Crawl Space (Breaking Bad)

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"Crawl Space"
Breaking Bad episode
Crawl Space.jpg
Walter cackles maniacally in the crawl space underneath his home. The scene was compared to the final shot of Breaking Bad.
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 11
Directed byScott Winant
Written byGeorge Mastras
Sam Catlin
Cinematography byMichael Slovis
Editing bySkip Macdonald
Original air dateSeptember 25, 2011 (2011-09-25)
Running time47 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"Crawl Space" is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of the American television crime drama series Breaking Bad, and the 44th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on AMC in the United States on September 25, 2011. The episode introduces Barry Goodman, played by JB Blanc.[1]


Making their escape after killing off Don Eladio Vuente and the Cartel's leadership, Jesse Pinkman drives Gus Fring, who is weakened due to taking his own poison, and Mike Ehrmantraut, who is wounded, to a makeshift emergency room that Gus earlier prepared. Gus recovers quickly, but Mike has to stay another week before he can safely travel, so he is left behind in Mexico. Jesse is told that he will take over cooking meth for Walter White, but Jesse insists that Walter must not be harmed. Gus later takes Jesse with him to visit Hector Salamanca, who is using a wheelchair and living in a nursing home. Hector is in the nursing home's day room, watching the climactic scene of The Bridge on the River Kwai. Gus taunts him as the Salamanca lineage has now been destroyed, and shows him Jesse, explaining that Jesse killed Hector's last living descendant.

When Hank reveals that he will be visiting the laundry Walt works at, the latter deliberately crashes his car, forcing Hank to stop using Walt as his chauffeur.

Meanwhile, Ted partly blackmails Skyler about the $617,000 required for paying off the IRS. Skyler organises to blackmail Ted into signing the cheque with Saul's men, Huell and Kuby. Ted gives in, signing the cheque but attempts to escape. As he does, he slips and hits his head, knocking himself out.

Walter realizes that Jesse has also been cooking in the lab. Walter pleads for them to stick together to thwart Gus, but Jesse, still bitter after their fight, turns his back on Walter. Walt is then abducted and taken out to the desert where Gus threatens him, Hank and his family. Walt is told never to come back to the laundry again.

Panicked, Walter barges into Saul's office and takes Saul up on an earlier offer to be vanished. This will cost Walt and his family half a million dollars. Walter rushes home to get the money which isn't there and Skyler discloses that she gave the money to Ted to pay off the IRS. Walt breaks down and laughs maniacally. As a frightened Skyler backs away, Marie Schrader, crying, calls to say that the DEA has received an anonymous tip that Hank is a target again, and the DEA is sending many agents to guard him.


Sean Hutchinson of Inverse analyzed the final shot of "Crawl Space", in which the camera pans outwards from Walter laughing hysterically in the crawl space. Pulsating music ends with a feedback screech and cut to black. Hutchinson viewed it as black comedy, saying that Walter is realizing that he is not in control of the situation. This realization is caused by multiple things: Hank being close to discovering Gus and Walter's operation; Gus firing Walter, as Jesse can work on his own; and Skyler having given most of their money to Ted to pay a debt. Hutchinson saw the storyline as part of the "open-ended action" that often led to characters appearing to have no way to resolve the situation, but finding a plausible way to do so.[2]


Due to his nomination, Bryan Cranston submitted this episode for consideration for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode received laudatory reviews from television critics and has been cited by many as one of the best in the series. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club awarded the episode an "A" describing it as being "intense and terrifying".[4] Seth Amitin of IGN awarded the episode 9 out of 10 praising Bryan Cranston's performance calling it "an amazing piece of acting" and further described the episode as "shocking and eye-brow-raising and fascinating".[5]

Hutchinson praised the final shot and the storylines leading up to it, calling it Breaking Bad's "most underrated moment" and "a perfect bit of mise en scene".[2] In 2019, The Ringer ranked "Crawl Space" as the 9th best out of the 62 total Breaking Bad episodes.[6]


  1. ^ Herzog, Kenny (April 21, 2020). "Every Breaking Bad Crossover Character in Better Call Saul". Vulture. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Hutchinson, Sean (May 20, 2016). "All Of 'Breaking Bad' Boils Down to the Final Shot Of "Crawl Space"". Inverse. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Riley, Jenelle (August 16, 2012). "Episodes Submitted by Drama Emmy Nominees Revealed". Backstage. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  4. ^ Murray, Noel (September 25, 2011). "Crawl Space". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  5. ^ Amitin, Seth (September 25, 2011). "Breaking Bad: "Crawl Space" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  6. ^ Mallory Rubin (September 30, 2019). "The Ringer's Definitive 'Breaking Bad' Episodes Ranking". The Ringer.

External links[edit]