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As The Cousins were making their way into the US to kill Heisenberg (Breaking Bad, Season 3, Episode 1), they are at one point riding in the back of a truck (concealed within walls made from bales of hay).

A young man is being chatty, boasting about how he has made the trip 3 times, and has a job waiting. Nobody else jumps into the conversation so he directs his next comments to the cousins, noting how they have nice shoes. Then he notices the shoe tips have silver on them, looks close to see a skull, and suddenly falls silent (I guess recognizing them as being cartel members).

Moments later, the view pulls back to show the truck from the outside and shots ring out as the cousins supposedly kill all the other passengers. The driver, hearing the commotion, stops, goes to the back of the truck, and asks what is going on. They kick open the back, he starts to run, they shoot him as well.

Then they set the truck on fire, and leave.

Did they kill everyone because the young man recognized they were cartel? Did they always intend to kill everyone else? If the latter, why?

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2 Answers 2

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The young boy in the truck recognised the skull on their boots:

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This meant he could later identify them to law enforcement, if asked - so he had to be eliminated. However, it seems likely that he would have met an unfortunate end anyway, as The Cousins were feeling particular vicious that day.

It appears they took out the truck and all its occupants for two reasons:

  1. To show they feared no one and would commit any action. Their actions are by far the most vicious and brutal we had seen on the show at that point.
  2. For dramatic effect. We had heard about Tuco's cousins, but at that stage, we still don't even know for sure that it's them. They're silent, deadly and scary - what more could you ask for in a villain?
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"We had heard about Tuco's cousins" Had we? I recall Tuco mentioned he was getting people up from Mexico to help smuggle Walter (and Jesse, at Walter's insistence) across the border, but I cannot clearly recall who he said was coming. Is that what you are referring to? –  Andrew Thompson Jun 25 at 8:01

Yes they were killed because they were recognized, the danger would be that someone would try and escape the truck, exposing them.

The fact they wore the shoes and didn't cover/hide them indicates they intended to kill them at some point, as they weren't too worried about being recognized.

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