In Breaking Bad S02E12 I couldn't understand the last scene when Walter came back to Jesse and, while trying to wake him up, Jane just starts vomiting and suffocating. Was it because of heroin? If so then why did the same not happen to Jessie?

Please explain the whole thing.

  • 3
    I think they were injecting the heroin, not smoking it. In addition to the below answers, there was also some foreshadowing earlier in the episode, where Skyler, (I think), tells Walt not to leave newborn baby Holly on her back for pretty much the same reason. Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:35
  • Can't understand tge downvote reasin. Anyways +1 for a valid question.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:52
  • 1
    @AnkitSharma I couldn't figure them out either. You'd think everyone who answered the question would have at least had the courtesy to upvote. Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 23:05

4 Answers 4


Earlier in the season, Jane told Jessie that they need to fall asleep on their sides after doing heroin. The reason is if their body had some kind of violent reaction to the drug, causing them to vomit, they would asphyxiate on their own vomit. However, if they were laying on their side, the chances of the vomit "pooling" in their mouth were reduced, thus the chances of asphyxiation were reduced.

Jane turned over (or Walt turned her over, or she didn't fall asleep on her side, I can't quite remember the exact details), had a bad reaction to the drug, and began vomiting, but since she was unconscious or unable to move due to the drug, she could only lay there and asphyxiate on her own vomit, unaided by Walt.

The same thing didn't happen to Jessie because he didn't have a bad reaction to the heroin they injected, thus there was no vomit to suffocate on.

  • 4
    Walt accidentally bumped into her and caused her to turn over, then failed to turn her back on her side when she started to gag. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 16:23
  • Gotcha. I mainly said what I did so people didn't think I was making stuff up, as I haven't seen the episode since Netflix got season 2, thus I couldn't remember exactly. Thanks for clarifying, though. :)
    – MattD
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 18:02
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    What I don't understand is if it really matters that they fall asleep on their sides at all. Don't we all turn in bed several times in our sleep? Aren't they in danger of naturally rolling on their backs anyway?
    – Walt
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 20:12
  • If they turn in their sleep, yes, but it's possible you enter into more of a state of paralysis. The main point Jane was making was, "Better safe than sorry."
    – MattD
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 20:16

Heroin can often cause users to vomit, it's a reaction to what is ultimately poison. A few episodes earlier, Jesse and Jane have a conversation about 'nodding out' on their side so they don't choke on their own vomit, as it is a fairly common cause of death for Heroin Users.

From Wikipedia:

It should also be noted that since heroin can cause nausea and vomiting, a significant number of deaths attributed to heroin overdose are caused by aspiration of vomit by an unconscious victim.

  • 1
    Heroin isn't technically a "poison." It's an opiate-based painkiller which is often abused because of its narcotic qualities. A "poison" implies that the primary or the sole purpose of the substance is its lethal effect.
    – Mistah Mix
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 0:48
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    @MistahMix Ever heard of alcohol-poisoning? The definition of poison is more broad than you seem to think. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 3:35
  • Alcohol is also not a "poison". Again, a "poison", by definition, is a substance whose primary purpose is to be lethal. Both heroin and alcohol can BE lethal if overindulged.They are NOT by definition, "poisons."
    – Mistah Mix
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 6:26
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    @MeatTrademark, I wouldn't worry about it, some people are just very literal when it come to semantics. :) Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 9:57
  • 1
    @MistahMix - this isn't accurate. There are a number of inorganic poisons that can't reasonably be said to have any "purpose" at all - e.g. carbon monoxide, cyanide, elemental poisons such as arsenic, heavy metals such as lead, etc., etc... I'm not sure where you get your "definition" - the actual definitions in OED, MW, and others supports JohnSmithOptional and MeatTrademark. It is quite reasonable to label heroin a "poison". Commented May 20, 2016 at 1:16

From the Wikipedia entry:

During an attempt to awaken Jesse, Walt accidentally moves Jane out of the recovery position and onto her back, and witnesses her choking on her own vomit. Walt lets Jane suffocate and leaves. The recovery position is described as:

The recovery position is designed to prevent suffocation through obstruction of the airway.

More information about the above mentioned things can be found simply by seeing their corresponding Wikipedia pages.


Well, I never have it but taking heroin slows down the heart rate, suppresses the breathing and lowers the blood pressure and when JANE turns and laid on her back, it made pressure on her belly. That's why she starts vomiting which causes suffocation.

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