Your BREAKING BAD Season One Primer

We're going to start TV Talking BREAKING BAD next month. Leading up to it, Meredith will give you weekly primers on the first four seasons.

People of Badass Digest, your cries have been heard! Devin, Henri and I are going to TV Talk the crap out of Breaking Bad Season Five this summer. It premieres July 15 on AMC, and you can catch up with previous episodes on Netflix Instant Watch. Each Friday I'll give you a refresher on the first four seasons, leading up to the Season Five premiere.

So Season One: 

We're introduced to our unlikely protagonist on his 50th birthday, craggy high school chemistry teacher Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston in a planet-shaking force of a performance. His wife Skyler is pregnant and a little shrewish. His son Walter Jr. is a charming teen with cerebral palsy. His sister-in-law Marie is kind of goofy. Her husband Hank is also goofy, and a DEA agent. They all live in Albuquerque, New Mexico in relative peace until Walter is diagnosed with terminal stage three lung cancer. Being that he's a high school teacher, he knows his death will leave his family in poverty; being that he's a chemistry teacher, he knows how to make meth. So he does, and he hooks up with a former student turned small-time meth dealer named Jesse Pinkman (the great Aaron Paul) to sell the stuff.

Jesse and Walter use an old RV to cook the meth, the cleanest and best meth anyone has ever cooked because Walt is a chemistry genius. Jesse tries to sell the meth to a higher up dealer named Krazy-8, who forces Jesse to take him to the lab so he can steal the recipe. Walt assumes Krazy-8 and his accomplice intend to kill them, so he poisons them to death. Well, almost to death; Krazy-8 wakes up, but eventually Walt kills him for good.

Walt and Jesse get rid of the bodies pretty badly. Walt uses his chemistry superpowers to create a corpse-eating acid, but Jesse buys a low-rent receptacle and lots of blood and guts and acid eat through his ceiling. It's awesomely gross.

Walt is appalled at the whole enterprise, so he decides to leave his life of crime. Skyler's been pretty suspicious of where Walt's spending his time, but he tells her he's just been smoking pot, which sounds a lot better than cooking meth - although she's still outraged. Walt also finally comes clean that he has cancer. Hank is on the scent of this new meth cooker in town, having no idea it's his brother-in-law. Jesse returns to his parents' house and sets the table like a good boy, but they kick him out when they discover a joint. The joint actually belongs to his seemingly angelic little brother, but Jesse takes the fall. Jesse goes back to trying to cook meth without Walt, but he's not a chemistry genius so the stuff's only okay.

All the while, Walter Jr. is starting to act out because Walt refuses to get chemo or fight the cancer. Walter Jr. is still pretty charming, so his version of acting out involves drinking one beer. Hank discovers one of Walt's gas masks near a meth crime scene, and it says the name of Walt's high school on the side. Hank investigates and discovers that a large portion of Erlenmeyer flasks and other chemistry equipment is missing from the high school lab, leading him to believe that the meth kingpin is somehow related to the school. Walt takes a medical leave of absence from the school to avoid suspicion and to leave more time for meth-cooking. 

Walt's old friend and science partner Elliott (who is married to Walt's ex-girlfriend and other ex-science partner Gretchen) offers to pay for Walt's chemo, but he refuses because he's proud. He'd rather provide for his family the old-fashioned way, by cooking and selling meth. So he agrees to treatment, shaves his head and reteams with Jesse.

They search for a new distributor (they need one since they killed Krazy-8, you recall), and they find Tuco, who is batshit fucking nutballs and almost kills Jesse right away. Walt chemistry-explodes Tuco's warehouse in retribution. Tuco starts to respect Walt, because that was a crazy thing to do and Tuco loves crazy. And he loves Walt's super-meth; he agrees to buy two pounds a week from them, which creates a serious workload for Jesse and Walt. Walt borrows a lot of money from Tuco in order to buy the equipment needed for a large operation, which means he and Jesse have exactly one week to create four pounds of perfect meth, or Tuco will kill the shit out of them. They use some more of Walt's chemistry superpowers to break into a lab and steal a compound that will replace pseudoephedrine, which is difficult to procure. Hank sees the security footage, but they're wearing masks. He determines through the video that they are school-smart and street-dumb, which actually only applies to one of them. Jesse is both school-dumb and street-dumb.

Meanwhile, Skyler discovers Marie is a compulsive shoplifter. She is exceedingly unsympathetic. That's about it for her storyline this season.

Jesse and Walt hustle and manage to deliver four pounds to Tuco on the desired date. Tuco tries the meth, loves it, and then beats the shit out of his associate for exactly no reason at all. And that's how we wrap up the first season of Breaking Bad!

Season One happens to be crazy cheap on Amazon right now - it's only $12.99 on Blu! Use the link below to purchase it. And tune in next Friday for your Breaking Bad Season Two Primer.