The science of Breaking Bad: Shotgun

Breaking Bad | Season 4 | Episode 5 | “Shotgun”

Mike and Jesse on the self-esteem run.

Mike and Jesse on the self-esteem run.

Mike and Jesse head off on a long road trip, while an increasingly incautious Walt attempts to confront Gus and shoots his mouth off to Hank. The Breaking Bad writers are masters of the slow build and unexpected outcome, so I am expecting some major fireworks in the next couple of episodes.

You can read more about this episode at AMC, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

Random thoughts

When Walt is doing his solo cook, we can see him heaving about some containers of sodium hydroxide (NaOH, a strong base) and diethyl ether ((C2H5)2O, a solvent). Working by oneself in a laboratory is not necessarily unsafe, but it is definitely not recommended (it is usually forbidden in industry, but not in academia). The hazards of solo working hit the news – again – in April of this year after the death of Michele Dufault at Yale.

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but the Chinese character on the chemical drums is 蜂 (fēng), which means wasp or bee. I don’t think that it’s a real chemical company. The serial number on the drum is 00892-B; no significance jumps out at me.

The characters written on Gale’s Los Pollos Hermanos napkin are MI-MB042266-GER. This could be some kind of offshore bank account for his salary (though the numbers don’t follow the standard format for IBAN or SWIFT codes), or it could be a code of some kind. Hank or Walt will probably figure it out before too long.

Elements in the credits

Breaking Bromine
Bad Barium
Created Chromium
Bryan Cranston Bromine
AnNa Gunn Sodium
AAron Paul Argon
DeaN Norris Nitrogen
Betsy Brandt Beryllium
RJ MitTe Tellurium
BOb Odenkirk Oxygen
Giancarlo Esposito Einsteinium
JonAthan Banks Astatine
Nigel GibBs Boron
Jennifer HAsty Arsenic
Skip MAcdonald Actinium
Mark FreeboRn Radon
Nelson CrAgg Silver
Dave Porter Polonium
Sharon Bialy Sulfur
Sherry Thomas Thorium
BrYan Cranston Yttrium
Diane MerCer Cerium
Moira Walley-Beckett Molybdenum
Thomas SchnAuz Gold
George Mastras Germanium
PeTer Gould Tellurium
Sam Catlin Calcium
Melissa Bernstein Beryllium
MicHelle MacLaren Helium
Mark JOhnson Oxygen
StewArt A. Lyons Argon
THomas Schnauz Holmium
Michelle MacLaRen Rhenium
Vince Gilligan Vanadium

13 Responses to The science of Breaking Bad: Shotgun

  1. Ziggins the Cat says:

    If you don’t know the significance of the bee or the character 蜂 then you should Google Hobart Huson.

    Your Welcome! :3

  2. Gogar says:

    The number: “00892-B” is a Color #00892B –>
    The green is official color to Breaking Bad

  3. Crystal says:

    With 蜂 and the picture of the bee, I figured the significance of 00892-B was that it contained the letter B!

    I figured that the bees meant it was a “sting”, especially after she made Jesse say Mike’s full name out loud. Of course, I had no idea about the Hobart Huson thing.

    • Crystal says:

      Ooh, dang. I searched and found this on google, but this was an old episode, not the new one! I didn’t know the same barrel occurred previously.

      Now I realize my reply makes no sense :-) Sorry about that.

  4. Sandoz says:

    MI-MB042266-GER is the model number of the industrial HEPA air cleaner manufactured by Madrigal Electromotive GmbH. (

  5. Pete says:

    It just dawned on me that the inspiration for Madrigal Electromotive Gmbh could be based on the recent scandal involving Alfred L Wolff Gmbh importing tainted honey. In the real life case, a Stefanie Giesselbach is the honey executive arrested for the fraud and her co-defendants were 3 asian dudes. The barrel of methlyamine had “Bee” logos on them which made more sense if they were storing honey. Anyway, here’s the writeup on that case:

  6. Does anyone know what these characters means →

    • John says:

      Looks like 良善服装. Don’t know what it means, I’m afraid – the auto-translate has it as “good clothing”.

      • Hahaha. Long time to rack one’s brains to discovery that it was just an merchandising. Congratulations to all of those involved.

        Thank you very much for finding the chinese characters. Breaking Bad lead fans.

  7. Rich in L.A. says:

    It has nothing to do with that loser Hobart Huson or Hive. 蜂 is Japanese for bee and 00892-B is the hex number on the RGB chart of the exact shade of green Breaking Bad uses in their logo.

  8. Sherman says:

    蜂, bee is “Honey navour”, it is for food processing, Los Pollos Hermanos imports it from China. It contains Phenylacetic acid ethyl ester, material for meth cook.

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