October 10th, 2011
11:36 AM ET
'Breaking Bad' season ends with finesse
Wow. Season 4 of “Breaking Bad” is in the books.
This run, more than the others, favored finesse over fireworks. The meticulous structure led to a gradual swell of tension that crept up like flood waters. By the end of last night’s episode, the water was up to chin level. And in a matter of minutes, it all receded. Sweet relief.
In fact, I began typing “for once, they didn’t end the season on a bleak note.” Of course I typed too soon, for after flood waters recede, there’s always a path of destruction left behind. Last night was no different, as the final shot revealed the utter obliteration of Walt’s moral compass.
Going into “Face Off,” we knew Walt had no qualms about wasting a few unsavory characters in order to protect himself and his inner circle. We knew he had no problem watching as others perished (Jane) or took the fall (school janitor) in the wake of his actions. And last night we learned he was fine with actively, DELIBERATELY endangering innocent people.
First, he manipulated his neighbor into serving as his mine canary, and even seemed to take pleasure in the spectacle - joyfully muttering “there ya go” as the old woman unwittingly checked his house for booby traps and hitmen. I half-expected him to be twirling a mustache.
Next, in the closing moments of the episode, we learned Walt poisoned a child, a dastardly move straight out of Gus’ playbook. Walt has traversed so far down the moral valley that “good” and “bad” no longer serve as apt descriptors. His badness is now ingrained and intent is the only distinguishing factor: He is either evil (if he poisoned Brock with the intent to kill him), or just really, really sinister (if he poisoned Brock in order to incapacitate him).
In addition to Walt’s moral decay, the season closer served up a juicy, open-ended plot change. For Plan B of Operation Pollo Muerto, Walt approached Tio Hector, the Cartel rival who shared Walt’s hatred of Gus. Hector agreed to go on a suicide mission to kill Gus.
To lure the kingpin, Hector visited the D.E.A. offices, after which Gus would be forced to silence him. Always one to do his own bidding, Gus insisted he kill Hector himself, playing right into Walt’s hand.
“Breaking Bad” is a modern western - it’s about vendettas and machismo and quick trigger fingers and survival in the desert - and that’s why the next scene was so beautiful. As acoustic guitar arpeggios and a piano’s minor chords echoed eerily, Gus was a cowboy walking to his final shootout. Only instead of tumbleweeds, we saw groomed hedges; instead of a saloon, the stage was the surreal setting of a nursing home.
Since each season has ended with a death (Season 1: Tuco’s lackey; season 2: dozens of airplane passengers; season 3: Gale), we knew someone wouldn’t make it out alive. And so, minutes after smirking at the thought of killing Hector, Hector smirked at Gus and ignited the bomb. Somewhere along the way, we were even tricked into rooting for that crusty old bastard.
But wait! Gus emerged from the rubble apparently unscathed and, ever the fastidious one, adjusted his tie. However, the camera revealed his mangled and raw Harvey Dent treatment before he collapsed. There are plenty of bad special effects on television (*cough “Terra Nova” cough*), but this wasn’t one of them. In fact, it may have been more convincing than the “Dark Knight” scene that inspired it.
With Gus dead, Walt headed to the lab and was the one who knocked (or, rather, buzzed in through the service elevator). After vanquishing two more henchmen, Walt and Jesse incinerated the underground meth superlab. *Tear*
During the episode’s denouement, we learned that little Brock survived the poison scare, which wasn’t caused by ricin after all but by lily of the valley berries. And just like that, “Breaking Bad” was sunshine and handshakes and new beginnings.
But then that final shot revealed a lily of the valley plant in Walt’s backyard, the very plant he stopped and stared at last week. “Breaking Bad,” please don’t ever change.
So, do you guys think the finale delivered? How did this season compare to the others?
