Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale Review: Who Won?

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Following last week's episode of Breaking Bad, which included Walt's panicked plea to Skyler - "I've made choices. I alone should suffer the consequences of those choices." - I wrote that Heisenberg was dead.

And it's true. Walter White is no longer a man trying to look and act the part of a ruthless, well-reasoned, cold-hearted drug dealer. The fourth season finale of what is making its case to be the greatest show in television history made it clear: Heisenberg really is gone. Gus Fring 2.0 is in his place.

Walt truly is the Man Who Knocks now.

Partners Shake

Overall, "Face Off" told a very simple story. It was the story of Walt actually coming up with, and following through with, a careful, intelligent, winning plan.

Throughout four seasons, viewers had seen this chemistry teacher go from an average, no-confident Joe to a ego-maniacal loose canon. He wanted to be tough, he wanted to be the man in charge and he thought the world revolved around his every action. But a lot of that was a farce, as emphasized over these final few heart-pounding episodes, as Jesse rose up the drug operation ranks and Walt grew more and more ostracized.

But that all changed with one explosion. The key ingredient in Walt's evolution has now been added. Walt executed a plan as thought out and diabolical as any Gus could come up with.

It involved putting his neighbor's life at risk. It involved nearly killing an innocent child. And it led to a moment where Walt could finally exhale, look over his town and declare: I won.

Before Walt arrived in the winner's circle, of course, a death as gruesome as any in televised memory gave an entirely different meaning to the title of the finale. No, Gus and Walt didn't really face off here. The former simply lost half of his head.

Vince Gilligan and company didn't even attempt to make Gus' murder a surprise. The death march for this fascinating character began the moment he left his car outside the retirement home, as music played, we zeroed in on his face and it was clear what was about to go down. The goal here wasn't to shock, but first to honor such an engrossing, well-portrayed villain and also to emphasize the rise of Walt as his replacement.

Again, this was a straightforward episode (with one major exception: it skipped over a great deal of Walt's plan - having Saul's bodyguard life Jesse's Ricin cigarette, never revealing how Walt slipped the berries to Brock - something that could understandably bother many viewers who felt this was an example of manipulative, misleading storytelling). It took its time to arrive at that parking garage roof, literally spelling out multiple scenes with Hector to build tension like it often does so well, but the aim of this season was to finally anoint Walt as a winner. In a Charlie Sheen-like sense of the word, of course.

Walt doesn't care about the money, he doesn't care about his family (do you really think his next stop is Hank's house... or to wherever he'll construct a super lab of his own?) and he almost doesn't care that he was nearly a child killer. Walt did seem legitimately relieved Brock will survive, but the fact that he took the step with that deadly flower is all we need to know. (Bravo, meanwhile, to the readers who pointed out from last week's conclusion that Walt was behind Brock's poisoning, especially those who referred to the scene where his gun landed away from his on the terrace, aiming straight at a plant.)

Despite everything, meanwhile, Jesse is as much Walt's student as ever. He still refers to him as "Mr. White," he asked to make sure Gus had to go. I don't know what Walt has in mind next, exactly, but I don't doubt that Jesse will follow him into it.

Breaking Bad is undoubtedly the best show on television. Is it the best ever? Where will it go from here? Will Walt organize a New Mexico cartel of his own? We have awhile to wait and awhile to debate, but does any of that matter right now? I'd prefer to savor the incredible season that just passed - from the acting to the camera work to the storytelling - than begin to worry about the final 16 episodes. Just truly amazing stuff all around.

What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (565 Votes)

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


everyone here is discussing about final few episodes but what about the excruciating mid episodes..? I think that very well answers why less no. of viewers. If any one has observed why didn't gus look at the bombing apparatus fixed to the wheel chair while it is clearly visible...? that is the one glitch from my side but the rest just blew me away....!!


People keep saying that Walt has no humanity left, but how does Walt not have humanity left? Everything he did was for survival and he was only forced into that situation because Gus threatened to kill him and his family. He obviously cares about Jesse. It was either kill or be killed. You can tell that he was pretty much scared for his life the past few episodes and he had to kill Gus to survive.


