“Breaking Bad”: a scattershot of bullets

10 Oct

You’ve obviously gotten your fill of recaps of last night’s “Breaking Bad” season finale, so I won’t rehash what happened, but I felt like chiming in with my thoughts. Since I’m not skilled enough to weave them into a coherent narrative, you’re getting a hail of bullets. Join me as I think way too intensely about made-up people from a fictional TV show!

{+} First off, here’s the awesome song from the final scene. And this blog has the mp3 — at least for now — so hurry up and grab it while you can.

{+} I spent a ton of time after last week’s episode poring through blog comments, and a decent number of people rightly concluded it was Walter that poisoned Brock. I was a non-believer at first, but the idea that it may not be ricin was enough to sway me. So, I wasn’t as floored as I’m guessing the less-obsessed were, but that ending shot of the plant still more or less blew me away.

{+} The story of Walt poisoning the kid only works if it was non-lethal and he knew the kid would recover. I understand the show is documenting Walter’s metamorphosis to Scarface, but he’s still got a ways to go yet. If it had actually been ricin and the kid died, it would have been too big a leap for me. That said, if Walt is already this far gone, next season is going to be insane. Tough to continue upping the ante after an episode full of child poison, bombs and exploding labs.

{+} Lots of people theorized that Gus had a mole in the DEA, but the fact that Gus went after Tio after Tio visited the DEA offices tells me he didn’t. If he had, the mole would have called Gus immediately after Tio left to say, “Yeah, he was here, but he was just fucking with us and didn’t say a thing. You’re being set up, brah.” So, no mole. Gomez: you’re in the clear.

{+} Some people seem to take issue with how perfect Walt’s plan was executed, that it worked too perfectly. The show has been guilty of that before (obvs), but I’m not seeing it that way in this case. To me, it was a series of desperate audibles that just happened to work out. Kamikaze Tio was not his Plan A.

Walt was likely hoping Jesse would immediately suspect Gus of the poisoning. When he didn’t, Walt had to improvise and try the car bomb. When that went awry, he got some help from Jesse in the form of the nursing home tip. Only then was he able to (literally) rewire his plan to make the murder happen. Walter didn’t suddenly turn into a strategic criminal mastermind, he’s the same bumbling, desperate maniac he’s always been. The only difference between this plan and his earlier foibles is that this one somehow worked out, possibly because this time he really and truly had nothing left to lose. If Jesse had pulled the trigger and blown his brains out, well, that was bound to happen anyway.

{+} I tried my hardest to be a good sport about the final act of Gus straightening his tie with half his head blown off, but…nope, sorry, can’t do it. Just a little too campy/cartoonish for my tastes. They could have hammered home the “he was two different people” message without turning him into the goddamn Terminator. (Also, negative 100 points for the effects team. He didn’t look even slightly human, unless maybe Chileans have metal skulls?)

{+} As for the season and series on the whole: I’m a notorious over-thinker when it comes to TV shows and movies, to the point that I’m a world-class snob and I bristle at even the slightest hint of poor or careless writing. Details matter way too much to me. “Breaking Bad” has had about a thousand supernatural moments through the seasons (I started to list them but it got too long and I started to get bummed out) and is a perfect candidate for my scorn, but its intensity and inventive plot twists are enough to overcome the absurdities. That insanity will probably keep it from landing atop my list of all-timers, but it’s up there.

As for next season…

{+} Jesse definitely finds out it was Walter that poisoned Brock. He was emotional on the rooftop when telling Walt it wasn’t ricin poisoning, but soon enough he’ll start wondering where the ricin went. I’m guessing he figures it out pretty quickly (maybe the beginning of next season?) and goes apeshit. There is just no way they don’t revisit the mysteriously missing cig.

{+} I wonder if that shot of the “Pollos Hermanos” rearview decal logo in Gus’s car is a form of foreshadowing. Maybe Gus had a brother who’ll seek revenge? Seems like a potential retread story — Walt and Jesse fending off dealers/cartel from the South — but I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened on that front.

{+} I will be severely bummed if we never find out Gus’s origin story and why his Chilean past prevented Don Eladio from killing him back in the day. Gotta happen at some point.

{+} Obviously the meth-making will be a big part of next season, and I get Walter wanting to continue production because he’s a power-hungry lunatic, but Jesse seems to have plenty of money and no motive to keep cooking. What would bring him back into the fold? Will Walt use the Gale murder as blackmail? (That probably makes no sense.) Will the video of Jesse cooking in Mexico resurface? Will the Chile cartel make an appearance and have Jesse & Walt running/cooking for their lives? Lots of options, not sure which strikes me as most plausible.

{+} Walt HAS to die in the series finale, right? I don’t see a way around that.

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2 Responses to ““Breaking Bad”: a scattershot of bullets”

  1. mj October 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Yeah that plant really pissed me off at the end of the episode. It suggests that Walt had something to do with it, but I can’t figure out when Walt would have had the opportunity to poison Brock. I had just assumed that brock stole the cigarette out of the pack and smoked it, but they ruled that out right away when Jesse was about to kill Walt.

    As for the prediction that the mirror ornament forshadows something that will happen in the future, (I think it probably does) but I thought his only brother was the guy that got shot by the pool in the flashback episode.

    And what ever happened to Mike, last time they showed him he had just been shot, but he didn’t die, right, did I miss it?

  2. bbroxey October 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    @mj — in the second-to-last episode, Walter is missing for about half the day between spinning his gun toward the plant and Jesse showing up at his barricaded apartment. I think the implication is he somehow did it then. Though the ‘how’ is still unclear. I’m sure they’ll explain that next season.

    I think you’re right about the brother, so never mind on that theory. And as for Mike, he was recovering in Mexico and I’m guessing he returns next season with a vengeance. I’m setting the plus-minus on his body count at 6.

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