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I'm so confused!! How did Walt get the cigarette containing the niacin from Jesse?? When Jesse has the gun on walt accusing him of poisoning Brock was even says at that point, Jesse listen to yourself I haven't seen you since this morning, when Jesse was sure that he still had a cigarette. How can walt possibly have gotten the cigarette from Jesse or was it just all a big coincidence. Please tell me I missed something I hope I don't just have to accept these Coincidences. I guess i just have to except that he somehow got to Brock and poisons Brock even though that doesn't seem right either.
Remember in season 4, episode 12 when the big guy Huell (Saul's bodyguard) frisked Jesse upon entering Saul's office? That's when he got the cigarette box which contains the ricin and probably replaced it with a new one. Also, if you noticed, Saul's secretary seems to be shredding a school schedule. Most likely Brock's. Walter is a clever guy. He thought of every detail very well. He needed Jesse back on his side.
Just one question, if anyone could help...I just watched the end of Season 4 last night and I after it was over I could not for the life of me recall how or why Gus's "help" was watching the DEA's office when Hector (the old guy) rolled out? The only thing I can think of is that Walt's actions had caused them to keep an eye on the comings and goings from the DEA's office, as Walt was hoping for.
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I still remember Bryan Cranston (Walt) playing Tim Watley the (perverted?) dentist back on seinfeld. Not to mention Hal from malcolm in the middle.
It was irony in its purest form when Gus walked out of the blown out room with half of his face blown off. Great writing, and such a portrayal of one of humankind's greatest weaknesses in seeing Gus stroll into that nursing home, blinded by the opportunity of revenge.
On another note, did anyone else find it interesting that when Junior came over to Walt's apartment the day after his birthday (only to find Walt in a medicated state (painkillers+ alcohol)) that Walt called Junior Jesse? I think that this shows that Walt sees Jesse as a son. Therefore I do not think that Walt would intentionally try to kill Brock with the poison. Only to put him in the hospital, bringing Jesse to a public, safe place.
Totally and completely agree with you on this one..that is exactly what I thought (about Walt more or less using brock almost as a pawn for Jesse's sake.
Walt took out the poisoned cigarette from Jesse's pack when he asked Jesse for a smoke in the factory. Jesse then said "you have to inhale" to Walt, but obviously since it was poison, Walt did not inhale from that cigarette, and then he dropped it on the floor.
DING DING DING
Uh, no. You are totally wrong and weren't paying attention.
A quick red
Great great ending, thanks for writing this up, great analysis
cant believe i watched em all. such a waste of time and oh my god these characters were annoying.
Your business sounds interesting. Why is it important to the industry?
I believe Walter poisoned Brock with the red fruits, but he perhaps knew they wouldn't be fatal, only similar to ricin's effects as far as Jesse knew about them. Why would Walter use a poison other than ricin were his moral compass completely trashed? The use of a different method, the lily of the valley, was a risk to his scheme (what if the doctors discovered too soon?). A chink in his plan he accepted because he didn't want to actually kill the boy. Sinister, ruthless, but not outright evil, considering his situation.
We shouldn't have this idea "the series is about the descent of a good man into the depths of evil". He is just the same as he was in the beginning, except he's getting better at what he does. He DID cry when Jane died... but, as things got uglier and uglier, he no longer could afford the luxury of being nice. It's what the Joker in Dark Knight tries to prove: the husk of civilization and good behavior crumbles when men are desperate.
Walt is grooming himself for Gus's job....
I agree Lori, I still don't think Walt poisoned Brock. I think they want us to believe that, though, or make it so we're never certain. There is a "Scott" entry in previous episode's Marquee Blog - Scott explains it much better than I did about what the writers of the show might be doing. But Jshah has a great point, too. Have to agree with a writer in this blog segment, soldiers do survive horrific blasts so I wonder. . .and the two-faced life of Gus and his grisly "dual" Janus face in his death. . .wow! Great television (still want to be able to turn it off, though).