Bring on season 5, I cannot ever remember a show so compelling. My hat i dip to the creator Vince and to the actors you have certainly raised the bar to a new level as far as television goes. It will be a sad moment when it all ends but at the same time great things all finish at the right time.


this was really great show, epecially the last episodes, Walt was amazing yes he did poison tat kid but he only did tat to get jessi on his side and to blame it on gus...n yah the plant was there from the beggining, he got the idea of the plant when he was sitting near the pool and spinning the gun and once the gun was pointed at the plant tat when he came up with it..he had to get jessi on his side, even though i felt sad tat he did tat to the kid but hey hes walt n he knew the kid wont die of it


Well... Actually I´ve already watched the last episode of the 4th season, and I don´t understand how Walter White could be so bad at the end of all this story... I mean at the last scene of the chapter when the camera is focusing on a plant located in the terrace of the White´s place if you pay so much attention you will be able to read that the plant´s name is... Lilly of the Valley, as everybody knows the plant who made Bronko got sick.... FUCK OFF MR.WHITE!!


I just re-watched the scene with Jesse and Walt on the roof. When the camera angle changes to face out through the vent, there's a conspicuous breathing sound as Jesse walks away. I've re-watched it over five times and there's no mistaking it. I'm not saying that means there's someone there necessarily, maybe it's some sort of creative device - alluding to Gus' last breath? Okay yeah, that makes no sense. So why would there be some obvious raspy-type breathing sound exactly coinciding with the change in camera angle? In a show such as this, every single scene and pan of the camera is calculated. The writers and creaters have placed hidden "easter eggs" throughout the duration of the show, clues that many viewers have missed. Watching this episode, as soon as Hector was finished at the DEA office and being wheeled into the elevator, I knew Walt was behind it and did it because a) Hector's being watched by Gus' team, b) it would give Gus an immediate reason to visit, and c) Walt did it so he could kill Gus. Then, I realized as soon as Walt and Hector spoke again after Gus' goon searched the room that Walt was going to rig a bomb connected to Hector's bell. There WAS someone watching them in that parking lot. I mean of course I could be wrong but I'm CALLING IT NOW. I haven't been wrong yet and so far I've been pretty good at calling things way before they happen. My guess is it's Mike. We haven't seen him, right? Dude's careful as hell. He doesn't strike until just the right moment. Also, isn't it curious that considering he's been M.I.A. for the last two eps this season, so we have no idea what condition he's in? My guess is even though he's still recovering, he's been keeping tabs this whole time. Hey, he's injured, and it makes sense for the raspy breathing to be his. He was Gus' right hand man, and it's safe to assume that he found out about his boss' death not long after it happened. It's reasonable to consider the possibility that he was in the hospital recovering, but left as soon as he received the news, in order to keep surveillance on Walt and Jesse until he can formulate a plan for revenge.


poopsie, you said to me: "Jonny, Wrong-it was NOT stupid or was it disapointing-it was totally brilliant-my heart leaped-GUS lives until 2 seconds later-SNAP. If he crawled out it would not have had
the same impact. Gus always precise-even in death.
The plots are brilliant.
Please don`t watch next season if you thought the plot were flimsy-they were the best TV I have seen.
Go back to True Blood or Mad Men." First off, when did I say anything about True Blood or Mad Men? I don't watch either. I DID say that the scene was shocking, despite it's cheesiness, and it could've been done better.... shock value, WITH believability. The whole 'poisoning Brock thing' is flimsy IMO. There was ALOT of reaching going on there in the writer's room... surely, you can see them manipulating us into buying this concoction... can't you? I stand by my call and my disapointment..... SNAP!


After thinking for a little, I realize the poison connection: Saul Goodman gave Brock the poison. He always delivers the money to his Brock's mom as we saw a couple episodes back. He could have swung by when the mom was away to drop off the money or even done it in front of her and slipped something into his food.


Mike is still out there, and he was Gus's #1 guy. He knew all of Walt & Jesses secrets, knows gus's contacts and network: He'll hold Walt and Jesse hostage with his knowledge. He'll wait, then force them into service for him... and since Walt has proven to be capable of taking out his enemies, Mike will have an iron clad plan in place to keep them in line. Walt will be cornered and will have to turn to Hank for help... if Hank hasn't already figured out Walts secret by then...


my bad, the song is norah jones and danger mouse........same lyrics though.

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