20 Neat Facts, Cool Allusions, Instances Of Foreshadowing, And Theories On ‘Breaking Bad’


1. Cool Allusion: The name of the last episode of season one is “A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal.” That’s a line from Fargo. The name of the third episode of season three is “Cancer Man,” a possible reference to Smoking Man — also called Cancer Man — in Vince Gilligan’s old show The X-Files.

2. Cool Allusion: When Ted trips and falls, oranges fall on his crumpled body, a possible reference to The Godfather (in The Godfather, oranges represent violence and death).

3. Neat Fact: Remember Krazy 8, the DEA snitch from the opening episode who Walt and Jesse locked up in the basement before killing him? Remember how he insisted that Walt cut off the crusts on his sandwich? Ever since Walt killed Krazy 8, he cuts the crust off his own sandwiches.

4. Foreshadowing: Jane foreshadowed her own death with a couple of lines, including “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.” Moreover, when Jesse was making her breakfast in bed and she walked in, Jesse said, “You weren’t supposed to wake up,” and Jane responded, “Ever?” At one point, Jane also said to Jesse, “Lie on your side or you might choke.” Asphyxiating on her own vomit is what killed Jane.

5. Foreshadowing: In the opening episode of season two, Skyler looks fondly on old photos, photos that include Ted Benneke, who wouldn’t appear on the show until halfway through the second season.

6. Neat Fact: In three instances, Vince Gilligan has titled episodes as callbacks to earlier episodes: “Half Measures” vs. “Full Measure,” “No Mas” vs. “Mas,” and “The Cat’s in the Bag” vs. “And the Bag’s in the River.”

7. Neat Fact: Season three, episode three is called “I.F.T.” for “I F–ked Ted.”

8. Clever Pun: Saul Goodman = S’ All Good Man.

9. Neat Fact: Krazy 8 was going to be killed in the pilot, but Vince Gilligan dug the actor so much, they let him live for three episodes. (Coincidentally, it’s also why Aaron Paul was kept on after the first season. Walt was supposed to kill him in the finale but the kibosh was put on Jesse’s death because Gilligan loved his acting, and because of the writer’s strike).

10. Cool Allusions: There have been at least two Sopranos references, if not more: “Juan Bolsa” (a a high-level member of the Juárez drug cartel) translates in English to “Johnny Sack,” a character on The Sopranos, and the opening episode of the fifth season, “Live Free or Die,” was also the title of a Sopranos episode. (Some have also likened Skyler to Carmelo Soprano).

11. Possible Theory: We know that color is important to Vince Gilligan. The characters themselves have dressed in certain colors over the course of the series. Walt, for instance, used to wear mostly beiges, he graduated into dark blues, and now he wears a lot of black, representing his transformation from nice guy to anti-hero to villain. Likewise, Skyler used to wear a lot of blue. Now, when she’s crazy Skyler, she wears black; when she’s afraid of Walt Skyler, she’ll wear beige. There’s blue all over the show, symbolic the blue meth. There’s also a lot of bright yellow (caution), bright orange (danger), and green (greed). Hank wears a lot of orange, and orange seems to be around a lot when the police are involved. Red is often associated with death: Jesse was wearing red when he killed Gale, and Gus was wearing red when he killed Victor. Marie wears purple, which is represents royalty, which perhaps suggests delusions of grandeur (Saul is often seen in purple, as well).

Knowing that color is important, and having read interviews with Gilligan in which he explicitly states that there are visual foreshadowing clues in the form of color on the show, what can we make of pink? The pink teddy bear was associated with death. Walt was wearing a pink sweater when the plane had mid-air collision. Jane had a lengthy discussion with Jesse about Georgia O’Keefe (whose paintings looked like (pink) vaginas), and after her death, Jesse found a cigarette she left in his car covered in pink lipstick. Coincidence? Perhaps. But if pink is associated with death, do we always see Holly White (Walt and Skyler’s infant daughter) dressed in pink — and sleeping in a crib with a pink blanket — because she’s a girl, or because Holly is associated with death? Is it Vince’s way of foreshadowing Holly’s death? Vince has suggested, after all, that Walt does something in the final season that is so bad we could never again sympathize with him. Does he sacrifice his daughter to save his business?

12. Cool Allusion: Vulture spotted this in last week’s episode: The pesticide tent in “Hazard Pay” looks very similar to the tarp in “Post Modern Prometheus,” an episode of The X-Files. The pesticide tent figured heavily into both episodes.

13. Neat Fact: Matt Ufford posted this last year, but in case you missed it, some of the blue meth on Breaking Bad made its way onto The Walking Dead.

14. Cool Allusions: What’s up with the Illuminati references?

15. Foreshadowing: A reader, ChiSwede, dropped this video in my Chekhov’s gun post: The elevator ding foreshadows the death of Gus.

16. Cool Allusion: The third episode of the second season, “Bit By a Dead Bee,” is an homage to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

17. Foreshadowing: In case you missed it in Cajun Boy’s recap this week, Madrigal Electromotive was introduced way back in season three, in a commercial for Pollos Hermanos.

18. Foreshadowing: Here’s a picture of the young Hector Salamanca, sitting on a chair of wheels, years before the old Hector Salamanca would be relegated to a wheelchair.

19. Possible Theory: Again, we know that Vince Gillian almost never does something for no reason, although this theory is almost too obvious for Gilligan. We know that he’s described the show as a cross between Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Scarface. We also know that, in the last episode, Walt was watching Scarface and ad-libbed the line, “Everybody dies in this movie.” It would be too easy to draw a connection between that and an ending with a possible shootout in which everybody dies except for the fact that in the season five premiere, Walt buys a machine gun. What was Tony Montana using when he died in a blaze of bullets? A machine gun. Foreshadowing? Maybe. But even if it is, Gilligan would likely subvert it the Scarface ending, possibly combining it with a faux-Sopranos ending: Fade to black before the shootout, a la Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Or fade to black for 20 seconds, dupe everyone into thinking that’s the end of the series, then flash forward to moments after the shootout when everyone is lying in a puddle of their own blood.

20. Possible Theory: OR, Gilligan calls back to his obvious Tarantino influence: Mr. Pink (Jesse) flees with the loot; wounded after a Mexican stand-off, Mr. White (Walt) is cradling the cop Mr. Orange (Hank). Mr. White takes aim at Mr. Orange. The cops bust in and shots are fired. Fade to black before we know exactly who dies.