Breaking Bad (2008–2013)
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Cancer Man 

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


Jim McKay


Vince Gilligan (created by), Vince Gilligan





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bryan Cranston ... Walter White
Anna Gunn ... Skyler White
Aaron Paul ... Jesse Pinkman
Dean Norris ... Hank Schrader
Betsy Brandt ... Marie Schrader
RJ Mitte ... Walter White, Jr.
Tess Harper ... Mrs. Pinkman
Steven Michael Quezada ... Steven Gomez
Michael Bofshever ... Mr. Pinkman
Kyle Bornheimer ... Ken Wins
Benjamin Petry Benjamin Petry ... Jake Pinkman (as Ben Petry)
David House David House ... Dr. Delcavoli
Jon Kristian Moore ... DEA Agent
Tish Rayburn-Miller Tish Rayburn-Miller ... Bank Teller (as Tish Miller)
Charles Baker ... Skinny Pete


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


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

17 February 2008 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Walt Jr. asks Walter why he's been acting strange as Walter fumbles with cash, the camera pans down to the crib to reveal a label by Tampico. This is the company Walter spoke about with Krazy 8 while chained in Jesse's basement earlier. See more »


When Jesse is waiting for the taxi, his brother asks him to return the joint, but instead Jesse crumbles it and tells him that it's "skunk weed", as if it's no good. In fact, "skunk weed" is widely regarded as being among the best varieties available. It's called "skunk weed" because it has a vaguely skunk-like scent. It's also called "sin semilla" (seedless) or indica as it's typically the indica strain and is cultivated to produce seedless buds. It often comes from Northern California and the Pacific northwest. See more »


Jesse Pinkman: Maybe just so happens, that ah, I just recently cooked the best batch ever.
Skinny Pete: Yeah?
Jesse Pinkman: Oh yeah. I came up with this whole new recipe. It's more like a formula. It's like way, way more chemically... shit you know it's just just the bomb so... but ya I don't know I've been thinking lately I just lay off of it for a while cause lately it's been kinda making me paranoid so... you know for like, like health-wise just lay off.
Combo: Yo, if you're, if you're not into sharing man, just tell us to piss off it's ...
See more »


References The Ten Commandments (1956) See more »


Baby Girl, I'm a Blur
Written by Max Bemis, Alex Kent, and Coby Linder
Performed by Say Anything
See more »

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User Reviews

Cancer in the family
27 May 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Breaking Bad' is one of the most popular rated shows on IMDb, is one of those rarities where every season has either been very positively received or near-universally acclaimed critically and where all of my friends have said nothing but great things about.

Very few shows in recent memory had me so hooked from the very start that before the week was over the whole show had been watched, especially when for a lot of shows now airing watching one episode all the way through can be an endeavour. 'Breaking Bad' had that effect on me, and its reputation as one of the best, consistently brilliant and most addictive shows in many years (maybe even ever) is more than deserved in my eyes. Its weakest season is perhaps the first season, understandable as any show's first season is the one where things are still settling.

Actually everything is established remarkably from the very start, but once the writing and characterisation becomes even meatier the show reaches even higher levels.

"Cancer Man" is not quite as good as the exceptional pilot episode, one of the best television show pilots ever, and "And the Bag's in the River". It doesn't quite have as much of the tension and tautness of those episodes. It is still a wonderful and hugely compelling episode, even though one of those setting things up and putting it all into place episodes it does that incredibly well.

Visually, "Cancer Man" is both stylish and beautiful, with photography and editing that are cinematic quality and put a lot of films today to shame, where there are a lot of visually beautiful ones but also some painfully amateurish looking ones. The music always has the appropriate mood, never too intrusive, never too muted.

The writing for "Cancer Man" is a fine example of how to have a lot of style but also to have a lot of substance. The dialogue throughout is thought-provoking and tense, while also have a darkly wicked sense of humour and heart-tugging pathos. The story is texturally rich, intimate, tense and layered, with the pace of it consistently deliberate but taut enough. The direction couldn't be better.

Can't say anything bad about the acting. Bryan Cranston is phenomenal as one of the most fascinating anti-heroes, or even of any kind of character, in either film or television. Aaron Paul has never been better and shines in this episode and Anna Gunn is affecting. The characters are compelling in their realism.

Overall, wonderful. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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