I think that too. But what about when Walt asks Becky to check out his house and those two henchmen come out of the backyard? Perhaps they picked up some of the Lily of the Valley plant and used it on Brock as Walt stated but instead of Ricin it was the Lily. Furthermore, Walt might be worried Jesse will find out that Walt has the plant in his backyard and try to kill him. Just a theory.
Walt did poison Brock. The ending pans to the flowers from Walt's garden. How would Gus have gotten that? Btw the way, this was an absolutely brilliant finale...I wish this had been the series finale because it was so fantastic. Anyways, I digress. There are clues in this episode itself that Walt did it. Someone else wrote that Saul's bodyguard probably replaced Jesse's cig pack when he was patting him down. And that Saul delivered the poison in the form of candy when he was delivering the money to the mom in a previous episode. Vince Gilligan, the creator of BB, says himself in an interview that it was Walt.
Walt did not poison Brock. Gus did it. It's like Walt said...Gus has been 10 steps ahead of him the entire time. Although, it would be good tv if Walt finally went to the dark side for real. Imagine what a mind bender next season will be if Walt was the bad guy this whole time and Gus was the one that really cared about Jesse. WEIRD! LOVED The finale. Perfection! Again!
Walt poisoned Brock. Walt has been 10 steps ahead of Gus all along.
The ending was awsome. Breaking bad writters did an ACE of a job. After watching I left without saying "OMG" What will happen next." "I can't believe this." or "this ending sucks"...... My favorite charactor is Scully the Lawyer, he is hillarious.
Err, who the hell is Scully? I know of a Saul...
Incredible! Best season! Loved it! Can't wait for more!!!
I live in Abq, NM and meant Bryan Cranston..hell of a nice guy and I wish him even more sucess in the future with "Breaking Bad". But, as most people know, next season will be the last for "Breaking Bad"..as reported here in Abq, NM..but maybe Bryan still has some more cards up his sleeve for more seasons of Breaking Bad...who knows.
Brilliant show. Excellent episode.
Though.. was it just me that thought that Gus visiting Hector in the nursing home was a little out of character?
He'd have been the last person seen to be visiting the old guy in the wheelchair before he died. Why do that and bring more attention to himself especially when he thinks that Hector's just been talking to the DEA?
I think you are underestimating how much Gus hated Hector, the man who killed his "brother"/partner 20 years ago. He relished his revenge on the cartel and delivering the news to Hector, and the only reason he hadn't killed Hector yet is because he wanted him to suffer through his final days knowing everyone he loved was dead. This insatiable need for vengeance was Gus's greatest and perhaps only weak point, and Walt played it beautifully. Gus could not simply order Hector's death – he had to look into the man's eyes as he sent him to hell.
If the poison that hospitalized Brock wasn't ricin from Jesse's cigarette, what happened to it? When Jesse furiously ripped open the pack, it was gone, leading him to believe that somehow Brock ingested it. Anyone know? What did I miss?
There was nothing that you missed. What I think happend, is that Gus did steal the ricin and was planning on giving it to Brock, but Walt beat him to the punch, showing the Walt has been a step ahead of Gus this whole time.
My guess is that Walt stole the ricin from Jesse–perhaps even *after* he poisoned the kid. It's been a while since watching, though, so I might be missing a detail.
Mike had interesting elements to. After the inital worry of MIke murdering Jessie passed, he instead takes Jessie under his wing. This made me almost start to think that MIke might really care for Jessie. A guilt-ridden Jessie responds to Mike and Gus's manipulative attention by fixing his hobotat and spilling the "dog" murder in NA. Then, of course we watch Jessie try to help save Mike's life. Jessie is not a bad soul but a misguided one. Somebody, please care about Jessie!
I really hope Mike comes back in the next season, and I hope that before BB signs off for good, that Jessie will be allowed to mend the broken relationship with his family or at least change his life with the help of true love- and be Brock's dad?
Walt!! Wow!! He has proven to be an increasingly diabolical, monster-raging-lunatic...... to poison a child even though he did find himself in the desert with a bag over his head. NO Excuse..LOL...I knew he was losing it when he took his son's car to the lot for a little "test drive" LOL........
