Breaking Bad Review: "End Times"

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Following the suspenseful conclusions of the previous few episodes - culminating in what may have been the most tense five minutes in television history last week - my expectations were lowered for "End Times."

I felt a bit like a Yankees fan heading into the 1928 season. There was simply no way any cliffhanger could match what we witnessed on "Crawl Space," especially with the season finale a week ago and many shows using a penultimate episode such as this to quietly set the scene for the explosive action to come.

Yet, despite this mindset, I was still disappointed when the final credits rolled. Heck, I was even a bit confused.

Walter White, Defeated

Did Gus have a feeling that Walt (or someone) was out there, plotting his murder? Why would he? I understand that a man in his position must be careful at all times, but he's likely walked to a parked car before. Why did he suddenly decide to turn around?

I'll reserve full judgment until we find out where he's headed, but it comes across for now like Breaking Bad is simply dragging out the climactic killing of Gus until the finale. It feels sacrilegious to even hint that Vince Gilligan and company are spinning their wheels and needing to contrive a way to extend this storyline. I don't know of a showrunner I trust more.

And I'll happily devour my words next week if it all comes together, but this was actually the second time on "End Times" when Gus came across as too powerful and all-knowing.

He was really on to the ricin and somehow managed to poison Brock?!? I did what Walt pleaded with Jesse to do (in an incredible scene that ought to have cinched another Emmy for both these actors) and I thought long and hard about it and I still don't see how Gus pulled this one off. Yes, he has cameras inside the lab, and Tyrus is often parked outside Walt's home... but I still can't follow the logic of how he knew about the ricin, lifted it AND poisoned Brock with it.

Gus is a fascinating character - seriously, the show has crafted such a layered backstory for him that you find yourself sympathizing for the man, before being reminded at times such as this that he's a drug dealer and cold-blooded killer - but let's not make him into some kind of psychic comic book villain. It's a rarity, but Breaking Bad asked us to make some leaps in logic to keep things progressing this episode.

Of course, it also provided its typical handful of powerful, quiet character moments. There was Hank in sullen shock as he clicked through photos that supposedly disproved his theory. There was Skyler really needing a smoke and wondering how she and her family ended up here. There was Walt, just staring at his wife and daughter as they pulled out of the driveway, which followed a speech that officially did away with Heisenberg and brought Walt down to a level his ego probably never thought he'd be again.

This is his fault. There was a time when he could have done things differently, but it's too late now. And only he should suffer the consequences. It's impossible to argue with any of that, isn't it? Watching Walt return to basic chemistry in his kitchen - in order to build a bomb for a murder, granted - was also a nice call back to when Mr. White was nothing more than a science teacher.

Overall, not my favorite episode of Breaking Bad, as it mostly served to bring Walt and Jesse back together. But they are on the same side once again now, and I can truly say I have no idea what will result from that on the finale, the promo for which you can view HERE.


Editor Rating: 3.9 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (84 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Gus Fring will not die this episode. Gus offered Walt Jr. a part-time job in Los Pollos Hermanos. The importance of this offer cannot be overlooked.


I don't understand why people would point to Walt. Jesse said he had the cig that morning! Gus/Hector: good possibility. Saul: I don't see it.


Everyone is assuming that the characters know things that we see. Gus does not expect a bomb jus because we know there is one, I think he suddenly realizes that Brock being poisoned has a connection to Jesse and him - and it is HECTOR!
Come on, guys, he just revealed to Hector in the previous episode that Jesse killed his grandson and Hector knows that Jesse had tried to poison Tuco at the home where Hector knocked the plate off the table. Also, Hector did not finger Jesse to the DEA so this was a major betrayal. It makes sense that he would want to get back at Jesse and at the same time make him suspicious of Gus. All we need to know is who is doing the dirty work for him.


Many have stated that Brock being a kid and wanting to emulate Jesse would sneak a cigarette that stood out- upside down (filter end up)... well, ALL cigarettes are filter end up, which is how Jesse had it; so it looked the same as every other cigarette in his pack if he was searched. But that is really a moot point since as @Johnny has stated the ricin was in a small vial; the tobacco dumped out, the vial inserted. Therefore no way for Brock to have smoked the cigarette. I agree that Walt definately came up with a plan @ the very beginning of the episode... someone had the theory of the Foxglove, I'm not sure that's what the plant was, but that is DEFINATELY plausible. The fact that Walt may have used Saul and his bodyguard to carry this out also stands to reason. (It is also worth mentioning that the cigarette MAY have indeed fallen out during Walt and Jesse's brawl.) But I don't believe it was Saul acting on his own. Now, also something to think about is after Jesse told Gus about the poisoning, and stating that he would not return until Brock was better, Gus then hugged Jesse and told him to stay there and to come back to work "when the boy is better; NEXT WEEK." Does that mean that Gus really may have had him poisoned? As he was leaving the hospital, I think Gus was probably putting all this information together in his head. I think he probably did sense something wasn't quite right, because he HAS been 10 steps ahead.... I believe that Gus probaly saw reflection from Walt's glasses that were perched on top of his head...since that is where the last shot lingered... but the pigeon theory makes sense too.


