14. Buying the Gun
Episode: "Thirty-Eight Snub" (Season 4, Episode 2)
The movies are full of memorable scenes where characters buy guns. Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver is the first that comes to mind; Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) meets a smiley and slimy character in a hotel room—as is the case in this opener—to buy a small arsenal. Either too eager or taking note of Travis' crazy, the dealer makes no comment outside the typical pitch about this weapon or that one.
Breaking Bad is TV's most cinematic series, so it's only right that it include a memorable gun buy as a cold open. But because Walter isn't Travis, the dealer does have a reservation. If the gun is just for self-defense, there's no need for Walter to carry the piece illegally. Each time that Walt insists it's only for self-defense only serves to make season four feel more full of dread. Walt isn't a very good liar here. Because he doesn't want to be. He wants to be the danger. —RS