When Hank asked Walter who WW might be.... my breathing spiked. After Walt slyly replied "Walt Whitman," I was still looking at Hank hoping to detect skeptcism. If I were Hank, that clue alone would have given me enough to start questioning so many coinkidinks.....meathead!! That wife of Hank's needs to step up her odd behavior in the next season and keep Hank and Skyler busy so Walt and Jessie can cook....LOL
I also had fun reading all of the comments here to. I am going to try The Wire since so many on here rave about that show to. Also- If any of you have not yet watched Dexter, the plots and clever craftiness are just as entertaining as BB has been. I love Dex and Jessie to!!
NO spel check on here....sorry.
Walt is not just pure evil.. i think you missed the point where he just wanted to convince jessie that they needed to kill Gus so he poisoned the kid a little but not to the extent where he dies. He did not want to kill the kid that's just a stupid assumption you're making somehow. Go watch it again. This was all to save his OWN FAMILY from death... that is not just complete evil intentions. It is still about saving his family.. the only difference is that it's also about being a druglord now as well. But family still comes first. What did you expect him to do after being dragged into the desert and being threatened.
"What do you expect him to do after being dragged into the desert?" Oh, right, it's perfectly acceptable to poison a child if you're trying to SAVE YOUR FAMILY, you say. Really? See, this is the problem with shows like this wherein characters like Walter are liked by the audience, even though they make the most horrible choices when faced with financial difficulty or physical danger. Viewers with a weak moral compass start making excuses for them when they put a kid in the hospital – as long as it's, you know, to save their own family. Ugh.
I've never watched this show, but I have heard of it. After reading this, I am so glad that I didn't waste hours of my life on this kind of "entertainment".
Are you serious? You come into a forum and comment about a show you've never watched? Then you talk badly about the show when you don't have the slightest clue on what's going on? You are the text book definition of a troll. Why even comment at all when you have nothing to offer in the first place? I really hope you're like 8 years old or something because you have the mentality of that age. And I'm actually insulting 8 year old's when I say that!
Hey RM – happens all the time! Don't you love it when someone says 'I would never watch that show" – you know they're lying – why else would they clip on the article! Either that or – you're right! Morons!
Yeah...right. Trollytrollytrollingtroll. This show is top-notch. I have no idea what you even mean by that comment.
I refused to watch this show too.
At first glace it just looked like a show about a bunch of druggies and cops. Nothing original or exciting.
My girlfriend made me watch one episode, and since then I've been hooked. Finished season 1-4 in 1 1/2 weeks.
You've never watched this show? How can you judge it?
You don't like this show? Great. Glad to hear you have your own mind. No need to start crap.
Imagine a world where posting on the internet had consequences..
Perfect ending to the season. I love storyline twists and those were doozies!!! I can't imagine season 5 could top this one, but I hope I'm wrong. And, yes, with the exception of The Wire, this is the best show on TV. Absolutely great stuff.
next season will not be able to top this season. a shame they are making it, but they are milking the name brand.
there is only one plot line left
hank is going to find out who heisenberg is, and then.....the suspense will be what happens when he does. the only interesting possibility for the plot line is that hank changes. he stops being the one dimensional 'good guy' looking for drug dealers, and he starts cutting deals and helping walter.
lemme guess. he finds a way to cut walter a deal with the fbi so that walter gets hired as a top fbi agent to find drugdealers. perhaps the fbi/cia turn walter into a top level drug dealer to get him to out more cartel members. that,
if hank doesn't change, then walter kills hank, or kills himself. somehow none of these possibilities interests me as much as gus getting his face blown off.
Are you already complaining bout next season? The first half of the season just limped along, I'd have rather seen Hank have a bowel movement than see more of his rock collecting. Your 'Catch Me If You Can' scenario seems trite. And I don't care what direction the show takes, but if the series ends without Walt confessing to Jesse what happened with Jane and Brock I'm going to be so bummed.
