Breaking Bad: “Face Off”

“I won.”

You sure did, Walter.

Last week I wrote that whoever was responsible for Brock’s poisoning, be it Walter or Gus, would go down as the biggest scumbag in television history. I use scumbag only because we like to keep things clean here at MSTB. They’d each done enough to earn the title, but using children as a pawn in your twisted game of cat and mouse sets you apart. Gus has claimed the life of a child in the name of his empire, but this was different. Vince Gillian did what he set out to do, Walter has now fully transformed into Scarface.

As hideous a person that Walter White is, there’s no denying his brilliance. He knew that by poisoning Brock he could convince Jesse to help him kill Gus. He quickly deduced that Tio and Gus were enemies and knew he’d do anything to extract some revenge on the Chicken Man. He knew having Tio say he’d only meet with Hank would alert Gus’s spies. He knew then that Gus would go to the nursing home to confront Tio, with Tyrus always by his side. It was all perfect. What he couldn’t account for was Brock’s health. He very well could have died, which is what makes Walt the psychopathic narcissist he is today.

Gus being out of the picture means we no longer get the pleasure of watching Giancarlo Esposito, unless Gilligan decides to do more flashback scenes. Gus Fring was supposed to have a much smaller role, with the Cousins being the Big Bad of season 3, but Esposito impressed the staff so much that they re-wrote the season around him. Esposito played the role with a bone chilling confidence that I haven’t seen in sometime. You were a horrible, horrible person but we’ll miss you, Gus Fring.

With Gus out of the picture and Jesse and Walter seemingly free, where does the story go from here? I have some ideas:

  1. Hank has to find out about Walter at some point.
  2. Walter’s cancer comes back. I don’t buy his admission that his last test showed it still in remission.
  3. Mike is still inMexico. He won’t be happy.
  4. Someone comes after Walt for taking out Gus. If the Mexican Cartel was too afraid to kill Gus because of his past inChile, that says a lot.
  5. Jesse finding out about Jane and Brock.

Since Gilligan and the writers don’t start coming up with story ideas until November I could be totally wrong on everything listed above, but I’d bet at least one of them happens next season.

If I had to rank the Breaking Bad seasons I’d put season 4 just behind season 3 in terms of pure quality. It’s amazing the level of investment we give these characters when nearly everyone one is unlikable outside of Hank. It’s a credit to the writers and the direction of show runner Vince Gilligan. They have 16 more episodes to work with and I can’t wait to see how the saga ends.

-I appreciated that the title of the episode, “Face Off”, could go a few different ways. There’s a face off between Walt and Gus, and Tio and Gus. There’s Gus literally getting part of his face blown off, and there’s Walter White firmly putting on the Scarface mask.

-Hank continues to be pretty damn smart, this time realizing a Laundromat of that size doesn’t need the amount of electricity it was getting.

-Speaking of the Laundromat, bye bye Super Lab.

-I think we now know what Walt’s gun was pointing it during last week’s poolside scene. The first two spins landed on him, the last pointed out into his flowers and the Lilly of the Valley.

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