The Rocky Reference You Missed In Breaking Bad

In the seventh episode of Season 3, “One Minute,” Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), marches up to Jesse’s house. Jesse stands at the front door, thinking Hank is coming to question him about a drug bust, but Hank doesn’t stop moving toward him. Instead, Walter’s enraged brother-in-law gives Jesse a beatdown, repeatedly punching him in the face and yelling at him, demanding to know how Jesse obtained his cell phone number and wife’s name. In the previous episode, “Sunset”, to get Hank away from finding out about the meth lab in the RV, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and his secretary placed a phone call telling Hank his wife was in the hospital after a serious car accident. 

As Jesse rests in his hospital bed, Saul can’t help but show Jesse his phone with a picture of Jesse’s bruised up face. He smiles and says. “Hey, Adrian! Rocky called, he wants his face back.”

Rocky has become so ubiquitous in our culture that viewers will immediately get the reference to Sylvester Stallone’s most notable franchise. It’s easy to see a resemblance to the underdog boxer’s mangled face after his initial match with Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). The writers must be big fans of “Rocky;” during a later episode from Season 4, Hank and Walt drive to stalk drug kingpin, Gus Fring, and Hank sings ”Eye of the Tiger,” featured in several “Rocky” films. At this point, the only thing missing from “Breaking Bad” is a dog named Butkus.

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