Mike is also an interesting avenue – I think Gilligan is beyond milking the brand, every season has been quality- I bet that they are up for the challenge to bring us another exciting season next year.
The "rock collecting" of Hank's isn't random (imo). He's learning about the crystals (mentioned in an episode) and Walt is a chemist specializing in crystology (also mentioned in that same episode, where Gale's kareoke video was shown). My feeling is that Hank already knows that it's Walt ("WW" reference from Gale's lab notebook among other things). These writers always bring the little stuff back around, whether it's 2 episodes down the road, or full seasons down the road.
I was speechless, everything just came together in a such a way that I felt like an idoit for not seeing it coming. I know its been said a million times, but Breaking Bad really is the best show on TV. And speaking of really good shows, I encourge anyone who likes this show to watch The Walking Dead, it is about as good as your going to get besides Breaking Bad. Best season so far and looking forward to seeing Heisenbergs reing of terror in season 5.
I agree. The Walking Dead will fill the Breaking Bad void nicely. That show is a beast!
I've struggled to put "BB" above "The Wire" as far as the best show ever, but last night's episode sold me when Hector blew up Gus and all the tension that had been building for weeks climaxed. Gus' death was appropriate – he was literally two-faced in death just as he was figuratively two-faced in life (quiet, mild businessman vs. brutal, psychopathic killer).
Mostly because other people bring up the mantle of "Greatest TV Ever" I have thought about BB vs The Wire way too much. They are so different. Agree that that a) this season of BB was epic and B) the show is among the greats.
The Wire's depth (the sheer number and diversity of interesting characters on The Wire is truly amazing) cannot be matched by BB.
So I don't think that BB is "better" necessarily but if season 5 wraps up well (and I think it shall) I'm willing to call it "just as good."
The Wire and BB have competing for best show ever in my mind as well.
Did any of you notice the similarities between Gus Fring and Brother Mouzone from the Wire? Two eloquent, scene-stealing villains that left a lasting impression on each series.
@Evel Knievel AWESOME interpretation!!!!...The two-faced analogy is exactly right. This story is so genius and the acting is so amazing. How can you go wrong?!?!?! I am so glad I found this show. I never heard of it til last week, then I watched all 4 seasons in a few days. Guess I'm an "addict". How appropriate 😉
Best show on TV, EVER! Bryan Cranston was hilarious on MIM and now he's proven that, as an actor, he is a true heavyweight. Is there nothing that guy can't do?
I can't help but be a little depressed now, knowing it will be another year before the next (and final) episodes of the show. Until then, I suppose we'll just have to settle for a little Walking Dead!
Great show....Great show....Great show. What a way to finish the season.
Questions for the final season next summer: Where is Mike? What does Walt do now? Is Walt becoming Gus? Did Gus really poison the child or did Walt do it to throw Jess off a bit?
How much does Hank really know? I've thought for the entire season that Hank knows, but does not want to admit that he thinks Walt is Heisenberg.
I cannot wait until next summer. Gus walking out of that room with half of his face gone while fixing his tie was unbelievable. For a second I thought was going to walk away but then falls......but is he dead? Soldiers have survived bomb blasts....does Gus survive????
how could you possibly, even remotely, think that Gus could have survived that?
nah gus is dead (he's one character you both loved/felt bad for (the killing of his colleague) but also despised (the slitting of that dude's throat)...so great to see a well fleshed out bad guy.
below is a great interview from Time with vince gillis on this season and what might happen next season (ie gus to return in flashback scenes perhaps).
Amazing ending. I think the creators did such a grusome ending because they wanted make it clear that there is no way Gus could come back next season. Also this clears the slate in the minds of the viewers so that we are very aware there is a void now in the meth trade.
