Breaking Bad Review: Face Off

To quickly summarize, the last episode of the season revolved around Walter trying to find another way to kill Gus. It kicks off right after the last one ends, with Walt retrieving the bomb and going to talk to Jesse about their next plan. Before they can decide anything new though, Jesse is taken into questioning concerning the poisoning of Brock and how he knew that it was ricin causing the symptoms.

With assistance from Saul, Jesse manages to get the message to Walter that the best place to get Gus is at the nursing home where Hector is staying, and informs him of the conflict going on between the two. Walter goes to see Hector and because of a mutual wish to wipe Gus out, they team up. Hector makes contact with the DEA, which provokes Gus enough to show up at the nursing home. Walter, in a clever move, has connected the bomb to the wheel of Hector’s chair and just as Gus realizes this, Hector has rung his bell enough times to make the bomb go off, leading to one of the most insane but awesome scenes ever as Gus leaves the room with half his head blown off, and falls over outside.

Meanwhile, Jesse has been let go by the police due to the fact that it wasn’t ricin that poisoned Brock. He is still in captivity though, being forced to cook meth with a guard on watch, but halfway through Walt shows up, shoots Gus’ men and he and Jesse set fire to the lab.

The episode ends on the roof of the hospital. Jesse tells Walter that Brock is going to be fine, and that it was the poisonous berries on a plant called Lilly of the Valley that caused Brock to get sick. Jesse seeks Walter’s confirmation that Gus still needed to die, and when he gets it they shake hands and Jesse leaves to be with Andrea and Brock. Walter calls Skyler and simply answers her questions with ‘I won’ and hangs up. In the last frame of season 4 we see Walter’s back yard and the plant that is standing there: ‘Lilly of the Valley’.

First of all, the intensity of this episode was insane. For the last 15 minutes leading up to Gus’ death I was completely on edge. My brain was speculating like crazy, and I was at more than one point sure that Jesse would end up getting arrested. The emotional state I was in while watching it made me have the weirdest span of reactions as I watched everything at the nursing home. When Gus is sitting in the car before going in I was almost feeling sorry for him, remembering the reason why he was so mad at Hector. Then, when I realized what would set of the bomb and that it tied back to situations far back in the show, as well as Gus’ need for him to look him in the eyes, I was really excited. That turned to disbelief when Gus emerged still standing, then horror when I saw his face (or lack thereof) and then at last relief when he fell over. Also, the scene where Jesse and Walt destroy the lab brought a lot of joy for me. I enjoyed the lab, but it was cathartic to see them burn down something that brought them so much pain and suffering for so long, and it was shot beautifully.

I was not prepared for the reveal at the end. I had heard speculation after ‘End Times’ that Walt may have been the one to poison Brock in order to turn Jesse against Gus, but I didn’t really buy into it. However, my mind started thinking about it when we learned that it wasn’t ricin, and when I saw Walter’s reaction at finding out about Brock I was sure that he was responsible, and indeed he was. In their conversation I was terrified that Jesse suspected and would confront Walter, but it didn’t happen. I am shocked that Walter went to such lengths with someone who Jesse cares so much about when Walt himself went crazy about his family being threatened, but at the same time I can completely see Walter justifying his actions in some messed up way. I’m  starting to believe that Walter will never be able to redeem himself, and it frightens me to think of the episode down the line when Jesse finds out about both this and his part in Jane’s death.

Last of all I wanted to point out something that I read in a review I was reading last week. They were speculating about the scene in ‘End Times’ when Walter is sitting and spinning his gun by the pool. At one point it stops when it is pointing at the Lilly of the Valley. That went right over my head, but it’s things like that which makes this show so great

 

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