Skyler is seriously working OVERTIME trying to craft every corner of her and Walt's cover story. This week, she scripts out a dinner-party conversation for a trip to Hank and Marie's house. Once there, she and Walt deliver the entire story of Walt's descent into lucrative card-counting. While there, however, Hank tells Walt and Junior about this case he's working on, and -- via a perfectly horrifying karaoke video -- introduces Walt to his murder victim/meth cooker, Gale. Even after learning that Hank has Gale pegged for Heisenberg, Walt freaks out about getting caught and just the general shit direction this whole meth-dealing idea has become.
Walt finds Jesse at his sad den of sadness and tries to scare him into the idea that he might have left fingerprints or something at Gale's house. But the nihilism is strong in Jesse -- stronger still later, when Mike clears Jesse's house of the army of meth-heads, them presents the bound-and-gagged lowlife who stole Jesse's giant bag of cash. Jesse didn't seem to care when he first noticed the money missing, and he isn't about to give Mike the satisfaction of caring that Mike intends to commit murder in his living room. He's barely living as it is.
The upshot of this is that Mike goes to Gus -- who is having his old problems with cartel retaliation -- and convinces him that Jesse's "uncareful" behavior is becoming a liability far beyond how much it would piss off Walter if they got rid of him. And by episode's end, Walt goes looking for Jesse at his home, but he's gone. He's being driven out to the desert by Mike. And it doesn't look good.
Previously on Breaking Bad: Jesse shot Gale. Gale's murder investigation fell into Hank's lap. Jesse was handling his PTSD poorly, enacting the scabbiest version of 24-Hour Party People ever. Skyler convinced Walt to let her in on his business by creating a cover story for their newfound drug millions. And Gus had his people slaughter the head of a rival cartel down in Mexico.
Funny the show should mention that, because it looks like Gus's issues with rival cartels are what bring us to this particular cold open. And "cold," in this case, is both figurative and literal, as Mike sits in the back of an El Pollo Knockoffo truck, stoic and refrigerated and watching his breath cloud up in front of him. As is Mike custom, he's stoic in service of his task, but eventually the truck stops, and there's a commotion outside. Screeching tires, agitated voices; Mike grabs for his gun out of instinct, and after things start sounding particularly dangerous, he crouches down behind some boxes. Not a bad idea, since a pair of bullet holes appear in the back doors, streaming bright and terrible sunshine into the truck. It should go without saying at this point, but really: the filming of this scene is just really gorgeous. Mike stays low, and suddenly, it starts. A hail of automatic-weapon fire makes Swiss cheese of the back of the truck. Vats of Pollos goo are punctured, leaking out their disgustingness all over. Somehow -- despite a rather thorough canvassing of the entire truck -- Mike isn't a pile of shot-up meat at this point. We know this because when the shooters open up the back doors and walk into the truck, two quick gunshots send their corpses flying back out again. Mike! He exits the truck -- the frost on his parka meeting the blazing Mexican sun -- and looks around. Annoyed, per usual. He's even more annoyed when he reaches back under his hat flaps to find blood. Fortunately, the bullet just grazed the top of his ear. Unfortunately, we all have to look on as Mike pushes the flap of ear (currently hanging by a thread of skin) back into place. It flops down again. Quite a living this guy makes.
After the title card, we see Skyler lying awake in bed at 3AM. She turns the light on so she can jot something down on a legal pad she's keeping on her nightstand. She checks some printouts with gambling statistics and makes some more notes. Cut to a support group meeting she's dragged Walt to. While he nods off, she's paying rapt attention to the speaker, who's talking about how gambling destroyed his life. One more cut and we're back at home, as Skyler is on the phone with Marie, finalizing dinner plans. She assures her sister that nobody's going to bring up the fact that they're paying Hank's medical bills. "We just want to bring everyone up to speed," Skyler says. Seems Skyler has decided that, with the purchase of the car wash imminent, she and Walt are going to have to really lay out their cover story to explain how they got the money to buy such a thing in the first place. If you're thinking that Skyler is really into explanations and cover stories, this episode is for you, because: welcome to the A-plot.