Walt isn't evil for his methods. Walt realizes that dealing with people in this business is very dangerous. He looks at these situations as a series of calulated risks. Having brock poisoned was reckless action. However remember it saved lives. Gus could have killed any number of members of Walt or Jesse's families, not to mention those two themselves. Jesse was becoming too comfortable in his situation. He was fooled in believing he had security. Walt saw the bigger picture.
The last couple of scenes looked like someone was watching Walt. My guess is Mike...
Wow an amazing finale. I'm so glad it didn't leave off on a cliff hanger. The show really was building up slowly but I knew that the writers wouldn't disappoint us with this episode. You know the writing is amazing when you're cheering for all the wrong people. For the longest time, you just love Gus and root for him. And just when I thought I couldn't stand Hector anymore, I was rooting for him as well! I love that Gus walks out of that scene almost Terminator style and so apropos, straightens his tie. What will be left for the next (possibly last) season? Will Mike come back or is he gone for good? At this point, it seems there can be no ending for Walt but to face judgment. He's been so broken that it would be perfectly fine for him to die at the Series Finale. I still have some hope saved up for Jesse.
not "possibly last"...next season IS the last.
Unbelievable season! Breaking Bad is the best show on TV and Gus was the best tv villain I have ever seen.
The adjustment of his tie at the end was perfect, and Jesse growing into being a reliable partner excellent story arc. You have to love Walt's genius and just worry about where next season is going he is becoming ruthless!
Hard to believe "Gus" went from getting killed by a pinball machine in Maximum Overdrive to being (in my opinion) a legendary TV Villan. All he was missing was a creepy-looking cat to stroke in his oversized villan's chair. No one else could have nailed it the way Giancarlo Esposito did. Pitch-perfect!
you are wrong. Gus poisoned brock. it was never ricin, but always lily of the valley . Jesse put the vile in his locker when he cooked alone. walt could not have gotten it. walt let jesse think it was ricin to protect him, b/c of his big mouth. sure enough he blurted out ricin to his girlfriend.
No, you're wrong. Walt poisoned Brock. That's why they panned to the plant during the final shot. There isn't any doubt about it either – go to the amctv website and watch some of the videos related to last night. It's very clear that Walt did it. Cranston even says so.
Um, they made it very clear what happened with Brock. He was poisoned by Walt with the Lily of the Valley. Walt did it to convince Jessie that Gus poisoned him with ricin. Re-watch the episode (especially the end) and last week's episode. The reviewer got all the details right. @tom, you may have somehow missed something
no it's clear that walt did it...luckily i saw the episode 3x (thanks to reruns) and right after that scene in which jesse shakes walt's hand and then leaves, noting it wasn't ricin but lilly of the valley and the kid is to make it, you see walt obviously shaken...he's just glad the kid didn't die and his 'calculation' of how much poison to give him was enough to render him close to death but not to die.
Yes, it was obvious it was Walt. Walt's relief over Brock not dying was his way of rationalizing that he's not another version of Gus. His internalizing was that it was a necessary step to protect his family, and he wanted to spur Jesse into action, but he was glad he didn't kill Brock. All of this was set up masterfully throughout the final episodes, with the cigarette package being switched (as per Vince Gilligan interviews) when Huell was frisking Jesse at Saul's office. The lily of the valley poison was likely delivered by Saul himself in the form of the candy he gave to Brock when he went to give Brock's mother the money.
Awesome stuff. And I hadn't fully caught the significance of the lily of the valley thing in Walt's garden! Urgh, that image of Gus will give me nightmares. I had almost wanted Gus to make it, I will miss him, he was a great bad guy! Best ending yet..
The red berries from the plant answered a question I think we all had in the previous episode. Walt is spinning the gun, we all think he's considering suicide because, hey, everythings in the toilet at that point. It points to him twice, then points to something else away from him, and he immediately gets up to do something. Now, we know what he was going after. His razor sharp mind gave him that plan at that moment I guess.
bb, sopranos, justified, deadwood, boardwalk, wire...who needs movies. Don't be surprised to see an innocent move up to protect "the family" ala Godfather..... WW Jr???