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Breaking Bad Round Table: "Face Off"

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The Breaking Bad season four finale has come and gone, but the images and events from "Face Off" will be remembered and discussed by fans of this AMC smash for many months to come.

So let's get started, shall we? Below, Matt Richenthal and Dan Forcella discuss all that went down, and all that still might go down, in the first-ever edition of the Breaking Bad Round Table...

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What was your favorite scene from the finale?
Matt: The Reservoir Dogs-esque destruction of the super lab by Jesse and Walt. Just great filming all around, with the use of the camera angles, the music and, of course, the final, well-oiled example of these two partners teaming up. Well, possibly final. More on that in question number-four.

Dan: It may have been a bit ridiculous that Gus attempted to walk out of Hector's nursing home room like nothing was wrong, adjusting his tie in the calmest of manners, but that doesn't mean it wasn't absolutely awesome to watch. Sure, I almost laughed at the moment, because it was so unrealistic, but to see the legendary Gustavo Fring go down in all of his Harvey Dent-like mutilation was certainly a highlight for the series.

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So, Walt poisoned Brock with that flower. Do you buy the planning, execution and final result of this plan?
Matt: On any other show, I'd follow up on a number of issues: How did Walt slip the poison to Brock? Is it right that the show essentially hid vital information from viewers on purpose, a somewhat manipulative strategy that Breaking Bad has never before employed? (In the past, we've always been privy to Walt's line of thinking.) But why pick at those nits? The actual poisoning positively lines up with Walt's transformation and will hopefully put to rest any lingering questions over whether or not Walter White is a good man at heart. He's not.

Dan: Absolutely. From beginning to end. It's been said over and over that Walt's plans never work out the way he wants, and neither did this one. When Gus didn't go to his car, Walt had to make new plans, but the original one to poison Brock in order to get Jesse on his side still worked. Looking back at "End Times," it is refreshing to see that Walt's plan was finally a genius one. I have so much more respect for his conversation with Jesse, where he had this revelation that "maybe it was Gus?!?!" The acting he was putting forth in that moment was seriously impressive. Walt being able to then make up a new strategy, using Hector, shows that Walt has turned into the One Who Knocks. 

Pen a eulogy for Gus.
Matt: Dear departed Gus, you were so much more than a chicken man. When you unclipped that tie and flew the fried-based coop, you gave us all a lesson in business, how to run one efficiently, how to take care of untrustworthy employees, how to scary the living bejesus out of viewers without saying a word. I'm sorry you lost half your face. In honor of your legitimate fast food front, may you rest forever in anywhere from six to 20 pieces.

Dan: Gustavo Fring was one bad dude. We've never met someone as arrogant or ruthless, and yet this same person had the decency to put a towel down on the floor of the Cartel's bathroom before throwing up the poison he gave himself in order to kill dozens of others. Gus' passing came at the perfect time, as his story has been told brilliantly. He was a mastermind at the top of his game who simply ran into the wrong man at the right time. 

Where do you envision things picking up on season five?
Matt: Nowhere good for Skyler, that's for sure. I don't see Walt even trying to hide his real self any longer. Will she finally wise up and skip town for good? Or will she grow even more complicit in what I imagine will be a new drug operation headed by her husband?

Dan: That's a great question because I would have been extremely happy with this as a series finale with one caveat: Walt takes out Gus, basks in his glory, and then goes to the doctor to find out the cancer is back. They insinuate that Walt will die within the month. That way, he gets the triumphant victory, but then loses his life almost immediately after. My guess for the final 16 episode would be Walt and Jesse attempt to run the business for a while. Of course, it will fail miserably, but they have to give it a try.  

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I have not seen season 4 yet but can anyone tell me why in season 3s "The Fly", Jesse makes no reaction when Walt admits he went to Jesse's house the night his girlfriend died? This is when Walt is not thinking straight because of the drugs Jesse put in his coffee and Jesse is on top of the ladder. Even if the subject comes up in season 4 i don't understand how it got ignored in "The Fly"

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WHAT HAPPENED TO TED I CAN'T REMEMBER I THOUGHT HE TRIPPED ON A RUG.

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I do not think Walt poison the child. There someone else out there watching. I got the feeling when they finished blowing up the lab. They were out side on the roof and you seen the chicken sign, then at Walt house was some other sign. It could make it look like Walt did it. I don't think he would take a chance on a child. But there are a lot of others that would. Gus and his guys were always at Walt house watching. What stuck me the most was when the word poison was brought up something made him act like he forgot something. I don't think he knew there was a bomb, but something more serious watching him.

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I don't usually post on threads but this damn show warrants it. I haven't found anyone in the real world who watches it but online of course. All I have to say is Genius both acting and writing. Of course there are a milliion loose ends that came to me as I curled up in bed last night with visions of Gustavo's half blown of face haunting my dreams.
It was so unnerving. I am sure I wasn't the only one who screamed out loud with pure disbelief.
So the loose ends I came up with are....
1. What about the video recordings of Walter and Pinkman at the factory? wont the DEA be doing some due diligence.
2. What about the video footage of the old age home. Showing Walter entering hectors room. And of course eye witnesses. They police will surely be investigating.
3. And of course as said above Mike has to come back from Mexico when he recovers. Who wants to bet that Mike becomes one of Walters new underlings in the new "New Mexico" run Meth Cartel Remember the market is wide open now. NO Mexican Cartel, and No Gustavo. Lets wait and see.

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In regards to how Walt took Jessee's ricin cig, Saul's bodyguard got it in the pat down of Jessee in the prior show. You can see it in large part, he slipped in a new pack and took the existing one.

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Ironic that Gus is so detached and business-like, but his emotional need to keep torturing Hector is what did him in. I found myself rooting for Walt the whole way, and then feeling like crap as they revealed he poisened Brock. Compelling and unsettling, which is the very definition of the show.

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One question: what happened to the ricon cigarette?

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The explosion scene was nasty. That moment gus walked out and fixed his tie, i was absolutely gutted. How can he survive? youve got to be kidding ME! Walt is f****d now. and then you see it. OMG. it still didn't register. I was in shock for the next ten minutes as the rest of the show continued, and then later , hours after i'd seen it, still in shock. Gus made the whole thing scary, so where do we go now? Awesome show and still one of the best things on tv in years.

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It doesn't have to be either/or. Some of these comments express frustration with the seeming inconsistencies in Walt's character. Sometimes he is a bumbling Dr Jekyll, other times he's a ruthless Mr. Hyde. This is closer to real life -- all of us whitebread, taxpaying, primetime tv watching suburbanites have an innate capacity for evil. Walt's only came out because he was put in a do-or-die situation (cancer, Gus, etc). Yes his character arc shows a transformation from being good to breaking bad. But I see it more as the revelation of his dual nature -- the Mr. Hyde in us all that lurks beneath the surface. So it doesn't have to be either good walt or bad walt. He's a mixture of both. His methods are sinister but his goals are ultimately good. It's up to us, as viewers, to evaluate the metaethical dilemmas that such seeming inconsistencies suggest. Can the ends justify the means? That conversation, the vivid characters, and, yes, the gratuitous violence, are what make this show extraordinary.

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Surprising how few comments there are here. Are we in one of the way back in the backwoods Breaking Bad blogs? Is everybody just somewhere else, much hipper than this, or have we finally just talked ourselves out about this show? I will say this tho... Danny's second paragraph (below) is a masterpiece of interplanetary literature I will never forget. I would love to have a conversation with this guy, or something like one. Although I would just probably hang on and take notes and listen and try to pick up any shiny pieces. Its always fun to visit other cultures. Write on D, youve got a fan in me.