A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal

Breaking Bad S1E7: “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal

Directed by Tim Hunter  |  Written by Peter Gould  |  47 min    

9.0 / 10

First things first: am I the only one who finds it uncomfortable when Walt and Skyler have sex?

The season one finale begins with Walt finger-banging his wife at a PTA meeting. They finish in the backseat of their SUV. Congrats on the sex, Heisenberg. However, the whole thing is even more awkward than Skyler’s unenthusiastic handjob in the pilot. Is it because the scenes are too long?

I apologize if this doesn’t even seem like a valid complaint. After all, it’s their right as a married couple to fuck wherever they want for however long they want. Furthermore, there’s plenty of TV shows that make public sex look tame. But whereas, say, Game of Thrones luxuriates in shameless tittyllation, it somewhat feels off-brand for Breaking Bad.

I understand that Walt is actually getting off on his newfound sense of danger, but the metaphor isn’t worth the moaning. I mean, you’re not Don Draper, fella. Time to get back in the kitchen. And by that, I mean get back to cooking that crystal. Leave the sex for Jesse, Jane and season two.

Aside from that, I can confidently say that the rest of “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal” is excellent television.

Walt and Jesse steal methylamine S1E7.jpg

Having somewhat reluctantly forced themselves into a partnership with the volatile Tuco Salamanca, Walt and Jesse are now required to supply two pounds of meth per week. The only problem is gathering enough material to cook it.

To solve their problem, Walt and Jesse decide to break into a pharmaceutical warehouse and steal an entire 40-gallon drum of methylamine. No problem: they trap the security guard in a portapotty and then use aluminum powder from an Etch-a-Sketch to make thermite and burn through the steel door. It’s one of the most purely entertaining sequences yet, even if you have to suspend your disbelief at how easily they get away with it.

Breaking Bad S1E7: "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal

Over the course of season one, Breaking Bad has developed a great sense of dark comedy. The episode’s other memorable set-piece involves Walt and Jesse cooking meth in Jesse’s basement while a realtor hosts an open house upstairs. You can already see the potential. Peter Gould’s screenplay smartly turns this minor scare into a moment of much-needed levity.

“A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal” is an episode that never takes itself too seriously. It certainly doesn’t feel like a season finale. We end the year with Tuco ruthlessly beating one of his own henchmen in a junkyard parking lot. Roll credits. Season two will pick up right where the final scene leaves off: with Walt and Jesse staring in disbelief.

Think of season one as a prologue, and think of “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal” as a season finale in name only. It’s not an ending. It’s only the beginning.

Chemical Bonds

-One storyline I didn’t particularly care for: Skyler finding out that her sister, Marie, is a serial shoplifter. Marie’s kleptomania had been hinted at earlier, but this is the first time that it is given an extended spotlight. Aside from being by far the series’ most annoying character, Marie has also proven to be the most inconsequential. This trivial storyline is another reason why the episode doesn’t feel like a season finale.

-The methylamine that Walt and Jesse steal causes the finished crystal meth to turn out blue. It becomes their signature product.

-This is the first episode that Walt dons his signature Heisenberg appearance: dark sunglasses and a black pork pie hat. He’s clearly enjoying his new persona.

-Originally, Jesse was intended to die at the end of season one. It would have been a colossal mistake and ruined the entire show.

“We’re not going to need pseudoephedrin. We’re going to make phenyl acetone in a tube furnace, then we’re going to use reductive animation to yield methamphetamine. Four pounds.”

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