Hazard Pay

"Hazard Pay" is the third episode of the fifth season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad, and the 49th overall episode of the series. Written by Peter Gould and directed by Adam Bernstein, it originally aired on AMC in the United States on July 29, 2012.

"Hazard Pay"
Breaking Bad episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 3
Directed byAdam Bernstein
Written byPeter Gould
Featured music"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever"
by The Peddlers
Cinematography byMichael Slovis
Editing bySkip Macdonald
Original air dateJuly 29, 2012 (2012-07-29)
Running time47 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Breaking Bad (season 5)
List of Breaking Bad episodes


Mike and his attorney spend an entire day visiting his former subordinates in jail. Although the RICO Act has taken all of their money, Mike instructs them not to divulge anything to the DEA, explaining that they will still get their "hazard pay" due to his new partnership with Walt. Meanwhile, Walt has moved himself back into the house, to Skyler's silent horror. Mike meets with Walt, Jesse, and Saul, where he declares that he will handle the business end of their operation while Walt and Jesse remain cooks. Walt agrees, but still asserts himself as the leader. Saul shows them numerous potential locations for a meth lab, but none are good enough for the trio.

While visiting a pest control company, Vamonos Pest, Walt notices a folded fumigation tent. He decides they will establish a mobile lab, never cooking in the same place twice. He explains that no one looks twice at a tented house, and even if the strange smell of a meth cook is emitted, no one would investigate or enter the tent. Saul contacts the pest control team that moonlight as burglars, who allow Walt and Jesse entrance into the houses they are working on. Old Joe supplies much of the equipment while Badger Mayhew and Skinny Pete purchase large music equipment cases to smuggle the lab from one site to another.

Jesse and his girlfriend Andrea invite Walt to dinner, where he feels guilt upon seeing her son Brock, whom he secretly poisoned. Meanwhile, while discussing Walt's upcoming 51st birthday with Marie at the car wash, Skyler begins to light a cigarette. As Marie begins to confront her about smoking, Skyler screams "shut up" repeatedly and suffers a nervous breakdown. The first cook at the mobile site is a success, and afterwards, Walt feigns enthusiasm for Jesse's relationship with Andrea, but hints that Jesse should break up with her after mentioning the problems it would cause if she discovered his secret life.

Marie confronts Walt at home about Skyler's breakdown and demands to know the truth. Walt tells her about Skyler's affair with Ted and that her breakdown was due to stress over his recent accident. After Marie leaves, Walt decides not to attend to Skyler. When she emerges from the bedroom hours later, she finds Walt, Walt Jr., and Holly watching the final scene of Scarface, which further frightens her.

Mike allocates the money earned from the first cook, but Walt becomes upset when so much of it is given to dealers, mules, Saul, and Vamonos Pest. Walt becomes further angered when he learns of the hazard pay to Mike's old henchmen, but eventually relents. Walt deduces that the final amount taken home by the partners was less than what he was making when he was working for Gus. Jesse, who reveals that he broke off the relationship with Andrea, tells Walt that he was "looking at it wrong." Jesse explains to Walt that under Gus, they were employees, but as owners they were actually making more considering the volume of the output. Walt, however, hints that they may need to get rid of some of the other members of the team.



The episode was watched by approximately 2.20 million American viewers in its original broadcast, a slight drop from the previous episode.[1]

Critical receptionEdit

The episode received positive reviews. Allison Keene of Collider was originally going to rate the episode with a C, but gave it a B for the "Skinny Pete scene and the cook montage", adding: "Introducing Skinny Pete in "Hazard Pay" with him artfully and flawlessly dancing through a piano melody on a keyboard in the music store was funny, but also deeply sad." She added about the cook: "Every season Walt and Jesse seem to find some foolproof place to cook in peace, and I always get a weird sense of calm. The RV, the lab, and now a mobile meth lab in bug-bombed houses. It's a stroke of genius, and one that can nearly be 'ripped from the headlines'."[2] Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker called "Hazard Pay" "a marvelous episode, full of problem-solving and execution, along with a few wild-card emotional moments." Tucker particularly liked Mike's money-division scene at the end of the episode, calling it "a beautifully simple lesson in economics, laid out clearly for both Walter and Jesse, and for us."[3]

In 2019 The Ringer ranked "Hazard Pay" 62nd out of 62 total Breaking Bad episodes.[4] Claire McClear wrote of Walt meeting Brock for the first time as displaying that Walt was "a monster now, make no mistake," considering the former had just tried to kill the boy.


  1. ^ Bibel, Sara (July 31, 2012). "Sunday Cable Ratings:'True Blood' Wins Night, 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Breaking Bad', 'The Newsroom', 'Political Animals', 'Longmire' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  2. ^ Keene, Allison (July 29, 2012). "BREAKING BAD Recap: "Hazard Pay"". Collider.com. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  3. ^ Tucker, Ken (July 29, 2012). "'Breaking Bad' review: Walt finally meets Scarface: Say hello to my little friend". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  4. ^ https://www.theringer.com/tv/2019/9/30/20885880/breaking-bad-episodes-ranking

External linksEdit