In the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad season 4 there is a lot of set up for the finale, and even though there’s suspense all the way through, nothing really happens. In a way that is the reason why this episode is so good. It kept me waiting for something horrible to happen all the way through, and when nothing big did happen I was left feeling more nervous about the finale than ever. That said, the story definitely moved along, and after a lot of build-up it seems things are paying off in the finale next week.
In rough strokes, what happened in this episode was that the Whites were escorted by the DEA to Hank and Marie’s to be watched over after having been warned there’s a hit out on Hank. Walter decides to stay behind because he knows he is the centre of their problems and accepts what he has coming for him. Meanwhile, Hank won’t stop his search for Gustavo and orders Gomez to take a look at the laundromat, which he does along with a narcotics dog. From the looks of it they find nothing, but the visit results in Gustavo calling Jesse and telling him that this will have consequences for Walter. Before Jesse is able to decide if he wants to warn Walter, he is called to Saul’s office to pick up his money because Saul’s leaving town. Here he learns about the threat Gustavo made on the lives of Walter’s family, and Jesse continues to struggle with deciding what to do.
While he’s contemplating his next move, Andrea calls Jesse from the hospital and tells him that Brock is in critical care, and Jesse loses it when he comes to the realisation that it’s the risin that poisoned him. This leads to one of the episodes most tense moments as Jesse turns up at Walter’s door with the intent to kill him because he’s positive that Walter was the one who poisoned Brock. In the end Jesse is able to see logic, and as a result they concoct a plan to kill Gustavo. Jesse will make a scene at the hospital, and Gustavo will show up to talk to him. Meanwhile, Walter will plant a bomb in his car. This leads to the tensest moment in the episode, of Walter on the roof of a building adjacent to the parking garage, watching in wait as Gustavo puts two and two together and turns and walks away from the car and the bomb, leaving Walter devastated on the roof, thinking his last plan just failed.
Like I said, not much happened. Or rather, the scenes that really had me on the edge of my seat never came to anything. It did its job well though. While I knew there was no way Jesse would kill Walter, I was really afraid he would do some damage before the scene ended. I was also fool enough to think that Gustavo would be killed by the bomb, but in hindsight I see why he wasn’t. In addition to those obviously tense moments, I felt myself getting really nervous when Skyler was outside with the agents, sure that she would be shot at any moment. Luckily she was not.
Gustavo poisoning Brock was the most intriguing and horrible plot point in this episode. I knew the risin would end up being used on the wrong person, but when I heard it was Brock I was genuinely shocked, and I felt horrible for Jesse when he realized what had happened. At first I thought he had ingested it by mistake, so I was actually shocked when he turned on Walter. Even more so when I realized it was Gus using Jesse like a chess piece once again.
The scene in Walter’s house was another great example of how Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul work perfectly together. I felt so sorry for Jesse for having to go through almost losing someone he cares about once again, and I was really sad that it seemed like Andrea was done with him by the end even though that’s completely understandable from her perspective.
I did not pick up on how Gustavo figured out Walter’s plan until after the episode ended, but it’s clear in the conversation between Jesse and him that he knows Jesse knows more than he lets on and that his allegiance has switched back to Walter. Still, I was left feeling so nervous about the fallout from this when Gustavo turned to walk away from the car.
I have no idea what will happen in the finale, and I don’t want to get spoiled either. I have a sinking feeling that someone will die, but I have nothing to back up that theory. No matter what, I’m sure it will be intense and leave us on a cliff-hanger that will make waiting for almost a year for the next season really hard.