Note: Episode review contains substantial spoilers.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
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“I won.” These two simple words are still haunting me after seeing the Breaking Bad season 4 finale ‘Face Off.’ Walt (Bryan Cranston) is now in the position of power he always wanted ‒ Top Dog. Getting there certainly wasn’t pretty and the searing shot of Gus’ (Giancarlo Esposito) Two-Face inspired makeover is proof of that. Before we reenter the fray of this matchup allow me to remind the uninitiated to take a peek at our earlier Breaking Bad reviews to learn about what this series has to offer.
Throughout the series you probably have noticed that I constantly threw around the phrase “I knew it.” This by no means meant that Breaking Bad is predictable. Somehow I felt the writers of the show had produced characters that I had become comfortable with for a long enough time to infer the lengths they would go and the decisions they would make. It was apparent from the get-go that Walt understood the monumental importance of getting into the good graces of his friend Jesse (Aaron Paul) again. A certain final scene made that abundantly clear ‒ I’ll share my thoughts on that shortly.
The finale was all about the seesaw nature of alliances. While Gus’ network of the underworld seemed impenetrable his friends were becoming few and far between. The stunt he pulled with the Cartel left him weaker than ever and yet I was still intimidated by the gravitas of his villainy. Stretching his grip into season 5 felt too strained a direction but I could not fathom how they could take this meth monarch out. The pieces only started to fall into place when Walt began to review the growing list of Gus’ enemies.
Jesse of course is the unsung hero in the mix and gave the brilliant suggestion of ambushing a favorite haunt of Gus…the nursing home of his old Cartel rival Tio Salamanca (Mark Margolis). Once this lightning strike of luck was delivered I was becoming increasingly happy with what was surely on the way. It was quite apt for the writers to make Tio the sacrifice to tear apart the one man that could claim superiority to the viciousness of the Cartel. I also appreciated the final gesture of memory that ironically Gus himself had brought up. Few would remember the closing years of Tio’s life in a wheelchair but they certainly would remember the half-man half-anatomy diagram of Gus toppling to the floor. The fact that he even had a few last spurts of strength to care for straightening his necktie was simply priceless.
As I stated at the top in bold this episode delivered a clear picture of who was [easyazon-link asin=”B001U6YI92″]The Good, The Bad and The Ugly[/easyazon-link]. Whether it was through character actions, the desperado music in the background, or how they physically looked at the end…I don’t think I’m too off in inferring this reference. Throughout the season Jesse has maintained a kind of honor that redeemed any of his past transgressions. The poor boy even stuck around with the likes of Walt despite it being against his best interest to do so…so he’s earned the title of The Good. Walt on the other hand has been far from kosher in his behavior towards those he loves. His family long have received the short end of the stick and for quite awhile he could care less whether Jesse was fish food or not. His rampant bipolarism and growing dark side causes me to place in the role of The Bad. Gus topped them all in his coldblooded cruelty and his unyielding depravity. The only thing that managed to hide the ooze of evil was his cleancut image. This was literally blasted apart when he took those fateful steps outside of Tio’s room with a mug too ravaged to be called human.
While the death of Gus appears to be the destruction of The Ugly ‒ there is a new man who will rise to mantel of this moniker. The twisted smile on Walt’s face as he saw Gus’ Los Pollos Hermanos logo dangling in the car window didn’t taste right to me. It was only a matter of time before I would really get sick to my stomach when I discovered just how close Walt has come to The Ugly. A fleeting scene was showed at the end that revealed it was not Gus that had poisoned the son of Jesse’s love but rather Walt…thanks to a few deathly buds of Lilly of the Valley. Now that Jesse has served Walt’s dark purpose, will he leave him alive in the season to come? I was hopeful that Walt’s reclusive morality was making a comeback but at this point his fate looks no different than Gus’. What an amazing season of Breaking Bad this has been…
Breaking Bad fans don’t forget that you can win a walk-on role for next summer’s upcoming season. Details can be found on www.breakingbadsweeps.com!
[xrr label=”Breaking Bad S. 4 Ep. 13 ‘Face Off’ is rated” rating=5/5]
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