Best of Breaking Bad Season 4

This is a couple weeks old, but I just happened to find it today so sue me. They’re wondering what the BB fans think was the best episode in this last season. There were so many great moments throughout the season. It seemed every week we were talking about how it was an Emmy moment for Walt, Jesse, Gus and I even thought Hank was exceptional at times. I hadn’t thought about which episode was my favorite.

I do know that there was a stretch of 6 or 7 episodes that just seemed to top the previous one. It started with the first episode. There wasn’t a great deal of action in this one until the very end, but it was incredibly tense throughout the hour. Gus spent the better part of 10 minutes saying nothing, but doing so much. Whatever leverage Walt and Jesse gained by killing Gale was quickly erased. Walt tried to act like a bad ass, but he couldn’t believe what Gus just did. He could not imagine him doing that himself. No matter how bad Walt had broken, he couldn’t imagine doing that. It frightened him. He was already scared of what Gus could have done, but he saw what Gus can do. He’ll slit someone’s throat to make a point.

The next few episodes show us how much of a coward Walt still is. Walt still thinks he’s this tough mobster guy, but his wife is telling him what to do and when to do it. Saul tells him what to do. Walt had regressed after seeing Gus take Victor’s life. Many other episodes continued to show that Walt had no control of any aspect of his life; not even his home life.

Jesse’s life had been getting out of control so Mike told Gus that something might have to be done. I think all the viewers assumed that meant violence. It didn’t. Gus had Mike turn Jesse into a hero. This relationship irritated Walt and he convinced Jesse to slip Gus some ricin. The ricin Walt cooked in the lab and Jesse kept in a lucky cigarette would later reunite Walt and Jesse.

I had been thinking about writing a season review, but there’s just too much to talk about it. I could go through the entire season like this and it’s just not worth it. It was as close to perfect a season of television could be. The intensity dropped a bit after the first episode, but ratched up midway through the season with each episode.

We knew Walt wouldn’t die. There are 16 episodes planned for Season 5 (to be split into two years supposedly). We also knew by midseason there was no way that Walt and Gus could coexist. Actually, I think we knew that at the end of season 3, but there was no reconciling later on. One had to die. It wouldn’t be Walt. So how would Gus die? Would Jesse kill him? It certainly seemed like it for much of the season. He had the ricin with him at all times.

With Gus gone, where does the show go? What about Mike? All of these quickly led to one question for me: who is going to kill Walt? That’s when the show ends and trying to predict it was fun for awhile, but meaningless. There are already a number of people whose lives would be better off without Walt. The motive to kill him exists for several people. The number will only increase. Jesse would seem to have the most reason to, but that’s predictable at this point.

Anyway, that’s not going to be solved for some time so what was my favorite episode? As great as the first episode was, Salud, Face Off and a few others, Crawl Space is my favorite. I didn’t catch it at the time, but that was when Walter White died.

Sklyer killed him. She had given Ted money to cover his ass (and her’s) and when the White family finally needed the money Walt had been storying in the crawl space, it wasn’t there. Think about that. Walt began the series trying to provide for his family after his death, which was imminent (and still is). Nothing ever worked out as planned, but when he needed that money to protect them, it was not there. Walt had failed at the one thing he set out to do and he couldn’t help but laugh. He knew the end was near. He was just told by Gus that if he got involved with Gus killing Hank that Gus would kill his entire family, including baby Holly. Walt needed to get out of town with his family and had no money.

As the camera on Walt laughing hysterically slowly panned out, it appeared as though Walt was in a coffin. Walter White died.

Heisenberg had been absent for most of season 4. Vince Gilligan has told us repeatedly about this show has been about taking a guy, Mr. Chips, and turning him into Scarface. Walt was never going to be Scarface. Heisenberg was.

Speaking of Scarface, when I was younger I watched that movie and loved it. I still like the movie, but it’s not nearly as good as I once thought. Breaking Bad is better than Scarface.

The next scene in Breaking Bad was the first scene in the penultimate episode. Walt was sitting near the pool, spun the gun on the table once and then a second time. Both times it pointed right at him. We know Walt wasn’t going to go quietly. He spins the gun a third time and it points to something else. It’s pointing toward a plant, away from himself. That was all that was needed. He would have spun that gun until it pointed away from him.

We didn’t know at that time, but what the gun pointed at was what Heisenberg used to poison Brock, which brought Jesse back to his side. We hadn’t seen Heisenberg at all in season 4, but that’s all we saw in the final two episodes and I expect it’s the only side we’ll see the rest of the series. Walter White was never going to be able to defeat Gus. He had tried and tried and tried. And failed. Heisenberg was the only one who could do that. He was the cold, calculating side and if you want to defeat Gus, you have to be willing to do things Gus would do.

Walt’s problems don’t disappear with his death. Heisenberg inherits them. The cancer and all. Heisenberg will obviously die before the show ends, but Walter White will have been long dead by the time it happens.

It’s hard to pick a favorite episode when there are so many you could choose.