Breaking Bad: Season 1, Episode 4

Cancer Man (17 Feb. 2008)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Thriller
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 4,873 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 12 critic

Walt tells the rest of his family about his cancer. Jesse tries to make amends with his own parents.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Pinkman (as Ben Petry)
Jon Kristian Moore ...
DEA Agent
Tish Rayburn-Miller ...
Bank Teller (as Tish Miller)


At a briefing, Hank presents his theory that Albuquerque has a new kingpin. At a barbecue, Skyler breaks down and Walter reveals to Hank, Marie and Walter, Jr. that he has cancer. Walter, Jr. doesn't respond well. The hole in Jesse's ceiling raises some questions. The meth is also making Jesse extremely paranoid. Skyler makes Walter go see a top oncologist. The doctor says it is possible to cure Walter, but it will be expensive. Walter does not want to risk leaving Skyler in debt. When Walter tries parking his car outside MESA, a narcissistic yuppie in his shiny, expensive, convertible BMW with the vanity plate "KEN WINS" cuts into a just-vacated square Walter was waiting for to park into. Ken's just messed with the wrong man. Written by Toni Tapola, Finland

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

17 February 2008 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The title of this episode is an inside joke to "The X-Files", on which series creator Vince Gilligan had previously served as a writer and producer. "Cancer Man" was the disparaging nickname that Fox Mulder had given to the Cigarette-Smoking Man on that series. See more »


When Walt blows up the BMW with the KEN WINS license plate, Walt pops the hood and then short circuits the battery. In BMW 318i models (the one in the scene), the batteries are actually located in the trunk of the car, instead of the front as shown in this scene. See more »


Walter White: You know I, I just think, that ah, things have a way of working themselves out.
See more »


Features Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) See more »


Baby Girl, I'm a Blur
Written by Max Bemis
Performed by Say Anything
See more »

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User Reviews

Merely Nice, But with the Coolest Arson Scene in Recent History
6 October 2013 | by (Austria) – See all my reviews

"Cancer Man" is the episode right in the middle of Breaking Bad's first season and these 50 minutes are really rather boring aside from some new character information and good dialogue. And don't expect any major twists in the plot: after Walt and Jesse have temporarily parted ways, both of them don't do much more than some talking with their respective families. With this, we meet Jesse's parents and younger brother for the first time, and see Skylar, Walt Jr., Marie, and Hank reacting to Walt informing them about his cancer.

As the biggest focus is on the characters in this and the next episode, I've come to realize how unspectacular this show's lead characters were at this point. Once you've understood the basic mentality of them, there's not much new to find. Maybe it's that these couple of episodes in the middle of the season have a worse screenplay than the rest, yet I still think that the characters' normality can be counterproductive when the only things happening are conversations. However, this only attributes for some parts of "Cancer Man". There was a lot of stuff in this episode I found really entertaining, especially the satiric look Vince Gilligan took at Jesse's family. Another highlight was the scene before the opening credits that had the great Hank Schrader doing his job as a DEA agent and while doing so, unwittingly talking about Walt, whose product has got quite famous in Albuquerque's drug culture. And, of course, our two protagonists arguing in the Whites' yard was just awesome.

Altogether though, "Cancer Man" is clearly not as good as the first two and the last two episodes of season one and next to Walt's (realistically impossible) bad-ass moment at the end, there really wasn't any big moment.

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