I'm dazed and confused. Was it reckless of Jesse to tell Gus that Brock had been poisoned regardless of how he was poisoned? Why?


Glasses, It's SAUL, not Sal.


Walt poisoned the boy. But not to kill him. The potplant that Walts gun points to contains a white foxglove plant. Well known to be toxic but in small doses would make you merely sick. It would take some time before it actually killed you. I think Walt convinced Saul to get his security guard to replace the cigs in Jessie's jacket during the frisk. If you re-watch the scene you will see he puts his left hand into his jacket afterwards. When Jessie notices the Ricin missing he thinks it was used to poison the boy, when in fact it was actually foxglove extract which won't kill, but will make him sick. Saul wouldn't agree to killing a boy, and Walt wouldn't be up to it either. But I think both of them need Gus dead and to do this need Jessie on their side. I think Saul realised that Gus isn't going to let him off for warning the DEA.


When I first heard Brock was in the hospital I instantly assumed that Brock came in contact with the Ricin by accident. I thought that because in the episode "Bug", Walt confronts Jesse at being in Gus's house. Walt then grabs Jesse's pack of cigarettes from him and pulls out the Ricin cig. Walt then in anger throws it at Jesse and it falls to the floor of Jesse's family room. Then they both proceed to have their brawl and Jesse tells Walt to F off. I'm pretty sure after that chaos Jesse didn't care to attempt to kill Gus and made no attempt to retrieve the Ricin cig on his floor. So when Jesse returns from Mexico he plays video games with Brock in that same room. Brock then could have easily found the Ricin cig on the floor and poisoned himself. Also note: I didn't buy into the Gus posioning of Brock, Gus is a reasonable man of deep thought and intelligence. He would never kill an innocent person, he is just like Walt in reasoning. He only kills those who would threaten his business or livelyhood (just like Gale's murder by Walt/Jesse). He killed Victor to protect his business from cops in Gale's murder. He was assumed to have order the killing of Tomas (Andrea's brother), but I believe that Walt/Jesse took action against the dealers before Gus realized the dealers killed Tomas. Remember how intensely he asks Walt in Season 3's finale "Are you asking if I authorized the murder of a child?". Gus did kill all the cartel guys, but they were threatening his business and he also wanted revenge for his partner Max. He didn't kill a single innocent person in Mexico, no girls or waiters. Yes, Gus is threatening Walt's family, but I believe those are empty threats. He even said to Mike in season 3 when reviewing Walt's background to get him into the superlab, "I do not believe threats to be an effective tool of motivation". Now the biggest question mark is what Gus intends to do with Hank. I've believed this for some time that ASAC Merkert is a mole for Gus in the DEA. It sounded like his voice when Hank got the warning call of the cousins. Also Mike mentioned him by name when he was reporting to Gus that Hank was doing surveillance on his own. I think Gus will have ASAC Merkert do something to Hank career wise to get Hank off his back.


I don't think Walt's that good a liar. Remember those all those times he tried to lie to Skyler and Hank? Not very convincing. If Walt did poison Brock, he must have taken some a lot of acting classes before Jesse showed up at his door. I think there's evidence in this episode pointing to Gus, Walt, and Saul (though most people tend to dismiss Saul). Even though his "carpe diem" talk with Brock was totally adorable, let's not forget that he did propose to kill Badger when he got caught by the police and that he suggested that Walt kill Jesse after Jesse threatened to give up Walt to the DEA (in the hospital after Hank beat him up). Huell's frisk was pretty damn suspicious, and while Saul's a joker, he's definitely no joke.


Walt dosed Brock. See 18:19 where Saul's security guard pockets something after frisking Pinkman. Walt needs to get Jesse back on his side and we know he'll do anything to save his family. Using a 'What would Gus do?' strategy to frame him with his own MO is awesome!

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