Breaking Bad
Hazard Pay

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | 9 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
Just Like Jesse James

It's the next day, and Mike has counted and stacked all the money in three equal cube-shaped piles in front of him, Walt, and Jesse. $367,000 each. Walt immediately objects -- after the dealers got their cut, they cleared over $1.3 million. What happened? Already annoyed by this line of questioning, Mike responds that the mules (drivers) get a 20 percent cut off the top. Walt is incredulous and asks what Gus paid his drivers. Mike says Gus didn't have to pay drivers because he spent 20 years setting up his own distribution network, including 16 refrigerated trucks. Maybe if Walt didn't want to pay 20 percent, he shouldn't have killed Gus and doomed his entire operation to federal impound.

Jesse moves in to break up what's now becoming an argument, but Mike's on a roll. He brings up the fact that the methylamine, which was free this time, is going to come at a hefty price the next time. Now, to further divide up the spoils: Jesse fronted $120,000 to get the operation off the ground, so he gets paid back by Walt and Mike. Ira gets a cut, and so do his guys, and so does Saul. The main point of contention ends up being the "legacy cost" -- that's what Mike is calling his unilateral decision to re-establish the "hazard pay" hush funds for those nine men sitting in prison and (currently) keeping their mouths shut. Walt, of course, doesn't like this one bit; as far as he's concerned, these are Gus's employees, Mike's guys, and it's not HIS fault they're in prison, so why should their payoff come from his profits? Mike grumbles back that paying these guys not only ensures that the feds will stay off their trail (which reminds me -- HOW is Mike not under some kind of police surveillance right now?), but it's also "what you do." Walt, of course, has no respect for the old power structure (nor, more specifically, any kind of system that requires him to show deference to anyone), and he whines that this is a shakedown, it's blackmail. Oh grow up, Walt. Mike simply insists that business is his part of their agreement, so it's his decision, the end. Walt slams his hands down on the money and says it should come solely out of Mike's cut. Like a classic child of divorce, Jesse volunteers to pay Walt's share out of his own profits; anything to keep Dad and Dad from yelling at each other. Sufficiently shamed by the selflessness of his surrogate son, Walt swallows his rage and agrees to pay up. Mike rubs it in that this is going to be an ongoing expenditure so Walt best get comfortable with it.

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Breaking Bad

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