Chekov’s Pie: My Breaking Bad Theory


Breaking Bad Mania has continued all this week on the heels of what was a spectacular opening episode- Blood Money– kicking off the final 8 episodes last Sunday. The conspiracy theorists are out in full force, often with mind-blowing (and fascinating) speculation. I’ve developed my own theory, and it’s all based on what seems like a throwaway moment from Blood Money.

Before beginning, allow me to familiarize you with “Chekhov’s Gun”. Per the wikipedia page for Chekhov’s gun:

Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle which requires every element in a narrative to be necessary and irreplaceable, and for everything else to be removed.

The creators of Breaking Bad know this principle all too well. The entire series is littered with tiny, seemingly throw-away moments and objects that boomerang back at the most crucial times. Walt, for instance, is dressed just like the bizarre pink bear that permeates season 2. It isn’t until we see Walt dressed in pink and white (like the bear) that we finally figure out where the bear came from. In the season 4 finale, Face Off, an earlier shot lingers on Walt staring at a plant called “Lily of the Valley”. Later, Walt uses said plant to poison Brock and set the events in motion that would lead to Gus Fring’s death.

This all brings me to Badger Mayhew and his Star Trek screenplay, the odd, hilarious, and seemingly meaningless scene in Blood Money when Badger explained his idea for a Star Trek episode. Vulture popularized it on Monday by showing an animated version of it.

In a show that wastes nothing, it seemed out of place to have 2 minutes of Badger rambling about Star Trek. But there in the middle of it is Chekov. And he’s using a gun of sorts- a transporter device- to cheat. The show winks hilariously at Chekov’s gun by putting a seemingly throwaway sequence about a guy named Chekov in their show. So surely it can’t be meaningless, right?

Listen to the story again. There are three principal characters locked in a contest. The first- the one in command of the pie eating contest- is Spock. He’s brainy, he’s a nerd, he’s logical, he’s almost completely unbeatable… he’s just like Walter White. The second is Kirk, the fat cheeseball character of the Star Trek universe. In other words, he’s similar to Hank, who is also a fat cheeseball. And finally, the third character is Chekov- a younger member of the Star Trek crew. Apparently, Chekov occasionally subs in for Spock according to his Wikipedia page (I had to look this up because I’m not much of a Star Trek guy). Basically, Chekov is Jesse.


Poor Kirk/Hank

In Badger’s script, Kirk/Hank “can’t take any more. He yorks.” Eating poisoned food, say, laced with ricin might make one vomit. Further in the script, Chekov has rigged the game against Spock by using his friend, Scotty. He even pushes Spock to the brink- “I can’t believe this Russian is defeating me!” But then Chekov’s friend bungles the plan and “beams his guts into space.” Jesse’s friends, Badger and Skinny Pete, are highly likely to bungle a plan. Ingesting ricin, according to a website that probably put me on an observation list just by checking it out, causes a person’s “liver, spleen and kidneys to stop working”, and then they die.

To sum it all up, I think Badger’s Chekov story is a Chekhov’s gun moment in which he explained major plot points of the next seven episodes. I think Walt uses the ricin on Hank. And then Jesse tries to use ricin on Walt, but somehow Badger or Skinny Pete mess it up. They poison Jesse instead. Thus, Walt defeats Hank and Jesse, and they both die.

I’ll admit, it sounds bizarre. But there’s only one way to find out, and that’s by tuning in over the next seven weeks.


Filed under Movies, Television, TV Shows

15 responses to “Chekov’s Pie: My Breaking Bad Theory

  1. Jim

    I agree with the Checkov’s Gun theory as it applies to every bit of the show, except for that damn episode with the fly. Can you explain why they were chasing that damn thing for an entire episode? It’s the only “wasted” installment of the entire series.

    • That’s an episode where we see Walt losing control. The lab is his life, the fly is something he can’t control, and unexpected- a good prognosis. If the fly wins, all his planning was for nothing.

      • There are also some awesome shots of Jesse looking like a fly with the red and black gas mask on, and it happens just as Walt suspects that Jesse’s stealing from the batches. (and that Jesse is a pest for Gus and Walt has to deal with it)

    • It’s totally a love it or hate it episode, and you could tell that was the case the second it aired. I loved it because you got Walt’s growing madness, the tension between him and Jesse (would he spill the beans about Jane?), and the symbolism. It was a bold episode, without a doubt.

    • “Except for the damn episode with the fly…….It’s the only wasted installment of the series”

      Well you’re all alone on that one I’d bet. I think a lot of people enjoyed that episode, it’s one of my favorites. By no means is it thee best one but when looking back at the series as a whole it always sticks out to me as being one of the funnier episodes.

      I’m no chemist but I think it is safe to say the fly was in no shape or form detrimental to their cook therefore there was an alterior motive for Walt’s worthless efforts.

      My guess is in this episode the writers were highlighting Walt’s stubbornness and his inability to let things go and how his obsessions indirectly run and will ruin his life. Just like Walt’s obsession with Grey Matter (“I check it’s price on the stock market every week”), his obsession for power, his obsession for recognition, and these obsessions even haunt Walt down to the smallest of things in his life like wasting his whole evening trying to seek revenge on a fly.

      Other notable parts of the episode were Walt’s 1st and maybe only display of guilt or remorse for Jane’s death.

  2. LOL, I don’t know how much I would predict the outcome of the show based on Badger’s story, but you are completely correct that they use foreshadowing and tiny details to great success. They also occasionally use comic relief, too, though. I think Badger’s script may just have been that. 😉

  3. Brittani Burnham

    That’s a very interesting theory! Loved reading it, you definitely could be on to something.

  4. The Guy Who Really Loves Babar the Elephant

    Everybody is wrong. Skylar wakes up from a dream and Walter steps out of the shower as he is getting ready for his job as a chemistry teacher. No seriously, how horrible would that scenario be? I guess Dallas already did that swerve.

  5. Phil

    Yo, that’s Voyager dude.
    You are onto something, but Uhura is Lydia and Scotty is Todd.

    • Haha… after this past week’s episode? Hmm…

      • Phil

        Any final show guesses? I think I nailed it with the Lydia/Todd relationship, but I’m still not sure how it will end. I don’t think things are going to work out well for anyone…

        • You know… I’ve just about given up trying to guess what’ll happen on that show. So much seems obvious- the gun’s for the Nazis, the ricin sure seems like it’s for Lydia…

          And yeah, it seems like there’s nothing but big, bad, ugliness for everyone in the finale. I can’t wait.

  6. Tamii

    perfection! Thanks for this. Being a die hard fan, this scene was anything but a throw away to me but, not being a Trekky I hadn’t found these parallels. I’m constantly in awe of this writing team and once again I’m reminded why this is the best show in the history of television.

    Also, Jim, go back and watch the fly scene again. Walt gives one of his best performances in this episode when he is talking to Jesse about about that one perfect moment. I read a comment one where a fan compared this episode to Macbeth with the fly being the spot of blood. I think that was a perfect comparison. So, just go rewatch. You might find it totally captivating. cheers!

  7. Gregory Gonzalez

    I personally think this is a reference to a hilarious September 27th, 1991 Entertainment Weekly article by Tom Soter in which Chekov screams in various quick summaries of Trek movies to that date.

    There’s some twisted connection to Stand by Me, too.

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