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At the beginning of the Breaking Bad episode "Caballo Sin Nombre" (S03E02) Walt drives his Aztek through the desert singing along to America's "A Horse with No Name" on the radio, before getting stopped by a cop for his broken windshield (and getting arrested for "public outcry" or whatever). And at the end of the episode, when he takes a shower while the Salamanca Twins are sitting outside prepared to kill him, he sings the song again. Even the episode's title is Spanish for "horse with no name".

Now I might as well be making more out of this than there is to it, but I'd like to know if there is any further connection between Breaking Bad's or this particular episode's story and motifs and this song, its lyrics, its intentions or just its title.

  • I also noticed the same song in Friends season 5, second to last episode when Joey goes to Vegas alone and he is shown approaching the shooting site, which is in the Mojave Desert. So maybe it's an apt song in any movie/serial for someone going through the desert. – SandyShores Oct 28 '14 at 7:21
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SlashFilm suggested the following connection:

The title [of the episode] is a direct reference to the song “A Horse with No Name,” by the band America, and Walt is shown singing the lyrics at the ep’s beginning and end. On both occasions he’s blindly visited by two threats in the clashing forms of law and chaos. It’s a great use of music because, for one, the song’s lyrics famously don’t make a lot of sense and yet the track creates a manly sense of importance and dignity in being lost and alone. The song is also thought to be about escapism via drugs (specifically heroin), and Walt is still high, albeit from the power of capitalizing on other people’s.

Unfortunately, Cracked did an article investigating this idea of the song being about drug escapism and stated:

Let's save time here by going straight to Dewey Bunnell, the man who actually wrote the song:

"I wanted to capture the imagery of the desert, because I was sitting in this room in England, and it was rainy."

So, back when he was a kid, Dewey was playing around in the desert, found it interesting and years later wrote a song about it with a message about the environment. No heroin-induced hallucinations or allegorical desert, but real, actual desert.

Despite their disappoint reveal, I think the Slash Film reviewer's thoughts are probably the best explanation of any deeper connection that exists.

My own feeling is simply that the song is just a random choice, as it is quite light hearted in tune and provides an interesting contrast to the extreme peril that Walt is actually in, at both the start and end of the episode.

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The song can and the scene, in point of view, are related to the escapism of real life, using both drugs as the method to do it. But is goes further. First you have the idea of the unknown and of the threat. Salamanca and the police. The path thought the desert is the same path that takes Walter into solitude, loneliness and in even you could say craziness and lost of dignity and morality. This path in the desert is unknown and it will lead you to a horizon that you can not predict. Now you could be thinking , if it is Walter inner-self who is going to change without him to realize or it his the horse who Walter rides who is going to change (Jesse), and we will create and shape this path. So I think it is a relation between the unknown path e the horizon of events of Walter and others, where despite they feel that they are on top of the world , or that they were the path is from now on unpredictable and full of loneliness and deceit.

Horse with no name in a more literal name could be just Walt and how he is doing this path which is unknown to others, even though he as a street name they don't even know his identity, however in this path you gone face certain threats including yourself. The melody it self and the visual literacy of the song is quite appealing to loneliness as well.

In friends, I think it they do exactly this they appeal to the loneliness and the fact they leave joey incredible small in the frame just adds to it. He just lost is trip mate, and his hopes are crush. Of course they use literal because it is on the desert. But then they go to the unknown theme because know you want to find out what is going to happen to joey.

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