)
  • Matt L. Jones as Badger (3 episodes)
  • Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca aka “Tio” (3 episodes)
  • Javier Grajeda as Juan Bolsa (2 episodes)
  • Emily Rios as Andrea Cantillo (2 episodes)
  • Carmen Serano as Principal Carmen Molina (2 episodes)
  • John de Lancie as Donald Margolis (1 episode)
  • Larry Hankin as Old Joe (1 episode)
  • Tess Harper as Mrs. Pinkman (1 episode)
  • Tom Kiesche as Clovis (1 episode)
  • Krysten Ritter as Jane Margolis (1 episode)
  • Rodney Rush as Combo (1 episode)
  • Marius Stan as Bogdan (1 episode)


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