Live Free or Die (Breaking Bad)
|"Live Free or Die"|
|Breaking Bad episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Michael Slovis|
|Written by||Vince Gilligan|
|Original air date||July 15, 2012|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Breaking Bad (season 5)
List of Breaking Bad episodes
"Live Free or Die" is the fifth season premiere episode of the American television drama series Breaking Bad, and the 47th overall episode of the series. Written by series creator Vince Gilligan and directed by Michael Slovis, it originally aired on AMC in the United States on July 15, 2012.
This episode is titled after the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire: Live Free or Die.
The episode starts with a flashforward to Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in a Denny's restaurant, on his 52nd birthday (meaning this is a little over a year into the future). Walt - who has regrown his hair and is now sporting a beard and horn-rimmed glasses - is using a New Hampshire driver's license and an alias. He meets with Lawson (Jim Beaver) in the restroom, where he is given the keys to a car that has an M60 machine gun and ammunition in the trunk.
In the present, Walt disposes of the pipe bomb materials and the Lily of the Valley plant involved in his successful plot against Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). Soon afterward, Skyler (Anna Gunn) arrives home with Walt, Jr. (RJ Mitte) and Holly. Walt, Jr. explains that Gus's illicit activities are the subject of a media frenzy and that the DEA believes the danger against Hank (Dean Norris) and Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) has abated. Skyler tries not to speak to Walt, explaining that she is now "scared" of him. Walt suddenly remembers the surveillance cameras that Gus installed in the superlab, realizing that the footage Gus may have collected could incriminate him.
The following day, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), still recovering at Gus's makeshift clinic in Mexico, is told by a doctor (J. B. Blanc) that Gus has been killed. Furious, Mike attempts to drive across the border, and he comes across Walt and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Mike prepares to shoot Walt, but Jesse persuades him to stand down. Walt and Jesse insist on tackling the problem posed by Gus's surveillance footage; Mike discloses that the feed went to Gus's laptop computer in his office at Los Pollos Hermanos. Meanwhile, Hank, having found the surveillance camera in the burned-out superlab, seizes the laptop as evidence.
Walt, Jesse, and Mike learn that the computer is being kept at an Albuquerque Police Department outpost. Mike advises that they all leave the city, but Walt pursues Jesse's idea of using a powerful magnet to destroy the hard drive on the laptop without having to break into the APD's highly-secured evidence room. Despite Mike's reservations, the trio manages to acquire a truck fitted with an industrial electromagnet from junkyard owner Old Joe (Larry Hankin) and drive it to the APD facility. Once activated, the magnet destroys the evidence room and, presumably, the information on Gus's laptop. Despite being forced to abandon the truck, the three escape. As they are driving away Walter defies Mike's doubts that everything is settled, ultimately telling Mike after answering his questions that he knows everything worked perfectly, "Because I say so". Mike and Jesse react to Walt's hubris by looking at each other. Later, during an inventory of the evidence room, the police discover a slip of paper with details of a Cayman Islands bank account hidden in a framed picture from Gus's office.
Meanwhile, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) approaches Skyler at the car wash and tells her that Ted Beneke (Christopher Cousins) survived the injury from his encounter with Kuby (Bill Burr) and Huell (Lavell Crawford). When Skyler visits Ted in the hospital, she finds that he has been fitted with a halo brace. An intimidated Ted tells Skyler that he will remain silent about what caused his hospitalization. Elsewhere, Walt argues with Saul about the lawyer's failure to inform him about Skyler's bailout to Ted. It is revealed that Huell was tasked to pickpocket Jesse's ricin cigarette, which is why Jesse believed it was lost; Saul presents the cigarette to Walter in a plastic bag, remarking that he had no idea Walter was going to put Brock in the hospital in the service of eliminating Gus Fring. Saul tries to end his and Walter's business relationship over Walt's poisoning of Brock, but Walt coldly tells him, "We're done when I say we're done".
When Walt returns home, he tells Skyler that he knows what happened with Ted and he (Walt) forgives her. As Walt hugs Skyler, she reacts with visible but unspoken dread.
In July 2011, series creator Vince Gilligan indicated that he intended to conclude Breaking Bad with the fifth season. In early August 2011, negotiations began over a deal regarding the fifth and possible final season between the network AMC and Sony Pictures Television, the series' production company. AMC proposed a shortened fifth season (six to eight episodes, instead of 13) to cut costs, but the producers declined. Sony then approached other cable networks about possibly picking up the show if a deal could not be made. On August 14, 2011, AMC and Breaking Bad's production team agreed to renew the series for a final 16 episodes. Filming began for the season on March 26, 2012.
Following a dispute between AMC and Dish Network that led to Dish's dropping AMC as of July 1, 2012, AMC posted the episode online for streaming. The episode is the shortest in the series, with a runtime of approximately 43 minutes.
The episode has received unanimous acclaim from television critics, and currently earns a 99 out of 100 score based on 22 reviews on the aggregate review website Metacritic. Praise centered on the flash forward cold open and Cranston's performance.
- Rhodes, Joe (July 15, 2011). "Shattering All Vestiges of Innocence". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Hibberd, James (August 1, 2011). "'Breaking Bad' shopped to other networks as fifth (and final?) season renewal talks drag on". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
- Andreeva, Nellie (August 14, 2011). "AMC & Sony TV Reach Deal For 16-Episode Final Order Of 'Breaking Bad'". Deadline. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Radish, Christina (March 23, 2012). "Bryan Cranston Talks BREAKING BAD Season 5, Directing an Episode of MODERN FAMILY, and More". Collider. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
- Kar, Ian (July 15, 2012). "AMC Makes 'Breaking Bad' Season 5 Premiere Available Online For Dish Customers". idigitaltimes.com. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (July 16, 2012). "AMC's 'Breaking Bad' Season 5 Premiere is Most-Watched Episode Ever". Zap2it. AMC press release. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (July 17, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'True Blood' Beats 'Breaking Bad' Premiere, + 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Very Funny News', 'Real Housewives of New Jersey', 'Falling Skies' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Breaking Bad: Season 5". Metacritic. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Live Free or Die" at the official Breaking Bad site
- "Live Free or Die" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Live Free or Die" at TV.com