Sunday, October 9, 2011

Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale: Deceptive Flowers

Well, the Season 4 finale of Breaking Bad was stunning, though I called the very last scene about a minute or two before the end of the ending.

The episode early on gives us one of the best lines of the season as Jesse, questioned by cops about how he knew his girlfriend's son was poisoned by ricin, responds that he "saw it on House".  The nature of the poison - it turns out not to be ricin - and the poisoner proves to be the biggest twist in the finale.

But, first, Walter masterminds a daring plot to blow up Gus, in the aftermath of Gus having walked away at the last minute from his car rigged with a bomb by Water.  Where can Walter get another chance to blow Gus up?   Walter enlists Tio - who hates Gus more than he hates Walter, as Walter ingenuously puts to Tio - and there ensues one of the darkly funniest and breath-taking sequences in the series, as Walter gets his man.   The last we see of Gus is his face falling off, like a scene from The Walking Dead, except, barring a cross-over over between the two series, Gus is really dead dead.  (The Walking Dead does start its second season next week ... nah, only joking about the cross-over.)

Meanwhile, Jesse's released by the cops, because it turns out his girlfriend's little boy was poisoned by a chemical found in lilies of the valley, in berries that little kids sometimes eat.   It was touch and go in the hospital, but the boy will survive.

Walter and Jesse go on to blow up the lab under the laundry,  Walter tells Skyler he's won, and Walter, noting with satisfaction Gus's car, still in the hospital parking lot, drives home.

That was the point where I realized what we would see back at Walter's premises.  Gus had insisted last week that he had no connection to the boy's poisoning.  Walter had convinced Jesse otherwise, getting Jesse to believe that Gus poisoned the boy to turn him against Walter.  It was a clever piece of reasoning, and it convinced us in the audience (or, at very least, me) as well as Jesse.

But in the twist of twists we find that Walter poisoned the boy after all, in order to enlist Jesse in Walter's plan to kill Gus.  We see a pot of lilies of the valley by Walter's pool.

Should we be stunned that Walter would do such a thing - endanger a child's life like that?  No.  And not because we know Walter is so ruthless.  Rather, Walter was willing to play the apparently good odds that the boy could be saved if brought to the hospital, soon enough.   (Maybe he even called in the correct diagnosis, once Gus was safely dead.)

I guess that does make Walter pretty damn ruthless.   But it's been clear since almost the beginning of the series that Walter is not your typical high school chem teacher, that he'd do almost anything necessary for his family to survive, and maybe all we learned tonight is that Walter is willing to go a little further than we thought.  That, and confirmation that Breaking Bad is one of the most remarkable stories ever to be told on television.

See also My Prediction about Breaking Bad ... Breaking Bad Season 4 Debuts ... Breaking Bad 4.2: Gun and Question ... Breaking Bad 4.11: Tightening Vice ... Breaking Bad 4.12: King vs. King



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